Natural Selection 2 Competitive Strategy Guide by Hunter.S.T.
Hi, so i thought that people had been asking form something like this, having scrimmed with a few teams as a merc, i feel that many key apsects we’re missing, so i thought i would write a small guide, on how strategise.
So, starting with the pregame.
1 – Ask everyone if they have any tatic they would like to try
If it isnt a tournament game, give people the chance to spitball, and try a new tactic. Talk briefly about any special changes you will have to make, or concerns you will need to pay attention to, to make the tactic work.
2 – Marine pregame
The most basic level of pregame planning.My current method for deciding what left and right mean are as follows, look towards the centre of the map, left is now on your left, right is now on your right.
This is simpler than telling someone to go east / west, and if you get a side spawn, people can get confused, so u wind up telling people they are going east or north / west or south, which is more to remember and takes longer to work out, than left or right, which works for every spawn.
2.1 – The Base Builder
This is actually a fairly important role, and needs to never be given to a new marine.
Yes it is easy to hold e in base, but knowing what to do afterwards is difficult, and if it is screwed up, you might have to beacon everyone back to base, or worse, might actually loose.
The base builder can reinforce side of greater conflict, but if marines on that side are under too heavy an attack or ahve died, he may have to defend base against a rush, by finding the best long straight with easy aiming that he can get to given the time he has before the base rush, so that he can delay until people respawn.
If aliens are camping a natural rt in a place marines cant shoot, this marine can tell the team at that res to run on, and he can reinforce to try and protect that rt and catch marines off guard.
If marines are owning every battle, he can go to cap rts in a quiet side of the map, or can try to solo an rt for distraction.
Its an extremely important job, and unless you want your commander to be micromanaging every troop movement, you need to give this to a marine who can decide for himself what the best action is, tell the team what he is doing for confirmation, all on his own.
2.2 – examples of different marine splits
2-2-1 ->2 one way, 2 another 1 to build base
A safe start, at least 2 marines scouting 2 ways into the base, obs will be up if you need to beacon
3-1-1 ->3 one way, 1 another 1 to build base
A less safe start, if the 3 go towards the alien base, its ok, but if they are on the other side, they can easily overwhelm the one marine sent that way, who would hope to be quietly capping rts, forcing marines to fall back or beacon.
4-1 -> 4 one way, 1 another, commander or respawner builds
A dangerous strat, if you rush the quiet side with 4 marines, you might not have an obs to beacon if the 1 meets the alien team rushing
5-0 -> 5 all in push one way, commander or respawner builds
Very dangerous, for the reasons that are obvious if you have read the above.
Unless i am doing a 2-2-1 split, or playing with fixed starts, i wait until the round has started and i know where we have spawned before i tell the larger group where to go.
The larger group need to be directed with 4 concerns : what is the most likely hive, what route gives them the best chance of redirecting the push if they have gone the wrong way, which room is easiet to fight in as marine, which rt allows for the marines to run back to base in case of a rush.
Your commander or another player needs to know where he will be sending people for every spawn, that’s his job, that way all the other marines have to remember is if they are in the group, or if they are soloing.
A 2-2-1 split remove this concern, and i recommend it for new teams, this split can be done pregame (2 left, 2 right, 1 build).
2.3 – Spending pres
To stop this from being a delaying discussion during game time, before the start, select who will be the grenade launcher carrier on any push that has a gl, select who will be spending their pres on mines, and select who will be buying the shotguns.
Unless you are performing an all in push, having marines who have spent pres on mines, and cant afford shotguns, is actually useful, you now have 2 marines who can pick up and use the shotguns if a marine is killed, this will get you more use out of your pres as the weapon is used over an over again.
LMG are also great at range compared to a shotgun, and unless you are trying to dps a hive down as quickly as possible, a well balanced set of weapons in a squad is the better choice.
Call out when you buy a shotgun so that the team know they are on the field, and press tab to check how many shotguns are on the field before purchasing one.
2.4 – Build order
Although the commander can talk briefly about this, given the number of iterations of starting positions, and given that tactics must respond to the opposition’s tactics, there isn’t too much point in delving into every single counter that the marine comm will play, one just has to assume that the marine commander knows what he is doing.
The pregame build order talk that marines need to hear is, will you be getting phasegates, and what possible locations you will want to lock down.
2.4.1 – phase tech first
This is the most common tatic that i see played, the base builder will get an obs up, and phase tech is immediately started.
Having the obs there negates the need for a presence in marine base, as you cna beacon. Phase tech allows you to place gates.
The placement of the gates is VITAL, as is knowing when your other tech will allow a phasegate at a certain point.
Many spots are great to hold with vanilla marines, others are easily held with mines, others are better held with shotguns. That is why this tatic relies on the marine comm also going for quick mines, and quick shotguns (tho which to get first will depend on where you want to place your phase gates.
The placement also has to be considered in terms of what it gains your team, having a phasegate in a central map location might seem like a great idea, as you can reinforce equally to all your rts, but if the phasegate cant help you put pressure on a hive, you will be on your backfoot protecting rts the whole game, instead of putting the pressure on them.
This is why i recommend one or two forward phasegates, which allow you to protect your rts AND primarily put pressure on the hive!
if you are unable to get a phasetech in immediately and have sgs and mines up, don’t wait for the next phasegates to be in before you get an arms lab up, and get upgrades going to help.
2.4.2 – rushing arms lab upgrades
A less seen strategy, ignoring phasetech for a first upgrade, you grab an armoury, and arms lab.
You can get mines if you want to protect base, and you can also consider having someone stay near base to guard against a rush. This is a dangerous strategy, and one need look no further than the wasabi cups arc vs pokemasters first games for an example.
Arc rushed arms lab upgrades, did extremely well investing in medpacks to keep marines alive, but when 2 skulks snuck past them to attack their base, they had no obs, no mines, no1 in base, and lost to 2 skulks!
Lets have a look at the different upgrades that the arms lab can provide:
w0 – rubbish damage
w1 – good damage
w2 – great damage
w2 – AWESOME DAMAGE
(no surprises here right?, but its more interesting to look at the armour upgrades
a0 – skulks – 3 bites, or parasite 2 bites | fades – 2 swipe
a1 – skulks – 3 bites | fades – 3 swipes
a2 – skulks – 4 bites | fades – 3 swipes
a3 – skulks – 4 bites | fades – 4 swipes
These changes are very important for the commander to understand. The way i like to think about it is like this. Armour1 needs to be there right away if aliens are good at parasiting 2 biting, otherwise, armor1 needs to be up in time for fades, to give you the extra swipe.
Armour 2 needs to only be in if you are keeping the alien res down sooo much, that you don’t expect higher lifeforms, and think the extra bite against skulks will help you to keep the skulks down.
Armour 3 should be the last upgrade you get.
Weapons upgrades, should be gotten at any time possible, as long as the don’t interfere with the above 2 points! and as long as you are still working other upgrades, making sure that they are still timed properly for the game.
shotguns and mines need to be researched before or just after you take lots of shotgun positions, the armoury needs to be set to upgrading nice and early, gls need to be available for a push, weapons upgrades need up be available for a hive push to be easier, i admit, its a complicated subject.
a1-w1-w2-w3-a2-a3 So a typical upgrade order for me might be this.
w1-a1-w2-w3-a2-a3 But if i was playing against a team that wasn’t parasite biting, but was holding a lot of res i might go like that
w1-w2-a1-w3-a2-a3 And if i was playing against a team that wasn’t parasiting biting, and wasn’t holding very much res at all i might go like this!
2.4.3 – jetpack rush
A commonly seen tatic, although it is called the jetpack rush, it is anything but that.
A team concentrating on nothing but jetpacks, holding 6 rts can get jetpacks with no upgrades up at around 4:10. If this was done, they would be horrendous jetpacks, although if a team could really hold 6 rts, they probably would have enough skill to pull it off.
The number of upgrades that you can have available to compliment your jetpack rush, will be dependent on how much res you have held, i wouldn’t recommend pushing on a hive with anything less than a1-w1, idealls a1-w2 with gls, but you want as much as possible.
A jetpack rush often succeeds or fails on having a good grenade launcher, and a team who know how to use the gl spam on the hive to get cover for themselves and bait aliens into the hive. A gl onthe hive prevents aliens from healing next to the hive, and forces them out. You need a GOOD grenade launcher for a jetpack rush to be performed properly.
It is worth noting that an with the arms lab or phase tech rush, can both turn into the jetpack rush, this is a late game strategy and isn’t something that can be planned in pregame, as you dont know how the game will go. Its something that you ALLWAYS want to do, but if you don’t hold the tech points, or the res, you need to have backup tactics practise at rushing without jetpacks but with gls and upgrades, so that you can still take a hive without holding that tech point.Other Natural Selection 2 Articles
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Natural Selection 2 Newbie Kharaa Aliens Guide
Natural Selection 2 Cyst Spam Guide
Natural Selection 2 Tactical Tips and Tricks
Natural Selection 2 Basic Tips
Natural Selection 2 Marine Tech Tree
Natural Selection 2 Commander General Strategy Guide
Natural Selection 2 Alien Commanding in Pubs Guide
Natural Selection 2 Docking Marine Commander’s Guide
Natural Selection 2 Competitive Strategy Guide