General 1v1 Guide

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By Your Fluffy Majesty

The purpose of this guide is to provide you with basic instructions on how to play 1v1, specifically ladder. It's implied that you have already read the Beginner's Guide to Forged Alliance and Unit Micro guides and have a general understanding of the basic game mechanics and terms.

Basic theory

Before you start learning things like faction diversity or map related strategy it's necessary to make sure you know the theory of your gameplay. The ultimate goal is to kill an enemy commander but there are a lot of things you have to understand to not just fall behind.

Basic important points of gameplay:

Eco balance

It's implied that you know the eco mechanics by now, you have to be able to have a healthy economy from the initial build order stage up to the very lategame stage (not important for now). My personal advice to the beginners would be to not overthink the complexity of eco. If you are really unsure about what you are doing, just watch some top players' replays. For the start I would suggest to not underbuild your power and rather have a bit of a waste if you can't balance it properly. One of the important things beginners miss out on is intel, which requiers energy. Don't forget that build power (engineers and factories) is also a resource and that you should constantly increase it so you can spend a constantly inflating mass/energy income.

Map control

Map has resources on it and it shouldn't be a surprise that whoever can get more resources will win. Unless his economy management is a complete and utter garbage of course :). As a basic rule, just keep in mind that you should keep at least half of the map under control. Send early engineers towards closest mexes and make tanks with scouts to protect them from raids. Sometimes it's worth to give up some not very important positions for the advantage of having to invest less eco into units, making the decision on these things will come with the game understanding and experience.


Just as map control, reclaim is a very important aspect of this game, often even more important than map control. Trees give more energy than mass and rocks/buildings/unit wrecks give only mass. You can also reclaim started but unfinished buildings and get both mass and energy from them. Reclaim gives 81% of the unit's initial cost (except ASF, their

wreckage cost is lowered), and drastically decreases in value if it's laying underwater. Taking control over the reclaim left after an engagement is very important. What's maybe even more important is grabbing contested default map reclaim, which is usually located in the middle of the map (e.g. on Fields of Isis). If map has it, always try to secure it with engineer and units or your ACU.There is a lot more to reclaim mechanics, see here <link to some reclime guide>


Something that newbies ask a lot, "how do I know when to upgrade my mexes", "when do I go T2" etc. It's kind of a hard point to explain, so no surprise there. Depending on your playstyle the answer to this question can vary and to explain it properly I would have to start a topic on a game strategy but we are here not for that. First, SCOUT and see what your opponent is up to. If he is making big spam and you don't have as many units, don't rush teching T2/T3 mexes because you can lose map control. On the other hand, if the opponent is ecoing you can try to punish him by penetrating his defense line or you can invest into your own tech, seeing that it's safe to do so. That leads us to the next and last point of the basic theory.


Something that even a lot of medium level players don't understand, the importance of intel. Imagine you are playing a game with no fog of war. Do you think it's easy to lose when you see everything? I don't think so. This is in my opinion a very key point to this game and I would say at least 50% of all games ever on FAF were lost because of the lack of scouting. Make radars, EVERYWHERE. T1 radar is as cheap as a Ukrainian hooker ( ° ͜ʖ°) . To react to incoming attacks you need your units in a good position, radar is the key to getting them in this good position. Then you need air scouts. Just queue some together with inties on your air factory and you will have some idle scouts always in base for use. It's an important point you have to get before you can start properly planning your own strategy, at least as a player with a defensive playstyle.

General map size/type theory

Without water

  • 5x5

Small maps where every mex matters, very dependent on map control so teching is rarely a good idea, build order matters a lot. Often very good maps for auroras. Using ACU in combat is a must-do. General meta-game is to spam T1 land and gain map control with slow switch to t2 or ACU upgrade, but fast air strike can do big damage too.

  • 10x10

A medium size maps with every aspect of the game included. Spam T1 to hold your part of the map or try to attack, T2 stage is reached nearly always and is most of the time the

"main" stage of the game, but T3 can be reached with relative ease too. Teching mexes is a lot easier than on 5x5 because you have more mass to work with and the distance between you and your opponent is bigger. Air can be used but rarely as your main weapon, it's good for raiding and snipes though. Be careful and watch out for those pesky ACU upgrades from your opponent, as they can be a very effective tool to push.

  • 20x20

Big maps with no water are rare and each one of them is quite different in how it plays. Generally speaking air is important as it's a lot more mobile than land, but on some maps like Emerald Crater T1 land spam has proven to be a very effective weapon just because of how few mass there is to work with and how land units provide a much better tool for securing map control (air is good for raiding but not for holding). With big amounts of mass on maps like Ditch (yeah I know It has navy, but it's not that relevant) it's very important to tech quickly, as the amount of mass allows it.

With water

  • 5x5

Very rare type of maps, out of my mind I can only remember 3 maps. If the water doesn't have a steep shore and can be accessed by land, hover units are very good. So get your own hover or frigates, if you are cybran. Fast ACU through the water to the enemy base is also good. If it's inaccessible its importance decreases and it plays more like a 5x5 with no water (Balvery Mountains for example). But on maps like "TAG Voi Vittu" you have mexes underwater so it's still necessary to hold navy.

  • 10x10

A type of maps I don't like because navy is everything on them, unless you have a direct land connection to your opponent (Eyes of the Storm). On these kind of maps generally your only goal is to not fail at the start and win navy, it's strength will leave no chance to your enemy.

  • 20x20

Plays somewhat like a 10x10 land map, except you swap land and navy. Most important thing is to grab the map, especially on an island based map like Roanoke Abyss. Thus it's important to not stall eco early on and get a fast transport. Then you can play a "normal" game with eco and navy. Ultimately the goal is to break 1 front and raid enemy with T2 navy/hover units, air also can't be neglected.

General strategy/tactics/approach tips

  • Before attacking evaluate if the attack will pay off or the reclaim left from units will only feed your opponent.
  • Try to always know what your opponent is up to, as then it's only a matter of knowing the counter to his actions and good micro/macro.
  • Don't "learn" maps, instead learn the game. A good player with deep game understanding will do great on any map, a player that focuses on map learning won't improve nearly as fast.
  • Use your faction's advantages. You will learn about them as you get more familiar with the game but a lot of them are already in different guides, including the ones I linked above.
  • Don't overcommit with ACU. Even though not using your ACU for its firepower might seem as the mistake, and often it is so, in many cases it's too dangerous to use it aggressively, you need to "feel" when to play passively and when not.
  • Naval game is very "snowbally", which means that every single fight is extremely important and making a comeback is incredibly hard, which makes having good naval micro a necessity.
  • Build power is also a resource, sometimes killing a group of engineers can make more difference than raiding mexes.


Good question, my son. I believe that most people can be good players but they are not honest with themselves when it comes to analysis and have a wrong approach.

  • What you need to understand is that you won't improve fast just by playing a lot. Like in chess, you have to learn a lot of boring theory :). 1st thing to do, before you even think about playing is to learn the game mechanics, you should have it covered by now, if no - read Beginner's Guide to Forged Alliance , play campaign. Next step would be to read the basic theory at the start of this guide, then learn some basic build orders.
  • After every game go and watch the replay, see what caused you to lose and be honest with yourself, "well he just had OP units and I had UI lag" only works if you are on top lvl where things like these actually matter. Watch replays of top 10 players, luckily now the replay vault has all the neat search functions you need. Watch what they do differently and analyze why. Watch replays of people ~300 rating above yourself, I would say it's the best range to learn from. Those players are clearly better but also don't have a massive difference from your gameplay so it's easy to pick up things from their games.
  • Watch POV streams and videos, those will help you pick up things you couldn't pick up yourself from watching replays. It's a great way to entertain yourself and learn by watching a different point of view.
  • Now to clarify some things, you DON'T need to learn all the cost/range etc. numbers by heart (hello bh), I myself probably know less of this than half of the ~1700 rated people, just remember that you need to use logic when playing and to know general unit properties .
  • There is a whole lot more to talk about, but if you want to become good, you have to pick on those things yourself. GL&HF.

This guide was made to fulfill my selfish fluffy avatar desires. ちんちんが大好きなんだよ~!