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Tip of the Week #79 - Black Hand Man Spam

By -synthc- - 7th December 2009 - 13:48 PM

Man-spamming with Black Hand may seem simple, but there are some tricks and methods that can determine whether your army is a giant flame-wielding steamroller overcoming all resistance or haplessly crushed under the treads of your opponents' armor.

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Where are the Cabals?

The biggest mistake Black Hand players make is not including Confessor Cabals with their infantry. Black Hand infantry have no advantage over vNod infantry without Confessor Cabals; but with them, Black Hand infantry gain that vital 50% health increase from the Confessor Cabal's aura, which makes them much more resilient than other infantry. Always be sure to have enough Confessor Cabals to keep all of your other infantry in the aura; not only will you greatly increase the effectiveness of your infantry, but you also defend them from enemy infantry and actually get a considerable firepower increase if you have researched Black Disciples and Particle Beams. If you are playing against Scrin, having Confessor Cabals with your infantry is even more vital, because of the threat Buzzers pose to clumped infantry. Cabals quickly kill Buzzers while providing the precious health from the aura to keep the Rocket Militants alive longer.

Another big mistake many players make is building Confessor Cabals from the Hand of Nod. Confessor Cabals cost $400 when they are created from the Hand of Nod. However, if you have an extra defensive queue (which you almost always should), you can draft Shredder Turrets to get Confessor Cabals for $300. If you have an extra build queue, you can draft Power Plants to get Confessor Cabals for $250, almost half price.

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Purifiers also provide the aura bonus, making them good support units for an infantry mass

If you are going for an all-out infantry spam, it is a good idea to build a Crane and spam Power Plants to get Confessor Cabals. Also always be sure to get the Black Disciples and Purifying Flame upgrades, and if you decide to tech up, be sure to get the Particle Beams upgrade. Prioritize the Black Disciples upgrade as it is cheaper and more important, providing your Rocket Militants with an anti-infantry and anti-structure option, whereas Purifying Flame practically requires Black Disciples to be useful.

When you are fighting enemy tanks with your infantry, spread your rocket infantry out; it helps to create multiple sub-groups with your infantry (default ctrl+#) and spread them around so that when your opponent tries to crush one group, you can move them while attacking and hitting rear and side armor with another group. If you clump all your infantry together while fighting tanks, they will be massacred. The only way for infantry to be cost effective against crushing tanks is if they are microed properly.

If your opponent tries to counter your infantry with their own infantry (fully upgraded Riflemen can be cost effective against Black Hand infantry) you will need to get up close enough for your flamethrowers to hit them; when you are up close, your rockets will also have a much higher chance of hitting enemy infantry.

Occasionally you may find yourself fighting against infantry with your own infantry. These infantry skirmishes usually occur in Black Hand mirrors or sometimes when you are fighting a vGDI or ZOCOM player. In these infantry battles, the Confessor Cabals’ difficult-to-use Hallucinogenic Grenades can be very effective, because they cause enemy infantry to stop attacking your infantry and turn on each other. Be sure to never underestimate the power of fully upgraded Riflemen; make Confessor Cabals accordingly to counter them. It is also a good idea to get some Flame Tanks to deal with them as well, especially if your opponent is spamming Riflemen.

Hallucinogenic Grenades
When you are outmatched in an infantry battle, use this ability. This ability will cause enemy units in the area of effect to turn on each other (like the Rage Generator). Note that there is about a two second delay before the Confessor Cabals actually throw their grenades. This ability is particularly useful when there is an enemy engineer in the area; while you may not be able to get to the engineer before your Confessor Cabals die, you may be able to kill the engineer by using Hallucinogenic Grenades on an escorting infantry squad, causing them to kill their own engineer. Don’t use this ability against Buzzers, because, for some reason, friendly Buzzers deal almost no damage to one another. Also take into account the two second delay before using this ability; if it does not look like your Confessor Cabals will survive for another two seconds, then don’t use the grenades, because, obviously, it is a waste if they die before they throw them.


When assaulting a base, your first priority is anything that is going to crush your infantry (tanks, harvesters), then if your opponent has upgraded anti-infantry (AP Ammo/Particle Beams) you will need to take out any anti-infantry turrets as they pop up. After that, you can either target the War Factory to prevent any more crushing units from being built, or you can go for the MCV or Power Plants to prevent damage from anti-infantry turrets. When you are attacking buildings, try to get the flamethrowers of all your Confessor Cabals in range of the building and move some of your rocket infantry within flamethrower range of the building (you don’t want to move them all, because you don’t want your infantry to ever be clumped and you want to keep at least two lines of infantry in case a crushing unit comes out of nowhere and starts killing your infantry).

Don’t Clump!
Always keep your infantry spread out; this applies to all rocket infantry. Keeping your infantry spread out protects them against all the things that counter them the hardest, such as the Buzzer Swarm, tank crushing, Cloaking Field, Devastator Warships, Flame Tanks, Corrupters, Mines, Tiberium Vapor Bomb, Catalyst Missile, etc.

If you have your infantry clumped for even a second, it could be the end of them and the end of the game for you. Use control groups and Formation Move to prevent them from clumping up and to get them into position for fighting tanks.


The Confessor Cabal’s aura does not only apply to Black Hand infantry, but also to any allied infantry. This makes for many possibilities in the way of 2v2 strategies such as Confessor Cabal + Disintegrator rushing, and the ZOCOM or vGDI upgraded Confessor Cabal + Missile Squad spam. Upgraded Missile Squads with the Confessor Cabal aura are virtually unkillable by anything besides crushing and sniper damage; even AP Ammo Wolverines will be unable to stop them cost-effectively.

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Black Hand infantry spam is arguably the best, because of the aura and cost effectiveness of the Confessor Cabal, and also because of the raw firepower of infantry upgraded with Black Disciples, Purifying Flame, and Particle Beams. Black Hand infantry are the slowest, but also the most resilient and powerful infantry in the game for their cost. If you micro them properly and make smart decisions with upgrades and how you get and use your Confessor Cabals, they can be a game-winning asset.

Discuss this guide in the Kane's Wrath Main Discussion Forum.