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How to be successful with USA drops

By ScOtSmAn - 2nd July 2011 - 18:12 PM

Generals, today we are looking at something you, for sure, have already tried - The drop ability when playing as the USA. We focus on an early drop in a game because that seems to be the most challenging.

First of all, it is very important to know in what match ups, and on what maps you might consider an early drop. Especially in USA vs USA or USA vs China match ups it is common that you will drop or will get dropped. In some cases it can be even interesting to drop a GLA player, especially in team games.

There are two possibilities of dropping. The first one is an aggressive drop in order to slow down the opponent (slow his economy, distraction, etc)

The second one is a passive drop to secure some strategical points of a map in order to get an advantage when holding this spot [enables better economy (oils), controls small entrance, etc.]
Today, we will talk about the technique of how you should execute your drop, what you should load into your Chinook and how to choose the right place where you can efficiently hurt your opponent to finish a successful drop.

Especially in team games, a good drop can decide a game in a very short amount of time. You might already know that the difference to 1v1 games is the possibility to double (triple) someone which means that one team tries to overrun a single player of the other team very quickly, so that the rest of the match can continue in an imbalanced way (like 2v1 or 3v2, ).

Predestined for a very fast double on your opponent is having a USA in your team. The way a USA player can drop and therefore help to overrun the enemy in such a small amount of time, makes the drop that interesting.

In case you decided you like to drop, you need to know what you have to load into your Chinook (depending on the army you like to attack).

proper build order
Your build order should be: first dozer power, second dozer barracks, then first dozer supplies. From then on you have to decide on your own how you like to continue (depending on the map and the armies involved): either you can go for a war factory, a second barracks or even a second supply, if you have the feeling your base might be save enough with one barracks.

1. Dropping USA:

You need to either put a drone on your enemy or try to box what build order he is going to use (I recommend the drone, so you can see if he is also preparing a drop by himself or not)
Common build orders (b.o.) of your opponent could be dual supply or a barracks b.o. If you see (or box) he is going for dual supplies, you should load a dozer and two mds into your Chinook, because then it will be hard for him to stop your dozer without having a fast barracks like you do. If you see he chose a barracks b.o. (similar to your one) you should load a dozer, 2 mds and an extra flash bang ranger, so that you can protect your dozer much better from getting destroyed by enemy mds (make sure you develop flash bang right in time). Keep in mind that you are a bit slower because you need to wait for the extra ranger until your Chinook is ready for take off.
In both cases start immediately to build a patriot NEAR his supplies to stop his economy (NOT near the depot, otherwise he could just collect from elsewhere as Chinook are fast).

2. Dropping China:

Normally you would take the paladin upgrade, so make sure you can box correctly if he goes for dual supplies or if he decides to protect his base from early drop with a barracks b.o.
In both cases load a dozer and 2 mds into your Chinook. If he is going to take dual supplies it will be hard for him to stop your drop. Start to build a patriot and defend the dozer with the mds vs the first enemy tank popping out of his war factory. Always a perfect spot for the patriot would be right besides his supply trucks.
If he is going for a barracks you have to be very careful. If he does not pay much attention you can just do the same as before (remember that with some decent micro you can drive over a tank hunter with your dozer and then it is save !). In case he is watching out carefully you should just try to hunt the china dozer(s) to make at least sure he is forced to stay on one supply, which also should be sufficient to gain an early game advantage. After, you can drop the dozer in front of the China to support your partner's rush on him with mds.

3. Dropping GLA :

It's a bit unusual but still, dropping a GLA player might be good as a surprising strategy. The GLA worker system and their early barracks which you will have to face in nearly every game, makes GLA's both vulnerable to flash bang rangers but also gives them an advantage because they do not need to watch out that much for worker hunting (usually GLA's have enough to prevent loosing their construction ability). Moreover, your drop can be countered by using terrors, which are most likely around.
If you decide to drop a GLA you should always load two, better three rangers into your Chinook (develop flash bang immediately !). As a patriot drop doesnt really help much vs GLA you have to decide whether you like to take a dozer with you or not. If yes you could get one or two barracks up in the back of the GLA base to increase the early pressure on your opponent. Your team mate should quickly finish him off because the GLA player will be delayed in his early b.o. Having a dozer in the GLA base might as well help to secure a new base when you are forced to give up your old one.

Always be prepared to be able to base swap when you drop. When you drop, your own base gets vulnerable to any attack, so the main goal of an early drop should result in a fast victory over one player of the opposing team. Right then if it is necessary you can just rebuild supplies there and then harass the remaining player(s) in an unbalanced match up (2v1 for example).

base swap
Keep in mind USA can rebuild a new base within seconds, all you need to do is save a dozer in a Chinook, quickly sell your buildings in the old base (no gen points for your opponent, and you get some money back), then remake supplies, a barracks and/or a war factory. Start to distract the remaining opponent(s) by continuing to drop them and kill their economy while they have to battle your team mate.

Placement of the patriot :

Did you sometimes wonder why you fail to finish a patriot while others manage to complete it?

Here is some advice for what you can do to be more successful. Keep in mind that an early USA drop is one of those things in CCG that requires both - micro AND speed - to be the most effective.

First of all it is highly recommended to label your units/dozer. Some good example would be to choose 1 for the Chinook, 2 for both mds in it 4 for the dozer in it and 3 for a barracks or a war factory in your base. The last is very important because then you can ensure to counter the very first rush coming to your base and spam some further units to either increase the double pressure (for example the patriot drop on a china followed by a quick paladin drop) or fight off some enemy units. Like this you never loose time for unnecessary scrolls, and that's exactly the point where it increases your micro and map awareness a lot.

proper loading
When you get units into your Chinook I recommend you to select it and once press S so that it stops and getting ready for loading. This will prevent the Chinook from flying around or back to supplies not doing what you told it to this might save you save some time and the Chinook will obey your commands!

Also use hot keys for the buildings, especially the patriot (!). Speed is the key that can decide if a patriot gets countered at 80% or whether can you finish it. [If you labelled your dozer as 4, as described above, ...] unload it and get ready on your keyboard to press 4 and then the hot key for the patriot and start building it right away.

Same procedure with the mds, just press 2 and the hot key for laser lock (I changed it to Y because that gives me a more accurate and faster laser lock ability than the usual L - follow THIS guide to change your hot keys if you wish:

micro your mds
If you see a truck or anything else is trying to overrun your mds press X to spread them and then laser lock it right away.

Last but not least we like to mention the best placement of a patriot. That's how it should look like:

As you see the dozer immediately starts to build it without turning around. Therefore you do not loose any time!

Always try to place the patriot scaffold besides the dozer and not in front of or behind it because then your dozer gets much more vulnerable to force fire shots! If you put the patriot besides, the dozer does offer less points where it can be effectively force fired while it is partially shielded by the patriot. Like this you can hide the dozer behind the patriot, that means your opponent first has to go around it before he can shoot at you dozer - very helpful to again save some valuable time!

In the above screen shot you see how far the dozer had to turn before he can start doing what you wanted him to if you place the patriot careless (in that example the patriot scaffold was put inside the dozer)

We hope this will help you to improve your drop skills and that you get an idea of how little it takes to more successful with your drops. Always keep in mind that you have to adapt fast and that you make the right decisions just in time - it will be decisive about victory or loss! Good luck General!

Check out the following replays to see how different USA drops can be executed in team games, being very effective.

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