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Tip of the Week #57 - Fighting for the Spikes

By xlava - 27th April 2009 - 07:58 AM

So what is a Tiberium Spike anyway? Well, it is an endless well of resources that provides a steady stream of incoming Tiberium funneled directly into your reserves. One critical part of the Spike to mention is that it is not a sole resource. Don't expect to capture one or two Spikes and not build any Refineries, that is not a good idea. Instead, fight for the Spikes while building up your economy in your base.

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The humble Tiberium Spike

Now, you might think that having even one or two Spikes is not worth the money that you pay with for the Barracks/Hand of Nod/Portal, however, when you look at the exact calculations, you might change your mind. Each Spike provides a constant stream of 10 Tiberium per second. In addition to the immediate 500 credit refund when you first capture a Spike (only for the first time its captured though), so before I discuss how to fight for the Spike itself, lets discuss why it is important.

Here is the basic formula to Tiberium Spikes, with "x" being the number of spikes you have and "y" being the seconds you have it for.

Income = x(500) + xy(10)

So lets plug in some numbers:

500 + (1)(10)(10) = 600 Tiberium for having one Spike for only ten seconds.
1000 + (2)(10)(10) = 1200 Tiberium for having two Spikes for only ten seconds.

Now, when we eliminate the original 500 from the equation, lets see how much you'll get later game.

So you have had a Spike for... lets say... 1200 seconds... or 20 minutes (assume it is a long game). That is a total of...

1200(1)(10) = 12,000 credits!

Basically the point I am trying to make here is that it is worth it to fight for the Spikes. It might not be worth it as much during the early game, but later game, it can put you at a considerable economic advantage.

General Tactics

Generally speaking, defending a Tiberium Spike often boils down to who wants the Spike more. In other words, if a player really really wants the Spike, it is unlikely that you'll be able to pry it away from your enemy unless you really really want the Spike too. But a critical aspect of fighting for the Spikes is knowing when to stop fighting and leave well enough alone.

First off, early game. If your enemy sends an Engineer to a Spike, and you stop him, it really depends on, as I said before, who wants it more. Now early game, you should really want that spike, so make the effort to send some units and garrison those bunkers near it. However, if your enemy comes in force (and by force I mean outnumbering your units like 3 or 4:1) it isn't worth it to lose both the Spike and your units, so retreat.

Early game, it is best to defend Spikes with infantry. Besides, you will probably end up capturing the Spike before you even get units out of your war factory. Therefore, make sure that you always garrison any buildings near the Spike for added defense. Normally, you should only garrison Rifle infantry, but sometimes, it can be helpful to stick an anti vehicle infantry squad.

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Middle game, it is really purely situational, because chances are that your enemy has forgot about the Spike that you captured from him. However, this is sometimes not true, as occasionally, your enemy may send vehicles or aircraft with garrison transport units to recapture the Spikes. This means that the best defense you can have is maybe a few medium tanks hanging around the Spike. Also, don't forget about mobile repair units or support powers if your faction has them, if necessary. During the middle game, it can also be effective to send some speedy anti infantry units to destroy the capturing Engineer unit, and leave the other attacking units alone.

Additionally, sometimes, your enemy may try and destroy your Spike. Whether or not you defend against it depends on your economy. If you have virtually no money, you might want to try and defend it. But if you have a stable, large economy then sometimes it is simply worth it to have your enemy to destroy it, so that nobody has it.

As for late game, if your enemy has not tried and capture / destroy your Spike by now, it is likely that he / she will not during the late game, but if your enemy does try, then heavy ground units are the way to go. Heavy infantry, heavy tanks, heavy aircraft that might be slow, but can take a lot of punishment. However, at this stage in the game, it is critical to spend your focuses elsewhere besides just the Spike. Don't spend all your funds and send all your units to the spike, as it is much more important to defend your harvesters. But don't totally neglect the Spike either, so send maybe one or two heavy units to the spike, and let the enemy do what he / she wants to, as by this time you have probably already received a large amount of resources from the spike by now, and it won't be such a blow if it is lost.