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Updated: Tip of the Week #8 - The Mothership

By Trojan. - 16th August 2010 - 16:30 PM

Countering the Mothership

Yes, the Mothership is counterable. There are several ways in which the Mothership can be stopped, each at separate points in the chain:


Destroy the enemy Technology Assembler or construction facilities before the Signal Transmitter is placed.

This is by far the hardest way to stop the Mothership, but without a Technology Assembler, all Signal Transmitters that are already under construction or queued will be canceled. Even better, if you can, kill your enemy's Drone Platforms and Cranes so they won't be building anything, let alone a Signal Transmitter!


Keep the enemy from building a Signal Transmitter in your base.

This is easier to do, although it relies on some forward scouting so you can see this coming. If you find a Technology Assembler and your opponent is building a line of structures towards your base, you should be building anti-structure units anyway due to the threat of Storm Columns. Explorers and Drone Ships should stick out like a sore thumb as they come towards your base, so just attack the Drone Ship with anti-air and attack the Explorer with just about anything, since it is rather weak and takes a while to deploy. This leaves Assimilators and the Mastermind, which are countered in the usual way (Snipers/Watchtowers as GDI, Buzzer Swarm/Storm Columns as Scrin, Venoms/Raider Buggies/Shredder Turrets as Nod).

If you are really desperate, you can sell a structure and use the drafted rifle infantry or Buzzers to help kill the Mastermind or Assimilator. This is not very reliable against the Mastermind, but it should work against Assimilators.


What to do if a Mothership appears in your base?

This is the worst-case scenario, and it will happen to you at some point due to bad luck if nothing else. First of all, don't panic, you have a good 13 second gap or so until the Mothership fires (8 seconds to summon, 5.3 seconds to fire). In that time, you need to remove anything you can from the vicinity the Mothership's blast. Sell all buildings that are too close to it and pull all units away from it (or, if they're too slow, run them towards the center of the Mothership's blast to try to limit the damage done by them). Remember also to tell any units that come from your freshly-sold structures to get away, since they can also provide fuel for the Mothership's shockwave.

If you did all this correctly, the Mothership will destroy anything directly below it, but nothing else. It will then have to move a fair distance to take a second shot, giving you a huge amount of time to kill it due to its low speed. It might hurt to sell a few buildings, but it hurts more to lose your whole base. And as long as at least one build queue or one War Factory/Gravity Stabilizer survives (and you have some money), you can build another MCV and then rebuild your base.

If you have an EMP charge ready to use from an EMP Control Center, you can instantly destroy the Mothership with a well-aimed EMP blast, as shown in the picture below. Aim the EMP blast at the shadow of the Mothership on the ground to ensure a hit. (This goes for targeting any air unit with the EMP, which will destroy any unshielded unit in one blast.)

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The EMP blast makes short work of an uninvited Mothership.

A very exotic way of countering the Mothership, which only works for Scrin, is to lift up the Drone Platform and collide with the Mothership, destroying it in the process. It is unlikely that you will be able to achieve this, but if you have no other options left, it is your best shot:

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Collision course.

Also as Scrin, if you have a Stasis Shield, use it over the Mothership to slow it down while you build defences:

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Additionally, if you are playing on a small map, you can build towards the enemy base in an attempt to use the enemy Mothership as a weapon of your own, threatening the enemy base as well.

If you there is no other way you can stop the Mothership, you must sell. The most important thing is good judgment on how far the initial blast will reach. If you sell too much, you're putting yourself at a disadvantage for no real reason, but if you sell too little, the blast will kill you. If you are unsure, it is usually better to give some room for error. Since the Mothership can move, you might be forced to sell further buildings anyway.

Counter-attack. All this time you should be attacking the Mothership with any anti-air units you can spare, and try to build more anti-air units and structures if you can to kill it faster. The Mothership shouldn't want to fire at your units, since you can simply move them back slightly if it starts charging up. After killing the Mothership, if you feel that your enemy has not got much left to defend with, attack as soon as possible. This is especially effective against people who like to fast-tech to the Mothership for an easy win, only to find they cannot beat your counterstrike effectively after having wasted all their early money on the Mothership.

Watch the Mothership in action

We have selected two replays that feature the Mothership in a prominent role. The first is an 8-player free-for-all in Tiberium Wars, the second is a 1-vs.-1 in Kane's Wrath (but the Mothership works identically in the expansion game).

The original Tip was written by Trojan. It has been updated and revised by Icecold and R Schneider. Special thanks to Perfi and vOddy for advice.

Discuss this Tip in our forums.