Strand of the Ancients is a battleground dominated by demolishers and walls. The core object of the map is to break through a series of gates and capture the Titan Relic at the south end of the map. Each side takes turns attacking and defending, with the fastest time winning the battle. Since speed is so important, using the demolishers to take down the gates quickly is a key component of any strategy. You can take down a gate with the bombs littered around the beach (takes about 10-12 bombs), but it is much slower than taking a pack of demolishers through.
Speed and demolishers are the key to Strand, and they create a truly unique situation for the resurrection vectors in this BG – namely, that there is a graveyard objective which can considerably cripple the offense’s ability to win.
Don’t cap South GY unless you know exactly what you are doing.
Let’s take a look at the map.
The rules governing resurrection vectors are relatively straightforward; attackers will go to the highest (most southerly) graveyard they control, while defenders will fall back to the highest defensible point. Once taken by the offense, a graveyard cannot be retaken.
The above map shows the initial rez vectors with the Horde on offense. When the Horde is on the beach and has not knocked down any gates, they will continue to resurrect on the beach. Alliance defenders will resurrect back at the workshops, behind the gates, though the flags which control the graveyards are on the opposite side of the path.
Once the first set of gates is breached, the Horde should concentrate on taking the East and West Graveyards. Not only will this change their resurrection vector to the workshop level, but it will make the workshop’s demolishers available to your team. This is critically important because as the Horde moves south on offense, it will take longer and longer to drive demolishers up to the relevant gates. Having demolishers available right outside Green and Blue gates is much faster than having to run back down to the beach to get one.
Remember, speed is really important here.
As the Horde offensive progresses, Alliance casualties will be sent back to progressively higher levels – first E/W, then South, then the Courtyard. It’s possible to skip a level by dying on the beach and resurrecting in the South GY – but unlike the offense, defenders can use the teleporters by each gate to achieve the same result. Tying up their team down on the beach is often a good tactic, but not if demolishers are rolling up to Yellow unopposed.
This brings up the problem of South Graveyard.
WHY SOUTH GRAVEYARD IS A TRAP
The South Graveyard is a trap for the offense in Strand of the Ancients. Taking it puts the offense at a disadvantage entirely because of resurrection vectors.
When South Graveyard is held by the defense, the following conditions prevail:
- Offense rez vectors are to the workshops, next to the demolishers.
- Casualties are able to grab a demolisher at the Workshop and bring it up to Yellow gate in about 25 seconds.
- If no demolishers are available at the Workshop, players can retrieve demolishers from the Docks for an additional 50 seconds.
Leaving South GY ensures a constant stream of demolishers to replace any which are destroyed assaulting the Yellow Gate or the Titan Chamber.
If the Horde takes South GY, however, the situation changes drastically with respect to the demolishers.
By taking South GY, the Horde casualties will spawn just outside Yellow Gate. This would be great if no vehicles were involved; having a close respawn point helps turn the tide in many battles.
But vehicles are involved, and they’re now much further away in time and in distance. 25 seconds to run to the West Workshop, and about 35 seconds (best case, not counting getting slowed by the defense) to get to the East Workshop. Then it’s another 25-30 seconds to get back up the hill to Yellow. Taking South GY doubles the amount of time to bring demolishers into play.
The demolishers on the beach become effectively unreachable when South GY is taken. It’s now nearly two minutes to get one of them back to Yellow, which at the later stages of the battleground is an eternity. Taking South GY effectively halves the number of demolishers you can use.
It’s really hard to get people to not take an undefended flag. They see a flag, they cap it, normally this is laudable behavior. It’s hard to get people to see that it’s actually changing the resurrection vectors away from the demolishers and why it’s better to leave it alone.
But it is. Leave South GY alone.
The only time taking South Graveyard conveys an advantage to the offense is when all walls are down, including the final one to the Titan Relic. Only at this point in the battle do the demolishers become less important than people reinforcements. At this point you want all hands on deck up at the courtyard, and having the South GY is now advantageous.
But the scenario of breaking down the wall yet not taking it is pretty rare.
Leave South GY alone on offense.
OFF-CENTER SOUTH GRAVEYARD
The other curious thing about South GY is that it’s off-center. The flag has a central location, but the actual rez point is on the west side, closer to Purple than Red. This location has tactical ramifications for both sides.
In general, weak-side attacks from the East (Blue/Red Gates) will fare a little bit better than those from the West, all other things being equal. The demolishers have a clear path to the gate, their escorts can establish a buffer around them in the middle, and defensive casualties will be sent a little ways away from the action.
Strong side attacks from the West (Green/Purple) have to go through the spawn point, which can sometimes lead to rez waves appearing right on top of them:
In this example, if the Horde can get their demolishers past the South GY, Alliance casualties will get sent behind them, making it a little easier to get by. But the Alliance defense will be stronger on the West side because of the graveyard proximity and resurrection vectors.
(Don’t use this as an excuse to cap South GY. Just don’t.)
This off-center location can be used to the offense’s advantage, especially later on when Red and Purple are both down. By concentrating attacks on the strong side, the Horde can draw Alliance attention and focus to the demos on the West, while sneaking demos in from the East.
Good defenders will be aware of this trick, call out incs, and not get pulled too far down towards Purple. They’ll also hold back forces, choosing to concentrate near the front of Yellow instead of down past the trees and ridges. A spread defense is preferred to a concentrated defense here – stacking your whole team on either side is rarely a wise choice on defense.
(Letting the offense take South GY uncontested, however, is almost always a wise defensive strategy.)