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» Top 10 Underused Units & Structures

Preface: Another week, another article, this time regarding the: “Top Ten under-used units of Red Alert 2” Before you read this, you must all understand that this is purely subjective, all are my opinion and / or experience playing on WOL or against the AI. Are you appalled in a multiplayer game when somebody terrorist rushes you? Are you left speechless when Crazy Ivan appears on screen? Do you scream when your glorious rhino tanks are picked off one by one by a group of rocketeers? Fear not! Jim shares your pain! Now, here it goes, in reverse order, {cue the cheesy music}

10. Yuri
Many an allied player has wept at the sight of this freak - a single one can win a tank battle for you. Mingle a few of these into it and you have victory almost guaranteed. When we get to Yuri prime - You have World Domination, or maybe just game domination, in your sweaty clicking finger. Other benefits include the now infamous “terrorists / engineers / Crazy Ivans / Anything” packed into a mind controlled school bus to cause devastation, and the mind controlled cows put into a cloning vat - A flash £1000 is yours - A slight increase on market price perhaps…

9. V3 Rocket
Used surgically, these units can turn the tide of a battle, used irresponsibly and they'll have you wondering why that money didn't go towards another tank. Although not half as devastating as the Artillery was in Tiberian Sun, the V3 Rocket remains an integral part of planned offence in Red Alert 2. This is clearly demonstrated on maps such as “The Alamo” and “Little Big Lake” where a carefully executed attack from even a single V3 can cripple an opponent. The range of a V3 units means on these small maps, you can launch an attack from a far, forcing enemy armour out of the comfort of their defences, and onto a level playing field. Granted you need a radar tower to build them, but the V3 remains an extremely powerful pound for pound (or ruble for ruble) unit.

8. Superweapons
On my time on WOL, I've played only one game with superweapons, Why? Because “Nobody ever uses superweapons” said a grand master only too afraid of the power a newbie can be given by these weapons. Surely you jest my liege? In my opinion, and I don't know about other players, Superweapons are actually a good thing. Yes, granted they can cause utter devastation and require no skill to use, but if somebody has spent $1000 for a Radar / Air Force Command, plus $2000 for a battle lab, plus a further $2500 or $5000 on the superweapon itself, and then had to wait for 5 or 10 minutes for it to charge up, they deserve to get wasted. The grand total of building a one of these weapons after the war factory, is a suicidal $5500 or $7500. With that amount of cash, your opponent could have 6 or 8 extra Rhino Tanks. More than adequate for any player to destroy your precious investment before you have a chance to show it's value. Keep the superweapons I cry!

7. Fortress Walls
Walls are regularly used to defend sensitive parts of bases, most notably the MCV and Battle Lab. However, rarely are the used in this capacity during a fast Tank Rushing game. The time taken to blast through the walls could be precious extra time to spit out some more Sandbag GI's (maybe Guardian Gi's after the release of YR?), or to deploy another pillbox. Another way walls can be used is to surround a grand cannon's weakest area, the cells next to it. These will prevent players closing the gap next the cannon, and can result in complete demolition of a player's rush. These benefits, coupled with a fast build time and low price, means that Walls are used regularly, though not as regularly as they should be.

6. Spies
Spies, like Walls, are used frequently in long battles, but hardly ever in short games. Since when playing as the allies you should always be aiming to get up to High Tech as soon as possible, the spy should always be available to you. The benefits deploying a spy can be far more valuable than it's price tag. Infiltration of an Ore Refinery and / or Radar, can deprive an enemy of vital funding, or blind an opponent before a major offensive. Infiltrating a War Factory promotes your armour to veteran level, giving you a critical advantage in combat, Infiltrating a power plant puts base defences offline, essential if you are to engage tesla coils or prism towers. All in all, a very useful unit that should be used more than it is. Successfully deploying spies takes time. Never try to send one straight across the map - any decent player will see it coming a mile away, instead, try sending a Blackhawk chopper (Invisible to radar) into an opponents ore field, deploy the spy and then fly away. Rarely do players look at an ore field, and even with radar, will they really notice one extra dot next to all of his? Deployment of spies is essential to any allied player's tactics - particularly in long battles of attrition.

5. Squids
I've been having problems trying to imagine who came up with this idea. Picture a Westwood meeting, Weather Control Devices, Prism Tanks, and Psychic Beacons are all up on the agenda. Then somebody comes up with the idea of a Mind Controlled Squid. Quite, erm, odd, to say the very least, compared with the rest of the “sensible” ideas. Despite being very odd, nobody can claim that squids aren't effective. Often on small water maps, people will destroy an entire base with only a Dreadnought or Aircraft Carrier. With a squid, these ships can be crippled before they even begin an attack. Granted they are very vulnerable to subs and dolphins, but once the tentacles close in on a ship, there is no escape. More squids all round! They taste quite good too…

4. Terrorist
One of the most neglected offensive tactics is the terrorist rush. Pack 3 terrorists into 2 or 3 flak tracks, deploy next to key enemy structures, and BOOM! If you take out the Ore Refinery or War Factory it's game over. Their production will be so far behind that you should be able to stroll in with your tanks. Other lesser known uses for terrorists includes the perfect anti-infantry weapon, even 1 or 2 can wipe out a conscript rush in seconds. At $200, can you really complain?

3. Flak Trooper
Well, they aren't as mobile as a Flak Track, have no storage capacity and are easily eliminated by dogs. Perhaps, but one over looked fact of Flak Troopers, is that you can cram many of them into a small space - a higher concentration of firepower means faster killing time of enemies, particularly against rocketeers. The ability to put many of these units into a flak track for fast response against any aerial threat is also overlooked. Perhaps a touch expensive, but compared to an immovable flak cannon, they definitely whupp ass.

2. Crazy Ivan
Despite being named after a Soviet Naval manoeuvre, and despite having a decidedly paedophilic cackle, Crazy Ivan remains a powerful unit, sadly under-utilised in many multi player games. The most supreme attack, ever remains the cow bomb - one which I actually beat someone with, but that was in the good old days…. Plonk a few bombs on terror drones or flak tracks to accompany your rush, and laugh as the enemy's attention is drawn by the tanks - BOOM! Although lacking “oomph” with his bombs, the surprise nature of most of Ivan's attacks can often do just that, surprise them. As all WOL players know, that split second can mean disaster… And alas, we come to the final unit, The most Underused, in the world, ever… Perhaps not, but as you glance down the list, take a moment to think of how long it took me to reach this decision, how many late nights I pondered over it, How many long and slow periods of Physics I was harassed by it. In truth, none. Anyway, on with the show:

1. The Dreadnought
After a brief history lesson on the Red 2 World Forum, where those who weren't enlightened by the joys of history, the foolish members of our community were informed of the dreadnought's true beginnings. For a generation, they dominated the seas, symbol of power and wealth. Overnight they were made irrelevant by the dawning of the aircraft carrier age, but anyway, stick to the point! The dreadnought in RA2 is the most ultimate power on the seas. (pah! I say to you allied dogs and your aircraft carriers! Pah!) Many a time, particularly on “Little Big Lake” have I invested an extra $2000 to get the services of a dreadnought. Indeed, many a tank could be bought for that sum, but a single dreadnought can demolish a base. While you can send in your main force of tanks to “mop up” of course. You can even use a dreadnought in defensive roles too, while the enemy masses his tanks - waste ‘em on the ground! Moreover, like many of the units mentioned above, they can annoy or disrupt your enemy - even if you only damage or destroy a few buildings - your enemy will have had to adapt in some degree, maybe build some defences, or stop building an extra tank. Overlooked in many a short game, the dreadnought has become a potent weapon in my arsenal - Just try me on “Little Big Lake” - Go on!

» Jim

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