This is a strategy for the current version of the game on FAF (3612). Supcom FA ladder is becoming more and more popular, but a lot of new or returning players get crushed because of the lack of knowledge of the current state of the game. This build order/strategy is for players who are willing to micro a lot early on and for small maps.(Micro is actually a lot easier than macro, when taking on good players, the more aggressive the new player the more success they will have)
Use either UEF or Seraphim. These two factions are by far the easiest to micro in the t1 stage.
ACU begins with an air factory, 3 T1 power generators, 2 or 3 mass extractors: place the power generators adjacent to the factory, but not in contact with one another, all structures should be placed in such a way as to minimize the movement by the ACU. The best continuation of the ACU build order is 3 more t1 pgens and a land factory.(Best to give this order right away, but take into account the possibilty of getting a close hydro, you will mass stall following this order if your early engineers are not able to get enough rocks and mass extractors, due to their location on the map or raiding from your enemy)
Build order for air factory: T1 bomber, 6 engineers, T1 bomber, 6 engineers, continue with: (engineers if opponent is heavy on flak), (more bombers or even transports if opponenet has lost all flak and didn't make an air factory), (engineers and interceptors if opponent also went early air)
BE SURE to give factory build orders before the factories are completed.
At exactly 1:01 you will have your T1 bomber built, it must be sent immediately to the opponent's base (avoid any civs that have flak)(at the same time your acu is making the 3rd T1 power generator, you will have a slight power deficit, don't change this to 2 T1 power generators). At this point you have to multitask as your bomber is making its way to its destination and your engineers are coming out of your air factory.
Perfect case scenario for the bomber: Spot an early light assault bot/scout raid en route to your base, stop radar length before the base and observe all the strucures on radar(let your bomber begin landing), best targets (descending order): 2 or more engineers close together, engineer working on a hydro, expanding engineer en route to a mass extractor/wreckage, power generators that are close together, interceptors that are still being built inside an air factory. Choose the best target you observe that is most aligned with the direction in which your bomber is facing.(this part takes a little practice, you may also attempt the double bomb drop). As your bomber flies over the base continue to look for more targets, are there raids being prepared for your base, where is the ACU?, Did your opponent make flak?, is there an air factory?. If you don't see flak continue to bomb the best targets. Most likely however, even during your first bombing run you will already get hit by some flak, in this case immediately after your bomb is dropped give a move order out of the base in the direction your bomber is facing. As you are making your escape look for expanding engineers, these will likely be too far away to be protected by flak, bombing these will cause your enemy to either produce more flak or spread it out all over the map, making it less effective and vulnerable to your bombs (if you see a single flak you can kill it without dying with your bomber, just give your bomber enough running room to actually drop the bomb and make sure your bomber has at least half its health at this point). If there are not expanding engineers come back and target your enemy's raiding group on your side of the map as well as use your bomber for recon.(you are now somewhere 2 to 3 minutes into the game)
Back to 1:01, as your bomber is on its way to making your opponent's life hell, you have to maximize the effectiveness of your engineers. If you see a big chunk of mass you can reclaim close to your base, do it with your first engineer. The first two engineers should be sent out into the field to capture as many mass extractors as possible, if your bomber spotted a raid call your engineer away from that side of the map. Enemy light assault bots are afraid of going in directly into your base because of your acu, use your base as a shield to protect your expanding engineers, send them to the opposite side of the map, or in the worst case scenario make them reclaim trees inside your base. If you find yourself surrounded by light assault bots, use your ACU to expand toward the raiding groups (ACU builds as fast as 2 T1 engineers), let your engineers take over the production of power generators, the hydro and the land factory. It is imperative to get that land factory up as soon as possible, do this either after finishing the hydro(if it is very close) or after making 6 T1 power generators total.
Multitasking: As you can see 1:01 to 3 min is extremely stressful with this build. Here are some suggestions: 1. make a hotkey(I have this as space bar) selecting all idle engineers on screen 2. Give the bomber the move order that terminates right before the enemy base(bomber radar length away) 3. On most maps you won't have to worry about microing the bomber before you can micro your first 2 engineers. 4 Play zoomed out, selecting your idle engineers as they come out of the factory using the hot key(from 1) without zooming in, this will allow you to pain attention to the bomber's position as well as any information about incoming raids. 5. after the first two engies come out set the air factory on attack move right next to the factory (ALT+right mouse button) 6. Take the time to micro your bomber, without paying attention to your engineers, most likely you will be running for your life after the first bombing run somewhere towards your base, attempt to kill your enemy's raiders on the way back. 7. back at base you have a number of engineers that are in the factory attack move, make these take over production of structures from your ACU and move your ACU out into the field, either directly toward your enemy or in the direction of enemy raiders.
Your T1 land factory: This will be a very important asset for you given that your enemy probably has more land units all over the map. Your main advantage will be that most of those land units are either engineers or flak. The best way to capitalize on this is to make lots of light assault bots(tanks if seraphim) and scouts (3:1 ratio is good here) be sure to send these as soon as possible to the expanding routes from your enemy's base. You should have either your new T1 bomber or the old one that you can use to scout these positions. If you see flak, attack with light assault bots. If you see engineers/tanks/light assault bots, bomb them before letting your assault bots clean up. If you see the ACU avoid it at all costs with your raiding units.
AFTER ~ 3min
Your engineers: always send engineers out into the field to get mass extractors, unless there are enemy troops there (capturing works great)
Your base: You don't want to have a plan for this part of the game before the game starts. Your choice must depend on how your enemy reacted to your initial attack.
Your enemy countered your early bombers with flak and went heavy into T1 land spam and aggressive with ACU.Edit
Your main advantage is that flak can't shoot ground, if your enemy is cybran and they can switch to ground attack, they are going to die for many other reasons. In order to counter this strategy you will need many T1 land factories of your own. Set the air factory to infinite engie spam. Go light on power, if you got a hydro with 3 T1 power generators you can easily power 6 land factories. Make these with two idle engineers in your base.(don't make your factories with more than 3 engies, you will power stall) Get the rest of the engineers into the field, either reclaiming wrecks or placing a radar in a good position(go easy on radars, you definitely want 1, but these cost a lot of power) or getting behind your troops to pick up the corpses of your soon to be dead enemies.(alt+right mouse with engineers) If you don't have a hydro, you will have to be very careful with your power. Set 1 engineer on a T1 power generator spam(~10). Set 2 engineers on the land factory spam, always be ready to pause these if your power stalls. Your new T1 land factories should be making mostly tanks and scouts, you want an occasional artillery in there (~6:1 tank:arty vs Cyb, UEF, Sera and ~1:1 tank:arty vs Aeon) (vs Aeon you may want to play a little more defensive picking a little more power and going with more T1 bombers, to counter the auroras)
Your enemy countered your early bombers with flak but stopped producing flak after the initial attack.Edit
Play as above but before making all the t1 land factories make 3 more T1 power generators.(do this against Aeon no matter what) And continue to make T1 bombers. Use these to target enemy power. If the main base if protected by a single stationary T1 anti air then avoid the main base and bomb the enemy troops. This will cause your enemy to produce more flak at which point you stop making bombers and continue with your T1 land assault. You can see that you now have the power to dictate what units your enemy is building, you are forcing them to react, you will win the game as long as you pay attention to what your enemy is doing.
Your enemy countered your early bombers with flak then switched to producing interceptors with an early air factory.Edit
T1 interceptors are more expensive in power than the bombers, your enemy will need to spend a lot of mass on producing power generators as well as lots of power on the planes, that can't do anything but prevent your from bombing them. Once again go with a strong T1 land spam and try to get to their base as soon as possible. Attack their power structures. Your airfactory can continue producing engineers unless you see your enemy switch to bombers. Make only enough interceptors to kill the bomber. If your land assault is successful at taking out your enemy's power you shouldn't have too many problems. They key is to not give your enemy time to make both power and strong defenses for it.
Your enemy did the same build as youEdit
The one who knows his bomber better will win.
In these T1 land/ACU engagements it is necessary to follow a few rules:
1. Never engage unless you know you will win(RADAR/RECON) and after you won you will have gained something.
2. After every victory you must immediately take whatever you won: build mass extractors, RECLAIM the battlefield, build point defenses to secure freshly won positions, build radar.
3. Push your armies in 2-3 groups to the edges of your territory. The edge is as far as your enemy lets you go as well as your radar coverage. Even if you have an inferior force you still want to push, if they push back you simply retreat occupying a larger force with an inferior one. When retreating attempt to either regroup with a larger force before countering or retreat to a far corner of the map, but only as far as they chase you.
4. Use your ACU ahead of your main force, attempt to engage your enemy's land troops with your ACU as you slide your land forces in to better positions, avoiding engaging the enemy ACU unless you know you will kill it. Make your enemy feel secure with their ACU, let them go as war away from their base as they want. If an enemy ACU goes into your base make a T1 point defense with walls around it before it gets there.
Ending the T1 land spam:
In many cases you will not be able to finish the game at the T1 stage. This means that your goal during the T1 land spam stage is to capture/deny as much of the map as possible, while reclaiming as many dead troops all over the map.
You have realized you need T2:
1. Do not engage the enemy's main base or their ACU. Don't feed them mass. Retreat on one side of the map while attacking on another.
2. Power is the key to upgrading in supcom. You will need to put a group of engineers on a T1 power generator spam. (most players begins this a little earlier as they anticipate the T2 stage) As you are getting power you will begin wasting it. To counter this, make interceptors and power storage. If your T1 armies are particularly successful you may have a lot of reclaimed mass in the bank, begin upgrading mass extractors. (3 t1 pgens is the power needed for 1 T1-T2 mass extractor upgrade) Depending on the situation you can squeese in a couple acu upgrades at this stage. The gun is an excellent way to get the winning edge in a T1 land battle and will make your enemy reluctant to attack with T2 land units.
3. Pause your air spam and begin upgrading a factory to T2. It is essential to get a few T2 engineers out to begin making T2 power and T2 point defenses and the ability to get a quick anti missile structure. (use your engineers to assist the upgrade to T2, this is a vulnerable time for you, you must do this as quickly as possible)
If you went T2 with air, make gunships/bombers. Make a few separate T1 air factories to continue making T1 interceptors.
If you went T2 land, don't forget make t2 flak. Learn the effectiveness mobile missile launchers. Here the diversity between factions becomes really important. Good luck.