CnC Academy – The Early Sectors

Following on from my recent posts on the Commanders, today I wanted to take a very basic, beginner-centric look at the main GDI units that players will face in the early sectors – what their strengths and weaknesses are, and some tips for playing them.

I’m not giving a build guide or a deck-list yet, this post is designed to let you play the game but to help you if an opposing unit is causing you issues. I hope it also gives you some ideas of what to put into a deck, but I will cover basic deck-list in a future post.

We’re also only going to cover the basic GDI units that are unlocked early. I’ll cover other units and the Brotherhood in the future too.

So let’s jump right in!


Your basic 10 Tiberium infantry squad has a surprising number of uses. They are the cheapest combat unit in the game, move at an average speed and are good at taking and holding launch pads.

Riflemen have a vision of 3, so make for fantastic scouts. It can be worthwhile running a squad across the battlefield just to see what your opponent is up to: look for the units they’re building (and what construction options they have – ie Barracks, Tech Lab etc) and Harvesters. This will allow you to plan accordingly.

Despite them being the most basic unit out there, they’re surprisingly resilient so slow firing units like Titans and Predator Tanks, so can be used to hold an area whilst you bring in something with a bit more punch.

On top of this, they’re great at taking out enemy Missile Troopers and Zone Troopers as their rate of fire an numbers will win out against the slower missile damage.

Do be careful of enemy Rhinos, Talons and Wolverines, however, as these will absolutely shred through your Riflemen squads with barely a scratch in the paintjob to show for it.

Missile Squad

For 20 Tiberium, a Barracks can also build a Missile Squad. The unit size is slightly smaller than a Riflemen squad, so they’re even more fragile to anti-infantry fire, so even though their missiles should theoretically pack a punch against Rhinos, Talons and Wolverines, they don’t get chance to fire them.

Instead, Missile Squads are best employed against Pitbulls, Predator Tanks, Sandstorms or Titans – basically any vehicle that doesn’t have anti-infantry guns. Sure, the Sandstorm and Titan still hurt them, but they can at least put in a good dent or two first.

Unlike their Riflemen brethren, Missile Squads only have a short vision range, so are not great for scouting.


Building a Rhino requires 30 Tiberium and a War Factory to build. They’re fast moving vehicles that are as good as Riflemen at scouting, so do consider sending one to reconnoitre if you need to see what your enemy is up to.

They’re surprisingly damaging against enemy infantry and aircraft, especially Riflemen and Talons which have little in return fire for them. They’re a little more fragile against Missile Squads, and Zone Troopers will punch holes in a Rhino – definitely keep your Rhinos away from Sandstorms and Titans, which will turn them into craters before you can blink.


At only 40 Tiberium, the Pitbull is a fairly cheap anti-vehicle vehicle that specialises at taking out light armoured vehicles and aircraft. You’ll find that it works best against Rhinos or Talons, but it can take on other Pitbulls, and Wolverines too, though it’ll be fairly banged up afterwards.

Zone Troopers, Sandstorms, Titans, and Predator Tanks will make short work of them, however.

It’s worth noting that the Pitbull can move and fire, making it a great unit to micromanage – lead it to the enemy Harvester then tap it in a circle around the Harvester. The Pitbull will drive around, keeping range from units sent to counter engage, all whilst still firing at the Harvester. Don’t rely on this, but it’s good practice.

Predator Tank

A medium vehicle from the War Factory, Predators are fairly costly at 60 Tiberium, meaning you’ll likely need to build up your economy a little first and ramp into them.

Whilst the Predator is slow moving, it’s like a slab of concrete against most opponents and can take a fair whack of punishment. I certainly wouldn’t send it up against a Titan or Sandstorm in 1v1, but it’ll make short work of harvesters, Pitbulls, or Rhinos.

Zone Troopers and humble Missile Squads will quickly destroy a Predator however, but as it can move and fire like the Pitbull, you can lead it away from these threats to extend its lifespan a little. Just be aware that even infantry outpace it’s slow movement.

It should also be noted that the Predator cannot target air units so, even though Talons do feeble damage to a Predator, the Talon will win eventually in a 1v1.


The first GDI air unit that most players will come up against is the Talon. These helicopters cost 30 Tiberium and require your base to have a helipad built.

The Talon is a flying unit, meaning it passed over anything beneath it, but still cannot come to rest on impassable terrain like the nuke itself.

Talons ultimately perform a similar role to the Rhino – they’re great against infantry and can be used to swiftly grab a launch pad as they’re very fast moving. The downside is that the helipad costs more than the War Factory, making the initial cost slightly higher, and Talons are a little more fragile.

When it comes down to it, Talons will help clear out Riflemen and other Talons, they can be used to take out Missile Squads (though I wouldn’t recommend it) and are great for grabbing pads. Sadly, they take a lot of damage from Missile Troops and Rhinos, and Zone Troopers, Pitbulls, Wolverines and Sandstorms are utterly devastating to them.


The first of our Tech Lab builds, and one of the cheapest at only 80 Tiberium) is the Wolverine. Tech Labs cost 120 to deploy so it will be at least the mid-game by time the Wolverines come out.

These walkers are armed with machine guns that rip through Talons and all forms of infantry. Missile Squads are long gone before they can bring their weapons to fire.

I would be cautious around Zone Troopers. Though the Wolverine can take them, as they will deal heavy damage to the Wolverine before they go.

Enemy armour is also to be avoided. Titans, Sandstorms and Predators will pull down a Wolverine very quickly.


By the late game, both opponents are able to start pulling out some seriously powerful units, and the Sandstorm does not disappoint. They cost 130 Tiberium and are a little counterintuitive to use.

In a 1v1, a Sandstorm is particularly effective against light and medium vehicles, like Pitbulls, Wolverines, Predator Tanks and Talons, but their really terrifying use comes from their unit ability.

Normally, you want to gang up on your opponent’s squads 2:1 where viable – the Sandstorm can handle itself in 1v3 matchups as it can hit up to three units in front of it. It’s damage goes up by 50% for each additional target and is split.

As such, a Sandstorm in 1v1 deals 100% damage to the one unit. Against two opponents, it deals 75% damage to each, and against three, it’ll hit each with 50% damage. If your opponent has three units that the Sandstorm is strong against, it’ll paste all three quickly.

They’re not immune though – they just take a bit more thought than usual.

Infantry, especially Missiles Squads and Zone Troopers, will punch through them fairly quickly and, a Titan will make short work of given the chance. Try to engage enemy Sandstorms with multiple units where possible. Three Predator Tanks hitting it at once will level a Sandstorm quickly whilst only taking 50% of its 1v1 damage back each, but a Titan backed up by another unit (even basic riflemen) will share it’s damage output, making the Titan much more likely to survive the engagement.


Perhaps one of the best known units in the Command & Conquer franchise, the Titan is a walking tank that costs 130 Tiberium to build. Titans are exceptionally resilient and pack a punch.

Their attack is quite slow, it hits like a freight train. It also hits the unit behind its target too, so try to make use of this to take out multiple units.

Though it’ll punch through enemy armour like it’s a wet paper bag, Titans aren’t without their counters. Firstly, Zone Troopers and even humble Missile Squads are reliably capable of taking down a Titan, and Titans cannot attack air units.

There is something deeply satisfying about putting two Talons onto a launch pad and watching as a Titan feebly stands in front of them unable to do anything. Those Talons won’t destroy a Titan quickly, but at least they’re safe whilst they do it.

Zone Troopers

At a hefty 120 Tiberium pricetag, you’d expect Zone Troopers to pack a punch, and they will not disappoint.

These guys are the hard counter to Titans and Sandstorms, and their heavy rail guns will do a severe amount of damage to enemy armour.

Zone Troopers are still infantry. Whilst they’ll obliterate enemy Talons and Titans alike, the basic infantry squad is a hard counter to them, so do be careful.

Of course, Zone Troopers also heal themselves gradually when not in combat, so make great point defense troops to hold a launch pad.

I hope you find this guide useful for climbing to level 4 and unlocking the Brotherhood of Nod. I’ll go over the other units in a future blog post, and I’ll have a Brotherhood of Nod one up soon too!

Let me know how you’re getting on with CnC Rivals. What are you enjoying about the game so far? Are there any units that you’re struggling with?

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