To say the least, the USA has a much easier time against the GLA than against China, particularly in the early game. Because the GLA has no killer rush equivalent to the various formulations of the gattling tank rush that the Chinese have, the USA has many more early game options available. With all of these early game possibilities, the USA has an opportunity to stick it to the GLA early on and secure a solid early game advantage, paving the way for a smooth transition into the mid and late game stages that the USA generally dominates. Nevertheless, even with these advantages the USA player must remain vigilant as the GLA has many aces up its sleeve that top GLA players can use to wreak tremendous damage upon the American forces.
The Early Game
As I said previously, the USA has a variety of options available for securing an early game advantage. I am going to break down and analyze the three most reliable builds in this section. All three builds will converge as the USA prepares for the Mid Game. As with playing against China, I prefer placing the first generals point into paladins, but the reasoning is a little different this time around. Againt the Chinese, using paladins is more of a defensive move to counter Migs than an offensive one. Against the GLA, paladins are potent offensive weapons due to the GLA"™s heavy reliance on rocket based defenses (stinger sites and RPG troopers). Because this is an offensive move rather than a defensive one, it is perfectly okay to spend the first generals points on the spy plane instead, but keep in mind that you will definitely want paladins at some point. You will always want to place your third generals point into pathfinders since they really cause a lot of problems for the GLA. Again, make sure that you make good use of your spy satellite, you never know what you might discover that could save you from defeat.
Build #1: The Hummer Rush Build
As the name implies, this is a rush build designed to wreak havoc at the GLA"™s main base.
The build order: 1) First dozer builds reactor, command center builds a second dozer. 2) Second dozer builds barracks, first dozer builds supply depot after reactor. 3) Second dozer moves to a nearby expansion site and builds a supply depot, first dozer builds a factory, first supply center builds a second chinook. Barracks builds 2 rangers and 3 missile defenders. Note: If you"™re playing on a map that has oil derricks, skip building the second the supply depot and instead build 2-4 rangers and research capture building so that you can steal the oil derricks first and get the nice cash bonus. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS go for the derricks before building extra supply depots. I can"™t stress this enough.
When the factory is done build a hummer and research flashbangs as soon as you have the money for it. When the hummer is done, load it up with your rangers and missile defenders and send it over to the GLA base and run around his supply center wiping out workers. Once you"™re done, search around for any possible expansions, secure any remaining oil derricks, and return to base. One thing that you might want to do at this point in the game is drop a ranger off at various strategic points around the map to act as a scout. Good places would be oil derricks, supply stashes, bridges, etc. As you are pulling off this rush, look to see if he is preparing a scorpion or marauder rush. If so, queue up some missile defenders back at your base. Also be on the look out for a technical/terrorist rush. If you see it being set up, send your hummer over to take out these units before they attack your base. If you"™re a decent driver, you can just send an empty hummer or even an ambulance over to the GLA base and just run over his workers. While this alternative does cost less, it does greatly reduce the potential amount of damage that you can inflict during the rush.
Build #2: Commanches First Build
While the commanches first build can qualify as a rush build for harassing the enemies economy much in the same way as the hummer rush build does, I consider it to be more of a map control build. The speed of the commanches allows the USA player to cover the entire map and contain the GLA player from immediate expansion.
The build order: 1) First dozer builds reactor, command center builds a second dozer. 2) Second dozer builds barracks, first dozer builds supply depot after reactor. 3) Second dozer moves to a nearby expansion site and builds a supply depot, first dozer builds an airstrip, first supply center builds a second chinook. Barracks builds 4 rangers.
Send the rangers out to various economically important sites around the map such as expansion sites and oil derricks as they are built. The goal is to know where the GLA player is moving at all times. When your airfield is done build 3 commanches and no more than 3 commanches. It won"™t take long for the GLA player to get quad cannons going once he sees your commanches so you"™ll need a backup plan. As your commanches roll out pay close to attention to what your opponent is doing if you see him sending a worker somewhere, assassinate it with your commanches. Moreoever, you should have advanced warning of any technical/terrorist and scorpion rushes, which should be very easy to stop with your commanches. Meanwhile, research flashbangs and crank out more rangers so that you can take down any tunnel complex that pops up with a combination of commanches and rangers. Lastly, if you have the opportunity, send your commanches over to the GLA"™s supply depot and wipe out his workers. At some point you are going to need to get a factory so that you can establish a solid ground presence on the map. This is the best of the three build orders to use if you choose to place your first generals point into spy planes instead of paladins. Also, this is definitely the build to use on larger maps.
Build #3: Paladins First Build
This is my preferred early game strategy on smaller 1on1 maps. With a combination of paladins and rangers, and maybe a few missile defenders thrown in for good measure if the GLA player uses marauders, the USA player should have a fairly easy time establishing control over the map. Tunnel networks and massed scorpions will fall easily with this combination.
The build order: 1) First dozer builds reactor, command center builds a second dozer. 2) Second dozer builds barracks, first dozer builds supply depot after reactor. 3) Second dozer moves to a nearby expansion site and builds a supply depot, first dozer builds a factory, first supply center builds a second chinook. Barracks builds 4 rangers.
Start building paladins once the factory is done. Send the rangers out to critical points around the map to check for aggressive GLA expansion. Continue to build rangers and research flashbangs when you have the opportunity. When you see a tunnel starting to build, send your forces (paladins and rangers) over to destroy it. Contain the GLA player as much as possible. You shouldn"™t any problems against scorpion or marauder builds, but a quick technical rush can be a problem. You may want to leave a hummer filled with some rangers and missile defenders back at your base, and then send it out to intercept any technicals that you see coming your way. The greatest advantage with this build is that it provides you a solid ground force early on.
The Mid Game
Assuming that game is still continuing following your initial attacks, you will need to begin crafting a more complete force. If you used either Build #1 or Build #3, you will want to get an airfield up. If you used build #2, build a factory. As your money supply expands you will want to build a second factory and maybe even a third factory. Anyway, your principle force should be a combination of paladins, tomahawks, missile defenders, rangers (replaced by snipers), a couple of ambulances, and 3-5 commanches in support. With proper management you"™ll handle pretty much anything that the GLA player can muster. If you have a ton of money and are way ahead of the GLA player in terms of economy size following a successful early game, then just build a ton of paladins with some rangers or pathfinders in support. You"™ll have no problem running right through the GLA player. If the GLA has a similar income to you, then you"™ll want to use the first force composition.
Things to look out for:
Buggies + Quads: This is the most problematic of the GLA"™s force combinations, but not too difficult to deal with as long as you are paying attention. Use your commanches as much as possible to kill the buggies, but do not sacrifice them to the quads. A good idea is to set your strategy center to search and destroy and either use pathfinders to reveal the area surrounding your army or have some of your vehicles build scout drones. This way, you"™ll see the buggies and quads long before they start attacking and have the opportunity to strike first. First, use your tomahawks to kill the quads first if possible. If not, target the buggies. Either way, you"™ll be inflicting heavy damage on his forces. If he runs away, don"™t chase. If he sticks around, pound him into the ground with your forces. A final caution about buggies: don"™t leave your bases undefended. Buggies are very fast and can inflict a lot of damage. Always leave some sort of defense behind when your army is moving against the GLA.
Scuds: Use tomahawks with search and destroy on, use your commanches, or just send in the paladins. Either way, they shouldn"™t be a problem.
Bomb trucks: Place scouts all around the map so that you can these coming well in advance and then assassinate them with your commanches or force fire with your main forces as they approach. It also is a good idea to put up patriots around your base and keep scout drones over your main force.
Jarmen Kell: If you keep pathfinders with your army Kell will be nothing more than easy generals experience. If you don"™t have pathfinders, keep a few hummers with the scout drone upgrade with your main force.
The Late Game
The GLA is particularly vulnerable in the late game due to the slow build times of black markets. Use your particle cannons and A10 strikes to target these as much as possible. If you"™re facing a scud storm, remember to spread out your critical buildings (factories, strategy center, and supply drops) so that the scud storm won"™t inflict too much damage. Also, it is a good idea to have an ambulance or two standing by to clean up the mess. Make sure you keep building supply drops whenever possible! A hefty force of paladins, pathfinders, and tomahawks should end the game with little difficulty once you"™ve whittled down the GLA"™s economy.