Supreme Commander: Cybrans Fighting for Freedom
The most persecuted faction in Supreme Commander, Cybran history is a tale of slavery and domination resulting in a forced exile to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. Even far from Earth the Cybrans are pursued to the better end by the UEF forces who seek their enslavement and the Aeon Illuminate that wants to exterminate them.
With dedicated, numerically superior foes to ward off, the Cybrans have had to take full advantage of their technological advantages and resort to guerrilla warfare in order to survive. And as a result the Cybrans have developed radically versatile aircraft, ground units, and naval vessels that can adapt to and dominate any environment.
To the Skies: Cybran Air Power in Supreme Commander
In the Supreme Commander Cybran campaign scenarios, the Cybran love of aviation technology is apparent. Of the factions, their air defense and air superiority units are the most potent. Utilizing nanite technology that fires small guided projectiles at opposing aircraft, the basic Cybran interceptor is generally superior to both its UEF and Aeon counterpart, especially if fighting in conjunction with Cybran air defenses. In skirmish missions Cybran players can attain air superiority early on thanks to the efficiency of these tier 1 interceptors.
Long term the playing field equalizes somewhat as each faction deploys tier three fighters, but by this point the Cybrans have another trick up their sleeve - the best heavy bomber in Supreme Commander. Cybran heavy bombers are equipped with stealth technology and do vast amounts of damage to structures they attack. As in its spiritual predecessor, Total Annihilation, aircraft in Supreme Commander, as a rule, can do extreme damage to defenses they can breach. The difficulty lies in actually breaking through to the vital sections of an enemy base - especially once tier 3 air defense turrets are operational, most air strikes are blasted out of the sky before they even pass the first skirmish line.
But the Cybran tier 3 bomber’s stealth capabilities means that, unless omni sensor arrays are active, the bomber will almost always get through - and when wielding a bomb that can destroy a fusion reactor with two hits, it doesn’t take many successful strikes to crush a base.
Supreme Commander: Cybrans at Sea
Cybran naval forces are highly demonstrative of the Cybran commitment to versatility. Possibly the best example lies in the ability of some of their ships to sprout legs and walk on land. While they are not optimized for land use due to their size and painfully slow movement speed when walking, the ability to move onshore effectively eliminates any benefit an opponent reaps from moving vital structures out of range of normal naval bombardments. This forcibly added dimension plays perfectly into the general Cybran penchant for surprise.
In Supreme Commander, Cybran naval units at sea are fairly well rooted in the middle of the pack, when compared to their Aeon or UEF counterparts. The one downside of possessing ships that can each engage two distinct threats at a time is that they excel at combating neither - so a similar sized force of Aeon vessels whose firepower is maximized to do damage to enemy ships can wreak havoc on a Cybran formation.
Supreme Commander Cybran Ground Forces
Cybran ground forces tend to be weaker than their UEF or Aeon counterparts, but make up for this by deploying units with accurate, devastating weaponry. The Rhino tank is a perfect example. While not impressive in terms of damage resistance, its triple laser battery has long range and does continuous damage with each burst - unlike Aeon or UEF cannons the Cybran lasers usually do not miss their target. The tier 2 defense towers are also equipped with these direct fire, highly accurate lasers and a battery of them can smash most any attack.
Supreme Commander Cybran players are also well equipped to do damage from a distance in the Total Annihilation tradition. Cybran artillery tends to be accurate and potent. Toss in the best stealth field generators of any of the factions, and it is not uncommon for a talented Cybran player to bushwhack an enemy base by attacking under the cover of stealth and from an unexpected direction.
Supreme Commander Hints: Cybran Tactics
Playing as the Cybrans can be one of the more challenging and rewarding aspects of Supreme Commander. Hints for success as a Cybran commander generally revolve around the fact that the Cybrans are a guerrilla combat oriented faction, and wise Cybran commander needs to think like an insurgent. A little like the ARM of Total Annihilation, the Cybran focus on speed and stealth informs Cybran strategy.
To start, relative strength calculations are more important for a Cybran than for an Aeon or UEF counterpart. Relative strength as a strategic concept is simple. Effectively, it means playing with a mind geared towards asking “what can I get out of this fight” or “what can I keep my opponent from getting” as opposed to just figuring out how to destroy an opposing force utterly is the gist of making relative strength calculations. Its about assessing every action in terms of how it will make one’s self relatively more powerful than one’s opponent. Supreme Commander hints typically do not require subtlety and insight, but relative strength calculations do.
For example, consider the example of a Cybran whose opponent is amassing defensive structures by the dozen, building an impenetrable wall against lower tier units. The Cybran is right to be concerned about breaking this defense in the long run. But consider the relative strength allocation inherent here - if the opponent is building static defenses, fewer mobile forces are in play. The opponent’s economy will have to be set within an area that can be defended, and likely need lots of metal and energy to maintain a fast build pace. The Cybran can pursue a containment strategy - build mobile forces to raid any resource expansions - or even just pour all resources into technology acquisition in order to build artillery that will shell the enemy base apart from a safe distance.
Supreme Commander Hints: Cybran Flexibility
Flexibility is another Cybran strength that should be exploited. Cybrans can build extra bases under the cover of stealth field generators, and effectively disperse productive power across the map. They can even set up defensive firebases backed by a construction structure or two to give the impression that a particular concentration of resources signify the player’s main base. If one of these little expansions is destroyed, no matter - there are always more. This flexibility is fairly unique (not even often found in Total Annihilation) in Supreme Commander.
Hints to maximize this Cybran flexibility: A good Cybran player will almost never simply try to wall in and out-build an opponent. It can be done, but Cybran strengths are not in huddling. Get those spare bases and get some defensive structures up - and let your opponent pick one to attack. Most players in Supreme Commander will mass their forces and overrun one base or expansion at a time. Let your opponent declare his intent by attacking one of your expansions, and keep enough structures in place to hold him for a couple minutes. When he’s busy blasting through them - hit him from behind with a group of tech 2 tanks and artillery backed by aircraft.
Supreme Commander hints to additionally consider in this scenario: lure your opponent’s forces as far from his base as possible, then launch a quick strike at his power or metal production structures. While his units try to return home to defend his base, harry them all the way.
Cybran Grand Strategy: Supreme Commander hints
This relative strength focus is not a game winning strategy in and of itself, but an insurgent technique used to keep an opponent off balance and unable to amass firepower sufficient to overrun a Cybran opponent. Picking off resource structures, harrying mobile units from a distance, all this serves to harass an opponent and hopefully cause him to fixate on territory, building defenses, and leaving the Cybran alone until it is too late.
These Supreme Commander hints are designed to foster this bunker mentality - once an opponent surrenders the initiative to a Cybran, that opponent is likely to face a dozen experimental backed by tier 3 artillery and tier 3 bombers - a sufficiently powerful force to crack any base defense.