Team games are likely the most entertaining type of game that you will come across in War2. There is very little that is more fun than being able to poke fun at and exploit the faults of one of your opponents WHILE playing the game! As if that weren’t enough, you can coordinate complex attacks that would normally be impossible to do by yourself to completely maul your opponent. Who could ask for anything more?
That’s all well and good, but it makes an assumption that we cannot always afford: both players can play the game and also function well as a team. I have seen numerous excellent players fall in team games to much lesser players due to their inability to function as a team with their allies. In my experience, having a playing style that complements those of your ally’s can be incredibly effective even if you’re not that good. When Stalin and myself reached the #1 position the first time, we really weren’t that good; we simply worked very efficiently as a team. He knew how I played, how I reacted, and how I thought; I knew how he played, how he reacted, and how he thought. Our playing styles complemented eachother’s so well that we were able to spank players that would beat either of us 1v1. Thus, I can safely say that overall playing skill is NOT the primary prerequisite for being a successful team; rather, skill at being a team player is.
So you may be wondering what I mean by being a team player. Well, to be a good team player, you need to..
1. Know your ally.
Know how your ally plays, be able to accurately predict how he will handle certain situations that my arise during the game. Which strategies does he tend to go for? Will he be able to hold off a hard rush when he powers? Will he use DKs and sappers? How well does he expand? How attentive is he? If you are familiar with your ally’s playing style and tactics you have an immediate edge over newer teams.
There are two ways in which you can work to achieve this familiarity: strategical discussion and simply playing with them ( a LOT). If you are starting a duo and you want to see how well you and your partner work together. Try to play team games with them as often as possible while sneaking in 1v1s Vs them in between. The purpose of the 1v1s are (aside from teaching them their role and making fun of them if you win) to evolve your gameplay. Vary your strategies and teach them to be ready for anything; break out the sappers and archers to incorporate them into rushes. Try everything and see what works. One thing in particular that helped me and Stalin out when we were trying to establish ourselves as a team, and even after we had secured #1, was loading up a map, on screening it, and examining it. Through that method, we systematically disected every spot on several maps and examined various ways to chop in on a powerer, OT a wallin, and the most effective ways of arranging our home bases. In addition to making your relationship with your ally more personal, you’re improving the strategic value of your game. It takes time, but in the end is well worth the effort.
2. Communicate with your ally.
I cannot stress this enough: TALK TO YOUR ALLY! Let him know what’s going on, what you’re doing, what your opponents are doing(if you can see them), etc.
If you’re being attacked, tell your ally where and with how much. Regardless of whether or not you can hold the attack, tell him. If you see units headed for somewhere on the map, tell your ally. This could be a clue of an expansion forming or some other devious tactics such as sapping through a treeline. If your opponents are doubling up on you and you can survive the attack, tell your ally to hit the opponents at their mains.
One particular example of this put into great use was in a game for #2 on IGL vs DethWlkr and DethMongal: I had 2halled at tl while Stalin had 12. The DTs were side-by-side at br and apparently were horny for me as they kept laying it on thick. They hit me with catapults, sappers, and innumerable grunts, but I managed to hold 11 after I killed their cats and setup CTs guarding the front and back of my wallin (they had forced me to wall around the wood island in the middle of 11). I was able to hold on while they kept hitting me and I told Stalin NOT to help. Instead, he was able to power up to bloodlust before either of them had fortress and he ended up killing both of them. Had he come running to save my ass, we probably would have lost that game. And this brings us to the next topic…
3. Be willing to sacrifice.
Be willing to sacrifice your base and your very presence in the game if it will allow your ally time to get an edge on the opponents. If you get screwed in a game, do your damn best to make sure that your opponents keep hitting you while your ally goes for tech. Sure, try to get an expansion and try to get back in the game, but be willing if not insistant that your opponents keep focusing on you. Piss them off! Make them see you as something so annoying that you must be eliminated. Try to set them back in any way you possibly can; your ally needs every advantage he can get as it is basically 2on1 at this point. If you get nailed and you have no res to rebuild, do NOT leave the game. Sneak a peasant out and put up a wall where the hall would normally be placed at every expansion point and use this to immediately alert your ally when your opponents try to expand. As noted in the example above, distraction can yield highly favorable results.
4. Coordinate with your Ally.
Organize your attacks! Say you’re sending a fleet of ogres at one of your opponent and trying to bust into his base, but he has a CT knocking your ogres off while peons on the inside repair the buildings. Well, if you had communicated your intentions with your ally, he could provide units that would complement your advance (DKs or sappers for instance). Now try that again w/ the help of your ally and your opponent can probably kiss his base good-bye. Another method of coordination of attacks would be to, while you run to hit one of your opponent’s bases, you have your ally hit his expansion. The more sites of attack, the better. If you can confuse your opponent and destroy his focus on a single site, your attacks will be exponentially more effective.
Full implementation of the above ideas will definitely increase the success of your team. There is one more factor that comes into play when you ally with someone, but it is not one so easily remedied if not present. That factor is actual chemistry between the players. Simply put, some people can work well as a team while some cannot. This is a function of their styles and tendency to conform to the ideas of others. Either it’s there or it’s not. If you and your ally do not click together in the first 10 or so games, then chances are that you’re not going to be the next Agent & Tiller. If that is your primary concern, then you should probably look for a new ally. Otherwise, just keep playing and have fun. sections