General NS2 Commander strategies and guides

GodofThunderGodofThunder Join Date: 2011-12-13 Member: 137815Members Posts: 119
edited October 2012 in New Player Forum
NOTICE: I will update this as the game nears completion, as so many things change with different patches. Note this is for beta build 212 and will change as more content is added. Apologies for anything that may be out of date.

Also other good beginner's guides-

Other websites to check out

I saw someone post about people abusing new commander's so I thought I'd refresh this topic I made for it. I noticed this a while back, that almost no one likes to go commander for fear of sucking and being abused by the team, so I'll try and add some helpful tips to those new to being commander, or who want to try it out.

First off to all new player's WELCOME! Going Commander/Khammder you must understand a few things.

-You NEED a microphone to go commander. Yes it can be done without one, but it is very frustrating for player's to have a silent commander. Also typing is very hard to do in the middle of combat, or you have to be very good. So generally if you want to go commander, it's best to say you need to have a microphone.
-You MUST tell your team that you are new at the very start. Ask for help when you get stuck. If you don't, you will most likely be abused and ejected from the command chair(yes it's an option). People will just assume your a normal player and a useless commander, and there is nothing worse than having a commder who doesn't build the right things when they are needed.

But apart from that for the rest of you, if you are learning, go for it. You will find half the people are actually quite helpful if you ask for help. It’s better to learn now in beta than in the full version release. Then it will start to become annoying and really piss people off.

And seriously all you apparent pro's who complain and say only good people should command as it wastes other people's time, IT'S BETA. You want pro matches go join a clan and arrange pro matches then. These are public server's open to THE PUBLIC. How do you expect the community to grow when you abuse everyone new for trying things out. Do you really expect new people who just brought the game to have to log onto forums, find cheat commands, and go play by themself???? I wouldn't want to do that for a brand new game ive just brought.

But lets get onto commanding.

Below is a table of GENERAL AND BASIC strategies and guides for both teams for public server's, (PRO GAMES ARE DIFFERENT) and some ideas that you may like to try.


The game generally breaks down into 3 categories. Understanding what can or needs to be done as a commander in these certain phases, can change the course of the battle. Also, you NEED to direct your team. Here are the stages, that the game is generally broken down into.



What your team does or what you as the commander make them do is important. As an alien Commander, you will find your job is mainly to build currently. How fast you are able to do this, can determine what your team’s capabilities are. To start off, when you step into the Hive, you should have a menu appear down in the bottom right hand corner of your screen. There should be five icons there. There also should be four tabs at the top if this menu which contain all the buildings and research options. If you bring your mouse over the icons you will see the name's of each option. These menu's will appear on most alien structure's giving you all different kind's of research options and abilities.


First you need to choose which Hive you wish to go. There are three different Hives to choose from. Crag, Shade and Shift hives. Each Hive can build unique buildings.



Crag Hives are a defensive type hive which let you build Shells and Crag's . Shells can be evolved into either a Carapace shell (which gives your team the ability to research amour), or a Regeneration shell (which gives your team the ability to research regeneration). It also lets you build Crag's which heal all nearby structures and units, and can also be upgraded to give off Umbra , which reduces the damage taken from bullets, by all nearby aliens.



Shade Hives are a stealth type hive which let you build Veil's and Shade's. Veils can be evolved into either a Silence veil (which gives your team the ability to silence), or a Camouflage veil (which gives your team the ability to research cloaking while stationary). It also lets you build Shade's which cloak all nearby structures and units, and can also be upgraded to give off Disorient, which cause's marines vision to be distorted.



Shift Hives are a energy type hive which let you build Spur's and Shift's. Spurs can be evolved into either a Celerity spur (which gives your team the ability to move very fast), an Adrenalin spur (which gives your team the increased energy regeneration), or a Hypermutation spur (Let's your team evolve into different life form's for cheaper cost). It also lets you build Shift's which regenerate nerarby units energy, and can also be used to hatch eggs, which is very crucial when running low on eggs to spawn your team.

Once you have done that, then it is usually best to wait until your team locates then enemy base. Starting off you want to build as far away from the marine base as possible, as it makes it easier for marines to kill your cyst train and buildings. This can easily be the game lost from the start.



Under the build tab, you will see a button called cyst. This drops your cysts. Cysts spread out infestation which is required to build any alien buildings on. You will also see when placing cysts that there is a big yellow circle that surrounds the hive and cyst's. This is the only area you can place new cyst's. You will need to make a chain of cyst's to resource node's, and also to which ever new base you wish to setup.



These are the little white hovering creatures that look like weird flat slugs are your scouts which should be used to help warn you when marine's are on the move. The most important ability they have is cloak when not moving. You can build them from a Hive. Ideally try to get them to important location's, or places you think the marine's may go as quickly as possible. Be careful though as they do not have cloak when moving and will die instantly if spotted by a marine. These creatures are the khammander's eye's and can really help you see an incoming attack before it happens. This way you can direct your team to the certain location and identify what they may be up against.



Harvester's are the most important part of the game. These are your resource tower's that give, you the Khammander, team resources(TRES). You use this to build more alien structure's and research abilities. Harvester's also give your team personnel resources(PRES). The more harvester's you have the faster you and your team will get resources. To build harvester's you need to cover resource node's with infestation. Resource nodes are located all around the map. Once a resource node has been infested, simply click on the build tab, and click the harvester icon and then click it on the resource node.

IMPORTANT- DO NOT LET THE MARINE'S KILL YOUR HARVESTER'S!!! This is where you need to direct your team and watch for marine movement. As a general rule of thumb, you will need at least 3 harvester's if you want to stand any sort of chance of winning a game. Without 3 you will be very limited to what you can get, and also will put you very far behind the marine's.

You will find Alien khammander’s don’t do a huge amount of team support, though you do need to direct your team to any marine activity that may threaten your building process. From time to time you will need to activate building abilities to help your team, but apart from that your job is building as quickly as possible. VERY IMPORTANTLY you must stop marines from killing your cyst train, harvester's or second hive. You must communicate to your team to get to these locations to stop this from happening, or direct them to set up a defensive barrier to allow you to build there and hold it. Your main focus is just building, and getting your team upgrades as fast as possible.

Here are a few strategies for aliens.


SKULK RUSH- This is where your team focuses on ending the game with skulks. Skulk rushes can be devastating and can even win the game in about the first 50 seconds sometimes. Try to take out everything. Resource towers, power nodes, Infantry portals and the command center. Anything you destroy will put the marines well behind. In this strategy you focus on giving as many upgrades to skulks as fast as possible, and over whelming the marines.

FAST HIVE- This focuses on getting up a second hive as fast as possible with as little or no upgrades. This means your team can pop Fades quickly with or without upgrades. Fades currently destroy marines. Fades can move quickly and hit very hard, and will generally win the game or give you control of the map. Even with a few upgrades fades will usually win against marines. Your focus as commander is to get them this as fast as possible.

WHIP RUSH- This focuses on breaking heavily defended marine positions by providing a massive distraction. It's currently hard to manoeuvre so I'd say probably not something for new player's. But don't underestimate the power of a whip rush. Many alien commander's fail to do this and it disapoints me. This is the perfect diversion for your team to storm into a marine base, as turret and marine fire will usually be focused on the whips.

BILE BOMB RUSH- Get most of your team to evolve into Gorge's. If at all possible get a veil(building that cloaks your team near it when activated) placed near the main marine base where their command center is. Cloak all your gorges and rush their command center which will die very, very, quickly from bile bomb. Bile bomb has a huge are of effect and can take out multiple buildings quickly. Or you can simply try running in, or sneaking from a vent all together, healing each other as you go. This can usually get you into the marine base and hey sacrifices must be made for the greater good.

LERK HARASS- Get most of your team to evolve into lerks. They should be able to fly over most of the marine turrets or mines, and just start attacking things like their command center or power nodes. Also lerks are extremely good at taking out resource towers. Mass lerks can bleed marines dry by killing all their resource towers, or wait for the perfect opportunity if the marines leave their base to fly in and destroy it.

FADE RAMPAGE- Get most of the team to evolve to fade. You want to make sure you have carapace and phase(the fade teleport, which is researched at the hive) for fades, as dieing will waste a lot of resources and can cost you the game. When fades come out you will find that they usually have a major advantage over marines. Get your fades to start a full brutal assault, and take out resource nodes and slowly push the marines back into their base. Get fades to lock the marines inside their own base. As long as fades don't get greedy and hit and run all the time, they should eventually over whelm the marines.

ONOS When you get a third hive up your team gets the ability to get Onos(OH NO's). These massive aliens can take a lot of fire and when bunched together are unstoppable. I would really say make sure you get your team to group up as Onos and go in at the same time. A fully packed out marine base can actually take down a single Onos and that is a a lot of resources gone. They are the perfect meat shields for the rest of your team to rush in and destroy the marine base.


The first choice as a Commander is wither to upgrade your Hive to CRAG or SHADE. What this should depend on is the proximity of the marine base. This is where you need to get your team to locate the marine base as fast as possible, so you can choose the best build to take. The main point, NO MATTER WHAT, for aliens is to keep pressure on the marines. If you can lock them down at the start of the game then there is a good chance you have already won. It also means they can't kill your building process which is crucial as 1 Hive is a sure fire way of losing. You NEED a second hive.

SHADE BUILD- I would say this is more of an advanced player build who knows his team well, so when starting out, it's probably not the best way to go. This build should only be taken if the marine base is located at one of the adjacent spawn points. This is because cloak will not last long enough for your skulks to run across the entire map to the opposite spawn points. It really loses a lot of its potency when you are unable to cloak into their base, though is still helpful for map control against an aggressive marine army if you need to. This build is usually for the strategy SKULK RUSH but will be used for other things later in the game. It is also pretty good if you want to go for a FAST HIVE as well as help your team, because all you need to place is one shade to cloak your whole team. Then you can focus on getting that crucial second Hive up.

Simply place a shade near the closest exit from your base to theirs. Or extend your cyst infestation closer to their base and deploy them there. I would suggest getting two veils if you are going this build as you can then alternate the cloak ability, as it does require energy saved up by the veil. This should give you skulks a constant cloak from the moment they spawn. If all goes well, the marines will have cloaked skulks entering their base and will be completely overwhelmed at the start of the game. GAME OVER.

The final addition is to get a whip down to get the frenzy upgrade to really help your skulks to push over the marines. You can also make a cyst train right into the marine base to take the fire of sentry turret's if they deploy them.

The down side is, if you cannot break the marine base they will expand the opposite way, and quickly start getting upgrades. It also leaves your skulks weak against shotgun fire, as you wont have armour upgrades.

CRAG BUILD- This build can be taken regardless of location. The point of this build can be for either strategy FAST HIVE or SKULK RUSH-. It is very helpful for your team as uou can build shells(made by drifter's) right away which will give your team carapace(armour). Just simply build a shell and research carapace from them. This will help your skulk's early on especially against early shotguns. Or you can aim to expand to another hive as fast as possible with no upgrades as, when the second hive is going up, you can start getting all your upgrades while it build's. As previously stated, finding out where the marine base is crucial, as with this build you will need to build away from theirs. This helps give you that much needed delay to get the other hive up.

So upgrade your hive to Crag Hive and immediately build some shell's, or start placing cysts as far as you can to the next hive point. Make sure to grab the extractor points on the way and build resource towers on them. Time is of the essence. So I suggest already moving your drifters to the resource nodes and hive point, that you are going to be taking.

The helpful point about this build is when the second hive is building, you can then begin to place shells which gives your team carapace(armour) and regeneration upgrades, which means Fades will pop with full upgrades. Fades NEED these upgrades to be really effective. But the main focus is to just get fades up as fast as possible, with full level 3 armour. If you can get Fades up when the marines have little or no upgrades, it is almost always a guaranteed win. Fades DESTROY marines period.

Though these build's don't require you to be that alert, make sure you get at least one skulk to go the long way to a marine base. This is to try and spot a scouting marine. A single marine who cuts off your cyst train can destroy your plan completely. Also he will alert the others that a the second hive is going up and you may find a marine rush suddenly.


This all depends on how the first phase of the game went.

If you have gone for a FAST HIVE strategy, or finally got a second hive up anyway, then you should get your team to FADE RAMPAGE- as they have ability to evolve to fades now. The main focus now would be to assist the fades as much as possible. A really good way to do that is, start making a cyst train all the way to the outside of the marine base's. Here you will bring in drifters, and should build crag's and veil's just outside the their base.

Don’t make it to close and don't make it out in the open where they can just start shooting at it from range. The best place is usually around the second corner, so that it's easy for fades to teleport in, kill, and teleport out without having it destroyed. This will give your team regeneration and cloak. This way fades and lerks can hit and run and wear the marines down until its all over.

If you went for a SKULK RUSH or SHADE BUILD- strategy, then you may find yourself behind, and NEED to get a second hive up immediately. You may also find that because you could not contain the marines, that they now start to get upgrades or phase gates available. This is where marines will get a lot more mobile and deadly. If you get to this stage do not panic. Get your team to focus on a hive point, and defend it. You need to start securing your second hive, as well as crucial entrances and exits. So if you can, once the hive is building place a few whips down with crags behind them.

Make sure to place your whips on corner's where marine can't see them, until they run around the corner into them. This may at least hold marines up as they will now have to start using grenades or standing back and shooting them. With the crags healing them, it will take the marines a while before they can break through. This is where you call your team to ambush them. Hopefully this will stop the marines from killing your hive's and taking over the map for the moment. If you can get these stop points at your Hive's main entrances, and exits, it will improve your chances of still pulling back the game.

Then just switch to FADE RAMPAGE- strategy and make defense points near the marine base', so as to assist your team in trying to assault them. ALWAYS stay on the look out for unguarded and weak points and direct your team to them, to slow the marines down or force them back from an assault on your base's.


The thing you must realize as an alien is time is not on your side(mostly). The longer the game takes, usually, the stronger marine's become. (note these builds will probably change with the addition of more weapons and upgrades, but for now ill leave you with these)

ONOS Same as the above. If you have managed to gain control of most of the map then it's time to do the final push and destroy the marine base. Simply have about 2 or 3 of your team evolve into Onos and charge into the marine base with the rest of your team. Should be game over.

WHIP RUSH- You may find that you have taken over most of the map, but the marine's are just locked down tightly, and your team can not seem to break them. They can't get out but you can't get in. This next build can help you with this. It is best done with at least 3 Hives but can be done with any number. Build up to at least 12 whips and upgrade them. Hot key all three Hives and let them build up a lot of energy. Then spam cysts right into the marine base and don’t stop. This is extremely helpful as cysts will draw the fire of sentry turrets, giving your team a open window to go for the marine's.

Once the cysts are down send in all your whips which should have been waiting just around the corner. March them right into the middle of their base and plant them. If all goes according to plan you should be laughing you arse off.

DESPERATION- You may find that marines have now got level 3 weapons and armour, and have got control of most of the map. They are flying and teleporting everywhere, and generally blowing everything to hell. You have very limited options here, but ITS NOT over yet!

Yell at your team to do any of the following quickly.




GO FOR THE COMMAND CENTER!!!! Its not the most skilful way to win, but hey a win's a win right?


First thing's first. When you step into the command chair you should have a a menu appear down in the bottom right hand corner of your screen. If you bring your mouse over the icons you will see the name's of each building. These menu's will appear on most marine structure's giving you building or research options. An armoury is where you research new weapons for your team to get.

To get advanced weapons like grenade launcher's and flamethrower's, you must first upgrade the armoury, with the advanced armoury research. An arm's lab will get upgrades to weapon damage and armour for all marine's. An Observatory is a very important piece of the marine arsenal. It has an automatic scan radius around it which will show up any aliens that come near it to your team. You will see an option called scan here as well. This is where you can scan different area's of the map. Also it is extremely helpful to scan the different base node's to check if the aliens are building a second hive. You don't want the aliens to get a second hive up or things will turn very bad, very quickly.

This is also where you research phase gate technology so you can build phase gates. Phases gates mean your team can teleport from one area to another. This increases marine capabilties by a lot, and gives them a lot more mobility.

If your a new marine commander, it's advisable to place an armoury first, so you can then upgrade shotguns right away. It also means you team can heal and rearm meaning you can focus on getting the base up. Shotguns are extremely helpful and can give marine's an advantage over skulk's. It's a good idea to place a second infantry portal after that, so that your team can then respawn at a much faster rate. Not doing so can cause your team to lose very quickly. This can be one of the many reasoned to get abused by your team. I have even seen pro clan matches lose to only having one infantry portal.

If you know and have confidence in your team, then you may not need to place a second infantry portal right away. But this is probably more for advanced players, so it's generally a good idea to get a second infantry portal right away. It is generally close to impossible to hold off a good skulk rush, and your marines need to cycle back faster to survive it. Also make sure your team doesn’t run off, and that a few builds all the buildings you drop right away.

Also your role as commander is a lot more support based than an alien commander, and you will need to supply your marines with nano shields, ammo and medic packs. Learn to use the hot keys A(ammo),S(medpack) and D(nano shield). Always have your finger’s on them, and keep a watch on your team.

But on to strategies and builds


MARINE RUSH- Sick of the aliens always crashing into your base at the start? Do the same back to them. This strategy focuses on waiting for the skulk rush to see which direction they came from. Then get most of your team to push as a group towards that direction. If they can push into the alien base they can cause some serious damage. A full squad covering each other can be hard to attack by skulks. The main job as commander here is to drop medpacks and ammo for your marines all along the way. If they can get to the alien base, make sure they take out the alien eggs. This will cripple them and can lead to a early victory for the marines.

GRENADE LAUNCHER BOMBARDMENT- Marines setup up just outside an alien base or point, and begin to shell it with grenades. This is very effective against almost all alien base setups, as they can sit safely out of harms way, and even shoot around corner's sometimes. What is crucial is usually having an armoury close by so that marines can just keep rearming and healing. They need to be supplied ammo by an armoury, or you constantly supplying them ammo to make it effective.

FLAMETHROWER BURN- Self explanatory. When marines get flame throwers, this is when they can do some serious damage. This weapon is very good for taking out the alien base defense's, but is also very good against aliens. So if aliens have started bunkering down certain locations this may be a good option. They also make a great addition to a front line group's of marines, especially when fades are around. A pack of marine's with flamethrowers can be devastating. So it may be a good idea to research flamethrower's before grenade launcher's, as it has a very good multi role purpose, but it all depends on how the game is going.

JET PACK RUSH Jet pack's are extremely useful. I would advise when starting out not to try and get jet packs, unless you managed to secure a decent part of the map and have a lot of resources. It is generally (not always) better to have phase gates, advanced weapons, and weapon and armour upgrades. But once you can afford it get it. Even if things are not going that well and you are at a 50/50 with the alien's, jet packs may be the tie breaker.

For once marines will have the ability to sneak into vent's and also fly past the alien defense's into their base. For once the marines have a lot of mobility. If you wait for the right opportunity, or know the alien's are somewhere else, get a few marines to fly into an unguarded hive and take it down. This can easily be done. The best way to do this is usually fly on top of the hive and just start blasting it, or hacking it with your axe. With marines suddenly able to attack Hives, it will force the alien's to pull back to defend. This will give you the chance to push out and expand.

ARC TANK'S – This strategy is usually a late game tactic used to break heavily defended alien posts. It involves building a lot of arc tanks. The thing about arc tanks is you don’t actually need that many to do a lot of damage. You only need about 3 arc tanks to start smashing an alien base. Ideally you want more than that to guarantee the destruction of a hive, as a lot of arc tanks are almost impossible to stop. You do need a power node for these tanks to work though. So securing a power node just outside their base with some defenses, is a must.


The first choice you make as a Commander is an important one. As stated before, unless you have an extremely good team (i.e. clan) with an arranged play setup, you usually need to have 2 infantry portals right after the armoury is down. I can not stress enough how much you alone will, give the aliens a quick victory, and be flammed by your team if you don’t. After that then comes your next major decision's.

RESOURCE TOWER FOCUS - This build should only be done if your team is holding off and killing the skulk's. Only If your team is doing well, pushing out and getting to further points, should you focus on alot of resource tower's. There is no point trying to build a lot of resource towers if your base or team is being over run. The skulks will just kill all the resource towers after they have finished having lunch on your marines, and will waste a lot of your resources. If your RT's are far away, then your team won't be able to make it back in time to save it. Its focus is to sacrifice early upgrades for getting a good resource supply early on. As a Commander you need to arrange a certain amount of people to defend or push. Arranging team number's and response is crucial. I would recommend having at least 2 to 3 marines to be a build squad, and send the rest to either defend RT's, your base, or attack the alien's.

You MUST keep your resource towers alive. Losing even one at the start of the game can be devastating for marine's. As a commander you need to always be watching and telling your team where to go. The down side is once you have 2 or more resource towers, it begins to stretch your forces very thin. Skulks are usually always on the look out for unguarded towers, and can hit and run causing a big delay. Make sure to direct your troops to these attack's.

OBSERVATORY BUILD This build focuses on getting your marines mobile early on. Get an Observatory down after your IP's and research phase gate technology to get phase gates as fast as possible. Even near the start of the game getting an observatory down can give you a huge advantage. Being able to scan area's that your marine's are heading to can reduce the chances of ambush's. It also gives you the much needed distress beacon option, which teleports your whole team back to base.

A major mistake that marine commander's do is get out of the command chair and try to fight the aliens themselves. This can result in you being killed and then there is no one to recall the team. Instead hit the distress beacon and get our team home. It's not worth the risk. Besides your team can now teleport right back to other base’s, points and across the map. This means you can respond to all the different attack’s that the aliens pull out. It makes it a lot harder for aliens to back door or sneakily take out resource tower’s as you can get your team to the location much faster.

ROBOTICS BUILD – This build is usually not a good idea to start with, but can be helpful if you forces are just being destroyed. If you can not seem to get beyond a certain point in the map, this is where this really becomes helpful. Right after you have placed your armoury, and second infantry portal, build a robotics facility. This will give you access to sentry turrets early on. You would not believe how much 1 sentry turret can hold back an entire skulk rush's. Early on when skulks have no or little armour, turrets can mow them down. Just placing one of these at both main entrances will relieve that pressure that the aliens are pouring down on you. It also can buy a lot of time to help defend those crucial few resource nodes, to get you those much needed resource's.

This then gives you a greater opportunity to expand and send out your forces to take more resource nodes, or attack the aliens. It is definitely a slower process but can be very helpful against an aggressive alien team. Make sure you tell your teams to be on alert, as skulks who may now find that getting into your base, or attacking RT's is difficult, and will now be on the prowl for marines.


Once again it depends on how the first phase of the game went. Usually as a marine commander you can be doing a certain build, but it’s a good idea to be getting upgrades as well. Choosing between when to get upgrades or when to expand can make a huge difference.

TURRET FARM – If you went for a ROBOTICS BUILD to start with due to huge pressure, this is when you can start to take back control of the map. The focus of this build is mass sentry turrets. They are your friend. A major tip on placing sentry turrets which many new commander’s make the mistake of doing, is not aiming them to cover each other. The best way to place sentry turrets is by having 2 face each other a few meters apart. Make sure they are not right up against each other, and can see past so as to cover things like the power nodes, resource tower’s, entrances and exits. Usually 2 turrets facing an entrance from different angle's and 2 turrets covering those first 2 looking behind them work very well. It is very important to cover behind the main front turret's as most aliens can either leap, teleport or fly past them with minimal damage.

With turrets down in place, your team can then move on to the next point and do the same. In addition usually when you lock down a spawn room or point, it’s a good idea to get an armoury down as it helps your marines to be self sufficient. Though I would suggest that you only do this at base spawn point's as it will waste way to much resources and time doing it at every resource node. Sometimes this can be the only way to make ground as the aliens may have already have larger aliens running around which kill your teams on the move. This way you can slowly gain control of the map and it also buy's your marine's time to get to a certain point that's under attack, as the alien's will be occupied trying to kill turret's.

This can actually be quite crucial to get those few resource points and hold them which generally the marine's desperately need. An area with enough turrets is hard for aliens to break down quickly (minus mass gorge's). Then you can focus on getting those upgrade's.

Though the MAJOR down side to this, is if the alien’s went for a fast hive's, then fades and later Onos will probably show up and start smashing your group's as they move. Both these alien's can break these defenses down in large enough number's. Fades can teleport in and out without taking to much damage from a sentry, Onos will just start smashing them, though it does still deter them from sustained and direct assault. Though usually when Onos appear sentry turrets do little to stop them.

SHOCK AND AWE – This Build focuses on building armouries, and getting grenade launchers researched as fast as possible. It is part of the GRENADE LAUNCHER BOMBARDMENT strategy. Once you have that, then get your team to move to an area adjacent to or near an alien base or point. Most importantly get the power node up and build an armoury. An armoury will do more for your team then you could ever do. It will keep them alive and loaded up and is an absolute necessity for forward attack point's. From here marines can walk around the corner, shell the alien base, and run back to the armoury to reload or heal. Make sure the armoury is hidden as alien's will usually rush this point.

Depending on what else you may have built, if you have a robotics facility down, you can build a few sentries to help hold this assault point. This particularly helps against the aliens rushing this point to destroy it. Or if you got an observatory you can research phase gate technology, and get a phase gate up to get your marines back here quickly if they die.

OBSERVATORY BUILD Same as above. This really does take away the advantage of alien mobility early and mid game. It also means you can usually expand and get more resource tower’s. It is also crucial when you want to assault an alien hive or point, having a phase gate makes a huge difference. A particular manoeuvre which good commander's can do is this. If your team is scattered and a phase gate was able to be built outside the main alien hive, push the distress beacon to recall your whole team. Then tell your team to grab weapons from the armoury and go through the phase gate right away, to begin the assault on the Hive.

The phase gate is almost a mandatory addition to any build, and strategy, and really does help. You always need an observatory no matter what you do in a game. You will also need it for scanning an enemy base if you want to do the ARC ATTACK strategy as arc tanks wont work without a scan.


The thing about marine’s is generally the longer the game takes, the stronger they become. Upgrades are the key. Delaying, holding off, or working your way slowly up to get these upgrades is crucial. Fully armed squads of marine’s are very hard to beat.

SUPERIORITY – At this point of the game you want to get full level weapons, armour and every thing you can get. Focus on researching and getting the last of everything, to get your team fully armed. This is usually where you want to do things like JET PACK RUSH and should have the advantage. Arm your squads with flame throwers, and shotguns, and cover the marines with grenade launcher’s. With scan’s from the observatory, you supplying them ammo and med pack’s, the game should be yours for the taking.

ARC ATTACK - You may find that the aliens have created a heavy infestation consisting of many whips, hydras, veils, and crags. With enough of these it is very hard to for marine’s to break through. Any attack by marines usually leads them to being killed against such heavy defense's. The main problem is the time it takes for marine’s to break through such positions and this can be dangerous. Usually the aliens will ambush the marines while they are focused on trying to clear the defenses.

This is where the ARC TANK'S strategy comes in very handy. Not only do they have larger range(and can shoot through walls), it gives your team a chance to wait for the ambushing aliens. This means your team will be a hell of a lot safer, and also means you don’t need as many marine’s there as the tanks will do the damage for them.

Or if you really want to smash in the front door build 10 plus arc tanks and march half of them right into the alien base. They take a lot of damage so can be a very good distraction and draw the fire of whips, and hydras. This mean your marine's are free to start shooting the alien's that attack. Note that they do need power to operate, so this is a meat shield manouvre.

I repeat this is a very basic general setup of the game and is different to pro games. The more advanced players who have played professional games can give you a lot better advice on advanced, smart, and sneaky tactics for the game. But I do hope this helps, and I seriously recommend giving it a go. Feel free to add any ideas and tips as well, and ask people questions..
Post edited by Unknown User on


  • internetexplorerinternetexplorer Join Date: 2011-10-13 Member: 127255Members Posts: 1,369
    edited January 2012
    I'm really tired and probably shouldn't post, but I'd like to point out a couple very simple and fundamental ideas. These are things that are not understood by people who haven't played NS1/Starcraft/similar stuff.

    1) As marines, at the start of a game, make your armory before your infantry portal

    If you have teammates dying before the first 2 buildings are finished, you're doomed anyway. Get that armory up and churning out health/ammo/upgrades and finish the IP just a few seconds later when it can actually be useful. If you're worried about rushes, get someone to cover the builders and shoot down skulks.

    2) Take more bases to make yourself less vulnerable, and put more pressure on your opponent

    For the marines, this means plopping command chairs on hive sites. Those hives can't be taken immediately, and you know when the aliens are 'preparing' to take one because they have to attack your command chair. On top of that, it provides a safety net - if you lose your main base in some catastrophic event, you have another one to fall back on (instead of just losing when the CC dies).

    For aliens, this means getting more hives and filling out your tech tree. It also means having a safety net just like marines. Not only do you need hives to stay in the game, but you need more than 1 to get all your lifeforms. If you are down to 1 hive and everyone on your team is a skulk with 100 resources, you should have maybe tried to sneak in another hive earlier if only to get fades/lerks out and fight your way back into control.

    3) The map layout matters, and it should affect where you go and what you build

    If you spawn in flight control as the aliens on Summit, go to Crevice and scale the cliff to the ceiling. Do you see marines entering after a few seconds? If so, leap down on them and get some res. Also notice that this means they spawned in atrium. This automatically means your team is safer to go for computer lab/sub access/ventilation res nodes. It also means that your likely choices for the 2nd hive should be sub access and data core. If you don't see anyone at crevice, use the vent to check atrium. If you see that they didn't spawn there, they're guaranteed to be VERY far from crevice (walking from data core to sub access, they can be as far as reactor core or computer lab by now) - let your team know that it's a good idea to take the crevice resource node.

    Should you ever take crossroads for your second hive? Rarely. I see people taking it a lot in pubs right now, and it almost always turns out badly. Why? Consider that you don't even KNOW where the enemy spawned (for some reason). No matter what, they will always be on one of the 4 'outskirts' bases (sub access, flight control, data core, atrium) and so will you. Nobody spawns on crossroads. Within some margin of error, they are just as close to crossroads as you are. It's very easy for them to attack it, whereas if you take sub access when their main base is atrium you force them to run a long distance to attack it. Phase gates obviously negate this, but they have their own exploitable weaknesses ('meatgrinders', forcing beacons etc).

    I'm also not saying "never take crossroads for your second hive", just to do it with conviction and rarely. It might be good to try it with a shade opening and lots of flustering camouflage attacks - by the time the marines catch their breath, you have a stronghold in the middle of the map and can reach out to fight anywhere quickly (and how many observatory scans can they really have available?) Again, map layout matters because a crag opening with a fast crossroads hive just isn't as tidy. It probably doesn't work as well since the advantage of armor/regen is lost when you fight in a big open area with tons of entrances.

    Always make it your first goal in a game, whether you're a player on the ground or a commander, to find out the enemy spawn. Tailor your first few decisions to match that (like, if they spawned in data core and you got sub access, take computer lab before trying to take ventilation - if they send 5 guys there and you send 2, you're going to give them a bunch of free res because of your bad decision).
  • FloodinatorFloodinator [HBZ] Member Join Date: 2005-02-22 Member: 42087Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 1,301
    Good read!

    One thing I would add is concerning the fast hive.
    To get a fast hive it is better to get a shade first.
    The reason behind this is, you only need 1 shade to cloak your whole team but with crag you will need to research cara/regen and you need 3 shells for upgrades, resultin in 40more res used than with the shade.

    Also Bombard on the mature Whip is very usefull as a longrange siege.

    One fault you should correct in your text is that you need shades for trigger cloak and not the veils.
  • Laosh'RaLaosh'Ra Join Date: 2011-12-09 Member: 137232Members Posts: 905 Fully active user
    edited January 2012
    quite a while ago (189) i started a guide page on the ns2-wiki (compared to a forum thread, a wiki page is probably a lot easier to find in the long run). few people have contributed there yet and it's still missing a lot. so feel free to add your content there or, if you prefer that, create a seperate page and link both pages.

    here's the page (you can also access it by typing "guide" in the wiki):
  • SkymanderXSkymanderX Green Marine - The Few, The Proud, The Green. Join Date: 2011-07-29 Member: 113006Members Posts: 430
    yes a very good read for newbies and experts alike. good points added internetexplorer.
  • GodofThunderGodofThunder Join Date: 2011-12-13 Member: 137815Members Posts: 119
    Bumping cause issue was brought up again. It's a BASIC answer.
  • twilitebluetwiliteblue bug stalker Join Date: 2003-02-04 Member: 13116Members, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue Posts: 1,990 Advanced user
    edited February 2012
    Early game Marine strategy

    Mines push: Should you find your Marines are unable to shoot aliens (due to poor server/client performance), it would be a good idea to research mines early. Mines will deter Skulks and allow your team to hold 3 to 4 Extractors until you can purchase more upgrades.

    QUOTE (Floodinator @ Jan 26 2012, 03:18 AM) »
    Also Bombard on the mature Whip is very usefull as a longrange siege.

    You might change your mind, after finding out that Bombard deals up to 160 damage each (16 to Marine armor only), and has a 6 second cooldown. :)
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • GodofThunderGodofThunder Join Date: 2011-12-13 Member: 137815Members Posts: 119
    Yer would be good to get all the pro players hints, tips and strategies for the rest of us.
  • PaquPaqu Join Date: 2012-02-15 Member: 145785Members Posts: 10
    Yes very good guide indeed, thanks.

    Btw how do you hotkey buildings? I have tryed ctrl+1 and shift+1 like in starcraft but it doesnt seem to do the trick here.
  • elodeaelodea Editlodea Join Date: 2009-06-20 Member: 67877Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 1,786 Fully active user
    QUOTE (Paqu @ Feb 24 2012, 07:06 PM) »
    Yes very good guide indeed, thanks.

    Btw how do you hotkey buildings? I have tryed ctrl+1 and shift+1 like in starcraft but it doesnt seem to do the trick here.

    It should be cntrl 1. But you can only have 5 hotkeys atm and they sometimes disappear when you hop out.
    Gorge bilebomb forever.
  • ZaggyZaggy NullPointerException The Netherlands Join Date: 2003-12-10 Member: 24214Forum Moderators, NS2 Playtester, Reinforced - Onos, Subnautica Playtester Posts: 3,653 mod
    Very good read, webbed!
    image Proud Dutchman image
    Join the Natural Selection IRC channel: #naturalselection on!
  • PaquPaqu Join Date: 2012-02-15 Member: 145785Members Posts: 10
    QUOTE (elodea @ Feb 24 2012, 11:10 AM) »
    It should be cntrl 1. But you can only have 5 hotkeys atm and they sometimes disappear when you hop out.

    Hmm, its possible that the last time I tryed to do it I was testing commanding on my own with the "cheats 1" command so maybe it just isnt working with that. I have to try it online when I next time try to command.
  • ZeikkoZeikko Join Date: 2007-12-16 Member: 63179Members, Squad Five Blue, NS2 Map Tester Posts: 586 Fully active user
    QUOTE (Paqu @ Feb 24 2012, 02:49 PM) »
    Hmm, its possible that the last time I tryed to do it I was testing commanding on my own with the "cheats 1" command so maybe it just isnt working with that. I have to try it online when I next time try to command.

    It is actually the crouch key + number. Crouch just happens to be bound to ctrl by default. So in case you have changed the key settings it is a different key.
  • PaquPaqu Join Date: 2012-02-15 Member: 145785Members Posts: 10
    QUOTE (Zeikko @ Feb 24 2012, 07:54 PM) »
    It is actually the crouch key + number. Crouch just happens to be bound to ctrl by default. So in case you have changed the key settings it is a different key.

    Well that sure explains it! I have changed the crouch key to right control since I play with the arrow keys. Damn that makes hotkeying stuff much harder but luckily I dont need to hotkey too much. Hopefully they will add secondary key for every button so that I can bind two keys for one action.
  • ScardyBobScardyBob ScardyBob Join Date: 2009-11-25 Member: 69528Forum Admins, Forum Moderators, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow Posts: 4,983 mod
    So I'm a bit troubled that this guide doesn't include a discussion of the most important NS2 metagame component: the alien's second hive. From my experience in both public and competitive matches, games are strongly dependent on whether the alien team can build and keep alive the second hive. If they do, aliens generally win, if not, marines will probably win. I think a much more focused guide on the strats and tactics that can be used to kill/keep alive the second hive would be of more value to new comms.
  • Ice30Ice30 Join Date: 2011-11-26 Member: 135365Members Posts: 54
    Very good post godofthunder.

    I have to admit i'm guilty of getting worked up when theres a newbie com, i'm trying to be constructive but sometimes I have a short temper lol. But i do get scolded often by other blokes telling me to lighten up haha so fair go.

    Anyway, just wanted to add a couple of things that newbie coms do that winds me up.

    One thing is poor building placement, armories should always be positioned so your team can quickly access them for quick reloads and health, this applies not just to the main base but to forward zones aswell. If your team is using one area as a forward offensive you should have an armory there, even the best com cant give as much support for health and ammo as an armory, never mind the armor replenishment it gives aswell.

    Another is marines should always have 2 ip's unless there is perhaps 3-5 players on and you are using a special strategy or something. 2 marines requires another ip so that 1 doesnt get destroyed and you dont get picked off afterwoods while you are exploring the map and anything over 4 needs more than 1 to get your team spawning in fast enough.

    One other thing is there should be no reason to have a robotics factory in early game, especially now we have welders, all res in early game should be used on upgrades and resource towers, not turrets. Turrets are generaly a mid to late game device unless you are a very experienced com with a coordinated team and a tight strategy, which is the only case i've seen early turrets being useful. If you are concerned about early skulk rushes you should have an observatory as it costs 20 less res than having 1 turret (including the cost of building the robo factory) then you can beacon in your team.

    One last thing that newbie coms do is not hand out med packs and ammo or shields. If someone asks for ammo or health, press space, this will bring your view to them (or the last event announced) just like most rts games. You can then drop ammo and health using the a and s keys when your menu is in the support part. Also as a com you should be using shield on marines as often as possible, especially ones building forward areas while being attacked. But just don't forget the energy used on shields is the same as the energy used for beacon, so you cant beacon in your team when theres trouble if you use shield too much, this catches out a lot of coms including me.

    Anyway heres to newbie players who read this!
  • BonesXBonesX Join Date: 2007-02-04 Member: 59883Members, Constellation Posts: 49
    edited February 2012
    Thanks for this, GodOfThunder. I played NS1 Extensively and on our Clan Bot Servers we would intentionally put Newb players in Comm then talk them through it.

    Something I would like to see added to this or the Wiki is a breakdown of all the basic structures and abilities that are implimented. I know that many of us played NS1 and are familiar but Newbs may not be. Some of the new mechanics for example still throw me. Example- What is Camouflage? I have seen it as an ability but am unsure of what it does? The Shell/Spur/Veil Upgrades work in stages like in NS1 or no? As a Newb Comm(Khamm) do they need to build 3 of each for max effect? Do Craigs auto heal or do they need to be triggered like Shades?

    Getting a true WIKI up and sorted would be a good start. Getting the Community to work on it as a Group Project would help.
    Grandma Juju- Thanks for getting me into NS. Miss You! RIP
  • GodofThunderGodofThunder Join Date: 2011-12-13 Member: 137815Members Posts: 119
    edited February 2012
    Thanks for the input guys. Ill add all your ideas soon just waiting till 198 is fixed, so i can try it properly to see if I need to add more. This is a work in progress and ill update when I can. Keep those ideas and strategies coming so we can help the community skill up.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • GrissiGrissi Join Date: 2003-08-28 Member: 20314Members, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow Posts: 488 Advanced user
    Very good writeup and I'm sure it will be helpful for many players.
    Even though I don't agree with some parts of this guide I do admire the effort put into it.

    Hope you keep it up, this is part of what makes the ns community so awesome.
    There is no competitive balance or casual players balance. The game is either balanced or not balanced.
    It's the same game after all.

    NS1 competitive play

    All my posts are my personal view, I do not speak for a community or anyone else.
  • Hunter.S.T.Hunter.S.T. Join Date: 2012-05-26 Member: 152596Members Posts: 284 Fully active user
    Hi !

    After reading how difficult it is for new commanders, i thought i would write this post to give a few tips. Now by no means do i think i am a pro commander, i have a lot to learn and thousands of hours of practise to get in before that :) However, i am sure about these simple tips!

    GET A MICROPHONE - A commander who has to type every message, is at a great disadvantage. Trying to type every message AND learn how to command at the same time, is making work for yourself, thats why this is the FIRST tip!

    These tips are on how to deal with your fellow marines

    Ask before you get in the command chair - As a new commander, you might be the only person who is willing to command, you might have 3 amazing commanders on your team, you dont know until you ask.

    Let your team know you are a new commander - This way, they will be able to offer you help, the first time i got in a command chair, it took me 30 seconds to work out how to place an RT, but id told my team i was new, and they were happy to stand around at the res node politely laughing at me give a running commentary of my confusion over the mike.

    Now, as you develop as a commander, you will have to start to pick and choose who to take advice off, you may have your own plan in motion that they are unaware of, you might have less skilled players requesting you to do inneffective things, especially requesting medpacks (as medpacks cost t res at the moment). Explain why you are unable to accede to their rrequest, if they continue to ask, feel free to mute them.

    Allways name good players when saying "good job", never name bad players. And be polite and specific in your critisism for instance say "bad job marine in ore extraction, i said dont attack, build phase gate, now they know you are there and we wont be able to sneak it up." He knows who he is, he knows he did a bad job, naming him in front of his team wont encourage him to follow your orders.

    If marines arent following orders, repeat the order with an explination of why it is necessary. We are all new right now, and there will allways be new players who dont understand the tactical side of the game, or allways assume another marine has gone to do what you have asked. Sometimes you will be asking marines to risk their lives, equipment, and K:D ratio! but if they understand that it might win them the game, they are more likely to brave it out.

    In an epic game of mineshaft, commander asked me to try and sneak a phasegate into cavern, 21 minutes and 28 deaths later, i snuck that phasegate in, and marines won the game, i was one of the lowest scoring marines on the team lol no marine would do such a thing, unless he understood that it could win the game.

    Give the team feedback on where the aliens are heading You can see them more easily than marines, if you see two rushing a room with one of your marines in warn them how many aliens are comming, and from which entrance. If you see a marine rushing a res tower with 3 skulks on it, let him know!

    These are tips which dont relate to troop managment

    Learn the shortcut keys - Q, W, E and R get you into the main tabs for placing items. A, S, D, F, Z, X, C, V will place an item within that main tab.

    Immediatly place an armoury, and once it is built, start mines upgrading If done smoothly, combined with gettin your troops a res node as they arrive at it (normally before the armoury is finished building) this will put your troops at ease, they will immediatly assume that you are NOT a complete noob.

    When you are a new commander, you are doing a goob job, if you just KNOW the counters for alien tatics, and can play them after the fact. But as you get better, you will start to be able to predict, and eventually, get them ready before they appear.

    I find that being tactically good as a commander, is in thinking about what the enemy will do, and then getting the counter for their tatics ready, just as, or just before they have played their tatic.

    Take build 209, the lerks were incredibly op (and a lot of fun to play with lol), and the shotgun was nerfed so that it wasnt the automatic response for higher life forms in the early game. When i commanded, i expected lerks, and good lerks. I also expected that as soon as the lerks did come out, the chance of a marine dying on his way to a waypoint drastically increased.

    Because i expected this:

    It was even more important for marines to grab res towers early on, before lerks came out, although it is almost alwlays important to grab rts.

    Weapons upgrades became more important, as weapons 2 made lerks far more killable, and weapons 3 made them weak, and counterd fades as well, which shotguns did not.

    Early phasegates became a great move in many situations, if you could get them in before the first lerks started to appear, trying to get in a pg whilst the lerks were up, was a great deal more difficult.

    Well thats all fer now, hope this helps some new comms!
    Best regards,
  • Hunter.S.T.Hunter.S.T. Join Date: 2012-05-26 Member: 152596Members Posts: 284 Fully active user
    Ahh, i didnt see the webbed topic :D i would be happy for this thread to be merged with the webbed thread offering tips here:

    Should have gone to spec savers (or used the search function - doh!)
  • luminalumina Join Date: 2012-06-15 Member: 153300Members Posts: 154
    QUOTE (Hunter.S.T. @ Jun 19 2012, 02:24 PM) »
    Ahh, i didnt see the webbed topic :D i would be happy for this thread to be merged with the webbed thread offering tips here:

    Should have gone to spec savers (or used the search function - doh!)

    That thread needs updated. I got this game a little over a week ago and played alien commander after reading that thread. Trying to use drifters to build = confusion.

    I have played alien commander a few times now and it seems pretty easy. My team even won my second attempt and lost after an ARC train took us out an hour into the third. I haven't even tried being a marine commander yet. That side looks much harder.
  • AlignAlign Remain Calm Join Date: 2002-11-02 Member: 5216Forum Moderators, Constellation Posts: 8,207 mod
    Threads merged.
  • Hunter.S.T.Hunter.S.T. Join Date: 2012-05-26 Member: 152596Members Posts: 284 Fully active user
    Yes lumina, i tried to stay away from any tatics i thought might change on the next build, and just concentrate on stuff i didnt think would change, or was stated as outdated for example :)

    Thank you for the thread merging, posts are now Aligned ;)
  • GodofThunderGodofThunder Join Date: 2011-12-13 Member: 137815Members Posts: 119
    Sorry I'll update a few things just because it's webbed. I attempted to update with photos and writing, but the game keeps changing constantly that half the things aren't valid in the next patch. I was waiting till they have a generally defined version that I can detail everything with. Once again sorry to any who have been confused.
  • luminalumina Join Date: 2012-06-15 Member: 153300Members Posts: 154
    QUOTE (GodofThunder @ Jun 19 2012, 09:28 PM) »
    Sorry I'll update a few things just because it's webbed. I attempted to update with photos and writing, but the game keeps changing constantly that half the things aren't valid in the next patch. I was waiting till they have a generally defined version that I can detail everything with. Once again sorry to any who have been confused.

    Don't be sorry. This thread helped me a LOT. The drifter part was the only thing that confused me, but that was only for the start of my first time commanding. Between this thread and the wiki, I knew everything that I needed to know about commanding. I would say I am a competent commander and I've had the game for about two weeks.

    Thank you for the thread.
  • GodofThunderGodofThunder Join Date: 2011-12-13 Member: 137815Members Posts: 119
    Oh bugger there is a limit to how many photos you can post lol. Will have to break it into parts.
  • koewikoewi Join Date: 2007-08-25 Member: 61984Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 127
    is it possible to set the commanderlayout to german? ...
    while commanding u have to use at least a few times the "z" key ... on german keyboards we have the "y" at the position, where amaricans have the "z" key ...
    i know i can do it in windows ... but is there a possibility ingame too? Banner
  • GodofThunderGodofThunder Join Date: 2011-12-13 Member: 137815Members Posts: 119
    Hi guys, sorry my computer exploded and I wont be able to replace it anytime soon. Really sorry I was going to finally finish this thread, but alas I wont be able to do it for quite some time. It's quite badly out of date. So if the vets and/or forum moderator's/game tester's want to add tips and guides/modify or delete this thread, thats fine because I wont be able to do much for a long time. Sorry once again.

    Im glad to see NS2 finally going be released!!!! GO UWE!!!

    I hope to join you guys again in the future, and that everyone has a great time. And to all new players the links at the start of thread should still direct you to good sites to learn everything you need to know about NS2.
  • userkuserk Join Date: 2012-09-09 Member: 158763Members Posts: 3
    Thanks for the thread!
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