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Explanation of the unit classes in ZK.

Combat units in ZK generally fall into one of several classes. Understanding these roles and knowing how best to use and combine them for maximum effect is the cornerstone of a victorious battle in ZK.

Icons under titles indicate the role mapicon of that class. For further details, consult the Icon Guide.


The raider emphasizes speed. They personify blitzkrieg tactics - sheer firepower and the speed needed to get it into the enemy's heartland. Raiders generally have a high DPS for their cost, but they also have poor armor and range. The primary uses for raiders are harassment attacks to interfere with an enemy's economy, brute-forcing a particularly weak point in the enemy's lines, and taking out inaccurate units such as artillery which cannot hit them. They also come in handy for scouting, although a dedicated scout is better for the task.

Protip: The Unit AI can automatically micro your raiders to jink enemy shots if you give them a fight order.

*Use for:**Counter with:*
Early game rush
Armed reconnaissance
Flanking skirmisher/artillery/support units
Rushing through breaches in defense
Fast response vs. other raiders
Antiswarm/riot units
Area bombers

*Common examples*: Glaive, Bandit, Scorcher, Pyro, Panther, Scrubber, Duck


Assault units rely on their high armor to tank damage. A useful mainline unit, the assault class is favored for its staying power and ease of use. They usually have fairly slow turrets and projectiles, making them better against slow, large, or static enemies than fast moving raiders or gunships. As its name suggests, the assault class excels at attacking enemy strong points.

*Use for:**Counter with:*
Frontal assault
Screening allied units
Pushing in the field
General confrontations
Raiders(when unsupported)
Crawling bombs

*Common examples*: Zeus, Thug, Ravager, Hermit, Reaper


Skirmishers emphasize range. They support your forces by picking off enemies at a distance, before they can do damage. Skirms have light armor, and rely on their speed and range (as well as the protection of nearby friendlies) for defense. The strength of the skirmisher lies in its ability to shoot without fear of retaliation - always maximize this advantage by using the technique known as kiting (moving away as shorter-ranged enemies attempt to close the distance).

Protip: Giving a Fight order to your skirms will have the Unit AI kite enemies automatically as needed.

*Use for:**Counter with:*
Countering assaults
Harassing enemy forward positions
Countering Riots
Picking off short-ranged turrets
Crawling bombs (depends on skirm type)
Gunships, area bombers
Defenses that can outrange skirms
Defend on high ground

*Common examples*: Rocko, Rogue, Recluse, Scalpel, Buoy


Riot units emphasize damage. They excel at crowd control, slaying huge amounts of lighter units such as raiders. Units of this class will either have a high rate of fire or a large AoE, sometimes both. On the flip side, riot units are slow and short-ranged, and are poorly suited for assaulting defenses (which get in a lot of free shots as the slow riot unit attempts to get close enough to fire) or fighting skirmisher groups (which will simply kite them).

Due to their high-velocity projectiles, some riot units can also pose a significant threat to attacking gunships.

*Use for:**Counter with:*
Countering raider swarms
Protecting ranged units
Secondary AA (against gunships)
Static defense
Outmaneuvering/bypassing them

*Common examples*: Warrior, Outlaw, Leveler, Mace, Scallop


Artillery units are generally used to pick off enemy structures from a safe distance. Easily outranging static defenses, artillery can destroy them with impunity. Mobile units can usually dodge the fire of most (but not all) artillery, and artillery units tend to be completely helpless when attacked directly.

The alternate artillery icon on the right is used when a factory has 2 artillery pieces that need seperate icons. The heavier artillery will use the vertical icon.
*Use for:**Counter with:*
Killing defences
Causing attrition at range
Most other ground and air units

*Common examples*: Hammer, Wolverine, Impaler, Firewalker, Pillager, Tremor


Scout units emphasize speed. They have extreme speed and good visual range, and their dirt-cheap cost makes them expendable - just as well considering that they have no armor to speak of whatsoever. Scouts tend to be only very lightly armed, but they can still kill undefended economy structures and support units if the enemy isn't careful. Scouts are very similiar to raiders in their role.
*Use for:**Counter with:*
Checking enemy unit composition
Finding cloakers
Killing undefended expansion
Light defence

*Common examples*: Flea, Dart, Puppy


Anti-air units exist for one purpose - defend your army from aircraft. Their high firepower and range allows them to destroy enemy aircraft before they can damage your forces, but they are of course useless against any other target.
*Use for:**Counter with:*
Countering aircraftGround combat units

*Common examples*: Gremlin, Vandal, Crasher, Archangel, Tarantula, Copperhead, Flail, Angler


Support units provide long ranged fire support but for some reason or annother do not fit into the skirmisher role. They generally have low DPS. The actual roles of these units are too diverse to fit in a little table. There are four units that are labled support; Slasher, Penetrator, Felon and Moderator. The Slasher is very accurate but must stop to fire, so it is easily beaten by assaults. The Penetrator has massive burst damage so it is effective against high cost units. The Felon discharges its shield as energy bolts and works best when linked to other shields. The Moderator slows units down, reducing their rate of fire and movement speed.

Mobile Bombs

Mobile bombs move up to enemy units and explode causing massive damage. They do well against innaccurate units in clumps. Raiders can beat mobile bombs because while the raider will die the bomb often costs more than the raider. Mobile bombs are particularly effective when combined with a cloaker.

Protip: The Unit AI can automatically micro your bombs to jink enemy shots if you give them a fight order.

Note: The star icon is also used for some special abilities.
*Use for:**Counter with:*
Countering Skirmishers
Countering Assaults
Countering clusters of units
Accurate units
Light defence

*Common examples*: Tick, Roach


Shields provide a defensive bubble that blocks enemy projectiles, see the Shield Page for more details. Shields are good at blocking (limited) burst damage or low DPS sustained attacks. They will fall to focus from artillery.
*Use for:**Counter with:*
Protecting against bombers
Protecting against LRPCs
Some breathing space against artillery
Raiders (get inside the shield)
High DPS units
Focus fire from artillery


Cloakers hide your units from the enemy, see the Cloak Page for more details. Cloaked units will decloak if collided with or if they fire, this makes cheap expendable units ideal for finding cloakers. Cloaked units also decloak if they are damaged which makes units with large AOE very effective at finding them. The Firewalker is particularly effective as the fire persists preventing units from recloaking. If you think you know where an enemy cloaker is remember to force fire your artillery at that location.
*Use for:**Counter with:*
Sneaking into bases
Closing the range with defences for low range units
Hiding economy
Hiding defences(only works until they fire)
AOE artillery (eg Firewalker or Tremor)

Note that these classes are generalized; specific units will often have different properties that cause their behavior to deviate significantly from the general archetype!
That said, it is generally a good idea to have a pack of units of EACH major class on the battlefield. Typically, at least skirmishers and riot should be present. A small pack of raiders (about 10) can come in handy to rush through openings in enemy lines or shock an enemy skirmisher/artillery group. Since they are the cheapest units it will typically be quite effective, because your enemy might not expect you to get through really fast.

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