Ryan Thomas enjoys playing "Wargame: Red Dragon" as his main strategy game, particularly as France and Czechoslovakia.
Any RTS game has its best and its worst units: none can be perfectly balanced. Wargame: Red Dragon has more than most with over 2,000 units. While it generally does a decent enough job at balancing most units (even if DLC units often aren't), there are plenty that slip through the cracks. It's a hard choice actually to choose the worst units since there are so many: some types are just inherently bad, like cheap ATGM carriers which don't match Wargame's meta, or cheap MANPADS which, due to the mechanics of infantry transports, are generally not so cheap as to merit their use. But there are some which sink below even the general limitations of their categories to achieve genuine wretchedness or simply stand out for being so much worse than they could be that they deserve to be ranked in a listing of the worst units. So here it is, the worst 10 units in Wargame: Red Dragon!
#10 - Mig-21Bis (North Korea)
In theory, the Mig-21Bis, and its counterpart the Mig-21PFM, doesn't look like that bad of a unit. Sure, it has awful accuracy, at just 30%, on its main weapon, the Kh-66 ATGM, but it has decent ECM for its low price, just 85 points, the Kh-66 has 28 AP, it has decent air-to-air weapons with its cannon and infrared missiles, it has good maneuverability, and it is blisteringly fast at 1,000 kilometers per hour. With range scaling, the second missile would even have pretty good accuracy!
Except that is, for the fact that one will never be able to shoot off this second missile, since the high speed of the plane, combined with short ranged missiles, means that it never is able to fire its second missile during an attack run. Instead it only fires one, at maximum range, and then has to laboriously circle around to try again. Since this is suicide in front of any reasonable AA, and not very effective anyway - just 2 low accuracy missiles - it makes for a horrendously overpriced, at 85 points, way to delivery 1 low accuracy AT missile. The Mig-21PFM is about as bad, but at least at 65 points it is somewhat more cost effective. Either way, the Su-25K is the better AT option as North Korea, since at least it will get a few missiles (as well as strafing fire) off during its attack. Balancing the Mig-21Bis and PFM would be pretty simple, with cutting costs by 15 to 20 points and reducing the armament to just 1 missile, but this will probably never happen.
#9 - Sonderwagen
Few good or very good optics armed reconnaissance vehicles are actively bad. Sure, jeeps are pretty useless - why would you use them over reconnaissance infantry? But they give screening forces to detect the enemy during the opening. 15 point reconnaissance vehicles like the OT-65A Vydra might be bad, but they serve a role. But the Sonderwagen III is a unit which is just as bad at fighting, with an awful low velocity, low range, HEAT gun with pitiful damage output, but which manages to cost 20 point. 20 points for a piece of junk like the Sonderwagen is simply sad when for simply another 5 points, one can get the excellent Luchs armed reconnaissance vehicle. At least it can, as mentioned, procide screening forces, but it pays a hefty penalty for this compared to other units.
#8 - LAV-25 FSV
It's hard to overestimate just how good the Finnish XA-185 KT IFV is, with a 15 point ultra fast wheeled vehicle with cheap spam infantry packing two weapons capable of firing at the same time - a .50 machine gun, but above all else the blazingly powerful 30mm Bushmaster II autocannon, one of the best in the game. Compare this to the LAV 25 FSV, found in the vehicle tab rather than the infantry tab admittedly - which for 10 points more gets the atrociously underpowered Bushmaster autocannon, with an awful rate of fire, worse accuracy, and far inferior armor penetration. True, comparing it to the best wheeled transport in the game is unfair, but even compared to the LAV 25 scout, the same vehicle but with stealth and good optics, but the LAV 25 FSV is completely inferior - a vehicle which serves no real role and has no use, worse than all its competitors.
Have you ever dreamed of buying artillery with the explosive effect of, and range barely better than, mortars, extremely mediocre accuracy, and for a price of actually useful equivalent base howitzers? Dream no further, for the M108 is here! Base howitzers, with their long aim time and poor accuracy, are of questionable use in Wargame, Red Dragon, useful only for saturation bombardment of large targets, but the M108 takes this lack of usefulness to a whole new level, with a painfully inadequate HE round that makes it barely better than mortars - and its terrible range means it has to effectively act like a mortar, just without their accuracy and aiming time. Even the French AMX-13 AU 105mm at least gets better accuracy.
#6 MD 5000 Susong-Po
Choosing among the legions of cheap ATGM helicopters in Wargame: Red Dragon for the worst of the worst is hard. Is it base TOW-equipped helicopters, with their 15 AP which struggles to scratch the paint of enemy tanks? No - at least they have decent accuracy and good range. Is it the SS-11 equipped helicopters? Maybe, they have awful range and accuracy, but at least 17 AP means that they can one shot 2 and 3 armor enemy units. The prize probably goes to North Korea's MD 5000 Susong-Po, which only has the Susong Po missile - with atrocious speed, bad range, and if its accuracy is better than the SS-11, still mediocre, and above all else just 14 AP, which makes even scratching the paint of enemy tanks questionable. Sadly this is about as good as it gets for North Korean helicopter ATGMs, since while the Fleyta on the Mi-25 at least gets 16 AP, it suffers from a significant reduction in accuracy.
#5 F35 Draken (Denmark)
There was a time when the Swedish SK 60B was a premier strike aircraft in Wargame, with 2 guided rockets with major explosive payloads, capable of being fired directly at a target, and used as a sort of cruise missile or a cheap and cheerful version of laser guided bombs. Unfortunately, this was either nerfed or bugged in later versions, and the SK 60B now almost always misses with its missiles and so it only sees some intermittent use in specific maps like Mud Fight, where an exploit with its missiles means that it can fire position from the edge of the map and shoot its missiles as cruise missiles at long range - but this is difficult to do.
But worse than this is the Danish F-35 Draken. No - not the F-35 JSF. The Danish F-35, equipped with similar guided HE missiles, but with even worse accuracy, the same bugs, and a steep 100 point cost. For just a little bit more one could get a far better bomber, or for quite a lot less a rocket plane which does about the same job. It makes the F-35 into a terribly mediocre aircraft, one which costs far too much for what it does.
For a long time Eugen Systems was more focused on their WW2 games - Steel Division and Steel Division II. They've come crawling back to Wargame with a South Africa DLC, but maybe there's still hope for Steel Division, since so many of its units are found in Wargame too! Case in point, the M24. This Norwegian tank is the M24 Chaffee of WW2 vintage, and the weakest tank in the game. A 1,575 meter range gun with 6 rounds per minute, 4 AP, 2 HE, and 40% accuracy as well as a Browning HMG makes it far worse armed than the other famous WW2 tank in-game, the T-34, worse even than the Finnish Sturmi (Stug), and the chassis doesn't do anything to help out, with 2 front and 1 side armor, poor speed, and 200 kilometer range. Compare this to the M14, another 10 point light tank, which gets a stabilizer, if a bad one, for the main gun, 4 more AP, 5 more in fact with the expanded range to 1,750 meters, 2 more rounds per minute, better speed, and even more ammunition, since 24 rounds on the M24 is mediocre - although it probably won't survive long enough to make use of them anyway. The M24 struggles to be cost effective and efficient even killing 5 point transports, and dies to enemy IFVs too: a downright terrible unit.
#3 BRDM-1 HJ-73
Anti-tank missiles in Wargame have their speed determined not by their historical speeds, but rather, for the most part, by their guidance. Some of them are slower than others in the same category, but generally it is the categories of MCLOS, SACLOS, and SALH that determine missile speed, and these go up from slowest to fastest accordingly. The fastest missiles, such as Hellfires, Spikes, Vikhr, or Nimrod, are very fast indeed, blisteringly so at 1,400 to 2,500 (presumably kilometers per hour but Wargame has some degree of distance compression): the slowest, the, SS-11, Malyutka and its Chinese equivalent, the HJ-73, only get 400. This is the key factor which kills the usability of the Chinese BRDM-1 HJ-73, equipped with just this missile.
ATGM vehicles in Wargame, especially 2,450 meter range ones, are already of doubtful utility - most of the time, enemy vehicles can just close the range and kill them before they actually manage to hit the target with the missile, and only reconnaissance vehicles with some stealth might be able to stay hidden and prevent this. But the BRDM-1 HJ-73 takes this to an entirely new level of bad, since even if it does hit, it only has 14 AP - making it all but useless against enemy tanks. Add on 40% accuracy, and it makes for one of the worst tank destroyers in the game.
#2 - Blowpipe
During the Falklands War large amounts of the blowpipe missile were fired, at least 95 on the British side and more on the Argentinian side, resulting in a combined total of some 10 kills - although only 1 with certainty could be really attributed to the Blowpipe, and almost all of the kills were against low and slow enemy aircraft, and all without ECM. More than half of the launches outright failed. Wargame Red Dragon's Blowpipe has long been infamously ineffective, just like its real life equivalent. With a range of just 2,100 meters against helicopters, and an anti-plane range of 1,680 meters, they are outranged by 122mm rocket pod-armed helicopters, and have the thoroughly atrocious accuracy of just 20%. 4 HE means that, alongside their terrible anti-plane range, they will be almost useless against aircraft - and the same goes for Soviet Hinds, with their 10HP. Worst of all, their missile is MCLOS, meaning that if they lose line of sight to the target, the missile will miss. This is the killer which makes them worse than other base MANPADS such as the Redeye or the Strela.
The Blowpipe's only real use is serving as flanking protection, scattering around one's flanks to deal with enemy infiltrating helicopters and providing pickets against infiltrating infantry. But their accuracy is so low and they take up such a valuable spot, an infantry one, that they merit being labeled one of the worst units in the game.
#1 - BM-24 (napalm)
Almost all of the units here have at least some use, or can shine in some circumstance. The Mig-21bis can at least kill any tank from the side. The Sonderwagen at least performs the role of screening. The LAV-25 FSV is a bad flank protector but it can do the job. The M108 can, inadequately, fulfill the role of artillery on smaller maps. CH-118s might be able to provide a helicopter rush. Drakens can hit sometime, if not often, and bugged versions can even provide a less cost effective version of long range artillery support. M24s can kill transports. Malytukas can do the same. Blowpipes are useful flank protection. They are all bad, but they can do something at least.
But the BM-24 is a unit where one would be hard pressed to even do that, since this napalm artillery unit, even massed with an entire card of them, will struggle to kill a single unit of enemy troops - in fact, even massed fire from multiple decks fails to achieve anything of note. The BM-24 just leaves blossoms of fire on the ground that are so small that enemy troops easily move out of them, almost without damage. Unlike napalm bombers, or the Israeli MAR-240, it doesn't produce solid areas of flame which heavily damage enemy infantry. Theoretically, they might be useful to block line of sight in some regions, equivalent to smoke rocket artillery - but much of the time this smoke rocket artillery is done to permit an advance across the terrain, so little beads of napalm naturally impedes that somewhat. It makes for a unit which is singlehandedly useless, and which takes up a key support slot which in almost any deck could go for far better alternatives.