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Guide for Beginner and Intermediate China on Tournament Desert

By -HaTeR- - 13th March 2009 - 22:16 PM

Ok, let's have a closer look on the map Tournament Desert, the most favoured, played by every good player in the history of CCG.

Click to enlarge

As you can see its pretty much symetrical, both starting points being almost identical; only difference of any significance is that there is a slightly longer road to travel to the middle city when your starting point is "down" on the map.

There are 5 (3) different angles you can attack, and be attacked from. The arrows on the map indicate the access points. 3 angles throught the city can be reduced to one, as this is the forward attack, but as you probably can imagine already, it can make a big difference in terms of success which route the attack takes.

All this basic information is necessary in how you would later develop your strategies and in-game tactics. Knowing, and being alert of these points 100% of the time will make you a reliable and stable player. This doesn't automaticly translate into being a good player at once, but it will over time give you a motoric and physic sense of the game.

Depending on which army your facing you should know by the instant what to expect as threats to you, and the means you can defend and attack with.
I will cover some of possible scenarios later on.

The first minutes are always critical as it will either produce advantage to you, advantage to your opponent, or an equalized position.
Getting an advantage to yourself is obvious the best thing, but how that advantage is gained can vary tremendously. Its not very easy to spot advantages in replay-analysis either; the advantages has a way of changing hands fast.

An example is in place now I feel: Consider a China vs China Battle. Player 1 is building one War Factory, one Barracks, and builds Propaganda central as soon as the War Factory is ready. A strategy called "fast-tech"; doing this strategy makes the advanced units Black Lotus, Overlord, and Nuke Cannon available to be bought early, ergo the term "fast tech".
The opponent, player 2, goes for the strat populary called "Double Warf"; meaning he builds two War Factories simultaniously.
The scenario is this: Player 2 can make twice as many units from his War Factories than player 1 can do from his single War Factory. We can say at this point that player 2 got a temporary advantage in the game. His advantage is rooted in the fact that he can make more units than his opponent, and in theory he is in power to overrun him by exellent play. But, defending is always easier than attacking (when you defend you can build units during the time the attacker uses to travel across the map). If player 2 fails to do any real damage to player 1 during this time period (time period = the time it takes for "fast-tech" to finish and Overlords and Black Lotus enter the game), the advantage changes. Now player 1 got the advantage; he got Overlords and Black Lotus out, maybe nuke cannons as well. Player 2 can make as many lesser units as he wish, but vs overlords and Nuke Cannons they dont stand much chance.

The advantages we talk about here I would like to call loose-advantages; advantages that are weak, easily changed.

A strong advantage would be a significant bigger income over time; example of this would be if one player can collect money from the middle city uninterrupted.
It takes some time, always, for a supply center to earn back what you spent building it. Never build when it's likely that it would be destroyed in the close future!

Let's stop and look at some of the possible scenarios that can happen, and let's focus on what's important to think of and why.

We begin in the scenario China vs China:

Selling Command Center: If you chose to sell your Command Center you will have to play without Radar and wont be able to launch any attacks gained from "General Points" until your Command Center is rebuildt. You will however get an extra 1000 $ when you sell it, making more strategies available to you. For instance, you can afford making 2 War Factories and have no delay in building units from both of them, or "fast-tech" while still being able to build enough units to defend.

First, you got plenty of options here. There are incredible numbers of ways you can play vs China as China. I won't include all of them here as this is mainly a beginner and intermediate guide to China.
I mentioned the access points in which you can attack and be attacked from. You can deal with this in two different ways, passive and active.
Passive control is mainly used when you go for "fast tech", or any other strategy that involves building only one War Factory. You maintain control over these areas of the map by placing Battle Master Tanks in guard mode at key-locations of the map. You dont care about what your enemy does elsewhere for a moment, and concentrate on defending your base while you try to achieve your goals. That can be for instance : "Fast-Tech", supply in the middle, oil capture etc etc.

You make a waypoint from your War Factory to each "weak" access point; ergo one Battle Master Tanks on both flanks, and also in the vicinity of the middle. Change waypoints along the way as the Battle Master Tanks keep coming out to their destination.
Look at this picture to get an idea of what im talking about.

Click to enlarge

You will prioritize the flanks first, getting one Battle Master Tank in guard at each flank before you guard the front.
A good thing you should do if you go for the passive control is to build a Barracks, and send some Tank Hunters to garrison some of the houses in the middle. Having view of as much as possible is very important. Then you can know early on of any attacks your enemy is sending for you.

Active control is seizing control over the map by sending out units into enemy territory. Knowing whats going on is very important like i mentioned earlier, and active control is a very nice way of achieving this. Your main goals are to stop your enemies attacks before they happen, reducing his income (killing Supply Trucks), and maybe kill him early on if he's/she's not prepared, and seizing mapcontrol. Playing this way indicates that you want to control the game. If your agressive enought and play over all well, you can hold your opponent back long enought for you to get the middle and the supplies located there. Always be aware of the "back-fire" you may experience by playing to agressive though; likely scenarios are unnoticed Dragon Tank/Gattling Tank in your base, and/or Black Lotus suddenly capturing all your buildings.

Building mines on your supplies can be a clever choice in addiction or as a surrogate to your defence at your supplies. Run away your trucks from the enemy unit when its coming, and if your lucky it will kill itself on the mines. An experienced player will however not enter the area, assuming there could be mines present and therehence place the unit in a position it can do damage, but not get killed...

If your playing defensive it's all pretty straight forward: Kill whatever coming your way! Try and have a buffer zone between the front and your base always. Then you always will have some time to adabt to the situation and make the necessary units to get back on your feet again.

Always keep in mind that the one with the greatest economy/income will in most cases win the game. Therefore holding the oils, and the middle is ultra important in every match.

Two examples of how you can place Supply Centers in the middle.

Click to enlarge

There is a thing called "micro", short for micromanagement. It's about how well you control your units, good or bad micro, for instance, having good micro can win battles against a bigger army than yours. A good example of this is when you have damaged units in the front and you send them back before they get killed, repairing them. Don't try and kill a Battle Master Tank with a Gattling Tank; you shall retreat and come back with a better unit able to deal with the enemy. Another example of micro is how you use your MiGs; learn how many MiGs it takes to kill each unit on the field. Attacking without killing anything is in most cases pointless, and attacking with too many are unnecessary, overkill simply.
There are however the MiG-Fire-Storm; when 4 MiGs attack at the same time (doesn't have to be 100% exact) they will make a firestorm burning a large area around the impact. Something to note is you dont have to hit the same target to make the firestorm happen; if you group your MiGs (let's say you have 4) two-and-two (you make groups by selecting the units you want to be grouped and hit "Ctrl plus a number from 0-9, you select the units later just by hitting the equivalent key), for instance, 2 MiGs under shortcut key "1" and 2 under "2", you should try and hit two different targets not too far away from each other. This way you can do more total damage than attacking with all at one target. Don't forget that upgrading Black Napalm increases the damage done greatly, but it cost 2000$ at your War Factory.

Scenario, China vs GLA:

You need to take care of the cars in the middle.

Click to enlarge

They can be captured by enemy Terrorists and they become small Bomb Trucks, hazardious to you. They can kill your Dozers or Supply Trucks easily.
You can deal with the cars either by running over them by a Supply Truck or Dozer, or you can kill them with Tank Hunters. (You have to Force Fire, also known as 'FF', on the cars to be able to kill them. Hold Ctrl and target the cars and you FF them.)

GLA can build Tunnels everywhere and he might have planned some Tunnels near your flanks. They are a pain in the ass to say the least; always expect the gla to build Tunnels near you, and be prepared. You can in example use one or more of your Supply Trucks to scout your flanks, and run over any Worker you see.

Another common early on threat is the Technical filled with Terrorists. Building Mines around your important buildings is a very good defense against this.

Check out this tutorial for more information about China vs GLA
China vs GLA on Tournament Desert

Scenario, China vs USA:

Always remember that USA can use its Chinooks to drop enemy units near you anytime. A popular drop is the "Patriot drop"; one of USA's Dozers are dropped near one of your supplies and intend to build a Patriot Missile System killing off that supply. This drop is often seen in combination with the "md-drop", Missile Defenders, able to Laser-lock your Dozers or Supply Trucks. You can stop the Patriot before its up if you have some Tank Hunters nearby, killing the Dozer, or if your too late you can either ignore the Patriot completely and build another Supply Center elsewhere, or make enought units taking care of it immediatly. A good choice would be a Troop Crawler, but remember to spread out your infantry inside so the Patriot doesn't kill everybody with a couple of shots. Send one man in first, running around making the Patriot shoot the ground while the rest kill it off. Make sure the Dozer is killed first as it can run over your men and also repair the Patriot. A Missile Defender drop can be dealt with successfully by using your Supply Trucks and run them over. Inticipate the drop and have them ready for the Missile Defenders.

Playing against USA you need to act fast; this doesn't mean you have to kill him off in minutes, but it will be harder for you the longer the game lasts.

Remember that you can spinn up your Gattling Tanks before you attack; do this by holding Ctrl and shoot at the ground. Attack when the Gattling Tank is spinned up to the maximum.

In the beginning Gattling Tanks and Tank Hunters will most often be your best choice of arms. They can deal with everything USA has to kick back at you, but remember, USA can deal with you, too. Micro will decide.

Check out this post for more information about China vs USA
Excellent China Build Order vs USA

Hope it helps.

written by Quasis

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