Know Your Role

Discussion in 'Strategy and Tactics' started by ArcturusV, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. ArcturusV

    ArcturusV New Member

    [align=center]Know Your Role
    and how to maximize the effectiveness of it[/align]

    Hello all. This topic here is going to be a (Hopefully community generated by others as well as me), discussion of various Talent Trees, Story lines, and how to maximize the usefulness of any particular build for the situation at hand.

    Unlike particular class guides, this won't focus on Builds so much, as how to optimize the usefulness of whatever you are rolling with.

    I'll start it off with a class near and dear to my heart, to show you what I mean. It should be chock full of good tips for newbies, and perhaps some illumination on subjects that old hands don't necessarily think about.

    Easy Company: The Surveillance Recon

    Ah, the good ol' SurvCon. Much maligned as being useless, or only useful for the Supply Station. But it can be so much more, and a key marine in any 8 man squad.

    I See Dead People:

    The greatest strength of the Surveillance Recon in Easy Company is it's ability to provide vision and detection. Unlike Apollo Security Team and Alpha Company, Easy Company is a much more fluid storyline. You're just on the move so much more often. And it's on the move that the SurvCon can lend it's expertise best to the party.

    Flare All the Things:

    The Recon's Flare is your bread and butter. Simply put in most Easy Company games, this should be the skill you are using more than any other. It's uses on the move should be obvious. When there are rocks and other blind spots that the team is going to pass around, make sure that whole area is under the Flare, no nasty surprises. This can be fairly energy intensive early on, but is off set by the presence of the Motion Sensor later on, allowing you to see ahead of time if a particular blind spot is in fact an ambush.

    The Flare is also useful during the various hold outs. During the Tartarus/Elliethiya fight there is so much vision blocking in that area (And heavy spawns) that just Laser Designating the boss isn't enough. You need to almost constantly provide light, especially when maneuvering and fighting among all the wreckage. Another example early on is the Starport's Tower hexes. The tower, and the multiple smoke spots can severely limit your vision and ability to help any one particular hex that is drawing too much attention. Center your flares over the tower and bam, problem solved. Even during more static holdouts, such as Post Erebos and Airlock Hordes, using your Flares can help an Assassination Marksman or other long range characters better pick out their targets before it's in your tank's face.

    Watch for farming opportunities near locked areas, like Apollo, Airlock before Tartarus/Ellie or Erebos's Lair. Good use of Flares here can usually give you a good half a level, threat free, and make sure when those areas ARE finally cracked open that you aren't facing an insurmountable wave of death. And it's a cheap way to clear out some of the Airlock Creep Tumors. The two eastern ones can easily be sniped out from the Infestor Alley with a good Flare.

    The Camera side mission is the last major point for going Flare Happy. The Cameras are all put near vision blockers of some nature. Some of them, such as southern Airlock and South Apollo Cams, are worse than others. But not a single one is open and clear completely. Send your tank in first, and then flare so while the Tank draws fire, the rest of your team can see and kill, perfectly threat free.

    Laser Designator Spam:

    It's a cheap skill, and highly spammable. As a SurvCon get used to LDing any items of note on the ground. Everything but the most oblivious players should be able to see the nice red circle on the screen and you avoid some of the "HP where?!" issues that pop up. Don't let any item escape your red marker. It's a lot easier on you in the long run than having to necessarily pack rat and carry something that the teammates within shouting distance of you necessarily need/desire.

    As far as enemies, there is no reason not to LD any particularly important target. Infestors, Bosses. It's free vision tracking and a small damage buff. Though considering the need for Flares in Easy Company you probably aren't going to have a huge armor debuff on your Laser Designator. But during this early point in the game, anything with a threat priority equal or greater than a Stalker is pretty good to LD. Just realize that Easy Company will likely have anywhere from 3-5 Laser Rifles near the end, in players hands, and you will have to stop Laser Designating everything in sight.

    If your Micro is suffering for some reason, and you have to choose between Flareing targets, or LDing them (Such might happen during the Black Ops attack), always go with Flare.

    When to Fetch, when to Sic:

    The Reaper Drone, grand daddy of the SurvCon. Know that it basically has two roles that you can use it for. One is going out to fetch things, and the other is to provide additional protection to the team with it's gun, stuns, and "Gods I wish my Nanoshield was this beefy" Protect. Knowing when to use which is the trick however.

    Situations exist where it is just too dangerous to send out the reaper. It will get eaten alive. This includes during the Black Ops attack, Gargoyle wave at the end of Chapter 1, and the sheer mass of infested marines that can exist post Erebos Mark I. Really no point in sending it, it's just wasted energy. Focus instead on using it's abilities to keep your party in better shape. I don't know a FortDemo alive who didn't appreciate some good Protect usage. And the stun it has is just a highly useful skill.

    During other holdouts however, it becomes quite safe and easy to send out the Reaper. Just make sure to look back at your Recon to drop a supply station, or hit your Flares as needed. Your searches typically should be focused on areas that your team either can't get to yet (Clear out Apollo/Erebos's Lair to find dropped weapons/mods during Airlock Hordes), or areas you know your team likely isn't going to, for example clearing out the southern reaches and Erebos Lair during the Dome holdouts as teams often skip past them. Once you have found all the key items on the map, at that point it's more about becoming Johnny on the Spot with the Ammo, drawing in as many magazines as possible to the location your team is holding.

    Despite the fact that it's damage can get quite beastly, don't focus on trying to level up your Reaper. Sure, don't send him out to get killed pointlessly. If he levels up, cool. But trying to farm with the Reaper takes up a lot of time, and at lower levels his ability to deal damage is quite poor. Don't worry, if you keep your Reaper alive all game he'll get up there in levels and turn into a valuable source of damage for the End Game.

    Speaking of which, the Reaper is one of the few units NOT effected by the Queen's Shriek. But that doesn't mean you can just use it willy nilly. The Queen does have a strong Anti-Air attack and will waste it in a few shots. It means that when the Queen does shriek, get on the ball. Use the Stun to lock down any mass coming towards your team, and protect to cover an individual who hung himself out to die. Keep your Reaper close during the Queen, and use him to cover your asses against the hordes.

    Hopefully everyone saw some value in this, and will add in their own bits on various classes, trees, and other storylines.
  2. ArcturusV

    ArcturusV New Member

    Continuing with my favorite class and moving onto my favorite storyline.

    Alpha Company: The Surveillance Recon

    Finding Your Niche:

    A lot of how you build up your tier 1 as a Surveillance Recon is going to depend on what composition that your party consists of. In particular, check to see if your team is using Artillery Forward Observers and Operations Commandos. If the team is using these classes you need to move towards providing maximum vision for your team, as they have very long range abilities and limited sight. Max out your Motion Sensor (After you do Supply Station), and max out your Flares. Use the combination to do long range spotting. Ideally your Forward Observer and Operations Commandos should be dropping bombs quite a distance away from the team. Make sure to light up any particularly large mass of enemies that is just screaming for death to rain down upon it.

    If your team is NOT built around those classes it becomes a question of maximizing the damage potential of the team. This means going for max laser designator to melt the armor of enemies (And Alpha Company has no super high armor bosses, so don't worry about messing up people's Laser Rifle Jollies), and just one point in Motion Sensor for the armor reduction. Two for flares, use them during the few moments where the team is on the move and vision is blocked, or the more common scenario where cloaked enemies are coming in. Laser Designate EVERYTHING. It increases the DPS of Sheng's Boys a lot, since they tend to use Gauss Rifles on everything. 3 LD and 1 in Motion Sensor will equate to roughly an additional (5 Marines and 2 Corpsmen) 35 damage with every Gauss Rifle volley from Sheng's Boys (Not counting Alpha Company). 35 damage ever .4 seconds adds up and will allow Sheng's Boys to really rip into targets like Demeter, Agrons, and Devourers.

    Workhorse of the DPS Storyline:

    Alpha Company is all about dropping large amounts of energy and bullets into enemy masses. And unfortunately is one of the storylines with the least amount of magazines dropped, and less likely to have a field engineer for battery help (Mostly because IVAX will just melt any Engineer Menagerie with a single shot). Thankfully Alpha Company is fairly static, and most of the storyline is holding up at a select number of locations and dropping the hammer on hordes or bosses. Supply Station becomes KING. Use it constantly, max it out as quickly as possible (unlike other storyline where you might go one Supply, one Motion Sensor, or visa versa). Keep it right on top of your highest DPS/Skill Damage classes.

    When to Fetch, when to Sic:

    Despite the fact that Alpha Company has a lot of holdouts, by the time you get your Reaper up and running most of the holdouts will involve Troll Spawns. The Lab Holdout in particular is infamous for doing things like having Hulks and Brainbugs pop up right underneath you. Your best bets for using your Reaper to run around the map are during the Nakagawa Bay optional mission (If you choose to skip it), and during the counterattack after releasing the Toxins into Apollo, should you so choose. It's a narrow window however as immediately following the counterattack enough Stranglers appear (And yes they do have an Anti-Air Attack), that they can chew up your Reaper pretty quickly.

    For the most part you should be using the Reaper in a combat support role. During Cronus the Reaper is everything you could want in a combat helping. Being a flying unit it is completely immune to Cronus, neither his lasers nor his melee attack can possibly hit the Reaper. The Reaper also has the stun and Protect to save anyone that is trolled by Huggers or about to die by Laser Bloom if you are fast enough to catch them. The Reaper can rip down Cronus's Huggers pretty easily. It's stuns and Protect are a good way to keep the fairly squishy Alpha Company on its feet during segments like Troll Spawns in Lab, or helping the Flamethrower tank Cerberus.

    Also worth mentioning is that the Reaper is your best friend during the Noxious Gas Sequence. Not because it provides any particular vision, but because it can mow down enemies sneaking up on you without requiring your character to fire at them, spinning around 180 degrees and losing track of the bigger threats you are trying to focus on.

    It's worth noting that Perses has a fairly strong Anti-Air attack that it can fire at the same time as it's tentacles, and that the Reaper is vulnerable to the Firewave. Best option is to send the Reaper to cover your six while focusing on Perses, or to put him on Hugger Destruction duty. Considering that as a Recon you have little to add in terms of pure DPS, and are quite squishy to Perses's tentacle rape, you might as well join your red eyes black dragon in this duty.
  3. ArcturusV

    ArcturusV New Member

    Easy Company: The Field Aid Medic

    I could heal 1 man, or save 100 with bullets:

    This is one of the basic concerns that should always be on your mind as a Field Aid Medic. While you are not a damage dealing character in any regard, you can't underestimate the effect that having an additional Flamethrower, Gauss Rifle, M45, etc, can have on your team's survivability.

    What this means is that the Heal Beam, even when you don't yet have Nanoweave or Nanoshield yet, should be considered a last resort for your Medic. Often the gain in team survivability you gain by recovering HP with the heal beam is not an even trade off for the lack of another Gauss Rifle mowing down the enemy lines.

    So you need to get used to, particularly during the first parts of the game, judging the relative danger that any marine faces. If a marine is at 50% life, but in no immediate danger, it often is more useful to pour additional bullets into the enemy than to remove yourself from combat in order to top off the marine's HP.

    Cold, but true. Don't let people push you around, call you noob for not healing them, etc. This is the right call most of the time. If they are in imminent danger though, and you don't heal them enough to take them out of the danger zone, it's entirely your own fault.


    This is also related to the concept that I was relating above. Battlefield medicine is about triage, not recovery. Your job is to make sure your marines are in serviceable condition as quickly as possible, so that they can survive what is immediately in their face. Not to try and assure that they are fresh as a daisy.

    As such your primary concern is conditions. Particularly debilitating ones such as Cripple or Venom. Even if you think "It doesn't matter, he got hit with a Mentos Worm, he will again, don't bother", try to shake that off and just hit him with the damned surgical laser anyway. Momentary lapse in judgement, give him the benefit of that doubt. And being crippled (And with creep) generally assures that he couldn't dodge the second or third worm even if he wanted.

    It's always more efficient as well to cure the conditions on a marine, than to recover their HP. Before you think about necessarily throwing a Weave, Shield, or Heal Beam on a Marine, clear off the conditions the best you can. If after Lasering and Venom Clearing they are still losing HP, then the idea of Triage comes in, you hit them with enough healing to make sure they won't be in danger of succumbing to injuries while you wait for Antivenom and Surgical Laser to recharge.

    The only time to really bother topping off a marine, and focusing on full recovery of every member of the squad to 100 percent is during two situations. One, your energy is near max anyway and you might as well use it instead of sitting at max energy. And two, during a quiet lull in the action, particularly after a boss where you should do your level best to make sure your team is prepared for the next difficult segment.

    My Buddy:

    As a Field Aid Medic, your buddy is the Tank. If it's an Assault Tank, Demo Tank, Predator, some random Flamethrower or Technician Tank, it doesn't matter. Keep yourself glued to their backside. In a good team, the Tank is the only character who should require your attention on any sort of regular basis. If people who like to go rogue, such as a MobCon or SubMM are getting chewed up halfway across the map from you and begging for heals... it's no skin off your nose. There isn't really anything you can, or should do. Remember that your tanks are purposefully supposed to take damage. As such they need your attention. Other classes ideally shouldn't be getting hit at all.

    Preventative Care:

    This applies only to your designated Tank for the most part. Though it can be the case in other situations, like your Operations Commando. And honestly this is likely to be the lion's share of your skill use. It's all about recognizing situations where someone is going to get hurt, and working to mitigate the damage. Throw on a Shield before the Demolitions starts to tank a mob. Throw a Weave on your Protection Assault. Play with health Bars revealed so you can also see the energy bars of marines. Throw a weave on an Operations Commando when you see their energy start to dip towards half, because odds are they are about to cut themselves. And if not, will at least saw you weaved so cut anyway.

    Queen Fight:

    Your two mainstay talents here are the Nanoshield and Nanoweave. Nanoshield, as you may be aware of, will prevent a marine from getting stunned by the Shriek when it happens. The shriek can make or break a game, especially in harder modes, so who you choose to use the shield on, and making sure you are on the ball with it is highly important. Remember the shield won't cure a stun after it happens, you have to be looking ahead. Typically the characters you want to use it on are yourself (So you can catch someone who is getting chewed on by a stray before they are killed by a single ghoul), your high DPS character, such as an Operations Commando or Combat Engineer, and if you have energy left over, someone that provides protection to the team, such as a Demotank, Survival Rifleman, or MobRecon. If your Assault Tank is decent, you do NOT need to shield him against the shriek, and considering his low shield armor and shield max, it's really quite difficult to catch him with it anyway.

    Nanoweave is simple. All the triage and preventative care methods mentioned above still apply. While you don't want to bother catching the Assault with a Nanoshield for the shriek, hitting Nanoweave on him during the shriek is always a must for any good Field Aid medic. One weave, combined with his insanely high armor, will easily guarantee his life.

    Final Notes:

    Remember, with any team who isn't a total gong show, as a Field Aid medic you should have no energy troubles what so ever, you don't need an Arc Reactor or Energy Capacitors. If you are finding yourself energy starved, look back on your performance, particularly in the Triage department and check to make sure you aren't wasting unnecessary time and energy healing marines who don't need it and will do fine on their own. The Tank is always your friend, and by his side is where you should ALWAYS be. If someone dies, and whines that you didn't do your job.... remind them that medic skills don't have a 90 casting radius and they need to stop going rogue. If they died near you, work on your personal awareness. And ALWAYS play with Health Bars revealed, the option is in the SCII menus. While you might get away with not revealing health bars as another marine type, as a Medic it is mandatory.
  4. ArcturusV

    ArcturusV New Member

    Another "Know Your Role", this time I cover another under appreciated, under used character.

    Easy Company: Explosives Demo

    The Explosives Demo is a fairly deep marine with the illusion of shallowness. What do I mean by this? There is actually quite a lot an Explosion Demo can do, but it's all done via the same tool (Blowing Shit Up). Thus to outsiders it appears as only a kill jacking asshat selfish class, who TKs far more than other classes who drop AoE Damage Templates all over the place. To those who practice the art of Demolitions, and really take the time to look into it, it turns into something far different.

    Flexibility of Role

    The Explosion Demo, as I stated, does quite a few different things with his talents. And part of being a good Explosion Demo is recognizing that your build is quite flexible. There really isn't one "correct" way to build an Explosion Demolition marine. You can can max mines, max tier one, split tier one, grab up FV first, grab Satchels first, hybrid out to Fort Demo or Black Out the Talent tree, all of these have merit and a smart Demo realizes the strengths of his fellow Marines and compliments their style.

    Because of this Flexibility, I'll talk about various talents and their strengths and weaknesses, what role they fit in the teams, and how they best work with the rest of various Easy Company compositions.


    The humble thing which entirely hogs up your first tier. At first glance there seems to be only two correct ways to go. Max Mines, only one in Build, use them for early leveling then forget them forever. Or fully max out tier one and spam them all the time. This however is also one of the rare tier 1s where I'd actually suggest going 2/2 as a viable strategy. It gives you enough oomph on your mines, and enough build speed while allowing you to move up the talent tree faster.

    Mines are basically used in three methods. The first of which is Instant Boss Slaying. Presuming you have enough mines, a short period of time to set up, and know which way the bosses are coming you can use your mines to lay a massive field of death that typically can either outright slay a boss or shave off the majority of their HP. I will warn you that if you do this, you will be a "Lame Duck" most of the campaign, as this tactic depends on being able to throw out a lot of mines, very quickly, so you need to be up near max energy whenever a boss is going to appear. It's still a nice way to handle Erebos Mark I and II, and Tartar Sauce if you are lacking a proper tank.

    The second method is a Kite Method. Mines are cheap, fast, easy to place, and deal enough AoE that a couple of them can kill or severely wound any common enemy that you will face. Your job as the demo is to drop trails of mines behind you during various movement segments. This helps limit the damage of things such as ghouls rising from the dead, resurrecting Immortals, Argon Kill Parasites, etc. The sheer amount of kills you can get with this method during the game is fairly impressive, especially considering it takes very little work on your part. Usually the first wave of a hold out will get killed by mines you laid on your way to the hold out, taking some of the sting out of the early rush.

    And the third is the Last Line of Defense. This works best when you have a very long range oriented team lacking direct tanking as a primary method of dealing with things. Examples would be the Post Erebos Attack waves. The mines are to be placed along the terrain and choke points you are holding and serves more as a breather to prevent them from rushing through the choke points en masse when your DPS starts to waver or the sheer bulk becomes too much for you to hold back. It's a valuable method, and proper use of it can severely gimp the ability of Wall Climbing Stalkers and Devourers to wreck your day. The best uses of this often are focused not on the standard ground pounding rank and file that, honestly, your team will naturally focus on, but making sure that Cliffwalkers cannot get up to you. It's quite easy with this focus on only taking out the terrain busters to maintain and replenish your minefields.

    Fire Power!

    Good Demos will always get Fire Vulnerability maxed out. It means you can do the same job with half the resources. It effects not only all your talents, but also weapons such as the Flamethrower and Laser Rifle, the two key weapons in Easy Company used dominate a good majority of their storyline. It's a very cheap, spammable skill and there is almost no reason why every enemy you face shouldn't be under it's effects. Of course this is dependent on your team using said weapons (Or talents like Grenades or Nukes), but honestly you should be hard pressed to find a team that doesn't realize the value of one or the other. And who is going to refuse a cheap doubled damage buff?

    The question isn't whether or not to get Fire Vulnerability, you always should. The question is what you want to give up for it. Giving up on Mines makes sense if your team includes a lot of Tanking characters, as the two more commonly used methods (The first and third), either directly interfere with the team or are largely unneeded. Skipping out on Satchels works much better if your team has a lot of Long Ranged Firepower, or AoE Doom Templates already.


    Satchels are typically viewed as an XP Hog Talent, and a Pub Star Talent. This reputation is only somewhat unfair. It is true that the nature of Satchels makes them typically more effective in easier games where HP is lower and there is no Charging. The mechanics of it means that it is often more effective against slower moving targets, such as Agrons, which also provide a lot of XP. So the hogging claim is technically true. Still, Satchels are quite useful. Their damage is just high enough (Particularly with Fire Vulnerability), to be an outright kill against common enemies or at least a significant chunk. Lacking a cool down they are easily spammed and can with proper timing just annihilate waves of enemies at a time. Perhaps the greatest use I find for them is clearing out things that have low Targeting Priority, for example, the sheer amount of Creep that will appear as you slay Hulks in the Airlock or at Dome A, or the clutch of eggs that are dropped by the Zombie Queen and Elliethiya. If your team lacks proper AoE Template skills, you can't really go wrong with Satchels. There's always a demand for AoE effects, and overall it's not bad (Though a bit energy intensive). If your team has a ton of AoE Doom though you will find Satchels getting almost no use other than attempting to outrace Nuclear Strikes and the ilk in order to killjack delicious XP chunks like the Airlock Egg Mission.

    Armageddon Bomb

    This is just a solid skill. But the strength of it is not it's sheer damage or the after effect burning (Though they are good), the ideal is to use the Armageddon Bomb in conjunction with your other talents and role in the team. And I'm not just talking about spraying Fire Vulnerability everywhere (Though you should).

    It's key use is not just for it's sheer lethality but the ability to create a dead zone which will chew up lighter enemies. This allows you to create artificial terrain in an effect. Areas that otherwise would be completely open and allow you to get butt raped from every direction can instead get a "Wall" at your back. Due to Duration vs Cooldown you can't indefinitely do this, but it does provide an option.

    Oftentimes, as various hold outs there are two actual ways for the enemy to crack into your safe spot. This functions well with Mines, as you can use the Mines to cover the route you might want to escape out of (Front of Fort after Black Ops for example), as it's not only a potent deterrent against the enemy, but also almost entirely harmless for your team to walk over without concern. Then you Armageddon bomb the back side, unconcerned about any potential TKs through the after effect because... well... the only thing back there would be jackass enemies like Stalkers or Slashers, fuck 'em, you don't have any love for them anyway, they're jerks.

    With Satchels it's just additional Death Insurance. What a Satchel won't kill, an Armageddon will. And what an Armageddon won't kill, throw out two Satchels at once and it will. Between the two you can hold out an entire front by yourself as long as you still have energy.

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