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Guarded Q as indirect Tanking - Including a new Theory about Ranges

0. Disclaimer

Again, overobviously i haven´t invented GQ in the first place, nor did i push its use to a new level of tanking. Like previously, i just try to get the storm in my head into an organized structure with hopes to help other players along this journey. 

An outmost thankful recognition goes to my favorite testing partner C|ommander! During game-mechanical tests on the actual function of GQ with him - the results of the three ranges, meaning: including a NEEEEEW third one, came out. Those results i would dare to call: RAvolutionary :D

A special thanks goes to ButcheR as well, for last minute testing details with me!

This guide is continuing the general ON Q article with focus on the single Q-combination GQ, so stuff i wrote there is presumed here. By the way, i would like to thank my readers, that they deal so fine with my..... öhm.... crazy way of writing. I am sorry. It is pure me. Cannot change it. Be happy u not reading my university paper On Nothingnesses ^^.

Followingly, we will discuss GQ first of all basically: How it works in an ideal, simple way. Deeper asking secondly, an analysis of the real function needs to be done. The outcome of this analysis leads to the theory of ranges. Last but not least, i will try to compare the GQ way of tanking with the normal Q, to see pros and cons of its usage. Have fun.

1. Basic Idea of GQ - Defensive and Offensive Using

G stands for guard-mode and means an automated attack, done with the name-same hotkey by clicking it. The idea is to have a unit, select it, then click G and click to the ground next to it. This will switch the unit into a guard-mode, so if an enemy unit comes into range, your unit would attack. You see, guard is the sis-bro of escort-hotkey. The original RA-Manual explains G this way:

This is super-interesting! Why the fuck are guarded units explained as "looking for trouble" and "much more aggressive"? And why it doesn't work with air-units? And why isn't every player using G to get more aggressive units? Don't we all desire automated fights with less clicks? Automated wins then? Seems random, that G is in a way seen and not-used like a lost son - brother of Escort. Nobody seems to care about this aggression´s plus!
The Manual doesn't answer it, but this article will. 

The traditional milo-ehy-guide is vague and ambiguous here. It actually says "Do not use to guard", while mentioning its possible using in tank fights! Read yourself:

The information is true though: If u think stationary and u bring a riffle into guard mode: he get´s killed, because he has to move first a step ahead before can attack himself - in this time the enemy already shot him down. But why? Why gets the "more aggressive" riffle shot down much easier without any trouble-seeking bonus? And why some guys seem to use it with tanks? Are not the same rules applying to soldiers and tanks?

Ah wait, the guide mentions a Basic Skill Section - what u can read about G there? 

Super-interesting again! Milo-ehy-guide says: "you can defend your base easier" with G and then Q your tanks. Wowowowowowow. But why? What does G add to a good Q, what a good Q without G hasn't? We get no answer on this. 

To name another honorable guide, jcFarmer also mentioned this usage shortly, but without clearly answering the function. However, mentioning it year 200x, so early, is a thing deserving respect on its own:

Although, nothing more is explained here, we can get the impression that GQ using has a very very long history, we are unconscious of. Way back to 2000 and even earlier. JcF sums it up under his Tips and Tricks List, meaning: as a special thing. 


Guide-history doesn't help us. In order to get a clearer focus in the GQ-issue, let´s face some true examples of using it. The honor goes to andrewford here . He re-actualized it, used it, trained it, beat high-pro opponents with it. He is not the only player using it, examply x.kronic uses the above mentioned defensive-G. And i personally know, that ora-boy uses an individual version of it also. But truly, andrewford brought GQ back on the table of tanking options. 

The version ora-boy sometimes uses is: G + click-away. Meaning: Instead of G + Q-away he just does a click on the ground, which works also same. Only difference is, that only this one click-order is followed by the tanks, whereas with GQ u could give your tanks multiple memorized following points to drive, while guardedly firing. 

Before now showing the first video-example of defensive GQ use, your spec-eyes need an important lesson: If somebody uses G with tanks, he doesn't attack in a direct way, meaning: he does not click ON an enemy target. Instead, the GQ-er will select his tanks, press G and then Q-away into an "open space" but close to the enemy tanks. Therefor i named it "indirect tanking", because u not directly attack, u attack in an in-direct guarded manner. So, if you are specing and seeing somebody´s tanks moving and firing (normally a sign for Q use), but without a direct path to one targeted tank, and more likely targeting multiple tanks at the same time, you can be sure some G is included.
See now a part of a full video example of defensive GQ back-base, and focus on where Andrew is clicking indirectly, while building and repairing:

Andrew finally won this by an uber amount of tanks left versus his opponent. Such a defensive style seems to be meant by the milo-ehy-guide. See a second example:

But GQ doesn't halt here. All weapons u can use in defense, ofc u can make them offensive as well. A quick clip from the last Qmaster-Tournament; between Qing, Andrew added some GQ into pure tank fighting:

The indirect Q-ing even proofs to be strong enough to master the GoldMedalChallenge on its singly use! See C|ommander beating the AI by only using Guard+Q:

2. Analysis: Real G-Functionality

The shown examples may be enough to transport the general idea behind GQ with tanks. However, the question still is up to answer: How does this guard order really work? The following analyses all started with a very simple, but funnily great question:

Can you send guard-q-ed soldier-scouts through the map? 

Meaning: While they walk and scout, they have the guard order, so if an enemy scout walks across, your own scout would automatically guard-fire and kill it - instead of normally only run past the enemy´s scout without killing it. Imagine this funny idea used on maps like arena or hjk hehehehe. So i tested it in a mindset like: "Claus, u just invented scouting 2.0!"

Sad, so sad: it didn't work that way with guard. Guard-q-ed scouts wouldn't attack enemy scouts. No 2.0-scouting for poor Clausi. Sounds devastating, but from there the question on the real G-mechanic was up! How does it work?

Another main idea i had was bonded to the related Escort-Function, because both "guard" in a similar way. If u already read the Escort-article you will know there are 2 different types of ranges: an attack range and a visibility range. And extraordinarily the Escort mode uses the second one, which is wider for some certain units, which gives you a bonus. My suspicion and premise with guard modus was same way: Guard uses the for some units wider range type. So, to test this was my goal. Thanks again for C|ommander´s patience on this hehe.

The testing frame was easy: Map ribbon, C|ommander and me, each a side, sending units with different click orders: Guarded, unguarded. Guarded with grouping-number #1 before, and without it just selected. Several Q waypoints or just a click as move order. Different types of units: soldiers, tanks and dogs. Here are the results:

a) Grouped together or just selected by mouse makes no effect. Works both ways.

b) Like mentioned before: Guard didn't work on no unit on a long distance, like used as scouts.

c) You can press G once then Qqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqq as with normal Q also: No Q-uantity of waypoints make a difference, the guard order stays intact. Even if u shift new units into that group the old GQ-orders are followed and your new ones given are memorized added to it. Only thing u need to do: press one time again G after adding new tanks to the group or before giving new q-waypoints.

d) If u GQ with tanks in a tank fight, there seems to be NO clear pattern of targeting: Neither the weakest enemy tank, nor the closest enemy tank was targeted indirectly. Saying: Random enemy tanks have been targeted and shot at and the focus was not on one tank than next one, but .... random.

e) THEN we discovered, that sometimes... not all tanks actually attacked the enemy, they just drove. Meaning: GQ was clicked, but some tanks back the group (not at front) just drove to the point of click, but without shooting!

This brought us to this trial: Making with silos a measure stick in the mid and place the tanks coordinated by ranges, each square a tank in line and then just press G so see, from which range onwards tanks start to attack automatically, and to be able to count by silos the squares = ranges. This pure horizontal way keeps the south-advantage out in testing.

f) If u click GQ with a group, only your tanks in-range to a possible enemy will attack! The other tanks outside-range won't attack, but only drive followingly to the place u clicked the move order! This is the answer for: why scouting GQ doesn't work. Because the time, when u click GQ with the scout, a possible enemy isn't in-range, so doesn't work. hohoho

---This is a huge difference to normal Q: If u Q fight tanks, your tanks would start firing, when they got into attack range. But if u GQ only your tanks already in-range will attack! Meaning: It could be very well of a cleverness to double or triple click a sequence like GQ...GQ...GQ to get in the meanwhile closer driven tanks also to fire! ---

Like explained above, the premise was: Guard mode uses the visability range. The numbers of range-squares per different unit can be seen in jcfarmer´s production-guide. So we tested several types of units with the expected vis-range-attack-radius.

Example 1: Normal attack range of a Medium tank is 4.75, and his vis-range (reveal the shroud range, or better: scout-range) is 5.00. The idea now was: IF vis-range is used, a 5 squares away placed tank would start fire when u just click G - and reversed: would not start firing, when normal attack range is contrarily used, because then enemy tank is 0.25 too far away, not in-range. The tank attacked. Meaning: Not the normal attack range was in use, but another wider one. So the suspicion was kinda true.

But example 2: However, we tested it for even farer distance-ranges and just G with mind-blowing results: We placed the Medium tank 6 squares away: still worked. Then 7: still worked. Then 8: still still fuckin worked. We tested the farer distances with other unit types, still worked. Lol.

⇉ Now the #crazyshit starts: Either the numbers of jcfarmers guide are wrong, or me too stupid to get the right scale. But the guide doesn't mention any scales, just numbers of ranges. If u calculate the test-given numbers into another index system (like :2) u just don't come to the same resulting numbers in relation. A third option is: neither normal-attack-range nor vis-range is used! The idea of a third new range type emerged.

And, to bond this back to the introduction: Now we get the answering on the manual´s "trouble seeking more aggressive units" with G. hehehehehe

Wait. U find this idea silly and nubish? See, what jcfarmer says about dogs:

Dog has attack range ("shot range" here named) of 2.2, but vis-range (only "vis" named) of 5. BUT, get a wtf-moment of his guide´s last line:

lolololololololol...... . "Guard range". Hahahahahaha... already mentioned. :D Please go to that page, and take an own look, with which randomness at the end this point is added-on.

3. CrazyShit Synthesis: On 3 Range Types

So we tested even deeper: Having a scale of silos in mid to count the squares between attacking-tank and enemy-tank, seeing the range-limit because of the tanks lined-up each square. Just by pressing G. Meaning: testing it "stationary" and not in movingly GQ-manner. To purely see the actual G-used-range.
This frame we counter-tested with the normal-attack-range: To drive a tank square by square closer to a standing enemy tank, in order to see from which range onwards the tank normally would attack it - without any hotkeys in use. Just by driving step by step. Horizontally, to keep interferences with south advantage out. So we collected the upcoming numbers of ranges, both ways: normal attack range and new G-range, and compared to jcfarmer´s numbers.
The tabulated results are:

However, different people did test it and the outcome was mixed. Meaning one time a bit weird wider range other time no difference at all. So I keep this information up for reading without arguing for its truth.

Range Type:
Vis-Range to jcf
Normal Attack Range to jcf
Tested Normal Range
Range bonus with G
Unit Type:

Light Tank
Medium Tank
Heavy Tank
4 (!)



* Counting: squares between the two vehicles plus +1 for the square the enemy tank stood. So the G-Range 8 examply means: a distance of 7 squares between attacker and target is the maximal range for a possible guarded attack; or 8, if u count the target´s place into it too.

* As far, i have no suspicion that the visability/scouting range differs, so it is intact, only this range type is not in use when G-ing. So it is named, but left beside untouched.

* U can test it yourself, and you will see a clear difference in attack-ranges between with and without Guard. My miscounting can only be +/-1, but not in general! So even u come up with more accurate numbers, then i am happy to change the results :). But the tendency in +range bonus with Guard is not deniable!

* In the Escort-article i assumed, because obviously after tests, units used there a wider range than the normal attack range, that they must use the vis-range. However, i was maybe wrong, based on the assumption of only 2 range types. If there really seems to be a third type of range, which is also wider, than possibly the new G-Range is the Escort-Range also. This efforts a new testing, which i will do soon and write on it here.

* The tested unit sorts aren't all possible ones. Neither we tested it with soldiers in detail, nor on aircraft and ships. Aircraft won´t be guard-able, as the manual explains. But ships could be very interesting. Because the vis-range of cruisers is extremely shorter - as an exception ! - i guided to not use Escort with ships, but now the story could be different. It very well could be that a possible G-Range for cruisers is wider than assumed, tho pro-ship-using with GQ could be the crazyshit. So, RAguides need a future article On Shipping. 


4. Discourse: Pros and Cons of GQ compared to "normal" Q

It is part of the essence of discourse that one´s opinions may differ. This is my way of evaluation GQ, yours may be alternative, which is a great thing. :)


a) One cannot negate the G-Range plus u get with GQ. This seems to be one of the main reason for its effectivity.

b) Then u cannot - by definition - mistarget or misclick. Indirect tanking means that your tanks target automatically.

c) And you gain a plus in the amount of targets the same time. Multiple-targeting deals greater damage over the time, than single-targeting summed up. Why? Imagine a QM-maxispeed-game. If your production is maximal and u only target one tank, than obviously several targets at the same time can get u ahead in numbers.

d) Here i assume an additional plus in so-called "splash-damage". Meaning: A shot not only damages the target, but 1 square around it all targets as well. So several targets shot at should resume in several splash-damages done at several locations of your enemy´s tanking group. hehehe. 


a) Remember the targets-in-range-anomally. Your GQ-ed tanks only fire, if the targets are in range when u click this order, otherwise they just drive. Q let your tanks first drive to the target to fire, then drive the Q-waypoint away. 

b) You certainly use direct tank control, which is the No.1 tanking skill overall: To speedy get your tanks manually each and every click do what u want them to do. Imagine getting lazy after tremendous GQ-using, and losing your better Q u once had. 

c) Probably, u need a bigger tank group than just 4-6. Like plus-15 tanks, then u can start to get the effect of multiple-targeting for your outnumbering. Direct Q would win indirect GQ in low-amount groups by faster picking out tank by tank, instead of damaging all a bit, but take out none or just 1-2. 

d) You need a certain sense of "negative/empty rooms", meaning: the GQ-eometry where u click your guarded tanks. But, you cannot use GQ-back very often, because of the in-range-disadvantage. So, u need go (if done offensively) more ahead, and many into or through ya enemy´s group in order to divide them and pick out lost tanks after such a maneuver. Anyway, that certain sense needs to see "open doors" to guard-into. 

e) If it works better, the more tanks u have, wouldn't that mean: You outtanked your enemy even so?! 


The moral of On Q seems to repeat itself here: Tanking ever is, always was and will be a very individual thing. To only GQ from now one gives you, besides obvious bonuses in some parts, obvious disadvantages in others also. How to deal with it, stays subjective. Some tankers may combine more this and more that together situational. I strongly tend to see GQ as a sometimes useful add-on to tanking skills generally, but not THE master secret u will win from now on always and forever. However, it is nice-to-know it :)


Merry Q-ristmas & A Happy New Tanking-Season,

(was the original line from the afo-guide,)


1 comment:

  1. This is a truly tremendous RA discovery, very well done, and from now on I will call this newly discovered range the Claus Range ! Props also to commander and butcher; all you guys are proving honorable successors to jcfarmer and milo.

    Your discoveries help a lot with deciding how to use GQ, and understanding its effects.

    I understand that the actual range of the heavy tank you found in testing was 4 instead of 4.75? That would be an extra argument for using GQ when playing soviets.

    This also makes me think; isn’t this info somehow embedded in the ini file, and could we somehow extract it?

    Good idea to expand the testing to naval units. It makes me curious too to use it with rocketeers for base defense in an open map, but I’ve never tried that. If you ever need someone for testing I would happily participate :)

    Also I would be interested in some tests with splash damage. How much damage is it? Up to what distance from the primary hit does it happen? Does it matter what weapon the initial strike happened by, and what type of armor the recipient has?

    Anyway, really great discovery man, the Claus Range :)

    Cheers, Simon

    PS your paper On Nothingness is it in reference to JP Sartre?
    PPS for all interested, I changed the location of the guard key to A in my settings. It being right next to Q makes it easier for me to GQ.