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GDI Support Class: When the Sky is the Limit

By Jackofspades0 - 14th June 2010 - 22:20 PM

This guide is about the units of the GDI Support Class. We will discuss how to use them against Nod and how to team up with your partners to make these units worth even more than you can imagine.

First off, aircraft play a vital role for the Support Class. Let's see what makes them so useful.
  1. In most cases, they are pretty fast. They can reach hot spots on the map quickly.
  2. Terrain is not a problem for them. They can fly over anything.
  3. They add another dimension to the game. Some units cannot attack aircraft.
We will now walk through a hypothetical game and explain some strategies which you might want to consider as a Support player.

In the beginning, there was the Support Crawler



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At the beginning of the game, select the Support Crawler. After it drops out of the air, you need to select where you want to deploy it. It is advisable to move to the closest TCN node that is the farthest away from the enemy Deploy Zone just to get you started. You can launch all your attacks from here. In the beginning of the game, or when you lost a huge part of your army, remember that the Crawler builds units 25% faster in a Deploy Zone. (This also applies to the Deploy Zones around captured Uplink Towers!)

Remember that the important distinction of the Support Class is your ability to be everywhere on the map at the same time. That's why the class has a huge amount of very fast units and support powers you can deploy anywhere on the map. Taking your slow-moving Crawler with you can be a drag in the beginning of the game. Go with your gut feeling when deciding if you should leave your Crawler behind or not. When you reach Tier 2, you will be able to buy the Advanced Thrusters upgrade, which will make the Crawler move faster.

Communication with your team is also important when deciding who is going for which TCN node!

At Tier 1


Orca

6 CP, 600 HP, Medium Aircraft, Strong vs. Medium.


Hurricane

6 CP, 600 HP, Medium Aircraft, Strong vs. Light.


Spanner

3CP, 120 HP, Light Unit, Repair Beam.


Engineer

3 CP, 150 HP, Light Unit, Repair Beam.


Sheppard Tank

6 CP, 660 HP, Medium Unit, Strong vs. Medium (cannot attack air).


You should already start queuing up and building units right after spawning and choosing the location where you want to set up your Support Crawler. For now, you are able to build Orcas, Hurricanes, Sheppard Tanks, Engineers and Spanners. We will now look at all these options and decide which unit is best for which specific function.

Choosing units

So how do you choose which units to build? In the beginning, you might build an army of Orcas and Hurricanes just to start with, since together they counter medium and light units. While your enemies are at Tier 1, they can only build light and medium units, so you will have a counter.

When the first green Tiberium is delivered, the enemy usually sends some light units to grab it and take it back to their Deploy Zone. Hurricanes counter light units, so feel free to hunt down the Tiberium grabber with them. Just be careful, though, if the opposing player detonates the Tiberium, get your aircraft away from the ion storm as fast as possible. If instead your enemy uses a medium unit to capture Tiberium, use some Orcas. If the enemy units are stealthed, it is best to keep a Hurricane with you (we'll get to that shortly). Nod cannot build stealthed units at Tier 1, but remember this for when they reach Tier 2.

Another problem that might arise is when you kill an enemy unit carrying Tiberium only when it is already close to its Deploy Zone. If you do not have any ground units around to take the crystal back, it is best to destroy it before the enemy picks it up once again. Hold down the Control key and right-click on the Tiberium to take it out by force-firing at it.

Someone has to collect the Tiberium for your team as well. At the start of the game, you will have two ground units for the job: The Engineer and the Sheppard Tank. Engineers are fast and can traverse cliffs (keep in mind this is no longer possible when they carry Tiberium!), which makes them a very good choice for the job. Use them when enemy units are far away, since Engineers don't have a lot of hitpoints. Sheppards do much better if the Tiberium is in a more contested part of the map. Sheppards are stronger and you'll have a much better chance at getting away with the goods than with an Engineer.

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Engineers are good at grabbing uncontested Tiberium (left), and Sheppards should get the more highly contested Tiberium, usually the blue one (right).


After that most of the players have probably tried to settle themselves next to the nodes. Defensive players usually try to take hold of the "shared" node (the one between the two original Deploy Zones). Some might even try to secure the Blue Tiberium drop zones. As a Support player you might find that it is pretty hard to capture nodes, but that is not your job. Your job is to help your team mates to take the nodes. If you feel that your team mates are not doing a very good job at it, you will need to use Engineers or Sheppard Tanks (preferably) to take control of the nodes. Aircraft can neutralize nodes (by shooting at them), but they cannot capture them for your team.

After collecting or harassing the collection of Tiberium and trying to capture at least two or three TCN nodes, it is time to observe and see what your enemies and allies are doing. Figure out what you will need to counter the enemy units. Let's say one of your allies is fighting a bunch of Avengers with a couple of Titans. Avengers are strong against Titans, and Titans weak against Avengers. Send some Orcas over to help your struggling team mate out.

If you move around the map away from your Crawler you might need something to repair your units. You have two options for this: The Spanner and the Engineer. Engineers can capture nodes and Tiberium and traverse cliffs, but they cannot heal airborne units. They can also capture enemy husks. Spanners on the other hand cannot capture nodes or Tiberium, but they can fly over anything and they can also fix everything. No husks for them, but they can reduce the enemy's rate of fire (with the help of a Tier-2 upgrade) and remove one negative effect from allies caused by an enemy support power. When it comes to husks, nodes and Tiberium, use Engineers. To heal and support allies, build Spanners.

Unit choice during Tier-1 battles

Hurricanes carry only a finite clip of ammunition. When the clip is spent, there will be a cool-down period while the Hurricane reloads. However, the Hurricane has the ability to reload manually; use this abilitly during battle just before the clip is depleted to avoid the cool-down period, since the manual reload is much faster. Always reload all your Hurricanes manually after a fight. To do so, just select one of them, tap the W key (to select all units of the same type) and press Z, and the reload is done for your entire army.

Hurricanes also have Sensor Pods. A Hurricane will (automatically) try randomly to attach a Sensor Pod to a Nod vehicle that it is firing at. Sensor Pods prevent and detect stealth. If a Pod lands on a Stealth Tank, for example, the Stealth Tank would be visible to all GDI players. All nearby stealthed enemy units and structures will also be visible, and you will also be able to see nearby burrowed units. The Sensor Pod also decreases the armor of the tank and will last for a certain amount of time. It's a really good idea to have at least one Hurricane in your army at all times. Nod is all about sneaky tactics and therefore stealth. Stealth Tanks can be pretty nasty when they hide in a narrow passage or choke point. Put an end to it, Commander, and keep a Hurricane with you at all times. Remember that Sensor Pods can be attached to any Nod vehicle, not just Steath Tanks.

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Low on Ammo? You can quickly reload your Hurricanes manually, but you will have to wait for Orcas to do it themselves.


Unlike the Hurricane, the Orca does not have a manual reload ability; reloading happens automatically. An Orca has five missiles when fully loaded, and it will fire all five in short progression. After this the Orca will fire one missile at a time whenever one is available. If the Orca is not firing, it will eventually reload all five missiles. This makes the Orca a pretty good unit for hit-and-run tactics, since it has more firepower at the beginning of each battle than during a prolonged engagement. So Orcas are even better at destroying lonely Nod vehicles than at catching Sea Lions.

It is best to keep Orcas and Hurricanes away from defensive structures, as these units are very weak against structures and highly vulnerable. Instead, use your Hurricanes to fight light units like infantry, Raiders, Bikes and Venoms. Your Orcas should focus on medium aircraft and tanks. Orcas are excellent against Avengers, which cannot fight back.

You may have wondered how the Sheppard Tank differs from something like the Hunter Tank. The Sheppard is a support unit and has one important feature making it useful when helping your allies. When you click on a Sheppard Tank, you will notice an aura around it. Any friendly unit inside this aura moves faster and can dodge enemy fire more easily. The more units you can get inside, the better.

You probably know the saying, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer". When it comes to Spanners, only the first part is true (most of the time). Keep them behind friendly units or a short distance away during a huge battle. When a unit's health bar turns red, send it to the Spanners for servicing.

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Keep Spanners away from the front line, or even a slight distance away from your own units.

What about the Tiberium?

When spending upgrade points, you face yet another choice: Purchase Tier-1 upgrades or rush to Tier 2? The main trouble you will have while you are at Tier 1 comes from defense structures from the Defense Class. To take those out efficiently you will need Tier-2 units. If there is no urge to take out defensive structures or heavy enemy units (for which you will need the Tier-2 Paladin), then consider the following Tier-1 upgrades:

Speed Boost: Great when you need to hunt down units carrying Tiberium crystals or when you need to reach some places on the map quickly.

Accuracy Boost: Helps Orcas kill moving targets. Buy this if you feel like you are dealing with a bunch of blind pilots. This also helps your Sheppards.

Refire Boost: Because no matter how fast a Hurricane or Sheppard fires, it never seems to be fast enough. Buy this if you have to deal with a bunch of light units with your Hurricanes.

Range Boost: Useful because pilots are never allowed to carry binoculars with them. This upgrade increases their range of sight and also their range of fire.