Grit & Zeal: Analysing Col. Jackson and Oxanna

Last week we looked at the GDI and Brotherhood of Nod Commanders and how they can impact your game. I didn’t include Col. Jackson or Oxanna as I hadn’t had chance to really get to grips with each. After a week of pressing on with both of them, I’m here with my thoughts and ideas.


Col. Jackson


If you’re not sure if Col. Jackson is the Commander for you, his flavour text really says it all. There are no fancy tricks or flashy tech here, no gun turrets, no repair drones, no Ion Cannons – which means if your opponent pulls out something unexpected, you can’t just blast it off the battlefield like Gen. Solomon or Lt. Strongarm, and if you mess up, you can’t recover and hold as well as Dr. Liang.

Col. Jackson requires you to have a firm understanding of counters. You absolutely must know what units can best counter your opponent’s force and have a strong, flexible strategy going in. There’s a definite reason that he’s the last GDI Commander to unlock – you need to have a lot of knowledge.

His Heroic Charge ability is going to be best employed in using those counters and making them even more potent. In a very basic nutshell, a soft counter (like Missile Infantry against a Nod Buggy or GDI Talon) will become almost as effective as a hard counter (like GDI Predator Tank to Nod Buggy), and a hard counter becomes downright nasty.

The movement speed aspect of the buff is great at getting a unit into position quickly, either to back up one of your units into a 2:1 fight, to pull them out of a bad situation, or to sprint to a distant pad to hold it. This alone is pretty powerful if we’ll utilised.

The attack speed portion is just as potent and allows a unit repositioning to engage to have that little extra punch, or a unit currently engaged to clear a target faster. Buffed Missile Infantry move at a surprising speed and the rate they fire their missiles is truly terrifying, allowing them to win soft counter fights (like VS Rhinos, Talons or Buggies) much faster.

A Predator Tank or Pitbull with this buff becomes a force to be reckoned with, if you’re good at micromanaging a unit. You can have a Pitbull or Predator dance around an enemy unit firing shells at a terrifying pace whilst still moving quickly enough that opposing Missile/Laser troops find it difficult to engage effectively. Great for Harvester hunting as, even if the Harvester tries to retreat, your unit can keep pace and will stick to it.

In a more defensive capacity, if an enemy pulls a counter to your unit, it’s worth weighing up who the buff should go to. If you buff the targeted unit, you might be able to escape and relocate. If the damage incurred is going to be too high, you can buff a counter unit to swiftly reposition and engage. Again, humble Missile Troops are suddenly quite dangerous to Titans and Rockworms.

Jackson requires you to be able to think quickly on your feet and swiftly adapt to the shifting dynamic of an ever changing battlefield, but Heroic Charge gives you an edge if you can do this.


Oxanna


At first glance, Oxanna’s Fanaticism ability looks very similar to Col. Jackson’s Heroic Charge, but in effect it’s quite different. Ultimately, the same provisos apply – she has no flashy Catalyst Missile, Drill Pod or Obelisk of Light to save the day if something is going wrong, she relies solely on tactical expertise, so you need to know your counters.

The buff only appears slightly better on paper (Jackson is 60% to her 75%) but in action it’s considerably better. Units reposition extraordinarily quickly and the attack speed increase is hellish.

On the flip side, the 25% increased damage taken is potent. I’ve tested this in a few matches and in a 1v1 situation, Infantry to Infantry will just about result in a victory for Oxanna’s troops, but they’ll barely be better off than if Fanaticism had not been used.

What this boils down to is a much more aggressive playstyle. Whereas Col. Jackson can turn soft counters into a much stronger situation, Oxanna does not have this capability. Laser Troops may finish off a GDI Talon a little faster but they’ll be heavily damaged afterwards and easy pickings for anything else. On the flip side, those same Laser Troops will make massive dents in a Predator or even a Titan. Hard counters buffed with Fanaticism become downright terrifying.

The movement speed is also very useful. A buffed infantry squad can make it across the map in the time it would take an unbuffed squad to reach the middle and this is very useful for rushing a unit onto an uncontested pad to grab it quickly.

On micro-intensive units like the Phantom or Scorpion, the added movespeed allows them to engage and disengage without the 25% damage taken increase kicking in (this works better with a Scorpion where the bonus attack speed keeps it firing quickly as it dances around the opposing Harvester avoiding enemy counters).

The main use I find for Fanaticism is for taking on a unit that doesn’t do much (or any) damage back – like Attack Bikes taking on Harvesters, Hammerheads or Talons. In this way, you get all the bonuses of Fanaticism without having to suffer the downside.


Those are just my thoughts; you may have had different experiences and found other tricks using Heroic Charge and Fanaticism – if so, what were they? I’ve struggled a bit more with Col. Jackson than I have with Oxanna due to her aggressive strategies, how do you play these commanders?

Let me know in the comments!


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