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» USA vs China Guide - Replay Commentary

Red Army is a great Chinese player from Australia who has some really nasty power rush tactics and loves to use nuke cannons. Before you watch this replay, you should know that this is the second one on one that we"ve played together. The first game was also on Tournament Desert and Red Army unceremoniously raped me with a gattling tank + tank hunter rush that I was not expecting at all (I had 3 tanks and no infantry, so I was toast). I later asked him if he had the replay of that game so that I could post it with this one but he said that he did not save the replay since the game was so \"uninteresting." So yeah, it was a very ugly loss for me.

The reason why I mention the first game is that Red tries to use the exact same rush on me during the game, but this time I was expecting it and prepared for it. So, as the game begins you will see me in the south and Red in the north. We both open by building power plants and second dozers. I use my second dozer to build my barracks in a fairly standard position but Red builds his barracks closer to the middle so that he can get his infantry to my base faster when he executes the rush. Supply depots soon come up on both sides as well as war factories. In this game I was not thinking clearly and failed to position my supply depot in between the supply dock at my main base and the expansion dock. If I had done this, I could have used both docks simultaneously with 1 supply center and 4 chinooks. This is a mistake that almost (and should have) cost me the game.

Meanwhile, Red is building gattling tanks at his factory and building tank hunters out of his barracks and sending them into the nearby civilian buildings. This move theoretically is very smart as it hides his numbers and strengthens his hold on the middle. Unfortunately for Red, my solution to his rush involves getting flashbangs immediately. So, watch as my 2 rangers flashbang the garrisoned buildings killing 4 or 5 tank hunters. This pretty much cripples Red"s rush. He eventually masses a few more tank hunters with his three gattling tanks and considers trying the rush anyway, but he falls back when sees that I have ample forces to fend him off. In retrospect I am not absolutely positive that I would have successfully fended off his rush had I not flashbanged his tank hunters in the buildings. Also, I think it would have been better had I gotten crusaders instead of paladins early on, as they would spare up money for an additional ranger or two, which might have made all the difference.

By this time Red has a second depot up and running and I do not. Moreoever, he also nabs both oil derricks. To say the least, I am in big trouble at this point as he is making more than twice as much money as I am. Thinking that I have an opportunity to counterattack I send my force north and take out his barracks in the middle. I continue moving northward from there but turn back when I see his dozer hastily constructing a bunker. In a desperate effort I send a rockvee around the left side of the map in an effort to slow him down to some extent but Red stuffs it with two gattling tanks. One result of this failed rush is that Red, seeing my rockvee coming, send his supply trucks at his expo to his main base. However, after he defeats my rockvee, he forgets to move his supply trucks back to his expo! This costs him big time in the end.

I finally get up a second supply depot and also manage to take the western oil rig which Red leaves undefended. I also try taking the eastern rig but Red"s gattling tanks stop me. At this point I am earning as much as Red but he has a huge head start on me. He throws up a quick propaganda center and two airfields full of Migs. Moreover, he begins massing a huge force of overlords, battlemasters, and gattling tanks. I on the other hand am slowly but surely constructing a force of paladins and missile defenders. It is important to note here that I am constantly scanning his base with my satellite to see what he has. When I see his propaganda center come up I begin building hummers with scout drones in preparation for Lotus. Sure enough, she comes down along the western side of the map and temporarily takes my oil rig, but I hunt her down with my hummer before she causes any further damage.

One of the things that I don"t understand about this game is why Red does not attack me sooner. His early Mig strikes against my forces surely revealed to him that I had an inferior force to his own. Perhaps he did not feel rushed at all and figured that the game was in the bag, but it is important to note that every extra paladin that I build makes his Migs less effective, which certainly works in my favor.

I eventually construct a strategy center and begin producing tomahawks which add some needed tactical, long range firepower to my army. I scan his base again and to my horror, I see the nuke cannons. At this point I know that I do not have much time and I begin constructing an airstrip immediately to get some raptors ready to take out the nuke cannons. Unfortunately, I am out of time and Red begins his attack.

The battle begins with Red deploying his nuke cannons to destroy my two missile defenders that were garrisoned in two different buildings in the middle. This buys me just enough time to get a raptor out. I begin to harass him with my tomahawks causing some damage to a couple battlemasters that were coming into range. Red retaliates with two separate Mig strikes. One destroys my two tomahawks on the left and another kills a ranger and damages a paladin on the right. I got off very easy on these attacks. Red"s fatal error in this battle is that he does not take the time get his troops into an adequate formation. On the other hand, I send up my main force up north and maneuver it into a parallel position on Red"s right flank. Luckily for me, Red"s gattling tanks are all on the left flank, so I am able to devastate his battlemasters with my missile defenders. The important consequence of this is that I am able to reach Red"s nuke cannons before they deploy and destroy my forces. I catch one just before it fires with my lone raptor and destroy the others with my other forces. In the end, I barely win the ground war with a few surviving troops, but Red sweeps in with another set of airstrikes and destroys virtually all of my remaining troops. Fortunately for me, I get the last laugh. Fending off Red"s attack gives me two generals points and I put them both into A10 strike. And as you probably saw coming from the first moment that Red began a second airstrip right next to his first one, 2 A10s fly in and take out both his airstrips and all his Migs. As a result, neither of us had any troops at this point and we both had to start building our forces from scratch. This is key since Red"s economy at this point is less healthy than mine due to his forgetting to move his 2 supply trucks back to his expansion.

Post battle construction for both Red and me begins similarly. We both begin by quickly assembling new armies. However, Red ultimately begins building a nuke while I continue to build up my army and construct a drop zone. I send a preliminary force north thinking that I might have a chance at a quick victory but Red has too many troops, so I pull back after firing a few tomahawks.

I continue to build up my balanced force of tomahawks, paladins, and missile defenders and eventually send them forward seeing the nuke timer counting down and Red"s relatively weak force. I send my force towards the northeast corner of his base creating a nice broad line of troops and then send them due west once they are in good position. Red"s Migs do negligible damage to my forces and his airfield is destroyed soon after. Red scrambles his ground army in a last ditch effort to stop me, but once again he is unable to get his troops into a decent formation. I pick off his vehicles one by one as they emerge from behind his power plant. The final resistance that Red is able to muster comes in the form of 2 nuke cannons that begin to emerge from his factories. However, I destroy them before they get a chance to fire. Thus, following some chatter between Red and me as well as a little bit of a mop-up job, the game ends.

I can"t help but say that Red should have won this game. My horrible management of my early game economy should have cost me the game, but Red"s poor micromanagement and forgetting to move his supply trucks back to his expo proved to be the more critical errors. To fully understand the importance of Red not moving his supply trucks back to his expo, take a look at the total supplies collected by Red and me at the end of the game. Red ends up with $79,465 and I total $74,375. If you consider how badly Red was out-resourcing me in the early game, I must have been out-resourcing him just as badly in the late game. So, the difference was that I was able to use my extra income to my advantage whereas Red was unable to do so. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining game to watch and there is much to be learned from it. Needless to say, I haven"t been so careless with my early game economy since and I"m sure that Red hasn"t been quite as lazy with his micromanagement.

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