Game Breakers in the Nintendo Wars series. Dual Strike in particular is so full of them that the only problem is figuring out which one is by far the worst.
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- There is the Infantry Spam strategy that has become fairly universal in high-level play, using massive amounts of cheap infantry as protection for your more expensive vehicles.
- Add in the indirects and you have a force that will never be cost-effectively killed. And it's hard to believe that this is still happening in the Advance Wars games. This shows that in Super Famicom Wars (and Famicom Wars and Game Boy Wars 1/2/Turbo by extension) it gets worse.
- Not so much in AWDS. Powers charge so fast in that game that Recon swarms can easily nip an Artillery wall in the bud.
- Mech Flooding in Game Boy Wars 3 and Days of Ruin. When you can't spam the cheapest unit as efficiently, just spam the next cheapest unit, especially if there's no cost-effective counter against a group of the buggers. They were formidable before Infantry spam was discovered to beat this with cost effectiveness, and in those two games, that's not going to happen. In the former, Mechs have working defense for the fact that they can javelin-fire on armored units, which themselves are overly expensive, not to mention the difficulty in first striking units in this game. In the latter, there simply aren't many things that One-Hit Kill them even off of terrain and they'll cost-effectively wreck anything except a few things that are dealt with by easily built contingency units.
- In Dual Strike, Black Boats can heal your units anywhere while transporting infantry. They are also cheap on costs as well.
- Black Bombs in the same game are even worse. They do 5 damage unconditionally to every unit within 3 spaces of where it explodes, and if you think you'll build only a few units to keep it from being cost-effective, the opponent will spend all of their remaining money to pick them off. You can't even catch it, as if you try, you will get bombed, no questions asked. Colin and Hachi are the biggest abusers of this.
- Stealths during Fog of War matches and at the right time or larger maps. What makes these units so deadly is the fact that not only do they can do decent damage to all units but can only be hit by other stealths and fighters. Once you build stealths, your opponent has no choice but to build a fighter. Your objective is to take out units at 6 or lower health to do the finishing blow while cloaked, forcing your opponent to be proximate to the assumed space of the stealth to ensure their fighter hits it. If your anti-airs are well protected, they have no other options but pray they can deplete the fuel of the stealths because an anti-air hitting a fighter is devastating and won't defeat a stealth at that point.
- In Game Boy Wars 3, you can generally focus on building up your air force in Campaign. There's the Interceptor to snipe off the enemy air units, the promoted Gunship to tear apart anything on land including Anti-Air Tanks, and the Bomber to bomb the enemy HQ into an easy capture. It's not wise to have too many air units, but when the enemy gets forced to build too many Anti Air units, they'll leave themselves open to the land force. Of course, Interceptors at least are pretty much a necessity. Bombers, however, aren't, and since you deploy units for free in Campaign, you can just ignore the high cost that Bombers have that would stop them from causing HQ captures.
- Submarines in Game Boy Wars 3, both in Campaign and on the Standard map Raddish Island. The only other unit that can hit them is a freaking helicopter. In Campaign, the helicopter will arrive too late and will most likely be in for a Curb-Stomp Battle courtesy of either the air force or the game's generally AA-heavy navy. In Raddish Island, there are no Airports to send out those helicopters. Even Game Boy Wars 1/2/Turbo had a navy unit able to hit submarines, why not Game Boy Wars 3?
- The first Battalion Wars has Anti-Air Vets, which for being multi-hit along with causing knockback to any land unit except the Battlestation causes high damage with each hit. Want to know how bad this gets? A lone one can solo the two Battlestations in the final mission. That isn't even anything close to within their job description and they manage it anyway, along with cutting down all of the infantry along the way including the Acid Gas Vets — in fact, Flame/Acid Gas Vets are supposed to do this job. Assault Vets in the first game, as well as Bazooka Vets in the sequel, can't even compare to this.
- However, let's not let either off the hook, partly because both, like the Anti-Air Vets, are infantry who can pull evasive maneuvers against enemy units, which isn't a bad thing considering the games generally center around infantry, but also because both get overboard with their power:
- Assault Vets in the first game deal Heavy Tank armor piercing damage with each shot. Of course, this also means that a manually controlled Assault Vet can turn destroying heavy units (except the Battlestation, which is mercifully immune to the bullets) into a game of balance-the-meter to keep shooting rapidly without suffering the overheat. Something is wrong when a lone unit can kill the local Demonic Spiders effortlessly. And something like this that can happen sums it up:
Xylvania infantry: *sits in position ready for enemy attack*
''(Two seconds later, the Xylvania infantry are all dead, with a lone Frontier Assault Vet standing in the middle of the dead bodies and the medpacks.)
Frontier Vet: Never knew what hit 'em!
- Bazooka Vets in the sequel have been toned up from the shoddy damage that a lone one deals to Light Tanks. However, problems arise in single player because against infantry, they are Mighty Glaciers, with good potential for One Hit Kills. In addition, a lone manually controlled Bazooka Vet can solo an already nicely guarded Battlestation or 2 Battleships. A lone Mortar vet can solo a Battlestation more easily, but they just run into trouble with evasive infantry. The Lone Bazooka doesn't.
- Battlestations. Those things can easily be used to one hit kill anything except Medium / Heavy tanks and... surprise, other battlestations. However, you can just snipe the bastards that will cause you trouble. If you're good at aiming with a wii remote, you can take out almost anything before it can get close enough to shoot you. Yes, this includes other battlestations. In the hands of a skilled player, a battlestation can turn an unwinnable situation around.
- In Days Of Ruin, a properly-shielded Anti-Tank can become this. The thing has the same range as an artillery, absolutely rips ground vehicles apart, can attack copters, and, unlike any other indirect unit, can counterattack. Its primary weaknessnote is, surprisingly, infantry, but if you have other units poised to take them out before they get too close and have an anti-air or two at the ready to shoot down any bombers or dusters that try to move in, you basically have an unstoppable ground-unit-and-copter killing machine.
- Lest we forget what spawned all this madness, Super Famicom Wars was the first game in the series to feature different COs to choose from. Four of them are completely bog-standard, and for seemingly no reason, the remaining three have day-to-day benefits that range from game-breaking (Catherine is basically the predecessor to Nell, with a random chance of dealing more damage with each attack) to game-destroying (Billy Gates gets 10000 additional funds each turn, while Mr. Yamamoto effectively gains a 40% attack boost for his army), and with absolutely no weaknesses for any of them. God only knows the insanity that would have ensued had CO Powers been introduced at this point.
- Unofficial online version Advance Wars By Web has a Banned CO feature during game set up, the most common bans being Colin, Hachi, Grit, Sensei, and Kanbei, together with any COs with a clear situation advantage on a map (such as Javier on a map with more than one Comm Tower per side in play).
- Advance Wars 1:
- Max gets a 50% firepower boost for his direct-fire units, in return for the -1 range to his indirect-fire units. What is wrong with this? Simple: none of his units have to be indirects. So he can easily eliminate a weakness and end up with plenty of One-Hit Kill potential.
- The Fake Balance is even worse with Drake and Eagle in that game, as they are skilled respectively in water units and air units, and have weaknesses that are vice versa. This would be all well and good if they ever had to even use those units. In the entire campaign and most of the war room battles, you never once see that happen. So they effectively have no weakness whatsoever, not even a slightly-preference-impairing one like Max.
- Sturm is Purposely Overpowered when you have all valid Movement Costs reduced to 1. Sure, he has a 80/120 stat, but that high defense is far enough to make your opponent struggle to penetrate his defenses. Sturm can easily build recons early to harass your opponent with Recons without punishment, thus shutting down the capture game for your opponent almost instantly. Rockets? Free reign to move well.
- Advance Wars 2:
- Sturm remains the Purposely Overpowered trope, but taken Up to Eleven with 120/120 stats.
- Kanbei, while expensive at 120% price, now upgrades his units from 120/120 to 130/130. This is literally a day-to-day CO power on its own.
- Sensei. Let's start by saying his soldiers sport a massive 140 attack by default and copters at 150. In addition, having +1 on transportation means he will be capturing buildings faster than the opponent. His capture game is the best in the game, even exceeding Sami. Sure, his other units have a decreased firepower, but all you really need is infantry, copters, and sometimes mechs; you may also build tanks and anti-airs with ease in case Anti-Airs and other Air units become troublesome. This got so bad that AW:DS nerfed his infantry and mechs to compensate. See below on the COP and SCOP.
- Hachi. He may not have Sensei's numbers, but he techs up like no one's business. On day 8 most COs might have a swarm of Infantry, some Recons, maybe even a Tank; Hachi has a Megatank on the front lines and a Black Bomb with your name on it. When most COs are strapped for funds they tech down to Infantry and Mechs; Hachi techs down to a Md Tank swarm. In an absolute worst-case scenario, Hachi can summon more Tanks in one turn than most will build in a whole game session. Simply put, you do not fuck with this man. Additionally, his SCOP, Merchant Union, lets him deploy ground units from any city under his control, even in maps that have no bases/seaports/airports at 50% of their original price tag. To make it even more broken, Hachi only needs 5 stars of charging before he can use his SCOP. To make matters worse, he is one of the 2 characters that can produce black bombs (see below) the fastest or en masse. You can even pull an infantry spam with the SCOP, while building a powerful unit on the frontlines..
- Colin. He spends 20% less for his units that get power penalties.......but only a meager 10% firepower penalty. And it gets better: Colin's Gold Rush can be spammed and multiplies his current Gold amount by a whopping 50%. And if he gets out Power of Money, a COP with the potential to give obscene power and indeed likely to do so, with a good amount of money and units on hand, you're dead.
- Advance Wars Dual Strike:
- Javier, with 2 or more Comm Towers. Just 1 tower already makes him very dangerous. Having 2 means he can sweep the match. Any more than that, and he becomes so invincible that even a Javier mirror match can easily turn into a stalemate.
- To put this in perspective, Javier's ability to gain a 10% defense bonus from Comm Towers in addition to the usual 10% attack bonus means that, once you've captured just two of them, he literally becomes Kanbei without the drawback of having to pay more for his troops, and the mechanics behind his CO Powers mean they basically mirror Kanbei's as well. Given how Kanbei himself is considered a game breaker even with said drawback, you can do the math as to just how ludicrously broken this is. It effectively makes it so that any map with at least 2 Comm Towers quickly becomes "choose Javier or lose".
- To make matters even worse, even without Comm Towers, Javier still has a 20% defense bonus against indirect attacks, and all this with absolutely no downside. If you ever find yourself going up against Grit, choosing Javier is basically a guaranteed victory as long as you have the slightest clue what you're doing, since Grit's indirect attack bonus will be effectively cancelled out by Javier's defense bonus and he'll still have his weakness with direct units to deal with.
- Sasha in mid-size to giant maps is not fun to play against since Market Crash can effectively shut down any other power. Even worse, there is nothing stopping her from activating it at the day's end after her units have attacked and increased her opponent's CO Power gauge. The only way to combat her effectively is to have a mirror match between Sashas.
- Kindle/Candy is very much slept on in Dual-Strike, when she is arguably one of the most broken C Os in the game. She gets especially ridiculous when it comes to her Firepower buffs while she's in Cities. She gets a passive +40 Firepower boost while she's on a Property and since Properties are commonly fought over in Advance Wars, she will surprisingly get this firepower boost very often. It gets even more ridiculous with her Powers, since she effectively gets a +80 firepower boost with her Regular Power, and a +120 Firepower boost when she activates her Superpower, and that only Increases depending on how many Properties she owns. If she has a Rocket or Artillery placed on a City while her Super CO power activates, you can wave Goodbye to your Megatanks since they effectively become NUKES for a turn. Oh, and did we also mention that with her Regular Power, she can sap funds from players using repairs, and interrupt any property capture around the map?
- Days of Ruin:
- Caulder/Stolos. There is a reason why he is banned from online wi-fi play. He is Purposely Overpowered (160/160 to 180/180 with +3 CO Zone and +5 Healing per turn) just for fun. To put it in perspective, he is so absurdly powerful that he would destroy any CO in any Wars game with ease, even Sturm or DS Tag CO pairs.
- Isabella/Catleia. She is considered the best CO in the game that some players in the competitive scene would soft-ban her, unless it is a mirror match. While having only +10 attack and defense and average 2 spaces (120/120), this applies to ALL units. Her COP is what makes her very dangerous, combining Will, Gage, and Tasha all in 1, with the addition of +2 on naval units (no CO has that). She can use that power with a lot of ease and rather quickly. Her soft-ban was only enforced to make other C Os playable.
- Tabitha/Larissa. In certain maps only. Her CO-boarded unit is an instantly absurd 180/180, able to OHKO any units with ease. Her flaws are having only 0 CO Zone (very slow speed to increase CO bar) and counter-attacks will not increase her CO bar. If she even gets half her CO Bar up, she has a high chance of securing a victory. Once she gets to full CO Bar, she has won the match as her COP not only nukes a radius of the most expensiv units in the game, but also grants all units the same 160/160 - 180/180 power. In ground-only maps, she can easily build a Tabi-Tank and sweep the entire game very fast. In ground and naval units only, a Tabi-Battleship can end games very quickly, OHKO'ing various units at ease. In certain maps with Fog of War, Tabitha can cloak on a hiding spot like trees.
- The reasons why she isn't fully banned is because of using all 3 (ground/air/naval) as a standard that gives proper counters. B-Copters can disrupt a Tabi-Tank. Tanks can disrupt a Tabi-AA. A As can disrupt a Tabi-Copter. CO-Boarding an expensive unit with Tabitha requires heavy care.
Force and Force/CO combinations (Dual Strike)
- Sensei's first COP (Copter Command at 2 stars) and SCOP (Airborne Assault at 6 stars). The first COP will isntantly flood cities with infantry at 9 HP. When used in the early game, he can easily fill the 50 unit quota quickly and ends up with self-feeding powers with any decent number of properties or make extra money by joining them. You can also spam mechs as well at 6 stars late game to pressure vehicular units on the field. During Tag combinations especially with Sami, the capture game is literally difficult if not impossible to stop.
- God Kanbei. That is, with most defense boosts and a tag partner with Bodyguard, Kanbei will have a 50% defense boost. This, combined with how defense works in Dual Strike, makes Kanbei's defense so absurdly powerful that he can just spam infantry and throw in a few indirects and call it a day.
- Sami with the Force that adds 2 to Capture. This value is set, but this works in Sami's favor, as it's unconditionally 4 extra points on the first two turns of capture (and 2 extra on any subsequent turns, but that's unlikely to happen). What does this mean? This means that if Sami has a full health Infantry start capturing, it just needs to survive to finish capture. (15 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 20) Of course, considering how much you need to spend to conceivably One-Hit Kill her infantry on Cities, you'll never be able to stop her from spamming infantry to easily capture Cities and get out your own support. This is without mentioning that Sami can also equip defensive forces to make things worse.
- Ignore the fact that if you're not paying attention, she can capture your HQ in one turn!
- Pathfinder reduces the Movement Cost on Forests to 1. Because, you know, Forests should provide defense boosts and no movement issues whatsoever. This force majorly helps to destroy Tactical Decoy on Time Survival.
- Star Power, which charges your CO meter more quickly. It might not sound like much at first, but what makes it broken is just how easily-spammable it is. Any of the characters listed below with broken powers? Well, now they can use them even more often. It's especially useful for getting the below-mentioned Eagle/Sami tag more quickly, too, or for characters with longer meters in general.
- Gold Rush, Fire Sale, and Sale Price get you +100 Gold per city per turn (the former) or slightly reduce the cost of buying units (the latter two). Look below and see how spammable Colin, Hachi, and Sasha's powers are? Well, now everyone else in the army can do that, too. And, oh, yeah, those three COs can equip these skills, too, and they stack with their natural abilities. So these three skills are incredibly useful as-is, and outright broken in the hands of those characters.
CO combinations (Dual Strike)
- Dual Strike brought things to a new level with obscene Tag Team combos. Eagle/Sami get 3 turns with their Tag Power, and on the third Sami can capture any building instantly (and gets a movement boost for infantry to boot). And the game pretty much suggests this with a 3-star rating for that pairing (which means a 1.5 HP luck damage boost on top of all that). Oh, and they have in-game synergy, so their power gets boosted to 120% (in addition to the infantry offense boost that Sami gets with Victory March). Meep.note
- Tag Breaks can be game-breaking in general. But if you want a worse combo involving Eagle, try Sonja as the second CO. Eagle/anybody gets 3 turns in a row with their Tag Power anyway, and Sonja not only has a shorter meter, but her SCOP effect of counterattacking before being attacked ensures that they effectively have four turns.
- One Tag Break that can get particularly obscene is Drake/Olaf/Hawke + Drake/Olaf/Hawke (no doubles for a given player, granted). 2 turns is bad enough, but when you consider that the opposition loses 40% of their terrain bonus, health, and attack power, you can see that the only way the counteracting weakness can be suitable is in a very, very crippling manner — unfortunately not the case. In a team match, if the opponents both use that combo (and yes, multiple players may use the same COs (Commanding Officers)), Heaven help you if they get Tag Breaks back-to-back.
- Drake + Olaf has the best synergy: Tsunami halves current fuel, and snow doubles remaining fuel usage. Most of your enemy's navy and air forces will be in deep trouble as a result. Sadly, unlike most other great tag examples, the tag isn't very powerful day-to-day beyond the hilarious tag break effect. Has the Fan Nickname "Drolaf".
- Oh deary me, Colin and Sasha are an obscenely powerful pairing. Sasha earns 10% more funds while Colin spends 20% less of them, meaning you'll rarely find yourself at a loss for cash if you swap them out right. Better yet, starting a Tag Break with Sasha means that her Super Power (which earns her money based on the damage she dishes out) basically fuels Colin's (which uses his funds to boost his attack strength). In addition to the 40% power boost and 15% luck boost you get from their tag anyway, this basically translates to "destroy everything foolish enough to get in your way".
- You don't even need the Tag Break. Gold Rush and Market Crash are both spammable as hell, given they're both two-star CO Powers. And Market Crash can be used to shut down a number of other powerful Tag Breaks like Earth and Sky or "Drolaf".
- Although God Kanbei (see above folder) is bad enough, pairing him with Hachi or Colin (both Game Breakers on their own) or his daughter Sonja (for a 130% tag and 15% luck boost) are all excellent ways to lose friends. Because defense is more valuable than offense, some (overly) simple math suggests that Kanbei's 120% x 120% units are worth about 150% of a normal unit's value at 120% of the cost. Cutting that cost to 50% normal price with Hachi's Super CO Power and then cutting it again with the two cost reducing skills gives Kanbei units worth about 400% of what he paid for them. Only certain other tags, like the above-mentioned Colin/Sasha tag, can compete with it.
- Kanbei and Javier make for the single best defensive pairing in the game, one that makes Grit break down and cry full-on baby tears. Buy, buy, buy with Javier, break, break, break with Kanbei, and never have any less than 120% defense against indirect attacks. If you manage to capture two Comm Towers in the process, you can basically let Javier take the wheel from there, only switching back to Kanbei to charge his power meter for when you're ready to unleash their ungodly powerful Tag Break to carve a path of wanton destruction across the battlefield without fear of repercussions, since you'll be too goddamned invincible for your opponent to do a damn thing to stop you. Oh, and to add icing on the cake, these two also get a 5% luck boost overall and a 10% attack boost during their Tag Break, because apparently this pairing just wasn't powerful enough without it. If they pull off their Tag Break against you while they have a couple of Comm Towers under their control, you might as well just forfeit, because simply put, you are about to die.explanation
- Incidentally, Hachi and Sensei have themselves a one-star tag (110% attack, 5% luck boost), which is also horribly powerful because of both participants' status as individual game breakers. Ironically, this tag has the obvious weakness that both players' most effective abilities only work through having empty cities at the start of their turns, meaning you either let Sensei go first and waste the ability to use freshly bought units from Hachi, or you let Hachi go first and reduce the potential number of mechs (and money gained from combining said mechs) for a Hachi-induced buyfest.
- If Sensei goes first, all those mechs can get combined on Sensei's turn (they paradrop at 9 HP active on that turn) for more money for a Hachi-induced buyfest on Hachi's turn. Yes, that's as bad as it sounds.
- Colin and Hachi deserve a mention for the insane Zerg Rush they can produce. Both of their powers are broken on their own, but put them together and you'll be positively flooding the field with more Neotanks than your opponent has tanks during their tag. They may not get a specific tag bonus together, but they barely need one.
- Fortunately a Tag is only as strong as its most powerful component CO, meaning a number of them can be beaten by single COs. On the other hand, all this means is that the Tags with COs on the high end of the scale vastly outnumber those on the low end.