StarCraft/Terran mission 10: The Hammer Falls
|Location||Tarsonis Space Platform|
|New Enemy Units||
|Special Structures||Ion Cannon (destructible structure w/2,000 HP)|
This mission will certainly be tougher than anything you've played so far. It can also get very frustrating when the huge enemy armies crush your towns over and over again as you rebuild them. Anyway, you start out in a very small low area. Put your SCVs to work, and put the conveniently placed infantry into two equal groups of 8 Marines and 1 Firebat each. Then put both groups ABOVE the ramp so that they have further sight range. Build up your base for a while as you've been doing until now, but in this mission don't be afraid to build 20 SCVs. You'll need the fast flow of resources to stay on top of things.
 First Marines
Once you have a Barracks, set it to build some Marines and set out on the northeast path with a group of your infantry, the two Tanks, and the Vulture (not Raynor). Continue along this path until you've met and annihilated the small Red force guarding this spot. Then have an SCV or two start building a large defensive network of at least 3 bunkers and 3 Turrets on both entrances to your base. Make no mistake, the enemy attacks are HUGE, and you must be ready for them. Later, put six to eight Siege Tanks at each base entrance; also, you must have two SCVs at each entrance at all times to repair bunkers and Turrets as they take damage. When you need Supply Depots, build them in front of your bunkers to absorb damage.
You have a lot of resources at your disposal, so tech up quickly. Also, consider building two Factories to speed up production. It's a good idea to have all Barracks, Factories and Starports you have produce units constantly. Barracks should make Marines, Factories should make Goliaths and Siege Tanks (little of the former and lots of the latter), and Starports should make Battlecruisers, Science Vessels (only two of them), and Dropships (seven or so). If you run out of space, here's what you do: there's a small area if you track a bit southeast of the spot where you destroyed the small Red force in the beginning. Build a Starport and Barracks here. Also, have an SCV go down the path from the southwest entrance, and you'll find an area large enough for a Science Facility, Physics Lab, and some Supply Depots. A problem when trying to defend your base is Nukes, but there's a way to counter this. All nuclear strikes come from the direction of the White base (aka the northeast entrance), so build about three Turrets far along the route so that the enemy will target those instead of coming all the way to your base. When they're destroyed, simply rebuild.
 AI offensive strategies
Speaking of countering, you might need help against the huge enemy onslaughts. Here are some common things the computer might try and their counters:
- Huge Infantry Waves. Believe it or not, these are deadly. The huge number of Firebats they throw in annihilates buildings and slow-moving ground targets, while the Marines get everything else. For this, you must have a lot of Siege Tanks ready to deal splash damage to them, but un-Siege each tank and have it retreat as soon as something closes up to it. Also, you need some air units (preferably any Battlecruisers you might have built, but heck, Wraiths are better than nothing) to target those Firebats. In addition, have a Science Vessel or two cast Irradiate on a unit in the midst of the wave for some free kills. This is also one of the few attacks where infantry in Bunkers is better than nothing at all.
- Heavy Metal. This is a multiplayer term for Siege Tanks, Vultures, and Goliaths. Neither enemy likes Vultures, so they won't use them much (or at all). But boy, do they love Tanks... pretty much the only way to counter the Tank-Goliath (or even Tank-only) attack, apart from using Battlecruisers, is having more Tanks than them. You'll lose a few, but the more you have, the faster you can vanquish these attacks. Bunkers are of no use (Tanks in Siege Mode have longer range than anything else in the game), and so are all other ground units.
- Battlecruisers. Thankfully, they won't send in a fleet of 28 Battlecruisers at once... Blizzard saved that for the expansion, Brood War. Countering a couple of BCs is pretty easy. You need two Missile Turrets and four SCVs. Now, if each Battlecruiser attacks a different Turret, simply have two SCVs repair each Turret. This ensures that your repair rate is faster than the BC's attack rate, so the Turret is left intact as it pounds over and over into the Battlecruiser's hull until it's destroyed. If the two attack the same Turret, you need all four SCVs to repair it at the same time... which gets hard, since the perimeter of a Turret is only so large. The more realistic solution here is to use three SCVs to hold off the destruction of the Turret as long as possible while other Turrets fire at the BCs.
- Ghost waves. The most frustrating attack by far. These Ghosts will Lockdown all your mechanical units (bye-bye Tanks and BCs), Cloak to wreak havoc, Nuke your buildings, and worst of all, they'll be supported by their own Tanks and BCs so that your Lockdowned army is powerless against them! This is easily the hardest attack to counter, since you don't have much of anything to do it with. Let Turrets and anyone in bunkers fire away at the enemy while you Sensor Sweep an area so that any remaining units can kill the Ghosts. You need a lot of Marines around to kill BCs, but when it's time to go against the Tanks, well... you can't do much. Be sure to put Raynor in a safe spot away from the attack, then Liftoff your buildings, put SCVs in any Dropships you have, and attempt to save as many buildings as possible until the Lockdowned units are free again.
Common attack waves that you will get from the enemies:
- 1 Ghost
- 6 Marines/2 Firebats
- 4 Goliaths
- 4 Wraiths
- 4 Siege Tanks/4 Goliaths
- 1 Battlecruiser
- 1 Ghost/Nuclear Missile
- 3 Ghosts
- 4 Siege Tanks/6 Goliaths
- 2 Ghosts
- 3 Wraiths
- 1 Ghost
- 2 Battlecruisers
- 2 Battlecruisers
- 1 Ghost
- 1 Ghost
 Heavy reinforcements
Work on building units until you have 8 Siege Tanks, 12 Marines, another group of assorted infantry, 8 Goliaths, two SCVs, and a Science Vessel. Do NOT pull these units from defending the northeast entrance, but you may pull them from the southwest if you wish. Guess why? Because you'll be attacking the Red base, of course! Note that while this action is not necessary, it will 1) provide a resource area safer than the unoccupied two and 2) reduce the threat of double-pronged assaults from two bases at once. You might say: "Well, why don't I attack the White base?". You can certainly try that, but that base is both farther away from you and a lot more powerful than the Red one.
Go into the open area leading from the southwest entrance and advance cautiously. Lead your invasion force with the Science Vessel, because it has a long sight range and cannot be attacked by Tanks. You'll have to navigate over the inconveniently placed ramps, but you'll get there (Sensor Sweep the map for an idea of the base layout and its location). Use the same base-destroying tactic as Terran Mission 8, where Tanks do most of the work and other units provide support. The fly in the ointment here is the White army. They'll probably send reinforcements to help the Red base out, and you must deal with this army too. Expect to lose everyone except the Tanks and Science Vessel after this assault, in which case you should have another group of Marines or Goliaths ready to reinforce the positions.
As mentioned above, you may set up a base here. But if you were too sluggish and the Red army plundered everything, move five SCVs, any Battlecruisers you have, and about six Siege Tanks into a resource area in the eastern center of the map (refer to the minimap in the screenshots for the exact location). This is the safer of the two unoccupied resource patches on the map.
 The final push
For the assault on the Ion Cannon platform (yes, it's on a platform and is inaccessible by ground units), you need 8 Battlecruisers, 10 Siege Tanks, 12 Marines, 4 SCVs, 2 Science Vessels, and 7 Dropships to hold the ground forces. Don't worry about Goliaths or Wraiths: the former isn't worth the space they take up in Dropships for this assault and the latter have a horrible land attack. The extra gas from not building them should go into BCs or Science Vessels, both of which carry a very high Vespene cost. In addition, make one more Dropship and put Raynor in it; then have it fly to the EXTREME southeast corner of the map, unreachable by land. The enemy will probably come down on your base hard once you get to the Cannon, and since you'll have no time to defend, Raynor must be protected in this manner. Even if your entire base is wiped out, there's little chance Raynor will be found if you do this.
When you're ready, separate the fleet into three groups: two groups of 4 BCs and a Science Vessel each and one with all the Dropships. This is to prevent an enemy Science Vessel wiping out all your ships' energy with a single EMP wave. Keep the groups a bit distant, and have the fleet start from between the two ramps to your base and fly straight north from there. When you arrive where the platform ends, Sensor Sweep a bit to get a feel for the geography of the Ion Cannon platform. Eat up the Ghosts' Lockdown spells, then send in functional Battlecruisers to eliminate Missile Turrets with the Yamato Gun. While they're doing this and distracting mobile defenders, have the Dropships unload everyone on the platform. Now wait until everyone is free from spells. There are three levels to the platform and many defenders, but simply ignore everyone and just have all your forces go to the Ion Cannon. Obliterate the few defenders here, and destroy the Ion Cannon to win.
 Alternate strategies
- Contain and Expand
This is a high-risk tactic that is recommended for players looking for some extra difficulty. Early on, after you vanquish the small force near your base, continue along the path and barricade the bridge you come across with Siege Tanks, bunkers, and Turrets. If you do this right, White is pretty much contained throughout the mission and you only have to worry about the southwest entrance as far as they're concerned. Then, gather a substantial army and go to the center of the map, where there are lots of resources. Defend this large area with bunkers spread out all over the place, about 20 Turrets (not just along the perimeter of your outpost, but in the interior as well), and more Tanks and infantry than in your main base. You'll probably lose this town even with all this because of the sheer numbers of the enemy, so you have to constantly build and rebuild. The final assault, however, should contain roughly the same mix of units as the main strategy.
- Air Raid
While still requiring massive resources to stay on the defensive, perhaps the quickest route is to build 2 fleets (24 units) of Wraiths. You must research cloaking and ideally upgrade ship Armor and Weapons from the Armory to at least level 2. Once your fleet is ready, send them up to the top of the map, and try and find the best route through the many Missile Turrets defending the gun. If you act fast, you should be able to take out each turret in less than 5 seconds. You can either take the time to destroy as many of the enemy as possible before moving onto the Ion Cannon or you can scramble straight for the Ion Cannon after taking out one or two missile turrets, hoping you have time to destroy it before the enemy units destroy you. You should not have to land any units on the upper island of the map.
- Battlecruisers en Masse
Build up about 10 Battlecruisers and a Science Vessel, and sneak them over into the corner. Make sure to research Yamato Gun. 10 Battlecruisers basically destroy everything on that island if you are careful to keep to the edges and kill any Ghosts that appear.
Your base may be attacked and dying as you start to attack the ion cannon, but just hide Raynor away and the battlecruisers will quickly destroy the cannon. Yamato Cannon shots aren't necessary, but will reduce the time it takes to complete the mission.
If you find yourself fighting just to survive, you've done something wrong (probably not making enough SCVs in the beginning). The best solution here is to start over, but if you're willing to try one more thing before doing so, try to create a bare-bones force of four Battlecruisers with Yamato Cannons enabled, four Siege Tanks, some Marines, and Dropships for transport. You'll be cutting it very close, but if you're lucky you might beat the mission with this force.
- Complete Annihilation
If you want to take a step further in this level, you can absolutely strike both the Red base (Phoenix Town) and White base (Nuke Town). This strategy will mean more work, but will certainly make your way to the Ion Cannon a whole lot easier. If you can pull off this strategy, your base will be completely safe from any threats from Sons of Korhal while you prepare your attack on the Ion Cannon. If you're looking for a strategy to completely avoid making offensive air units (but just sticking to Science Vessels and Dropships), this is also the solution for you.
As described earlier in the walkthrough, you should wipe out the Red base first. If you want fewer unit losses than the method described earlier, you can simply choose not to use the infantry. Instead, just take about 8-10 Siege Tanks and 8 Goliaths and a Science Vessel right away. You should first locate the perimeter with the Science Vessel, as mentioned before. When you get to the base, your first attack target should be the enemy Factory (or the Machine Shop) in the south. When all your Siege Tanks are now in range of the factory, put all of them in siege mode. Do not charge with the Goliaths, but put them behind your tanks in case of any threats from Wraiths or Firebats. Keep your Science Vessel close to your force. The enemy tends to respond lightly at first, but when they start using their Siege Tanks at you, make sure you use Defensive Matrix on any of your Siege Tanks being attacked. Once the Factory is cleared, and all the enemy Siege Tanks (there are initially five of them) have been destroyed, the rest of the attack should be a breeze. Make sure the red Science Vessel is destroyed before you bring the SCVs to expand in this base, because your SCVs will be irradiated otherwise. Expand here, and build two Factories here to speed your production. Repair any damaged vehicles and build Missile Turrets around your base. Put your Siege Tanks up the cliff to where the enemy Starports used to be; you will get a head start at attacking when the White force brings in their attack of 4 Tanks/6 Goliaths, if they haven't been sent already.
Once your defenses on this new base is set up, get a new attack force of 12 Siege Tanks, 12 Goliaths, and a Science Vessel. You may pull away a few defenders (including some of your previous attack force), but keep at least 4 Tanks and 6 Goliaths in each base in case of an unexpected attack. Make sure all your ground mechanical units have been fully upgraded to level 3. Head northeast where you will find another resource node, and eventually, a bridge that leads to the White base. Siege all your Tanks immediately, with your Goliaths right behind. With your Siege Tanks, take out the Missile Turrets on the opposite side of the bridge. This will cause White to unsiege his Tanks to get to yours. You will be able to destroy both of White's front line tanks without taking damage. Once that's done, cross the bridge, and eliminate all of White's infantry and production buildings. Do this slowly, as the White base is pretty heavily guarded by Marines and Ghosts. In the meantime, White would have sent all of his Ghosts from the Ion Cannon platform via Dropships to respond to your attacks. Your Goliaths should have killed them with ease, however. Once you clean out White, there won't be anything important on the Ion Cannon platform, except for the Missile Turrets. Now you can attack with just ground units in Dropships. Because enemy Ghosts no longer sit on the platform, you will not have to worry about Lockdown at all.
 Cinematic #4:The Inauguration
You and Raynor may have ran away, but Mengsk is still crowning himself Emperor of the newly formed Terran Dominion. His address (and the frightning scenes of Terran military might) are all convincing, but will he succeed in making the Dominion different from the Confederacy?