Natural Selection 2 Commanding and Khammanding Basic Guide

Natural Selection 2 Commanding and Khammanding Basic Guide by MaximumSquid

Marine Team (Commanding):

Sandbox Game:
If you are new to comm I graciously ask that you play a solo sandbox game first to learn the controls/hotkeys/build orders/tech tree/etc
-having an observatory hotkeyed and ready to use distress beacon could make or break a match
-likewise the “V” key bound to your talk key might toss matches as it’s the hotkey to recycle buildings @_@

To do so:
Open NS-2 > Play > Start Server Tab at the top > “optionally” set a password > Create
Once in game go into console “typically this key —> ` ” and type in these commands:
dev 1
cheats 1
addbot 1 1
addbot 1 2

Then join a side
Once on a team you can also type in:
autobuild <— builds instantly, fast MACs, builds all power
tres 100 <— give your team 100 res
pres 100 <— give yourself 100 res
removebot 1 1
removebot 1 2

For a full list of console commands go here

Once you have the above done feel free to alt tab back out of game and continue reading

The Chair:
Sprint to the chair at the start of the game and hit “use”
– if more than one marine is in the chair when it closes the one who pressed use second will die and have to respawn
– also take note how long it takes to close the box. . . you won’t be able to escape inside the comm chair during a fight like aliens can

If the chair dies your team loses the game
– you can build more than one chair and having more than one will give you access to the highest tier of researchable goods
– alternatively if all marines are dead and there are no infantry portals you will also lose


Your team starts off with 50 res, but only 1 resource tower (+1 res every 6 seconds)
– this makes getting more towers essential since you’ll be out of it quickly
– res locking is also a common way to end a game, but is much more common to happen to the alien team due to having no sell button

Your teammates also have their own private stash of resources and are affected directly by your income as well
– dead players will be skipped during regular ticks so making choices that keep your team alive longer will show benefits late game
– you will also have personal res, but while in the chair you will not gain any (similar to being dead and trying to respawn)


First 5 minutes is considered the early game by most players standards
– being in a good position on marines means having 5 or more res nodes (essentially all your starting res)
– before 5 min is up you can expect to make another 200 res so we will be working off this

Structures will be dieing too; however, so you need to pad this in
– lets take 50-70 res for nodes alone (leaving you roughly 180 for the first 5 min of the game)
– also keeping in mind that you will be using res to drop health, ammo, and dropping forward buildings so here are the realistic options:

Rushing Phase Gate+Mines: (85 res/+15 for each additional phase gate)
Rushing Sentries: (40 res/+20 for each additional sentry nest)
Rushing Mines+Shottie+Weapons2 (120 res and 3 min build time)
Rushing Dual Arms Lab (130 res for lvl2 and 3 min build time)
Rushing Jetpack+Shottie (130 res, a second chair, and 3 min build time)
Rushing SingleExo+Welders (125 res, a second chair, and 3 min build time)
Rushing Grenade Launchers (50 res and 2 min build time)

*Large player games add +15 or +30 res for a 2nd/3rd Infantry portal

Obviously as several of these require an Armory you can mix things up a bit (getting Mines and an Arms Lab. . . etc)
– an important thing to keep in mind though is the game’s tempo. . . some research becomes obsolete later (mines is a good example)
– even worse is suddenly and very desperately needing a research that is 3 minutes away (like armor2 when fades hit the floor)

Starting location and scouting where the enemy hive also plays a big role in your opener
– some starting locations are static for one team and are easier to get acquainted with
– other times games get dumped on their heads as your team goes North while the enemy comes in from the South and your base gets wiped

Rushing Sentries:

Feel free to experiment, but this is the strat I use because it’s the lowest cost, works great in the early game, and gives you MACs

To start off immediately drop the robotics positioned in a way that blocks the power node:

Once it’s built make one MAC and hotkey it (you can leave it in the base or have it follow the biggest group of marines around)

Then find out where the enemy hive is so you can put down your initial forward sentry nest

Here is an example of summit when the aliens are in flight control and marines are pushing from the south:

Normally this is a very difficult resource tower to hold with aliens spawn so close and two vents to backdoor from
– typically I would have 3 marines hold this point with an armory+mines and they still might lose it
– with sentries you can have 1 marine + 1 mac hold it for quite a while with supply drops or an armory

You’re paying 10 more res, but you just freed up 2 marines FOR 10 RES

Here’s the reverse:

Now marines find the hive South from comp lab
– first kindly ask the marines not to shoot the hive (at least not yet!)
– then put up the sentry nest which can be built a room without power to dominate the corner

Sentries in General:

While marines without armor upgrades are very much like glass cannons early game sentries can take 10 bites from a skulk before dieing
– There DPS is much lower though. . . it takes a good 7 seconds for 2 turrets to kill one carapace skulk at range
– Close range with 3 will drop skulks fast though and are easy prey for marines while they are biting stationary objects like the battery

Sentries cannot shoot buildings (but they can shoot eggs!)
– Sentries will not attack cloaked units unless they become revealed
– Sentries may or may not be affected by weapon upgrades (need to check still)


Midgame officially begins the moment the opposing team starts getting tech from a 2nd hive

If you’re using the above strat it will almost certainly be bile bombs
-I’ve watched a single gorge turn games around and even end games. . . the skill is a power house
-Make it very clear to your team that you want gorges dead (even suiciding to kill a gorge is now acceptable)

Structure Placement:

While not so crucial in early game it will become painfully clear later on if you don’t place things properly

Here’s a good example on summit:

Gorge is getting free shots against your base. . . simply placing objects better will counter this:
– Bile bomb has a good range when arced so keep this in mind
Vents are also very common place for gorges to get into

Putting down an armory in a room that cannot be powered happens often as well:

If you are unfamiliar with the room borders you can sometimes use a sentry battery to see where the next room starts by dragging it around the map until it turns from red back to green, but again I would like to stress sandbox testing and just learning the maps

Transitioning “strategy”:

It’s hopefully midgame and your initial strat isn’t working, is starting to be countered, or you need to switch things up

Knowing what is useful for counter alien tech & strategy can be picked up over time
– more often than not your teammates will ask for a specific tech
– being good at comm means that you will probably be telling these people “No” a lot

Here’s some basics:

Vs. Skulk or Shift Rush: Observatory + Mines or Sentry+1 Marine or Weapons2
Vs. Lerk: Phase Gates + Shotgun + Armory
Vs. Gorge: Forward Armory or Scan
Vs. Fade: Shotgun + Armor2 or Nanoshield + Health Drop
Vs. Onos: Jetpack + Shotgun or Exo + Welder

More important than what your foes are doing might be where they are

In a recent game I didn’t even get one sentry nest up before the alien team had control of the center of the map and locked it down hard
-I wasn’t going to be able to defend 5 front lines with nests so I went for phase gates immediately
-I had 1 sentry nest outside the center of the map and marines that could reinforce from either side or go around


You’re officially in endgame when you’ve tried several upgrades and they haven’t worked

It’s time pull out the big guns:

ARCs, Exos, or Jetpack+WeaponOfChoice

ARCs are the most risky of all, but if you went sentries they are literally 2 clicks away
-luckily with the latest patches ARCs synergize really well with sentries so as long as pressure isn’t to high you can pull it out
-2 or 3 ARCs should be max. . . big trains are a huge waste of res that could of been spent simply buying an Exo for a marine

Exos end pretty much all games immediately, but are often countered by their slow speed
-to avoid this split them up and have one group cover while the main force brute forces their way in with scans, MACs, and/or welders
-watch the fights carefully and be ready to spam health and shield on non-exo teammates who are keeping the big dudes alive

Jetpack+X only works when very skilled or desperate players are on your team
-you basically split and attack every hive on the map simultaneously
-this is also the best counter if your opponents are splitting up and attacking 3 or more rooms at one time

Alien Side:

Most of the learning curve is on cyst placement

You can use cysts to deny locations and fake that you are going to drop a risky node (and watch marines camp it waiting for the tower you will never drop)

Coordination is also key. . . much more so than marine team who get phase gates

Something as simple as telling your players how to bile bomb down a location from relative safety could be enough to turn the game over

There are also a number of silly starts you can pull, but only if your whole team is willing to cooperate

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