UEF Strategy ReferenceEdit
Supreme Commander 2 has varied and flexible methods for winning as any of the three races. UEF is commonly regarded as stronger in the early-mid game as opposed to end game relative to the other races. This is in part due to the lack of convincing late game experimentals that can be fielded by the UEF. Army composition is therefore more likely to be weaker for UEF in any given army vs army encounter against a non UEF race the longer the game persists. For this reason, competitive UEF strategies seek to optimise positional and unit count advantages as early in the game as possible.
Common strategies used in competitive playEdit
- Land rush
- Artillery turtle
- ACU rush (not recommended)
- Air harassment
- Air Rush
- Fatboy rush
- 'Booming' turtle
For the sake of definitions, a rush is a tactic that seeks to be most effective due to a lack of preparedness on the opponents part in the construction of a specific countering to it. For example, an air attack against a player who was planning to build anti-air but has not built them as yet is considered an air based rush.
A 'Land rush' is the most common strategy used by players in general for small maps. The premise is to assassinate the ACU using superior numbers of ground troops early in the game; to quickly position units to undermine an opponent's economy; or to simply overwhelm the enemy military with superior land military of your own early in the game.
A land rush, as with all strategies, should only be dedicated to by an player with intel. It would do you no good to spend your initial resources on the construction of 20 rockheads and mobile missile launchers only to meet a force of enemy fighter/bombers or gunships. Therefore, one of the first buildings that should always be built by any player in SupCom2 is a radar installation.
The build order starting out should comprise of no more than 3-5 power stations, no more than 1-2 research stations, and no less than 3 land factories. After each land factory is complete, it should be queued with the desired units set to repeat. It is important that the ACU travels with the army. Encountering an enemy army with a defending ACU will generally spell defeat unless the army is significantly smaller than the offender's. The ACU's role is to build turrets during battle to solidify the push, and additional land factories at the front to quickly replenish lost forces.
Mobile missile launchers are required to prevent enemy turrets creating a defensive line, and demolisher artillery is recommended if the player doesn't plan on pursuing the mass conversion path for potential mid-late game.
Employing the UEF's wide range of artillery options, a player is able to simply bombard enemy players into the ground without actually setting foot into their base. An artillery turtle requires significant research and defensive structures. At the start of the game, the player needs to work out if they are going to be attacked early. As a general rule of thumb, there should always be some factory producing units at all points of the game, and a turtle is no exception. A competent opponent will not be stopped by turrets and shields alone.
The initial build utilizes no less than 2-3 research stations at the very start and a factory of the player's choice, usually land. After scouting or using intel to determine the opponent's army composition and game-play strategy, each build must be made to specifically counter it. If the enemy builds air, anti-air is required. The idea is not to outdo their own production and hence destroy their base, but rather make it impractical to assault your own base. Harassment of enemy buildings or units goes a long way to drawing the game out against a rush tactic.
Research centres are the centre of the artillery turtle. Research can be acquired through warfare, however as this inevitably requires commitment to the land/air tech trees, this is not recommended. The tech tree of sole interest is the structures tree. The first researches should pursue directly towards mass conversion. The mass converter is essential for catching up with the production capacities of the opponents, who presumably did not spend so much of their early game economy on research.
At about 6-8 minutes into the game, the player should be pushing past 500 energy per second and escalating this higher all the while converting mass to build multiple long range artillery stations. Simultaneously, no less than 5-6 factories will need to be built for the sake of catching up to the opponents military might and research towards experimentals. At 11-13 minutes artillery shells should be destroying their base. Technically, artillery can be achieved much earlier than this, however this would compromise the players ability to withstand a full assault from a rushing opponent.
As soon as the artillery comes online, the opponent is forced to attack you. Keep in mind that artillery does massive damage to clusters of troops, and can be used to offset a numerical disadvantage that you would have likely incurred.
Artillery turtles are most effective in multiplayer FFA, where no single individual is committed to your immediate destruction. However, shelling multiple enemy players is not recommended for obvious reasons. The closest enemy player should always be the target of engagement.
When Supreme commander 2 was first released, the ACU was a formidable fighter in it's own right. A latter update nerfed it's military capacity and hence much of it is dependent upon research. It is no longer considered viable to rush an enemy base with an ACU, as the counter to it is to simply build turrets under a factory shield.
Since an ACU rush against a completely unprepared opponent would theoretically be effective, the details of how this rush used to work are detailed here.
The initial build is very minimalist. With an ACU and two engineers, the standard grab of the 4 mass points is the first step. Following that, the ACU and one of the engineers needs to head directly towards the enemy base as fast as they can. A radar installation should be constructed along the way. The engineer left behind needs to seize more mass points. When the ACU reaches the enemy base, all the mass that hasn't been spent on anything so far needs to be spent on the construction of turrets. Presumably the opponent has spent their initial resources on something else, like research stations or factories. If you are lucky they might have wasted it on building 8 or so power stations. Equipped with turrets that your opponent cannot afford, your ACU and turrets should be able to destroy the native buildings. Your ACU is going to take damage when doing this, which is why an engineer has come along -to provide repair assistance.
It must be stressed that an ACU rush is easy to counter and won't work against an informed opponent, ie a player who built research stations and saw the attack inbound.
Air Harassment is a supplementary strategy used in conjunction with land forces in order to destroy early game economies of the enemy. Since all races have reasonably strong counters to air, a full dedication of an air assault would risk being completely dismantled by an informed opponent, ie one who built radar stations or scouted and saw the initial build. That being said, mass extractors outside the core four are extremely hard to defend against air attacks. Anti-Air turrets are expensive and can be overwhelmed, ground anti-air is slow and impractical to split up and any attempt of the enemy to build their own air to counter yours would be entirely reactionary -giving you the first builder's advantage.
Using air in conjunction with ground is favored by many online players. The initial build should follow the land rush strategy except with the use of less factories and only air factories at the start, until ground becomes desirable. In some instances that might be immediately, whereas in others it might be more practical to funnel resources into aircraft alone. This all depends on what you learn from your intel, which is so important of a structure that this article is going to emphasise it several more times throughout each listed strategy.
The use of air should be to destroy outlying mass extractors and destroy rouge armies without anti-air units. If your intel indicates that the enemy has not noticed your initial air focus, then it is entirely possible to turn your air harassment strategy into a pure air rush and snipe the enemy ACU with gunships. Bomber's are not recommended due to being weak and requiring long overpasses.
Unfortunately for the UEF, fighters and bombers are two different units. If the enemy builds 2 fighter/bombers, a fighter and a bomber of yours would lose to them. It is recommended that a player seeking to employ air should focus on a fighter/gunship combination, with the number of fighters proportional to the amount of air the opponent builds. Air attacks as UEF are made more difficult and expensive by this unit distinction, however it has it's own advantages. 10 UEF fighters will defeat 10 fighter/bombers, hence making an effective counter to enemy air based strategies.
Air Rush Edit
An Air rush, as opposed to mere air harassment is a strategy that seeks to destroy an opponent via overwhelming numbers of aircraft. The general aim is to simply sit back and build enough gunships and wasps to sweep in and assassinate the enemy commander in a single strike.
The opening build is similar to the previous strategy except without any use for land factories. Wasps are to be built first as they are needed for scouting and are the only viable opening build. You don't want bombers as they aren't particularly effective in battle due to their sweeping motions.
Research should pursue gunships immediately. Once these are unlocked, a combined force of wasps and gunships will be sufficient to destroy your opponent's commander unless of course they don't build their own air. In which case you don't require your wasps.
By far the most overwhelming early game experimental is the UEF's fatboy. The Cybran's and Illuminate's own version is the Megalith and Seahunter respectively, based on accessibility. In a land based fight of two equal armies, one with megaliths or seahunters and one with fatboys, the army fielding fatboys will win. Fatboys have massive range and devastating area of attack. They can defeat either of the other two early game experimentals simply because they fire first, and will be firing at the enemy experimental for a while before the fatboy enters the opponent's range.
If it is apparent that a match is going to be slugged out almost entirely on land (you'll know because your radar installation won't show any triangles on or near the enemy base, or if you can't build that closely to them, your scout would show that they don't have enough factories to field an air battle), then fatboys are highly recommended. Before pursuing the fatboy line, it should be noted that they are expensive and will require plenty of mass. For this reason investment in mass conversion is essential.
A fatboy rush is not a rush that sends lone fatboys to an enemy base. No, fatboys must always be accompanied by a supporting army, as they are fragile and best used where the enemy cannot get to them easily. A competent player who builds up a large land rush (6+ factories) at the start of the game should be able to field fatboys at about 10-12 minutes. Size matters, the point of the fatboy rush is to simply overwhelm the enemy with firepower that they cannot hope to match even with 10+ factories spewing units to support their own megaliths or seahunters.
If the opponent made the mistake (didn't use intel effectively) of dedicating completely to a land assault against your own army with it's fatboys, you will find that your army will incur very few loses. The resultant research points will solidify you push all the way to the enemies base. Fatboys on automatic targeting tend to do fine. If you prefer to manually select their targets, the order of priority is thus:
- Enemy army
- Mass converters
- Defensive structures
- Unit production
- Economic structures.
A enemy production of the scale required to combat an army fielding fatboys would simply collapse if the enemy lost their mass converters. However winning the actual battle is the foremost priority hence why targeting mass converters comes second. Keep in mind that mass converters explode when they are destroyed. If the enemy built them all in a group, they will all be destroyed via chain explosion.
Your own mass converters are essential for this push. Build them in delocalised locations to prevent a total loss should an enemy attack on your base penetrate your defenses. Your engineers should be constantly building power stations from the moment you unlock the mass conversion research. One of the mistakes some newer players make is not building more engineers to match the resource output of your economy. You should always be broke, it means you are putting more things onto the battlefield that increase your chances of victory.
Since fatboys aren't cheap, large energy capacity with many mass converters is needed to make a fatboy rush. A single fatboy factory is not going to cut it. You need 4 or more land gantries, all of them constantly making fatboys. The first fatboy you make should be lumped with an army and sent straight to the enemy base. The idea is that more fatboys and more troops follow as your capacity to convert energy to mass increases. The attrition rate is in your favour due to the devastating area of attack of the fatboys, hence your unit count should be increasing at a faster rate than the opponent's.
The key is mass converters, and it is the core idea behind the booming turtle.
A strategy that is favoured by players who don't like to attack each other early is a pure economic focus tactic. Whatever resources would be spent on military is instead spent on research centres. This research is then applied towards to pursuit of early mass converters. Large quantities of engineers are required to build up energy generation to 700+ before the player begins a tech switch towards a specific other strategy.
An example of this strategy in use is in a typical 3v3 game, where two players protect the turtle so that he can mass produce artillery structures before anyone else. After building upwards of 20 long range cannons, any disadvantage the defending 2 players experienced is extinguished by massive firepower tearing into the enemy bases themselves.
A booming turtle in 1v1 is not viable, unless your intel suggests the utter absence of enemy military.
Utilise your intelEdit
Knowledge is power. Always scout the enemy base and build radar stations. Always know their unit compositions, number of factories, location of mass converters, location of gantries, position of forces, control of map, ACU protection etc.
Your strategy should ideally play to the opponents weakness. However it's only possible to do this if you know what they are doing. Further specific tactics such as those used to gain positional advantage and undermine the opponents outlying mass extractors rely entirely on knowing where the enemy forces are not. A player who does not scout or use intel is playing blindly.
"If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril." ~Sun Tzu