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Battle for Middle Earth

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Map Control Part 2

By (BH)ownage - 29th December 2008 - 23:13 PM

I am being continually asked by players that I have been helping with BfME how to keep control of the game and convert this into winning it. My answer to this has always been map control. Map control is the key to staying ahead of your opponents in a game, and ensuring your army is big enough to best theirs. How you use your units to gain map control can decide who wins and who doesnít. So I took the time to make this short guide to explain the theory behind fighting for map control in a team game, to help out any new players. This is part two of my new guide.

Donít forget this is the foundation of BfME. All pro players had to learn this the hard way. But hopefully by taking the time to read this guide you can fast track your learning, and pick up some of the fundamental ideas of fighting in a 2vs2. Be sure to watch the replays provided so you can see these ideas in action.

FoL armies and horse micro

Basically both FoL armies, Rohan and Gondor, use horses to keep mc. After a lot of games of experience you may see your favorite players like Maia, Buttafly, Light, Sage, Pillbots, Miho, Velve achieving fantastic horse micro. Here are some secrets that will get you on the way to winning fights 1v1 and 2v2 with horses and also keeping mc.

1. Donít fight a battle you canít win - This maybe simple but its often the case with novice players who donít know when to fight and when to run. The best way to decide is like this. Before your horses engage quickly visualize what he has and what you have. Does he have Thťoden? Armor? Blades? Is he same rank? What do you have to try to match it up. So if he has armor you should have armor or at least blades. If he has Thťoden you should have eye or chant on you to fight the extra ld. Always go blow for blow donít try to fight in impossible odds.

What about if you canít win; if he gets upgrades earlier than you? Spread your horses out more and a little trick I use a lot if I know I canít win certain battles I call on my other horses to help, generally 2 horses will beat 1 so surround him and even up the odds but donít get to cocky. Donít worry after a few games you will do this naturally the key is to concentrate and donít try to do too many things at once. The key is to focus on whatís important donít try to be a hero and micro 5 horse if you canít itís better to do 3 and win the game.

2. Formations - try not to fight in wedge formation as it is unbalanced but when taking down buildings switch to wedge and take the buildings twice as fast this is key to keeping mc things have to happen fast you donít have time to spare in pro games.

3. Build order - Often the correct build order can mean that you get ups faster or in time with your opponent this is very important since mc = money you cannot keep mc without upgrades or leadership which will make you lose money. So research your build orders ask an experienced player in chat or Strategy Specialist on gr.org and make sure your getting your upgrades fast.

4. Healing - Keep a close eye on your horse fights. Did he use heal? how would you know if youíre not watching. Thereís a simple rule in BfME that 80 percent of the time works and not just on horses. "Whoever heals first will lose" . In a balanced mu soldier vs. soldier for example both in block formation no upgrades the opponent heals first, then you heal straight afterwards your soldiers will win. So try to heal as late as you can. If I donít see the opponent heal or I think he hasnít got it I like to heal when my horse bat is down to 3 horses any lower than that you canít recover well.

5. Palantir - This is a very deadly power in FoL Isengard MUs where you will be forced to handle an opponent running your horses down with faster speed. To dodge palantir make sure firstly you have to predict it through sound or through watching how his horses run. The only way to dodge palantir is by running in a zigzag formation by changing direction suddenly you will gain some ground on palantired horses and it will give you enough space to dodge again and again. Do this until you get back to your base. Sometimes you want him to follow you lead him into your teammates pikes or your teammates trolls be aggressive keep the opponent on his toes. Make him work hard for a win. When your chasing horses with palantir make sure your horses are in wedge formation so that they push forward more giving you a better chance of killing his horses.

6. Hiding upgrades - So you run up to a horse and fight him thinking he has no upgrades mid fight blades appear you take your eyes off your horses for one second and they are dead. Sometimes a good trick is to run up and fight your opponent "as your blades are building" you will learn to time it well so around mid fight blades will appear to the shock of your opponent and might kill that bat catching him off guard.

7. Handling trolls and pikes - I personally have never found this that hard in 2v2 although people I have talked to have so I will make this simple. If youíre versing Isengard Mordor for example, you are FoL and youíre dealing with pikes and trolls running at you. Since I donít recommend a 1 on 1 fight since meleeing pikes could be risky since trolls will support plus more pikes I find it easiest to create a diversion. So I use 2 horses per farm one in front one in back running towards the mill. First horse engages pike, pike follows/fights farm is suddenly free my second horse running behind takes farm and you repeat. Same with trolls 2 horses plus one troll just split up let him chase 1. The best thing to remember is that you donít have to perform godlike base rushing to win every game take the pressure off yourself and do the simple things like running over laborers that hurts there eco as well you donít have to fight anyone for that. You have to make FoD work hard force him to run his units around even if youíre not damaging his farms youíre making him think, your forcing him to concentrate on other areas.

8. Making correct decisions and handling "lag" - Well you will hear a lot of talk about "off host" and lag but itís something we all have to deal with and something thatís best to accept and not worry too much about. I have been playing most of my games off host since my opponents have a better host which is to benefit all players involved. If youíre playing off host and your experiencing lag try to run from fights earlier and donít engage pikes in melee battles. Plus base rushing a heavily guarded fod base may not be a good idea. Make correct decisions. Itís better not to lose horses since they are the backbone of the game and mostly will decide who will take control. However in some cases and this will come with experience it may be wise to sacrifice one horse for a base rush. Judging this will come with experience and watching replays. Just ask yourself a couple of questions while playing?
  1. How many farms do i have?
  2. Is the opponent under pressure?
  3. Can i finish the game quicker?

9. Defending - Sometimes you have to run back and defend, but donít be stupid and use your whole army to do it. It only takes one horse to take your farms back if the enemy has got them use your other 2 - 3 bats to constantly harass. Always remember as well to support your partner if he is FoD since he will be getting base rushed a lot and you have to make sure your horses are healthy and upgraded so you can chase down enemy units. Donít let them harass your FoD partner easily and try to kill any units that may cause trouble for your ally for example kill Orcs to defend your partners Isengard pikes or help kill Faramir + Boromir to keep Mordorís trolls safe.

10. A last word - So whatís the most important thing when trying to keep mc with horses. SPLIT THEM UP 3 horses on 3 farms thatís nearly every farm the opponent has on his side of the Anorien map. Splitting up your horses can cover more ground itís the most basic mistake novices make. Another thing to remember and to take note of is that pro players keep their horses "The whole game". Rebuilding one horse is acceptable but if you want to bring your level up you will learn to keep your horses alive they are whatís keeping the harassment up so take care of them.

Harassment = pressure whoever applies more pressure will win, thatís a certainty so keep your horses alive and good luck.

Some examples of replays showing basic horse micro map control
These replays show the basics of horse micro in the first replay against ovo I am using Gondor and I have to micro against Rohan Isengard a very tough mu. I constantly harass and pull off some base rushing as well. The second game verse Light and Taterz I really go as hard as I can with my Rohan horses and it clearly shows how to keep mc and keep up harassment against Mordor Isengard. Though my late game micro with my units was bad and difficult in this mu off host plus we used the wrong strategy it still shows it isnít impossible to keep mc against any mu.