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Tip of the Week #2 - Shadow Teams

By MEXICANBROTHER - 22nd July 2007 - 13:51 PM

The Shadow Team is an elite infantry unit of the Brotherhood of Nod. It is very powerful against infantry, but its main purpose is covert infiltration: Shadow Teams are stealthed, can fly and are equipped with powerful explosive charges that can tear down enemy structures in seconds. Shadow Teams are so effective by themselves that they actually can provide an alternate opening build order for Nod.

Basic information

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Date: October 9, 2009
Game: Tiberium Wars 1.09
Cost: 800 credits, 8 sec.
Hitpoints: 600 (4 × 150)
Hand of Nod, Secret Shrine.
Role: Elite Infantry. Strong vs. Infantry.

Background Fiction. These small groups of stealthy infantry are excellent at neutralizing enemy infantry with their dual machine pistols. They can also use stealth and their collapsible glider packs to circumvent defenses and expose weaknesses in GDI's front. Once behind enemy lines, they are capable of planting explosives on structures and thereby causing immense damage.

Abilities. Glider Packs allow Shadow Teams to fly, which makes them highly mobile and allows them to avoid detection and infiltrate enemy bases from unexpected directions. However, Shadow Teams can only fight or plant explosives while on foot. The explosive charges take 30 seconds cool-down time before they are available again and deal 2000 damage points each.

Support powers. Once you have the Secret Shrine, you can call in the Shadow Strike Team, which will send two veteran Shadow Teams to a location of your choice. Beware of stealth detection and anti-air defenses! Calling the Shadow Strike team costs 1600 credits and is available again after 180 seconds.

How to use Shadow Teams

Try to keep a pack of 5 Shadow Teams alive, as this is the number of strikes you need to take out important structures (see below). Only when their numbers dwindle to 1 should you give up on them and leave them in the air somewhere as a scout. Also, if your opponent is fully defended against them, abandon this approach.

Micro-managing Shadow Teams. They take patience and timing to control for maximum effectiveness. When landing Shadows, make sure you don't give multiple landing orders while they are already in the process of landing. Once they do land, keep ordering the Shadows to move until they do. Once they start moving you can order them to use their explosives. (Ordering an explosive strike from a Shadow Team at rest may not always work, and the Shadows end up waiting idly in front of the building without setting off their charges.)

Strategical considerations

During the early game, using Shadow Teams means that you sacrifice your economy in the hope to bring down your opponent appropriately and to strike fear and paranoia in him.

In the later game, the only consideration is that you need to multi-task well, and your Shadows need to get their money's worth, since your tank army is going to be lacking due to the expenses spent on the Shadows.

If you are considering using Shadow Teams heavily, and especially if you started very early with the "Power Plant, Hand of Nod, Secret Shrine" build order, you may want to consider "backup Shadows". Basically this means that rather than just building the minimum five units needed to take down Refineries and War Factories in one round, you may want to build six units. This gives you some breathing space in case something goes wrong with the micro-management or if one team is lost. Since this early-game strategy depends crucially on your ability to cause significant damage to your opponent, anything less than five successful Shadows will almost surely mean defeat for you.

Damage guide

Each explosive charge deals 2000 hitpoints worth of damage. The following describes how many charges are required to destroy a structure. Most structures take 2 detonations, with the following exceptions:
  • Buzzer Hive, GDI Silo, Foxhole, Walls: 1 charge
  • Command Post/Operations Center/Nerve Center, GDI Battle Base, Scrin Gravity Stabilizer, Defensive Tower: 3 charges
  • AA Battery/SAM Turret/Plasma Missile Battery, Sonic Emitter/Obelisk/Storm Column: 4 charges
  • War Factory/Warp Sphere, Tech Center/Tech Lab/Technology Assembler, Refinery/Extractor, EMP Control Center, Mutant Hovel, Tiberium Spike: 5 charges
  • Neutral Bunker: 6 charges
  • Construction Yard/Drone Platform, Ion Cannon/Temple of Nod/Rift Generator: 10 charges
The explosive charges actually deal area-of-effect damage and can damage multiple nearby buildings at once. For example, two GDI Silos placed directly next to each other can be taken out with a single charge.

Notes on the behavior of Shadow Teams

  • Shadow Teams take wide turns while in the air.
  • When demolishing a building, it is always good to surround it first and make all teams strike at once, so that the enemy has no time to repair between detonations. If they do get to repair, you may need more than the listed number of charges and it might save their building.
  • The Shadows tend to run off on their own in default mode while on the ground. It's probably best to put them on "hold fire" stance.

Shadow Rush build order

To rush with five Shadow Teams as soon as possible, try the following build order (to be adapted as needed, prices in brackets). Remember that the Secret Shrine gives you access to the Shadow Strike support power, which deploys two veteran Shadow Teams.
  1. Emissary (1500, send to expansion field).
  2. Power Plant (500).
  3. Hand of Nod (500): Train Saboteur (500) and send to nearest spike.
  4. Secret Shrine (1500): Queue 2 Shadows (800 each) at the Hand of Nod.
  5. Call in the Shadow Strike Team (1600). When the two teams are trained at the Hand of Nod, sell the Secret Shrine for fifth Shadow Team. You're ready to strike!
  6. Refinery (2000, at the expansion).
  7. War Factory (2000): Harvester, then Scorpion Tanks.
We have an entire guide on the Shadow Team Rush! (The damage statistics on the last page are no longer accurate for Tiberium Wars Patch 1.09.)

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