• '19

    I have planned to make a video on this topic and already have a bunch of ideas for what to include. But I’d like to ask the A&A community what they think.
    I’ll leave it as open-ended as it gets. Which sea unit is the best?
    Any insight much appreciated! Cheers

  • 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17

    The best for what purpose? Sea battle, influencing land battle, convoy raiding, something else? Different purposes will result in different “best” units.

    -Midnight_Reaper

  • '19

    @Midnight_Reaper
    Absolutely. I know the question is vague. I don’t really want to narrow it down to any of those categories though. Taking all of that into account, plus cost effectiveness and overall strategic use, which sea unit is the best?
    I’ve already made some conclusions, just curious what other people might think. Thanks buddy

  • '19 '18

    I think that question might be a bit flawed, or at least a tad misleading for newer players. What you soon find out as you gain A&A experience is that a naval force has a high level of inter-dependency between units. Even if you could determine a unit with the highest individual value, you’ll quickly find out that spamming that unit doesn’t necessarily maximize the value of your navy as a whole. The whole can be greater than the sum of the parts, and sometimes the worst individual unit adds the most value to the group.

    Take transports as an example. Transports are arguably the worst individual unit, but even a single transport changes the threat level of a navy completely. All of a sudden it’s capable of sniping a capital, taking away a national objective, or grabbing an under-defended area where a new factory can be set up and create an endless headache for your opponent.

    I’m actually going to split my answer into two categories. Also, I should point out that I’m talking from a G40 perspective.

    1. What’s the best value naval unit?

    Subs, definitely. Subs provide some of the best utility in the game. Let’s talk about some reasons why:

    • Attack Value -> Cheapest IPC cost per unit or cost per attack value in naval attacks.
    • Defense Value -> Cheapest cost for absorbing an additional hit.
    • Convoy Raids -> Can be spread out alone or in groups to get good value from convoy raids.
    • Destroyer Trade -> Lone subs require a destroyer to kill, so if you are trading 1 for 1 on alternating turns you are getting better value than your opponent. Same for if you’re clearing out blockers.
    • Precarious Placement -> It’s often difficult to build new naval units because your opponent has air coverage over your placement area. Subs are immune to the air coverage if there are no destroyers in range allowing you to squeeze them out in tense situations.
    • Deny Offloading -> A single sub will deny offloading for an amphibious assault unless there’s a warship escort. This can increase your value in a situation where your opponent just wants to suicide a transport for a high value territory. Now they have to send an extra unit with the transport.
    • Create Kamikaze Opportunities -> Following on the above point, this is especially important in a kamikaze zone since any surface warships accompanying a transport in order to ignore a sub are subject to kamikaze strikes. If the escort dies the amphibious assault will fail.
    • Ignore Kamikaze Strikes -> Subs can’t be hit by kamikazes, so they can be utilized with air units to take out targets in kamikaze zones with immunity.

    It’s still possible to over-build subs, but probably the hardest unit to over-build since you can usually find a primary or secondary use for them. Remember that subs provide no help if your opponent can strike the rest of your navy with an air-only attack. You’re still going to need some carriers, destroyers and fighters to protect those transports.

    1. What’s the best strategic/game winning naval unit?

    The aircraft carrier. Aircraft carrier usage in conjunction with aircraft really separate the “men from the boys” in terms of experience and skill level. This is probably worthy of its own topic/video, but understanding the barely-legal and obscure attacks that become available with aircraft carriers is where a more experienced player can exploit one with less experience.

    Aircraft carriers really expand your threat projection and generate mistakes out of your opponent because they increase the number and complexity of problems to keep track of. Here are some examples of carrier plays that can change the game:

    • Using newly purchased carriers as unexpected landing zones
    • Deliberately failing to clear a path for your carrier so that you can suicide planes into high value targets (e.g. undefended transports)
    • Using the turn order to create an unexpected landing area by parking an empty carrier for allied planes to land on
    • Using the turn order to extend the range of onboard allied aircraft (carrier moves first and then allied planes move on their own turn)
    • Intentionally killing off planes that require an aircraft carrier to land first so that the carrier doesn’t have to move into danger during non-combat moves
    • The land/carrier switch, AKA “Yard Sale” explained below

    The biggest threat I see get overlooked is what I like to call the “Yard Sale”. Where I come from we played a lot of ice hockey and called it a “yard sale” when substituting all of the active players at once. In ice hockey you can substitute players while play is ongoing. The rules on this are a bit loose, so while you’re limited to 5 (6 with goaltender) players on the ice at any time, for a fleeting moment you can have up to 10 players on the ice during the exchange. In A&A you can have a similar situation where your carrier-based aircraft can participate in a battle and land elsewhere, while land-based aircraft also participate in the same battle with intentions of landing on the now empty carriers. So, for example, if the setup is right you can send 12 aircraft into a battle when you’ve only got 3 carriers and many players will slip up and forget to account for this.

    So, to make a long story short, if you want to make an incremental change to your usual navy mix, probably get more subs. If you want to up your strategic game, study how great players use their aircraft carriers. Apologies for how long this got.

  • 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17

    @Tizkit said in Which is the best sea unit?:

    {snip}
    So, to make a long story short, if you want to make an incremental change to your usual navy mix, probably get more subs. If you want to up your strategic game, study how great players use their aircraft carriers. Apologies for how long this got.

    No need to apologize, I think you wrote Clegg’s essay for him… (j/k Clegg).

    The only thing I would add would be to “foot stomp” on a point you made early on - “Transports are arguably the worst individual unit, but even a single transport changes the threat level of a navy completely.” Transports turn an expensive collection of steel on (or in) the water into a force that will bring an enemy empire to ruins. The money is on land, and transports are how you get to that land (and money) from elsewhere.

    -Midnight_Reaper

  • '19

    @Tizkit
    Thanks as always for an amazing reply Tizkit. Great insight.
    When I was doing some experimenting with the odds calculator it was immediately clear that submarines are the “best” sea unit in terms of best value. But I’ve found that they’re not necessarily the most reliable unit in the grander scheme of things. So taking cost effectiveness and strategic resourcefulness into account I would argue that destroyers are the “best” sea unit because they can block sea zones, hit air units, and defend @2. Not that submarines don’t have their uses, they just tend to be more situational in my experience.
    I’d also come to the conclusion that carriers are awesome for expanding strategic possibilities for the fleet. And you’ve actually taught me a few new sneaky tactics I can use them for (never thought of deliberately failing to clear a path for a carrier so that I can suicide planes into high value targets!). The more options you have on your turn the better, and carriers really expand a fleets sphere of influence. But a carrier with 2 fighters is by far the most expensive addition to a fleet, although you don’t have to buy the fighters if you’ve already got a few on the board. Still, destroyers and subs can easily take out a carrier w/ 2 fighters (both unit groups costing 36 IPCs).
    Its actually been a tricky question to tackle. But you and @Midnight_Reaper are right. It really depends on the situation and what your goals are. If you haven’t noticed all the conclusions in my videos tend to be “it depends” 😁
    Thanks again so much buddy. If you have any other thoughts feel free to share them!

  • 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Customizer

    I’m gonna stick my reply in here. I’m looking at
    Allies - Transport
    Axis - Destroyer ? Tough one

    Midnight is on it. Always depends


  • Destroyer/carrier/fighter combo is just too good for cruisers and battleships. There is serious costing issue especially carrier should not have been too cheap compared to cruiser and battleship.

  • Moderator Official Q&A 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 '12 TripleA

    The follow-up house rules discussion has been moved to:
    https://www.axisandallies.org/forums/topic/35961/sea-units-house-rules

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