Both strategies require an economy which provides enough energy and mass to fully upgrade an ACU or sACU with all upgrades. Plan for additional resource costs if you choose to upgrade a sACU instead of an ACU. Depending on how fast one wishes to get the ACUʼs / sACUʼs upgrades finished, the working cost of additional T3 engineers and sACUs have to be included. For a listing of exact numbers, look under “Cost analysis”.
When thereʼs mention of the agitatorʼs ACU in the following methods, it refers to either ACU or sACU, depending on which the player chose to send on its journey. Both sending the ACU or a sACU has inherent advantages and disadvantages (price vs. risking game loss).
If you are the UEF, use these upgrades:
- Heavy Antimatter Cannon on the right arm,
- Damage Stability System on the left arm,
- Personal Shield Generator then the Shield Generator Field on the back.
If you are the Cybrans, use these upgrades:
- Microwave laser generator on the right arm,
- Advanced cooling upgrade on the left arm,
- Personal stealth and cloak generator.
If you are the Aeon, use these:
- Heat sink augmentation on the right arm,
- Chrysalis beam augmentaton on the left arm,
- Personal shield generator, heavy personal sheld generator.
Now comes the interesting part: the attack portion. First, locate the enemy commander. Use (omni) radar, spy planes, sonar or whatever you could think of to find him/her in either the enemy base, on the field or in the water.
When you find it, hop your ACU on a transport and drop him about 25 squares from the enemy ACU, avoiding contact with other units. When you get close enough to engage him, you have two choices: The Charge (for draining shields only), or Shoot'n'Dodge. The Charge is straightforward (literally), you just order overcharge and deplete the enemy ACUʼs shield completely. Shoot'n'Dodge is more complex; you have to maneuver your ACU so it stays out of enemy overcharge range, but in weapons range. This method requires lots of dodging and superior weaponry to the enemy ACU.
This method is best performed by the Cybran ACU. For Cybran, upgrade
- your arms with T3 (for extra HP...also try for veterancy bonuses to further increase it...regen may be more suitable for UEF) and microwave laser (select appropriate combat upgrades for other factions to maximize DPS and HP/regen, not range).
- the back with a teleporter.
Scout the enemy base to locate their commander and any nearby anti-ground units (T3 gunships and point defenses are particularly dangerous). If the commander is located far enough away from mobile or immobile defenses, do the following: order your commander to teleport as far away from threats as possible while still being in range of the enemy ACU (this is still fairly close for the Cybran microwave laser), queue an overcharge targeting it to rob it of its shields, then queue to attack the ACU and finally queue a second teleport command back to the safety of your base (and waiting engineers / repair drones). Your commander will "blink" into the enemy base long enough to significantly damage the enemy ACU (and guaranteed kill if you have Microwave), and blink back out before mobile defenses can mobilize against you. However, if you scout poorly, you may be embarking upon your own death due to an unseen T4 bot or other heavy unit. This tactic is also good for destroying farms behind heavy air defense and out of range of arty or tactical missiles. Your commander will only be harm's way as long as it takes for the teleporter to reactivate once you are in the enemy base. Again, the microwave laser is extremely effective in both pillaging of farms and killing of enemy commanders. Most players do not set up internal ground defense behind their main lines (especially on well protected spawns like Fields of Isis), making this a potent tactic with relatively low risk to your ACU.
Advantages and disadvantagesEdit
- Except for a massive loss of resources (due to the loss of a sACU) there is no risk involved should the player choose to send a sACU.
- Astronomical resource costs (both if the player succeeds or not).
- Instant game loss if the agitatorʼs attack failed and the ACU gets destroyed in the process (if the player chose to send the ACU instead of a sACU).
- Takes a lot of time until all the requirements are met and the deciding maneuver can be initiated.
The advantages and disadvantages are similar to that of method 1. Additionally one has:
- It ignores even the most insurmountable perimeter defenses, should the interior of a base be undefended.
- It requires even more resources than method 1.
In this cost analysis (using the example of a Cybran ACU) the building time and additional working costs of assisting engineers or sACUs are completely ignored.
|Energy cost||Mass cost||Personal Stealth Generator||5250||350|
|Personal Cloaking Generator||750000||6000|
|Microwave Laser Generator||500000||4000|
ACU upgrades with teleport
|Upgrade||Energy cost||Mass cost||Personal Teleporter||1500000||15000|
|Microwave Laser Generator||500000||4000|
One should be aware that these are the minimum costs which take the maxmimal amount of time. Speeding the process up will result in increased resource consumption so that the resulting costs might even be a multiple of the costs stated above. Using a sACU instead of a ACU will increase the resource requirements even further.
Even under the assumption of the prices stated above, a full teleport-less ACU-upgrade (table 1) translates into at least 3 T3 bombers (+ T3 air infrastructure), because:
|Unit / Building||Energy cost||Mass cost|
|T1 air factory||2400||210|
|T2 air factory||11700||630|
|T3 air factory||46200||2520|
|3 ⋅ T3 bomber||3 ⋅ 70000||3 ⋅ 2100|
The implications of this will be discussed in “Discussion on effectiveness”.
Discussion on effectivenessEdit
Single player / campaignEdit
Due to the non-human thinking the game AI employs, it is actually possible to use this strategy in combat. If the player turtles and his/her defenses are built well enough so that it can withstand wave upon wave of incoming enemies, (s)he will have enough time to acquire enough energy and mass to build the necessary units while the enemy AI wastes its resources on the playerʼs defenses. Thus it is actually a suitable strategy for single player games and campaigns, where the first part of the mission is usually the easiest and lends itself to give the player enough time to acquire the necessary resources / economy.
Multiplayer / human opponentEdit
With the exception of utterly humiliating new players who are unaware of the game and its meta-game, this strategy is not employable successfully. The reasons for this are:
- If at all, the strategy is, due to its resource costs, only usable late in the game (at T3 stage). Human opponents usually donʼt leave their ACU or the interior of their bases undefended at this stage but rather have it surrounded by units / defenses which would shred any enemy ACU.
- The enemy usually is on par with this strategyʼs initiator resource-wise, so thereʼs no reason why the enemy ACU shouldnʼt have the same weapon upgrades as the attackerʼs one.
- To a human opponent there is no such thing as unbreakable defenses. So a turtling player can usually not collect the necessary resources undisturbed.
- Time is one of the critical factors of this strategy. Usually thatʼs the one thing in multiplayer matches which one doesnʼt have enough of. 1v1 gamesʼ outcomes are rarely decided on T3.
- If the enemy ACU really is outside its base on clear terrain, a few T3 bombers will serve the same purpose while consuming the same mass (and much less energy), providing additional T3 air infrastructure and generally being more versatile (ACUs canʼt be parked in aircraft carriers, donʼt fly and are much slower). If the enemy ACU is under water, the same holds for torpedo bombers.