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What are some strategies?

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8 months ago
The http://zero-k.info/mediawiki/index.php?title=Strategy_Treatise page only has tactics and general tips. What are some strategies to use?
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8 months ago
Slasher Rush is a strategy.
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8 months ago
hm i can just recomment watching games or their replays of strong 1v1-players like GoogleFrog, Anarchid, DeinFreund, Fealthas and so on. Try to imitate what they do.
If you ask any of them for lessons, i think they are willing to teach you.
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8 months ago
Quote of DErankkatastrophe
hm i can just recomment watching games or their replays of strong 1v1-players like GoogleFrog, Anarchid, DeinFreund, Fealthas and so on. Try to imitate what they do.
If you ask any of them for lessons, i think they are willing to teach you.

Maybe I am underestimating the effect of unit presets. http://zero-k.info/Forum/Thread/24140?page=1&Search=&User=&grorder=&grdesc=False&grpage=1

EErankAdminAnarchid and LVrankSenaven turned off Selection Rank/Hierarchy. Maybe unit presets make fundamental differences.
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8 months ago
the thing is that there is a counter-strategy for every strategy YOU can come up, so it´s not helpfull to list up what you can do. Without context, it would not help.

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8 months ago
Are there strategies that don't counter any strategy?
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8 months ago
(edited 8 months ago)

Porcing up your base and stay there is definitely not gonna work against any somehow competent opponent.
In general you try to get as much ressources as possible by gaining map control.
Eco is the key-factor of the game i suppose. Your units are there to give you map control and the ability to build more than your opponent. But they are not there for themself.
Just think of that: As long as it makes cost, it´s effective. 20 glaives can kill a warrior but they don´t make cost, meaning, you will loose more metal than your opponent. You CAN affort this if your eco is alot higher, but under normal circumstances it´s not.

(If i talk rubbish, better players pls come and tell me^^)

So, the general thing is: try to get as much ressources as you can while at the same time try to deny your opponent acces to them. Those are the only general things i can tell you. Everything else is too specific for a thread like this.
You can join us on mumble if you like to get some specific lessons, but even me as mediocre player could fill books with my knowledge about unit-counters and so on. it´s just too much to write. So, feel invited to mumble. :)
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8 months ago
Here's one way to think about strategies in Zero-K. There are only a few viable types of strategies:
  • Rush / cheese
  • Porc and eco
  • Expansion and aggression
Rush/cheese comes in many specific varieties. Some that have been popular in the past include: Com drop, com nap, warrior drop, scallop drop, blastwing rush, Krow rush, com push, and good old-fashioned raider rush (the archetypes being Zerg rush in StarCraft and Flash rush in Total Annihilation). All of these work more-or-less the same way: if the opponent isn't prepared for it you get a devastating early advantage, but if the opponent scouts the rush in time to prepare then you end up way behind. Zero-K's approach to this has generally been to nerf rush strategies that are flatly uncounterable but allow those that can be countered with scouting. Intel is a critical part of Zero-K, and that explicitly includes from the very first moments of the game. Accordingly, early scouting is critical by design and players who decide not to scout are taking a calculated risk that their opponent isn't making a cheese play (or that if they are that the non-scouting player will still have time to discover it and respond).

Porc and eco is a favorite of new players that have come from other games such as TA and SupCom, but in Zero-K it is a very poor strategy. It works well against bad players but is rarely effective against experienced players. Once your opponent sees that you're building heavy defenses and going light on mobile units they will start naked expanding, grabbing all the territory and securing it with much lighter defenses. Eventually their mex advantage will outweigh any initial eco advantage you might have, and at that point it's just a matter of them choosing how they want to overwhelm or penetrate your fortress's defenses (and they have many options to choose from).

Expansion and aggression is the fundamentally successful strategy in Zero-K; it's explicitly baked-into the game design. The most successful players are those who are best able to execute this type of strategy, i.e. who can expand faster than the opponent while being better at aggression. "Better at aggression" means striking the opponent's weak points with strong forces (and doing so early and often) while avoiding the opponent's strong forces and deflecting them from the player's weak points. Making good trades is an essential skill for executing this strategy well - avoiding suiciding units, and using good counters.

In reality, a successful strategy can be thought of as a blend of offense, defense, and eco, with them forming a strategic RPS triangle where offense > eco > defense > offense (similar to the tactical RPS triangle of raider > skirm > riot > raider). If your opponent is overweighted in one area, you can profit by investing more heavily in the area that counters it.


Within those broad outlines, there are a wide variety of specific strategies you can choose. If you're doing porc-and-eco, what is your endgame? BB? Nuke? Bomber spam? If you're doing expansion-and-aggression, do you naked expand or lightly defend? How much do you invest in radar? In scouting? Do you scout with air, cheap units, or cloaked units? Do you spam light units or invest in heavies? Do you upgrade your com and push with it or keep it cheap and protected in the back? There are many possibilities and few wrong choices, as long as you are a) expanding and b) aggressively attacking the enemy weaknesses with your strengths.

So one answer to your question:

What are some strategies to use?

... might be "there's an infinite number of strategies, just be aggressive and expand with whatever units you like". A more interesting answer might be a very long list of things like:
  • Slasher push
  • Air control and bombers
  • Make a silo early near your base and use it to control the midfield
  • Send Scythes to snipe coms and kill factories
  • Spam constructors and tower creep everywhere
The list will be interesting and fun to make and discuss, but it will necessarily be incomplete, and to some degree misleading, since they don't change the fundamentals of "expand and be aggressive". Some might even call these tactics rather than strategies, but that's a terminology quibble that's not really very interesting.

So let me turn the question back to you: what are some strategies that you know about already, and what kinds of things would you like to hear more of and talk about?

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8 months ago
USrankCrazyEddie, I disagree.

To start with you say that Zero-K has a unique strategic landscape. Zero-K is not that special regarding the power of expansion and aggression. New players generally favour defense and economy, regardless of where they are from, and the level of defense and economy that new players favour is a very poor strategy in all games. If you've played an RTS casually try poking around on Youtube for tournament videos and you will see people expanding faster and being more aggressive than you are used to. I just got this result with Company of Heroes and Forged Alliance. The 'new player tips' videos tell people to expand rapidly and poke at weakness with their units.

Expansion and aggression are fundamentally successful in every strategy game (unless some cheese occurs) and this is a result of interactions which are core to the genre. We didn't really go out of our way to buff it. You need to spend resources for victory, so you want resources. The common ways of gaining resource a resource advantage in RTS are enhanced if you already have resources. In the most basic case, resource generators cost resources. There are many more ways to make resources though. If you have a larger army then you can gain an advantage in attrition over your opponent. Resource generation depends on map control an armies are used to take map control. Everything at the core of the RTS genre is a scramble for resources.

You say that these are the only viable strategies:

  • Rush / cheese
  • Porc and eco
  • Expansion and aggression

You also say that porc and eco isn't viable. I disagree that this is a good way to carve up strategies and, even if it is, you've missed things that ought to go there like "expansion and eco" and "porc and aggression" (for some definition of porc). You've also neglected tech.


Here is the basic 'strategy', the only strategy that there is: Defeat your opponent before they defeat you.

Perhaps it is more useful to call it an outline of a plan. It looks like a useless plan but I think it could be used when you look a the components. There are choices to be made in how you defeat your opponent and in how to prevent defeat. You also have to choose when 'before' is.

The common way to defeat your opponent is to have a resource advantage. I'm talking about a generalized resource advantage, not just an advantage in income. Usually, total metal produced minus total metal lost is a good stand-in for your resources. Anyway, here is a more fleshed out strategy:
  • Get a resource advantage.
  • Don't lose.
  • Wait.

The "don't lose" step is mostly taken care of when you have a resource advantage because the common way to lose is to be at a resource disadvantage. Just make sure to keep the advantage. Here are some standard ways to get a resource advantage:
  • Make metal extractors.
  • Kill enemy metal extractors.
  • Make your own units survive.
  • Kill enemy units.
  • Reclaim.
  • Overdrive.
These methods lose power if you focus too hard on any single one so it's best to do a few approaches simultaneously.

Resource advantages are exponential, they tend to snowball, so it is best to focus your efforts there. Put as little investment into "don't lose" as you feel you can get away with. New players tend to put too much of their effort into not losing (by making defenses) when the most important thing is actually to get a resource advantage. This is why scouting is vital. You can't defend against everything without getting behind so it is important to know what you may need to defend against.

Anyway, you can trace many strategies back to a method of gaining a resource advantage. Even strategies which attack with many raiders at the start can be about resources as they deprive the enemy access to metal spots and force them to spend resources on a counter. Cheeses aim to close the game before the question of resources becomes important. Other strategies need a resource advantage up until a point but then to ignore resource advantage in favour of rushing for a win. For example if you want to get a missile silo on the enemies base you need some resources to get into position.

All of this is fairly general. Maybe a useful use of 'strategy' would be to describe plans that use units in conjunction to gain efficiency. Here are some things I've done:
  • Timed Slasher push - Don't make any turrets, instead opting for a few Slashers. After 5-7 minutes make a Leveler and move the Slashers across the map. Replace them with turrets if needed. The efficiency here is the ability to turn your defenses into a type of offense that is rare at the start of the game.
  • Glaive Thunderbird - Appear to overbuild Glaives to get your opponent to make more defenses and riots (making their economic growth slower. Switch into Thunderbird relatively early and chip of large chunks of their defense.
  • Convict into Felon - This works well on maps with trees. Make Convicts instead of energy production, a constructor reclaiming energy is the most efficient energy generator. Make a Felon early and gather the Convicts together for a push.
  • Commpush Hammer - Commpush directly at the opponents base, with the normal amount of defense. Make Hammers relatively early so that you can destroy light defenses as you encounter them.
  • Mace rush - Make a Mace and send it to the enemies side of the map. They need to make fairly useless units to take the area it controls.

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20 days ago
AUrankAdminGoogleFrog: Your way of carving up strategies is no better than USrankCrazyEddie's approach. "Defeat your opponent before they defeat you." isn't a strategy, its the goal of the game. The strategy comes from how you are going to defeat your opponent before they defeat you. "Don't lose" is not useful advice.

That said, you both list pretty decent specific strategies at the end of your posts, so I'll just add to those the spotter/sniper strategy: Gremlin on holdfire has excellent LOS and can scout for Phantoms. Both units are invisible and difficult to flush out if positioned/screened well. Similarly Halberds can hold fire to gain insane amounts of armor -- enough to let a Lance deal some serious damage to a well fortified location.
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20 days ago
If we're listing viable unit compositions I will definitely add

-up to 3 lines of glaives, ronins, and reavers slowly pushing across the map , whenever they encounter enemy troops push the line that's most well suited for the job ahead. if small thuglaw ball or reavers ronins in front, glaives are replied with reavers, say there are just a line of rouges send forth the glaives.

-a mistake is to constantly fight at the enemy's base and not make ground. if you lose a long fight at the enemy's doorstep, that will become their reclaim field. I make this mistake a lot.

-play with your opponent's feelings. if they have an open base get a few glaives on opposite sides, like 6 on one side and 8 on the other side. alternate trying to push the farthest out mexes letting their raiders (or better yet riots) dance back and forth across their base draining their attention as you send some cons to build a naked expand economy. it takes about 6 glaives on an open field to make cost against a single lone reaver with proper micro.
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19 days ago
(edited 19 days ago)

spam glaives/ronins like the rest of the players, most games end in 5-10min anyway so u will never need to build any other units than cloakbots
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19 days ago
In my experience - such as it is - it's best to raid hard and early, and to expand your mex base as fast as possible across the map. Groups of fast raiders early on like glaive / daggers mean that you can pick off naked constructors and unprotected mexes easily. I try to occupy the other guy with defending his base and using chains of llt's to "carve up" the map. By sealing chokepoints with a line of solars and llt's it forces him to commit a large force to break through ... hopefully something that the radars pick up and that I can counter.

Meanwhile what is pretty useful is sending small groups of raiders on pre-determined paths from metal spot to metal spot. The idea is not only to kill undefended constructors and mexes but also to overload his attention span. I'd rather have him clicking away and trying to close down raiders on random paths than scouting me or seeing what my main force is up to.

What is also useful is mixing unit types up. For example, I'll raid early with Dart, then switch to Scorcher spam for a more intense experience. At a point where the other guy commits to a lot of riots etc, it's worth changing to something like Fencer spam, and going with that. He's now stuck with a bunch of short range units trying to respond to something with long range. Obviously your mileage may vary depending on the fac matchup.

I tend to porc up and use the porc as a base to push from. Good players punish me for that. On the other hand, if you have a large degree of map control, porc is useful in squeezing the other guy tighter and tighter with ropes of light defences while engaging his main forces in a duel of attrition. This has worked in the past for me.

Take this with a pinch of salt.

I get wrecked by the good players ;)
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17 days ago
(edited 17 days ago)

Some strategies?
My extremely general guide;

Your end goal is to win;
So ,how to win?
Warning! Long wall of Text!


This is what I got out of watching @shadowfury333 's casts and my experience in 1v1's
This is really, really basic.
Unit compositions are just a different way of making a fist.
You still have to punch to win, meaning you must still be aggressive.

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