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Harkonnen Strike On Caladan?

Imperial Sardaukar

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When you say you can't even pierce through their first line of defences, do you mean that you're getting crushed by the first wave of early attacks, or that you're having trouble attacking the Atreides capital on Caladan itself?

If you're not having any trouble defending yourself/staying alive, save up some cash to purchase some Advanced Carryalls and Devastators, then drop the Devastators to the East of the Atreides base, on the small grass patch at the end of the peninsula. You shouldn't have too many air defences to contend with, except perhaps some infantry patrolling with Mongoose/Minotauruses, and an airdrone in that area.

From there, walk your Devastators into the enemy base, and destroy everything, targeting Mongoose, Minotauruses, and turrets first.

If you're having trouble surviving the initial attacks, bear in mind that you've got limited space to build, so use it wisely. I highly recommend building a Harkonnen Palace and a Starport in your main base. Gunships won't be of much use, mainly due to the presence of lots of Mongoose units, and the threat of the Hawk Strike.

When the level starts, deploy the MCV in the bottom corner of the high ground you start on. Deploy it as close as possible to the edge of the screen as you can get it. Have your Inkvine Catapults move out to the forward area where the trees are where your high ground area ends, and knock out the Atreides Infantry and Snipers lurking in the trenches. Pull the Inkvine Catapult back immediately after it lobs the barrel, so the enemy infantry don't move out to engage the catapult, and stay in the Inkvine splat until they die.

Now, prepare for the incoming Fremen ambush from the left side of the screen by covering the area on the west side of where your high ground ends with Inkvine splats. Ignite the Inkvine splats with Flame Tanks, and allow your Inkvine Catapults to keep on firing on the same spot to keep the fires going. Any Fremen unfortunate enough to blunder into the raging inferno should take damage, perhaps up to the point where the unit is revealed.

The ambush consists of lots of Fremen Warriors, and Fremen Fedaykin. Concentrate on the Fedaykin first, Flame Tanks take care of masses of enemy infantry nicely, but will often get killed very quickly by the Fedaykin's sonic attack, so use your Inkvine Catapults to drive over the Fedaykin, then mop up the Warriors.

If you have Ix, use projectors to project Missile Tanks and any Minotauruses that you see, and use them to destroy or damage at least one high threat enemy unit (Minotauruses, Sonic Tanks, etc) that are marching towards your base from the North. Additionally, project lots of expensive units like Missile Tanks and Inkvine Catapults, then move them away from your real units into a tight cluster out of the way, to offer a tempting area for the Hawk Strike to hit.

Once you have the cash, a wall of Devastators ringing the high ground above your base is enough to blunt any assaults on your base. Devastators handle both Mongoose, and Minotaurses fairly well, and you'll want to nurture as many Devastators that you're using to defend your base to at least 2 chevrons so they'll self-repair. Atreides infantry attacks are pathetic, and Kindjal Infantry never really come in enough numbers all at the same time to threaten your Devastators.

When you've established a defensive line of Devastators to protect your base, you can think about going offensive. If you're itching to get rid of the enemy palace, try to purchase an Advanced Carryall cheap from the Starport, and send it straight up into the enemy base. Don't expect it to last long, reveal as much of the enemy base as you can while the unit is still flying. If you see the Atreides Palace, drop the Death Hand on it.

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The basic goal here is to defend yourself long enough until you can obtain Advanced Carryalls and Devastators.

Deploy your MCV as close to the top left side of the rock you start next to as possible, since you won't have much room to build again. Defend the small ramp on the left side leading up onto your rock platform with two gun turrets behind a small line of wall (don't wall the entrance off completely though), and leave some Fedaykin in that area as soon as possible. Leave them somewhere out of the way (preferably on infantry rock), and take them off guard mode, if they're on guard mode. They'll come in handy when an enemy force tries to break into your base from the left side.

The big main entrance to your base can easily be defended by gun turrets (not behind walls), and some Devastators. If you build carefully, you should have enough space to build everything you need, including a Harkonnen Palace, and still allow units to move through your base without too much clutter. Leave 10 Harkonnen Troopers on your construction yard's dirt patch, 8 Harkonnen roopers on your Outpost's dirt patch, and place a gun turret on your palace's dirt patch (if you have the extra power). The Harkonnen Troopers next to the construction yard and the outpost are a must, train them and place them there early to deal with Guild NIAB Tanks (which like to focus on your refinery, from my experiences). Eventually, replace the Harkonnen Troopers with either Fedaykin or Sarduakar Elites. Harkonnen Troopers, Fremen Warriors, Fedaykin, Imperial Sarduakar, and Imperial Sarduakar Elite infantry units can be left on the two large infantry rock areas to the sides of the main front ramp to your base to fire on anything that tries to just rush straight into your base (like Leeches), although you may want to separate the Fremen Warriors and Fedaykin from your other infantry units, since they require micromanagement to be really effective here. Have some Engineers on standby to deal with leech larvae.

If you're desperate or just low on cash, use the Ixian Projector Tank to project holograms of Minotauruses, Guild NIAB Tanks, Missile Tanks, Sarduakar (both kinds) and Fedaykin. Use the projections carefully to remove dangerous units from enemy rushes, like Deviators, Minotauruses, etc etc.

Scout out the areas surrounding your base when there isn't anything else that needs immediate attention.

Once your defensive line is established, build up your attack force consisting of Advanced Carryalls and Devastators. When you have at least 6-10 of each, pick up the Devastators and airlift them directly to the area just below the small enemy base to the left of your rock platform, then send them straight down the side of the map to the rear of the Emperor worm.

If you like, you can try capturing the base to the left of your main rock platform to gain an Ordos base (capture the Ordos factory after eliminating all resistance, then build an MCV from it to get an Ordos Construction Yard).

Expect Tleilaxu living turrets to fire on them as they make their run, and although you may take some losses, the turrets turn and fire slowly, so most of your attack force should make it through. When your Advanced Carryalls reach the rear of the Emperor worm, send them to the head of the Emperor worm, and set the Devastators down. Now have all your Devastators fire on the Emperor worm, and they should make short work of it before the enemy can do much to stop them.

Note: I noticed that if you destroy all of the Guild refineries around the Emperor worm, the Emperor worm seems to take massive damage (~60% if I remember correctly). Personally, I found that was more trouble than it was worth, and it was easier and faster to focus on the Emperor worm itself, completely ignoring the refineries.

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