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Tip of the Week #62 - Harvester Hunting

By ^Cerby- - 24th August 2009 - 11:34 AM

The Harvester is the most important unit in the game because it harvests Tiberium and thus fuels your economy in the effort to vanquish your opponents. Destroy your enemies' harvesters and you cripple their economy. This tip deals with harassing and destroying enemy harvesters

The basics
  • The harvester unit costs 1400 for each faction.
  • One harvester is delivered with each Refinery, which costs 2000$ to build and can be sold for 300$.
  • Additional harverster units can be built from a War Factory.
  • The harvester unit of each faction is slightly different: GDI's unit is tough, slow and armed (7500HP, speed 50), Nod's is fast and stealthed (5000HP, speed 75), and the Scrin's is tough and fast (7500HP, speed 75). Additional modifications were introduced in Kane's Wrath.
Havester hunting by faction

Nod Harvesters are less resistant than GDI or Scrin Harvesters, since the Nod Harvesters are equipped with stealth technology at the expense of total health points. It is possible to launch a large attack against the opponent's harvesters, but one has to consider carefully whether this is worth it. There are several strategies to harass enemy harvesting operations that will not cost you very much or that won't lose you your harassing units.

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GDI's attack!


GDI commanders can use around 5 to 10 Pitbulls to hunt Harvesters. So train the Pitbulls from your War Factory and send them discreetly to the enemy Tiberium field. Once there, destroy Harvesters quickly until the enemy troops come to fend off your surprise assault.

Beware of the obvious counters to this strategy, though. If your opponent is GDI as well, he may build Watch Towers near his Tiberium fields. Nod can deploy Laser Turrets and Scrin Photon Cannons. Later in the game, GDI's Sonic Emitter kills a Pitbull in a single shot. And don't forget that a GDI Harvester can kill 1 or 2 Pitbulls, so keep your distance!

Second, there is the very helpful Orca helicopter. Orcas are faster than Pitbulls and deal more damage to Harvesters: Only 3 Orcas can destroy 2 Nod Harvesters or 1 GDI or Scrin Harvester. Orcas are built from an Airfield for 1100 credits, each one carries 6 missiles. Beware of anti-air defenses, as Orcas are rather weak. The firepower required for Orcas to destroy a Harvester are as follows.
  • GDI Harvester: 14 shots.
  • NOD Harvester: 9 shots.
  • Scrin Harvester: 14 shots.
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Pitbull rush.

Brotherhood of Nod

Nod have more options to destroy Harvesters than the other factions. For starters, they can use Attack Bikes, which are faster than GDI Pitbulls though really fragile and are easily countered by most units (except Sniper Teams, Shadow Teams and Buzzers). While weakly armored, their missile volleys deal a lot of damage. So stay clear of all defenses and hit those Harvesters hard before they know it!

Next, we have the helpful Stealth Tank. This powerful stealthed unit is quite difficult to counter. The Stealth Tank is fast and can outrun pursuing Pitbulls (which detect stealth), and even one of them catches up, the Stealth Tank can destroy the Pitbull with ease. Once spotted, though, Stealth Tanks can be easy targets!

Finally, there is the Vertigo bomber. Like this Stealth Tank it is a stealthed unit (only becoming visible for a moment while dropping its bombs) whose bombs are are very powerful against land units and which can give Harvesters a really hard time. Building anti-air defenses is the only way for your opponent to stop your Vertigoes from wiping out his harvesting operations. This is the amount of Vertigo firepower needed for destroying a Harvester (each Vertigo carries one bomb):
  • GDI Harvester: 2 shots.
  • NOD Harvester: 2 shots.
  • Scrin Harvester: 2 shots.
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Stealth Tank power!


The Scrin's light Seeker tank can be used for Harvester harassment. However, its armament is not very effective against Harvesters and its armor is weak, so it is probably the worst Harvesters hunter in the game! It takes maybe 10 or more Seekers to destroy enemy Harvesters efficiently.

Stormriders can ravage an entire area and destroy everything in it. They are fast and dangerous and may be lethal to an opponent who neglects to build anti-air defenses. Build 8 to 12 Stormriders to destroy Harvesters quickly.

The Mastermind, while vulnerable against anti-infantry units like Venoms, can harass Harvesters by capturing on of them. It has the disadvantage that its range of vision is very small, though. So when you "attack" with your Mastermind, be sure to scout the area where you want to go!

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Mastermind capturing a Harvester.

See it done

What is a great way to finish the theory of Harvester hunting? Naturally a VoD, done by our Senior commentator Panczasu!

Don't forget when you are hunting harvesters: An unprotected Harvester is a dead Harvester!

Thanks to R Schneider and PANCZASU for their contributions!