The following article is a strategy to both counter massed air rushes and use them against the opponent.
Step 1 - Grow your hiveEdit
Now the first thing you should be doing is finding out what your adversary is doing. Building Radar helps determine if the enemy is building air or land units. If land massing is the idea, do not use this strategy, but if gunships are multiplying like bacteria, follow this guide. (If your radar does not cover the enemies base, send a fighter to scout!)
Start off by building a basic base, but be sure to get a Air Factory up as quick as possible. You should begin pumping out fighters immediately, as they are integral to this strategy. They are much cheaper than Anti-Air Towers and tend to be more efficient at taking down enemy air units. Be sure to set your air factories on repeat to streamline your fighter production while you use your ACU or Engineers to make Research Stations. While doing this, be sure to research the shield upgrades, increased firepower, and the training upgrades for your air units. In the writers experience, a small group of Wasps can defeat a force up to three times larger than itself while sustaining minimal casualties. By making all these fighters, you are in-effect making a veritable "Bee Hive" of Wasps (or a comparable fighter/bomber) above your base. This will give you breathing room to research and build up, while the would-be air-rusher should wondering why your small group of fighters are holding his assault. Most inexperienced rushers tend to forget their upgrades, thereby placing them at a disadvantage to your smaller, yet superior force.
Step 2 - Sting backEdit
If your opponent is inexperienced or lazy, they will keep throwing the same air units with minimal upgrades at your base. This is where you begin to research and build the nuclear missile facility. If the enemy is preoccupied with your air force, you can easily get a silo up. If he adapts for ground units, switch to gunships. By now if you are successful, you will have built a nuke silo and have built a missile or two. If you couldn't get a silo up for some reason, try sending a group of gunships discretely around the map to harass the enemy and ideally buy enough time for you to get a nuclear facility up and running. Hopefully your "Bee-Hive" will keep the enemy at bay and keep you base safe while also providing a steady flow of units to control the map. Once you have your nuclear missiles, you can leave a painful reminder of why impatience can never best cold, calculated strategy.
If your enemy is not inexperienced or lazy and responds by switching to land units, you need to know how to respond. Your response depends entirely on what faction you are playing as well as what strategy your opponent switches to after failing his/her air assault:
- If you are playing Cybran or Illuminate, then your fighters are also bombers, allowing you to turn your air defense force into a deadly attack force with ease. Use your fighter/bombers to take out every unprotected enemy building, giving massive preference to killing factories and mass points. Get flares at this point if Illuminate, as they allow a mass of fighter/bombers to fly over lots of aa with minimal casualties as long as you don't slow them down. This works best if you can kill your target in a single pass and then continue flying right on out of the enemy base.
- If you are UEF, then your fighters are now useless for anything other then scouting. Keep them in reserve in case they try building aircraft again and immediately begin building gunships. 10+gunships can take out a lot of land units before getting shot down, and the more you have the more slanted the equation becomes.
- If they start building nothing but masses of anti-air and mobile shield generators, or masses of ACV Adaptors, then unless you can kill them before they reach critical mass you will likely have to abandon your air strategy. This can actually work in your favor, for if you turn off all your air factories and start spamming land units, your enemy can be tricked into facing your all land force with an army consisting of mostly anti-air, which will be demolished by your newly minted land force.