Welcome to the Planetary Annihilation Skill Guide. This guide will be consistently updated to the most up to date game knowledge of the authors/writers.
This guide is organized such a way that you learn PA from the ground up. This guide can be used in conjunction with a coach will prove to be useful since the coach can evaluate whether you are putting the skills learned here into practice. The PA Academy discord server has numerous top players willing to coach.
When using this guide it is smart to read up on the units being discussed in the unit guide. Also when you read this guide, aim to take it one section at a time. Practice the subject you are on until you have learned it, and try not to skip anything (unless you have absolutely mastered the subject talked about in the specific section.)
This guide is made for people who have a very basic understanding of the game but would like to get better. If you are new to the game, play a couple of games first to learn how to play. Also, the build orders in this guide are not 'cookie cutter' builds that will work 100% of the time; they are meant as basic guidelines for how to play the game.
"The best tip that I can give anyone and the only tip I will give anyone is to watch your replays and learn from your mistakes" - Philosopotamous
Mex = metal extractor
Pgen = Power generator
Fabber = fabricator
Floating = wasting resources
Crashing = stalling/storages are empty
Kite = move backwards/keep the enemy units at range
T2 = tier 2 or advanced factories, units or buildings
T1 = basic factories, units, or buildings
Before we get into the skills and the real meat of the guide, let's talk about the general idea of how to actually win a game of PA.
Winning a game of PA is usually done by gaining more resources and units than your opponent. There are two ways to approach this. The first is simply expanding more than your opponent which will allow you to outproduce them. The second is through raiding, where you prevent the opponent from expanding and destroy their expansions that are already in place. This will again allow you to outproduce your opponent. Whichever play style fits you, this guide will help you with almost all of the basic through advanced skills which we find Necessary to learn. Below is a very brief description of how a game should normally play out.
Stage 1 Build order
Stage 2 Early scouting and raiding
Stage 3 Early Pushes to secure certain parts of the map/take parts of the map from the opponent
Stage 4 Tier 2 is obtained and T2 units and T2 metal start appearing.
Stage 5 Mid-game pushes with advanced units and very fast tier 2 expansion. Lots of raiding!
Stage 6 Kill the enemy commander!
We will start with the key to getting a big army, and what should be your favorite thing ever: Not crashing economy! (yay!)
Planetary Annihilation is a game based on massive armies. To build these armies, we require lots of resources. A big trap in PA is that people are happy with the number of resources that they have. You should never be satisfied with a certain amount of resources because there is always a way to expand and build more units. When we stop expanding, we get behind, and we lose. So BE GREEDY!
To prevent wasting or crashing on it is recommend that you frequently (once or twice a minute) look at what needs to be done about this economy. Are you low on energy? Then build more! Low on metal? Then devote more fabricators to expansion.You can use a hot key (by default 'f') to find idle fabricators to expand your economy (there is also a button in the bottom left of the UI). Your efficiency (and therefore your production) is determined by your lowest resource, so prioritize the resource you need the most.
Rebuild fabricators as soon as you lose them
Have you ever killed someone's fabricators and minutes later it seemed like it did nothing to them? That is because they rebuild lost fabricators immediately. If you lose a fabricator then just queue up another one with your factory by holding CTRL and then clicking on the fabrication unit one time. This will put it at the front of the queue and then stop building fabricators until more are queued up.
Spread out your fabricators
It is possible to build a building with more than one fabricator. When we build in our base it is not a problem to use 2+ fabricators to build one building. But when we are building metal extractors outside our base we only use 1 fabricator to build a set of extractors. This is done to reduce the combined walk time of the fabricators and build the metal extractors faster. Alternatively, you can expand with a group of fabricators to have less risk of crashing on metal, but be aware that groups are easier for your opponent to kill.
PRO TIP: bot fabricators are fast but build slowly, air fabricators are extremely fast but are expensive and build inefficiently (too much energy) and vehicle fabricators move slowly but build fastest and most efficient. Naval fabricators are gods but take a lot of energy.
Now that our economy is growing steadily it's time to spend our resources. We do this by building factories. The commander is perfect for this task because it moves slower and builds faster than tier 1 fabrication units. Start every game by providing a queue of things for the commander to build (press shift to queue up multiple buildings in advance).
While we check once or twice a minute what we need to do to expand our economy, we can also check if there is room to build more factories. This is also a good time to check if any factories are idle. By setting a hotkey to idle factories it is easy to find out if there are any idle and immediately queue up units for production. To prevent factories from going idle, they should be set to infinite build. This can be done automatically by a mod called "Infinite Build" found in community mods.
Keep building fabricators over time
At some point, the commander can't keep up with the amount of resources coming in, and you will need to build extra fabricators to build factories. Eventually you can start making lots of tier 2 with these extra fabricators when your economy is very high.
Priority Build order
It is tempting to have a factory constantly building fabricators. But we don't need that many! Every fabricator we can't put to use is a combat unit we don't have. To build a select few fabricators from a factory building combat units we use Priority build order. This is done via control + left clicking a unit or fabricator in a factory so that they are placed in the front of the queue for the factory. You can also control + shift click the unit to get 5 units put to the front of the queue. When the units are finished being created, the factory resumes it's previous build queue which makes this very useful for getting out fabricators.
Now that you know how to build your economy and your army it is time to look at how to get an effective start. For this we use build orders. The build order that will be explained here is for maps where you start on land.
When selecting a spawn location pick one close to a metal spot. When your commander lands his build order is the following:
1 Bot Factory -> 1 Metal extractor -> 1 Energy -> 1 Factory -> 2 Energy -> 1 Factory -> 2 Energy -> 1 Factory -> 1 Energy -> 1 Factory -> 1 Energy -> 1 Factory -> 1 Energy ->1 Factory -> 1 Energy ->1 Factory -> 1 Energy -> 3 Energy (for the advanced factory) -> Assist in building Advanced factory.
This comes to 8 factories and 1 energy for every factory with 2 extra energy for your fabricators.
When you queue up this build make sure that the commander has a minimal walking distance to each following building. Walking increases the time it takes to build all the buildings due to the slow walking speed of the commander.
When the first Bot Factory is finished, we build 3 fabricators from the factory before we start building other units. We use these 3 fabricators together to build 5-6 metal close to our base. When these metal extractors are finished we split them up to build more metal outside our base.
As the game progresses, don't forget to build more fabricators to keep expanding, more factories to keep making units, and to make the switch to advanced factories.
PRO TIP: A lot of times people will do something sneaky so don't be afraid to drastically change your build order or unit composition.
Now that we can build a massive army, this next section will advise you about what specific units should be included.
Different units have different strengths and we will discuss where to use them.
Cheap and fast units like the Firefly are great for finding out what your opponent is up to.
Fast and cheap units like Dox and bombers are good at taking down undefended metal extractors and fabricators.
Units with more health like tanks are good at taking down defenses.
Long Ranged units
These units are great support units which can force engagements over things like craters, ramps, and choke points. Make sure to run away from enemy armies however so you can trade most effectively. Most of these units have an arcing projectile.
These units can repair any other unit and this may seem like their primary purpose. However, it is more efficient to just make more units in most cases. Though there are some uses for combat fabricators, the first and foremost being the ability to reclaim unit wreckage or trees which will give you a massive boost in metal income. 4 stitches can boost your economy to 120 metal/second just by reclaiming! They can also be used to make a teleporter to shorten travel time between bases or to stage an invasion. Finally, they can also be used to lay mines which will force the opponent to get units with vision of the mine layer.
When building an army, there are a few things to think of like Unit speed, Vision, and Counters.
Bots move faster (boombots even faster) then vehicles and Infernos are even slower than the other vehicles. When these units are combined they move at the speed of the slowest unit. Think about if you want to attack quickly to keep up the pressure or only need to defend your base from an incoming attack.
Air units are no exception, as the bomber is a bit slower than the Hummingbird, and Hornets and Wyrms are a lot slower.
Some units have a bigger range than their vision like the Leveler and Sheller. To increase the vision of your army, it is a good idea to add one or two Skitters. As an added bonus, Skitters can detect enemy mines.
Every unit is strong against one type of unit and weak against another. When deciding what units to put in your army, be mindful of what you are up against and choose units which will perform well against your enemy's composition. Below we describe the most used units.
Dox - Strong against Boombots.
Boombots - Strong against advanced vehicles with an area attack command around the vehicles
Slammers - Strong against Dox and Boombots.
Locust - Strong against structures.
Gil-e - Strong against high health units as well as units/buildings which shoot missiles. They can use range to their advantage. Weak against shellers and cheap/fast units.
Bluehawks - great vs orbital, slammers, levelers, and any higher health units. Mix these in if you need a little more punch with your army without getting to close to enemy units. Weak against shellers and cheap/fast units as well as Gil-es.
Ant - Strong against bots
Spinner - Strong against air
Levelers - Strong against Advanced bots and vehicles
Storm - Strong against Bumblebee, Phoenix and Hummingbird
Hummingbird - Strong against air
Bumblebee - Strong against dox
Phoenix - Strong against air
Kestrel - Good against Storm
Building your advanced factory is important. If you wait too long, you will fall behind because you will lose trades against your opponent, but if you go too early you will lose your armies and expansions to your opponent. A good time to build your advanced factory is between 7 and 10 minutes.
After the factory is built DO NOT get more than 2 advanced fabricators as even 1 is enough. The advanced units are far stronger than basic units, so get 1 advanced fabricator and then go straight into combat units. Also don't only queue up only T2 metal, as you will need advanced energy as well.
PRO TIP: Sometimes you need to skip the advanced fabricator and go straight into tier 2 units if you are getting attacked by something heavy and you cannot defend against it.
Now that you know about basic unit roles and advanced factory timing, it's time to think about what kinds of unit compositions to use in general based on the enemy composition and intent, as well as learn how to use the units and adapt to specific situations like a naval game.
Now we know about counters, it is time to make sure we know where the enemy is and what he has so we can respond to his moves and choice of army composition.
Radar is a great way of knowing where the enemy is. Placing them on the edges of your base will make sure you have the maximum range of vision. Building a radar outside of your base is always going to give you better intelligence, but it also means that there is a higher risk of it being destroyed. When you build these forward radars, pick a spot that is/can be defended and is not traveled much.
Building radars is a good way of knowing where your enemy is. You should make sure you have them nearby remote expansions as well as in your base. But radars are no substitute for scouting. By using a firefly, you can get fast and cheap intelligence on where your opponent is and what he has. While scouting, it is always good not to just look around and in the opponent’s base, but also to check all corners of the map for hidden metal extractors and proxy bases.
An alternative to using a firefly to scout is using your entire air force (Bumblebees and Hummingbirds). With this you can also immediately pick off any undefended fabricators and laser turrets to clear the way for your ground forces. When you do this, try to always avoid anti-air, so scouting the opponent's main base with your entire air force is not recommended.
Raiding is the attacking of the enemy with small armies with the goal of destroying metal, fabricators, and factories outside of the enemy base.
The raiding itself is best done with dox and slammers as they are reasonably fast and have a good damage output. Early game, raiding should be done with small groups (2-5 dox) and this should steadily grow, taking into account enemy (static) defenses. It is also smart to raid with more than one raiding force at the same time. You can easily send raiding forces to different sides of the map.
When you get an advanced bot factory, you can add slammers to the raiding parties that are bound to be blocked by static defenses. The slammers, in combination with the dox, will have less trouble destroying the static defenses around enemy expansions.
Raiding, like building your economy and factories, is something that needs to be repeated during the whole match. This is why during your macro cycle you should check if you are still raiding and send out new raiding parties if needed.
PRO TIP: Try to keep the minimum number of units in your base and the maximum number of units raiding enemy expansions. Try to predict where your opponent will expand and send units there ahead of time.
What coaches mean when they yell at you to "expand!" is to go get metal!
Getting established/map presence
When you expand early on, you are setting up your map presence as well as your economy. This is important because you need economy to make factories. When you have map presence, you are not just some bug that someone can squash in the first 10 minutes of the game, you are a dominant figure who is a threat.
Defending map presence
Against the average player, your map presence will weigh heavily on your opponent, as you will seem to be everywhere at once. However, against good players, your map presence will vanish immediately after you get it if it is not well defended. To prevent this, make static defenses by your expansions! A great rule of thumb is if an expansion is near an entry point to your base, or has more than 4 metal spots, make a laser turret there. One galata turret can cover multiple expansions as long as they are in range. Radar can cover many expansions.
Taking map presence
Taking map presence is done via raiding repeatedly all over the map. By raiding, you also extend your own map presence and put pressure on your opponent psychologically. This pressure can make them feel like they are "contained" or "trapped." Well that is because they are! If you see them making turrets, try to flank the turrets or spread out your dox so the turrets have to turn a lot in order to shoot. While they are busy defending, you are busy expanding and they cannot raid you because they are defending with everything they have. So in other words, they cannot take your map presence. Then, when you kill their metal, build your own metal there, but make sure to build a turret first because otherwise they will raid you back!
PRO TIP: You can also deny map presence by placing 1 dox by every expansion they have in the early game. This way the fabricator just walks right into your dox. EZ GAME
In order to win a match, you need to destroy an enemy commander. The simplest way to do this is to push through their base in order to have your army destroy the commander or the base protecting it.
When is the time to push?
The best time to push is when you think you have more offensive power in the form of units than they do in defensive power (units + defenses). Before any push, it is good to scout to determine if this is true.
Where should I push?
The direction you push determines its effectiveness. If you go straight into the front of their base, they will usually be able to respond by building more defenses or moving all units behind walls etc. This means that a direct attack may be less successful without overwhelming offensive power.
With the scouting you did to find out their defensive power you can also look to see where the weak points of their base will be. Sections with few defenses and no choke points will be far easier to push than a choke point with a ton of defenses.
You will however have to balance this with transit time. A less defended side that takes an extra 30 seconds to push means they have far more time to respond and produce more units, potentially tipping the balance in their favor.
How should I push?
When pushing you should focus on the key units that you and your opponent has. (T2 or things with strategic importance such as a storm or skitter) and where the enemy's defenses are. When the push has reached combat you will want to keep your key units safe and focus theirs down. You can keep tactical units safe by sending them to the back of your army and put fodder (t1 units such as dox and tanks) in front of key t2 offensive units. If they have key units then you should focus them down or avoid them if possible.
What should I do when it’s in their base?
Your army is now in their base, the priority of objectives are commander>economy>production>units.
The commander kill will end the game. If the enemy commander can be killed, that should be your biggest focus.
If there are too many defenses guarding the commander, or he has retreated too far away, focus on your opponent's economy. By destroying their energy and metal, you will lower their efficiency. This means it will take them longer to recover, longer to expand, and longer to produce units. This will set you up for victory.
If economic structures are unavailable, focus on the enemy's metal investments. If you manage to kill the enemy's T2 factory, they will have lost a huge metal investment and will be unable to produce T2 units at the same capacity that you will be producing them.
Finally, if you can destroy none of their base, try to trade well with their army. Exposed shellers? Send some units after them. Weak defensive structures? Clean them up.
Small pushes have different rules than standard ones as they are unlikely to be able to kill the enemy commander or production at a decent speed. During a small push your biggest enemy is usually the enemy commander or defenses. In the case of both positioning yourself on the opposite side of buildings can allow your army to kill more structures while you kite the enemy commander/defenses.
A failed push
Sometimes it doesn't go to plan. Maybe it was mines, or your anti air was taken out, whatever the reason make sure to scout to evaluate your enemy and work out what went wrong so you can fix it for the next push. Pushing the same direction will also lower your chance of succeeding so you should switch up your attacks if possible. If your push for some reason finds that it will lose by going into the main base, turn it into a raiding party.
A successful push
A successful push creates some sort of advantage for you, be it neutralizing the enemy's army, crippling their production, destroying their economy, or even killing the commander and winning the game! CONGRATS
Even though air is very weak, it is a crucial part of the game because of it's extreme mobility. Once you lose air, your opponent can easily outmaneuver and bomb you. This is why you should do the following things:
- When you trade air you should always make sure you win. (see air micro in section 6 micro tricks)
- Always keep up with your opponents air production and make sure you got at least as much air factories as your opponent.
- Always keep your air TOGETHER! When it is allowed to split off, it is easy to kill, giving your opponent a small advantage in numbers.
- Since air is a numbers game, avoid anti-air which will make you lose units that you didn't have to.
To make controlling your air easier, it is possible to set a hotkey to select all air (on screen). This should help a lot in keeping your air grouped and quickly responding with it when needed. To select all air on the planet, simply double click the air icon in the bottom left or set a hotkey.
In most games, one of two things will happen. You will either win the air or lose the air game. When you win the air game, it means it's time to increase bomber and kestrel production to take out defenses and start putting pressure on your opponent. But always be careful and keep an eye on your opponent’s air production. Should you lose the air game, there are a couple of things that you need to do to regain control of the air. Build a lot more air factories to compensate for the amount of air you are behind. Build anti-air turrets to defend expansions and mobile AA units like Storms and Spinners to defend your armies. If they have tier 2 air, spam Galata turrets and then flak if you can in your base so that they don't kill your fabbers or snipe you. This is all for the purpose of having a chance to get back into the air game.
PRO TIP: Try only making lots of hummingbirds and CONTROL + CLICK bombers when you need more because this guarantees that you will have more air than the opponent if you have the same amount of air factories and don't fly your air over anti air.
You may think that naval is the bane of PA and that it can never be fun. But naval is actually the same as land with raiding, scouting, and expansion. It is just a lot slower. The purpose of this section is to give you a basic guideline of how to play on any map that is 90% naval or a map where you decide to start with a naval factory.
For naval maps, it is a good idea to start with a naval factory. After you start with a naval factory get 2 naval fabricators out instead of 3 because 2 naval fabricators are able to spend more metal/second than 3 bot fabricators (28 - 27 for the bot fabricators and also they use less energy than 3 bot fabricators ). After you get the naval factory, get 1 metal and 2 power with your commander and get nothing but metal with your 2 naval fabricators . With your commander get air, 2 power, vehicles (if possible close by, if not then get naval in place of it) then 2 power, naval, 2 power, naval... tier 2 naval by 6 minutes into the game. After this get an advanced naval fabricator out and start pumping out Krakens. Contrary to land maps on a naval map it is actually better to spam massive amounts of tier 1 subs with tier 1 factories rather than tons of tier 2 factories because Krakens have a massive weakness against tier 1 subs. It is OK to get more than one tier 2 naval factory but try to focus more on tier 1 naval.
PRO TIP: Kaijus are great for completely avoiding submarines and torpedo launchers, so if your opponent is only getting subs try getting some Kaijus and wrecking their metal and their base. GG EZ!
Now that you know the basic skills we are able to go deeper into the specifics.
During the game, you will lose fabricators or metal extractors. When you see this happen or notice them missing, you should immediately queue up new ones. This is because you are going to be missing the build power or metal income. Don't forget that if they were killed by land forces you should first secure the area before sending in the fabricators.
PRO TIP: You can try putting fabricators in your factory build queues (e.g. 1 fabricator every 5 or 15 dox or something like that)
While Dox and Slammers are great at raiding, it is smart to combine this pressure with air. Even one or two bombers mixed in your air force can do a lot of damage early game and are great for taking out fabricators and your opponent's Dox armies. This will allow you to quickly slow down your opponent's expansions and early raids.
When the game moves on to advanced, you will need more bombers in your air force to be able to take down the Slammers and metal extractors of the opponent faster. At this time you will probably find more and more Galata turrets at expansions. This makes it a good time to go advanced air and build Kestrels to take out the Galata turrets. This will allow you to keep up the raiding with your air. A second and easier option would be to build more bombers but they will not stop the Storms if your opponent goes T2 tanks.
In PA, there is a limited amount of the 2 resources, Energy and Metal. But there is another hidden resource: Attention. Both you and your opponent are only able to be at one place at a time. Here we will look at how you can take maximum advantage of the attention you've got.
Your own attention
The key to spreading out your attention is to make sure you don't need to look back at the units you gave orders to for as long as possible. You do this for your commander and fabricators by giving them long build orders. Most of the time, you already know what you want your fabricators to build in the future, whether or not that is more metal, energy, or factories, is entirely up to you and your economy. All you have to do is queue it up. If needed, you can always change your build queue later.
With the exception of air (which costs a lot of micro), you can send your armies in blind. If you did proper scouting, you will know what your opponent has and how much you would need to send to take it down. (If you are afraid of missing vision don't forget to add skitters.) But don't let your armies stop in front of your opponent’s base to wait for another command from you because your opponent will see this and have time to respond to it.
Your opponent’s attention
Your opponent should respond to every action you take, be it expanding, raiding or pushing. By doing all of this at the same time, they will have less time to spend on each of these tasks and their own macro cycle. This will increase the chance that they will make mistakes or miss one of your actions. A missed expansion gives you extra metal, a missed raid takes away enemy metal, and a missed push can end the game.
Every map is different and it is important to recognize what the best play is on each map. To put it simply, there are 3 different maps we are going to be discussing here. Small, medium, and large maps. On each of these maps specific unit types are stronger, but the other unit types still play a role. For example, no matter how small a planet's lakes are, a Kaiju is still very dangerous.
Many maps have choke points. These are places where the armies will not be able to pass through in formation and will become a "spaghetti strand." putting down your defenses just behind these choke points will allow you to take advantage of the fact that the army is spread out and you will be able to kill the units one by one which will facilitate better trades.
Below we will give examples of how you could open on different maps and what strategies you could apply. When we discuss the opening build take the simple build order as a template and fill in the factory types as suggested below. Nothing written below here is set in stone and you should rely on your basic skills to judge what the best way to handle your opponent.
Small Planets (<400 radius)
On small maps try expanding slowly and steadily while factoring in slightly less power into your build queue. On small maps going mainly vehicles is very strong, but don't forget to use early bots to do raiding and air for scouting. After that you can use vehicles to raid and push taking out the expansions first and then go for the base. Make sure to keep aggressively positioning your vehicles in order to put pressure on your opponent so that he doesn't attack you. Make sure you have radar in case the opponent does attack you so that you can respond to the attack.
For your build order you should open with the following factories: Bot -> Air -> 6-8 Vehicle -> Advanced vehicle. Time your advanced based on what your opponent is doing. You might need to build it earlier.
Medium Planets (400-550 radius)
Medium maps have a relatively strong early bot game with a strong air game. But allow for a vehicle push to finish it off. This requires you to have plenty of air with enough bots to keep pressure on your opponent. When you go advanced you should look into going Kestrels and Slammers and pick vehicles when your opponent is close by. The difference between 400 radius and 550 is big, so find a good unit/factory composition for the exact size.
For the build order you should open with the following factories: Bot -> Air -> Bot -> Air -> 4x Bot/Air -> Advanced Bot/Air.
Large Planets (>550 radius)
Large maps favor the air game as well as almost careless expansion along with a little bit more power to compensate with this. Using some Dox to raid and use a Teleporter with vehicles or advanced bots as a finishing push. On maps like this, a radar's range is going to feel worthless and scouting and raiding with air will be crucial. This is also a good map size to be building Proxy bases to do raiding with either bots or vehicles. A single vehicle factory can build 4 ants and a spinner which can get to your opponent's expansions faster than units from your base. Also, using pelicans to drop fabricators to build expansions is a good move to prevent long walk times. When going advanced, Kestrels will work wonderfully, and where there is a lot of Anti-air, you can always take it out with Slammers.
For the build order you should open with the following factories: Bot -> 7x Air.
When you play medium and large planets but your spawn is close to your opponent, you should evaluate carefully how you are going to play the map, as vehicles might be stronger than air because of the distance and you might need less bots. When there is a clear path between you and your opponent, you will probably go heavy on vehicles like on small planets, whereas when the path is obstructed, the map will play more like a medium sized planet.
Things to look out for:
- With water or lava in your back you can still get attacked by Drifters, Locusts, and Inferno-pelican drop
- With water on the map and in the back of your base, watch out for navy, especially Kaiju's! Locusts can be devastating as well.
For Map specific strategies on naval maps it is important to consider 2 things:
* The size of the map
* The amount of land there is on the map
The size of the naval map usually doesn't matter too much. It is just more to manage. Just remember that the larger the map you are playing on, the more mindful you need to be about everything. You need to spend less and less time in one place as the map size increases. Securing expansions also becomes more important when playing on large maps due to increased travel time.
The next thing you want to consider is how much land there is on the map. On maps where there substantially more land than naval, you should start with a normal opening with lots of bots and air because bots can travel through water and air can deny the enemy air from killing your Dox. You also want to take the naval fairly early depending on how much metal is in the body (or bodies) of water. If a map is half and half or has more land than naval, then you should get naval reasonably early, but make sure you get a nice foothold on land before then because otherwise you can get overrun and be forced into the water. On maps where naval is more common than land, consider setting up lots of proxy vehicle factories late game and also secure the islands around the map. If there is a big center island (like on Meso) then secure that, rush tier 2 naval, and push through it with Kaijus because naval has the strongest units in the game.
The easy part of the game is now over and every decision is going to count to you winning or losing.
Now that you seem to be able to build your economy there are a lot of things we still need to talk about. It may seem like we forgot to talk about this topic since tier 1, but quietly it came back in every tier in different forms. But let's talk more details!
While managing your economy ideally you would always have your metal in between empty storage (crashing) and full storage (floating) because when your crashing your production is being slowed down but when floating we are throwing away priceless metal. Floating energy however is not terrible but of course not in excessive amounts. Crashing energy is not a good thing because some weapons use energy to fire, radars will stop working and Teleporters go down.
To keep this difficult balance between floating and crashing you need to pay a lot of attention to your economy. This is why doing your macro cycle one to two times a minute is not enough and should be done four times a minute or more if you can manage it
What also helps is having a metal storage. This will prevent a lot of floating of metal, but don't forget to keep up with unit production or even that will not be enough. It is here that you should not make the mistake that more metal storage will solve your problem. The more metal you store up the more time it will take for you to crash but it also makes you think that you are spending everything even if you really aren't. To avoid this mistake, look at the net metal and energy incomes so that you can accurately determine what your economy needs.
Now we know more about the units in the game it is time to take a look at how to combine them to get a good army composition that can take on your opponent’s army.
This of course doesn't exclude the basics of your army composition and adding counters.
When you combine an army of Slammers with a lot of Dox, the Dox will function as a shield for the Slammers by absorbing the shots of slow firing units like Levelers while the Slammers destroy the enemy army.
When combining the Dox with Levelers the Dox are there to defend against boombots and absorb damage from Levelers, while the levelers do most of the damage.
When fighting in the navy the most important unit is going to be the Barracuda. It will do most of the killing and take the damage of the kraken allowing it to get close for its missiles to wreck anything on the surface.
Late game combining Sparks with your vehicles instead of Dox will give a good boost in your Damage. The Sparks are also good against boombots when the boombots are in larger numbers.
This combo takes a lot of micro and is designed specifically for heavy combinations of tanks and dox or slammers. You can use it exactly like this:
Step 1 move in the slammers
Step 2 area attack the enemy units with the boombots just after you see the slammers engaging in a fight with the enemy
Step 3 they are dead and rip their units :D
This is a great unit mix that you should use all of the time. 3 ants 1 inferno (maybe a spinner in there as well with some factories) it will wreck lots of things including expansions but it is weak to Boombots.
Don't put too many Shellers in there because otherwise your army will be very weak to bombers and Boombots but Shellers are great for forcing engagements on your own terms because you can just keep running away from the enemy each time they try to get close to your Levelers.
These are not to be mixed with any units because they are insanely fast bots which can wreck an undefended base or factory in seconds with just 2 or 3 of them. They can also travel through lava and water so they are great for sneak attacks and killing off naval. These are not for attacking armies and to counter them use land mines, kestrels, slammers, Sparks, Dox, or double laser turrets.
This composition is great for pushing through bases when you have more control over an area of the map or need to completely wreck an undefended area. literally no micro but just move command into the area you want to destroy. this is also really good against players who have turtled too much for your taste.
Now you know how to play the macro part of the game its time to discus micro. It has been put very low on the skill guide because your gain from it is small, but at the level you should play now it will make a difference.
When a group of Dox gets targeted by a bomber it will be easily destroyed in one fly by. To avoid a lot of losses you can easily spread them out using the mod cover the line, by drawing a circle around your Dox group the will split up and the bombers will mist most of them. If you don't feel like getting the mod then try patrolling your Dox in a wide circle. For both of these tricks you need to react ahead of time because otherwise your Dox will just stare at the bombs falling on their heads.
When a group of Dox get close to an inferno or Spark they will get destroyed easily, but because of the slow speed of the Inferno and Spark and the bigger range of the Dox it is possible to stay out of range of the unit and kill it without losses. The same thing is possible with Ants.
Using boombots to kill the first fabricators is done by scouting with a firefly while putting boombots in positions close to the base, then when the fabricator is undefended move in with one boom bot to kill a fabricator. When doing this you need to keep your scout alive.
Should this not be possible it also costs two boom bots to kill a energy plant, single laser turret, pelter, or lob.
To defend against this put one Dox to follow a fabricator.
For leveler micro DO NOT run away no matter what. What you want to do is 1 of 3 things, stay still, charge forward, or use cover the line and do either of these 2 things. When you use cover the line make them a straight line that almost surrounds the enemy units because then they will trade very effectively.
When engaging an enemy army on a crater or ramp you have to just sit and wait in the "sweet spot" of the engagement. The sweet spot is the area where the enemy shots will miss you the most. If you are stuck in a stalemate of both you and the enemy sitting on each side of the crater or ramp just get some long ranged units and force the engagement. Defensive structures are also very useful in these situations. Go to the you tube channel thatsonofabroom to see part 2 of the video guide.
When you see them just run away because you have more range!
you have 2 options. One of them is to concave your dox or make a semi circle around the enemy dox because this is a more optimal formation due to fire-rate. Another option is to wiggle your dox back and forth at a constant rate by simply right clicking left and right really fast.
PRO TIP: I highly recommend using cover the line for this.
Humming bird micro and phoenix micro is relatively the same and there are a number of ways to micro against enemy air. The most common way is engaging and then running away via spam clicking and holding down ctrl. Make sure that the enemy air is within range the entire time though. Another way to micro air is to run right at the enemy air, run away, run at them, run away... until the air is gone. This is very effective against idle air.
Phoenixes are just like hummingbirds but they have more range, do more damage, and they shoot 3 times as fast which makes them better in every way except for speed and health. Since they have low health it is best to have a nice mix of Phoenixes and hummingbirds in your air force.
When trying to transport a unit with a Pelican, you can queue up the loading, moving and unloading all at the same time. Using Shift you can use the pick up command to pick up, then send the Pelican where you want it to go using the route you want to use this all with shift and finally use shift with the drop command.
When using tanks make sure to move them in lines because that way you can have all of your tanks shoot at once while the enemy tanks must wait for your tanks to get in range.
Congratulations! You made it through the guide! By now you have mastered most skills that are essential for learning planetary annihilation titans.
Sincerely from the academy coaches
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