Electrify your RTs
Please?Electrified RTs are one of the most valuable, yet underused, tools in the marines' arsenal. I've watched teams lose 3, 4, 5 RTs to skulks in the early-mid game. They dutifully rebuild each one, only to have it knocked down again a few minutes later. I've begged commanders to electrify, to no avail. Then, after our first big offensive falls apart, we hear the dreaded "Guys, we have 1 RT." Electricity is almost always a win-win option for marines. The more aggressive the alien team, the more you benefit from electricity. And frankly, if the aliens aren't going after your RTs, you're probably going to walk all over them anyway.
Many commanders are hesitant to electrify RTs because of the cost. Admittedly, 30 res up front seems like a lot. However, looking at the numbers over time paints a much different picture.
Let's look at a single hypothetical RT over the course of 6 minutes. We'll assume that the RT is in a somewhat vulnerable spot, and that the aliens are moderately aggressive in attacking it. We'll also assume that replacing a destroyed RT takes about 1 minute, on average. Two scenarios are presented: in scenario 1 we don't electrify the RT, and in scenario 2 we do.
| Time | | Res | Scenario 1 | | Res | Scenario 2 |
| 0:00 | | 45 | (Initial Res) | | 45 | (Initial Res) |
| | | 30 | Build RT | | 0 | Build RT, Electrify |
| 2:00 | | 60 | ... (2 min) ... | | 30 | ... (2 min) ... |
| | | 60 | Skulk kills RT | | 30 | Skulk ignores RT |
| 3:00 | | 60 | ... (1 min) ... | | 45 | ... (1 min) ... |
| | | 45 | Rebuild RT | | 45 | |
Even after just a few minutes and a single skulk attack, we already see a benefit. In both scenarios the net res is the same, but in scenario 2 the RT is still electrified, while in scenario 1 it's not. Furthermore, scenario 1 requires sending marines back to rebuild the RT, while scenario 2 requires no extra attention after the initial placement. Now let's add a few more minutes and another attack:
| Time | | Res | Scenario 1 (cont.) | | Res | Scenario 2 (cont.) |
| 5:00 | | 75 | ... (2 min) ... | | 75 | ... (2 min) ... |
| | | 75 | Lerk kills RT | | 75 | Lerk ignores RT |
| 6:00 | | 75 | ... (1 min) ... | | 90 | ... (1 min) ... |
| | | 60 | Rebuild RT | | 90 | |
Now we really start to reap the benefits of electricity. In scenario 1 we're now behind by 30 res compared to scenario 2, in addition to requiring yet another trip back to rebuild the RT. Plus, scenario 2 still leaves us with an electrified RT, while scenario 1 doesn't.
If you look at the numbers, you can see where the expense is coming from. Not only does it cost 15 res to rebuild the RT each time, but that ~1 minute of downtime between each rebuild is another 15 res that the node doesn't produce for us. Viewed in that light, electricity is easily worth the 30 res to ensure that the RT doesn't get destroyed in the first place. Multiply that savings by 3 or 4 vulnerable mid-map RTs, and suddenly you're looking at over 100 res in savings during this ~6 minutes.
There are even more intangible benefits to electricity as well. Your marines won't have to defend or rebuild nodes, so they can concentrate on destroying alien assets and capturing hives. It forces the eventual fades to waste valuable time killing RTs instead of killing marines. It's also quite demoralizing to the alien team, as there's not much they can do about it before they get bile bomb or a fade.
What to Electrify
Under the right circumstances, any RT (except the one in marine start) is a potential candidate for electricity. There are several major categories to bear in mind:
Nodes in locked-down hives: This technique is fairly obvious, and is even practiced by many commanders who don't electrify elsewhere. An electrified RT in a hive can provide effective cover for a phase gate, turret factory, or defending marines.
Nodes near marine start: While they may seem like the easiest to defend, these nodes are actually the most vulnerable, because they're natural targets for aliens on their way to marine start. Candidates for this category include West Skylights and Topographical in ns_veil, Hera Entrance and Cargo in ns_hera, and Miasma in ns_nothing.
Nodes near enemy hive: If you're fortunate enough to capture a node near the enemy hive, electrify it immediately to deny the aliens an easy node and force them to overextend themselves.
Thanks for reading, and happy zapping!