Faction in Supreme Commander is a military force in the galaxy fighting in The Infinite War. When playing the game, a player selects one of the available factions to fight for them. This choice determines which units are available to the player. There are three factions in the Supreme Commander vanilla version, and a fourth was introduced with Forged Alliance:
Although many of the factional units are nearly identical, there are many faction differences, including units with different capabilities and different experimental units that require a different play style. Specific differences are described throughout the articles in this wiki. Below are some general differences. For a detailed comparison of faction-specific unit roles, see Unit roles in various combat theaters & abilities.
United Earth Federation
UEF units often have more HP, an attribute which makes them hardier than unit equivalents of other factions. The UEF ACU has 12000 HP, while the Seraphim ACU has 11500 HP, the Aeon ACU has 11000 HP, and the Cybran ACU has 10000. The same is true of nearly every other category of unit. In Forged Alliance it is said that UEF have the strongest Tech 1 units, and from the stats it's obvious to see the light assault bot: Mech Marine is superior. The T1 mobile light artillery: Lobo can also easily be said to be the strongest T1 artillery. Their T1 Tank: Striker is more arguable, however it does have 300 HP, as much as 50% higher than others.
The UEF tends to be the jack of all trades, master of none. They have good units in all areas, but tend not to excel in one area or at one special thing (Such as Cybran's Hoplites and Stealth combo). The only exception to this is that the UEF have, as said before, the hardest armor of any faction.
UEF forces have some of the best weapons ranging from machine guns and direct-fire gauss shells to antimatter artillery shells. Sometimes it depends how to use them as some of those weapons tend to have a somewhat slow turning rate.
The UEF is the only faction that has a tech 3 transport, which is equipped with a shield and plasma weapons and are also the only faction to sport a T3 Battlecruiser, a dedicated anti-surface vessel with a shorter range than a battleship. Their experimental units are unique: the mobile factory: Fatboy, the submersible carrier: Atlantis, the orbital satellite weapon: Novax Center and the strategic artillery: Mavor. Because the UEF has an experimental carrier, it does not have a tech 3 carrier.
Forged Alliance gifted UEF with 10 units, most of which were unique (although some were given equivalents to other factions). Their new, completely unique units are the Novax Center, T3 Heavy Air Transport: Continental, T2 field engineer: Sparky, mobile missile platform: Spearhead, T2 torpedo boat: Cooper, T2 Shield Boat: Bulwark, T3 battlecruiser: Neptune Class, and T3 point defense: Ravager.
The UEF is considered to have the best and worst in terms of experimental units in both Supreme Commanders, being generally more fragile than those of other factions but much more effective if used correctly, particularly the Fatboy and Atlantis.
The Cybran Nation's units are the least expensive to construct compared to the other factions' and they have the lowest HP. Their advantages lie in technologies that disrupt enemies. For instance, they have assault bots at tech 1 to disrupt an enemy's early expansion, their tech 3 aircraft have integrated stealth technology, when their Siege Assault Bots are destroyed their cores detonate powerfully releasing an EMP burst that disrupts enemy units, and they have the only mobile stealth field system. This even extends to their experimental units: The Monkeylord is the only experimental unit with a stealth capability. These attributes give the Cybran Nation a wide array of kill strategies.
Cybran forces use direct fire laser weapons and proton cannons with a very high ROF but low DPS, as well as AA and Anti-Sea Nanite Missiles and Torpedoes, AA Nanite Darts, as well as a collection of high explosive shells for indirect fire weapons.
Some of their units' weapons have extra effects/abilities beside dealing damage. Such as that the T1 Medusa (and other units) have a EMP effect which temporarily stuns, T2 Renegade deals AOE damage, T2 Siren anti-air missile weapons can be reconfigured to target land, etc.
The Cybrans are the only faction with a tech 1 assault bots, which often gives them an advantage during early expansion because they can assist in building. They have the Deceiver, the only mobile unit able to project a stealth field. This comes at the cost of the mobile shield generator. Other unique units include T2 Mobile Bomb: Fire Beetle, T1 Light Gunship: Jester, T2 Counter-Intelligence Boat: CI:18 Mermaid, T3 Perimeter Monitoring System: Soothsayer, and T3 Torpedo Ambushing System: HARMS. Their experimental units are unique: the spiderbot: Monkeylord, the gunship: Soul Ripper, the rapid fire artillery: Scathis, and the megabot: The Megalith. Although the Cybrans don't have a T3 heavy shield generator, their tech 2 shield generator can be instead upgraded four further times until it reaches an equivalent reach of a tech 3 generator, but is much weaker.
Aeon units are the most effective in an even fight between equivalent units. Their HP, construction costs, speed and abilities are average, but their weapons are particularly effective. For instance, their tech 2 tanks do more DPS, their tech 3 bombers drop smartbombs that track their targets, and their tech 3 artillery does not stop to deploy stabilizers in order to fire, but also lets them have very good accuracy. The trajectories of their weapons often give them the best effective DPS and initial shot damage.
The Aeon also have the best shields after the Seraphim but the highest shield density as the seraphim shields have a very large radius. Their T2 mobile shield generators have the highest shield points. This allows for a task force to be protected whilst engaging the enemy.
The Aeon is widely considered to have the best navy. Aeon T1 Light Tanks: Auroras are amphibious giving the Aeon an early naval advantage, Aeon mobile shield generators are also amphibious to support the navy, and Aeon naval units are nearly all more hardy and powerful than the other factions' naval units. They also have the only submersible battleship.
The Aeon tend to utilize weapons with long range, high DPS, low firing randomness, and extremely high initial shot damage. Most of them have a small damage radius and low ROF. Examples of weapons technologies the Aeon Illuminate employs are the Oblivion Cannon, the Fizz Launcher, and the Quantum Cannon.
The Aeon navy is the only one that has a T1 Attack Boat: Shard, though this is considered a disadvantage, because it only makes up for the notable lack of anti-air capabilities of the Aeon frigate. However, it does allow for quicker deployment of anti-air when needed. The Aeon use a lot of hover units which make them faster, such as the Aurora, their T1 tank. It is very different from the other factions' main combat units at T1. It has a far lower health and is slower, but it also hovers over terrain, and has longer weapon range and damage. Overall, Aeon should be handled very differently to the other factions at T1. Their hover units are impossible to hit with torpedoes, and can move across the map freely, traversing both land and sea easily. Their T2 mobile shield generator: Asylum can rush into units, stopping them from firing, but leaving friendly units open to attack. It can also support naval units.
Their unique units are the T2 Guided Missile: Mercy, T3 Shield Disruptor: Absolver, T3 Torpedo Bomber: Solace, T3 AA Gunship: Restorer, T1 Attack Boat: Shard, T3 Missile Ship: Torrent Class, T3 Rapid-Fire Artillery Installation: Salvation, T3 Quantum Optics Facility: Eye of Rhianne and their experimental units: the sacred assault bot Galactic Colossus, the flying fortress: CZAR, the submersible battleship Tempest, and the resource generator Paragon.
Generally speaking, the Seraphim units are a combination of the UEF and the Aeon--they have a mixture of multi-purpose units and specialized units. Their units usually have the second highest HP and construction costs. Like the Aeon, a few of these units can hover, thereby avoiding the danger of torpedoes and having the advantage of being able to travel across water. In terms of equivalent units, the Seraphim carry units with high HP, high construction costs, and appreciable weapon damage and ROF. They excel in terms of land and naval units, but have average air units. If the UEF/Cybran have the best land units, and if the Aeon have the best air units, the Seraphim follows by a close second on both of these.
The most obvious advantage the Seraphim holds is their shields. The Seraphim is the only faction to have a T3 Mobile Shield Generator: Athanah, and both of the Seraphim stationary shield generators have more health and a larger radius, but at a higher cost.
The Seraphim's navy, in some cases, exceeds that of the Aeon due to the fact that they have a T3 submarine hunter which can be used to destroy any submerged unit and has advanced torpedo defenses. T3 mobile shield generators can protect a naval group easily due to their high shield points and radius. The T3 battleship is a mobile strategic missile launcher allowing for sneak attacks from different locations. The Seraphim's T2 destroyer is submersible allowing it to act as a T2 submarine as its torpedoes and torpedo defenses are superior to any other factions T2 destroyers.
An extension of the Seraphim navy is their naval defenses, which are equipped with torpedoes. They are able to outlast any equivalent turret from the other factions, apart from the Cybran's T3 submerged torpedo turret.
The Seraphim Anti-Air turrets(SAM) have been considered to be the worst around for damage, but Seraphim anti-air turrets are the quickest anti-air hitters. While other factions anti-air missiles try to catch the target, Seraphim anti-air makes 2 by 2 shots with %100 accuracy. This ability is very useful, especially against T3 spy planes which try to explore your land with a fast fly route. Additionally a T2 cruiser: Ithalua, having tremendous DPS for air units, is almost a compensation for this.
From an aesthetic standpoint, the Seraphim take an even more extreme approach to unit design than the Aeon, especially considering their asymmetrical designs. Seraphim units are generally smoother and more elegant in appearance, with few jagged angles. Their units sport a chrome-like finish, adding to the alien appearance. Like the Aeon, the Seraphim employ unusual and alien weaponry, including the Heavy Quarnon Cannon, the Uall Cavitation Torpedo, and the Olaris AA Artillery Cannon.
There is virtually no Earth equivalent to the Seraphim weaponry, as opposed to the UEF weaponry, Cybran weaponry, and even possibly the Aeon weaponry. But generally speaking, Seraphim weapons rely more on energy than on solid particles, for instance their bombers and submarines.
As with all the other factions' experimental units, the Seraphim experimental units are unique. The Ythotha is arguably one of the most powerful experimental unit that can be built in under 20 minutes, with the possible exception of the Fatboy: when in direct combat with a Monkeylord, the Ythotha will usually win, although the megalith would win and the galactic colossus would either win or bring the battle to a draw. The Ahwassa is an extremely powerful bomber, well-known for its damage and its speed. The Yolona Oss, a Game ender unit, is a top-notch strategic missile launcher, with cheap missile costs, fast build time, and missiles that can only be destroyed by TWO SMD missiles.
As for standard units, the Seraphim don't have many unique units, besides the T3 Submarine Hunter: Yathsou (possibly the most powerful naval unit in the game in terms of cost/HP/weapon correlations). But they do have equivalent units with unique features. Their combat scout, the Selen, can act as a light assault bot, and when the unit stands completely still, it is both cloaked AND stealthed, without an energy cost. The Seraphim T1 Light Air Transport: Vish is the only air transport that can carry up to 8 units as opposed to the standard 6, and the Seraphim T2 Air Transport: Vishala can carry up to 16 units as opposed to the standard 12. The Seraphim have the only T1 Attack Submarine: Sou-istle with torpedo defense.
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Typically (although not universally), Aeon units are single-minded, better at their primary task and worse at everything else. They are also typically slightly higher quality units at a greater cost than the other factions.
A good example of this would be the Aeon T1 Frigate, "Beacon Class". Unlike other frigates (such as the Thunderhead Class, the Hau-esel and the Trident Class, the Beacon Class has no Anti-air capability. As the primary function of all Frigates is in an anti-surface capacity, the Aeon frigate foregoes anti-air to have a greater firing arc with its two cannons, and higher survivability vs. submarines (despite not being able to kill them, the addition of anti-torpedoes turns their frigate into a force multiplier.
Another Aeon trait is their units typically hover. While it is a trait that applies to less units than the above, it is none the less very noticeable (and powerful). Their Aurora hovers, giving them a noticeable edge in early battles on water maps, and they have a hovering T2 mobile AA flak artillery
Other good examples of the Aeon single-minded philosophy are: the Attack Boat and the Aeon Combat Fighter.
A good example of this would be the Cybran T1 Assault Bot, "Mantis". It is highly manoeuvrable, and cheaper than the other faction's T1 units, while still retaining their DPS, and with only a slight penalty to health.
Other good examples of the Cybran philosophy are: The Cybran T3 Armored Assault Bot, with its sea-defences, making stealthy underwater attacks far less risky than with the UEF Percival and the Cybran Monkeylord, the cheapest land Experimental.
UEF units typically have more health and tend towards being jack-of-all-trades style units. UEF units tend towards weapons mounted on turrets, which can be both a hindrance and a boon, as they often move more slowly traversing smaller angles, leading to UEF units being slower in their initial salvo.
A good example of this mentality would be in the UEF T1 Frigate, "Thunderhead Class", which not only has AA but also a radar jammer, making tracking nearby units almost impossible with either radar or sonar, as well as having good DPS and great health compared to other factions Frigates.
The UEF additionally focus on overall defensive capability: Notice the 'Ravager' T3 heavy point defense tower, capable of falling even mighty experimentals in numbers. The UEF Fatboy also is useful for base defense with long range turret ballistae and a factory capability (which allows for engineers to be built, which in turn build defensive structures).
Seraphim units are often very similar to their Aeon counterparts - for example, they have a hovering T1 Light Artillery unit, whereas the Aeon have a hovering T1 Light Tank. Their main trait, like the Aeon, is that their units are very good at what they do - they typically have the best unit in each category, but you pay a premium for this. Given a choice, they opt for single-shot damage rather than damage over time and are typically either best or second best in every category (DPS, health, range, speed).
A good example of this philosophy would be the Seraphim T2 Fighter Bomber, "Notha". It releases its payload in a single bomb, making it far more effective at taking down large units and less effective at taking down groups of units, however it out-damages by far its UEF rival, which spreads its payload out, typically causing lower damage to any one unit.
(Please note: since Seraphim units are, in overall sense, more powerful, less variations of units are included: For example, the Seraphim only has three official experimentals, while other factions have four options.)