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Tip of the Week #70 - Countering Orcas

By Gromij - 4th August 2009 - 21:26 PM

Orcas are extremely potent anti-armor aircraft that can wreck your economy in seconds if you are not prepared for them. They are also highly effective at harassing armies in the field, their maneuverability allowing them to capitalize on weaknesses in your anti-air coverage. This tip will focus on how to counter these units.


GDI

GDI has the easiest time out of all factions when it comes to countering Orcas. Pitbulls, available at Tier 1, are very effective counters, able to take down an Orca in three shots, meaning that a small force of Pitbulls can down one Orca in the first volley, which in turn increases the time it takes the Orca wing to destroy their targets, which in turn again gives you more time to finish them off. Missile Squads are also effective counters, however, they are very slow units and the Orcas may be maneuvered around them to pick off lesser targets such as Power Plants or units which stray from safety. At Tier 3, Firehawks can completely negate Orcas, as they are extremely potent anti-air units which can react immediately, stratoboosting to the Orcas' location and shooting them down. Slingshots are not so useful against Orcas as Pitbulls are, because they are more expensive and deal their damage over time, whereas Pitbulls shoot down the first Orca quickly if you have at least three. Moreover, Slingshots are less versatile, unable to harass enemy Harvesters or support your units against enemy ground forces. The AA Battery is useless against Orcas, as even this lightly armored aircraft can easily shrug off seconds of AA fire while finishing off that Harvester.

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Firehawks shut down Orcas completely in late-game GDI mirrors.



Nod

Nod has the hardest time of all factions in countering Orcas until Tier 3. Bikes can work against less experienced opponents, but because they are one-shot killed by Orcas, they are not very effective unless they outnumber the Orcas heavily. Buggies are more effective in a straight fight against Orcas because they can take more hits, but their lower speed and damage means that Orcas will be able to fly around and tank a fair bit of fire while they target your valuable Harvesters. SAM Sites and Rocket Squads are effective against Orcas; however, their lack of mobility means that they can only really be used in defence. The only effective counters at tier 2 are the Mantis for Black Hand and the Venom for Marked of Kane and Nod, both of which are ineffective against ground vehicles. This is why many Nod players turtle and camp until they have researched Tiberium Core Missiles. Once this upgrade is purchased, Bikes will one-shot Orcas, and SAM Sites, Mantises and Stealth Tanks all become very effective anti-air units.

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Venoms are reasonable counters to Orcas, but Tier-3 upgrades make them truly lethal.