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Clan Battle Caller – a way

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Since Clan Battle Season 8, I’ve played and called over 1200 clan battles both casually and competitively. Experience and good advice from others have taught me a lot on how to call matches. This guide is intended for those who are inexperienced or are struggling to achieve success as a Caller for their clan.

Calling a battle can seem daunting to the unprepared. Everyone is expecting you to lead them to victory in battle. The Caller is responsible for the result, win or lose. The only way to get better at it is to practice doing it. No amount of forum digging or book reading will get you on the same level as someone who’s done it in practice for a long time. So jump in and get your hands-on experience with a team that’s willing to be patient with you.

Step 1: Understanding the game

Scoring. To be an effective Caller, you must know how the scoring system works. Each ship is allotted points and a team loses points for friendly ships destroyed and gain points for ships they kill. You also must know how the capture points work. 30 seconds to control a capture point and +3 points per capture point every 4 seconds. Score Timer is an essential mod to run if you want to know if your team will gain the number of points needed to win first.

Ship Roles.  Each ship type has a job to do in the battle. DD/CVs are the spotters/cappers and can contribute to your team's overall damage output depending on the playstyle. CA/CL are the support and utility ships. BBs are the area presence, long range firepower, and damage absorbers aka “tanks”.

Specific Ship Characteristics. A Caller is more effective as a decision maker when they understand what every ship can and can’t do. If you are new to the game or just don’t play as much, general knowledge on the most common ships is good but it can only get you so far. Learning the “meta” by focusing on abilities and capabilities of the most popular ships seen or expected in a clan battle season will help you significantly to gain an advantage. Armor, consumables, ballistics, maneuver, concealment, and captain skills are all critical knowledge factors that help you as a Caller. Self-study is required if you want to improve, but not essential to your success.  

Step 2: Map Strategy

Have a Plan. Here is where most Callers struggle. They don’t have any idea what they are about to do and struggle to give direction on the fly. Do yourself and your team a favor and study the maps as soon as WG publishes them, develop ship placement on both sides of the map, and discuss with other Callers to get a good idea of what might work. Online tools are very helpful to making a plan but it doesn't have to be fancy. A good PowerPoint or sketch on a napkin is enough to help you understand how you plan to attack each map. 

Key Areas of Maneuver. On all the maps, you should look for the areas that could be exploited by concealed ships or a heavy push to gain an advantage. These could also be kill zones that you plan to “trap” a ship that has no cover.

Strongpoints. These are locations on the map that you can hold against the enemy either because it has good cover, or holding it gains you a tactical advantage. A good example of this is a large island near a contested cap in the middle area of a map.

Creating Angles. When you design your ship placement, try to imagine how the enemy team will maneuver against your ships and find the firing lanes that can help you get catastrophic damage on a vulnerable ship. If you have two BBs, don’t put them in the same grid square. Spread them out to force the enemy to angle in the open against only one of the BBs.

Step 3: Division Ship Composition

Centerpiece. Now that you have a plan, figure out what ships your team has available and determine which ship is the most crucial for your plan to work. This could be a Minotaur with Radar for example. Sometimes the centerpiece is a BB that has the job attracting the enemy's attention while your other ships get into a better tactical position. However, this is entirely up to the Caller's creativity to make the plan work. Creative thinking and practice in a Training Room will help you figure out what could work.

Support and Utility. Once you have your centerpiece, what ships do you need to support it? Do you need to smoke the centerpiece into a Strongpoint, so they stay concealed before they get there? Do you need to protect it from a Fast DD torpedo rush? Radar, Hydro, and Smoke are common and good consumables to have on your utility ships. High or effective DPM ships are great for support.

Spotting. Perhaps the most essential team role is that of the spotter. CVs give instant spotting and immediate strike capability. DDs gain position and spotting simultaneously. Your High DPM and long-range ships need targets to shoot at to be effective. This is the most selfless role and requires the most precise maneuvering for survivability.

Step 4: Gameplan

Voice Comms. It's important to point out that communicating with your team using some sort of voice comms is crucial to the flow of information and coordinating complex movements. Typing your instructions wastes precious reaction time and is inhibitive to keeping your focus on your situational awareness. Encourage all your teammates to use a voice platform, in game provided or otherwise, to make for a more easily controlled experience. 

Discuss. Now that you know how the game works, have general strategies for each map, and have built your division based on ships available and player skills, it's time to figure out how to deploy your team. You should have a basic vision how you want your ships move at the opening of the match. This is BEFORE you hit the battle button. Identify your strong players and your weak players. If a player’s skill is unknown, consider them a weak player. Ask you strong players to take the risks or hold the strongpoints. Give your weak players the support roles and place them in the least vulnerable positions. All your players have value. It’s up to you the Caller to use them effectively.

Step 5: --------------HIT THE BATTLE BUTTON---------------

Opening 45 seconds. This is the most critical moment to establish yourself as a Caller. As soon as you see the map you are on, pull up your strategy for that map and quickly figure out where your ships are going to deploy. Make your decision either based on the type of ship in your division (example: Hydro DD near the contest cap) or based on which side they spawn on (example: Flanking cruiser). This is entirely up to you, but don’t hesitate. Say the ship name or player and PING the map where you want them to go. It can be helpful to do multiple pings laying out the path of travel. Overtime you will learn your ship placements and do this more naturally but its always good to have a reference to look at when starting out. 

Dominate Comms. It's essential that you assertively dominate the comms for your team in this 45 second window. If people are chatting and not allowing you to use the whole 45 seconds, it cuts into your deployment time. Red team gets in position first, and that might be just enough to lose a close match. An example of dominating the comms is if someone is still talking when the 45 second timer starts, you repeatedly talk over them saying “Comms, comms, comms” until they stop. Don’t explain it and waste time, just go right into your instructions. You can explain the importance of your time after if they don’t understand. Most people are just appreciative of someone being in charge and will understand you have a job to do and the responsibility that comes with it.

Directions. When giving directions, tell your Spotters where to go first. They are the fastest movers and need to move in the correct direction without delay. Then go to the cruisers. Think about where you want utilities like radar coverage, smoke, etc. Where do you want flank support? How far forward do you go before a Red team ship has been spotted? Then position your BB(s) in a spot that influences your game plan.

Step 6: Reaction and Communication

Enemy Comp. After you give directions, look at the enemy lineup. It may be helpful to designate someone in the division to do this for you beforehand during the opening 45 seconds. If the Red Team has a peculiar lineup that may counter what you just told your team to do, consider adjusting your ship positioning. Adjusting early to a suspected enemy plan can save your ships from a potential ambush.

Useful Information. Encourage your team to point out info that will help determine where the spotters are. Torpedoes give away general location and type of ship in a given area. Pay attention to numbers in a spread. Smoke on the battle space is not recognized on the minimap. Pointing this out to players and pinging the map is a great way to build Situational Awareness. If a player sees a move they can make to gain an advantage, they should announce it. Encourage your team to call out targets to focus that can be fired upon by multiple teammates. If everything is in a standoff, pick a ship on the red team (of relevancy) and find a way to kill it.

Kills>Caps. When it comes to winning in clan battles, taking an enemy ship off the board first is the most solid way to win a match. If you can get that initial advantage, you can gain dominance over the key areas of the map through brute force and presence. Capping is good at running the points counter, but you won’t hold the capture point long if you lose ship advantage.

Step 7: Make the Swing Play

Mid-game. When all ships have been spotted on the enemy team, it’s time to make a decision. Do not let your team get caught stuck in their opening positions and trading damage in a losing fight. Figure out where the enemy is vulnerable and exploit it. As the Caller, you should be paying the most attention to the minimap. This is your guide. It’s more important for you to give directions then get the damage on the enemy team. Tell your team where they need to go and how you want them to do it. PING THAT MAP!

Secure the Kill. If an enemy ship is low on HP, it can be worth it to take some risk to finish that player off. Kills gain points for you and take away points from the enemy buying you extra time to get a cap if you are behind or get closer to the 1000 points needed to win.

Win Condition. If you are using Score Timer mod, or have someone in the div using it, pay attention to the countdown timer. It indicates who will win if the conditions don’t change (cap or kill). If you don’t have the win condition, figure out how you can get it. DD get on the cap and stop the points or player makes a play around an island corner and get the kill. You will have to learn not to panic if the timer says the red team will win in 5 minutes. That’s a lot of time for conditions to change in a clan battle. With 1-minute remaining, however, its time for someone to be a hero.

Step 8: End Game

Zombie Calling. In clan battles, when your ship explodes and is sinking… you are not dead. You still have a voice to give direction. Tap the SHIFT key and you now have the ultimate view of the battle space. Use it to your team’s advantage and watch key areas. Help your team understand what is happening and what they need to do. The worst thing for a team trying to win is the Caller that dies and stays silent. The same goes for all players on the team. Try watching the Red team BB and tell your teammates which ship his guns are targeting. This helps them survive the incoming salvo.

Finish Out. If you have the win condition, don’t take unnecessary risk. If you don’t have it, losing counts just as much if all your ships are alive or dead. Tell your team to go for it.

Have fun! If your team plays well, tell them after the match. Don’t brag or gloat until the victory is secured. Things happen and you lose unexpectedly sometimes. If your team plays poorly, don’t berate them. Figure out what went wrong, talk about it constructively, and make the changes you need before you hit that battle button again. Don’t overly focus on a loss. Look for the trends. Remember, you are the leader of the group. Be the adult and focus your team.

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Seemingly good info, from the perspective of someone who doesn’t play CB.

The complexity displayed therein is also effectively why I refuse to do so.

The first clan I was in kicked me out; partly because their TeamSpeak pretty much never worked for me, but mostly for refusing to play CB.

Edited by Estimated_Prophet
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