Spoony's Strategy Guides: Volcano
In the last year or so I have been extensively playing clan games i.e. small games compared to public servers, and unlike public servers everyone is working in co-ordination. So I now present my second strategy guide for small games, for Volcano.
These strategy guides all assume the starting credits are zero.
 My general Renegade principle
Before I actually begin the Volcano guide, I'm going to explain a principle by which I generally play. It's extremely simple, extremely effective, and it frankly baffles me that the vast majority of players in public servers don't seem to understand it.
The principle is this. If your enemy has powerful and expensive weapons, destroy them before you attack his base. I'm being theoretical here, but here's a demonstration of what I mean. Let's say the map's Under and you're on Nod. Let's say there are a couple of GDI players who are camping in front of their AGT to defend the base. If you rush in with stanks, flamers or APCs intent on base destruction, you'll fail. The meds will smash up your rush and you won't kill a building. All you'll do is run out of money, while at the same time giving your enemy some nice fat points. Instead, get an artillery and some light tanks, and kill the med tanks first. Hit the weapon factory a couple of times with the artillery. This will force the med tanks to rush you, otherwise you would just get massive points... and when they rush, concentrate all your light tank/artillery fire on the med tanks. Then once the med tanks are destroyed, you'll have an artillery hitting the factory, a couple of light tanks ready to rush the AGT, and GDI can't do jack about it. Most likely, you'll kill one if not both buildings in that scenario. At the very least, you will build up a large points lead and get lots of cash for your next attack.
Anyway, bear that principle in mind as you read on...
 Early game
As the game begins, all players should rush with engineers through the tunnels. If you're GDI, it's sometimes wise to mix a soldier in there too. (Don't bother doing that with Nod, since Nod automatic rifles are pathetic and you're better off with the engineer pistol). If it's a large game (ie 8 or more players), add in a shotgunner or two.
If you can take out a building at the start, that's great. But it isn't really that likely. Your main goal is to get money quickly. Here are some guidelines for C4'ing, assuming you're an engineer.
1. If there are no enemies nearby as you run into the enemy building and you have a teammate with you, use your timed c4 first, then both your remotes, but don't detonate your remotes until the timer goes off (or until an enemy discovers you). This'll allow you and your teammate to take the building. 2. If there are no enemies nearby and you're on your own, use your timed c4 first, plant both your remotes on the MCT and detonate immediately, killing yourself. This way you'll get back to base straight away, which you really need to do, since the enemy will be trying to remote your buildings just as you're doing. Whether or not the timed c4 will go off really depends whether the enemy gets lucky spawns or not. 3. If there is an enemy soldier around you as you're running into the building, forget your timed c4 because he'll easily disarm it after he's killed you. Just use your remotes.
Pistol skills are very important on Volcano, because if you're really good with a pistol, and the enemy(s) you encounter in the tunnel suck with a pistol, you'll get your remotes off. Once one team gets remotes off, they will probably keep getting remotes off, because if someone remotes your building someone has to stop and fix it. While you're fixing up your building for ten seconds or however long it takes, your opponent is already halfway through the tunnel and about to remote another of your buildings. Like I said, pistol skill is important. Don't forget it only takes four pistol headshots to kill a basic infantry, so get good with your pistol and you can take enemies down in a flash.
Now. The harvesters dump at the same time for both teams, and will leave you with around 500-600 credits if you didn't get any C4 money. If you did get some remotes off, obviously you'll have 200-400 more. This is why you need good pistol skills at the start... Let's say neither side managed to get any C4s off. GDI could rush with APCs and Nod would buy arties. That could go either way, really. But if GDI got C4s off while Nod didn't, they'd have med tanks against arties, so GDI would probably win that fight... and end up with med tanks in Nod base while Nod team has no money. If Nod got their C4's off, there's the possibility of causing havoc with a flamer or stank.
Only one person should really be mining, so you know exactly how many mines you've used, what's mined and what isn't. It's also a bad idea for more than one person to spend those 350 credits. The others should buy vehicles.
Of course, once the Hotwire/technician has mined up, he can try to sneak into enemy base.
It is generally a better idea to mine the two tunnel entrances than to mine the building doors, because it's quicker and you don't need to worry about overmining. If someone's watching the base, they can just spare a quick glance at the tunnel entrances. If the mines are gone, check your buildings because there's a hotwire/tech around. Also, if you see a player's score go up by 30 every couple of seconds, they're disarming mines and someone should intervene. If you notice this happening but aren't in a position to do anything about it, e.g. if you're in a tank fight somewhere else, let your team know so someone else can check up on it. (This is where teamspeak comes in handy) If there's one building which positively has to be mined, it is the POWERPLANT. This is the most important building for both GDI and Nod - lose it and you're screwed. Second most important is probably Weapons Factory / Airstrip.
When your harv dumps, if you're GDI someone needs to buy an APC straight away. (If somebody managed to get all their engineer C4 on a building, they'll be able to do this before the harv dumps... and that's a really good thing for GDI, as you'll soon see) If you're quick, lucky or both, hopefully you can get your APC here...
before Nod has a vehicle. If you can achieve this, GDI has a massive advantage, because with one APC you have effectively stopped their entire usage of tanks. For Nod to buy a tank when your APC is there is stupidity, since you could just kill him as he ran to collect it, which would leave you free to hijack the Nod tank. If you've "blocked the Airstrip" as above, the APC can just keep Nod infantry busy while the rest of GDI rush with med tanks, MRLS, or sneak with a hotwire. Don't forget the possibility of piling engineers into your initial APC. If you have three engineers in one APC, use the "remote rush". I.E. forget your timed c4, just rush into a building and everyone remotes it straight away. Three engineers can instantly kill a building this way, assuming it isn't mined.
Let's say you didn't manage to block the airstrip (most likely, because Nod bought a vehicle before your APC got there). If they bought a vehicle, it would most likely be an artillery. Taking on an arty one on one with a GDI APC isn't that good of an idea, since there will probably be other Nod players running around who can give repairs to the artillery. Just try to keep it busy while the rest of GDI bring in med tanks. Once the cavalry arrives, the APC can kill any technicians who are fixing the arty, which'll make the med's jobs much easier.
GDI's basic strategy on Volcano is med tanks, and lots of them. But someone needs an APC at the start, and don't forget to have someone whose job it is to defend against techs. If you're a med tank in Nod base, try to keep a mental note of how many Nod players are in their base (fixing, or trying to kill your med). If there are, say, two Nod players unaccounted for, let your teammates know so someone can keep a watchful eye on the tunnels. The absolutely worst thing a team can do on Volcano is fail to communicate.
As you've read for GDI, blocking the airstrip is an extremely effective tactic.... so you must stop GDI doing it to you. If GDI didn't get C4 money, you probably shouldn't have a problem affording an artillery before GDI has their APC in your base. SOMEONE ON NOD ABSOLUTELY MUST BUY AN ARTILLERY AS SOON AS THEY CAN AFFORD TO.
Let's say you couldn't get an artillery, and GDI has managed to APC block you. If Nod players are already in the tunnels with engineers/technicians, then they should continue their sneaking efforts and hopefully kill a building. Other Nod players should shelter inside the buildings. Try to have at least one player in each building (unless it's a small game), in case GDI tries to remote rush a building. If you see multiple engineers running into a building, the best way to stop them remote rushing you is using your own remotes to kill the engineers. One person, or two at the most, should buy Laser Chaingunners to attack the APC. You probably won't kill it, but you can push it back and force him to repair behind cover. This is your opportunity to buy an artillery and regain control of your airstrip.
If you got C4 money, then one or more players may be able to sneak a stank into GDI base. Otherwise go with artillery and maybe a light tank or two. As with GDI, have someone mine the base and they can also sneak with their technician. A "teched arty" works well on Volcano i.e. one Artillery and one Technician giving him constant repairs. A med tank is virtually guaranteed to lose against a teched Arty, so they'll need two meds... which is expensive, whereas a teched arty isn't. If you manage to get an artillery here,
that's good news because GDI can't really buy any more tanks until they've dealt with your artillery. This tactic doesn't work as well as GDI's APC block, because GDI soldiers in groups can easily kill an artillery, but it can be worthwhile. Also, obviously an artillery is a direct threat to buildings, whereas an APC isn't. Nod's basic strategy for Volcano starts off with artillery, and work your way up to stanks/flamers with arty support. Only really have one person trying to sneak at any one time, otherwise GDI will overrun your tanks with their mediums.
Nuking with an APC or SBH is also a possibility, but not a particularly good one.