I realise that there will be no new commanders but I worked on the concept for a while now. Hope its ideas might be useful at least for someone.
Ariel Hanson leads an advanced research program focusing on infestation and zerg genomes.
She managed to reproduce zerg units in Bio-Factory and further enhance them using terran technology and altering gene codes. Complexity of the process and inefficiency of building units in a factory makes the production more expensive and time consuming.
As a precautionary measure, zerg units are built with reduced basic attack speed. However Ariel uses a variety of Transmitters that increase attack speed of her zerg units to its full potential. At the same time zerg units have unique abilities that compensate for lack of aggression when outside of Transmitters range.
Zerg bio-material could be reused to produce zerg units. Bio-Recycling Facilities automatically send drones to battlefields anywhere around the map to collect zerg corpses and bring them back to the Facilities. Collected corpses are converted into bio-material that removes the cost of zerg units in Bio-Factory - the number of charges appears for each available unit type.
Ariel’s policy is to protect her people at all cost and keep them as far from the battle as possible. So she lets zerg units to fight directly with the enemy while terran units provide support from a distance.
Shadow Beacon: Drop a Transmitter at any visible location on the map. It’s invisible and lasts 5 min. Cooldown 90 sec, 3 charges
Call for Help: Send a drop-pod with a group of steam-packed Marines, Firebats, Marauders and Medics with timed life to any visible location. Cooldown 3 min
STRUCTURES AND UNITS
Infestation Station. Trains Infested Dogs.
Infested by a cultivated virus strain that humans are immune to, not affected by Transmitters. Abilities:
- Death Ball: Call nearby Infested Dogs to stick together forming a large ball that rolls over enemy ground units dealing damage for 5 sec and breaks down back to Infested Dogs. The number of remaining Infested Dogs depends on the damage dealt to the ball. Death Ball can break force fields. Cooldown 30 sec
- Jet-Pack: Equips Infested Dogs with mini jet-packs increasing their movement speed and allowing them to jump up and down cliffs. Passive, research at Tech Lab
- Adrenaline Shot: When Infested Dogs receive fatal damage, they live for another 3 sec while their attack and movement speed are increased. Passive, research at Tech Lab
Infested Dogs play a similar role to Zerglings that is initial defence and breaking rocks in the early game, mineral dump and meat shield in the later stages of the game. Death Ball ability is a great way to bring Infested Dogs to the middle of enemy groups without losing too many to splash damage.
Bio-Factory. Builds zerg units. Requires Infestation Station.
Hydralisk modification with a corrosive attack that causes targets to take damage over 10 sec. The periodic damage ignores armor and stacks from multiple attacks and multiple Mercuries. Abilities:
- Rapid Fire: Quickly makes a series of 5 shots aiming for different targets where possible, each attack deals 30% damage but triggers full periodic damage. Cooldown 15 sec, can be set to auto-cast
Across all of Ariel’s tools, Mercuries are the best in bringing down objectives, both air or ground, with their stackable periodic damage. They are also effective in kiting enemy attack waves, especially after movement speed upgrade is researched. Given lack of defensive upgrades, Mercuries may be a bit too fragile in a direct fight unless protected by other units.
Combination of Mutalisk and Corruptor genomes with glaives that bounce 5 times, dealing the same amount of damage with each bounce and returning back to the Boomerang with each attack, can only attack air targets. Their glaives are further modified to bring enemy particles on the way back healing Boomerangs for 50% damage dealt. Abilities:
- Tornado: All nearby Boomerangs are called to circle together creating a tornado for 10 sec. The tornado pulls in enemy units, dealing damage and preventing them to move, attack or use abilities. The tornado can slowly move, and its size depends on the number of Boomerangs joined. Cooldown 2 min
Dedicated anti-air specialists able to bring down attack waves with a high number of air enemy units. High health and healing ability make them sustainable fighters that are easily A-moved. Tornado is a good all around disabling ability that can soften an attack wave or enemy base, and keeps Boomerangs useful when no air targets are available.
Ravager modification that has Corrosive Bile replaced with a more mechanical ability to throw rocks. The ability is only available when Diggers are burrowed where they dig up rocks from the ground. Burrowed Diggers lose their regular attack and can’t move. Requires Factory. Abilities:
- Rocky Rain: Launches a pile of rocks at the target location dealing damage to enemy units and structures in a small area and stunning them for 1 sec. Further targets take the rocks longer to reach and increase cooldown up to 3 sec. Can be set to auto-cast
Diggers are fantastic in defending choke points especially against endless waves of infested terrans. They can be used to siege enemy bases, particularly when attack range upgrade is researched, but distance penalty on their attack speed makes this rather slow. Since Rocky Rain is not a regular attack, burrowed Diggers are not affected by Transmitters that gives them more positioning options
Ultralisk modification that secretes a flammable substance. They are equipped with controlled igniters and fireproof armor that in turn reduces damage Hellboys take from fire based attacks by 50%. Requires Armory. Abilities:
- Immolation: Ignites itself dealing damage to nearby ground enemy units and structures for 5 sec. Cooldown 15 sec, can be set to auto-cast
- Demolition: Ignites all the internal substance and explodes, dealing damage to nearby enemies; doesn’t leave a corpse
Hellboys can easily decimate attack waves of low HP ground units like Zerglings and Marines with their cleave attack and Immolation. The lack of armor upgrade is somewhat compensated by fire resistance but accompanied healers is what makes Hellboys unstoppable. Their suicidal ability is effective against any enemy army composition but obviously less sustainable and expensive.
Bio-Factory Tech Lab upgrades:
- Increases Mercuries movement speed by 80% and attack range by 3
- Increases Boomerangs health and life regeneration outside of combats
- Boomerangs in Tornado take 90% less damage
- Increases the range of Rocky Rain ability by 5 and flying speed of its rocks by 50%
- Burrowed Diggers periodically find recyclable zerg corpses when out of combat
- When a Hellboys take fatal damage, they automatically trigger Demolition
Bio-Recycling Facility. Collects corpses of Ariel’s zerg units and converts them into bio-material that can be used in Bio-Factory. Drones are able to bring the corpses rather quickly but the Facilities have limited supply capacity and transformation takes time. Requires Bio-Factory
War Beacon. Automated defensive structure, can attack ground and air targets, transmitter, detector. Requires Infestation Station. Abilities & upgrades:
- Fortification: Provides War Beacon with more health, armor and new weapon systems. 3 upgrades are available each costing 100 minerals and 100 gas and taking 30 sec to complete
- High Pitch: Increases signal strength attracting feral zerg units to defend War Beacon for 15 sec. Cooldown 3 min, shared among War Beacons
- Eternal Foundation: When War Beacon is destroyed, its scraps remain in the battlefield for a few minutes allowing to rebuild it (including fortifications) for half the price, passive
Although War Beacons are the only static defence Ariel has, with all its benefits unlocked Fortification makes tower defence a viable strategy for Ariel
Engineering Bay. Upgrades:
- Increase damage of Infested and Zerg units
- Increase armor of Infested and Zerg units
- Transmitters increase movement speed of Ariel’s zerg units
- Eternal Foundation, requires Armory
Factory. Requires Infestation Station. Builds terran mechanical support units:
Fast support ground vehicle. Abilities:
- Heal: Restores 3 life of a friendly biological unit for 1 energy. Can be set to auto-cast
- Flashbang: Launches into the sky a flash grenade that reveals cloaked and burrowed units for 15 sec. Cost 25 energy
- Immunity Response: All infested enemy units and structures in a large area around Medi Van take 25 damage every sec for 15 sec. Cooldown 3 min
As Medi Vans can prolong the life of expensive zerg units, it is recommended to have a few of them with any zerg army composition and for mobile detection. Immunity Response makes them invaluable on infested maps, for either attacking or defending.
Ground vehicle with long range abilities, requires Tech Lab. Abilities:
- Baneling Drop: Sends a drone that bombards the ground with Banelings along its way. Cost 50 energy, requires Bio-Factory
- Electrocution: Sends a drone that periodically shocks nearby enemies for 10 sec dealing small damage and briefly stunning them. Cost 25 energy
- EMP: Sends a drone that once reaches the target destination, deals 100 shield damage and drains all energy of all enemy units and structures in an area, also reveals cloaked and burrowed units for 10 sec. Cost 50 energy
- Siege Mode: Drone Operator is immobile while its drones fly further and faster
Drone Operators are great at pushing into enemy bases or softening attack waves, particularly of ground enemy units. They are somewhat useful on defensive maps but require to be microed since they don’t have auto-cast abilities. They also provide an alternative to Medi Vans mobile detection with EMP.
Slow air unit, requires Tech Lab and Armory. Abilities:
- Weather Control: Spreads a mist around Science Vessel for 10 sec that prevents enemies from attacking friendly ground units and structures within the area of effect, doesn’t protect from splash damage. Cost 75 energy, cooldown 1 min
- Gravitation Anomaly: Makes air enemy units in the target area to fall onto the ground taking damage. Fallen units are unable to move for 5 sec and can be attacked as if they were ground units. Cost 75 energy
- Seismic Anomaly: Makes the ground in an area in any location on the map trample for 5 sec dealing damage to enemy buildings and objects, while making burrowed enemy units to unburrow. Cost 50 energy
- Surveillance Mode: Science Vessel is immobile, gains increased vision range and can use all its abilities
Science Vessels provide great support to ground armies having one of the best defending abilities in co-op - Weather Control is theoretically able to protect ground forces indefinitely with a high enough number of Science Vessels. Seismic Anomaly has a wide range of usage from clearing infested structures from the safety of the home base, to softening enemy bases and slowing attack waves. Pairing with Drone Operators is a viable army composition, alternative to expensive and requiring a variety of support zerg armies.
Factory Tech Lab upgrades:
- Medi Van can heal 3 targets simultaneously
- Flashbang also blinds enemies causing them to have a 25% chance to miss on attack
- Increase movement speed of Drone Oparator’s drones
- Gravitation and Seismic Anomalies also reduce movement speed of ground enemy units by 50%
- Drone Operator and Science Vessel regenerate energy 50% faster in Siege Mode and Surveillance Mode respectively
Armory. Requires Factory. Upgrades:
- Increase movement speed of terran mechanical units
- Factory units come with repair drones that automatically heal nearby friendly mechanical units and structures
Mobile Research Facility (MRF)
Massive flying building with a hero tag, detector, only one can be deployed at a time. Requires Armory. Abilities:
- Fine Tuning: Increase effects of nearby Transmitters by 100% for 30 sec. Cooldown 2 min
- Geomagnetic Storm: Enemy mechanical units and structures in a large area around MRF are stunned for 10 sec. Cooldown 90 sec
- Radiation Nova: Deals 300 damage to enemy biological units and structures in a large area around MRF. Cooldown 4 min
- Tactical Jump: Picks up all nearby Ariel’s units on board and warps to any visible location on the map in 3 sec quickly unloading its cargo. Cooldown 1 min
Ultimate support unit that provides army mobility and permanent mobile detection. Its powerful abilities can disable or wipe out an entire enemy base. Fine Tuning makes Ariel’s zerg units atrocious monsters while crippling enemy forces.
Aggression Control. Ariel’s Command Centers are equipped with Transmitters that increase attack speed of nearby zerg units from Bio-Factory. Zerg units cost 25% more
Bio-Recycling Facility. A new building that allows to reuse zerg bio-material in Bio-Factory
Zerg Units Upgrades Cache. Unlocks the following upgrades at Bio-Factory Tech Lab:
- Increase Mercuries movement speed and attack range
- Protects Boomerangs in Tornado
- Allow Diggers to find zerg corpses
- Automatically triggers Demolition upon Hellboy death
Automatic Refinery. Ariel’s refineries don’t need SCVs to collect vespene gas
War Beacon Upgrade Cache. Unlocks the following upgrades at Engineering Bay:
- Allow War Beacons to attract feral zerg for protection
- War Beacons can be rebuilt for half price when destroyed
Cry for Help. Call for Help sends twice as many units
Disruptive Signal. Transmitters reduce attack and movement speed of enemy units
Factory Units Upgrades Cache. Unlocks the following upgrades at Factory Tech Lab:
- Flashbang causes enemies to miss on attack
- Increase energy regeneration of Drone Operator and Science Vessel in static mode
Fortress. Fortification provides War Beacons with additional benefits:
- Level 1 increases attack speed of all weapon systems
- Level 2 increases vision and attack range
- Level 3 extends level 2 and 3 benefits to nearby War Beacons
Unstoppable Signal. Shadow Beacon is invulnerable and its cooldown is reduced to 60 sec
High Rise. Supply Depots can be upgraded to provide more supply. Two upgrades are available each having half the cost and build time of the original Supply Depot
Mobile Research Facility. A new unit-structure with powerful abilities
Civilian Camouflage. When Factory units don’t use their offensive abilities for 5 sec, the enemies consider them neutral and don’t attack. Heal and Weather Control will not trigger enemies to attack
Improved Recycling. Bio-Recycling Facilities can collect corpses of enemy and ally zerg units and reuse their bio-material in Bio-Factory albeit with lower yield
Quantum Leap. Mobile Research Facility gets improved abilities:
- MRF becomes a Transmitter itself when Fine Tuning is active
- Enemies affected by Geomagnetic Storm take 25% more damage
- Enemies survived Radiation Nova indefinitely take periodic damage
- Tactical Jump doesn’t require vision
Adding to the collection of concepts: