Econ play consists in accumulating long-term advantages. As a strategy, it can appear through:
- Getting a third Engineer early and using the additional Energy to increase your economy.
- Defending with the most efficient blockers and absorbers available.
- Massing attackers with constant damage in order to wear down your opponent.
Winning with econ is about overcoming your opponent in the long haul by making more of your resources in economy, defense, and offense.
Econing up[edit | edit source]
Literally, econing up is the act of increasing your Gold production (through base set Drones or others). As a strategy, it boils down to gathering more resources than your opponent, buy more units, and eventually overpower them.
In a matchup between two players going for high economy, the challenge lies in figuring out the right turn to stop econing up and transition into damage production. If you do it too early your economy won't sustain you, if you take too long you risk not being able to catch up in attack.
Turtling[edit | edit source]
Turtling means defending your production units while you ramp up their number. Increasing your economy means delaying your damage, especially against an opponent going tempo; that will leave them free to build up even more attack.
Fundamentally good defense is based on the same defense concepts for a player going econ than for anyone else, but having more resources lets you get efficient defenders more easily. Since you will have to outlast an opponent with earlier damage, it is particularly important to try and make use of all preventive defenders to their fullest (not only random set units if there are but even the base set Rhino for instance, through setting up a Rhino train). Getting high absorb in time is also paramount to surviving early rushes. Although you should always try to get offense over defense, being on the safe side of things is generally a good bet when playing econ.
Here are some units which can help you with your defense:
- Defense Grid
- Defense Grid not only protects your economy with its huge absorb, but also actively fosters it by creating additional Drones over its 7 Lifespan. You have to take into account that it doesn't help your defense immediately when you buy it though (since it lacks ). Also as the name suggests its Lifespan property forbids you from relying on it for too long.
- Polywall is very helpful at stopping early rushes thanks to its high absorb, forcing your opponent to get to at least 6 before they can do anything to you. Later in the game however it is susceptible to getting picked off because of its Frontline property, possibly denying value to your other absorbers against an opponent with flexible attack.
- Chieftain is a classical example of a preventive defender, in that its best use case is to attack twice before dying on defense on its last Lifespan turn. If you manage to start a Chieftain train (buying one every turn while using the oldest to help defend) the value they provide is tremendous. Like other blockers with Lifespan they have counters though.
Constant Damage[edit | edit source]
Constant damage is attack produced by units attacking every turn (either passively or through their ability). It is the opposite of flexible attack, both more reliable and more predictable, and generally constitutes the backbone of your offense. While used in almost every strategy, it is of particular importance to a player going econ.
When going econ, you're playing for the end game. You're not trying to hit precise timings like a player going for burst would. Your objective is to grind out your opponent through constant damage. As such, deciding when to switch from increasing drone count to building damage is probably the most important choice in econ games.
You generally want to go for the most efficient source of constant damage available. In absence of better attackers in the random set Tarsiers are default choice, but it is generally possible to find better. Good examples include:
- Zemora Voidbringer
- Takes a long time to build
- Consumes a lot of green to attack
- Zemora Voidbringer illustrates perfectly the principle of econ play; it takes a long preparation (both in build time and in green tech) for an awesome payoff, if you can get there. The fact that it produces gold as well as damage ramps up your economy even higher when it hits the board. Its main weakness is of course its long construction, during which you are vulnerable to rushes and other tempo plays.
- Shadowfang provides a lot of damage relative to its gold cost, making it excellent as the back line of high econ strategies. It can also be rushed but is hard to protect in that setup. Having to invest in multiple Anime can be wasteful if the random set doesn't contain other useful red units though.