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How to beat scorchers in 1v1

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7 months ago
I've lost like this a bunch of times now:

http://zero-k.info/Battles/Detail/1757518
http://zero-k.info/Battles/Detail/1757366

not just to foxfaction but to anyone in 1v1 who's rushing in tons of scorchers against my shield bots. It's basically a pure rush strategy, throwing enough scorchers at me right at the start to prevent any expansion and letting the other player expand naked to overtake me in eco.

I don't really know how to counter this kind of high pressure scorcher strategy. Bandits don't fare well against attacking scorchers. I've tried building early felon: but a felon has enough shield energy in it to kill just 4 scorchers, which doesn't make cost, and by the time I get one up the attacks are coming too fast for a Felon to have time to recharge.

I've also tried fortifying my base with Stardust and Lotus and aggressively reclaiming all the dead scorchers, but the reclaim from this doesn't outpace the naked expansion the other guy is doing. And they can knock down my turrets pretty easily by switching to slashers.

What in the shield factory is actually good against early, high pressure slasher raids? Should i be building snitches for this? Building the felon earlier, with enough time to build it a few Thug friends as well?
+0 / -0
Thing with Scorchers is their damage increases exponentially the closer they are to their target. At the edge of their range, they do almost no damage. There are a number of ways you make this weakness useful. Most important is you'll need to keep your bandits at range.

If you have to porc, I would terraform raise a stardust before I build it. At the cost of like 40-50 metal in terra, you can halve the potential damage a Scorcher can do. Maybe more. Could try this with outlaws... or, with outlaws, you can try burying them into the ground. They do slow damage through walls. Really though, try to avoid porc.

Rovers are really, really good in the early game whilst shields take time to pick up. You'll need to pick your fights, otherwise the opponent will do it for you. 2 Outlaws and a handful of Rogues straight to the enemy com or constructors to deny them expansion, supported of course by a few bandits. Use bandits to protect your expansion and maybe raid, but keep in mind you won't be able to out-raid scorchers. You have the best constructor in the game, with good micro you can make use of their shield to help protect your expansion. You want to get the enemy to focus on your offense as much as possible, that is why you want the rogue+outlaw+bandit combo. You want to be the one to decide where the fighting takes place, not the enemy.

You are at a disadvantage vs rover early game on most maps I find. When I'm in small teams I always pick rover because they can be everywhere all at once. You're going to be spread thin, shieldbots don't do mobility. Try to avoid porc- scorchers are better at faceplanting targets that can't move.

Your enemy will eventually mix in some ravagers. That is when you'll want thugs and felons. Of course bandits can fight ravagers, but it's just a general sign of escalation.

If you're confident, you can make good use of snitches. 1-2 well placed can decide the game. The problem is they're quite micro heavy.

Oh, and don't forget about dirtbags. On paper they're not great, but they're really annoying to deal with.
+3 / -0

7 months ago
For some reason I found Bandit fairly good against Scorcher so long as you keep them at range.

Depending on how your opponent is using scorcher, snitch can be devastating. Maps often have routes that are optimal for units to travel upon, and if your opponent is blobbing his units and not scouting, a snitch can wipe out a group of scorchers easily. Just place them on the most likely attack vectors.

Shields have the best anti-scorcher unit, Felon. Early game Felon is ridiculous and bunched with 4-5 Thugs is a legit threat to almost any early game units.

The main problem with shields vs rover is the mobility edge rover has over shields. You cant chase them and have to pretty much rely on Bandit for raiding.
+1 / -0
6 months ago
It's been a while since I played but I thought I'd take a look at your replays and see if I could give you any advice. First thing I noticed is that your build orders were a little sloppy. You can see in the first game on Vantage that your opponent takes a lead on metal income very quickly because they built all three mexes before building power. You should basically always build 3 mexes into 2-4 energy (1 or 2 solars worth) except for where you have unusual base setups.

Secondly your first constructor and commander are often both building different economy buildings at the same time in your base. If you are keeping both in your base, they should be building the same building to maximize economic gain early as ZK economy is very snowbally. Also you were keeping your commander in your main base for too long in both games. Your commander needs to head out on the map earlier to secure more economy or you will naturally fall behind someone else doing so.

In the second game your build order was better than your opponent's and you managed to get ahead of your opponent's income, but you made a few mistakes. You spent too much of your metal building energy, and took a long time to connect your energy grid to the mexes. You should have tried to secure the mexes near your base before building a big overdrive grid, and the stardust you built in your main was far too early. It would have been better securing more mexes first before committing to heavy defenses, especially since the layout of that map makes it very easy to defend the corner bases. Sending a con to a corner to build those mexes is defensible but you should be capturing closer ones as well at the same time with another.

In vantage defense is hard, and the key to being able to defend there is to have radar coverage so you know where the scorchers are. Getting radar in good positions on that map can be hard and will make it harder to play shields on if you don't know where the threats are since you have less mobility.

Always try to raid. You had one decent raid in the first game and could have gotten two mexes for a single bandit which would have been a great raid. Just like that it doesn't have to be a big commitment of raiders to earn value, just having threats on the opponent's side of the map interfering with their plans will lessen the pressure on you at home.

And generally, in the early game, shields rely very heavily on bandit under con shield with the occasional snitch to try to catch out groups. Right click 2 bandits onto one of your constructors to follow it around and keep it safe, and keep them under the shield as much as possible when engaging enemy scorchers. After the first few minutes increase that to 4, and it will be relatively hard for them to do much without blobbing up and ideally running into your snitches. When you start building felons, accompany them with 2 or 3 thugs each to get additional regen for their weapon, and to have something to tank for them. Keeping the thugs in front of them as you push forward will significantly reduce the amount of fire they take - and increase their offense strength simultaneously.

You will not be able to rely much on lotus past the early game since scorchers can brute force their way through with enough mass and fencers can destroy them for free, but stinger will stop fencer pushes. You will need to protect those with units/lotus/stardust/faraday though if you want to stop them from being dived by scorchers. Once fencers start coming out you should also consider mixing rogues into your armies, since they will do well vs unmicroed fencers. And always, always kite your bandits back against scorchers if you don't have a shield to hide under, scorchers really don't want to engage into you if you're moving away at full speed. I hope that helps!
+2 / -0
6 months ago
There's a Lot of great advice in this thread!

It sounds like my head was in the right place re: being at an inherent disadvantage on raiding, and that shield NEEDS to somehow choose the place for battle due to low mobility, and that Felon actually is a good anti scorcher unit, I guess i just need to get it out earlier and support it more.

What I hadn't thought of, is 2 outlaws + rouges + a few bandits as an early battle group. I'll have to try that!

Maybe someday soon I'll actually beat the scorcher push.
+0 / -0
6 months ago
Re: that last point, I'd always thought of the Outlaw as extra insurance for big shieldballs to ward off Flea and Glaive swarms. I'd never thought of it as an attacking unit.
+0 / -0

6 months ago
outlaw isn't an attacking unit. Vs a small amount of scorchers it will die. It's to protect your rogues by giving you a massive advantage when you swoop in with bandits. Remember scorchers are bad against things they can't faceplant, with 50% slow even rogues can hit them I think (albeit unreliably) and the scorchers won't be able to run.

It's more a general deciding where the battles are going to take place. With just a dozen protected rogues you'll force their hand. Another thing to keep in mind is that Outlaw is a very unique riot in that it's impossible to get overwhelmed- it "attacks" all units in its range, all at once. Even if it dies, you can still finish off the scorchers with your bandits as the slow effect lingers.

I'm more of a rover player when it comes to 1v1 (disclaimer: haven't played that in a while) and small teams. Just giving you a perspective on what would give rovers a really bad day.
+1 / -0

6 months ago
You've actually convinced me to do some testing. When I pick shields outlaws + rogues + bandits have always been my go-to but you made me question it

Side 1: 2 outlaws, 5 bandits and 4 rogues (total metal cost: 1395 metal)
Side 2: 8 scorchers (total metal cost: 1040 metal)
Outcome: Both outlaws and 2 bandits die on side 1 for a total metal cost of 650 metal. All scorchers annihilated.

This is with scorchers diving straight for the outlaws with no shield cons protecting and no prior harassment by bandits, likely worst outcome.

Setup is going to depend on the map; on maps with longer travel time or where rogues can't properly fire, I don't recommend this and would instead just spam bandits early on.
+1 / -0
6 months ago
I also just realized I can use Dirtbags as scouts, since they move almost as fast as bandits, are way cheaper, have a LONGER sight radius and don't leave reclaimable wrecks

possibly this will help my shields 1v1 game as well
+0 / -0
bandits on fight-command absolutely destroy scorchers for cost.
Don`t make felon too early or you will be outscaled. If you cant deal with scorchers via bandit-spam, then you probably have problems in other areas of your play.

okay, watching the first match you linked:
i mean, watch it yourself, your opponent spends their starting metal on more units than you, so he can exert more pressure on you while expanding in the meantime. then you overbuild energy, but you still have not really left your base. At this point, there are no ways to deal with your enemies forces anymore, because they just have map control and superior income/numbers.
+0 / -0
6 months ago
Bandits do decently against scorcher. Make a lot of bandits in the early game if your opponent is spamming scorcher. 2 bandits can easily defend against a scorcher. That's really the ideal situation 2 bandit vs one scorcher.

Make radar so you know where the enemy is coming from. And you can scout easily with dirtbags.

Other tricks include: hiding inside the convict's shield which protects the bandit. Even if you are outnumbered this trick can save you. And make lotuses when expanding.

And don't forget snitches. Place them near expansions. It will easily make cost.
+0 / -0
6 months ago
Snitches also deal Morale damage, making the enemy much more timid when raiding.
+0 / -0