Ok, now that I played enough tournaments to have my own, stable opinion about Mid War competitive gaming in general, I thought it would be good to put it on "paper" and share/look for other opinions. To be honest, I have no coherent structure for this article in mind so I will just go ahead and shoot with whatever seems to be relevant. Sorry for the mess :)
1. Mid War is arguably the period that is least suitable for singles tournament play.
I found out that Mid War is like paper/rock/scissors for a lot of armies. There are fewer possibilities to build a true all-rounder list. With only 2 books and a few PDFs flying around and just one or two notable exceptions, choices for some nations are very limited. I even built a matrix depicting which type of forces/which nations get the best opportunity to build a balanced list (top of the list is best flexibility - by combining the two you can figure out which combo is most feasible):
--------- NATION ------
--------- TYPE ----------
There are several exceptions from the matrix caused by Always Attack and Always Defend special rules. For the forces that have them: AD (Fucilieri) adds to the flexibility while AA (Cossacks) is more of a hindrance than help in my opinion.
However, if you go to a singles tournament and hope for a win, your best bet would be to build a German Infantry list ;)
2. When you play Mid War, be prepared to get anti-aircraft!
With heavy artillery being so expensive, a lot more aircraft hit the tables than in any other period. One other reason is the Soviet I-153. I mean it is really ridiculous not to get the sporadic version which only costs 90 points. Every Soviet player should use it. For mere 90 points you get an aircraft that has both a 3+ MG and a real heavy-hitter in the form of 4+ AT 6 FP 3+ rockets. Considering how playing Soviets against some heavier tanks is an uphill struggle, a cheap, killer aircraft strike option is something I would always buy (one exception might be AA Cossacks, who need to get into assault range as soon as possible, limiting aircraft placement).
So if you were considering getting anti-aircraft, consider no more - get it. Even a light unit should be more than enough to keep the little fokkers away. And there will be plenty coming your way :P
3. Do not ignore the possibility of meeting AT 12 spam! :)
When building your list, do not get deceived by the fact that many AT 12 guns cost quite a lot. Mixed Tankovy, you are not safe in a singles tournament :) Same for US and a few other tank briefings. In a recent singles tournament with 18 players, I have seen 6 armies that pack 12+ high AT shots, met 2 of them and 2 of them placed first and second.
You just cannot ignore the possibility of encountering high-end anti tank, and my understanding is that it is absolutely necessary to include at least a token answer in a list that aims to be competitive.
4. Do not be afraid of US forces.
Unlike in Late War, the US companies in Mid War do not seem to be dominating. This is mainly because:
- all of their main North Africa rosters are Confident/Trained
- tanks/tank destroyers are fairly expensive and relatively easy to destroy with Mid-High AT
- artillery is expensive
- infantry cannot field so many bazookas, leaving them vulnerable to tank assault
- their main anti-tank gun is No HE
- they have no option to field double tank destroyer units nor an AOP
In fact, the ratio of US to non-US forces in Mid War and Late War are two completely different things. So far, in 3 MW tournaments, with approximately 60 participants, I have seen around 5 US lists (2 tank, 2 mech and 1 infantry). Some would say: hooray for Mid War :)
5. There 2 really strong Warriors in Mid War that you need to be prepared to meet:
- Mariya Oktabrskaya - I described her in details in this article. She will be present in most Tankovy/Mixed Tankovy lists that field T-34 tanks as she only costs 25 points but is a huge overall boost.
- Otto Ernst Remer - this guy needs another article. But in short words, he is a Higher Command team that turns one Heer unit into assault monsters with 3+ morale and 2+ to hit in close combat. He will be appearing in Infantry and Mechanized German forces.
So if you are thinking of going competitive, it is advisable that you at least know the basic things about these two guys. There are some other decent Warriors out there, but they will certainly not be as prevalent as these two :)
Ok, enough is enough - these are my thoughts around Mid War competitive gaming - would love to read yours! :)