Super Monday Night Combat

Super Monday Night Combat is fun free-to-play shooter available to the masses simply by downloading a client. The game, however, comes with a pretty steep learning curve. It looks like a simple team-based shooter (like Team Fortress 2 or Tribes: Ascend), but this colorful title takes its inspiration from a genre that doesn’t usually involve guns. Even if you played the original Monday Night Combat, you can still easily find yourself lost and confused during your first few rounds.

I generously decided to help out SMNC newbies by presenting them with three simple tips that should put them on the path to victory. Please note that these tips relate to the original Super Crossfire mode and not the newer, faster-paced and less strategic Turbocross mode.

Tip #1: Play with bots

No, I don’t mean non-players controlled by artificial intelligence. I’m talking about those cute little robots that join you in battle. See, this isn’t team deathmatch. You can’t just focus all of your fire on the guys wearing the other color and expect to win. While Super Monday Night Combat looks like any other team-based shooter, it’s really a multiplayer online battle arena game (MOBA).

So, what exactly is a MOBA? The genre was popularized by the Defense of the Ancients mod for Warcraft III. Players in that game choose from a variety of heroes who had to help push low-leveled minions across “lanes” that lead to turrets and eventually the other team’s base, where they had to destroy a giant structure to secure victory. That same description applies for SMNC. It’s just a third-person shooter instead of a top-down strategy game.

The minions in SMNC are called bots. They spawn from your base and follow one of two paths (lanes) to the enemy’s territory, guarded by turrets along the way. You can only attack the other team’s turrets and Money Ball (the giant orb in their base that you have to destroy to win) if your bots damage them first, so you need to stick with your little robotic buddies to protect them from the other team. This is called “pushing.”

You should also be shooting as many of the team’s bots as possible. Doing so will give you gold, which can be used for a variety of services, including buying extra bots.

Super Monday Night Combat

Tip #2: Don’t die

Yeah, laugh it up. Seems obvious, right? Wrong! I’ve seen you playing your shooters (don’t ask how, I just have). You always go in guns blazing, more than happy to fall in combat if you can take one of those bastards on the other team down with you. Well, that sort of mentality isn’t going get you anywhere in Super Monday Night Combat.

See, while dying in a game like Team Fortress 2 only costs you a few seconds of inactivity, death in SMNC rewards your killer with gold and experience points. Simply put, feeding the other team (MOBA lingo for dying to them too often) gives them resources and a huge advantage that your whole team will be unable to overcome. Sure, three deaths early on doesn’t seem like a big deal, but now that guy on the other team who’s been dominating you is already level 5 and can buy a bunch of extra bots to help push his lanes.

How do you avoid dying? First off, don’t be too aggressive. If the guy you’ve been shooting only has a sliver of health and is retreating toward his base, don’t chase him. You’ll only be mowed down by his team or his turrets. If your health is low, find a Regenitol console and buy some so you can restore your life. If you don’t have the 250 gold to afford Regenitol, then make the long trek back to your base. Yeah, it sucks to take yourself out of the action, but it’s a lot better than handing the enemy precious experience and gold.

Super Monday Night Combat

Tip #3: Get to the Annihilator

Every several minutes, a giant device called the Annihilator will become active in the middle of the map. Turning this machine on will destroy all of the other team’s bots and deal damage to all opposing players. Sounds like a huge advantage, right? That’s because it is.

The announcers will tell you when the Annihilator is 30 and 15 seconds away from becoming available. Get to it! Imagine I’m doing an Arnold Schwarzenegger voice right now: “Get to the Annihilator!” The team that most often activates it is often the team that wins. When you hear that it’s 30 seconds away from going active, your teammates will hopefully be smart enough to start heading for it. Follow them.

Now, there will usually be a skirmish between teams to see who gets to use the Annihilator. Don’t just rush in and try to turn the machine on while the enemy is still there. Doing so takes time, during which you’re completely vulnerable (it also costs 1000 gold, so make sure you’ve got enough coin). Keep some distance and whittle the other team down, then go for the advantage when they’re all dead or they retreat.

Now, if for some reason your team is not there to back you up and three enemies are already piled on top of the death-bringing gizmo, don’t try to be a hero. They’ll just easily dispose of you, giving them some extra gold and experience in addition to destroying your team’s bots.

If you do lose all of your lane-pushing robots, don’t panic. Make sure to buy some new bots in both lanes right away, and you can minimize the damage.

Super Monday Night Combat

Bonus tip: Don’t play as assassins

Look, I’m feeling generous, so here’s one more helpful tip. SMNC puts all of its characters in a handful of classifications. Enforcers, for example, have a lot of health and can deal damage at close ranges. Defenders are obviously good at defending. Assassins are good if you want to play a class where you’ll die a lot and cost your team the game.

Seriously, having a good assassin on your team is a crucial key to victory, but don’t try playing as one if you’re new to the game. They have low health and deal almost all of their damage at extremely close ranges with melee attacks and grapples. Using one effectively means sneaking behind an enemy, hitting him as much as possible for a couple of seconds, and then running away before he can retaliate. Before you try to learn how to play as this incredibly difficult class, you really should become a master of the game’s mechanics first.

Well, that’s it. Hopefully these tips will help turn you into a seasoned pro of Super Monday Night Combat with a bit less pain. The most important thing is to remember that you can’t approach SMNC like another team shooter. Much like a renegade cop, it plays by its own rules. Master them, and you’ll be winning in no time.