Tooth and Tail comes out tomorrow, and whether you are new to the real-time strategy genre or you’re already a Grandmaster, you’ve got a chance to dominate. I’m Andy Schatz, Creative Director of Pocketwatch Games, and I’m gonna tell you how to git gud at Tooth and Tail in preparation for our launch tomorrow on PS4.
The game has plenty of ways to play competitively — Play in Ranked, Unranked or Offline split-screen matches. Try playing mixed split-screen and online to dominate in a 2v2 match against online opponents. You can add bots, spectate ongoing matches, you can even spectate a bot vs bot match! And when you are done, save and watch replays of the match to find out how you lost, or to revel in your win over and over and over and over.
Enough about the feature list, let’s talk about the strategies that will make you a winner on launch day.
The mind games start well before the match even begins. Prior to match start, customize your army with six hidden unit types.
Players can pick warrens, which are structures that produce mobile units, or stationary defensive structures. There are three tiers of warrens that vary in cost, build time, production time, and unit cap. Typically, players will pick at least one unit from each tier of warren, and at least one defensive structure.
The Tier 1 warrens are good at the beginning of the match, and form the basis for your army. Squirrels, also known as The Distillery Brothers, are your standard ranged infantry, but their health is low. Lizards, AKA Nomads of the North, are fast and tankier than squirrels but they have a shorter range. Watch out for Moles (Engineers For Hire) — they can be built anywhere on the battlefield, including behind your base. Pigeons (The Volunteers) are the medics, and Toads (Morning Light Croakers) can self-destruct, taking out large numbers of weak units.
Most players will want to start with either Squirrels or Lizards in your army, and then pick 5 other units of varying types to fill out the rest. One of the top players from our Alpha testing, Zeno Akoop, recommends these two Army comps:
Tier 1: Squirrel, Lizard / Tier 2: Ferret, Skunk / Defense: Machine Gun Turret, Landmines
This army is designed for fast aggression and long range attacks, and then for a quick retreat behind defenses when the counter attack comes.
Tier 1: Lizard, Toad, Mole / Tier 2: Chameleon, Falcon / Tier 3: Fox
Speed and deception are the name of the game. Use Lizards and Moles for early harassment, and try to build a sniper Fox as soon as you can.
When the match starts, the first thing you might notice is that the maps are procedurally generated. That means that after you build your first farm (farms produce food, which is the currency in the game), you should go explore the map. Find out where your opponent is and then burrow home.
Build a couple more farms, and then decide whether you want to be aggressive early or whether you want to invest in your farms. No matter what you pick, go scout your opponent so that you can react to their choices intelligently.
Many players’ first instinct is to build defenses first. This is usually a mistake. If you build defenses blind, your opponent will instead invest in their farms, and they will eventually overwhelm you. Build defenses in order to control important choke points, or to protect your base when your army is away, or when you believe your opponent is stronger than you and you need time to grow your economy. Try to think of stationary defenses as an offensive tactic. Turtling only wins if you can starve the opponent of resources!
How to Win
I’ve got good news and bad news. You can win any match, in any procedurally generated map, with any army composition against any enemy. The bad news? The same is true for you opponent.
Whomever is in the lead typically controls the pace and dynamics of the match. If you want to play defensively, you’ll need to find ways to make your opponent attack you. Claim some territory right outside his front door and pop up some turrets. He’s sure not to like that.
If you want to play aggressively, sustain pressure. Win a skirmish? Don’t rest on your laurels, build an even bigger army and attack again!
If you want to play sneakily, you’ll need to find ways of keeping your opponent busy. Feign an attack on his economy while you are building a massive Tier 3 Badger on a hidden plateau behind your base.
Winning in Tooth and Tail requires creativity and strategy. You’ll need to be unpredictable and reactive to the unique environment and opponent.
There’s plenty of other tools you can use to learn the game: Single Player, Replays, Split-Screen, Skirmish matches against bots, the in-game unit encyclopedia, and the friendly community on the Pocketwatch Games Discord channel are all great resources for those looking to dominate on launch day.
See you on the battlefield tomorrow, September 12!