This article discusses the value of units from the enemy perspective. Or to put it simply, which units should you kill when it comes down to it.
All units in Supreme Commanders have a role, and as a result, all units have importance. However, these levels of importance vary, and when it comes down to it, you want to destroy as many critical units as possible before an offensive force is destroyed. This article is about deciding what units to destroy when it comes down to it.
The relative importance of units only matters when choices must be made. The importance of all units is determined by what other units there are and a few attributes based upon the unit itself. As a result, intelligence is by far and away the key attribute in utilizing this article. The rewards are great; sometimes the entire workings of a base can be undermined by the destruction of a single unit.
Units and Structures can generally be used interchangeably in this article.
List of Valuable Units To Kill Edit
- ACUs: Under some circumstances, this will end the game officially. However, destroying the ACU is always a good idea, especially when it is in the enemy base, as the explosion will destroy many units. Be warned, the explosion deals damage to all sides, and the ACU is often heavily protected and is already heavily armored.
- Radar: While cheap and easy to rebuild, destroying radar severely limits the enemy’s attacking power. To attack a unit, it must be in your line of sight, within radar range, or you could guess. Think of it as temporarily disabling the enemy attack. Especially useful if there will be a follow up attack shortly.
- Economy: Economic units are probably the most valuable units you can destroy- however, they only carry load in potential threat. While a strike on the enemy economy will devastate and cripple the enemy, it will only partially interfere with the enemy military. Production and special ordinances such as shields will be down, and artillery installations will no longer function, but the rest of the enemy army will. Wasting your force on destroying production could mean a hostile and mostly whole army plowing your base.
- Artillery Installations: Artillery installations work in conjunction with radar to project military power to far corners of the map, which at least include any land based offense force, and may include allied outposts and bases. However, unlike radar, they are costly, take considerable time and resources to build, and are a manifested threat.
- Defensive Installations: Defensive Installations are only important under two circumstances. The first if they all installations that pose a threat can be killed before your attacking force expires, in which case killing them will preserve your force indefinitely. The second is if there will be a second attack within a short amount of time, in which the first attack will lay the groundwork for the second. Otherwise, defense installations have a habit of sucking up damage, as they are generally heavily protected and start with fair reserves of health. Defensive installations also include missile defense- especially so in some cases. A single strike against the enemy missile defense and an entire base is open to a devastating nuclear blow.
- Under Construction: Anything that is under construction is vulnerable relative to its finished self. Destroying a unit before it is finished robs the owner time and resources. Because they are building the structure, it obviously has a part in their plans, and by destroying it, those plans are pushed back at least, destroyed in the best of circumstances. While destroying objects that have threat as opposed to potential threat is generally more important, potential threat can be neutralized more easily than fully formed threat.
- Support Units: Any unit that provides support to a force, such as shields, engineers or other units which can repair, stealth, and in some cases, artillery and antiaircraft units, are of considerable value to the force. A military unit which contains no shields cannot take sustained hits, and if it has no artillery, cannot shell a base from outside of its defenses. A force without stealth generators has seriously compromised attacking power. Instead of attacking the foot soldiers who form the bulk of the force, attack units which give the force flexibility.
Non-Relative Factors Edit
There are several non-relative components which determine importance. These are most useful when intelligence is lacking. However, they are generally outweighed in influence by relative factors, which will be explained later.
- Ratio of Cost to Health: Otherwise written as
This is far and away the most important non-relative factor. The higher this number is, the better the target. Health is how easy the unit is to destroy, so the lower the better. Expense is how valuable, in material goods, the unit is, and thus how many resources you will deprive your enemy of. As material cost is a good indicator of the average value of the unit, this ratio is almost always accurate. It is recommended that you do not work out the numbers, or even bother with them. This is simply a method of choosing in between structures to destroy. If two unit’s Cost to Health ratio is close enough that you would need to calculate them, then destroying either is perfectly fine. Radar, Stealth and Undefended Shields are always good targets because they have low health and are of moderate expense, and thus a high C:H value. A wall, which has a minuscule expense and large amount of health (and zero ability to fight back or even gather any intelligence) and thus a low C:H value, is a really stupid target to intentionally destroy unless it is physically blocking your advance and transports are not close enough to respond. This is a good rule of thumb measurement- but there are always better ones.
- Potential: All units have a purpose, and in serving this purpose, they exhibit potential. A factory’s potential is to construct units and gain access to new tiers of units. Potential is an alternate type of measurement for this section, and can be loosely extrapolated as:
Potential can be divided into five types: Productive, Destructive, Defensive, Intelligence, and Death. Productive includes all resource structures, factories, engineers and pseudo engineers. These units make either raw materials or turn raw materials into units. This type of potential is valuable to destroy in that it limits future expansion. With enough damage done, it can even hinder the defensive ability of the enemy. Destructive potential includes all defenses and artillery posts, as well as anything that can damage your units. Destroying this type of potential opens the door to future strikes against the enemy, and if total destruction can occur, allows you to completely vaporize the enemy. However, some units have negative destructive potential, in that it is a bad idea to destroy these. They include, but are not limited to, units which can do friendly (or team killing) damage to a base. Artillery and battleships will fire on enemy units regardless of any collateral damage it will cause to your base. Enemy artillery can do some of the hard work of destruction for you, provided you have land units. Defensive potential lies in units which do no damage to you, but protect other units, primarily shields, walls, and stealth generators. Removing this type of potential from enemy players makes everything more vulnerable, and according should always be destroyed before a major assault. Intelligence potential occurs only in three types of units, radar, sonar, and scouts. Intelligence can improve the effectiveness of defenses massively, hinder your expansion, and interfere with your own intelligence gathering. As a result, intelligence potential should only be destroyed if this is a preliminary attack in an assault or your assault is on its last legs. Intelligence is easy to destroy and easy to rebuild, making it one of the least valuable types of potential to destroy, but one of the most valuable to have. The final type of potential is referred to as death, which refers to the power that can be utilized when an enemy unit dies. The best examples are units which deal damage on death, ACUs, sACUs, Resource Generators, and most Experimental Units. An enemy CZAR poised above an enemy base is an ideal target, despite being very powerful, because if it can be destroyed, the base will be leveled by the Air Crash. The bigger the explosion, the more potential. This type of potential is best when you want to blow things up.
Factors Relative to You Edit
Factors relative to you are things which you can determine, but this article can’t. For example, air defense becomes a much more potent target if your entire force is air based. These factors are significantly more important than the ones listed above.
- Threat: Threat is an approximate value attached to things which threaten your assets. An artillery post has a much higher ‘bounty’ if it is shelling your base. Likewise, air defense is much more dangerous when you have air units. There are two factors to consider when assessing a unit’s threat level- first, the assets it threatens, and then the ease of its destruction. The second consideration is made because all units in Supreme Commanders are interdependent, and there is always more than one way of killing a unit. To ‘destroy’ a Mavor, you could destroy the Mavor itself (by far the hardest but most effective method), remove its scouting capability, or destroy the grid that supplies power. Any of these would make the Mavor less effective or completely stop it in its tracks.
- Potential Threat: While threat is obvious, this is less so. Potential Threat is threat that has yet to manifest. A constructing unit always has potential threat, and when it finishes, this potential is converted into threat. Potential threat has some obvious and not so obvious quirks to it. Potential threat does not have the power to hurt you, but threat does. As a result, threat is always more dangerous than potential threat. Secondly, all threat originates from potential threat, and as units which only have potential threat are always easier to destroy, with the exception of units pinned down by maneuver, potential threat can in some cases have a higher value than threat. Destroying a unit while it is being built is always better than killing it after it has been activated. The final thing to know about Potential Threat is the role of the economy in it. Economy is the heart of Supreme Commanders, as everything stems from it. Economy will always have one of the highest, if not highest potential threat levels. This is because an economy produces all potential threat, and thus, all threat.
Factors Relative to Them Edit
This is by far the most important section. Whatever you may know about yourself and the game, the only way any of it becomes relevant is by the enemy- what they have, what they build, what they do. Everything that was said above this point is true and has worth, but it is this part that is key.
- Nearby Units: Nearby units often determine the value of a structure. The Nearby Unit principle only applies in two areas however- units with defensive potential and units with death potential. Any unit with defensive potential has the net value of everything it is protecting. Any unit with death potential has the net value of anything it can destroy- and anything that the things that it can destroy can destroy. A generation matrix consisting of fabricators and generators can be destroyed by a single destroyed fabricator. Thus, this single fabricator has the collective potential of the entire grid- and a Cost to Health ratio that makes everything else look like puke.
- Support: Support refers to the units that the target unit supports. Supporting roles give the units value based on how great their support role is. A unit that conducts repairs will have low value in an engagement, but high value in a siege, making this attribute just as relative as everything else. Support makes units valuable simply because without that support, they will become less effective and more importantly, less flexible. Having a siege without units which can repair reduces resilience significantly, as it is impossible to keep essential units functioning for extended periods of time. Without shields, Support includes all economic units, shields, defenses, and radar.
-Quantity: Quantity is a loose term to describe how much of something the enemy possesses. If the enemy has three radar installations as opposed to one, the value of each radar station is a third of what it would be with only one. This is because you need to destroy three times more health in three different places for more than three times as much time. There are two formulas for value by quantity:
The first formula basically says that while radar becomes less valuable, because each additional radar post does the same thing as the previous, and thus nothing, their net value decreases. However turrets and defenses always have the same quantity value, because constructing a new turret always produces an additional impact. The second formula offers a different interpretation. What this formula returns is what percentage of units you can destroy, which determines how effective your attack will be. The obvious example is how many strategic missile defenses you can destroy out of how many the enemy has. If it is impossible to destroy enough to allow your nukes to get through, then you may as well forget attacking the missile defenses, giving them a target value of zero. The second formula generally applies when there is a certain point that must be met. The first applies in most situations.