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China Oil-Grab Build Order
Forum » CollapseZero Hour Strategies, Tactics and Tips » China Strategies
Joined: 20th Oct 2014
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21st Oct 2014

I thought I'd try writing a guide so here it is. Any comments/feedback nice or otherwise would be appreciated 

The Oil-Grab Build Order

90% of decent 1v1 games you are likely to play will be random mirrors. This isn't a problem for usa due to the satellite scan or gla as it is a very flexible faction so the random factor doesn't cause much of a problem either. China, on the other hand (ignoring infantry throughout), have to choose a 'one size fits all' build order and hope for the best. Dual warfactory is probably the most commonly seen china BO followed by middle builds. The oil grab build order, my personal favourite, has been around for as long as the staple china builds but is used a lot less frequently than the others. 

I'd say this build order is best suited to vchina as it has the least viable alternatives but is still effective with nuke and to a lesser extent tank. I will try to explain how to perform the oil grab build order, its' advantages and disadvantages and show it in action.

The Build Order

In sequential order:

  • 1st dozer - Power
  • 2nd dozer - Barracks pointing towards the middle, adjacent to Command Centre
  • Sell CC
  • 1st dozer - Supply Centre at primary supplies
  • Rax - Queue up 2 th's, a pair of red guard's and the capture building upgrade.
  • 2nd dozer - Supply Centre at secondary supplies
  • 1st dozer - War factory
  • WF - Gat or Outpost to closest oil
  • 2nd dozer - Unsafe flank defence

This should result in your base looking something like this:

Additional Information

Depending on which spot you have either send your first tank hunter to kill the furthest car (from the top spot) or to kill the closest car (from the bottom spot). If your opponent is slow in getting their cars you may be able to kill both cars. For those who didn't know due to the rotation of the command centres the top spot can get to the middle quicker than the bottom spot hence the difference in th commands. The same logic should be used for taking the terror cars with terrorists. Send 1 red guard straight to each oil.

You have 2 choices for your unsafe defence; either a bunker or a gattling cannon. I would recommend a gatling cannon vs gla/usa and a bunker garrisonned with 3 th's vs china. You need to make this decision early on in the game before you will have seen the enemy's base. Depending on the BO your opponent adopted you may have come in to contact with them already . For example if the enemy is gla and went for a car/middle tunnel/or any form of forward tunnel bo you will have seen them already with your th's/red guards. The same applies for middle china builds however I wouldn't instantly build flanking defences vs middle china builds as they are unlikely to try to flank you early on.

If at this point I still have no idea who i'm up against I will waypoint scout to find out. The easiest way to do this is to select your wf as soon as you have placed the scaffold and set a few waypoints to your opponents supplies. If you can't detect anything in the regular supply
centre placement you are facing usa (or a very poor china) so gat cannon on the flank. If you do find something there you are most likely facing china (For more details on waypoint scouting, finding power for example, check out  this totw). While waypoint scouting isn't 100% watertight with a bit of practice you should become pretty accurate.

Usa (War Factory rally point set)

China (Unable to set rally point)

Depending on which faction i'm facing will also determine my first unit. Gat vs usa or gla and Listening Outpost vs china (Nuke Bm vs any faction if applicable). Keep your first unit just infront of your oil to protect your red guard while capturing. As soon as you capture the closest oil and hopefully the far oil as well an airfield is your best bet as vchina. The only exception to this is if your facing tank or possibly stealth in which case teching up (building a propaganda centre) is usually the best course of action. If your tank or nuke oil grabbing i'd tech up under most

Common problems

The chances of performing this build order without a hitch is quite unlikely, against a compotent opponent anyway, so it's important to know how to adapt. 

Losing your unsafe dozer before you get your defence up:

This is most probable against gla/usa. In this situation as soon as possible send a couple of gats to that flank to cover any more technicals or stray vees from getting into your base. Get your af up as soon as you grab your oil. Don't be tempted to send your dozer over to the unsafe to finish building your defence. This is exactly what your enemy will be expecting and will in all probability result in losing your final dozer. The chances of winning with just a rax and wf are slim so keep that dozer safe! Once you've got migs/helix up and running you can then either try to seal off your unsafe flank, as you can protect your dozer more successfully, or leave it open which is no longer such of a problem.

Failing to capture the far oil

This isn't a major problem as even with only one oil your still at an economical advantage but have another attempt at capturing it if you think you have a chance; 
be prepared to give up on it if your enemy has it well defended.

Failing to capture either oil

Now should this happen your in trouble as you don't recieve the bonus $1000 to start your af. Make capturing your closest oil your number one priority. 
Send a second or even a third pair of redguards to your oil and make sure it is well guarded. Don't try building an af/prop centre before you capture an oil
as this will completely halt your unit production leaving you exposed. 

Advantages of the oil grab bo

    + You gain good map coverage allowing you to see threats early on; you should be able to see at least half of the map.It also gives your opponent a difficulty in taking the middle, especially important against gla.+ After securing one or both of the oils you should be at an economic advantage.+ It buys you time to get your most valuable assest (strong air force) into play.


    - It's a very defensive bo so you won't be able to harass your enemy early on giving them a fairly easy ride to start off with.- You have relatively few attacking units early on.

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