This is an older post I made on another gaming communities forums, I thought it might make a great fixer-upper for the wiki since that seems to be moving now. I'll update it myself if someone doesn't beat me to it. I have a few more I'd like to post in here too, I'll do that as I find them. If someone beats me to updating them for 3.1 I won't cry too much, I'm just getting around to playing it here and catching up on what I've missed while I've been sans internet.
Even the best fades are defeated with some planning and understanding. I know as I've beaten exigent and terror fades in pubs before as comm with only pub marines, it's very doable if you exploit the weaknesses of aliens.
First look at what you're doing on marines. Are you locking down hives and rooms with turrets or electricity? When is your arms lab and/or obs complete? When do you start upgrading your armory? These are the most important tech questions you should be asking yourself. You can do plenty of things, and each one has it's own risks and benefits.
My normal build is this: IP > Armory > 2 RTs closest to base > Arms Lab > RT > Armor1 > RT > Advanced Armory. This does Several things, namely I'm getting the longest build time in the game for marines (the armory up) going very early in the game, usually by 3 minutes at the latest, often by 2:30. This means by 6 minutes I have HMGs roaming the map, which is VERY dangerous to fades. Contrary to popular belief shotties aren't the best fade killer, HMGs are FAR better in almost every situation to shotguns versus any lifeform bar possibly lerks. If you have an advanced armory you shouldn't be dropping shotties, you should be dropping HMGs as often as possible, they're absolutely devastating.
Secondary build is this: IP > Armory > 2 RTs closest to base > Obs > RT > MT > 2 More RTs > Arms Lab > Armor1 > Advanced Armory. This gets the Advanced armory at 7-8 minutes but you have motion tracking, which is a superior map control upgrade compared to anything else. Use motion tracking like this: As the commander, watch where aliens are going and direct marines to where they WILL be, not where they are. If you are on ns_tanith and see waste has half a bar left with a skulk chewing on it, don't send the marine at MS to waste, send him to west to wait on the skulk. Prevent aliens from attacking your RTs by simply having marines wait on them. Proactive beats reactive in EVERY situation. Contain them near the hive by constantly annoying them so they ignore your RTs and getting a second hive up, then push in with HMGs and end it.
Last build is : IP > Armory > 2 RTs closest to base > Advanced Armory > 2 RTs > Arms Lab > Armor1. This gets an Armory at 3-3:30 gametime and absolutely dominates aliens. The increased availability of HMGs usually shreds fades, which tend to appear just as HMGs push out of base, usually resulting in them being shredded on the first run-in since they expected LMGs and met the first HMG push. If I do this build I almost always go Armor2 instead of Weapons1, because what will happen is a skulk gets a lucky ambush and gets in 3 bites, which kills an Armor1 marine. With Armor2 skulks take 4 bites to kill a marine, 6 with 2 medpacks given anytime after the second bite. So if the marine has ANY aim at all he'll kill the skulk and continue pushing on, which is what you have to do to keep marines in the game as commander, sac res to push them forward.
Notice that all of my main build orders rely on an early advanced armory and armor1 fairly quickly. That's because these 2 things will destroy aliens faster than any other upgrade combo in the game. Shotguns are heavily upgrade dependent while HMGs are not. Shotguns work this way: They deal damage based on pellets that connect per shot, not overall damage from just hitting a skulk with a shot. If you wing a skulk with 2 pellets it will chuckle and chew your face off. The shotgun has 5 inner pellets and 5 outer ones, both groups of pellets representing a pentagon shape. It is very difficult to get all of the inner pellets and an outer pellet to hit a skulk, so what you want to focus on is getting the inner pellets to land. The problem is this: At certain upgrade levels it takes 6 pellets to kill a skulk. This is why sometimes you shoot a skulk in the face and it still chews your face off, you simply didn't do enough damage with 1 good shot to kill it. This is how it works:
6 lvl0 pellets at hive1
5 lvl1 pellets at hive1
6 lvl1 pellets at hive2
5 lvl2 pellets at hive2
6 lvl2 pellets at hive3
5 lvl3 pellets at hive3
You should always keep the upgrade level at 5 pellets for a shotgun, which is why I prefer the HMG. It requires less end-user skill to drop skulks, which resuilts in a higher reliability for HMGs. As a commander, reliability and common sense are your best friends.
Fades are far easier to prevent than to kill. This is the easiest way to rape fades: Do one of the build orders I posted above. When those marines have gotten up their RTs, have them make their way straight to alien RTs and proceed to cut them down, even the hive rt. It's often easy to simply walk into the hiveroom and shoot down the alien RT given enough marines usually 3-4 (1-2 usually results in people crying spawncamp because they have no clue what you're doing). Use this method of determining alien economy: .5*# of aliens players = Good Economy. Anything higher early game is a gamble, and anything less isn't very good. If they go for higher you should immediately stop capping excess RTs and push their nodes, because what they're doing is dropping a lot of RTs so they can all go higher lifeform and get the second hive up that faster, which means most likely early on you won't have but 1 fade at the most. Shredding the RTs before earn the res back for them effectively stops them from accomplishing their plan, plus aliens are forced to attempt to defend their RTs with just skulks early on instead of killing your RTs and harassing MS. If they got less than the equation, then have people cap RTs while you pressure their RTs. This way your economy gets exponentially stronger while theirs weakens under marine attack. If they don't defend their RTs they don't have much res, which means if they even manage to get the second hive up, it won't be replacable. If they have around .5, pressure their RTs really hard with most of your marines and use 1-2 to cap the map and defend the built RTs, this keeps the aliens busy while the tech is going and your economy just gets stronger and stronger while the alien RT withers on the vine.
The entire point to this post is that if you combine the correct build order with the correct early game strategy, by the time the midgames comes around you have this: A strong marine economy, an advanced armory and at least 1/1 or 0/2 upgrades, an obs going up or up, a weak alien economy, delayed fades, and a second hive starting after 5:00. What this means is you have HMGs against Hive1 fades and skulks, which usually results in marine wins if you simply do something not enough commanders do: PUSH THE SECOND HIVE BEFORE IT GOES UP. Often marines respond to the second hive only once it's up, you have to push on it before it's done. If you can't win by brute force, use wit. I'll use bast as an example here. If you can't get down a building refinery hive, simply keep aliens busy by saccing marines on it, get some res together and shotty rush engine while they're still stroking each other off after beating that refinery attack. Often after one attack aliens will simply not think another one is coming, or they sit around and don't even hit RTs.
Getting in a full Shotgun/LMG salvo in a hive usually drops it 30-40%, depending on what upgrades and exactly what weapons are available. Pay attention to what weapons ups are out and what weapons are hitting the hive, then calculate how much damage they did. Shotguns and HMGs do 20-25% per clip, while LMGs do 1/14th per clip. LMGs alone won't do much damage, calculate them in pairs. Each pair does 1000-1500 damage together. Use these numbers to figure out damage over time, and relay that to marines so they have a clue how much damage the hive can take. Keep in mind hive healing + dcs won't do anything but really repair single LMG damage, they don't heal very fast. A gorge will heal a hive 1% per spray, which means it takes 20 sprays to heal 2 LMG clips/1 HMG clip/1 shotty clip. They can only slow damage to the hive this way in time for aliens to kill them, but it won't survive long if you can keep battering the hive with bullets.
Generally if a fade is within healing range, don't focus on killing it, and it's generally useless to shoot an onos in the hiveroom anywhere unless 2+ HMGs can focus fire on it for 10+ seconds, which will always bring it down even when being healed by everything possible (Regen, DCs, hive, healspray). Skulks are easy targets, even with a REAL shotgun rush at least 1 marine should be picking off skulks, they're so easy to kill and once they die it starts to drag the spawn queue. I can't think of a reason to not have 1 person shooting skulks, unless no one on the team has above average aim, in which case they're probably better off shooting the hive unless they have an EASY shot on a skulk. This is why HMGs are powerful: A hive attack with HMGs will shred aliens almost instantly, and then it's easy to kill them as they spawn will working the hive down. Shotties aren't as easy to do this with, it's much more difficult given how the shotty works.
Ontop of what Adj has already pointed out, I will also add this:
Recently I've diverted my arms lab upgrade tree from A1/W1/W2/A2(W3) etc. To Simply A1/W1/Catpacks.
Mostly I was just messing around trying out different things, but surprisingly, I've had very good results. Think of Catpacks along the same line of hand-grenades, best to have when their functional use will be at it's peak. By the time my CP's are ready, the first fade (on average) will show up. This let's me drop shotties and, when they are in the midst of battle, drug your boys to high hell and back.
In addition to helping combat fades, it also opens the doors to EXTREMELY fast shotgun rushes on hives, when it COUNTS (second hive going up is what is implied here).
I dunno, I'll probably elaborate more, but I definetley have to say that cat-pack's early have definetley yielded positive results for me so far.
Cat packs are VERY difficult for a comm to use. The more team mates, the length of the catpack , add requests for meds / ammo. figureing out who's drugged or not (I'd love little green halo's for drugged marines btw flayra) makes them devistating, but stupidly hard to use.
as for the post, that was brilliant. Pure education. I love it.
This needs to be spread.
Yes, in some games I think NS is nothing but a well-managed set of minor miracles. - Wyzcrak