t's all very well and good being able to attack with skill, precision and deadly accuracy, but there are two sides to the proverbial coin. While you're attacking, the enemy can be attacking you, and unless you have the knowledge and skills to thwart their attacks, it is simply a race to see who can win first. Defending is, in my opinion, harder, because the attack is taken to you and you are usually on the back foot. In this guide you will go from the basic necessities of defending to advanced tactics that could save your bacon while under attack.
There is no point hoping to defend the attacks from the minions of NOD if you aren't comfortable. Be sure to choose a comfortable chair, one which you can relax in, yet with a back firm enough to keep you upright - there isn't much use in being comfortable if you keep on falling asleep. You eyes should be slightly above the middle of your screen, as this gives you the best viewing angle possible. Make sure the sun isn't glaring off the monitor, obscuring any part of the screen whatsoever, an enemy could be lying in wait there, but the room has to be light enough so you are comfortable.
You aim your weapons with your mouse, as well as look and turn, and if you can see an attack in progress before they can begin attacking, you have the early advantage, so it is an important piece of kit. Make sure it is regularly cleaned, because a sticky unresponsive mouse could get you killed. Ensure the mouse mat is clean as well, remove any grit from the surface to eliminate 'catching' and that is in generally good condition. Having a wrist rest is a nice addition, keeping your wrist unscathed from clashes with the desk, and also keeps your hand posture.
The keyboard setup also makes a difference, and many of the professionals or hard core gamers spent a lot of time and research into the best possible setup. Your hands need to be able to reach all the important keys with ease, so don't cramp them up together or space them too far apart. The automatic setups are usually fine for most players, but feel free to alter bits and pieces if something doesn't feel right for you. For example, I altered the sniping controls straight away, preferring to use the mouse wheel than the number pad. It can be little things like this that separate a destroyed base from an undamaged, well protected fort.
Now, to the basics... You have to remember that you are in a totally different situation to attacking. Whereas you can take the battle to the enemy when you launch the attack, defending requires a more thoughtful outlook. Don't go charging at the enemy, just keep low, shielded the best you can and let them run into the fire. However, firing like mad isn't the key to holding an attack off; any well co-ordinated strike will leave you falling like flies.
A close eye to the battlefield is key to being prepared for an attack. Having a good warning time is extremely important, the chances of you getting into formation with the right characters and tanks in a few seconds are slim, so placing a recon unit near the enemy base can be a lifesaver. If you are chosen or volunteer to be the recon unit, then report back all major activity; purchased units, infantry types and movement being the main things to look out for. Knowing an attack is coming is good, but knowing that an APC with 2 Engineers, a Mobius and a Rocket Launcher is on the way is even better. With this information, your friends back at base know what defences to set up, and there will be no surprises as to what jumps out of the APC.
If viewing the enemy base is impossible, due to defences, terrain or whatever, then you have to get as close as possible. Catch the unit/s driving out from the entrance and radioing back within a few seconds is vital, even if you don't know the full details of the APC or the attacking force. Every bit of information is crucial to being prepared, so put a lot of effort into this.
One of the best units for the recon position is the sniper. Stay well back, but zoom in to see the action. This gives you an advantage over other possible recon units as you don't have to strain your eyes trying to distinguish one blur of dots from another. If you are comfortable with a sniper, then pick off a few of the high cost characters, this is sure to annoy them and can seriously hinder their plans; even delay the attack by up to 10 minutes if more money is needed to replace the lost members.
That is the first part of successfully defending, the next few sections tell you which units are useful for defending.
Until the very last seconds of the battle, defending is done from a distance. Having a powerful short range weapon, then, isn't much use, so opt for something like the Rocket launcher. As you see the convoy of tanks and infantry approaching, aim to the centre of the group and unleash everything you have, because if you can reduce the numbers even before they can start the attack, you are well on the way to stopping them. Other weapons, such as the Grenade launcher, could be used as suppressing fire, with a line of fire in the enemies path. Grenades are far too slow to be used directly against particular enemies, so simply firing in front of them is sufficient.
If the assault is mainly infantry based, then having 2-3 snipers behind cover works a treat. Pick them off carefully, making sure you keep your sight steady, and try to kill 2 rather than maim four; four soldiers, no matter how damaged, still have the same firepower, whereas two soldiers can only have two guns. It's simple, but you'd be surprised how many people make the mistake. Snipers can be useful against other units as well, especially Buggies, Hummvees and lightly armoured vehicles, so there's no harm in letting off a few shots to weaken them slightly.
There are some really "no-no's" for infantry when defending, and these are the short range characters I mentioned briefly above. They are sometimes powerful from a few metres away, but you have to get the enemy down as much as possible before they retaliate at close range and smother you. The Shotgun Trooper is the perfect example, so avoid him if you wish to defend successfully.
Perhaps the best infantry unit in defence mode, the Engineer or Technician can keep your tanks alive much longer than they should be. With 3-4 Engineers losing tanks shouldn't be much of a problem, and the advantage is that it's very hard for enemy Engineers to keep up with moving forces, so repairs are unique to the defending side. Be sure to keep the Engi's protected, as the few minutes while they respawn and get back into the action can be the few minutes when enemy forces break through.
Tanks are the best means of defending, because of their long range, power and armour. Artillery's are excellent choices, they have the longest range and a large splash damage area, so aiming for the centre of the group can damage many surrounding units. However, once the assault gets a little closer to home, back off because the Artillery's armour isn't good enough to sustain much damage.
One tank you may not think of as a defending unit is the Mammoth. It may be portrayed as smashing through NOD bases, turrets glowing and crashing through rubble, but it's just suited for defending. The long range and power are its benefits, as well as the incredible amour, but as everyone knows, it has poor speed and manoeuvrability. So, why drive about and move when you can stay still? Pummel the enemy without having to worry about Stealth tanks sneaking up on you, or Engineers placing c4 on you.
Even Hummvees and Buggies can play their role, their machine guns are fine against infantry, and can free up the heavy tanks for the armour divisions of the assault.
A simple yet highly useful formation that can thwart any APC rush, simple use vehicles to block the entrance to your base. You'll find a wall of firing tanks hard to break through, and if any tank does get destroyed, move to cover the gap. It may sound rather crude, but the simplicity tends to overshadow how good it actually is.
Infantry aren't the best solutions in hectic tank battles with shells flying every which way, but they can still inflict useful damage. Shield yourself behind Mammoths or any well armoured unit, then pop out now and again and let loose a few shots, before hiding again. Don't feel guilty if the tank is destroyed, you have to remember 2 inches of steel can take more punishment than your flimsy coat can.
A lot of stealth operations come through the tunnels, and as you wait at the front of your base in preparation for a horde of tanks, a few infantry could just swagger in round the back and decimate your base without you knowing; that is, of course, before you hear "GDI Barracks destroyed" and several "lol's" from the other team. How do you stop it? Well the basic thing to do is place Proximity C4's over the tunnel entrance, so anyone walking through gets blasted, but as more and more people wise up, they bring an Engineer along with them to disarm the Proxies, so you can't just throw down some C4 and forget. Keep an eye open at all times, and if you see a beam of blue light, fire a few rockets into the tunnel and chase them away. If you have base defences, then put the C4's further out than usual, so the Engineer would have to leave the tunnel and the protection that comes with it to disarm them and get promptly wasted by the AGT/Obelisk.
Defending the Harvester
Your main source of income comes from the Harvester, so it's imperative that you keep it in good health and safe from danger. An Engineer accompaniment is a good idea, although it may go too far into the tiberium to be repaired on some maps. A better idea is a Light tank or Med tank following it to the tiberium field and back, so any enemy units that would aim to harass it can be dealt with. Without money you can't set up a good defence, so make sure Harvester defence is a high priority.
On some maps, such as CnC_Islands, the tiberium is located right behind your Refinery, so you don't need to be overly concerned about defending it. However on other maps, where your Harvie has to travel long distances, it is very vulnerable to any kind of attack, and in these situations you really do have to protect it well. If money is tight, then use something, even if it's just a Buggy, and try to keep the enemy occupied until the Harvie has got far enough away. It's a team game, after all, so losing your Buggy to ensure everyone else gets 400 credits will earn you respect and pride at least.
Defending may not be the frag fest fun that attacking is, but if you can waste your enemies attacking force quickly and then counter with your remaining forces, you have a good chance of catching them unawares. Defending is just as important as attacking, if not more so, because you can always have a second crack at attacking; regroup your forces and try again; but fail at defence and you've lost. Think about it.