Best Total Annihilation Units: Core Tier 2 Units

Best Total Annihilation Units: Core Tier 2 Units
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Core Tier 2 Units

Total Annihilation’s Core is more direct but slower than the ARM, and it is the tier 2 units where this really begins to show. While Core’s tier one tends to be at a bit of a disadvantage Core’s tier 2 gets the party started with some of the toughest units in the game. The Core is generally meant to be slow but unstoppable rather than agile, and that requires their units be used in certain ways. This Core tier 2 unit guide will help you figure out the roles filled by each of Core’s many tier 2 units.

Tier 2 Kbots


One of the few fast raiding units the Core has, the Pyro is a reasonably quicker Kbot armed with a short-range flamethrower. The flamethrower is deadly against groups of units and against groups of buildings. The Pyro isn’t really cut out for direct assaults, however. It has few hitpoints and the flamethrower’s range is very short. The Pyro tends to be something of an odd duck, then, since it doesn’t fit in with the typical Core strategy of slow domination.

The Can


One of Core’s most iconic units, the Can is a huge, fat and heavily armored Kbot with an extremely powerful laser. It is a very, very slow unit, but once it arrives on the battlefield it is hard to stop. The Can is best when attacking positions that are on flat terrain as its laser is a direct-fire weapon and the can’s slow movements can be easily confused by obstacles.


The Roach is a suicide bomb unit. Its usefulness is limited to the obvious - it blows stuff up. The Roach is slow by itself, so they are best if loaded up into a transport like a Valkyrie or a Envoy.


The Kbot version of a radar jammer, the Spectre is capable of completely disguising your units from enemy radar. It is very useful when combined with Cans and Sumos because it can actually give these slow-moving units an element of surprise. It also can be used to hide your base from radar if you’re being hit with long-range artillery fire.


A fast attack Kbot, the Freaker doesn’t really fit in with the Core’s unit lineup. It isn’t well armored, but it is fast enough to avoid most danger. It can be used to penetrate enemy lines if there appears to be a weakness. The Freakers can then go berserk on undefended structures. It is essentially worthless in direct combat.


Arm Attacks a Core Base

An interesting long-range mortar Kbot, the Morty is meant to bombard enemy positions from afar. It isn’t very well armored, but it is extremely effective at what it is meant to do. In fact it is probably the best mobile artillery unit in the entire game. There are other artillery units which do more damage or have longer ranges, but they also are very expensive. The Morty is actually affordable, so you can mass a useful number of them early in the game.


The opposite of the Spectre, the Voyeur is a mobile radar Kbot. It can be useful if your attacking a base outside of your normal radar range, but radar buildings are so cheap and plentiful in Total Annihilation that you won’t end up building these often.


The Sumo is basically what you get if you take the Can and say “Gee, this is great, but it just isn’t tough enough.” The Sumo is the deadliest land unit in the entire game besides the Krogoth. It has tons of health and is armed with a massive laser capable of killing most units in just a few hits. However, the Sumo is also the slowest land unit in the game. It is so slow that attacking with Sumos is almost impossible unless you are playing a small map.


The Gimp is a medium Kbot armed with a fairly effective laser. It isn’t fast or tough or powerful, but it does have a party trick - it can go underwater. But to be honest, you’re probably better off building normal Kbots and using transports.

Decoy Commander

Yes, this unit looks just like your Commander. It moves and acts just like a Commander would, although it doesn’t have the same abilities. It is used solely to trick enemies into attacking the wrong unit. It is well worth building a few if you have the chance, particularly if the Assassination victory condition is being used.

Resurrection Kbot

This Kbot can actually resurrect units that have died in battle. Just direct the Kbot over to the hunk of metal which once was a unit and the Resurrection Kbot will do its magic. The Resurrection Kbot is awesome to have on defense because it can slowly bring your defensive units which died back to life. On offensive, however, it is a bit less useful. The Resurrection Kbot itself isn’t tough and it takes some time for it to resurrect a unit.

Core Tier 2 Tanks


Core Crocks Assault a Base

The Core’s amphibious tank, the Crock is capable of launching surprise amphibious assaults but is otherwise not that useful. Its cannon is weak, it isn’t very tough, and it moves slowly. As with the Gimp Kbot, Crocks are usually not as effective as building normal land units and then transporting them to an enemy island with Valkyries or Envoys.


A perfectly adequate tank, the Reaper is heavily armored and has two powerful cannons. It is slow for a tank, but it can still keep up with many Kbots. I never recommend building Reapers, however, simply because the Goliath tank is superior in every way.


The tank version of a mobile radar jammer, the Deleter is great at disguising attacks or making your base vanish from enemy radar.

Mobile Artillery

This creatively named unit is exactly what it says. The unit is armored with a cannon which has better range than most defenses in the game. However, this unit is both expensive and fragile. It also does not have greater range than a plasma cannon turret, which is used by virtually every player in the game. This fact, combined with the unit’s cost, limits the unit’s usefulness.


Core Tanks and Kbots Advance

Now we’re talking. As a Core player, Goliaths are your best friend. They are among the toughest units in the game. They’re also armed with a nasty cannon which does significant damage, has great range and a large area of effect. Goliaths also lob their cannon shells at an arc, which means they’re effective against heavily entrenched defenses. Most Core players will find that the Goliath is their primary attack unit on land maps. The only problem with the Goliath is that it is slow, so don’t expect to surprise your enemy with them.


The tank version of a mobile radar. It is a good unit to build if you are attacking an area which is not in range of any radar structure. If it is possible to build a radar structure, however, you should do that. It is much cheaper and more effective.


The Diplomat is a mobile missile launching unit used to attack enemy defenses from long ranges. It fires huge missiles which fire high into the sky and then come down directly on top of the target. They are very effective against entrenched defenses and they' do more damage than Mobile Artillery. They are fragile and expensive, so be sure to protect them well.

Core Tier 2 Aircraft


The Core gunship, the Rapier isn’t quite as good as the ARM Brawler but is still an effective attack units. Gunships are well know as one of the best ways to raid enemy bases. They have significant armor and fire missiles which can take down defenses within seconds. They are vulnerable to fighters and also very vulnerable to flak cannons. I recommend building these, but use them with caution.


A powerful bomber, the Hurricane delivers a deadly payload. It is armed with an anti-fighter laser, although it isn’t really able to fend off teir 2 fighters. The Hurricane is not a bad unit, but it is actually overshadowed by the tier 1 Shadow bomber. The Shadow can usually do whatever the Hurricane could but it is much cheaper to build.


The Titan is a torpedo bomber. Its role is very specific, and the Titan is not as good at attacking ships as the Rapier gunship. I don’t recommend building the Titan in any situation.


A powerful stealth fighter, the Vamp is the cornerstone of most tier 2 Core air assaults. While it is a fighter its missiles can hit land units, making the Vamp effective against ground forces when built in large numbers. Because it is a stealth fighter it won’t show up on enemy radar making it useful for sneak attacks.


An airborn radar unit, the Vulture is not a replacement for the Fink but is still useful. Vultures can be used to patrol large maps and provide warning of incoming enemy assaults long before they reach your base.

Core Tier 2 Warships


The Hive is a carrier meant to provide support to air units by repairing them when they are damaged. This can be very useful if you’re fighting for air superiority, but it is less useful when attacking an enemy base - a well defended base is usually so deadly that no bomber will make it back from an attack run. The Hive has no weapons, but it does produce 350 energy, which is a nice bonus.


The Shark is supposed to be a submarine killer. In practice it is hard to see why. It is a little deadlier, and its torpedoes have a longer range, but it isn’t much tougher and it is much more expensive than a Snake.

Missile Frigate

Armed with heavy long-range missiles, the Missile Frigate is best at attacking enemy defenses. The missiles are unguided and not useful against moving targets. It also has some basic guided missiles which can be used against both air and sea targets. Their damage is pathetic.


A much-loved cruiser, the Executioner is armed with heavy long-range cannons and depth charges, making it a versatile and powerful unit. The Executioner is also affordable and reasonably fast. As a result, the Executioner makes up the bulk of most Core fleets. If you’re not sure what ship to build next, just build an Executioner.


A very “meh” radar jammer. The problem with the Phantom isn’t that radar jamming isn’t useful - it is - but rather its short radar jamming radius compared to the size of a fleet of ships. Ship are larger, and they tend to spread out. The Phantom simply doesn’t jam a large enough area to cover even a fleet of ships.


Core Warlord

The Warload is the Core’s battleship. It is capable of long-range combat with its cannons mounted at the rear of the ship, but its most deadly weapon is the laser at the front. Although the laser’s range is not as long as the cannons on most other ships it melts the armor of enemy ships like butter. A phalanx of Warlords are almost impossible to stop once they have come into laser range.


The Shredder’s purpose is to defend fleets against enemy aircraft. It is armed with guided missiles and a flak cannon which is extremely effective against gunships. If you need anti-air cover, forget the Missile Frigate. It is the Shredder you want to build.


A huge submarine, the Leviathan exists primarily to win naval battles. It is heavily armored and armed with nasty long-range torpedoes. The Leviathan’s usefulness is limited, however, by its cost. It is as expensive as a Warlord, which seems like a lot to pay for a unit which isn’t at all useful once you’ve defeated the enemy navy and it is time to attack his base.

This post is part of the series: Total Annihilation Unit Guide

Total Annihilation is a classic game with hundreds of units. This unit guide examines all of the units in the game so that players getting started with this classic can figure out which of the game’s many units are best.

  1. Total Annihilation Guide: Core and Arm Defensive Buildings
  2. Total Annihilation Unit Guide: Core Tier 2 Units
  3. Total Annihilation Unit Guide: Core Tier 1 Units