In order to wrap up this series on the 2016 Twister Cup, I though I would take a step back from the nitty gritty of battle and wax lyrical in more general terms in a two part post. Neither will feedback on the event itself be rehashed, as it is preserved for posterity elsewhere (NA forum): Twister Cup feedback – suggestions for improvements for future Blitz tournament broadcast, and Ideafication for More Bester Tournaminting. Rather I thought I would touch on several other features, which at the 10,000 foot level at least, appeared noteworthy to this observer.
Disclaimer: The following commentary is solely the that of DrFerd, has not been vetted by any of the participants, organizers, spectators, or commentators, is almost certainly not 100% correct, is not legally binding, does not come with a lifetime warranty, and is hereby marked “opinion“. All suitably constructive discussion, be it in concurrence or dissent, will be accepted in the comment thread and ruminated upon with appropriate evenhandedness. By way of example, “u clueless skrub” would not be considered feedback that meets minimal criteria under the umbrella of “suitably constructive discussion”.
Part 8A: Total Blitz
(A) Doctrine: As was to be expected in the Twister Finals, the skills, strategies and game play on display were outstanding, making for highly competitive and compelling action. Indeed, with scoring even across the board after the pool stage its possible that any of the four teams could have walked away with the trophy. While the various strategies observed during play have been detailed (links above), its also interesting to consider the apparent “mindset” of each squad. After viewing and reviewing the tournament, it seems logical to categorize the participants into three different classes of “doctrine”. Of course there were exceptions and counterpoints to these classifications, but in general the following patterns of seemed self-evident.
- Power Protection (PRAMO). In many matches the primary focus appeared to be to establish map position and initial local control. From an entrenched iron zone or armored web, oncoming assaults were blunted from the protection of solid cover and advantages in the hit-point exchange were sought prior to close engagement. The doctrine was not solely defensive in nature as it also served at times as a launching pad for armored thrusts towards perceived weak points or isolated tanks. The major strengths of the doctrine seem that it is likely to be solid against a wide range of opposition, and particularly successful against an impatient or over reaching enemy. A major weakness would be conceding of the initiative of movement and surprise to the opposition.
- Power Projection (ID). The team from the Asia server relied heavily on concentrated assault to isolate and eliminate guns (aka tankfist). At times they may have tended toward risky over-aggression, but fortune favors the brave and they seized the initiative to press decisive action wherever possible. ID were far from one-dimensional however, and on multiple occasions set up a spaced array using cap/bait tanks on Canal to coerce the opposition into vulnerable positions. Their approach relied heavily on exceptionally tight-knit teamwork, and a very impressive real-time and instinctive understanding within the squad. The strengths of the projection doctrine often lie in holding and applying surprise, initiative, movement, rapid reaction and swooping on early kills to gain a decisive team-dpm advantage. Weaknesses include a liability against set ambushes, being more difficult to manage spotting and camouflage resets, burning repair and adrenaline consumables early and being exposed to unspotted snipers.
- Situational Control (LGN, C4). The two European teams exhibited the most nuanced “mindset” throughout the finals, clearly reflecting a rounded and comprehensive doctrine. They employed all of the individual strategies reviewed, but also flexed back and forth between them as opportunities or liabilities arose in real-time. In considering how to classify this ability to adapt game play to a range of scenarios, both in set-play and skirmishing situations, I believe the key concept is that of situational control. In other words, not only were they using set-play strategies, they constantly took stock and re-evaluated current situational conditions across all in-game data points (e.g. tank positions, damage levels, spotting status, relative speeds, potential targets, risk/reward benefit for assaults etc). In real-time they chose action/reaction on a team-wide basis in order to dictate control on the immediate context of the game. The doctrine was not infallible as there were several examples where risky shifts in strategy failed due to indiscipline, critical lack of intelligence on enemy disposition, or superior enemy preparedness or reaction. However, the depth of understanding and exploitation of all aspects of the game required to make the posture effective ensures that teams making it to the top of competitive play while using it are extremely dangerous. I have used the following example in a previous post, but want to briefly highlight again the complex decision making and flexibly on display by each team. In the following sequence on Fort Despair (be sure to watch the minimap):
- C4 establish a spaced array focused on the cap circle.
- LGN use an IS7 platoon to threaten the circle, backed up with both a local and spaced set of mediums.
- Cap pressure is ineffective for either team and a stalemate is reached.
- LGN begin assembly of a tankfist force behind the IS7’s with which to assault the C4 array.
- C4 push a medium flank to scope the LGN positions and lay harassing crossfire. At the same time they call their rear element Grille forward and send another medium to the NW corner for an additional crossfire position. Their IS7 begins to add cap pressure simultaneously.
- LGN delay their offensive thrust and shift medium tanks to beat off the C4 flank.
- C4 sends an additional medium through the central courtyard to assist the flank maneuver.
- C4 pull back their medium flank rather than overcommit and lose more than one vehicle in the trade.
- LGN trigger their assault and reassemble their full remaining force en route through the circle.
- C4 respond with an “all in” dogfight.
(B) Total Blitz. The above sequence also serves as Exhibit A as to why C4 were the winners of the first Blitz Twister Cup. In trying to describe how depth of doctrine and experience played a substantial role in the outcome, the term totaalvoetbal came to mind. While perhaps poorly misappropriated from soccer (football to purists, of course), Total Blitz is a term that attempts to capture the full spectrum of C4’s expertise. Of the four competitors, they were the most well rounded exponents of the complete Blitz experience. While they may have struggled during early matchups, they not only learned from mistakes and failures, but planned more effective counter strokes and executed them in subsequent battles. Players and spectators alike were taken aback by ID’s signature “bridge” move on Desert Sands, where a tankfist pushed under the rails with complete unorthodoxy. C4 were the only team to devise and spring a neutralizing trap for it.
C4 also failed twice in a row against ID’s cap pressure strategy on Canal during their initial group stage matchup. When they met again during the final, C4 employed two new approaches and prevailed in each battle. In one match against PRAMO they encountered a solid defensive zone on Desert Sands. Rather than direct assault, they calmly repositioned and spent several minutes methodically picking apart their opposition by abusing spotting and sniping mechanics to deliver a 7:0 victory. Simply put, C4 demonstrated an exceptional grasp of all aspects of the game. While individual skills were clearly super-unicum across all squads*, C4 brought next-level quality of analysis, planning and execution to the tournament. They have immediately become the yardstick to which prospective future competitors must measure up.
*with the possible exception of Nuttellanator’s cousin.