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The Codex Commando: NiteShade's Commando Guide

NiteShade

Introduction

The Commando is one of the last classes unlocked in Night of the Dead. It is physically very frail, with the lowest health of any Medium Weight Class. The Commando is a class that is difficult to use properly, and very difficult to master. It requires an innate knowledge of the class, its skills, and strengths and weakness.

Terminology

I will get this out of the way early so as to not confuse anyone.

  • Comm: Abbreviation of Commando
  • OpComm: Commando leveling his Operations Tree
  • Delta: Short for the Commando's Delta Tree
  • Tac Nuke: Operation's Tactical Nuke
  • HS: Heightened Senses, an area-of-effect skill in the Delta Tree.
  • Surg: Surgical Strike, an Operations skill that increases damage.
  • Adren: Adrenaline, an Operations skill that increases attack speed.
  • BT: Borrowed Time, an Operations skill that trades health for energy.
  • DPS: Damage Per Second, the primary term for the relative damage output in NOTD.
  • Tank: Any heavy class designed to absorb damage and taunt enemies.
  • aoe: Area-Of-Effect, circular area a skill or attack is active within.
  • Pubs/Public: Recruit Difficulty games filled through public matchmaking.
  • Channel Game: Matches hosted privately, often through the NOTD Channel.
  • nm: Nightmare Mode, the hardest available difficulty.

Old Terms

  • MM: Usually short for Marksman, in this instance it refers to Mind Meld.
  • KMS: Killing Me Softly, a powerful single target skill in the Subtlety Tree.
  • SubComm: Commando leveling his Subtlety Tree.
  • Subtlety Commando: Old replaced right tree that focused on Psionic Abilities.

Availability

Unlocked

The Commando is unlocked at a staggering 80,000 Experience. However, it is also available at 10,000 Experience, provided the player can maintain at least a 1700 Rating. This should be easy, and even if you do fall below the 1700 threshold, a few good matches should easily bring your rating back up to par.

Easy Company

The Commando is the 8th Class of Easy Company. Although not common in most Public matches, the Commando is a staple member of almost every veteran team.

Alpha Company

More commonplace to appear than in Easy Company, Alpha makes good use of the Commando's talents. No team should be without one, but Alpha's naturally higher difficulty and more dangerous spawns forces the Commando to always be cautious.

Apollo Security Team

The Commando, for reasons of balancing, is not naturally available in this campaign. Instead, the 8th Class position is instead taken by the Psi-Ops. The Commando can still technically be used, but it must be randomized. The chances of this are small, and will require the same 10,000 Experience and 1700 Rating the class normally requires to use.

Role

The Commando is a class that lacks physical strength, but more than makes up for it in powerful skills. It is very micromanagement intensive and requires good us of skills to be effective. All commando's should familiarize themselves with their skills, and the potential weaknesses or side effects of them.

Operations

The Operations tree is designed around maximum destruction. It focuses on brutally high damage output, near limitless energy, and boasts one of the single strongest skills in the game, the Tactical Nuke. When playing as an OpComm your role will be unleashing tremendous amounts of damage to thin hordes early game, as well as providing a substantial amount of the firepower needed to bring down bosses. Late game heavy usage of the tactical nuke will be used to clear away mobs and you will most likely inflict a large portion of the damage on the final boss.

Delta

The Delta Commando's role is much less straightforward than Operations. Where an Opcomm's skills all focus on killing enemies or aiding in doing so, Deltas' skills work to disable enemies, making them easier to deal with. Because of this, Delta makes a solid additions to teams that already have the Operation's two main roles, anti-boss firepower, and aoe damage, well handled. This makes Delta somewhat more at home in Alpha Company where the Forward Observer and Flamethrower pick up some of Ops' duties.

Base Stats

Base Health: 150
Base Shields: 30
Base Energy: 150
Base Armor: 0
Move Speed: 2.48
Weight Class: Medium
Inventory Slots: 4
Modification Slots: 2
Unique Skill: Can switch weapons at 50% faster speed

Stats Allocation

Strength

The boost to Health will improve the Commando's life expectancy, and synergizes well with Borrowed Time and Combat Hardened. I usually run with 5 strength, bringing my health on par with a Rifleman.

Endurance

Less important than strength, unless you have extra stats to use, I would avoid endurance. The slight regeneration boost is not enough of a bonus to warrant the minimal health boost.

Perception

A useful stat, more so for Operations than Delta. The critical hits will increase damage output slightly and the detection will be massively useful for burrowed Infestors and Wraiths.

Agility

Another excellent stat, the increased move speed will make kiting easier, and allow you to carry more items and ammo. The reload bonus is particularly helpful for Operations. Always put at least a few stats into Agility.

Intelligence

The greatest stat of all. The Commando is an energy intensive class, regardless of tree. Increasing your total pool to draw from is a major advantage. On top of this, the slight chance of a double talent is always appreciated. I recommend placing as many stats into Intel as you can afford.

Talent Trees

Operations

Commando1-red



Tier 1

Surgical Strike

(Q) - Through the years of war the Commando had lots of time to better himself to the extent that he can greatly increase his attack damage at will for 15 seconds. He does however suffer a Recovery Time which reduces his attack damage by 30% for 15 seconds. 30 second cooldown. 30 energy cost. Note: This affects all attacks by commando, including Tactical Nuke.

Level 1 - Increases attack damage by 50%
Level 2 - Increases attack damage by 100%
Level 3 - Increases attack damage by 150%

Adrenaline

(W) - The recoil of the weapon of the Commando sings to him from many battles reciting the urgency he felt at that time pumping his system with adrenaline making him fire drastically faster with each consecutive attack for 20 seconds. 30 second cooldown. 25 energy cost. Stacks up to 30 times.

Level 1 - Increases attack speed by 2% with each attack
Level 2 - Increases attack speed by 4% with each attack
Level 3 - Increases attack speed by 6% with each attack

Tier 2

Borrowed Time

(V) - The Commando can sacrifice his own psionic energy to use as emergency reserves of power for his Power Armor. Doing so wounds him grievously in the process. Converts the commando's own life force into 50 energy. 12 second cooldown.

Level 1 - Consumes 80 health
Level 2 - Consumes 40 health

Weapon Expertise

Commandos have undergone years of rigorous combat training, and survived countless missions in their decades of service. As a result they are masters of all forms of weaponry. Passive

Level 1 - Increases damage by 10% and an additional 5% damage increase when using Surgical Strike
Level 2 - Increases damage by 20% and an additional 10% damage increase when using Surgical Strike

Tier 3

Tactical Nuke

(F) - The Commando is the only field operatives entrusted with the use of Tactical Nuclear Ordinance. The use of such a dangerous weapon falls solely upon the discretion of the Commando himself. 20 second cooldown. 50 energy cost. Friendly Fire Possible

Level 1 - Launches a 9 radius nuke that deals 1200 damage at 120 range.

Delta

Commando2-red

Tier 1

Bring Them Down

The Commando aims to make his targets stumble and fall into each other upon killing them, slowing the enemies around them. Stacks with itself once per target. Passive

Level 1 - Slows enemies within 1.5 radius by 15% for 3 seconds
Level 2 - Slows enemies within 1.5 radius by 20% for 3.5 seconds
Level 3 - Slows enemies within 1.5 radius by 25% for 4 seconds

Heightened Senses

(E) - The Commando can feel his enemies around him and for 10 seconds he makes them glow red. This red glow allows for the Commando and allies to better see their targets thus making these targets take 25% more damage from attacks made to them. 5 second cooldown. 10 energy cost. Affects invisible units as well.

Level 1 - Targets in a 12 area radius will glow red
Level 2 - Targets in a 18 area radius will glow red
Level 3 - Targets in a 24 area radius will glow red

Tier 2

Gravity Grenade

(R) - The Mk1 Gravity Grenade is a device created retooling White Mesa's Gravity Gun into a handheld form. It was designed to dislodge enemies from entrenched positions, but found to be also useful for nonlethal crowd control. It drags all units within an area to it for a short duration, clustering them together. Massive units are not dragged, but are slowed by 50%. 15 second cooldown. 20 energy cost.

Level 1 - Affects unit within a radius of 3 for 4 seconds.
Level 2 - Affects unit within a radius of 4 for 6 seconds.

Combat Hardened

(C) - Countless years of battle and terrain have made the Commando selectively resistant to most diseases and ailments as he can remove all ailments/snaring effects instantly along with becoming tougher and more focused. 20 second cooldown. 15 energy cost.

Level 1 - Passively increases health by 20% and energy regeneration by 20% (+0.0781)
Level 2 - Passively increases health by 40% and energy regeneration by 40% (+0.1601)

Tier 3

The Horror

(G) - The KTH-22 chemical grenade, nicknamed "The Horror" is a canister utilizing fast-acting nerve agents and hallucinogens that terrify and disorientate those affected by its contents. Originally designed as an interrogation aid, it was banned for use in police forces due to the radical side effects experienced by its victims. It was shortly weaponized afterwards, as its potency as an implement of war is undeniable. 30 second cooldown. 30 energy cost.

Level 1 - Disables the attack of and blinds all units within a radius of 4 for 10 seconds. Can blind allies in target area.

Talents and Builds

Your build order should always work to accomplish one simple task. Helping the team as much as you possibly can. You must strive to accomplish whatever task has been set forth for you. The role of the Commando is vital, and should be played to the best of the users abilities.

Operations Skills

Your build has a simple purpose, to ensure maximum possible damage output and work its way to Tactical Nukes as fast as possible. There is no one perfect build. There are builds that create the highest possible damage per second, but that comes at the cost of ammo consumption.

Surgical Strike vs Adrenaline

Surgical Strike and Adrenaline are two very powerful skills that both heavily bolster damage in different ways. Surg as it is known, will up the raw damage of the Commando's Weapon. Adrenaline merely ups the speed of his attacks. Adrenaline lasts 5 seconds longer, and Surgical has a brief period of "overexertion" after use in which the commando deals 30% less damage.

3 Surgical and 1 Adrenaline

This combination will ensure maximum ammo conservation vs damage output. You will have the strongest attacks, but lack the attack speed of other builds.

2 Surgical and 2 Adrenaline

A compromise between the former and later builds. This combination serves as a middle ground, boasting a moderate increase in damage while being mid-range in ammo conservation.

1 Surgical and 3 Adrenaline

This build sacrifices the increased damage output through stronger attacks for increased damage through sheer hail of lead. Although it boasts among the highest raw damage per second, you will go through far more ammo, and less efficiently than other builds.

3 Surgical and 3 Adrenaline

Where most classes the general tactic is to get the necessary 4 Talents in Tier 1 skills, and then begin leveling up Tier 2 skills, this is not always the case. Because of the Commando's only mild desire for energy early on and important role as the highest early damage output, maxing out both Adrenaline and Surgical will yield incredibly high damage output. The only draw back to this is you will lack Borrowed Time until later, so energy reserves must be managed more carefully.

Borrowed Time

A keystone behind the Commando's power. This skill trades health for energy. With the healing of a Medic, the Commando has access to near limitless energy, allowing full use of skills. Unless there is ample amounts of energy regenerating classes and items, it is highly advised to get Borrowed Time before Weapons Expertise.

Weapons Expertise

An excellent skill in its own right, this skill passively increases damage, but also the effectiveness of Surgical Strike. A solid choice, although the utility of Borrowed Time often has commandos getting this skill later.

Tactical Nuke

It goes without saying, get this skill as early as possible. Proper usage of the skill will be discussed in-depth later in the guide.

Operations Builds

Below are some example builds for an Operations Commando.

Pure Damage

  • 3 Surgical Strike
  • 1 Adrenaline
  • 2 Weapons Expertise
  • 2 Borrowed Time
  • 1 Tactical Nuke
  • 2 Adrenaline

The purpose of this build is to conserve as much ammo as possible while still having high damage output. Only advised for use when the team will suffer ammunition problems in the late game, or when the Commando is not the primary damage dealer.

Pubstomper

  • 3 Adrenaline
  • 1 Surgical Strike
  • 2 Borrowed Time
  • 2 Weapons Expertise
  • 1 Tactical Nuke
  • 2 Surgical Strike

This build is only for Recruit Mode games. Often, Surgical strike is overkill, given the enemies relatively low health and the commando is in fact limiting himself so he does not overlevel too hard. Maxing Adrenaline and Borrowed Time means the Commando will be primarily for fighting hordes, where his high firerate is most needed. The abundance of ammo in Recruit Difficulty also makes this build possible where in other gamemodes it would burn through too much ammo.

Maximum Firepower

  • 3 Adrenaline
  • 3 Surgical Strike
  • 2 Borrowed Time
  • 1 Tactical Nuke
  • 2 Weapons Expertise

This build focuses on the highest possible early game firepower. Useful when the Commando is the primary damage dealer. However, getting Borrowed Time 2 levels later forces the Commando to better manage his energy pool, failure to do so may leave him without energy for a critical battle.

Beyond Operations

Because of his nature as a high damage class, the Operations Commando almost always kills a huge number of enemies, and will surely be levels ahead of his allies in the late game. How early he wishes to switch trees and what skills to take are mostly at the users discretion.

Skipping Borrowed Time

Although not advised, it is acceptable to switch trees without getting Borrowed Time, opting instead for Weapons Expertise. However, the team must have at least an active Surveillance Recon and preferably a Field Engineer to augment the Commando's Energy regeneration. Should either or both of these characters die, the commando will be left high and dry with too many skills and not enough energy, crippling his performance.

Skipping Weapons Expertise

Much less frowned upon than borrowed time to skip, weapons expertise is a passive skill, and as a rule of thumb in notd is that active skills are more useful in the long run than passive skills. The primary reasoning to skill Weapons Expert is to get Heightened Senses as early as possible. The Commando is traded the passive damage bonus of Weapons Expert, which only effects himself, for the area of effect damage bonus of Heightened Senses, which will also increase the damage of his allies.

Bring Them Down

Considering currently this skill does nothing (literally) I can only advise players to skip it, only getting the 1 level required to get Tier 2 Delta skills. When it's properly implemented, I'll revise this section.

Heightened Senses

An excellent area of effect skill with a low cooldown. Heightened Senses will further bolster the Operations Commando's already ferocious damage output, as well as his allies. The skill can be used as long as there is energy, and energy is a recourse the Opcomm is usually rich with. I highly recommend leveling this skill up as much as possible, it is excellent overall. It also reveals cloaked enemies.

Gravity Grenade

I would advise against getting Gravity Nade while playing as an Opcomm. Since you will inevitably be getting it very late game, it loses much of it's potential simply because of the late stages of the match. Also, unless you sported several double talents or massively overleveled, you most likely will not get it to level 2. It may have some use in holding enemies in place for a nuke, but for the most part that energy would be better spent on other skills.

Combat Hardened

Assuming you do earn enough Talents for this skill, I highly recommend it. It may be passive, but its effects are all incredibly beneficial to the Operations Commando.

Increased Health

By increasing your health, you gain several advantages. Obviously, you are harder to kill, so the skill mitigates the Commando's low base health and general frailty. Increased health means you can use Borrowed Time more, as you have a larger pool of health to draw from. This also means the medic can wait longer to heal you, saving his heals for when they have full effect.

Increased Energy Regeneration

Increasing the Commando's passive energy regeneration is massively helpful. In addition to the above, it helps remove some of the Commando's dependance on his Medic for energy. It's not much, but it takes some of the load off the Medic's back, allowing him to better focus on the tank.

Self Ailment Healing

Combat Hardened itself also comes with an active skill that cures all Venoms, Open Wounds, Blindness, and even Short Circuit from the Commando. Because he is already capable of producing his own energy, he can literally use this skill for every ailment he receives, further distancing himself from his Medic. Once Combat Hardened has been skilled, the Commando should only require his Medic for healing, and be freed from needing him to cure ailments.

Delta Skills

Delta is a support class that specializes in disabling enemies. Note that this doesn't mean stunning, this is far too straightforward. Instead, Delta weakens his enemies in a number of ways, making them much easier for his allies to deal with. This is almost opposite Operations, who focuses solely on killing those same enemies as fast as possible.

Bring Them Down

While Bring Them Down is intended to slow enemies in an area around the commando's attacks, it currently does not. I will comment more when the skill is properly implemented, and I expect it to be a powerful early game slow, especially on Nightmare where enemies can charge. For now, all we can do is skip BTD and wait for another patch.

Heightened Senses

The Delta's bread and butter skill. It has a low energy cost, a very short cooldown, and effects a wide area. Overall there is little wrong with this skill. "HS" as it is commonly referred to causes all effected enemies to receive 25% more damage for attacks. This provides a massive boost to all players attacks, and works in great combination with other classes high damage skills. Marked targets are shrouded in red and this effect can be seen even through fog of war, given it some application as a scouting tool. As an added bonus Heightened Senses will reveal any cloaked enemy, provided a character can physically see it. I strongly encourage all DeltaComms to always get level three Heightened Senses right away. And to use it liberally. A Delta with full energy is one that most likely isn't taking an active enough role.

Gravity Grenade

Replacing Killing Me Softly as the right tree Commando's "Signature Skill" I for one thoroughly enjoy Gravity Grenades. They provide a unique mechanic that holds potential for large amounts of synergy. Essentially the skill greats a pocket of density that sucks in nearby units. Massive units are too heavy and are slowed, rather than sucked in, and especially fast units can escape the whirling vortex. However, enemies trapped are balled together, making any aoe skills (ie, Fire Mission and Smite) or weapons (think L3 Grenade Launcher and Stinger) extremely effective. More on this powerful skill will be discussed later.

Weakness

Gravity Grenades are not without weakness. Any unit in its range has the potential to be effected. This includes sucking in player characters. Enemies within the vortex can still attack normally, so players can in essence be dragged to their deaths, unable to escape from nearby enemies.

Combat Hardened

A unique skill, Combat Hardened is primarily passive, with a useful activate portion as well. The primary focus of the skill is the greatly increased bonus to total health. However, it also passively increases Energy regeneration. Lastly, the skill comes with an active skill combat hardened. This will cure every single Blindness, Open Wound, Venom, and even Short Circuit on the Commando at the time of its use. This vastly increases the Commando's survivability and decreases his need for a Medic's assistance. Only one level is needed for the Active skill, but I strongly encourage always fully leveling this skill.

The Horror

The Delta's Ultimate Skill. The Horror blinds targets in its affected radius, as well as disables their ability to attack. This can be useful for turning an otherwise deadly scenario into a moment to escape or react. It can also be used on a boss to buy time for the tank to heal. Not that it's effects do very much work on allies, and Delta's should be wary of their ally's positions at all times.

Delta Builds

Unlike Operations, very few good Delta Comm builds exist. Always avoid taking the lazy route and getting passive skills first, its selfish and contributes nothing to the well being of the team. Your disables are too powerful to avoid waiting to get.

Half and Half

  • 3 Heightened Senses
  • 1 Bring Them Down
  • 1 Gravity Grenade
  • 1 Combat Hardened
  • 1 Gravity Grenade
  • 1 Combat Hardened
  • 1 The Horror
  • 2 Bring Them Down

The focus here is to gain access to all active skills as quickly as possible. Only level 1 Grav Nade should be necessary in the very early game. Mostly it's to momentarily hold a blindling swarm in place, or to prevent an Infestor from fleeing over a ledge. You should be fully capable of getting Gravity Grenade fully leveled in time for it's major uses.

Nite's Build

  • 3 Heightened Senses
  • 1 Bring Them Down
  • 2 Gravity Grenade
  • 2 Combat Hardened
  • 1 The Horror
  • 2 Bring Them Down

The Build I personally use. I find it particularly helpful for Alpha Company on Nightmare. The natural synergy between a Delta Commando and an Artillery Forward Observer is almost unmatched. Alpha Co is also desperately low on early game disables, with the only real possibilities aside from Delta Skills being "Boom Headshot", Smite, and Mono.

Beyond Delta

While less likely occur than with Operations, a very active DeltaComm will also achieve a high level, particularly in Nightmare games. As a result he is also likely to move into the other tree.

Surgical Strike

Because it is late game, and ammo is most likely being conserved, I say stick to Surgical Strike before Adrenaline. This is especially true in Alpha Company. Also note you most likely will be handling a Stinger MK-3 at some point in the late game, and Surg will do well to bolster its firepower.

Borrowed Time

The ultimate goal when crossing trees, even one level of BT will give the Commando access to near limitless energy, allowing him to spam his skills to a far greater extent than he could before.

Items and Equipment

Operations

Given its role as an incredibly high damage dealer, the OpComm should maximize this role by having first access to some of the more powerful weapons and gear available.

Weapons

P-45 Gauss Pistol

Many Commando's swear by the Pistol, and rightfully so. The Pistol is high powered, has a fast reload, and will make mincemeat out of most targets. However, I cannot stand the weapon outside of Recruit Difficulty. It quickly loses its effectiveness once it starts to take multiple shots to kill even lowly enemies. Consider using it in the early stages of a campaign but do not base your entire play style on it. Also, never rage or even quit as a result of not getting a Pistol. This is the sign of a foolish commando who does not grasp the full spectrum of weapons.

Flamethrower MK-3

My favorite weapon in all of Night of the Dead, a fearsome killing machine. The Flamethrower should be the go-to weapon for an Operations Commando, especially in Easy Company. Easy and Alpha both have very few flying enemies in the early stages of the campaign, making the ground targets easy prey for the Flamer.

Armor Piercing

The Flamethrower, for those who don't know, is totally unaffected by enemy armor. It will inflict just as much damage to to the Zombie Queen as it will to an Agron, despite massive differences in armor. Because of this it is incredibly efficient at dealing at high damage, regardless of what its attacking.

High Splash

The Flamethrower has impressive reach, considering any target in its path is effected. This helps immensely when using Adrenaline. Every enemy touched by the flames adds another "stack" of adrenaline, because of this the Flamethrower can max out your bonus attack speed from adrenaline at an incredible rate.

Damage to Biological

The only weapon to posses this damage, the flamethrower is horrifyingly effective at any living enemy. The only time it should be avoided is when large numbers of Gargoyles or Infested Marines strike at you from beyond the flamethrower's grasp. Also avoid using it on anything mechanical, the most common example being Seth.

HK420 Assault Rifle

A more powerful version of the C-14 Gauss Rifle often used by Commandos. The weapon is often the staple for late game commandos, when large numbers of armored or massive enemies are present. Overall its a very solid weapon, but avoid using it in situations where the Flamethrower MK-3 would perform the same task. If found early on Alpha Company it will inflict horrific damage on Demeter and his Agrons before they are even close enough to be threats.

M5 Pulse Rifle

Although they HK is preferred by many, this seems to stem from a poor understanding of the two weapons. While the HK has higher damages on paper, the Pulse if powerful in its own right. It deals extra damage to Heroics, making it excellent vs any boss, especially Erebos. The low armor reduction also makes it more effective against enemies with high armor than its brother the HK420 Assault Rifle. Note this is high armor, not "armored" type enemies. In the end if both weapons are available, it comes down more to preference than anything.

XM814 Heavy Machine Gun

My favorite of the "rifle" type weapons. The HMG boasts tremendous firepower, splash, range, and bypasses armor. The only weakness is its long reload time. Often times this weapon is given to Survival Riflemen but it is this a force of nature in skilled Commando hands. Carefully timed reloads and proper skill timing and usage will be needed to control the reload. High-Capacity Magazines greatly improve the weapons performance as well. While I would encourage players to use the HMG when playing OPComm, especially late game, I know many won't.

AER138 Laser Rifle

Mandatory for Chapter 3 Easy Company because of the tremendous damage it deals to the Zombie Queen; the Operations Commando has first priority for a Laser Rifle. However, do not using it at all during the Bio-Domes. It will waste a terrible amount of ammunition and any other rifle-like weapon would be overall more effective. In Alpha Company you never need or want a Laser Rifle. No boss has enough armor to mandate its usage. The HMG and HK will prove vastly superior.

MP9A2 Sub-Machine Gun

The only times an SMG is of practical use is the large Military Base Hordes, and the Gargoyle wave after Erebos, or against a very heavily armor debuffed Demeter or Cronus. Any other usage is not ammo or damage efficient, and more often than not, a Flamethrower MK-3 would serve better anyways.

590A5 Combat Shotgun

I personally don't like this weapon as an OpComm. The Flamethrower will prove more effective against all bosses but Ely, and Seth. Any other boss you can't get close enough to use a Flamer, you can't use the shotgun either. Against mobs it has great power, but fails against Hulks in a way the Flamethrower MK-3 won't. I also feel it chews through ammo too fast. Overall its still a great gun, but I just don't enjoy it. Other classes like the Assault will make better use of the shotgun in the long run.

M45 Marksman Rifle & Barrett M112

Useful primarily for saving ammunition during periods of downtime, the Commando has one neat trick with these weapons which will be discussed later. As a rule of thumb though, there is almost always another class better suited to the Barrett.

Armors

C2

Given the Commando's frailty and constant close proximity to enemies and bosses armor is always preferred. However, C2's effect is minimal, but it doesn't hurt to have protection. On average C2 will reduce enemy attacks by 4 damage.

C4

Often multiple C4 Armors are not a common occurrence. However late game its quite possible. If your only armor is nothing or C2, make sure to upgrade to C4, especially in Alpha Company due to its more hectic and chaotic nature.

C6

Far to heavy to be of practical use, this armor should almost always go to a tanking class. There is only one per Campaign, and the Commando has almost no business using it.

Reactive Armor

This is a peculiar armor to use as a Commando. Yes, the armor should almost always go to a tanking class first. However, on Normal Difficulty or higher games, two RA's will drop over the course of the game. Unless there are two heavy classes tanking, the second RA can go to the Comm. Because of his constant close proximity to bosses and the extreme dangers posed by later game bosses, the Commando can make good use of this added protection. However, there is no reason to complain another RA isn't open to use.

XS-4 Armor

My personal favorite armor. The Commando is right at home using it. His base shields may only be 30, but its the 4 added shield armor that counts. The majority of Hits are few in nature. Often stray Ghouls or Gargoyles will catch a glancing blow. This can be annoying as they tend to cause ailments. This being said, XS-4 is rare, and several other classes can make better use of it.

Modifications

An Operations Commando should concern himself primarily with Ammo Mods, however there are a few exceptions. One thing to note is that AP,HP, and HE ammos will increase the damage dealt by Tactical Nukes.

No Thermals?

Correct, no Thermal Sights should ever be needed. Let other characters who do not have any vision granting skills use them. Heightened Senses will reveal cloaked enemies as well as increasing their damage taken. It is an incredibly easy skill to spam without any real drain on your energy pool. This should be how even an OpComm deals with the Black Ops Battle. In campaigns with Wraiths, either stick with classes with flares, or use the perception stat and knife.

AP Ammo

A fine choice of an ammo mod, it is more useful on a Commando than many believe. Even if using a Flamethrower, which is unaffected by enemy armor, the high splash of that weapon will distribute the -1 armor debuff across far more enemies than most other weapons will. Also works well with the HK420 Assault Rifle, which has a relatively poor armor reduction. Marksmen will frequently ask for AP first. But the truth is they honestly don't need it. The recent rework of the old Sniper Rifle into the current M45 Marksman Rifle has included greatly improving its armor reduction. In fact, the weapon now performs better against high armored foes than most weapons, and if said marksman is also using the Barrett M112, that is totally unaffected by armor.

HP Ammo

More uncommon than AP and rightfully so. A flat 12% increase to damage is massively helpful for the Commando. It also heavily bolsters the already terrifying power of the nuke.

HE Ammo

The single most useful ammo mod for any Operations Commando. And so few even know why. HE Ammo applies a 50% fire vulnerability to whatever is hit by your attacks. This is for all intents and purposes a free 50% increase (and then some) to the Flamethrower MK-3, AER138 Laser Rifle, and Tactical Nuke. Because of this HE ammo has first priorities to OpComms, above even Demolitions.

FMJ Ammo

The modification I wouldn't recommend. FMJ hurts the flamethrower too much, less range means each hit touches fewer enemies and therefore stacks Adrenaline slower. Also, in the case of the Flamer and Shotgun, you stand plenty close to enemies as is. Leave this mod for other classes like the Marksman to use.

High-Capacity Magazines

An excellent modification, and perfectly suited to the Commando. Doubling your existing magazine size will greatly decrease the amount of reloads made while using Surg and Adrenaline. This makes the use of fast weapons like the Laser Rifle more bearable, as you won't feel as if you're constantly reloading. The HCM also makes using weapons like the HMG and Stinger much more tolerable, and saves quite a few rounds because you have another 30 rounds to chew through before reloading is needed. Overall the perfect Modification for the Commando, an absolute must if found.

NHA, CMA, Arc, and Ocs

None of these modifications help the Commando enough to warrant their use. They would benefit another class far more than you. Unless players are short-handed or there is a bizarre abundance of items, let your allies have these.

Delta

Given the unusual role as a support caster, Deltas have a very low demand for most items and weapons. Mostly you'll be picking up scraps left behind by the tank and high damage classes. You should need very few items to level up properly, sticking close to allies and taking advantage of shared experience works wonders.

Weapons

M45 Marksman Rifle

To be perfectly honest Deltas don't need much more than this weapon. It conserves ammo well, and will pick off lone targets and harassers. Since Bring Them Down's radius is independent of the weapon used's splash, it makes no difference as far as units effected based on the user's weapon. I do suggest keeping a faster weapon such as your Gauss Rifle to use during Bosses/Hordes, if only to stack BTD's slows quicker. The Marksman Rifle is primarily for periods of low enemy density, such as scouting.

Flamethrower MK-3

A fine weapon, but if they are in short supply the Delta loses priority over other classes. It will probably be your primary weapon for the entire first half of Recruit Mode regardless. Flamethrower's also lose some utility on Alpha Company where Gargoyles and Wraiths can harass the team all game.

Pulse, HK, HMG, Barr, and Shotgun

All these power weapons would prove more useful in the hands of a better suited class. However, towards the later game if there is an extra gun to be used, feel free to take it. Never go out of your way to secure power weapons first as a Delta, you are a support role, and will squander most weapon's potential.

AER138 Laser Rifle

Much like Operations, if you do get a laser rifle save it for bosses only, particularly the Queen. It wastes ammo to use it on hordes of enemies. That being said, the Delta should only receive a laser rifle after other higher damage classes are properly equipped with theirs. Do note that, as an exception, the laser's incredible attack speed will stack Bring Them Down's slows at a ridiculous rate, and therefore is very useful in the hands of a Delta during the Queen battle, as it slows all the enemies swarming around the Queen, including those she spawns.

Stinger MK-3

This weapon is in a rather unique position in a Delta's hands. Heightened Senses essentially allows him to pick and choose when he wants enemies to receive extra damage. And because it increases enemy damage taken, not delta's damage dealt, he is in no danger of dealing increased friendly fire, putting allies at greater risk. He can also use his Gravity Grenades to ball up enemies for extremely efficient stinger shots, saving ammo and reducing the need to reload the cumbersome weapon.

Gravity Gun

A very unique weapon, one oddly suited to the Delta's role. It fits his theme of generalized harassment by allowing him to throw items and enemies to knock back foes. He can also save allies from a poorly placed Gravity Grenade or Horror with quick reactions.

Armors

I'm not going to go into detail, but much like Operations, Delta's frequent close proximity to enemies places him at risk for lots of stray Hits. I would place greater emphasis on getting XS-4 Armor if available, as you tend to take a lot of rouge hits from enemies that escaped your various disables.

Ammo Modifications

Delta has no need for any ammo modification. The sole exception is Full Metal Jacket, purely to increase the speed at which his weapon can stack Bring Them Down. Even then, you should be submissive to the needs of higher damage output classes. Overall you will be left picking up leftovers.

Modifications

Again, the Delta plays second fiddle to the classes that could better utilize said modifications. Basically take whatever is left available. A few things to note, Avoid Thermals as their effect is pointless when even level 1 Heightened Senses exceeds their range, and is incredibly spammable. Ocular Implants are useful because increased vision helps with making judgement calls on skill placement. I would however place greater emphasis on getting an Arc Reactor. The Delta is very Energy demanding and doesn't have much at his disposable to increase his regeneration rate.

Tactics and Tips

Operations

Combo Reloads

When using both Adrenaline and Surgical Strike, all Reloads are half their usual length. Combine this bonus with the decreased reload time of Agility for massive reload bonuses. In Nightmare Mode especially, always try for the Perfect Manual Reload, if not just the manual reload. Even a combo NM reload is painfully long.

Charging Adrenaline

Adrenaline has a 5 second longer duration than Surgical Strike. Instead of firing both skills at once, use the first 5 seconds of Adren to "build up" attack speed, firing Surgical right as 5 seconds expire. I do so by watching the time left on Adrenaline's cooldown. This way, you ensure the maximum amount of firepower. This is because had you used both skills at once, the last 5 seconds of adrenaline will fall on top of the first 5 seconds of the Surgical Strike cooldown, when damage is reduced. This results in high fire rate, low damage, a bad mix for sure.

Charging Weapon Swap

Difficult to master, but one of my favorite tricks. This works best when using a fast gun like an MP9A2 Sub-Machine Gun or a C-14 Gauss Rifle in combination with an M45 Marksman Rifle or Barrett M112.

What you do is use the first full magazine of ammunition during Adrenaline-Surg combo with the faster weapon. This builds up your attack speed. During the reload switch to the other, much slower weapon. The attack speed bonus is proportional to the weapon and will carry over. The result is an incredibly fast and high damage "slow" weapon, without the painful build up time. By switching during the reloading, you ensure as little firing time is wasted as possible. This works excellently when switching from Gauss or Pulse to the Sniper Rifle during the Easy Co Gargoyle wave. It also works great against Seth, given his stationary nature.

Its an amazing tactic very few commando's utilize. One that is difficult to master. Use it to employ a slow weapon against hordes of enemies that come from several directions, or a boss fought in a stationary manner.

Surg Nukes

The damage increase of Surgical Strike will effect Nukes. Use this to great massively high damage nukes. These can be used in several ways for terrifying results.

Nuking Erebos

I would not recommend this for Recruit Mode, or with players you are not familiar with. It is entirely possible to Nuke Erebos for a large chunk of his health, often before he even reaches the team. Make sure to warn your team if they don't expect it, hopefully they will provide the stuns to hold the boss in place.

Nuking Nydus Worms

During the Nydus Worms Mission in Easy Co, the Commando's main role is to Nuke the individual worms as the team moves to safety. Normally it takes 2 nukes to kill each worm, but surgical nukes will knock them out in just one.

Nuking Mentos

An art within itself, Surgical nukes will take a huge chunk of Menoetes' health out. At most it should take 3 surg-nukes to kill the beast. Timing is an issue, and experience and foresight play a vital role. Practice will make perfect on this one.

Nuking the Queen

Much easier to nuke than other bosses, the Queen is immortal until the start of Chapter 3. However, as she appears you can hammer her with several nukes. With extreme levels of coordination with the tank, it is possible to nuke her as she is being tanked. This requires an extreme level of trust and I only recommend it with your closest allies. If you happen to be kiting the Queen, save the nukes until she stops to lay eggs, this will kill most if not all of the creatures she spawns, and provide a much slower target.

If the Queen should flee, you can use her position on the Mini-Map or an Recon's LD to track the queen. If possible, nuke ahead of her or otherwise interpret her path. Again, this comes with practice.

Nuking Ivax and Perses

While dangerous, these two Alpha bosses can be nuked. Ivax is fairly slow and his path can easily be determined. However make sure your character doesn't wind up too close as to get hit by his cannons.

As for Perses, wait until he is charging his firestorm ability. He will be immobile and take increased damage. Unless teammates are stuck close to him or under him because of shield placement, now should be the perfect time to nuke.

Standard Nukes

As a rule of thumb, save unsurged nukes for mobs and hordes. During the Airlock hordes, refrain from nuking the Hordes or the Agron pack unless your team has substandard damage output or you see that your tank is failing and enemies will soon overrun your position.

Bio-Domes

During the Bio-Domes a Commando can clear out a huge numbers of enemies with nukes. I generally try to nuke on or close to the dome itself, as these enemies cannot be reached by the team's weapons anyways. It also minimizes the risk anything allied will get caught in the blast. Dome D can be killed by a single surg nuke from as far away as the fort.

Alpha

The post-Cronus horde is a good time to get nuking. Clear out the enemies as they ball up outside the lab entrance, if you can afford the energy usage, nuke constantly to keep enemies off of Tanaka.

When to avoid nukes

Try to minimize the use of Nukes in Recruit Mode. Newer players are unfamiliar with the nuke, and may not have the reactions to avoid it. Any nuke close to the team can potentially kill a player, especially those not experienced enough to liberally use hold position.

Also do not nuke liberally if you are overleveled. If the rest of the team hasn't reached tier 3 skills yet, hold off on the nukes unless absolutely necessary. Nukes do not share exp very well and you will only increase the level gap.

Delta

Heightened Senses+Everything

Incredibly obvious, but still worth mentioning. Heightened Senses increases damage taken by any affected enemy from any damage source. This even includes crazy examples such as enemies that attack each other as a result of LOOK or damage enemies take from hitting a Demo's spiked armor. As a result I simply cannot stress using this skill enough.

Heightened Senses+Cloaked Units

Players often forget HS reveals cloaked units, so a quick Pop of HS will not only make an enemy like a burrowed Infestor take extra damage, but now allies can see it, and fire back with their guns, not just knife. Always be on the lookout for the motion blurs of cloaked or burrowed units to reveal with HS.

Gravity Grenade+Tanks

A oddball of sorts, but tanks should naturally love Gravity Grenade, assuming they know how to capitalize on it. It does rely on both members understanding and reacting accordingly.

Assault Tank

Because Safeguard stacks per hit, a Delta can ball up a group of weak enemies with a gravity grenade, and an Assault can run in, getting them all to hit him, and therefore quickly stacking safeguard to its fullest. While he's in there, he can beat everything to death with his Crowbar.

Demo Tank

Roughly the same concept, it's in the demo's best interest to kill as many enemies as humanly possible while in Time to Die, to capitalize on the healing caused by Sadist kills. A Delta can ball up enemies, and the Demo runs in like a wrecking ball, incinerating them with his scary red lighting armor.

Flamer Tank

Because Flamer's armor is directly tied to how many enemies he can smite, a Delta can ball up enemies to be smitten, reducing the amount of energy the Flamer will need to expend. Also, he can charge in and kill everything with Faith if he so choices. Simple, yet effective.

Class Synergies

Operations

Op Commando & Field Aid Medic

The most common synergy you'll see as an OpComm, and the most rewarding. A good commando and his medic are like two peas in a pod. The Commando will use Borrowed Time to injure himself for energy, the medic will quickly heal him up. When used in moderation and neither class is wasting energy, the Commando can have near limitless reserves of energy to nuke and otherwise mow down swarms of enemies.

Op Commando & Explosives Demolition

A much less common, but incredibly powerful combination. The Fire Vulnerability skill of the Demo will massively increase the damage output of the Commando's Nuke, as well as his Flamethrower or Laser. Most Demo's skip fire vuln, but one who takes advantage of it liberally is a valuable asset. Bosses can be roasted and burned by the Commando, whose power is sent through the roof while attacking fv debuffed enemies with fire and explosive weapons. With Maximum Damage stacking Tactical Nukes can be made to almost rival the Shiva in destructive force, at massive energy consumption to both members.

Op Commando & Protection Assault

Like the the RPG tag-team classic, the tank and the glass cannon. The Assault is the primary tanking character in NOTD. His job will be to absorb enemy attacks, agro hordes and bosses, and stun enemies to immobilize them. By keeping bosses stationary and neutralizing their effectiveness in combat, the Assault frees the Commando up to unleash as much damage as he possibly can. The difference between a good and poor tank can be quickly felt when a Commando is on the receiving end of enemy attacks, or finds himself with little to no protection from allies.

Delta

I'll flesh out this section when the rest of Delta's new skills are finished and implemented properly.

Delta & NanoMedic

What seems like an odd match up actually boasts the potential for great synergy. The Delta's Heightened Senses will increase the damage dealt by volatile injection as well as Nanosear. The main draw however is using Gravity Grenade to herd enemies together for the Nanomedic's aoe skills. Because VI's explosion is radial based on the target unit's death, it has perfect natural synergy with Gnades. The Delta can either ball his enemies up preemptively for the Nanomed, or he can center the effect on enemies already injected. Either way, the result is an increased number of enemies all forced into close proximity with the injected target. This creates more efficient explosions that kill and damage even more enemies than normally. The same is true for Nanosear, but this time it's more to cram as many enemies into the casting circle as possible, rather than to force enemies together for the death explosions.

Delta & Explosives Demolition

Working on almost the same principles as the Nanomedic, the Delta can use gravity grenades to ball up enemies for the Demo to blow to hell. Satchel has a 5 radius, while G Nades have 4 radius, so anything in the effect is well within satchel's destructive range. Gravity Grenade's duration at level 2 is 1 second longer than the arming time of satchels, so with quick reflexes, getting satchels to explode while enemies are trapped should be a simple matter.

The synergy is bumped to ridiculous levels once the Demo gets his Armageddon charges. The gravity grenade holds enemies in place during the bombs' 3 second arming time. Even post detonation, the Gravity Grenade will help hold enemies in place, at least slowing them so they can remain trapped in the magma field left behind. This is especially potent with hordes that come from a single direction, such as those from the Bio-Domes.

Delta & Artillery Forward Observer

Once again the basic tactic is gravity gun pools enemies together, artillery knocks them down. However, this time you aren't just helping to conserve energy, you are helping the FO conserve on shells. These can currently not be replenished, so anything to increase the mileage of the existing amount is of great importance to any Arty FO. It's especially powerful in combination with Napalm barrage. Gravity Gun can pin enemies down, or physically draw them into the napalm, increase the amount of time they get to spend on fire. Because of the luxury of having enemies stationary, the FO cuts down on shell usage because aiming in front of enemies and factoring for distance and time delays are significantly reduced. Simply put the FO and Comm can all but lock down an area for an extended period of time. This proves ludicrously strong in areas with a single entrance or a strong choke point.

Final Thoughts

The most important thing to keep in mind when playing Commando is practice makes perfect. Public games make for a good arena to practice skills like nuke timing or experimenting with various weapons. Always remember the following

  • Operations role is supreme firepower, if you fail this you deny the team a valuable asset.
  • There is no excuse for not having Tactical Nukes ready by the Nydus Worms Mission. It is user error, mostly from poor weapon and skill usage.
  • The Commando can easily outlevel his companions, sometimes exercising restraint is just as important a skill as quickly killing your enemies.
  • Stick to your allies. The Commando has great difficulty when traveling alone.
  • The Flamethrower is your truest companion, purify all those who stand against you with righteous flames.

To-Do List

  • Get some pictures, possibly replays.
  • Crunch some hard numbers of damages.
  • Check for spelling and grammar.
  • Flesh out new delta sections a bit more.

Credits

  • FlintLckwood; First Commando I ever saw, taught me a lot about the class long before I unlocked it.
  • Hisouten; Took his spot in Diode's games. Learned a lot about nuking from watching him.
  • DrCaptain; Call him a protégé, also constantly bugging me to make this guide.
  • ArcanePariah; Master Exploder, fun times when we learned how to liquify most of Easy Company.
  • JohnWHarding; Still my favorite medic....ever. We had awesome teamwork.
  • Omegaman; Played one hell of a Commando when he wasn't farming Cheese-Pollo.
  • Kithrixx; He made the Delta, SubComm can burn in Hell for all I care.

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