Swann Heavy Weapons Specialist

What are people’s thoughts on Heave Weapons Specialist? Is it good on infestation maps where mobs are small and numerous?

You lose the wave clearing top-bar abilities, but gain a much stronger map-wide attack. For an average brutal this is worse since you probably don’t have full-map vision. I could certainly see it having more use where you’re dealing with a constant flow of units rather than waves, maybe DoN. I’ve not done it myself, but someone may have calculated the extra damage done by the P1 drill to clear at night in the time taken for the P0 topbars to wipe an area. For ME the topbars are good for clearing the main enemy waves.

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Generally the laser abilities are used to clear enemy bases, while static def and units deal with waves, of course it all depends on size of the waves, but for example in coa you can clear the 1st and 2nd wave with conc beam and the 1st hybrid with a pulse cannon and then you just swipe the enemy camps that are nicely aligned in the middle of the map with conc beams, with p1 you lose on a lot of base pushing cause of this.

P1 can be better in maps that have many small attack waves and you don’t need to clear big bases (mo, vp, totp, vl) while in other maps having the abilities is better.


In Dead of Night, it’s good against Hunterlings, the slowdown ensuring they do less damage while being killed.
Otherwise, it can play well with flamethrowers, slowing the assailants making them take more damage before being in range to counter-attack (if they ever make it).
Don’t expect it to have the ability to do all the work though.

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I always thought it was under powered but after using it for a while I am beginning to like it more than my top bar abilities.

It is good on enemies that are cluttered together, like mutalisks, vipers, voidrays, BCs, phoenixes, colossuses. The AOE is pretty decent, has a slash similar to a siege tank in siege mode, the attack / targeting speed are good and good attack power at 50 fully upgraded. If you use it right it’s like having a mini-wave clearer all the time. You have to hotkey, and micro it to target almost constantly.

You could use a Herc to warp close to enemy wave and target enemies with your laser. Sometimes it works on certain enemy comp. It takes some practice to get this right, I’m still working on this.

As for DoN and ME, I usually put betties and dizzies for defenses and take my tanks out for a walk. But it is pretty good on Void Launch because it slows the shuttles as well.

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Agreed, P1’s good for less active Swann players. The AoE drill is more forgiving in its auto-slow function. Whether a player is actively providing vision or not (which you should), you’ll benefit more from it passively.

That said, the issue of entirely losing top bar drill abilities is a massive negative. These abilities are frequent and powerful. When you know the timings and positions on map well, you can use a single Concentrated Beam to take out wave + base x 1-multiple. Best example touched on by Anc on CoA.

What makes this a huge negative is also the utility of early drill opening and what it provides. It gives the Swann player a means to bridge to any army composition (herc/tank, cyclone, wraiths, Goliaths, even Thors). And without those abilities, you can still make it there but slower due to the initial ramp up (where your army is tiny and can’t quite push without sustaining heavy loss).

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What is the early drill opening, if I may ask?

I suspect a lot of my musing came from inexperience. I find Drill’s auto ability to hit anything within vision is convenient but grows less effective as the number of mobs go up. While CDs were intended precisely for clearing wave/base they were also, well, CDs. Many early-mid waves came with numerous small units that makes auto splashing damage feels like a godsend for defense.

I’m also not skilled in use Hercules for transport. In fact, I have yet to try it, so Drill able to hit inc waves while my team was away became attractive. (Thought I could probably learn to set up defense…)

(just noticed all commander’s I’ve started are mechanic based…)

Warning, long post lol

Drill opening build order is as follows:

  1. 2x SCV to make supply @ 100mineral, which is 14/15 usually.
  2. Refinery whilst supply depot is constructing, usually 15/15.
  3. Assign 2x SCV from supply depot to help finished refinery.
  4. Continue making SCV all the meanwhile.
  5. 2x SCV to make Factory, usually 18-19/23.
  6. 4x SCV to make Armory, usually 22/23.

What you need for this to work is mastery in drill time. Otherwise, there is no point in making these times and assigning these additional SCVs. The objective being researching drill ASAP, if no mastery then it’s sitting there. And you’ve fast tech’d to Armory for no reason.

What you can do from there is fairly similar to the more common “factory first opener”. The 4x SCV can move from main, post Armory construction, to expansion for 1x turret. And then again on 2nd turret. Opening from there is fairly similar. For example, once main rock is down, salvage 1 of 2 turret while pulling 4-6 SCV to fast track expansion CC. (4-6 is based on your main SCV count, you want at least 14 SCV for best rate at that stage.)

This is why taking early gases is entirely pointless. This is also why vespene drones (especially if 100min/piece) is bad choice to add on. Again, at this point with this context.

A few things to also note:

  1. During Armory, you’ll note 22/23. So without being supply blocked. You can assign 2x SCV for another supply depot.
  2. Floating factory to nearest enemy base after construction. It hosts a ton of HP, this simple act gets much done. And it is key to contested expansions.
  3. Needless but important to highlight. As soon as Armory is done, Drakken drill is online (if you followed above to the T). Research concentrated beam and pulse cannon after without delays. Total cost is something like 110/110 and 150/150, again with mastery.
  4. Between two abilities, you’ll be able to wipe down most bases far faster than tank/herc can do. That is a tested fact.

What I’ll end on is that it’s a shame how many Swann players cannot do this. Refusing to learn and still believe they are “good” with Swann. To clarify, I’m not saying “factory first opener” isn’t good. It just doesn’t provide that bridge because you’re relying on a more standard DPS ramp up. And given how much everything cost, and how Swann’s army require a critical mass to be functional. That route hinders the early game. Compared to the “drill opening”, the abilities is a bigger power jump, thus it provides that bridge I keep mentioning. However, it is susceptible to bigger error. Should you use abilities inappropriately, you’ll have nothing but “quickly pull SCVs for a turret” to fall on.

Then again, all of this is about mastery of Swann. You’ll likely win as Swann regardless.


Thank you for your detailed post. It’s informative, therefore confusing, since I’m a lvl 7 Swann amateur (^_^). I shall revisit this post after I reach level 15, then I’d have 76 mastery pts to spend.

How does Drill opening handle the first/second waves of enemies, given that the plan is to use Drill against bases? Does it do enough damage against early waves, ESPECIALLY those damn Reapers? Last night I had a game facing off against 4~8 reapers per wave, it was unpleasant.

You make a few turrets against first waves, most first waves die to 2 betties that can be salvaged so it’s basically free


Three things you can do here:

  1. Make turrets. They become available as soon as you make Factory. And depending on the compositions, generally nothing 1-2 flaming betty or blaster billy can’t handle. Worst case against some things, just leave your 2 SCVs there to repair. Salvage afterwards, now you’ve spent nothing and defended waves. It’s crazy how many people will just let waves destroy units/their base when this is entirely available for them. I cannot emphasize and agree more with Anc here.
  2. Your floating factory is a lot more useful than most people realize. Consider that you can destroy most forward/1st enemy base or contested expansion (such as CoA) with the drill alone. This should be able to hand several types of 1st/2nd waves. Admittedly, it’s not a “cover all” per se. For example, don’t use it for mass zerglings or mass marines wave. Not that you can’t deal with it, but it takes far too long to make an impact.
  3. You’ll have ARES available at 4min. That alone can handle most 1st wave. How you choose to use this is up to you. However, I am of the school of use it every chance you get.

Hope that helps. And definitively revisit this information once you’re level 15 with mastery.


It’s VERY VERY Rarely worth using.

The only time it’s useful is on defense maps, and even then it’s situational depending what enemy comp you get. It’s good at deleting light air units that are tightly stacked (aka Mutalisks) it’s not good for much else. You’d much rather have the on demand wave clear potential of the abilities you are denied on the drill.

It sucks on any map where you are asked to be on the offensive. It sucks vs ground comps in general where it cant utilize its AOE effectively. It sucks if your build doesn’t include prioritizing drill upgrades (many builds do not). It’s just a very situational prestige. The only reason I have it was because I was grinding towards P3 which is amazing in most situations.

P1 is just not useful most of the time.

Good players will fare better with Pulse Cannon and Concentrated Beam. I have fond memories of using Pulse Cannon on the last leg of CoA… a dozen Thors, various other mechs, wiped out with just one blast. The hybrids all survived, but were easy to mop up with just a few hundred hp. All the better if you put mastery pts into Concentrated Beam damage and width.

So far, I prefer P1 to P0. The “set and forget” of this prestige is nice. You’re not at the mercy of waiting for your cd to go to 0. I do whiff with Pulse Cannon Concentrated Beam, which makes that worse.


On ME, manually target hybrids
On DoN, target the “big boys”… Spotters, Hunterlings, Kaboomers, to gradually bring them down.

I do forget about using Turrets for defense… ironic, consider I love using cannons with Karax.

Can Concentrated Beam hit things under fog of war? As in, firing at one direction without knowing what’s under it, ended up killing them anyway?

Yes, that’s what makes it so deadly and awesome. All you really need is map knowledge to aim properly. You can cut through many key areas.

The cast beam does need to be within explored areas, but the areas beyond hidden in darkness will be wiped out.


It is very good if you use that prestige in combination with a commander who can provide you vision like stetman, with his p1 even more.

I played that combination not long ago and his lvl3 laser literally soloed every attackwave from every direction.


one of swanns biggest issues is his huuuge ramp up time. even more since the matches become quicker due to prestige. so how do you deal with a huge ramp up time? imo you try to squeeze this time period by playing as greedy (eco wise) as possible. p1 is very helpful because it can deal with any thread for a early and also some midgame threads. skipping static d or early units is possible most of the time. even fast drill upgrade isnt necessary but recommended.

I’m not sure I agree with you there. Check out the speedrunning times to see how there are quite a few commanders with similar times to Swann.


Perhaps you need to try a fast drill opening with P0 and the right masteries?


“Commander ranking by average times”

Swann is last, except vorazun

Rather than take a cursory look and assert you’re right, why not actually check the details and compare times. For example, how would a 1.1% time difference make Swann hugely slower than Artanis on average full clears? And how about any%, or specific maps.

How about posting your best Swann replays so the community can help you improve your early game?