Advance Wars: Days of Ruin (2008, Advance Wars: Dark Conflict in Europe/Australia)
Battalion Wars II, officially abbreviated BWii (2008, Totsugeki!! Famicom Wars VS in Japan)
The original Famicom Wars had no plot at all. You would choose to control one of two rival armies, Red Star or Blue Moon, and fight off the other until completing all the maps. Super Famicom Wars is essentially a remake/sequel, featuring all the maps from the original, as well as brand new ones. It was also the first game to feature 4-player maps, with the Green Earth and Yellow Comet armies joining the battle, as well as selectable commanding officers (COs), each with their own specialty and weakness that affect the whole army.The original Game Boy Wars follows the same premise as the original Famicom Wars, but uses hexagonal maps instead of square-based maps in a bit of a departure from the rest of the series. The Hudson Soft developed sequels, Game Boy Wars Turbo and Game Boy Wars 2, were essentially expansions to the original Game Boy Wars, featuring new maps and a sped-up decision-making process for the CPU. The third and last of the Hudson-produced sequels, Game Boy Wars 3, is a complete departure from the rest of the series, being modeled more after Hudson's own Nectaris series of war sims than the rest of the Wars series. The third game may also have supported a link cable for Japanese cell phones for online play purposes.The Advance Wars games for, obviously, the Game Boy Advance, were the first games to be released internationally, as well as the first to have an actual plot. It and the two after it make up a trilogy involving the Black Hole army. Oddly enough, the first Advance Wars was for a couple of years not released in Japan, only showing up in a compilation pack with its sequel. The Advance Wars name has stuck in America even as the series moved to the DS, while Japan reverted to the name Famicom Wars for the DS and Wii installments. The Advance Wars series expanded upon the CO system from Super Famicom Wars, giving each CO their own ability which they can summon during the brink of a battle in order to change the odds in their favor.Advance Wars: Days of Ruin is a completely new continuity, set in a Darker and EdgierAfter the End world which actually works. It manages to have a level of character and plot development and story depth easily rivaling any Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest game, though some elements differ significantly between regions. With the new story comes a massive overhaul of the CO system as well as the units themselves.The Battalion Wars games (which have their own page) are for the GameCube and Wii and are Real-Time Strategy games with a view and style more reminiscent of a Third-Person Shooter than an overhead game like Warcraft. They form their own separate continuity and story. In addition to commanding your forces in real time, all gameplay is from the point of view of a single unit that the player can switch between at any time, while at the same time actively controlling the viewpoint unit itself.There is a wiki for the turn-based games, of course. Battalion Wars also has its own wiki.There is a character sheet for the general Advance Wars series here.Compare and contrast Fire Emblem and Nectaris, which can be said to be its Fantasy and Sci-Fi counterparts, respectively.
And This Is for...: in the ending of the first Battalion Wars, Nova punches Ubel for Tundra, then throws a KOing punch for his father.
Aluminum Christmas Trees: The Megatank. There really was a tank the size of a small office building- the "Maus" Land Cruiser. It only had one cannon though; it's next iteration (the Ratte) would have had a turret with multiple cannons.
The Anti-Air Tanks, which also deal very good damage to infantry and unarmored vehicles like Humvees in Game Boy Wars 3.
Anti-Air Missile Launchers along with Anti-Air Artillery in Super Famicom Wars.
Cruisers, which also tear apart Submarines.
Aircraft Carriers, which also ferry an air force overseas.note Aircraft carriers work quite differently between Dual Strike and Days of Ruin. They can carry two aircraft in both games, but other than that, they're very different. In Dual Strike, aircraft carriers are powerful indirect attackers with a range of 3-8 squares. In Days of Ruin, aircraft carriers themselves can only attack at close range with rather weak machine guns, but the aircraft they're carrying can launch from it, move, and attack in the same action, assuming that the carrier itself hasn't moved any distance. Aircraft carriers in Days of Ruin can also produce seaplanes, which are capable of attacking any unit in the game for decent damage. To top it off, they repair the aircraft they're carrying every turn, just like an airport.
Mechs in Game Boy Wars 1/2/Turbo can attack air units for cost-effective damage.
Most ships in Game Boy Wars 3, including the Lander, can hit air units for at least decent damage.
Anti-Villain: Forsythe/Carter in Days of Ruin. Also, most of the characters in Advance Wars bar the protagonists and Sturm.
Anyone Can Die: The European site for Days of Ruin/Dark Conflict claims that every single CO from the previous games died in the events prior to the game.
Apocalyptic Logistics: Days of Ruin states that most of the human population was killed off in the Apocalypse, and the earth itself is mostly just a barren wasteland full of destruction and desolation. However, there's still plenty of machine tool factories and workers who know how to build tanks and artillery, and train infantry for battle.
The Nintendo Wars series takes the minimum range and maximum range tropes and sticks to them.
Advance Wars: Artillery has a one-square zone in which it is unable to fire. Rocket trucks' are two squares (as they have longer range).
Art Evolution: The CO portraits went from being rather cartoonish◊ in the first Advance Wars to fairly realistic◊ by Dual Strike. Olaf and Kanbei by far went through the most dramatic evolution, though the other characters got a fair bit of visual upgrading as well.
Artifact Title: Advance Wars: Dual Strike and Days of Ruin are on the Nintendo DS. So why is it still called "Advance Wars"...?
Dual Strike can be abbreviated as "DS", and the "Advance" makes sense since it's a direct sequel to the two on GBA. Days of Ruin has no such justifications, though.
Artificial Stupidity: The APC fetish in the first Advance Wars, as well as the Battlestation's method of attacking the destruction objective in the last mission of Battalion Wars 2.
The second fight against Kanbei in the first game becomes surprisingly easy if you block the chokepoints leading to your base well as he has few amount of indirects and yet clogs the path with his tanks, rendering his superior numbers useless.
The AI also seems to have a pathological fear of sending units to the second front in DS, even when it would be extraordinarily useful to it.
Artistic License - Biology: Viruses cannot make plants grow under people's skin. However, the sole expert who describes it that way only says it spreads "like a virus". It's the others (who are far from biologists) who call it a "plant virus" afterwards.
The Creeper does seem to be heavily based on the real world Cordyceps fungus, which, at least in the ant version of the fungus, causes the ants to go insane and then die, the fruiting body bursting out of their corpses.
Artistic License - Physics: Plasma (Which looks like lightning) arcing between two or more fallen meteors, that block air and land travel. A handwaved barrier that makes at least a modicum more sense than the infamous pipes from previous Advance Wars.
Awesome, but Impractical: Earth and Sky, the Eagle/Sami tag-team power in Dual Strike. Yes, being able to take three turns in a row — with instant captures on the third turn — is very awesome. However, a combined total of seventeen stars' worth of charging (and the very real prospect of an opponent just plopping a unit on important buildings like their HQ) ruins this somewhat.
Several of the more expensive units can be this, depending on availability of cities, but Megatanks really take the cake. They'll waste anything to be sure, but they're really slow and have low fuel and ammo capacity, so they need resupplying often. Many players tend to go for Neotanks instead in Dual Strike, see below.
Battlestations and Strato Destroyers in Battalion Wars. Both soak up punishment about as well as a fortress would, and can destroy anything short of another Battlestation or Strato Destroyer in seconds. The problem is that both are slower than anything else in their respective field, and both are not very maneuverable. In the BS's case, it's also extremely vulnerable to an air attack. It's easier to take out enemy BS's with air units while handling everything else with tanks, and Fighters are normally all you'd ever need short of more precise air-to-ground attacks.
Bad Boss: Deconstructed with Greyfield. He threatens his men with execution for having the Creeper virus (among many other reasons), which leads directly to its rampart spread when the infected keep quiet about it and stay in close contact with the healthy. It gets so bad that Greyfield himself gets it, and Caulder doesn't hesitate to point out the delicious irony/hypocrisy.
Big Damn Heroes: Sami, Grit, Eagle, and Sonja in Dual Strike, Will/Ed in Days of Ruin, Pierce in Battalion Wars 2.
Blood Knight: General Herman and Tsar Gorgi in Battalion Wars.
Born Lucky: Nell, and to a lesser extent, her little sister Rachel.
Boring, but Practical: Infantry spams — thankfully, not a problem in Game Boy Wars 3 despite the Mech being able to move and blast armored stuff from two spaces away on the same turn.
COs with short power bars also stand out — such as Colin, Sensei, Adder, and Sasha with their two-star regular CO powers, and Sonja, Adder, Hachi, and Koal with five-star Super CO Powers.
Bowdlerise: The North American release of Days of Ruin replaces the "DAMN!" text bubble when units get ambushed in Fog Of War with "NO!".
Bragging Rights Reward: Dual Strike only provides a wallpaper for obtaining all 300 medals; some of those 300 medals have borderline ridiculous conditions to obtain.
Days of Ruin is even worse. Getting all the medals doesn't get you anything.
Brother-Sister Team: Colin and Sasha in Dual Strike. And their abilities really mesh: Sasha can rack up tons of money and deplete her foe's CO bar, while Colin gets discounts on his units. Can anyone say Zerg Rush?
And that's not counting their Dual Strike (Trust Fund), where Sasha gets money for every enemy unit destroyed and Colin gets more power based on how much money he has. How's that for synergy?
Brutal Bonus Level: For the first three Advance Wars games, beating the main campaign unlocks the Hard Campaign. Usually these are just the same levels, slightly modified to give the computer an advantage.
The degree of brutality goes down as the games go on, though. Advance Campaign from Advance Wars is hellishly difficult and unfair. Hard Campaign from Black Hole Rising is tougher, but still a balanced challenge. Hard campaign from Dual Strike tends to be easier than the normal campaign, as you are allowed to choose any pair of COs.
On top of the Advance Campaign, there is a bonus mission in the first Advance Wars called Rivals!, where Eagle challenges Andy to a battle. On normal mode, it's already pretty tough, with Eagle having more cities on his side to build an army from. Advance Campaign Rivals! is incredibly unfair, since Eagle starts with a MASSIVE army, and you only have the same three infantry you would in normal mode. In fog.
Bonus Mission 3 in the first Battalion Wars.
Butt Monkey: Davis/Cole in Days of Ruin, who is treated as a loser in love to the point of not having his name remembered well, and also can't stand up to Greyfield killing soldiers along with Brenner, and later ends up dying from the Creeper virus. Of course, the only indication of the latter in the European version is his lack of later appearances after the equivalent scene.
Cerebus Syndrome: The plot got somewhat more serious between the original Advance Wars and Black Hole Rising, the plot between Black Hole Rising and Dual Strike was even more so, and Days of Ruin was as serious as ever.
Character Development: Nearly all the COs got fleshed out between Advance Wars 1 and 2, especially the non-Orange Star ones that the character now gets to control. Olaf went from a bumbling villain to a grumpy but competent leader, Kanbei went from silly levels of idiocy to an honorable but tactically-dense emperor, Eagle went from a revenge-driven Jerkass that never thought things through to a more reasonable team player, and so on.
Character Select Forcing: In the first GBA game, if the player selects Sami or Max and loses on the first battle against Drake, Nell will outright tell the player: "How about using Andy next time?" This makes sense since Drake's power damages units and Andy's power repairs them, but a Bonus Boss can only be unlocked if the player uses only Sami for the next few missions.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: While they're still playable outside of Campaign mode, Flak and Adder mysteriously disappear from Black Hole for the duration of Dual Strike's campaign. Possibly justified in that their abilities were too similar to Black Hole newcomers Jugger and Koal/Zak, and the newbies were more integral to the new Big Bad. (Which begs the question why Flak and Adder are in the game to begin with.)
Climax Boss: In Dual Strike, Koal and Lash in the mission where you destroy your first Black Crystal, and Kindle and Koal in mission 22 where you destroy a Black Obelisk for the first time. Days of Ruin has The Beast, Forsythe, and Greyfield, all of which counts as Disc One Final Bosses. Each of these serve to end some plot points, wrap up an act, introduce more questions, and the victory music that plays when you win is more upbeat and triumphant.
Cloning Blues: Barely touched upon in the first 3 Advance Wars games, but a huge part of Days of Ruin.
To clarify, the main characters were all cloned by the enemy in the first 3 games to lead enemy troops, but the issues with that were never discussed.
Companion Cube: Penny with her Mr. Bear. One case where an European renaming is not necessary, as the European translation didn't add that particular Woolseyism.
The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: there's a case that helps the player in Beachhead in Battalion Wars 1; the CPU-controlled Artillery can snipe off the infantry climbing up the hilly terrain that makes seeing them difficult, from inside the fort on top of the hills. However, in Battalion Wars 2, while there is another case that involves a playable unit in the last mission, it does not help the player whatsoever: the Battlestation attacks the guns that fire the weak green lasers coming from the Mining Spider before attacking the blasted digging machine itself, but you don't get to aim at these guns whatsoever. This makes no sense because the Fighters you get are harder, albeit generally more rewarding, to control than the no-brainer Battlestation, but at least the Heavy Tanks fire at the guns too if commanded to attack the Spider.
As a more conventional example, in AW1 and AW2, the CPU-controlled armies were not affected by vision ranges in fog of war and could attack your unit even if none of their units could technically see it (although they did have to uncover your units hiding in forests before they could attack it - the computer acts as if they don't exist otherwise).
Ever notice how the computer will rarely leave its battleship within range of that sub you've had submerged for the past three turns?
Cool Old Guy: Sensei and Hachi in Black Hole Rising and Dual Strike; Forsythe/Carter in Days of Ruin
Cool Airship: The Great Owl from Days of Ruin could possibly qualify as this, considering it's a gigantic flying laboratory/bomber... with a hangar bay big enough to have a full-scale battle with tanks and rockets and stuff.
Cutscene Incompetence: Colin in Black Hole Rising and Dual Strike: Always portrayed as under confident, put upon by his big sister Sasha — yet in game terms he's one of the most powerful COs, to the point of being a problem in terms of game balance.
Kanbei as well. His troops are extremely strong, despite being more expensive, and yet, Kanbei is constantly lectured by his daughter Sonja, and in one scene, when Sonja runs in with important news, Kanbei's first response is to ask if she's seen his sock. Oh, and being extremely overprotective of his daughter (although that is mostly positive).
Darker and Edgier: Days of Ruin/Dark Conflict. Done reasonably well. The ads even used this trope as a selling point!
Could be argued Black Hole Rising did it as well; the graphic style became less cartoony.
Darth Vader Clone: Sturm bears a considerable resemblance, with a full face mask and a cloak that covers his body. The face mask he wears in 2 resembles Vader's helmet even more so. Von Bolt makes an interesting comparison as Palpatine, being a frail old man in black but who still possesses great power despite his withered body.
Death of a Thousand Cuts: Played straight in the Advance Wars series, averted in the Battalion Wars series. It's possible to destroy a gunship with a tank round, but a bunch of grunts firing on it will only serve to be a mild annoyance until they're blown to smithereens. Unless, of course, you only have one anti-air unit left and need all the help/distraction you can get.
Played straight in Battalion Wars by the combat roll (essentially a third-person circle strafe).
Dieselpunk: Some parts of the artstyle of the first three games and the Duster unit from Days of Ruin invokes this design.
Disproportionate Retribution: Rachel and Koal have the worst tagging firepower penalty in the game. Olaf and Lash get a 20% penalty to firepower when tagging because Lash used some weird invention to rearrange and destroy his hometown. Eagle and Hawke get a 30% penalty when tagging because Hawke knocked Green Earth around quite a bit. What did Koal do to Rachel for a 35% penalty? He DISSED HER FACE. Sure, she's going to need some lotion for that burn, but it's nothing compared to the previous two penalties mentioned.
Olad and Eagle are older and have tougher skin. Rachel may very well be MORE mad, it's just horribly unjustified.
Justified in that she was basically designed to be a walking, breathing database of military information. Other than what she picks up after Will finds her, that's all she knows.
Easy Logistics: While every unit uses up fuel (or rations, for infantry) and ammunition, it is very easy to resupply units. APCs resupply any units adjacent to them at the beginning of the turn. (Or resupply one unit manually that they drive up to.) Including battleships and aircraft, with no explanation how a ground-based vehicle can refuel a fighter jet. As well, the APC has infinite supplies, and can rearm and refuel indefinitely all units indefinitely.
Days of Ruin makes the APC a Rig. The same benefits as before, but now it has the supplies to build one temporary airport or seaport.
It's been joked about to no end how the APCs are incapable of resupplying themselves, for some odd reason.
Escort Mission: The Advance Wars series has some, and there's quite a few in Battalion Wars 2.
Enemy Mine: Hawke and Lash join up with the Allied Nations to take out Von Bolt after the latter tries to off them for outliving their usefulness (and discovering him in the first place).
That last bit is called attention to in Black Hole Rising; Flak mentions that Max strongly reminds him of himself, "Except... I'm me." The fact that they're so similar is implied to be the cause of their mutual hatred, as well.
Evil Old Folks: Von Bolt. Caulder may or may not be old, but he's certainly not young. Kaiser Vlad is allegedly 100 years old.
Evil Versus Oblivion: Ultimately what drives Hawke to betray Von Bolt. Hawke has no delusions about the kind of person he is, but he also cares about the people he leads (having one of the few healing CO powers) and the damage he may do. Von Bolt doesn't care about what damage he causes as long as what he's focused on gets achieved, and thus has no problem turning the world into a wasteland to achieve his own goals. Put simply, Hawke is aware that there may be nothing to rule after Von Bolt has his way with things, and even before being betrayed he had second guesses about the plans that were being made. also a major reason why he betrayed and 'killed' Sturm at the end of Advance Wars 2, although if Sturm survived, which he did not, encountering Von Bolt would have resulted in the two villains trying to kill each other. Sturm was trying to take everyone with him to the grave by self-destructing his base at the end of Advance Wars 2, which would have also killed many Black Hole soldiers. By offing his employer, Hawke prevented that from happening.
No Experience Points for Medic: in Super Famicom Wars and especially Days of Ruin. Subverted, however, in Game Boy Wars 3, as units gain experience by performing tasks besides combat.
Expy: Several of the Days of Ruin COs have similarities — rather jarring ones — with the earlier Advance Wars ones.
Also, Nell (aka Catherine) from Advance Wars is an expy of Caroline from Super Famicom Wars.
The Green Earth COs are an air combat specialist that constantly bickers with his friend who is a ground specialist and a fat guy that specializes in naval combat. They are basically the crew of Getter Robo.
Faceless Goons: Black Hole infantry and mechs in the Advance Wars series. Xylvanian Rifle Grunts just wear bags and gas masks over their heads.
In their "conversation" portraits, the distortion of their helmets makes them appear vaguely alien. Not that this helps...
Impossible Weakness: high costs for expensive units.
Pointless Weakness: Rachel's extra costs for extra repairs, Max's indirect issues, Kanbei's higher unit cost on maps without factories, and Eagle and Drake's sea/air weakness on maps where that doesn't exist. Most infamously, Colin's slightly inferior units for slightly cheaper units that can Zerg Rush until the cows come home. Air units try to avert this issue with themselves with fuel upkeep, with varying results for each installment of the entire series.
Unbalanced skillset: COs who favor one unit type over another.
Luck-based balance: some in the Advance Wars games and even in Super Famicom Wars. One-Hit Kill attacks generally rely on luck in both.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Sturm in the first Advance Wars. After fighting the various countries with hints of an enemy that can clone COs, the final boss is revealed to be an alien general that drops meteors on people. No attempt is made to explain where he comes from, or why he has no fellow aliens with him in the first game, or why he is able to recruit human generals in the second game. He just... is. Not that anyone minds, given his badassery.
Ironically, Mechs and Infantry often get used to defend frontlines, because their defensive power per unit cost is better than most units. Other, more traditional examples of Glass Cannons include Artillery, Rockets, and Missiles.
Anti-Tanks in Days of Ruin, as a side effect of Crippling Overspecializaton. They're sturdy against tanks, but they're extremely vulnerable to attacks from Infantry or Bikes.
Anti-Air units in basically every game. They're great against infantry and, as the name implies, air units of all kinds, but they can't take a hit from anything more powerful than a Recon (and yes, that includes Mechs).
Game Boy Wars 3 has quite a few examples:
The Mech, of course. They get to snipe armored stuff from a small distance too.
The Humvee, sometimes known as the Battle Car. It has the same armor class as the infantry (although more defense too), since any vehicles that don't look like ones designed primarily for war do; this results in the Anti-Air Tanks being able to shred it with a first attack. But it's also armed with an anti-tank weapon as its primary. Its promoted form also has a miniature anti-air machine gun.
Any land indirect, of course. The Humvee can One-Hit Kill any of them. Of course, in this game, they get to move and attack on the same turn.
The Tank Destroyer isn't this power-wise, but it is when it comes to Initiative, a stat used to determine attack order. If it moves anywhere far, kiss the first attack advantage goodbye.
Air units in general. If they're attacked up close and right away (or can't deal any damage anyway), expect at least 6 HPs of damage to be taken, unless it's the Attacker S, which would be this game's standard Bomber anyway if not for being a promoted unit. Attackers are the example in this group because they can attack anything but Submarines for good damage, but have lower defense than Fighters.
The Aegis Warship is an odd case of making itself this; its defense ratings are among the highest in the game, but it has a powerful weapon that has massive attack power against ships: 7 HPs of damage in its own matchup, even and can fire away from a whopping seven spaces.
Submarines, although in Japan-only installments and when submerged in the Advance Wars games, they're Nigh Invulnerable.
Air units in general (all games) only can be attacked by a few types of units but get shredded fast by them. In the Advance Wars series, even Fighters (the least squishy plane unit) take upwards of 70% damage from a Missile barrage.
Good Versus Good: Played with in Days of Ruin. The start of the second arc begins with several battles between the New Rubinelle Army (who Brenner's Wolves side with) and Lazuria. At first, the latter look like the villains, but it turns out that the NRA — on orders of Greyfield —actually shot first. The Lazurians are just trying to defend their homeland and turn out to be sympathetic. Brenner and Forsythe both lament that they are forced to fight each other despite both being honorable and wanting the conflict to end.
Gotta Catch 'Em All: Hacking suggests that the All Unit Medal in Game Boy Wars 3 is obtained this way — and it's gold plated.
Guide Dang It: in Battalion Wars, how to have your other units attack more actively.
Also, a meta-game based example in Days of Ruin: the Anti-Tank's cost ineffectiveness against infantry.
And Game Boy Wars 3 has a few Medals as this. Check the Guide Dang It page for more details.
A weird case for veterans of the first three Advance Wars games; the scoring for ranks wasn't that hard to figure out, but come Days Of Ruin, they were reworked so that much confusion was had over suddenly sucky scores. The Technique score now rewards you for using less units overall than your opponent, not how few you lose, meaning that the usual strategy of spamming Infantry toward the end of missions to make up for losses actually worked against the player.
Heel-Face Turn: Olaf at the end of Advance Wars, Hawke and Lash during Dual Strike, Penny/Lili and Cyrus during Days of Ruin.
And Battalion Wars too, resulting in the hilarious impression that your character is some sort of bodyjacking ghost whom the Western frontier have tricked into helping them and kept from leaving the battlefield using some kind of magical Invisible Wall.
Also, Olaf in the field training mode of Advance Wars. He places units in locations making them useless, leaves his HQ totally unprotected, forgets to fuel his air units, and leaves his units hanging out right in the line of fire, among other things.
This is especially jarring after Olaf is fleshed out more in "Black Hole Rising", where he is shown as a competent commander who leads his country to oust the Black Hole invaders, and helps save the entire world.
Kanbei in Advance Wars also holds the Idiot Ball for his mini-arc. It culminates in a fitting mission name called "Kanbei's Error?" where Kanbei deploys a ground-unit producing factory in the middle of an island with no easy way to evacuate troops produced there.
Instant-Win Condition: HQ Captures in all the games, but also factories, Black Cannons, and so on from Black Hole Rising onwards.
Want to piss off your opponent in Dual Strike? Sami and Eagle. Load infantry into T-copter, move it. Use Tag power with Eagle, move again, drop infantry near enemy HQ. Switch to Sami, insta-capture (perhaps literally) out of left field. Note: doing so only works once and may result in bodily injury to you.
Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Pipes in Black Hole Rising and Dual Strike. Air units can't travel over them (long-range units like Artillery and Rockets can fire over them, however. Particularly egregious in Dual Strike with the Piperunner unit - not only does it run along pipes, but in the battle animations involving the Piperunner, the pipe looks little more daunting than a steep humpback bridge
Speaking of ships, bridges of the first Advance Wars continuity cannot be sailed under by ships, even submarines. Pre-battle unit placement ignores this, leading to the 'battleship in a lake' meme.
I Was Just Passing Through: In Black Hole Rising, Hawke describes turning up after faking his own death, killing Sturm, and saving everyone else's lives as "a test of his power".
Kanbei can also be seen as this; his units are more powerful, but also more expensive, meaning he'll be slower in getting really powerful units into action.
Constructors in Game Boy Wars 3 are this in a sense, not so much being decent in combat as they are more expensive than the Humvee and have only 5 Movement Power in combination with the worst Movement Type out of land units, but they can build up properties to improve repair jobs and funding, and also alter the terrain to speed up the arrival of reinforcements. Of course, they get five Beginner Mode maps dedicated to their usage for this—not exactly a beginner's unit.
And let's not forget the Train in Super Famicom Wars. Even though it has the highest Movement Power amount out of any unit in the series (even beating out the Fighter S in Game Boy Wars 3), it can only move on railroads and Train Stations. To make up for this, however, the Train has a powerful cannon with the same range as the Battleship, as well as the ability to transport 2 land units.
Mildly Military: The COs in Advance Wars seem to treat the various conflicts more like a wargame than an actual war. Grit doesn't really take it seriously at all, Drake brushes off an invasion to sunbathe, Sensei spends most of his fights with Adder teasing him with interesting facts about unit production, and in general the COs seem to downplay the fighting into being something like contests between them rather than actual warfare. The few that take things seriously are treated as humorously straight-laced.
Military Maverick: Grit regularly backchats to Olaf, while Drake's response to an impending invasion in Advance Wars is to continue sunbathing. Most of the COs have a bit of this.
Grit should be obvious, though, he wears a cowboy hat.
Mission Control: COs in Advance Wars that aren't actively fighting take this role.
Moral Dissonance: It's unclear whether or not people actually die when units are destroyed during the game's battles. Sometimes the characters care, and sometimes they don't.
Several times in Dual Strike, you meet up with allied COs who demand that you fight them to prove your own worth. Though these could be handwaved as friendly practice wargames, it's possible that the characters treat their soldiers as chess pieces. Which is about as well as players treat their units. One of the worst examples is Mission 12, where you fight two friendly COs because one of them wants to test you a bit. What makes this case noteworthy is that it's also the mission that introduces Missile Silos.
In Days of Ruin, the dissonance is removed. The bad COs treat soldiers like expendables and toys. The good COs agonize over the losses, recognizing the sheer pointlessness of several conflicts.
Name's the Same: Yamamoto may refer to Mr. Yamamoto from Super Famicom Wars or Sensei's name in the Japanese versions of the Advance Wars games.
Although it is strongly suggested that Sensei was once an unbeatable CO, so it's not that much of a stretch to assume it was an intentional Shout-Out.
No Campaign for the Wicked: All games in the Advance Wars series, including Days of Ruin. In the first Battalion Wars, however, you could play as other countries including Xylvania and Iron Legion in certain bonus missions. There's also an entire campaign (albeit with 3 missions) in the sequel where you play as the Iron Legion.
Obviously Evil: In Battalion Wars, Xylvania and its predecessor, the Iron Legion.
Old Master: Sensei in Black Hole Rising and Dual Strike.
Patriotic Fervor: Olaf is a true blue patriot through and through, even singing his country's national anthem in one of his Dual Strike winquotes. Which is strange when you remember that, during the first game's tutorial, Nell mentions he used to work for Orange Star...
The Plague: Endoflorescens terribilis (also known as Creeping Derangea and Green Thumb) is a virus that causes parasitic flowers to grow from inside a person which soon break out through the skin as vines covering their limbs and body. It is later revealed to be a Bio-Weapon made by Dr. Caulder that failed due to its inherent flaw of photophobia which prevented it from thriving until after the apocalypse blotted out the sun.
Only Fatal to Adults: This is inverted with the early version of Creeping Derangea, which can only infect people under the age of 20. Completely averted with the later version, which works faster and can infect anyone regardless of age.
Polluted Wasteland: Xylvania in Battalion Wars is revealed to be like this, due to Vlad's abuse of the environment for military resources. In fact, one of his primary reasons for expansion is to gain more resources.
Although, oddly enough, Old Xylvania looks just about the same in Battalion Wars 2, except that everything's on fire instead of poisonous and green.
Bizarrely, it looks like this 200 years before Vlad's stuff, and had steampunk orcs.
Similarly, the Black Crystals in Dual Strike turn all of the land around them into desert.
If this goes on too long, you get Wasteland. The water turns green (red on the map), the trees die, the ground is dry and hard, and all the bases look abandoned when we see them in battles. Yes, all this just because some old guy wants to live forever.
Power Trio: Particularly in Black Hole Rising, each good guy team seems to have one.
Orange Star: more of a power quartet, but...
Id with a dash of Superego: Olaf
Ego with a dash of Superego: Colin
Superego with a dash of Id: Grit
Also Black Hole.
Also in Battalion Wars, although not all factions are trios. (Note that these also fall under Two Guys and a Girl.)
Western Frontier - General Herman (Superego), Colonel Austin (Ego?), Brigadier Betty (Id)
Tundran Territories - Major Nelly (Id), Tsar Gorgi (until his death, at least) and Marshal Nova (Ego/Superego interchangeably)
Xylvania - Kaiser Vlad (Superego), Countess Ingrid (Id), Kommander Ubel (Ego)
The Quiet One: Hawke in Black Hole Rising and Dual Strike. Gage/Trak in Days of Ruin
Quirky Miniboss Squad: Adder, Lash, and Flak in Black Hole Rising; Koal, Lash, and Jugger in Dual Strike, Caulder/Stolos' children in Days of Ruin also count, although you only actually fight two of them.
Schizo Tech: Mostly in the first three Advance Wars games. You have no shortage of missile units and even stealth aircraft, but once you get to the naval combat, it goes right back to WWII - big guns and bombers. Fixed, to some extent, with missile boats in Days of Ruin.
Scissors Cuts Rock: Many COs' specialities can be used to, if not turn around the Rock-Paper-Scissors triangles, then at least even them out (witness Sami and Sensei's mechs against AAs). Missions like this are also used to challenge the player: most of Max's missions against Grit in Advance Wars take this form, and from Advance Wars 2 we have Sea Fortress for Eagle (the air specialist fighting through an AA-heavy defence) and Navy Vs. Air for Drake (the naval specialist fighting against a heavy air force, when air tends to beat naval normally).
Colin, who uses his money to do things like One-Hit KO Megatanks with Mechs.
Selective Condemnation: In Dual Strike, the Big Bad Von Bolt dares you to shoot him in order to stop his evil scheme, claiming it would make you as bad as he is. This in spite of the hundreds, possibly thousands, of enemy units you've killed and allied units destroyed under your command to get this far. Not to mention the deaths that would be caused if he did succeed.
Self-Deprecation: Drake, particularly after the "Navy vs. Air" mission in Black Hole Rising.
Sheathe Your Sword / Outside-the-Box Tactic: In Black Hole Rising, you can win "Two Week Test" by doing absolutely nothing except ending your turn. It works, without fail, and it's a magnificent display of the AI's ability to screw itself over, but of course your ranking at the end will suck.
Shout-Out: A possibly inadvertant one to the Doom Patrol: Dr. Caulder. It's hardly a common name...
Another perhaps accidental one to the Bible: Rachel and Jake are the names of the first two COs you have access to in Dual Strike.
Ship Sinking: In the very game that introducted the pair, the Jake & Rachel ship is sunk if you choose them in the final mission.
Ship Tease: What primarily inspires Andy to lead the Orange Star Charge against Lord Sturm in Advance Wars? "Sonja's in danger!"
Shoot the Dog: In one of the endings of Dual Strike, Hawke shoots Von Bolt's life-support system because Jake can't bring himself to. Given he also kills Sturm at the end of Advance Wars 2, he seems to be making rather a habit of this. Note that this is averted if Jake chooses to shoot Von Bolt. (Also in Days of Ruin, when Lin leads the final battle against Greyfield/Sigismundo and executes him rather than leave it up to Will/Ed.)
Although this is somewhat justified; real life armies don't have that many female officers either. Also averted in Days of Ruin, where exactly half of the COs are female.
The female COs also tend to be Closer to Earth (with the exception of the female villains). And Orange Star's commander-in-chief (Nell) is female.
Lampshaded in Battalion Wars, where Nova's promotion of Mjr. Nelly to CO is a Really Big Deal to the traditionalist Tundrans.
SNK Boss: Sturm in both of his appearances. In the first game, he gives all of his units a free offense boost, but lowers their defense, and has a CO power that drops in a huge meteor on your highest concentration of units, though the playable version of him is much weaker. In Black Hole Rising, he gives all of his units a major offense and defense boost with no drawbacks (no weakening other units or raising their price like other COs) and only has his slow-charging Super-CO power, no normal one, but that one is all he needs. He calls in meteor again, which like before hits the highest concentration of his enemies units, knocking 8/10 of their max health, doesn't hurt his units while also giving them even more an power and defense boost. Unlike in his first appearance, the playable version is just as strong as the one from the campaign. Subverted with Dual Strike; Von Bolt is no wimp, but not as powerful as Sturm. Played straight with Caulder in Days of Ruin, however. He has a 3 by 3 CO-zone that gives all of his units, regardless of type, the highest boost their power and defense in the game, and repairs them by 50% of their max health each turn (though this can be used against him somewhat, as the healing takes funds). His zone never increases and he has no CO-power, but what he has is more than enough. He and Sturm are both banned from tournaments involving their respective games.
Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Advance Wars 2 has Sturm and his 4 subordinates, each of which is in charge of invading one of the countries. Naturally, the continent facing the most incompetent (story-wise) one of them gets liberated first and it gets more difficult from there. This is even noticeable in the enemy AI: Flak doesn't take advantage of his factory and produces cheap units. Adder, on the other hand, deploys a Battleship against you. On day 3.
Isabella's CO theme is very soft, chipper, and uplifting, a sharp deviation from everyone else's hard rock and twisted techno beats.
The Beast's theme is a dark, menacing track very fitting of its original owner. It's reused once again later in the game for another CO - Davis, the cowardly, somewhat good natured subordinate to the main villain, and the one character in the game that couldn't be less suited to it.
Spoony Bard: Dual Strike in particular. Game Boy Wars 3 also has this, but has a higher variety of units and only 2 or 3 of them are plagued by this trope.
Stone Wall: The MB Tank, particularly in Game Boy Wars 3, a game virtually full of Glass Cannon units no less.
Super Soldiers: Days of Ruin has a twist on this. Caulder's "children" are super commanders, meant for command room action. Though they are still capable of feats of superhuman strength and speed.
Suspiciously Small Army: Very guilty of this. No more than 50 units under your control ever. Note, however, that every unit in the Advance Wars games except for Megatanks/AP Cs/Ships is a literal unit composed of no fewer than ten of whatever you're specifically talking about.
Theme Music Power-Up: Whenever a CO Power is activated in any of the Advance Wars games, it's time to RAWK! Evil characters even get their own version that's a bit darker and heavier.
The Theme Park Version: Every nation in Battalion Wars is this, with the Western Frontier as the US, the Tundran Territories as Soviet Russia, the Solar Empire as a combination of China and Japan, the Anglo Isles as Britain, and Xylvania as WWII-era Germany... but kinda sorta vampires!
Advance Wars pre-Days of Ruin had trappings of this as well, though not as strong as in Battalion Wars. Orange Star is America, although they suffer the least from this, since they were the sole protagonist country of the first game. Blue Moon is Russia and Canada, while Yellow Comet is Japan. Oddly enough, Green Earth is an amalgam of all of WWII Europe, despite that including opposing forces in real life. Since Green Earth turn out to be good guys, the only influences from Nazi Germany come from military tactics; Eagle has a strong air force and a power that allows his units to take another turn to represent blitzkrieg.
And, in a minor example, Green Earth infantrymen wear German bucket helmets.
Also, when Javier is talking to Max in Dual Strike, he mentions good sausage and pig as well as a castle, hinting at European countrysides. Max later notes he isn't able to go on his food and root beer tour, implying influence from Germany.
Those Wacky Nazis: While not technically Nazis, the Xylvanian commanders from Battalion Wars cover most of the character types.
And a few Black Hole COs at the very least dress in a manner clearly meant to suggest Nazis — Flak (grunt soldier), Adder (officer), and Sturm (general) most obviously.
Green Earth is also EXTREMLY German in their dresscode. Long coats, Stahlhelme, and the like. Also, Jess fom Green Earth is especially good with tanks who both shoot harder and go faster, making it very easy to blitz.
One of Sturm's Colors in Advance Wars 2 give him a Nazi hat.
Don't tell me you didn't think "HITLER!" the first time you saw Admiral Greyfield from Days of Ruin...
Timed Mission: all missions in Game Boy Wars 3, and a few in Advance Wars series; most cases in terms of turns, not actual time.
Dual Strike is the only installment with an actual timer in normal game play, although Days of Ruin also uses a timer in wifi-play to prevent stalling.
Although in Dual Strike the timer is set for such a long time you can basically start the battle, have a shower, walk the dog, go to work, have an extended summer vacation and the timer still won't run out.
That's only true of the first timed mission, though. The second one, Crystal Calamity, is one of the hardest in the game (although admittedly the time limit only plays a small part in that difficulty).
Dual Strike and Days of Ruin also feature missions that are must be completed within a set number of turns/days. Both this and the more typical timed mission are the subject of one of Dual Strike's Survival campaigns. Time Survival is much harder than Turn Survival.
Too Dumb to Live: The civilians from Days of Ruin. Although understandable that they don't want to get involved in conflict, they keep forgetting that the Battalion is just about the only thing standing between them and oblivion. In particular, the "Mayor" turns the civilians against the Battalion primarily due to his fear that they will usurp his authority. Near the end, he makes a deal with Caulder/Stolos for the cure to the Creeper and to be left alone. Caulder/Stolos reneges on his deal and kills the Mayor with the supposed "cure".
Totally Radical: Due to another Woolseyism (see below), Jake from Dual Strike speaks in a somewhat grating 90's slang dialect, using "words" such as "sup?" and "dude" when they're not especially appropriate. His Japanese counterpart, John, is extremely serious and uses his headphones for military communications.
Waylon in Days of Ruin pulls a pretty similar "Why are these Lazurians all up in my business?" Somewhat ironically, he's otherwise a total Jive Turkey whose slang is stuck in the 50s. Granted, Waylon was clearly intended to be an annoying jerk, unlike Jake, who is somehow supposed to be a likable protagonist.
Turned Against Their Masters: Caulder was on both ends of this: he reveals himself to have been a clone who killed his own creator, the real Caulder; and Cyrus turns on him for being immoral.
Technique scoring in the Advance Wars and Battalion Wars games (Days of Ruin attempts to be a shining example of this but ends up merely a revamped one)
Leveling up units in Super Famicom Wars, Game Boy Wars 3, and Days of Ruin.
Materials in Game Boy Wars 3 makes lesser unit losses more punishing.
Arrangement in Game Boy Wars 3's Campaign mode.
COs that can heal units with their powers encourage the player to safeguard wounded units, instead of using them for suicide attacks or cannon fodder.
Villain Decay: Hawke, the same person that marched his troops by an erupting volcano for a strategic advantage, who basically crushed an entire country, and abandoned his army as they fell at the liberation of Green Earth. At the end of Black Hole Rising, just when the allies are about to win, Hawke kills Sturm personally and basically regards the whole of the game as a 'test of his skills'. Cut to the start of Dual Strike, and suddenly not only is Hawke NOT in charge of Black Hole, he's barely even an important member whom is disposed of when he stumbles upon the truth.
Villain Exit Stage Left: Justified; the commanders presumably use radio to communicate and can therefore run away long before they're actually in any danger. Usually averted sooner or later, as the villains run out of territories to run to when defeated.
Played totally straight at the end of Dual Strike, where Jugger, Koal, and Kindle realize they're beat and set off in a tank to start anew elsewhere.
Mech Spamming. The rush works directly against any ground unit short of a Medium Tank, and high-level strategies tend to involve putting indirects behind the rush to handle those units. The entire strategy tends to fall apart once air units get involved. Especially effective with Sami and Sensei, as their Mechs are very strong (and Sensei can get a huge swarm of 9HP Mechs for free with his Super CO Power).
On a more general level this is one of the more common strategies when using Colin, Sasha, and/or Hachi, since they can afford to field more units than anyone else.