One of the nastiest strategies available to UEF {or Seraphim} on any 10x10 map or smaller is a rush to a tactical missile upgrade on the commander. Available early on, this upgrade has a short build time and its resource cost will not strain even early game economies.

The strategy consists of establishing a firebase in the center of the map (especially good for maps with central map deposits, even more so for maps with hard cover near the center like Fields of Isis) and pummeling your opponent's mass extractors with tac missiles.

When someone gets this upgrade, they will often hit the main base, which can be quite nasty-- you can very likely get this upgrade before your opponent even hits T2-- but if he has shields or a tactical missile defense on his main base, hitting his outlying mass deposits with wave after wave of missiles will be almost as bad because it will cause severe economic problems.

Meanwhile, continue expanding the firebase. A savvy opponent will see what is happening and will realize that you have spent money on a commander upgrade, and he will see the writing on the wall, so he will attempt an attack on your firebase. But since you are forcing him into a possibly disorganized attack on a firebase, you will have the defensive advantage especially considering the fact that UEF's units sacrifice speed for durability and thus have staying power. Seraphim units tend to have a bit less health, but more speed, firepower, or cost-effectiveness. This tends to make them less suitable for firebase warfare and more for maneuver combat, in which case a commander armed with the tac missile launcher would maintain mobility and engage in ground fighting while simultaneously destroying enemy mass extractors from range. On the other hand the Seraphim shields also make for excellent firebases and compensate for decreased unit durability.

If you are continuing to expand your economy while destroying an enemy mass extractor or factory every few seconds, you should be able to win the game fairly easily. There is some degree of delay inherent in this sort of logistic attack-- the units coming out of his factories will slow to a trickle but he will still have the units that are already on the field and will attack with desperation so it's important to anticipate that.

To solidify the advantage and seal the deal, a sudden transition to air-- even just a few gunships and interceptors-- will be excellent for patrolling his outlying mass extractors and killing any engineers he sends to rebuild them.

Another factor that makes this strategy (or, even more so, artillery bombardment of mass extractors) is the fact that you are essentially destroying his units before they even have a chance to be built.

The way the cost breakdown of the UEF commander missile launcher is as follows.

Missiles cost 180 mass. The launcher costs 1000 mass. Unless you have some other way of keeping engineers away from the mass points, like a gunship, you need to launch two missiles to get the whole cost benefit of destroying the extractor. Two missiles plus the launcher cost 1360.

One t1 mass extractor costs 36 and can extract two mass per second. This means that it will take 662 seconds of inactive mex time to pay for a launcher and two missiles. If you hit six mexes, it would take 162 seconds of inactive mex time to pay for the launcher and the missiles that it would take to kill them. After that time, though, the launcher is paid for and the numbers start looking rather more cost effective but not all that much.

With a T2 extractor, the situation suddenly changes. From hitting one T2 extractor, the investment is instantly paid for and you are ahead by 444 mass.

With a T3 extractor, you are ahead by 3240 mass. This means that you've destroyed his T3 extractor and you are 75% of the way there toward building one of your own from scratch. Obviously, after the first, the majority of the cost is paid for and your missiles are essentially free, paid for out of the cost of his dead mexes.

Remember that that mass was never extracted and will never become tanks and will therefore never extract mass in the form of health from your units.

The upshot of all this is that you probably don't want to waste missiles on tech 1 mexes. It may look beneficial but it will most likely hurt your economy more than it will hurt his unless you can use it to keep him completely under wraps while you upgrade yours, and that depends on a number of factors. However, as soon as you see an unshielded T2 extractor, you must instantly build and fire a tactical missile because it's essentially free mass for you.

And the ROI numbers for the T2 and T3 extractors are even worse than they look because they don't take into account his lost mass for not having the extractor in operation! If he has a T2 extractor out of commission for one minute, that's 720 mass. With a T3 extractor the number becomes 1080, and if the T3 extractor is surrounded with storage units the number becomes 1350! Two missiles will also do fairly substantial damage to those surrounding mass storage units, which will make them easier to mop up using gunships and compounding the cost advantage even further.

Of course, you will never just hit one mass extractor, and because of the economic damage induced, he will never be able to replace multiple tech 2 or tech 3 mass extractors in one minute, and that's not taking into account whatever interdiction you are doing to his engineering.

One possible scenario is that you might use a barrage of tactical missiles to exploit a power failure and removal of his TMD-- when you have tactical missiles, TMD buildings become extremely high value targets. Cybrans can do this with tactical missile buildings because of the MIRV effect of their missiles. At any rate, you could conceivably get four T3 mass extractors in a short period of time, along with numerous other high value targets including intelligence assets. You would continue until you had destroyed every single high value target in his base. At that point, you would even be justified in picking off T1 power because your economy could handle it and the relative value to him would be so extreme that the buildings would be worth far more than their simple mass cost-- without them he has lost the game.

Why the commander upgrade rather than a building-based tac missile launcher? Because the commander missile launcher is indestructible! Within the context of a single game, it will never be destroyed and its only cost on the UEF commander is preventing him from getting a shield, shoulder drones or a teleporter. The launcher is indestructible, it is quick, it is free, and you will have it for the entire game, possibly launching missiles that cost you nothing every few seconds until the game is over. The missiles can hit anything in a huge area. They will destroy any T1 factory in a single hit, effectively preventing the enemy from expanding or building firebases of his own.

None of this has anything to do with the fact that it can be upgraded into a tactical nuke launcher, which I do feel is not nearly as cost effective considering the immense energy costs of being able to launch nukes with any regularity-- I'd rather launch a tactical missile every few seconds for free.

It seems that a primary strategic ethos of UEF is standoff warfare. The fact that tac missiles appear as one of the earliest ACU upgrades appears to corroborate this. Early missile barrages are the single deadliest strategy I've found with UEF. This strategy is very difficult to defeat and may be one of the most effective in the game.

EDIT: If you can pull this strategy off early on against someone who either doesn't have T2 on their ACU or hasn't defended it sufficiently, then you could draw out their ACU past their TMD and shields, fake a retreat, and snipe the ACU as it reclaims the wreckage of your units. 23:52, February 13, 2012 (UTC)

Cons of this strategyEdit

There isn't really any downside to this strategy if your economy can take the blow of building the tactical missiles. You could be potentially lowering the combat capability of your commander instead of getting another upgrade, but destroying the mass extractors will give your commander veterancy and the tactical missile upgrade is one of the most cost-affective ACU upgrades in the game.

If you are facing a Cybran player who might realize what you are doing, and build their efficient TMD, or worse, send Loyalist Assault Bots to the mass points. The Loyalist's unique TMD deflector could make you potentially snipe your own ACU! To prevent a suicide, simply make your ACU move or bring mobile shields[Seraphim shields highly recommended] to shield your ACU.

Recommended Factions for this strategyEdit

UEF: Their ACU has the Tactical Missile Launcher Upgrade and best health of their ACU and units.

Seraphim: Their ACU has the upgrade to, and better quality shields, but their units generally have less health.

Aeon and Cybran cannot perform this strategy that well unless they build the Tactical Missile Launcher building, as they lack it as an upgrade to their ACU. Both factions could build the launcher building and a stealth generator to make the missile launcher almost as hard to pinpoint as the one on the mobile ACU. Both factions can perform this strategy almost equally efficiently. Cybrans have better stealth technology [i.e low cost, maintenance, slightly larger radius], but have a more expensive launcher [but it's missile splits upon being intercepted]. Aeon have the weakest stealth generator[that has more health than it's Cybran counterpart], but the cheapest tactical missile launcher [nearly half the price of the Cybran one, but it swerves, making it slightly innaccurate, thus it's less capable of sniping a lone mass extractor,but it could potentially destroy any mass storage buildings.

Matthew Plichta 22:06, February 14, 2012 (UTC)

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