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Dark Skies is the eighth mission of the Nova Covert Ops campaign, and the second mission of the third and final mission pack.

History[]

The Emperor's Justice[]

"The Dominion has always had a strong leader. Stepping into my father's role was challenging, and I often relied on others to support me, as General Davis did, when the Defenders of Man began spreading disinformation about my response to the Zerg attacks"

Emperor Valerian Mengsk gave his speech in front of a large crowd on Vardona, condemning the Defenders of Man for plotting against the Terran Dominion, and stating that General Carolina Davis misinformed the population on the Dominion's response to the feral zerg attacks. He also stated that they had evidence the Defenders of Man were behind the attacks, and had a group of marines bring Davis before the crowd in handcuffs. Valerian stated that a trial would be forthcoming.

However, as this happened the Tal'darim Death Fleet arrived, and began attacking the city and its inhabitants. Highlord Alarak projected his image on the city's screens, stating that he had come to annihilate the Defenders of Man. He then psionically contacted Nova Terra, saying their bargain had been completed, and the Defenders would be destroyed. Nova then began to mobilize Dominion defense forces to aid in the city's defense.[1]

Mission[]

"Nova... Why are you helping these vermin?"
"There are innocent people here. You already know that. You just don't care."

- Highlord Alarak and Agent Nova Terra(src)

Nova's forces began to mount a defense against the Death Fleet, with the aid of forces under Admiral Matt Horner. The lower ranked Defenders of Man forces also came to the aid of the Dominion, stating they were unaware of the agenda of Davis. Admiral Horner stated that the Dominion Fleet was arriving to reinforce their ranks, but it would take time for them to arrive. Nova reinforced the Dominion and Defender's positions and began to weather the Tal'darim onslaught.

Reigel noted that if the Defenders of Man line fell, the city's science facility would also fall, and they were on the verge of a breakthrough. Soon the Dominion Fleet arrived, and Gorgon-class battlecruisers began to reinforce the Dominion position. At several points in the battle, First Ascendant Ji'nara arrived using a Tal'darim mothership, attempting to break the line of the Dominion. However, the Dominion defenses held, and the Tal'darim invasion force was defeated.

During the chaos of the battle, General Davis was able to escape aboard the Medusa. Nova and her crew then boarded the Griffin and began to hunt her down.[2]

Walkthrough[]

This mission is a defensive mission, where the Tal'darim will attack down set lanes. While initially they will only come through three lanes, four more will open up as the level progresses, two on each side. The bonus objective of the level involves keeping a building near the frontlines alive, essentially requiring that the front-center lane of defenses not be overrun.

The first waves are fairly weak, and can be handled by the Dominion and Defender of Man defenses as well as Nova and the siege tanks and liberators the player starts with. As such, the early game should be focused on establishing a firm economy, and taking the two expansions near the main base. Once that is up and running, begin pumping out more liberators, siege tanks, and battlecruisers, especially if they are given the special ordinance upgrade. These can use their tactical jump ability to teleport to areas where defenses are weak. Marines also serve as a good mineral dump, as they can attack the air units of the later waves. One may also opt to use a siege tank, turret, and raven strategy on brutal, described later on in this section. This strategy uses primarily tanks, SCVs, and turrets to hold each lane, using Nova to respond to special attacks and a squad of special ordnance ravens as backup if nukes fail. This strategy should never require battlecruiser jumps nor Gorgons as the defensive positions are so strong with properly positioned tanks and turrets that they will never break. In fact, battlecruiser range is so short that void rays present a real threat to them. Coupled with high cost, long build time, pitiful damage output, and using more minerals than gas (the player will likely float gas so missile attack ravens are better), battlecruisers are not very effective in this mission. Likewise, tanks are better and cheaper than liberators for dealing with the clumped protoss ground attacks.

Around the mid-game, the player will gain access to Gorgons, which will strafe a lane and destroy most units it comes across. They will deal heavy damage to high priority targets such as the mothership, and relieve pressure on a lane long enough for the player to reinforce them should they begin to fall. Beware, as they are not invincible, and units such as void rays can destroy the Gorgon before it completes its run. There is one Gorgon available for each starting lane, and each have a separate cooldown of 180, 240 and 300 seconds on normal, hard, and brutal respectively.

Across the city is a subway system, with one entry point near the player's base one and several near most of the lanes of attack. Use these to move ground forces around to each lane, and reinforce weak spots. Nova herself can serve to nearby solo one of the lane's defenses, and can use pulse grenade to weaken groups or snipe on key targets that funnel in. In addition, building several ghost academies is beneficial for large waves of attack, as the Tal'darim utilize minimal detection and nukes can clear out large attack waves, even doing serious damage to the Tal'darim motherships. When motherships appear, use Nova's abilities to deal damage to it, preferably snipe as it can stay out of its detection range. Marines and goliaths can aid in bringing it down quickly should it begin to seriously pressure defenses.

For the "One Woman Army" achievement, construct a large number of ghost academies, around 15-20. Through the early game, try to ensure Nova gets the last hit on as many Tal'darim as she can. As the midgame approaches begin to nuke every opportunity that it seems like there will be a large cluster of units. It may be beneficial to allow the outer defenses to fall, as when the Tal'darim hit the Dominion lines to lanes of attack cluster together, allowing nukes to hit a greater number of Tal'darim.[2]

This mission can be completed relatively easily on brutal without using any Gorgons nor losing any defender lines. For unit technology, take tech module for siege tanks and special ordnance on the raven, which gives them their missile as an auto attack. These will be the only units built along with SCVs. The player can split their starting siege tanks and liberators between the first three lanes while building up an economy. Place the liberation zones on top of the infantry and put the tanks between and just barely behind the pairs of bunkers. Instantly start reactor on the factory, start two armories whenever possible, starting vehicle upgrades whenever they are available, and start tech lab on the starport. Make sure to saturate vespene mining as much as possible; for minerals, no more than two bases saturated at 70% are necessary, but the player may opt to have more. No production buildings need to be added for this strategy, but an extra factory could be helpful. Rally factories to the middle of the map. Add at least four siege tanks, and when the Defender forces begin to set up side street bunkers, send one to each, in the same position between and behind the bunkers. At this point, build an engineering bay and send one SCV to each of the seven lanes. Build four to six missile turrets exactly between the bunkers in each lane, then leave the SCV between the turrets and tanks to let it repair both. In the centremost lane, send two SCVs and build three turrets on each side as well, as your tank lines may attract void rays from the neighboring lanes. Continuously add vehicle upgrades and build siege tanks, sending one to each location until five or six tanks are at each lane. This will be about 126 supply of tanks. Replace SCVs at each location and eventually send two to each. Starting from when the tech lab is finished on the starport at the beginning of the game, use extra gas to build ravens - ideally around nine or ten. Two volleys of raven shots at maxed upgrades will kill the mothership. Rally ravens to the main base or centre of the map, and do not place them around the lanes as their attacks do friendly fire. Occasionally, their healing drone can be used, but make sure to always micro them when in use as a single stray missile can destroy one's own turrets or tank line. They serve as insurance for the mothership and void ray attack in case Nova's nukes are missed. For Nova, take Apollo suit for energy with plasma rifle and grenades, Use her to gather resource crates from the lanes early on and send her to every threat, using two plasma shots and a grenade on each. Nukes can also be used if one desires. Make sure to add two or more silos, which should be easy as the player will have way more resources than they need. Ideally, each lane will receive additional tanks evenly until there are six or seven at each, with five to eight missile turrets in front protecting them and two or three SCVs standing in between repairing. If Nova is sent to counter every special threat, one should never need to call a Gorgon nor lose any lanes. Near the end, send the ravens to the centre lane to deal with the mothership and void rays. Aside from tech buildings, do not spend any money on any units except SCVs, tanks, turrets, and ravens. Battlecruisers, due to their short range, are a colossal waste of resources. Tanks will hold the ground forces much better and turrets will shred void rays and scouts. Raven special ordnance missiles have huge range and two deal more than a Yamato while having a much shorter charge time and not requiring nearly as much micro as activating many Yamatos. Ravens can fire one, kite, and fire another by the time a Yamato finishes. One can opt to station some marines at side lanes and the centremost lane, but they are unnecessary. One will have plenty of leftover money to buy upgrades for them if they so choose. With this strategy, no lane should ever be overrun, and thus no Gorgons will be needed. Make sure to micro Nova properly to deal with every special threat, but if one makes a mistake, the raven squad should easily clean up the clumped protoss attacks.

Achievements[]

DarkSkies1 SC2AchiveImage.JPG Dark Skies
Points

10 Achievement SC2 Game1.JPEG

Criteria

Complete the “Dark Skies” mission in Nova: Covert Ops.

Edit
DarkSkies2 SC2AchiveImage.JPG Until Death Fleet We Part
Points

10 Achievement SC2 Game1.JPEG

Criteria

Destroy 300 enemy units with Gorgons in the "Dark Skies" mission.

Edit
DarkSkies3 SC2AchiveImage.JPG Battlecruiser Operational
Points

10 Achievement SC2 Game1.JPEG

Criteria

Destroy 15 units with the Battlecruiser's Yamato Cannon in the "Dark Skies" mission on Normal difficulty or higher.

Edit
DarkSkies4 SC2AchiveImage.JPG One Woman Army
Points

10 Achievement SC2 Game1.JPEG

Criteria

Destroy 333 units with Nova in the "Dark Skies" mission on Hard difficulty or higher.

Edit
NCO10 SC2AchiveImage.JPG Sunny With a High of 75
Points

10 Achievement SC2 Game1.JPEG

Criteria

Complete the "Dark Skies" mission without summoning a Gorgon on Normal difficulty.

Edit

Trivia[]

  • In the eastern lane of the map, there is a structure with a holographic Space Lord's Starbreaker mount as well as posters of the Queen of Ghosts Kerrigan skin from Heroes of the Storm.
  • The Gorgon tooltip still states they're impervious to attacks, despite being vulnerable in this mission.

References[]

  1. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Nova Covert Ops. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Cinematic: The Emperor's Justice (in English). 2016-11-22.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Nova Covert Ops, Dark Skies (in English). 2016-11-22.
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