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» Strategy Clinic Archive

This is an archive of a feature we ran in 2003 entitled 'Strategy Clinic'. Fans were invited to email in their questions in regard to strategies and one of our strategy writers, xDaunt, a well known Generals player, answered in detail to help them out. Good reading.

Please note this is no longer running - do not try to email xDaunt in relation to this.


From: "Niall Harris" []
To: []
Subject: USA help

Hey ive been playing USA for a while now (brig-general) and am fairly good at overcoming most reasonable opponents But the thing that has got me on most occasions is the chinese Gat/th. Only a few time have i been able to overcome this mainly by turtling.

Well, this is definitely the $1 million question for USA players: how to stop the gat+TH rush. Unfortunately there is no answer. The best China players will consistently beat the best USA players and the second rate China players that are only good at gat+TH rushing will also have a lot of success against the best USA players. Moreoever, even if a USA player survives the initial rush he will likely have suffered substantial damage and emerge in a position far behind that of the China player.

So what are the best available options? The #1 option is to build up some tanks, some rangers with flash bangs, an ambulance (with spy plane), and some missile defenders to try and stop the rush straight up. This is very difficult to do consistently. One thing that you should always try to do is snatch the oil derricks asap, since they will give must needed early income to get enough units to compete with the gat+TH rush.

Your second option would be to try and quick tech up to a strategy center. If you can get a strategy center fast enough and get the bombardment cannon deployed, you will be able to stop the gat+TH rush fairly easily. The downside to this strategy is that by committing yourself to a quick tech strategy, you essentially give your opponent free reign over the rest of the map for the early portion of the game, meaning that he has exclusive access to all oil derricks and supply docks. I wouldn't recommend using this strategy except when you are playing a Chinese player that knows how to do nothing other than gat+TH rush.

The third option is to try and do some aggressive drop early on. You can patriot drop or missile defender drop. Both of these are high risk maneuvers that won't pay off very often against top China opponents. However, they still are options.

From: "Alex Lord" []
Subject: USA questions

Hi xDaunt

I have watched all your replays posted on cnc series and have found them very helpful. I have taught myself to micromanage better by watching the replays, but i have a few questions:

Thanks =)

How do you micromanage usually and which way is easiest/most effective,eg. numbering into groups, press "e" to select units of type etc.?

I often group specific unit types into groups, so I'll have all my commanches in group 1, tanks in group 2, missile defenders in group 3, etc. However, this doesn't always work since I often times have multiple armies that each contain 3-4 types of units. Instead, I group each task force separately and micromanage the unit types manually by double-clicking.

Is there a force move command to make vehicles run over infantry?

Unfortunately, no. The closest thing that you can do is place a waypoint on the spot where the infantry are (alt+click).

Is there a hotkey for laser lock?

Yep, "L".

Also, there is a tactic i have used on tournament desert against china players, where you drop (via chinook) two MDs and a dozer at the enemies expansion site, and build a patriot at the entrance to the base. This either destroys the supply centre if there is one, or stops the player from building one. This has worked almost everytime I have tried it, and has often stopped the player from gt/th rushing, because he struggled to get the funds for it before i could build up a decent army. However I havn't layed the best china players (they won't play me because my record sucks), so I don't know if this strategy will work against a better player. Do you think this is a good strategy and have you used it?

Yes, this one way to go after China players on tournament desert, which is not a good map for USA players. It will work fairly well on average China players that panic or have slow builds. However, it is a very risky move to make against veteran and expert China players. I personally think that it is better to try and seize the derricks and middle instead. Usually this involves getting a early hummer to take out any red guards that head for the derricks and then stacking the middle with missile defenders and rangers. You also have to remember to keep your flanks covered with at least 1 tank per side entrance so that gattling tanks don't hit your chinooks from behind.

From: Pieter Kal []
To: []
Subject: Use airforce or not?

Hi Xdaunt, I'm a USA player but I never use the airforce, should I and is it specific good for something. I experimented a little with it but the expensive planes are shot out of the sky so easy so I stopped using the airforce. Most of the time I play smallmaps 1vs1.

There aren't many useful roles for the USAF, but the ones that do exist are VERY useful. First of all, don't use the USAF against China. It just really isn't worth it unless you need raptors to destroy nuke cannons in the event that you don't have S&D tomahawks available. Against GLA opponents, you will always want to get commanches to kill buggies. Moreoever, quick commanche builds can cripple the GLA in the early game, stopping all expansion attempts and countering technical/terrorist rushes. Just be wary of technical/rpg rushes. In USA vs USA games, consider using commanches for hitting targets of opportunity, like exposed portions of your opponent's base, and using auroras to hit your opponent's supply drops.

My second question: I have problems with china players that expand really quick in the beginning. He can have a gattling canon up at oilderricks even before I can be there with my rocket guys. What is the best thing to do against a really fast expansive china player? thanks.


There are a couple things that you can do. First of all, you can use a chinook to ferry your rangers around to the oil derricks very quickly, giving you first dibs at the cash bonuses. If you're worried about China setting up a quick expansion at a supply dock, then use a chinook to ferry 2 missile defenders over to intercept the China player's dozer. Ready my China Containment guide for details on this maneuver.


From: "Gray Fox" []
To: []
Subject: Generals Strategy Clinic

I always have problems with China when my opponent turtles, and amasses large defenses. Me being a USA player I concoct a few tomahawk missiles to fire upon the stationary defenses while I have a good number of paladins and other reinforcements standby until the defenses are toast. This is where I run into my problem -- in come the MiGs and my tomahawks get wasted before enough damage can be dealt to the defensive structures. If I send my other units in, they get destroyed. Any solutions?

Turtlers are USUALLY dead meat from the getgo unless you are playing on a very small map with no expansion sites like Final Crusade (well, there are expansion sites but they are basically part of the main bases). The first thing that you will want to do against a turtler is expand across the map as much as possible, taking all of the derricks and supply docks that you can get. This way, you will have a huge cash flow compared to your opponent. With this huge cash flow you can crank out units out of several factories/barracks AND throw up a quick superweapon or two. If you get the superweapon up quickly enough, often times you can scare your opponent out of the game. Another thing that you can do is build an airstrip and use 1 aurora to constantly attack and destroy his propaganda center. Most turtlers usually tech up to advanced units/structures and rely heavily on their alternative income sources such as hackers. By destroying the propaganda center, you causing him severe damage. Also, since you will more than likely have a lot of money to spare, you can also suicide your auroras against his airfields (2 per airfield).

If he sticks around, then you are going to need to get an army to deal with him. You will want a lot of S&D tomahawks (use search and destroy at your strategy center), hummers with tows, a good number of missile defenders, and at least 10 paladins. As you are advancing on your opponent's base and bombarding it with your tomahawks, keep your tomahawks surrounded by your paladins so that any Mig strike that targets your tomahawks will fail. Furthermore, keep your hummers positioned in a line facing your opponents base in front of your forces. This way, you will have a good chance at shooting down some of the Migs as they come to attack your forces. At this point you will find that it is just a matter of time before your opponent falls under your massive tomahawk barrage.

From: chen zhi jian []
To: []
Subject: Strategy Clinic

Dear xdaunt,

1. I am very fearful of the humvee rush. people put their missle defenders on the humvees and because i play China none of my units (I think migs would be too expensive) can catch up with the humvees which hit (very hard) and run from my battlemasters, gattling tanks and cannons. Even if I do get to hit the humvees by then i would already have lost stuff like supply centres.

Besides rushing the player first, what measures could i use to safeguard the humvee rush? Im afraid if i use bunkers i wouldnt have time to fill them up with tank hunters.

2. the gattling cannons installed on my overlords have a horrible response time, sometimes firing their first shot only when the enemy plane is on its way back. Is there any way to manually get the gattling cannon to target enemy aircraft?


You're right, Migs are not particularly cost effective against humvees and humvees that are loaded with missile defenders (also known as rockvees) and sending battlemasters and overlords against them is probably a bad idea if the USA player decides to unload his humvees and laser lock your tanks. The best solution is to produce a whole bunch of gattling tanks. If the USA player sends 1 rockvee at you (1 hummer w/ 5 missile defenders inside) then he is sending $2200 worth of units at your base. Because China has a better early game economy (and it is during the early game that you will see rockvees) you should have no problem matching that cost in some form of defense.The best and easiest method of destroying a rockvee is to build 2-3 gattling tanks per rockvee that he sends at your base. If the USA player is VERY GOOD, then he might be able to unload his rockvee and laser lock and kill 2 gattling tanks with 5 missile defenders. Chances are that he will not be this good. With 2 gattling tanks you should be able to scare off his rockvee or destroy it completely if he chooses to stay and fight. Just make sure that you target his missile defenders instead of the humvee if he unloads the humvee.

From: "Rick Meijers" []
To: []
Subject: clinic

I need some help with my strategie for the usa. I'm a guy who is set up for long games. Which brings me to question 1: i build slow other players always have 4 drop zone when im still building my strat center i need some advice on how to build faster.
Question 2: I'm a passive player i always wait with attacks until i have an large enough army to win meanwhile my opponents keep sending attack after attack at me. Could you give me some ideas on how to get out of my waiting stance.


Well, the important thing is that you understand that there is something wrong about passive play. The absolute worst thing that you can do in an RTS (short of taking a dump for the first 10 minutes of the game) is wait for your opponent to come to you. This is bad for a variety of reasons. First of all, you give him control of the map, which means that he will have access to all of the supply docks and oil derricks while you're just sitting at home twiddling your thumbs. Secondly, you always want to dictate where and when battles are fought if necessary. You would be surprised how many players react badly or make mistakes when their opponent starts attacking them. A smart player will perform hit and run attacks that will slowly whittle away his opponent's forces with little or no risk to himself.

So, how does one get out of the "passive mentality?" There really is no quick fix to this problem. Switching from a passive mentality to an active mentality requires practice and experience. The difference between and active and a passive player is that the active player will recognize more opportunities than the passive player. The only way in which you can learn to find these opportunities is through experimentation with your strategies and pure gameplay experience. You can "force" yourself into an active mentality by trying to play very aggressively. Expand early and often, perform hit and run attacks on your opponent's base, attack their expansions with small forces. Here's the key: don't worry about the risks of any of these attacks. Because you're in a passive mindset, you're more than likely overestimating the risks. What you need to do is actually try these aggressive strategies and see how they really work. Yes, you will probably make a lot of mistakes early on as you test this new aggressive style of play, but as you get a better feel for it, you'll find that you're a much better player for it.

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