Thoughts on how to build the Mavor, Paragon, Salvation and Yolona

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I thought I would write a post on this and share my thoughts. I don't consider myself that good at this game so all contrary opinions are very welcome especially if backed up with logical reasoning and counterpoints. Always happy to learn 🙂

Introduction

These units are game enders in every sense of the word and they are not something to be built without due consideration. As such, there are many key preparation steps you should complete before beginning them and then there is a logical method as to the build order. This is then followed by steps made after completion to protect these valuable units.

Skipping parts of any of this will likely lead to losing the game. Putting this much mass, energy and time into something and then having it destroyed will likely lead to a pyschological crushing effect that will remove your teams will to continue (therefore losing the game) and as that mass and energy is lost without return (in terms of enemy units and buildings killed) your team will be so far behind that a comeback is fairly unlikely.

Building one of these units is a sprint to the finish. Once started you must assume that your enemy will soon become aware of it and panic at the sight of it. They will then rally and communicate a plan of attack to deal with it. Good players will drop everything to focus on you. Assume that all the enemy players will start immediately making strat bombers, preparing tele support acus, looking for somewhere to drop engineers for a T2 TML farm or loading a Cybran commander up with teleport and laser. Expect to come under heavy attack during the building process. The closer you are to completion then the more likely their plan will be to being close to execution. Time is against you. Any player building one of these game enders should feel like a massive target just got planted on them. Suddenly nothing else on the map matters, everything now is about killing you or your game ender. I hope you like playing under pressure!

Steps to complete before starting your build

  1. ECONOMY
    You need to have built up your economy to a healthy late game level. I suggest a minimum of 600 mass per second. The Paragon is the most expensive item in the game so I'd say 700 to 800 mass. In terms of energy, meet the power requirements and be overflowing energy by at least 6k per second. If I see a team mate starting one of these with for example 300 mass per second then I immediately know that they don't know what they are doing and I consider my team to be down a member going forward. Please note that constantly begging your team mates for mass and energy is not a substitute for building up your own eco first. You are making this unit so take responsibility to carry the majority of the cost. Hopefully your team will help you but don't ask them to do the bulk of the build. They are currently spending their mass fighting their battles and assisting you could lose them battles that are currently keeping the enemy from winning front lines and then assaulting your bases directly.

I highly recommend that at least some of your income is from Support Ras Acus. This contribution to your economy is mobile which is key later should your T3 mexes and PGens be destroyed. They also have high build power and this, combined with their mobility means they are the unit of choice for building the support buildings and PD around your game ender. A mobile economy is a beautiful thing that is not easy to eliminate.

Using large numbers of mass fabs is not recommended. They are easily destroyed unless you are shielding them which costs energy and generally this all takes up a lot of map room and is one extra thing to think about. Support acus are tough and have many other uses so are much preferred. A few mass fabs are usually overlooked by the enemy however and can produce income without being targetted.

  1. PROTECTION FROM NUKE
    Build an SMD or have another team member build it. Your game ender will be a high value, high threat target for the enemy and a single nuke launched from anywhere on the map will wipe it out with ease. Only a loaded SMD can stop it. So don't ever make the smallest first step towards making a game ender until you have ensured the location you will build it on is protected by a loaded SMD. Keep in mind the likely direction of attack any nuke would come from as the SMD does have a firing range and radius. Of course, the safest location for an SMD would be close to the game ender but it is likely the first built SMD would be to protect multiple bases of team mates to survive the mid game stage. So when it becomes clear you're going to be moving to late game stage and will be building a game ender you may want to consider a second SMD close to your game ender location.

  2. BUILD POWER
    You must have enough build power (preferably from support ras acus) that you can spend all your income rapidly. You need your mass storage to be constantly empty not just to get the game ender built asap but so you can recieve any mass sent by your team mates (build some extra mass and energy storages by the way). Educate them (scream if you have to) so they don't send you mass alone, they must send energy with it. Mass on it's own will often cause your shields to drop due to the amount of build power you are using. Games have been lost due to shields going down when team mates with good intentions sent a lot of mass on it's own. Once your game ender is built then the units build power will be used to reinforce shields and build defenses in the area.

  3. AIR
    Your team must have some air control and defense. If no one on your team is doing the air role to a reasonable level there is no point in even starting a game ender as it will be picked off with ease from the skies. Your team does not have to have won air or cleared the skies of enemy craft but they do have to have built a responsive air force to defend from air snipes and strat bomber attacks etc. Walls of AA have value but they cannot move, can be flown around and as such are a secondary/backup line of defense. If you have to move into being the air player I'd suggest sticking with it and trying to go down that route to victory instead.

  4. INTEL
    In general, the amount of intel on your enemy needs to be high. Spy plane the enemy bases (or use Aeon eye) to understand what they are doing and planning. You need to check if there is something else you need to be doing now. If they have started a game ender you need to decide if you can complete yours faster or if you first need to put your efforts towards destroying theirs. Also consider that if you can clearly see that the enemy team is unfocused you may decide to delay your build further and eco up more first.

You need at least one T3 radar giving you plenty of time to see and ping incoming enemy attacks. Don't rely on a team mates T3 radar as it could run low on power at a key moment leaving you all blind to an imminent attack.

  1. YOUR TEAM
    Tell your team your plan and get some support. Because:
    • you are about to put all of your mass into an expensive unit that will essentially mean you are out of the game and not going to be helping with anything in the meantime. Basically your team mates will be losing a player until the game ender is built. If they are already struggling you may need to postpone your plan until you help them improve with the war in general.
    • you need to gauge how happy your team are about your plan and if they are likely to support you. If you get no response then you are likely to be on your own and you need to gauge if you will be able to complete your project in a reasonable timeframe, meaning before the game ends by any other likely means.
    • your team may point out a valid reason not to continue. An enemy threat, plan or team weakness may be pointed out to you that you had not been aware of. Postpone your plan, assist the team while continuing to eco up where you can and then come back to your plan when the situation improves.
    • I have had many occasions when I glanced at what my team were doing and saw a Paragon had been started that I had no idea was being worked on. I then happily contributed to it. Why would anyone build a game ender and not inform their team?? Besides being good manners, many hands make light work. This is a team game. Work with the team.
    • your team will be required to help defend . An air player cannot defend it if they don't know what you are doing. Other players will hopefully increase AA in the area and build extra SMD. They may also point out any holes in defenses or suggest improvements to your build.
    • you may have to (politely) talk your team into supporting your build, especially if something goes wrong later or an unseen enemy threat becomes known, so the sooner you get your team used to the idea of supporting you with their eco then the better.

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Your build order

  1. LOCATION
    Choose the right location. You want space around your game ender to be able to surround it with shields on all sides. Preferably (eventually) two rows of shields. The arty game enders fire faster when ringed with power so you will want this. Always. You likely want some Cybran hives or UEF kennels nearby. All this takes room. So don't build your game ender very very close to the edge of the map or a mountain. You might think that hiding a mavor in a corner of a map will mean it's less likely to be seen but it will be much harder to defend once it makes its presence known. Check the ground is flat enough that you can place all your buildings.

  2. STEALTH GEN
    Build a T2 stealth generator building. It costs relatively little and could be the single reason that your game ender does not get seen before it makes it's presence known. It can always be reclaimed later and replaced by another shield. Even if the stealth generator only buys you an extra minute or two before your plan is revealed I would argue that was a fantastic return on investment. Also, in many games a stealth generator has meant that an enemy teleporter gets absolutely destroyed upon arrival due to the suprise existence of all the pds that were built since the enemy last got a direct visual on the area.

  3. SHIELD FIRST
    Build one shield. Preferably T3. Possibly two shields. You want something to give you some protection in case something unexpected happens early on. There is a special place in hell for people that I see building a game ender without any shields at all. Minutes and minutes of a naked vulnerable game ender wide open to all attack! Just unreal. You wouldn't let a newborn baby play in traffic so don't build a highly expensive time consuming attention grabbing game ender without some defense.

  4. PGEN MAYBE
    Build one or two T3 PGens now if you are making a unit that will get a boost from adjacency. You will want the 4 surrounding PGens to be completed before the game ender completes to ensure the adjacency bonus is in effect immediately, so why not build one or two now. Note this pattern of T3 Pgens are a clear visual indicator of what you are building which will warn an observant enemy.

Optional but popular step :
Build some Kennels and/or Hives. Pause them and give each of your team mates some of them. This allows them to easily contribute and discourages the need for them to send units that get in your way. Do not give them unpaused. Nothing is ruder than being that team mate who loses me a key firebase protecting 3 T3 mexes as my shields died due to my mass and eco being redirected to their game ender. It is outright theft of my resources! Oh and tell your team mates they have the option of assisting you by unpausing if they wish to. Don't build them and just hope your team mates spot them .. sometime.

  1. START
    Start your build. Personally I wouldn't use a template as I'd want some control over the build, adjusting it as I see fit.

Thoughts as the build is progressing

  • Considering adding shields. Maybe one shield is enough to protect the investment of 10% of your game ender. But when it is 50% built, how well protected do you want your investment? Add shields to meet your discomfort level.

  • T2 and T3 shields have different recharge rates and for this reason many feel it is best to use a mix of these. So some shield somewhere will be on to protect your game ender when needed. Hopefully.

  • For the same reason, I add a few T1 pd at 25% done, more at 50%, many more at 75% etc. Avoid UEF and Aeon T2 PD as the area of effect of their projectiles will damage stuff you don't want damaged, should they have need to fire.

  • Ask team mates to move away any units that might autofire into your build should an enemy teleport appear. I have seen team mate navy automatically fire at a telesnipe and the splash damage of the friendly fire wrecks everything.

  • Be aware the likelihood of a response from the enemy increases over time. Getting closer to completion is not a sign to relax but the opposite. Any plans the enemy have are more likely to be executed by every second that passes.

  • As I near the end of the build I space out my support acus around the game ender, pause them to give them their orders, usually a mixture of PD, shields, AA etc. As soon as the game ender completes I have all my mass to spend again so the pause is taken off. When all of that is built I assign them to support shields.

  • You need an Aeon eye in your team to find and mark on the map as many ACUS and SMD as possible. Also any high value targets such as partially built game enders or air factory power grids. Get all the intel now so your game ender can wreck havoc right from the first shot.

  • Ensure your teams asfs are in the best area to intercept incoming air attacks. Your build is the most important unit in the game and must be protected. Educate your air player to be prioritising killing any enemy strat bombers over enemy asfs.

  • Watch for signs you have been spotted. I don't mean 30 strat bombers coming at you, I mean a spy plane going overhead. That's your cue to consider improving your defenses. Also tell your team you've likely been seen, keep them focused on defending you. If the enemy has Aeon they could have used an eye to become aware of your intentions.

  • Where is your acu? Many a paragon has been destroyed by torp bombing an acu stood in the water for the last 15 minutes without movement, defenses or shields. Move your ACU beside your game ender once it has sufficient shields and PD.

  • You may have to educate your team mates to not send their engineers or support acus to assist your building efforts. Ask them to send you mass and energy directly. In a worst case scenario (and I have seen it happen multiple times) the game ender will be completed but the amount of units immediately in the area around it means that no shields, pd, aa or 2nd smd can be built. And the amount of units there means the pathfinding is slow to get them out of the area. This can lose you the game.

  • Encourage building of spy planes, Aeon eye and UEF Novax to get intel of target locations. I have been in games where the side with game enders lose as they cannot see enough things to hit to win the game!

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Build done. Now what?

The game ender completes. Now the job of protecting it begins.

In no particular order :

  • Shields. More is better. Can you have enough? No.

  • Reinforce the shields. Assign engineers, support acus, ACUS, hives, tents etc to the shields. Even if they are not under any incoming fire. Assume they will be and assign them now.

  • You want to kill strat bombers before they release their bombs so build AA some distance out from your game ender. If in doubt build more AA and in lines going toward the enemy. Spread them out a little in general. I like to assume 30 to 40 strat bombers will be coming to say hello and goodbye.

  • Keep mass and energy in storage at all times. You cannot reinforce shields without it. The more incoming fire (eg from arty or novax) then the more of your eco you need to keep unspent and ready to reinforce.

  • Build another SMD or load one. If the enemy kills all your protecting SMD then they just activated the cheat code and will win soon.

  • Be aware that your power grid is likely a target for better players. If they can reduce your energy income enough then you have no shield coverage. You may need to build more PGens under shields or reinforce shields around existing PGen.

  • Build more t1 pd than you think reasonable. T1 is cheap and has great DPS. Many units that can teleport have high HP, shields and can appear in groups of more than one. Your main SMD must also be well defended.

  • All pd has a maximum range. For that reason you need PD all around and in solid blocks of 16 or 20 PD. Upgraded Seraphim support acus have a terrifying amount of health.

  • Keep in mind that support Hives and Drones can be used to repair SMD and game enders as they are taking damage.

  • Be aware that T3 Pgens are a common target when they ring an arty game ender. Their chain reaction death explosions are your worst nightmare.

  • I commonly see people building a Monkeylord or GC to protect from telesnipe. Honestly I find rows of T1 pd cheaper and higher DPS. Correctly placed PD doesn't need to move to find the range of any sudden arrivals either. Enemy can teleport in before the experimental unit is built, wheres PD go up in a second or two each.

  • From now to game end, your thoughts will be:

    1. How can I better protect the game ender?
    2. How can I better protect my ACU?
    3. How can I better protect my SMD?
      Repeat these endlessly.

IF the worst happens

If your mavor etc gets destroyed, stay calm. Is the wreckage there? Then you are half way to building another one. The odds are that the enemy had to put all their mass into the attack that destroyed your unit so maybe you can rebuild it before they get a game ender of their own. They may also relax thinking they crippled you whereas instead you just decided that you enjoy a challenge so started the rebuild. Your eco is possibly absolutely fine also, so really what's stopping you? You did it once, why not do it again? You're halfway done already! For the sake of your team mates, never give in, keep fighting!

Ways you can assist a team mate building a game ender

Become a support to help win the game. If you've already spent a half hour of your life in a game then surely you'd rather get the win than a loss...?

  • Just give them some of your mexes and their ringed storage. Seriously. This ensures a steady ongoing eco boost. They can always give them back later.

  • Give them a spare T3 PGen, whether now or later. If you see their power grid under attack, make them another.

  • If you do want to give mass directly, always send plenty of power with it. Always.

  • And donate in smaller amounts more often rather than single huge amounts. If chat says that a team mate just gave, then wait a short while before your donation is sent to avoid it being wasted.

  • If you have been given Hives to assist the game ender, once it is built either give them back or assign them to a shield nearby.

  • Build energy storage in your base and give it to them. This really can make a difference.

  • If you are UEF, build a dozen drones and send them to assist shields, SMD etc.

  • Generally be aware that once that game ender is started it should attract most of the enemy attention. So what opportunities does this create for you on the map? Keep trying to win some battles while contributing as much as you can towards winning the war.

Final thought

A Paragon/Scathis/Mavor/Yolona/Salvation .... is actually NOT a game ender.

A Paragon/Scathis/Mavor/Yolona/Salvation protected by shields, AA, PD, SMD, Radar and with enough local assisting build power combined with an abundance of power reserves with clear targets to hit .... is a game ender.

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Rule #1 of FAF : Kill the ACU nothing else matters...

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small tips

  1. Give your SMD to your teammate in case you're stalling (if progress is below 50%).

  2. Make mobile shields.

  3. Always make sera shields/sams if you have access to sera tech.

  4. If your paragon is 80-90% done ctrl-k most of your t3 mexes and reclaim them to boost the construction rate.

  5. If you see a teleport marker near your game ender make sure you ground fire it with your PDs and anything else that does damage.

  6. Make gunships only (mb not cybran t2 gunships), bombers/mercies have friendly fire so they can accidentally kill your game ender if enemy teles next to it.

  7. Spam energy storages if you have a paragon.

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Just build boys bro

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Good guide, I think all it is missing is a short section on what the game-ender should target when it's finally up. Stuff like power, air grid, nuke defense, etc.

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Nice guide for less experienced players, a guide like this has been missing as far as I know so thanks for putting it together. Something else that should be added to this is that you should always make a paragon before you make a salvation.

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@haachamachama What's the thought process behind ground firing the teleport marker ground firing? I honestly don't know..

The rest of your points were great additions, I might make a video for all this and I'll add your points 🙂

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Rule #1 of FAF : Kill the ACU nothing else matters...

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@exselsior Very good point, I don't know how I missed that considering it's in the loading screen tips lol

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Rule #1 of FAF : Kill the ACU nothing else matters...

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@scout_more_often

Because if you don't ground fire it, the PDs will only start turning and shooting once he teleports in, but by then he will have extra time to kill your game ender, by groundfiring the teleport location beforehand you avoid losing DPS and you're able to kill him faster as the pds won't waste time turning themselves + projectile distance travel.

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@haachamachama Ah that makes perfect sense, I had thought for a second though you were going to tell me that projectiles could travel through the warp effect and I'd never learnt that in all these years of playing I've had lol

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Rule #1 of FAF : Kill the ACU nothing else matters...

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@haachamachama said in Thoughts on how to build the Mavor, Paragon, Salvation and Yolona:

  1. Spam energy storages if you have a paragon.

Doesn't Paragon now give a huge E storage to prevent E stall when it finish building?

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Yeah it was a recent buff, but if you’re fully utilizing the paragon resources and depending on how much buildpower you have, 100k e storage won’t be enough and you still have risks of e stalling.

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A couple of t1 mexes will do. Don't forget to reclaim some stones though.

Check out my maps here:

Madness 1 - 9

https://forum.faforever.com/topic/480/h-master-s-maps