When marching into the line of fire, somebody’s got to take the hit. In Boom Beach, Heavies are more than happy to step up to the plate and catch bullets on behalf of the other troops.
As one of the earliest units unlocked in the game, Heavies are the key element in many of the most basic strategies used at all levels of play. Just because they are basic does not necessarily mean they are bad.
Quite the opposite: they are considered the standard because they are just so naturally effective. Heavies in front, Riflemen in back is probably the first real strategy you will use in Boom Beach, and you can argue that most other strategies are just some variation of this basic play.
Even if you swap the Heavies out for Scorchers and the Riflemen for Cryoneers, the principle remains the same: damage-takers go first, damage-dealers last.
Compared to other units, the amount of damage done by a Heavy is not anything special. To compensate, he has a huge pool of health. Unlike the Rifleman, which is not used too often at higher levels, Heavies are popular at every stage of the game.
This is probably because so many strategies revolve around the principle of “meat-shielding”, or protecting low-health units with tougher ones. The only units that really outshine Heavies in this regard are Tanks and Scorchers, both of which are expensive enough that it is not always feasible to use them.
When attacking with Heavies, always deploy them in front of the rest of your army. They are tough enough to brush off attacks from defensive structures which would kill your other, more valuable units in a single hit.
They can survive a mine or two as well, so use them to clear a safe path for the troops that follow behind them. Unit positioning and maneuvering is the key to any meat-shielding strategy.
Almost everyone knows to put tough units in front of weak ones, but using flares skillfully to make sure everyone stays in the proper position is what separates the amateurs from the pros.
When defending against Heavies, Sniper Towers come in handy. Two of them working together are usually able to kill a Heavy before the Heavy even gets close enough to fight back.
At a more advanced level, you can try to predict the movements of your opponent’s army and place your mines in a way so that the Heavies will not step on them but other units well.
In general, the best defensive strategy when dealing with Heavies is to not deal with the Heavies, but rather focus on trying to kill whatever is hiding behind them.
The classic Boom Beach offensive strategy, one for the Hall of Fame, is the combination of Heavies and Zookas. This army composition is incredibly effective, for obvious reasons: the units perfectly compensate for each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Meat-shielding as a strategy means pairing a tough unit with a high-damage unit, so pairing one of the toughest units with one of the highest-damage units is obviously going to work just fine.
That said, everyone has used or played against this strategy at least once, and more likely hundreds of times. Everyone is expecting it and everyone is prepared for it. Besides, it is not too interesting to just do what everyone else has been doing since the beginning of time, is it?
So instead of just breaking down the Heavy plus Zooka strategy, let’s look at a slightly more complex iteration by throwing Medics into the mix.
With this strategy, you should mostly be focusing on healing up your Heavies with your Medics, since any Zookas that do take a hit at all are probably already beyond healing.
That said, bases with powerful Cannons might be able to take your Heavies out with a single hit as well, rendering your Medics essentially useless, which is a weakness of this strategy.
In these cases you should try to take down the Cannons as fast as possible at all costs, even if you have to sacrifice a few Zookas to do it.
Against other bases, where your Heavies can survive more than one hit, positioning becomes very important. You want your Medics to keep your Heavies alive, but you should also try to keep them from getting hit themselves.
Since Medics cannot be controlled directly with Flares, deploy them a second or two after your Heavies. More importantly, Zookas have a habit of getting closer to their targets than necessary; keep them out of range and keep your Heavies between them and the base’s defenses.