A lot of people disregarded Sup Com 2 pretty early on, rather unfortunately. We’ve said on here a few times that it’s great, but I thought it time to get pro-active and give everyone a firm shove in. The fun of Supreme Commander 2 isn’t to be found in the tedious campaign, it’s in the skirmish and multiplayer modes – it’s there that you can explore the real depth of the tech trees quickly and get straight to the big, hot, robot on robot action. If you’re continually losing though it’s no fun at all, and as with any RTS, Sup Com 2 can be difficult if you don’t know your Loyalty Gun from your Magnetron. Assuming you got through the tutorial ok you should know how to manage build queues, basic resources and how researching tech works, so now we’re going to give you a leg up with things like build orders and a few wily tactics. Try this out on the AI if going against real people is intimidating, but always be pushing yourself to take on a harder challenge – stagnating against easy bots is a sure fire way to get slaughtered when you do come to taking on an actual person. Also be prepared to lose a lot to start with, it’s just part of the learning process and Sup Com 2 can be as unforgiving as they come.
1. Choose a side
Each faction has well defined strengths and weaknesses. The Illuminate are all about turtling with lots of structures, The UEF are all tanks and static long range artillery, while Cybran are strongest with air and sea. Pick the one that roughly defines the strategy you want to use for the map. Also note what your opponents are choosing for hints on what they might do.
2. Decide on a strategy
Sup Com 2 games are fast so it’s best to specialise quickly and base a strategy around a core concept. “Giant robot dinosaur that breaths fire” is fine, but you might want to be a bit more specific. Think about where you can sneak units and any staging points that holding would give you an advantage over the map.
3. Build build build
The first few minutes of a match are crucial. If you start slipping behind early then you stand no hope of winning. From the starting point queue up two MEX’s (mass extractors) with your commander, one MEX and a factory with another engineer, and one MEX and three power generators with the final engineer. Get the factory producing units and send the engineers and your commander to take any MEX’s you can.
4. Commander and conquer
Your commander is a huge robot with guns for arms and a ton of health. Use him in the early game aggressively – he can take on groups of tanks and a few turrets no problem. Be sure to push him forward to take MEX’s that border your enemies turf, and then throw down some turrets to keep counter attacks away.
Sup Com 2 is like poker. You need to manipulate your opponent into thinking what you want and then exploit the advantage. For example: launching a couple of waves of cheap tanks their way in the early game will see them build units to counter ground attacks. That’s when you hit them with a wave of gunships you’ve secretly been building and researching tech for.
6. Get mobile
Unless you’re playing as The Illuminate you should be very turret light. Every factory can be expanded to have anti-air and tactical missiles, and they should be re-enforced with units that can move to where the action is rather than turrets which can’t. Also the UEF get an upgrade which basically turns every MEX and research station into a turret anyway.
7. Cybernetic Harassment
Attack all the time. Send scouts to find lightly guarded resource points or units and kill them quickly. Every MEX you capture not only means extra resources for you, it means less resources for your enemy. It also distracts them, if they are thinking about repelling your attack, they aren’t thinking about how to kill you.
8. Build power stations…
You need lots of them. While your mass income is generally defined by points on the map, your power is not. Assign an engineer to building them in rows deep inside your base but spread enough apart that they wont all be exploded if one attack gets through. If you’re playing Illuminate be sure to research Electroshock too, which will give all your generators the ability to turn into aggressive Tesla coils.
9. …and Research mass conversion
Now you have lots of spare energy coming in you can convert it into mass. Each race can research a mass conversion ability for power generators. Unfortunately it has a cool down, but to get around this find three generators and assign each to its own group (8,9, and 0). Now you can cycle through them with hot keys and activate the conversion on each while the other two cool down.
10. Don’t forget nukes
Turning nukes off makes for a more fun game, but if you haven’t then you need to remember to defend against them at the mereist hint that your game might go nuclear. Remember that anti-nuke missiles will hit anything that flies over them, not just missiles landing near them, and also remember that the missiles need to be built separately to the launcher and topped up if they get used.
11. Out on patrol
If you’re holding a bottleneck be sure to send some engineers up there on patrol. They will fix anything that needs repairing – including air units – and then hoover up any robo-corpses for reclaimed mass. They will also be on hand for anything that needs to be rebuilt or for throwing down any extra shields and turrets. You can even be extra cheeky and use them to convert enemy units that come your way.
12. Review and revise
When a game is done Sup Com 2 automatically saves your replay (available via “extras” on the main menu). Watch it, especially if you lost. See why your opponent beat you, where you went wrong. Did you have an idle engineers early on? Could you have gotten some units out faster? And if you won just bask in the glow of your victory and upload it to youtube.