Type: Fighting Concept
Works best with: Hardcore 1HK teams, although a watered-down version applies to any kind of fight, not just with water!
You are a commander of a team. You have retreated to a fortified position and intend to wait for the enemy to attack it. You chose to move there on your own, the enemy did not force you back. Well, you just gave away the initiative and will pay for that loss!
The initiative in a water war is a somewhat abstract concept. Dictionary definitions include:
A term that describes an advantage held by player who has the ability to control the game. The player without the initiative is often left no choice but to play defensively.
If your opponent's first priority is responding to you, you have the initiative. It's the dynamic element of being the Agressor instead of the Defender and is not necessarily a factor of positional or material advantage! Getting the initiative is the trick - consider the point below: Attacking - Attacking is a sure way to seize the initiative, just make sure the attack makes sense!
Nothing is more important than the initiative in a water war: not range, not output, not troop strength, nothing. Taking the initiative wins water wars, wins chess matches, wins lots of things. Think about the impact of momentum and intelligent aggression in football games! The initiative has even decided the outcome of famous battles throughout history such as the likes of Gettysburg.
As the dictionary definitions say, the initiative is basically the ability to control the battle, often via a [smartly made] showing of offense. It also involves control of the momentum of the battle and causing the enemy to react to you.
Suppose you have scored kills, driving the enemy from a position. You attack again, and the same happens. The momentum is well in your favor, and you have the initiative. You are setting the battle's tempo and have all the momentum. Of course this can change, if the enemy rallies and stops your advance, then you will lose the initiative. If the enemy starts making a stiff defense, successful counter-attacks, etc. they can shift the momentum and take back the initiative. This will get them back into the war and increase their chances of winning.
Sitting in a fort when you don't have to is bad, "camping" in one spot when you don't have to is not great either. When you have the initiative/want to take it, you should actively seek out the enemy and force a fight. When you have firm control of the initiative, your enemy is more likely to run and/or retreat. If they see that control of the battle is contested/contestable, they will fight harder and more lively. The initiative is really an extension of the physical battle into the brain, you don't think about it too much, but it determines the battle more times than not. The way you react in a given situation can be traced right to the status of the initiative.
When two teams try to control the battle with equal might, you get one crazy war! It is filled with offense, fighting, kills, and chaos. Those are the most fun type of wars, and you post scores like 8-7 unlike battles where one team has the initiative much of the time and crushes the other. Such as some 5-0, 5-2 victories we've had.
As stated in the dictionary, attacking often helps get the initiative if you don't have it, and helps you to keep it if you do. If you can get the enemy to do nothing but defend and try to counter your actions again and again, you have succeeded to great effect. If they are just reacting to you, they will most likely lose. Of course, you need to attack wisely and execute your offensive tactics well. Keeping the initiative is easy as long as you don't trip up or let early success go to your head. Arrogant teams tend to lose the initiative quite a bit due to underestimation of the determination of a team desperately fighting momentum against them.
Momentum and the Initiative are not interchangable ideas. Momentum is merely a piece of the Initiative, a big component however. Control of the battle requires all of the things that come with the Initiative. You can clearly tell if you don't have all of them: the battle will be even.
One last thing about Tempo. Another important component and one that anyone can control in the beginning of the battle. You can fight a slow, easy-going, lackadaiscal style war, or you can fight an intense, action-packed one, or a slow moving action-packed one. The choice should depend on the situation, like going easy if you are way ahead, or trying to slow the battle down if you lack momentum.
So there you go. Food for thought, especially if you never considered how complex a water fight could be. War is waged in the mind as well as on the battlefield. In the abstract as well as the real. So if anyone asks you what the most important thing to have in a water fight is, you will respond...a water gun of course! But in all seriousness, you can vastly improve your chances of winning armed with the concepts of the initiative. When you start fighting with these in mind, you've discovered a whole new world and a whole new level of the hobby!
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