In this Special Feature, Avilo from the Stim clan shares his micromanagement expertise for the Allied Faction. Avilo is a top player for Red Alert 3 who has won several Gamereplays.org hosted tournaments and with his help the Stim clan won first place in the clanwars.cc tournament last month. You can read up upon Avilo in our interview with him!
Peacekeeper micromanagement is something I have seen many players lacking. Sure, most allies know to shield their peacekeepers that are in the front to take hits for the ones that follow, but what allies players are not doing enough are attacking, moving, attacking, and then moving.
This maximizes the amount of damage your peacekeepers do while allowing them to cover maximum distance which may save your peacekeepers lives long enough for them to do maximum damage - not to mention, the closer your Peacekeepers are to their targets, the more damage they do.
So when you want to micromanage peacekeepers, order a move command, fire at your target, and once all of your PKs are finished firing that shotgun blast, right away issue a move command while their shotgun is cooling down, and then fire again on your target.
It takes a bit of practice and "APM" [Actions per Minute] but when you master this, it'll almost feel like your PKs are moving and firing and that you are covering a good distance.
If you've played starcraft and micromanaged dragoons, marines, or hydralisks the micromanagement is the exact same thing. It is just a matter of dedicating time to practicing the PK micro and putting forth the effort and attention span whenever you have these PK situations.
For vindicator micromanagement, I'll describe how I micro my own vindicators.
I always use control group 1 for my vindicators every game, and it doesn't matter how many I have in the group, it can be 1, 3, or 27. The way I micromanage vindicators is exactly how I described in my shoutcast
- I rapidly deselect however many vindicators I need to from the group by right clicking on their unit portraits.
If I want to take out 2 hammers, and 2 bullfrogs and I happen to have 8 vindicators, then I select one target, right click on two vindicator portraits, and then select a new target with that same group.
What ends up happening is you manage to assign vindicator targets in twos without needing to dedicate more than one hotkey to your vindicators.
Also, a micromanagement technique for pr0 level players is vindicator "stop micro." Your vindicators have either 2/3 bombs depending on if you have advanced aeronatics yet, and in situations where there are multiple infantry around, you can use 1 vindicator to take out 2/3 infantry on it's own.
The way you do this is by practicing the timing and distance on your vindicator attack. You select a target and right as you estimate your vindicator is about to drop bombs you press "s" for "stop" which makes the vindicator stop dropping bombs.
with practice and good timing, you can drop vindicator bombs 1 by 1, allowing you to do maximum damage with your vindicators.
This can save you from things like a tankbuster surprise support power, and is crucial when you are using cyrocoptors with vindicators, as 1 vindicator can kill 3 harvesters on one single run with this vindicator stop micromanagement
Athena Cannon Micromanagement:
With the athena cannon, you can have an invincible allies army by timing their shields perfectly. By reaching 4 athena cannons, you can rotate athena cannon shields in pairs, which allows your entire army to be covered, the important aspect being that each athena's shield overlaps with the hole in the other's shield.
Assigning hotkeys to pairs of athenas is crucial if you want to maximize your shield timings, but if you are good you can manually keep track of when to activate the next pair's shields.
Guardian Tank + PeaceKeeper combination:
This is a tactic I've been working on extensively vs soviets for mid-game, and it really packs a punch.
Rather than going for the airstrike support power, get the high technology upgrade, and begin production of guardians and PKs off of one or two raxes.
PKs are the elite badass infantry of this game, but when they have guardians in the back laser painting targets for them, they become twice as badass, ripping everything to shreds.
With this combination you pretty much want all of your guardian tanks in laser paint mode, and your PK micromanagement (using above micro technique) and APM/handspeed will let this unit combo do maximum damage, even vs enemy tanks.
PeaceKeeper + Cyrocoptor + Apollo:
If you can manage to gain control of the air with apollos and begin accumulating cyrocoptors, you have a PK [Peacekeeper] army that can blast through everything in one shot.
The key with this unit combination is that PKs are one of the cheapest units in the game, so by having so many your cyros simply freeze everything and PKs are guaranteed to get one shot kills.
This also creates situations where a PK army suddenly becomes deadly vs apoc tanks, just shrink the apocs and then apply your shotgun to their face
Dogs are one of the best units in the game. Dogs give you information that will let you live or die.
If you do not develop the ability to reliably get scouting information with your dogs, you will lose countless games by not being able to adapt on the fly and keep track of army movements/harrassments.
Besides scouting information, dogs are faster than bears which allows you to "feint bark" in the early game Micheal Vick battles.
By running towards your opponent's bears/dog, and then quickly pulling back, you can make your opponent bark/roar and not catch your dog, which allows you to either bark/roar them back, or kill their unit without needing even to do that.
Timing, micro, APM, game experience are all necessary to feint perfectly, so this is an aspect of the game you should be PRACTICING - yes, I put it in caps, if you don't like it eff you lol. You have to practice this type of thing and focus on improving this part of your game.
Do not simply play games over and over and neglect this early micromanagement part of the game. Practice this specifically with clanmates, friends, etc. so that in real games you come out on top in the early game.
Simply having great dog/bear micro makes you a threat at top level, especially if your opponents neglect practicing this part of their game!
Cyrocoptor Attack Priority:
When you are using cyrocoptors for harassment, there will be many times that AA units are incoming and you have only a small timing window to freeze a harv and get the fuck out. This is where knowing what units you should target will save you time and maximize your harrass.
If there is a bullfrog coming at your cyrocoptor, and more on the way, and you are in the process of freezing a harvester, you need to shrink that bullfrog and ignore it asap and continue freezing your intended target. Do not continue to freeze the bullfrog, or even attack the bullfrog. Stay focused, and even if there are more bullfrogs dealing damage to your cyrocoptor make sure you freeze your target!
Use the shrink ray again and go back to freezing your target. It's really important to stay focused and have a goal and a target in mind, and do not waver in your decision making. If you have to retreat, then retreat, but if you are going to freeze the target in time to bomb it, then do so!
Vindicator VS sickle Micromanagement:
Whenever you are in those early or mid-game situations where you intend to bomb sickles, here is a trick that I do that you can use too.
Sickles can avoid vindicator bombs by timing their jump as you drop bombs, and knowing this you should move your vindicators as if you are going to bomb the sickles and allow them to jump!
Once they have landed, then you can bomb them it's basically a psychological game of chicken, the way you move your vindicators towards the [sickles] will scare the soviet into jumping their sickles, and then you go in for the kill.
I'm one of the few doing this, but once soviets catch on, the timing will be more difficult and micro/apm intensive and it'll be all mind games! So be sure you trick your soviet opponent into jumping!
PeaceKeeper micro vs Sickles:
This micromanagement technique is APM intensive as you manually have to split your peacekeepers up to avoid sickle jumps.
When you are engaging sickles, if you see that your opponent is going to sickle jump into your PKs right away judge where you think they will most likely jump, and split your PKs omnidirectionally outward from where the sickle will land.
If you perfect this spread, once the sickle is in the air, it'll end up jumping to the vacant spot in your ring of deadly and hungry PKs, and then you use the PK move/attack micromanagement to attack the sickle, move with the sickle, attack it, and repeat
Apollo micro is important because when migs and tengus grow in numbers you are not "guaranteed" to win every air battle.
This is where formation matters (it matters with all your units tbh), as in you literally want to use the formation move to move your apollos in formation so that all your apollos will be firing at once.
You never want to have apollos lagging behind or moving ahead of the entire group, as then they can be picked off 1 by 1. Always formation move apollos when about to engage enemy air units.