OpenRA Strategy Thread and Guides

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OpenRA Strategy Thread and Guides

Post by OMnom »

Queue 50 pillboxes. Salt. Pepper. Art of RA. Done.


...just kidding.

For reals though, I thought it would be nice to make a compilation of useful build orders, basic strategy tips, and meta game thoughts so newer players don't have to go through what I went through to learn how to play this game. Hopefully, this will motivate some newbies to learn the game instead of trying to spam artillery... I'll start with some basics information.

I. Hotkeys and commands

Settings > Inputs. Go look them up and remember them. Credit to Gatekeeper for going through the effort to list this information. Some things of note:

Ctrl + # = Sets hotkey for a unit or an army. Press that number to call that army. Double press that number to center screen on that army.

A: Attack move. #1 key you need to learn! Always attack move scouts/armies (For better engagements), never attack move aircraft unless you actually want them to fire!

S: Stop command. #2 key you need to learn. Stop armies when: they are engaged and are getting flanked. Or when Aircraft appears, after a stop command AA units will prioritize air targets above ground targets. Dont stop move if enemy aircraft is going for suicide attempts. Rather use regular move orders/forcefire ground targets at this point.

Alt: Usefull for loading inf into multiple APC's at the same time. Also functions as a force move command. negating any firing orders, handy for curshing inf blobs with apc's/light tanks.

Shift: Holding shift or pressing a shift+command allows you to queue orders. Handy for engineers in particular. Also handy for queue up an unpack order for an mcv after moving to new base site. (Crushing can also be combined with shift commands for setting out a path through the inf blob and out of the combat zone, or for multiple drive-by's). Also, this is how you teleport chrono tanks.

Z: Sell mode, instead of moving over your mouse towards the hotbar you can also press this button

X: Power-down mode, same as Z, handy in a power emergency.

C: Repair mode, ^Same. BUT, I think most people don't know that clicking on a damaged vehicle with this tool sends them towards the service depot.

F: on hinds/yaks this button will send them back towards an helipad/airfield to reload their ammo. Set rally points with your all your helipad/airfield (W button Wink) on a certain safe point on the map where they gather after reloading, so you can pick up rearmed aircraft there when you need some.

E: Buildings tab on hotbar. If you have a building ready, pressing this button will also equip the building to your cursor allowing you to place it. Handy for quicker placement of buildings.

R: Defense Tab on hotbar. Works the same as E mentioned above.

T: Infantry Tab on hotbar. Works the same as E and R as mentioned above.

Q: selects all combat units on screen (no harvesters, engie, or MCV). Double press Q to select all combat units on map.

W: select all units of same type. If you select a rifleman, then a tank, then press W, you will select all riflemen and all tanks. Very useful for sorting your army out, highly suggest players to learn and love this button.

B: place beacon. Hit space bar to return to beacon. Useful when you decide to move out with your original MCV.

M - mute button. Because no one ever pays attention to this one and they always wonder why the sound disappeared.

II. Build Orders

Every newbie's favorite subject. I'll separate this into early, middle, and late game. Note that these are the most common / rough build orders, and that I am not going to include exact unit counts, with the exception of harvesters, because that will take up too much space and it would be easier to learn that part through gameplay and replay review.


Abbreviations: PP = power plant, Rax = Barracks, Ref = Refinery, WF = War Factory, SD = Service Depot

WF first

PP > Rax > Ref > Wf (3 harvesters) > PP > Ref

+Best eco start and scaling
+Best scouting with fast ranger/flak truck
-Cannot build large amounts of infantry early; weak early game map control
-You may run out of money when you are trying to build 2nd harvester and 2nd refinery at the same time


PP > Rax > Ref > Ref> PP > WF (2 harvesters)

+Safest build, smoother scaling, and best early game map control
+Best flexibility for rushing or defending; great for unfamiliar maps
-You will end up with 1 less harvester or a very late MCV, as compared to WF first
-If you lose your early army, you have no advantage going into midgame.


This are, again, by no means set in stone; they're just rough build orders that I've found to work from time to time. The current meta currently revolves around the Eco continuation and the Timing Attack continuation after the initial WF first or 2Ref


Ref > SD > PP > Rax > Rax > Ref

+Most popular middle game continuation
+"Fastest" MCV possible with good eco
-Easily exploited by most rushes

Timing attack

Rax > Rax > PP > SD > Rax > Ref
+Can inflict massive damage to greedy expansions if unscouted.
+Very good "all purpose" build on new or weird maps
-Semi all-in; if your army dies, you will have problems expanding

You greedy bastard

Ref > SD > PP > Ref > Rax/Ref > Rax
+Gives you more money than you can spend
-Very difficult and to get away with this on most maps
-Impossible to spend all the money you earn

I'm an arty noob

Ref > SD > Radar Dome > PP > Rax > Ref
+A viable opener for Soviets with V2s.
-usually requires moving out original MCV to keep eco healthy.
-this will start artillery and static defense wars


build more artillery More on this later.

III. Basic Tactics

Like the 5 basic elements, there are 5 things to consider when trying to figure out if you're going to win a fight. These are, in relative order of importance : 1) line of sight, 2) macro, 3) army composition, 4) defender's advantage, and 5) micro.

1. Line of sight.

Any moving unit will have less line of sight than a stationary unit with the same vision range. All units have a firing range greater than their line of sight. This is especially important regarding infantry fights and how the A-move command works. If you are the attacker, make sure you have line of sight to minimize your losses. If you are the defender, denying your opponent line of sight is a good way of scaring him off. Knowing if you're going to win the battle is half the battle right there.

2. Macro

Self explanatory.

3. Army composition

Early game, you want an excess of rifles with 3-7 rocket soldiers for armored units. From here, it's pretty situational as to how you want to build your army. A lower ratio of rifles to rockets does more dps, but is more expensive to maintain. Vice versa for higher ratios. Personally, I think making a decent mass of rifles before massing rockets is better, since it makes it easier to keep your rocket soldiers alive.

4. Defender's / home-court advantage

Aka...base pushing and pillboxes! If you want a way to tip the scales of battle in your favor, just build some buildings (and pillboxes) in front of their army. With the upcoming nerf, this (hopefully) won't be as big a deal, but static defenses, stat wise, are very cost efficient for what they give you, with the obvious downside that they can't move. Not a problem if you build them in the middle of the battle though. Building barracks and power plants in the middle of the battle is good too, since they act as meat shields for your army.

Walls are good too :3

5. Micro

The micro in this game is really not that intense. However, something worth noting is that there is between 300-1000ms delay, from when you issue your order to when the unit is actually executing your order. That range is really large because it has a lot to do with latency, the distance the players are from the servers, etc.
When it comes to vehicles, a new move/a-move command will make the unit freeze for a second, redirect itself, and then it'll execute the new move command. In general, it'd be better to just have everything done by 1 command, not by spamming 10 commands.

The same goes for infantry. A-moving will override whatever the unit was doing before, command the unit to move, and then attack, in that order, with some lag. So, in general, don't spam a-move when your units are already firing! This is also one reason why stop micro is better than a-move for getting your units to fire on the right target. An exception would be for rocket soldiers to focus fire tanks, since their reload delay is really long anyways

General rule of thumb: if you have the advantage in 3 of the 5, you're probably going to win the engagement. If you have fewer than 3 advantages, it's difficult to tell who will win the engagement. Therefore, it's important to make sure you have as much control over these factors, especially the first 3. More importantly, it's important to know where your advantages/disadvantages are and how you can play around them accordingly.

IV. Basic Game Sense

What are you reading this for? Play the game! No one can tell you what to be thinking and building while you're actually playing the game.

V. Basic RTS Strategy

...okay fine I will share some basic RTS theory though. Everyone knows that Money -> units -> fuck shit up -> profit $$. But there are some nuances that all/most RTS games share, and OpenRA is no exception. Disclaimer: these are general rules that apply to other RTS games and may or may not have an impact on OpenRA games, so viewer (reader?) discretion is advised.

-It is generally a better idea to invest all possible resources towards one particular branch rather than splitting your resources between all possible branches.

In this game, production facilities, economy, and tech is all linked to one building -- the construction yard. On top of that, your economy and half (or 1/3) of your fighting force is linked to the war factory. If you were to eco up, it's a much better idea to be building refs + harvesters at the same time instead of refs + medium tanks or barracks + harvesters. Likewise, building barracks + harvesters is not as good of an idea as barracks + tanks/MCVs.

This is mostly econ 101/game theory, but basically, there's a timing window where you are at your weakest (building eco/tech), and splitting your resources makes this timing window larger and makes your army build up slower. You want to hit your max/acceptable scaling potential of one particular aspect of your army as quickly as you can before proceeding to the next. This is one reason why mass infantry is so popular; since infantry is so cheap, it doesn't dramatically affect how quickly you can hit your eco ceiling.

-Don't send any more units than you have to. If you're going up against a superior army, you want to divide your army and attack elsewhere. If you have the superior army, you want to attack multiple fronts take the objective as quickly as you can.

A watered down version of the Art of War. There are lot of things one can apply from that book to this game, but I think this idea is the most relevant. If you have a superior army, you don't want to be battling for any longer than you have to. The longer you fight, the quicker you get whittled down, especially by artillery units. So, in these cases, it's a better idea to do a 2-pronged attack on one front, as compared to just doing one massive a-move attack on a smaller front.

If you have an inferior army, it's better to use guerrilla tactics and try to trade as cost effectively as you can with your smaller army, while at the same time, you send multiple groups to take out as many of his eco lines as possible.
TL;DR : please stop sitting around with artillery when you can just go in and kill your opponent.


This is probably the weakest part of everyone's game, since there are not very many good ways to scout in this game. Both factions have access to unique scouting tools, but they're more of luxuries rather than reliable methods of scouting once you consider time and cost. The best one can do, as of now at least, is to camp strategic points so that you can track enemy movement, and to use aircraft. This is, however, rather inefficient and costly.

To all the seasoned vets and RAGL pros, please contribute your thoughts and to correct any poor advice...I am also a new player, and these are just the things I have learned in the past few months.

@Frenzy: this may have taken me longer than half an hour to write out
Last edited by OMnom on Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:56 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Post by Sleipnir »

There's also, which is a couple of years old / out of date. Perhaps this thread could be used as a starting point to modernize the wiki articles?

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Post by Doomsday »

Nice thread. If this is intended to new players, I would not use abbreviations like PP in build orders.

How about adding some basic "autopilot macro" in macro portion. Hotkey for barracks, shift clicking 5+5 or 10+5 rifle and rocket with some medics or flamers thrown in.

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Post by FRenzy »

@Frenzy: this may have taken me longer than half an hour to write out
Haha are you sure it didn't take you 5 minutes ? :lol:

Good job, I'll try to add some thoughts later on !

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Post by Gatekeeper »

Finally a thread worthy of signing in for to drop comments on (Looks towards the shittalk thread while still laughing about certain stupidities)

So, in random chaotic order, my two(hundred) cents:

First of all: There is never enough time to do all the micro! So make sure you split you attention properly. Only many hours of gameplay and rewatching your own replays trains you for this

Usefull Hotkeys :
(Not yet mentioned & If not rebinded)

A: Attack move. #1 key you need to learn! Always attack move scouts/armies (For better engagekments), never attack move aircraft unless you actually want them to fire!
S: Stop command. #2 key you need to learn. Stop armies when: they are engaged and are getting flanked. Or when Aircraft appears, after a stop command AA units will prioritize air targets above ground targets. Dont stop move if enemy aircraft is going for suicide attempts. Rather use regular move orders/forcefire ground targets at this point.
Shift: Also handy for queuing up an unpack order for an mcv after moving to new base site.
E: Buildings tab on hotbar. If you have a building ready, pressing this button will also equip the building to your cursor allowing you to place it. Handy for quicker placement of buildings.
R: Defense Tab on hotbar. Works the same as E mentioned above.

Basic Army control:

What role should which unit play?

Preferably a unit should attack something it's good against.
Rifles should focus inf,
rockets should focus tanks,
tanks should focus other tanks/vehicles (Or crush inf).
Arty/V2 should fire at inf blobs/buildings.
Air units should pick off easy targets, preferably arty/v2, scouts or do strikes at buildings in large enough numbers.

This is what individual units should do in combat situations. Sadly enough there is never enough time to give the correct commands to each individual unit. Therefor always try to eliminate the highest threat you perceive.

Quick solutions to problems encountered in engagements

Arty shells coming in? Go hunt/kill that arty with faster units(Air/vehicles) or make sure it's not killing your inf, by pulling these back.
Basedefenses (pillboxes/flametowers) killing your inf? Move a tank between your blob and the defense, or focusfire it.
Basedefences (Turrets/Tesla's) Killing your tanks, exposing your inf blob? Move your tanks back to avoid damage, or focusfire it.
To many basedefences? PULL BACK! Retreat is necessary from time to time. Regroup your soldiers and prepare for another attack. Preferably on another flank or bring in some Arty/V2's
Enemy army to big? Lure it into one of your defensive positions, leave a few rifle men behind to cover your retreat as they will slow down the enemy army.
Enemy tanks soaking damage from your inf blob? Make your rocket soldiers focusfire enemy tanks by using W on a rocket soldier, then Shift clicking the enemy tanks.

Army positioning on the field

Inf blobs are kinda your main damage dealer in the current meta. These units should form the hearth of your army.
Tanks are primarily to tank damage while your inf blob deals damage. They should be positioned on the front of your army
Arty is there to kill enemy inf blobs and shell down defensive structures, keep them in the back.
Air units are best kept on the flanks just slightly scouting the next enemy position, keeping them in check.

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Post by OMnom »

Lets turn newbies into sharpies!

Pointer #1: Macro

The trifecta of OpenRA macro, or rather, the macro in every RTS game are economy, scaling/tech power, and map control/vision. You have 5 main production tabs: Structures, defensive structures, infantry, vehicles, and aircraft (and navy, but we're going to ignore that for now).

However, your economy can only be supported by your vehicle and building tab, and on top of that, your scaling, which is defined as building additional barracks/WFs/helipads + their respective units, and tech can only be supported by your building tab! This creates a rather awkward problem when it comes to balancing tech, production, and economy with just one tab =/... The question we are going to try to answer now is, "How do I balance my build order after the first 12 buildings?"

The answer to that question, simply put, is this: Map control lets you get a better economy, economy lets you get better scaling, and scaling lets you get better map control. (note: in OpenRA, map control is tantamount to vision and line of sight).
When you're in a game, try to focus on just one of these tasks at a time. The trick to "macro multitasking" is to just do each individual task faster. Eventually, the speed of the game will force you to address all three of these in rapid succession, which is the ultimate goal.

Time for an example. Lets say we are playing as the Allied faction on Sidestep, and we currently have 4 Refineries (2 at the double ore, 1 at the single ore, 1 at the expansion), 6 harvesters, 3 MCVS, 3 barracks, and a WF. Our original MCV is where it started, our 2nd MCV is at the expansion, and our 3rd MCV just popped out from the WF. Where do we put our 3rd MCV and what do we build from here, besides spamming defensive structures?

Technically, what you do here is completely up to you, but I believe prioritizing scaling or map control should come before economy here; you already have 6 harvesters, 4 refineries and 3 ore patches; this should be able to sustain you with more than enough money for the next few minutes or so. Of course, if you're greedy and you get away with it, all the more power to you. Fair warning: be careful of your combinations! Trying to base push with refineries and tech buildings is typically not a good idea. Moving your map control in one direction while expanding in the other direction is a risky business if your opponent catches on. Improving your scaling and eco while ignoring map control is risky for similar reasons! Make sound decisions, and know where your weaknesses are.

Personally, I enjoy base pushing with barracks and PP's to kill two birds with one stone; forward barracks provides faster front-line reinforcements while giving map control over ore patches and choke points. Other players enjoy moving tank/infantry armies and denying expansions while expanding themselves. The general trend here, is that all strategically sound ideas will support at least 2 of the 3 tenets at the same time. Most newer and mid-tier players "tunnel vision" on one of these tasks for far to long, leaving other aspects of their macro infrastructure fragile. For instance, a good player will do a double sided attack with the hopes of ending the game right there. A top-tier player will do a double attack, follow with an MCV, build forward barracks, and expand behind that at the same time.

I hope that someone finds my ranting useful :3

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Post by FRenzy »

Very interesting and enjoyable to read.
Keep it up !

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Post by Murto the Ray »

Its important not to be focused on trying to have a build-order that is more than 8-10 buildings long (not including defences). After which you choose your structures based on the game state.

Your build order should only really be an opener to get you into the best position possible for your plan.

Your plan should be a simple aim for the whole match. This may be to out expand your opponent, crush your opponent with a huge army or to nuke them to death in the late game.

You shouldn't have a long build order because the control you and your opponent have on the match changes drastically throughout the game but mostly at the start, in those few buildings.

At the beginning your opponent can do very little to you and you can do very little to your opponent. This means you can use this time to do whatever you want. 8-10 buildings in is the threshold where your opponent can usually start to do things that will really affect you like consider expansion, start teching or building up an army big enough to take you out. AT this point you could also do these things and counter them or defend yourself. From this point onwards the number of possible things that could happen in the game is too large to be covered in a single build order. As long as you know how to keep your plan on track you'll be fine though.

If you focus too much on a long build order you will end up building structures that dont benefit you in the state of the game or building tech buildings when you know you should be building an army but you stick to it because "Its my build order!".

OMnom wrote: The trifecta of OpenRA macro, or rather, the macro in every RTS game are economy, scaling/tech power, and map control/vision. You have 5 main production tabs: Structures, defensive structures, infantry, vehicles, and aircraft (and navy, but we're going to ignore that for now).
This is the Trifecta of OpenRA in general and its very important. To expand on what you have said:

have two of the trifecta in mind at any time. Have one as your main objective and another as your secondary (you progress your secondary when you cant progress your main). Trying to focus on all three means you dont really have a strength in any category and so will be crushed by anyone who focuses on one/two at a time.

Tunnel vision is common but judging when to do a transition is a skill of its own. Transitions can win and lose games. They are a moment of weakness that needs to be performed when you cant be attacked. They can be feigned and used to draw opponents into an attack they cant win. Transitions are key to winning games vs competent players.

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Post by anjew »

is this intended for RA only?

I have a nice TD tip sheet with strats etc.

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Post by OMnom »

anjew wrote: is this intended for RA only?

I have a nice TD tip sheet with strats etc.
I originally intended this for RA only, but now that I think of it, it would be better if we expanded it to TD as well. It'll be nice for newer players to come to one thread and ask questions instead of having to redirect them to other threads.

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Post by OMnom »

I've attached a couple replays of Lorrydriver, Smitty, Barf, and myself showcasing some general strategy and build orders. I think they'll be okay with me releasing these replays, as these are rather short games that are not indicative of their respective playstyles.

The games are good to watch to learn general MCV placement and how to engage, what to do in a fight, and what not to do in a fight. I would suggest watching the replay twice, once from one player's point of view, and then switching to the other play's point of view. Take note of how differently the engagements look and what else is going on around them!

Also, if someone wants to post a replay of a game they have questions about, I'd be willing to go over some replays, provided that there is a detailed explanation of how and why the game was lost.
Replays to learn
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Post by Raishiwi »

OMnom wrote:
Walls are good too :3
Never change Omnom the Nomnom

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Post by anjew »

OpenRA TD NEWBIE TIPS by Insert Name:

1) Every game you play is being recorded. That way you can check later, what other players did and try to copy tactics that worked well. To Access replays, go to Main Menu->Extras->Replays

2) In TD (short for Tiberian Dawn - this mod) every factory has its own building queue. That means, that you can build units from every factory at the same time. To access the different queues, click the numbers in the building menu. Or just click the different factories. This means, that expanding to get more money is very important, to increase your output of tanks.

3) Try to not build silos for the above reason. Saving money does not win games. Building tanks does. Ignore the "Silos needed" sound - you do not lose money, by not being able to process tiberium. Harvesters only unload, when you have storage for the tiberium.

4) Build Refineries as close to Tiberium as possible. Time spent driving, is time spent not making money.

5) Press B+Click to place beacons. They make a PING sound. In addition, you can press Space to get to beacons instantly - for example to see, what your teammate wants you to see.

6) You can help repair buildings of your allies. Do that to keep your allies buildings alive.

7) One blossom tree produces enough tiberium for one harvester, long-term. However, you can have multiple harvesters around, as long as there is still enough tiberium left. Also, you should try to keep no more than 3 Harvesters per refinery. 2 Harvesters per refinery is even better.

8) Spamming tanks is usually the most standard way of playing. You usually can't do too much wrong with that.

9) Don't turtle. It doesn't work. Static defense is only useful in limited circumstances and mostly on chokey maps. Also, don't just build a barracks first and waste your money on infantry spam. Infantry supports tanks, but is bad as a main force. That being said, going aircraft is also not a good choice for your main force.

10) Press A+Click to order your units to attack-move. This is better than just move, because they will shoot at enemies they encounter, making them less vulnerable.

11) You can assign unit groups, by selecting units and pressing CRTL+Number. Double-Tapping said number will also automatically center your camera on the group, making managing multiple unit groups easier.

12) In the early game it is better to leave your defense structure waiting to be placed so you can respond to any threats if a player decides to rush you while you have few units.

13) Try not to build an MCV while you only have one war factory/airstrip as these take a lot of time and a lot money

14) Have some patience. TD waiting times can be quite long, depending on the time of the day and other factors. If you have no patience and want "games nao" then you'll probably prefer the RA mod. However this does not mean, you should simply go afk. If you leave for a bit, tell others beforehand. Also, if you're using windows, you can just use Alt+Tab to switch windows and do something else for a while, until a game starts. You'll probably hear lots of beeping, if the people in the chat want your attention.

OpenRA TD BUILD ORDERS by anjew:

The Insert Name Tank Special: This strategy will give you the earliest possible tanks with an eco to back it up. This can work in teamgames and 1v1. If you want to play this exactly like Insert, wait until you have 3 then attack the harvester line while you rally point any newly made tanks to back it up. The downside to this is you are extremely exposed to an attack yourself, even if you don't move all your units. A Nod early game rush almost completely counters this strategy. Some times it is better to wait until you can afford a defense structure (AGT) before moving out so you know that your harvester line is safe from recon bikes.
After the comm center I like to build another refinery and then barracks in order to spend the extra money you receive from having too few production buildings.

AoAGeneral, The Flamer: Nice strategy that can be very powerful but easily countered. This build is pretty much cheese except it comes a little bit too late and can end up with you covered in cheese. Can win a 1v1 and take care of a player in a teamgame easily. Can only be done with Nod
If you or a teammate can scout it will be very helpful, if you see a barracks be prepared to call off the rush as 1 Guard Tower shooting the right people can finish your prospects. After the flamers you will want to build a war factory/airstrip and a few harvesters as your eco will be very weak should the game not be over.

]last seen balance: A nice cheesy build that can be quite destructive in the right teamgames. This can only be done with GDI. After you complete the build you really need to get a war factory/airstrip and harvesters ASAP.
The trick to this build is click everything on time. After you place the commcenter you need to build 3 orcas from the first helipad then wait to build 2 more from the second helipad. You are able to begin your attacks with 3 orcas, aiming for harvesters etc. but 5 orcas will almost completely kill a harvester.

Binary Buggy Boy: Don't worry, you dont build that many buggies. This is pretty much the bread and butter of Nod. This build is very reactive, in other words, you need to see what your enemy is making and be building a counter OR effectively destroying it with micro. Eg. Kite enemy humvee/buggy with bikes while your buggies tank the damage. You really want to be hitting the harvesters, the power or if you want to be really greedy the war factory. Destroying any of these targets will effectively put you ahead of the enemy player and secure your position later in the game or it could end up killing them. Obviously this build can only be done with Nod
The 3BIKES:1BUGGY is a rough ratio of what you want to be producing. As I said, this build is very reactive. If your opponent is making infantry to counter your bikes, you will need to build more buggies. If they are building humvees, you need to split-fire with your bikes so they dont waste rockets.

Quick games a good game: A great strategy that works even against me. I re-purposed this from sinfonia, he was a god at TD early game. This is cheese and an all in. Easily countered if scouted, if not, game ending.
The real trick to this is unpacking your mcv and using it to scout and tank any damage as they are one of the toughest units in the game. Place your MCV right next to any guard towers, forcing the enemy player to manually target your units. You will have a sizable force behind this mcv that will mow down the enemies base and can probably take a single Guard Tower

GDave Engineer Rush: Cheesey and rude, much like GDave. Can be quite effective in teamgames. The primary targets are refineries and war factories/airstrips.

The Norman Empire: This is the greediest build I know and if you are left alone you will be a powerhouse. I find this build more effective when playing as Nod as you can spam buggies and bikes while waiting to tech up, GDI may be better suited to spamming infantry and turtleing till tech. This is a big build order but don't be intimidated,

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Post by OMnom »

Pointer #2: Map control

In every RTS game, the map can be divided into 3 catagories: empty, indirectly controlled, and directly controlled ground.

Empty ground is ground which is unoccupied by both players. In particular, I would like to point out that a lot of empty ground is ignored by a lot of players because they only think about "point A to point B," but controlling the ground in-between A and B is just as good as controlling A or B.

Indirectly controlled ground is where you have vision over a territory, but you don't know/can't prevent your opponent from having vision over that same territory. For example, a scouting ranger may be able to see your opponent's army, but you don't know / can't control what he sees.

Directly controlled ground is where you can prevent your opponent from having vision over a particular territory. More or less, anything that you can fire on is directly controlled ground.

So, with these types of ground in mind, there are a few things you can do to improve your map control:

Secure empty ground first, then secure the rest of the map in order of importance, then in order of increasing difficulty.

In-game, your first goal is to secure major access points that would give you control over the greatest amount of empty space. After that, your second goal is to spread your indirect control to ore patches and passage ways that your opponent needs, but has not secured yet. Your third goal is then to take all the easy expansions before contesting territory that your opponent directly controls.

I would be very cautious if you decide to go about this in a different order. If you try to deny your opponent's main ore before first securing indirect control over the untaken ore patches, your opponent could simply just expand to a different area, and all your effort to deny his ore would be essentially wasted. Or, if you decide to take the easy expansion before taking the empty ground first, you might get one of your expansions stolen or ambushed later in the game.

Create entangling positions for your opponent, and limit the amount of entangling positions you have to fight in.

This could most aptly be rephrased as exerting direct control over something your opponent considers vital to his game plan. This may sound like a tactic, but it's really just an extention of map control. To quote Sun Tzu:

"Ground which can be abandoned but is hard to re-occupy is called entangling. From a position of this sort, if the enemy is unprepared, you may sally forth and defeat him. But if the enemy is prepared for your coming, and you fail to defeat him, then, return being impossible, disaster will ensue."

Basically, if a position is entangling for your opponent, it's a win-win battle for you, and a must-win situation for your opponent. If you can set up these types of battles consistently, you're eventually going to win the game. More often than not, this type of ground is actually empty ground in, what would be considered, enemy territory.
For example, one simple way to create an entangling position is to put a tesla coil next to his ore patch. Another way would be to move through ground that you know is indirectly controlled by your opponent, with the intention of forcing him to react to your force in order to secure the ground that was formerly occupied by his army. Generally, creating these type of positions involve forcing your opponent into a desperate attack, investing all of his resources into one area, making him move his army, or baiting him out.

If you ever find yourself on the wrong end of this situation, the best thing you can do is deal with the problem as quickly as you can. If you think it's going to take too long, just give up the position and attack a different part of the map immediately, before your opponent can make use of his new position.

Pointer #3: Scouting

Scouting is simply just the act of extending your map control. You get to choose your tools. You can use aircraft and artillery, you can base push, you can use a ranger, or you can use a small blob of infantry.

If map control is money, then scouting is time. What I would suggest, is that you scout for key markers at particular timings:

0:00-4:00 - Defend your power plants and scout for early MCV movements / rushes, army size, and whether or not if he opened 2ref or 1wfRef
4:00-4:30 - Look for MCV movements, tech route, and army size
5:00 - end of the game - be on the look out for his army size and movement.

Personally, I'm pretty guilty of not scouting and relying on logic and strategic attacks in order to narrow down the possibilities of where my opponent is going to be. For instance, If i attack his bottom expansion, he can either collapse on my attack, initiate a counter-attack on my expansion, or both. Not much to scout if there's only 2 possible things my opponent can do. Note: having line of sight is not the same thing as scouting.

There's really not much to say about this...if you're not scouting, you're not extending your map control to the best of your ability. If you're not fighting for map control, you're most likely going to lose the game.

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Post by JuiceBox »

Good work ! Hopefully this thread will produce some more competitive players! My biggest point would be to new players is stop playing so many 4v4's 3v3's etc. 1v1 is the best place to learn your trade and hone your skills. While big team games can be fun I don't think they offer enough experience to develop.
"I love the smell of JuiceBoxes in the morning"
LT. COL. Bill Kilgore
Apocalypse Now

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