Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Star Wars: Empire at War - Mon Calamari

Star Wars: Empire at War - Mon Calamari
This is a hint / walkthrough for a planet in Star Wars: Empire at War. The index of all our guides for Empire at War is here.

Imperial Campaign
Available in Mission 6 (Attack on Mon Calamari) / Tech Level 3. Starts under Rebel control. Conquer Mon Calamari (the system name; the homeworld/planet name is actually "Dac") early as part of preventing the Rebels from building raid fleets if you can. The mission does not end until you capture the planet.

Space Battle
This will probably be your most difficult space battle in the Imperial campaign to this point, because of the scripted arrival of two Mon Calamari Star Cruisers -- capital ships whose shields, staying power, and fire power all outclass anything you can build at this point.
As soon as you destroy a Nebulon-B Escort Frigate or a Marauder Corvette, they come in like reinforcements. (Anything smaller won't count. Curiously, you can destroy the Class 3 space station and they still won't come).
The distance will be just inside the fog of war, in the direction of your fleet's entry point. During the brief cutscene, they open fire and you do not have the chance to abort the cutscene to issue new orders. Especially if your fleet is very close and already damaged by other fighting, you could very well lose a Victory Star Destroyer during their entrance cutscene.

I actually lucked out a couple of times and successfully completed this mission with six Acclamators, one Broadside Cruiser, and NO losses (on Medium difficulty, where the AI doesn't always use special unit abilities) coming out of the battle, even with the Mon Calamari appearing right in their midst. A second try with four Victory Star Destroyers and three Broadside Cruisers (on Hard difficulty) yielded better and less scary results. The main factors are staying power, drawing fire, and Broadside Cruisers.

The Mon Calamari will tear down shields very quickly -- in a matter of seconds, in fact. The first ship being targeted will probably have to be moved back immediately. For every other cruiser, if their shields are gone, you might as well use their Boost Weapon Power ability.
Your Acclamators or Victory Star Destroyers need to have a lot of staying power because they still need to be in front of your Broadside Cruisers so they can maintain fire and bombard as soon as possible.

Depending on the distance at which the Mon Calamari appear, you may want to make a decision to immediately turn your fleet around, and instead engage the Mon Calamari with Darth Vader and a cloud of fighters. (You can also take down one capital ship and do this distraction later on the one further away). This combination should turn the Mon Calamari's attention on them, and you will know this if they start to turn around. Head for the space station while pulling your fleet out of their visual range. Once they are at the station, the two huge masses make easy targets for the Broadside Cruisers to barrage or even just fire normally.

Having Broadside Cruisers give you even more firepower than a Mon Calamari capital ship -- if you can deploy them safely. And with the Mon Calamari and the space station being all so large, they make the perfect targets. Use the area barrages whenever possible. Anything in the way of the missile's flight path can be hit, so you don't have to target the nearest one first. Even with just three Broadsides, once those slow missiles connect, you'll see how quickly the shields come down and the hull falls apart. Don't bother targeting anything in particular (not even the space station shield generator, which is actually a narrow target that's hard to hit even in by a barrage).

When your fleet first arrives, move them to the left edge and inch them up to be closer to level with the space station: still out of sight but the shortest distance between them and your Broadside Cruisers. This is important because if you need to cover your Broadside Cruisers, you don't want them to be too far from your cruisers.
If you can somehow destroy the space station without triggering the Mon Calamari, you won't have to worry about being in the crossfire. Otherwise, if you have to retreat, go further up and try not to stray to the right and into range of the space station's guns.

Once the Mon Calamari are destroyed, the Rebels will jump to hyperspace if the space station is also destroyed. It doesn't make any difference, but if you want the little cutscene to accompany the Imperial gloating after the mission, you need to leave the space station alone for the moment and clear out all units (use Darth Vader and fighters for this, and search the corners/edges where heavily damaged ships might be hiding). Once the space station is the only thing left, destroy it. You can safely do a Broadside Cruiser barrage from outside the space station's range.

Rebellion Campaign
Mon Calamari is available after successfully completing Mission 4 (Kessel Rescue). It is automatically reverted to your control after Mission 10 (Handle With Care!). If it is already in your control, you do not lose anything there.

Space Battle
On Hard Difficulty, the Imperials start with a strong space fleet of 31 points, including a lot of Tartan Cruisers. Two Acclamators from this fleet start slightly southwest of center, and almost immediately see the Rebellion fleet entering from the southwest. There are also TIE Scouts to (presumably) help them locate you with their Sensor Pings.

There are nebulae near the entry point which frequently causes ships to go around instead of through, so be careful of this.

Despite the rough start, this battle is doable early in the game with Nebulon-B Frigates. My early fleet was Sundered Heart, six Nebulon-B Frigates, and two Marauder Corvettes (which have to be protected against Tartan suicide runs). Once the first Acclamators are out of the way, you have time to reposition your Marauders to a safer position. Watch for Tartans suddenly coming out of the nebulae where you can't detect them.

Land Battle

By the time I had control of orbital space, the land map had the entire Imperial base under a shield, including the Power Generator.
Just inside the shield on the causeway are two Build Pads. If the Imperials put an Anti-Infantry Turret on one of them, you are unlikely to win this land battle without any losses. The main problem is that these Build Pads are just inside the shield, and only your PLEX Troopers can shoot through the shield, but they would be in range of Turrets.
(That said, if you can send a horde of natives to a turret, getting one or two inside the Turret's minimum range means you can have those units eventually take down the turret since the Turret can't fire on you, and if the other Build Pad has a turret, you would be out of range. However, the Imperials tend to send sorties out to defend those turrets.)

There are two ways to do this land battle. The hectic blitzkreig way without MPTL-2a artillery, and the patient way with MPTL-2a support. Either way, you can do so without unit losses (lots of Mon Calamari dead, however).

The basic tactic is to swarm the Imperial base with Mon Calamari. This will be hard because the Imperials start with a horde of infantry. Herd the Mon Calamari toward one Build Pad just inside the shield, and when the Imperials are busy there, sneak a small unit of them to the other pad and build an Anti-Infantry Turret. You may need to target the turret yourself so that it attacks the units you need to take down quickly, instead of leaving it to do its own thing.

Once you have an Anti-Infantry Turret, move some T2-B Repulsor Tanks and PLEX Troopers in to help the turret and secure the other Build Pad. Once the Imperials' ground troops have been exhausted, they will only have garrison troops, and these will stay inside their base unless you get too close.

Once you secure the other Build Pad, you will probably want to quickly put an Anti-Vehicle Turret there. When ready, advance to the end of the bridge. Watch out for the Imperials having built Turrets at the Build Pads there as well. They are less of an issue because you are now under the area Shield, but can still be challenging to do.

With Turret support, you should be able to push the Imperials back, take out the Shield Generator quickly with your PLEX Troopers, and do a Bombing Run for the rest.

If you can bring an MPTL, this mission can proceed at a more relaxed pace because you just need to survive the initial wave of infantry. The Imperials will probably build Turrets at the bridge, but the two turrets just inside the area Shield are still vulnerable to the MPTL. Although the torpedoes from an MPTL volley cannot penetrate the shield, they explode when they hit and the turrets will be in the blast radius (although you cannot see the blast). They will therefore go down in short order and you can try to advance under the shield.

Once your MPTLs are under the shield, they do not have to move far to be in range of the Power Generator to the south. Once that is destroyed, Bombing Runs can do the rest while you hold ground (easily done with your MPTLs).

On the north side of the Imperial base is a ramp leading into the water -- You can access this with your T2-B Repulsor Tanks and draw some fire away, but without support, they will get scrapped by AT-STs and 2-M Saber Repulsor Tanks. In general, the Imperials will not follow you out onto the water although they can with the 2-M Sabers and Scout Troopers.

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