A guide: Choosing the right units for your army (Civilization: BERT)
Hi! I'm MeepTMW, a fairly new editor here at Civilization Wiki, but a long time SMAC and Beyond Earth player. I've also played Civilization V a lot, but have falled in love with the science fiction here again. I've helped develop unit-based pages for Beyond Earth with nice pictures and useful information as well as a little bit of strategy here and there. After realising that wiki pages are usually better to be non-biased and contain mostly factual ideas, I'm building a guide here for what I see as the strategies of Beyond Earth.
Note that this guide is intended for Rising Tide users - BERT (Its abbreviation) is an overhaul of the existing game and gives it far more substance than the vanilla game.
Unit attack style
So, you've made planetfall. You could have started with a Soldier, which is a melee infantry land unit. What does this all mean, you say? Let me explain. Civilization Beyond Earth shares remarkable similarities with Civilization V in terms of unit types, and my wording system is no exception. Firstly, units can either be melee or ranged when attacking. The damage of their attack depends on their or and the enemy's .
Melee units usually have to be next to the unit they want to attack, and when they attack, both the defending and attacking parties will take damage. Their attack power is calculated from their , as well as their defending power. For example, that Soldier I was talking about is a melee unit, so when it attacks an enemy Ranger (another unit) it will both deal and receive damage to and from the Ranger. However, if it manages to kill the Ranger by dropping its HP to less than or equal to zero, as a melee unit it will occupy the space the deceased unit fell. Why is this important? Well, it allows you to capture cities! Only melee units can capture cities as they move into the space where the city fell. Melee units typically have, but not always, a high so they are both durable and deal high melee damage. This makes them good sentinels in defending walls or more frail support units.
Ranged units, unlike melee, do not have to be next to the unit they want to attack (although some do have very short ranges that require them to be adjacent to the enemy). Their attack power is calculated from their , but their defending power is calculated from their . This is pretty bad since most ranged units tend to have high but very low so they can be killed by units (usually melee) that have much higher . Why are they even useful then? Well, it's because when they declare an attack, they get no defending retaliation. Imagine you have a group of mortar rangers that fire a round of mortars at a group of melee-fighting aliens. How are those melee aliens going to fight back? The answer: they can't! For this reason, ranged units are superior when dealing with melee units, such as tanks, and frail units such as other Rangers that have low . They are also good at dealing with high units with slow , such as the Golem or Immortal.
Now, what about soldiers and combat rovers? They're both melee units. Surely they're not the same category? You're right.
As I've said, Beyond Earth and especially Rising Tide shares remarkable similarities with Civilization V. Then it should be no surprise that Beyond Earth has different kinds of military units other than just melee and ranged, and you're absolutely right. Beyond Earth has infantry, cavalry, assassin, naval and orbital units.
Infantry units can usually be distinguished by appearance. Infantry in the modern world is known as the 'foot' military and it is the same here. Soldiers, Rangers, Battlesuits etc. are Infantry units. You can usually tell by seeing if they are a squadron of units or if they are in a machine. If it's the former, it's probably infantry. Weak swarms of aliens are also considered infantry, such as the Scarab and Wolf beetle. Why is this important to know? Well, while infantry units tend to have weaker and than cavalry units, they benefit from defensive terrain bonuses. This allows them to use the terrain to increase their when attacking and defending. For example, if I had a Soldier on a hill and you had a Soldier on flat land, I would receive a +20% bonus to my when attacking simply because I'm on defensive terrain. Similarly, if I'm on flat land attacking up a hill or across a river, I will receive a -20%combat penalty for attacking into defensive terrain. This is the same with rangers, although it is a bit less effective. Ranged units do not receive bonuses from attacking from a hill, but their is still increased by 20% or so if attacked by a melee or ranged unit, so they will be slightly more durable which is especially helpful. They also benefit from a full range scope if they're on a hill in comparison to being on flat land surrounded by hills, which will obstruct and reduce the range of the unit. Infantry units also cost roughly 130 less per unit, depending on the Tier, so they are much easier to produce.
Cavalry unitsCavalry units are what form the heavy armor of your army. Cavalry historically were soldiers on horseback or in chariots - today that is still present, but in the forms of tanks and artillery. The same principle applies here. Rovers, LEV Tanks, Thrones, Autosleds etc. are all Cavalry units. What is so useful about them? Well, cavalry units tend to have more than infantry units or some form of higher mobility, such as all terrain costing 1. Basic combat and missile rovers additionally receive Hover as do many other Cavalry, allowing them to attack amphibiously albeit at a minor -25% penalty. Cavalry also tends to have higher than their infantry counterparts - for example, T2 Rangers (Gunners) have 14 whilst T2 Missile Rovers (Artillery) have 20 . This comes at a penalty though - or more specifically, no bonuses (HAHAHAHAHA SO FUNNY). Cavalry units do not benefit from defensive terrain bonuses, but they still are penalised for defensive terrain penalties. So if a Cavalry unit attacks from a hill into flatland they will receive no bonus, but if a Cavalry unit attacks from a flatland into a hill they will still receive a -20% penalty. This makes them very awkward to fight with as you must try to find as level playing fields whenever possible, which are not always available due to fantastic city placement or army formation. This makes Ranged Cavalry, or Missile Rovers, very vulnerable to damage, especially because their is incredibly frail in the late-game at 14 and are unable to find defensive terrain. They thus often have to spend their perks on defensive picks such as ranged deflection and allied bonuses. Cavalry units also cost about 130 more per unit so your army will be less numerous, although very mechanized.
In Beyond Earth, there are three domains on the planet - land, sea and orbital. There are also some units that can cross both land and sea and are called amphibious. One unit in particular, the Rocktopus, is able to cross both land, sea and orbital. This section will explain the main units of these domains and any viable alternatives.
Land domain units
Land units typically can only attack while on land terrain. Most land units can cross the sea, but must embark, meaning they lose a great deal of their defensive and cannot attack in retaliation, so they are incredibly vulnerable. Below is a bullet point list of exclusive land domain units and affinity alternatives that can replace their basic equivalents if you choose to develop them.
- The Soldier is a basic infantry melee unit that has a land domain. The soldier is considered infantry because it is not a mounted unit like a tank and is instead a squadron of humanoids. The Soldier is rather basic and weak in comparison to more powerful alternatives, but is cheap in both and requires no resources. They are useful in the early game but begin to obsolete in the mid-game where many units develop powerful attacks, being able to destroy Soldiers quickly. They are often used in the late-game as a cheap way of gaining swarm bonuses fromsponsors.
- The Battlesuit is an infantry melee unit that is much more durable than a Soldier. When maximised, they have about 18 more than a Tier 4 Soldier (48 v 66) and also have an innate deflection shield from attacks, reducing them by 30%. While they cost 90 more than a Soldier and cost 1 Titanium, they serve as better defensive frontline units than Soldiers do. They are available fairly early in the game and useful well into the mid-game and only begin to become obsolete in the late game, where units are able to cut straight through or simply scatter Battlesuit walls entirely.
- The Xeno Swarmis an infantry melee unit that costs less and has marginally more than a Soldier. It requires 1 , so it is limited in that aspect, but it can be mass-produced. It also receive +20% while in Miasma so it is versatile in a variety of situations. Xeno Swarm are suited well as mid-game raiders as they are able to destroy other units at the time with their superior adaptive technology. They obsolete quickly in the late game due to their inferior and the rise of Miasmic Repulsors, which can be deployed in the battlefield.
- The Immortal is an infantry melee unit that has superior regenerative capabiities. It costs a bit more than a Battlesuit does, but it is highly mobile and has an innate ability where all land terrains costs 1. For this reason, they excel in hilly and forested terrain, as well as clearing Alien Nests early game coupled with their relatively high compared to other units of its time. It obsoletes quickly in the mid-game however as, unlike the Battlesuit, it is vulnerable to attacks, especially Blitz ranged attackers such as the Aegis and Executor.
- The CNDR is an infantry melee unit that works best as a swarm. A swarm is slang for a large group of units huddled together. This is quite difficult to achieve as CNDR's have higher than Soldiers and also require 1 each, so it can be often effective to mix CNDR's with regular Soldiers. CNDR's receive combat bonuses from adjacent units which can maximise at about 80% more with best benefits. Their base is a bit less than a Battlesuit but higher than a Soldier, so when used in swarms they can be incredibly strong even in the late game. However, they are vulnerable to being scattered by late-game units or picked off by long-range bombardiers. Thus they typically excel in the early game, or the very-late game where you can use planet carvers to deal with advancing threats.
- The CARVR is an infantry melee unit that works best in a swarm or in a couplet. CARVRS are less dependent on large-swarm groups as they receive maximum bonuses from only one adjacent unit so they are usually best sent with another CARVR or a mobile ranged unit such as an Aegis. They are quite expensive, almost double the of a Soldier and require 2, but have a higher than all of the other infantry units in the game as well as powerful perks that can increase its by up to 75%, depending on the situation. CARVRs are useful in attacking defensive cities, particularly cities which have many fortified, immobile units as they can pierce through fortification. CARVRs replace CNDRs in the late game as a primary frontline unit for sponsors.
- The Ranger is a basic infantry ranged unit that has a land domain. Unlike Soldiers, they have a range to attack from and actually deal quite reasonable damage. They are incredibly squishy with their base at max tier only being 20, but they boast superior which is typically higher than the tier equivalent Soldier's melee attacks. Another downside to them is that they are unable to capture cities, so they often are played as support gunners behind Soldiers. Depending on the Affinity you chose, they can gain Blitz attacks, bonus range or bonus mobility, which are all useful to increase the survivability and damage of them. They excel in the early and mid-game as many melee units are unable to compete with a group of one or two Rangers/Gunners, and most units (even Siege Worms and Krakens!) can not handle more than a two turns of bombardment from Tier 3 Rangers. However, their functionality is limited and they can be quickly destroyed in the late-game by high-range or orbital units, or high-speed cavalry.