Friday, February 12, 2016

Hostile Takeover - One Day In

So we have a new raid target type... and a lot of players are finding it pretty difficult.  It shouldn't be really surprising, the first raid where there is a new target is introduced is usually pretty hard.

I'll start with breaking down the Draconian Stronghold targets.  

First of all, the "intel modal" that pops up from each target is sort of silly.  Every single target has "Primary Damage: Penetrative, Secondary Damage: Explosive, Weakness: Explosive".  Kixeye, if you're going to go to the trouble to put this together, maybe there should be a little diversity?

Each of these targets has a series of platforms that contain a few types of turrets: Coldsnap, Drac Coax, Mortar, and Missile.  The platforms are also protected by Torpedo Towers (with super thermal), Guardians with very long range mortars, and Mastodons with missiles.  You will also find some mines, which apparently serve as spotters for the ships to use remote targeting.

One interesting point on these targets is that countermeasures work well against much of the incoming fire.  Even the Missiles which look like regular Executioners, can be shot down by Phalanx, which doesn't work against Executioners.  Although the Mastodon missiles seem to be Blades with flak evade, and mortars in the higher targets are thick enough to overwhelm many Gale/Hail defenses, I've found is that the real danger in these targets is the Coldsnap rocket turrets.  Those fast rockets will cause splash damage to a whole fleet as well as reduce their defenses by disabling Aegis fields.

My fleet which uses a Punisher tank with Gales, three Rhinos with a mix of "new" missiles, and a Harlock's Aegis with Phalanx can get pretty heavily damaged mostly from the Coldsnaps in these targets.  The Punisher holds up pretty well with its high deflection, but the other ships, even with Explosive Defense in the high 60's, are getting pretty damaged by these.  It would be interesting to see what a fleet with Tridents could do - whether the Coldsnaps are countered effectively or not.

(Quick Note - CM & Mods have said that Coldsnaps cannot be shot down by Tridents)

More notes on the specific target sets: 

C Set: 78,845 points with 75k bonus (for high level player)
Good fleets can do this for instant repair, but the points are low.

B Set: 739,180 points with 500k bonus (for high level player)
The super thermal shows up here, so forget about subs.  The Mastodons are mostly missing from these targets, and a reasonable number of Hail/Gale defenses can hold off the mortars.
A Set:  2,917,009 points with 1.5M bonus
Although they held up on the 80, on the 83 my anti-mortar defenses (8 Gale 1, no CM special) became overwhelmed & my fleet took a real pounding.  

Key to all these targets (when using missile fleets) is to use your targeting (shift-click).  You want to take down the protective building ASAP, but you don't need many hits to do it.  After that, most players will want to take out the Coldsnaps, then the Mortars - you'll have to figure out if those are also the most dangerous turrets to you (without Phalanx the Missiles might be your primary target).  You'll also have to get a feel for how long each turret & ship can survive under your fleet's fire - you can usually just target the protector buildings & torp towers for only a volley or two, but the turrets & ships can last for a while under fire.

Overall, I found that the Drac Strongholds were pretty expensive for me to do.  My first A set cost 30 coins of repair, although I think I could do it in about 10-20 with some more practice, and the B set took 9 coins.  Both sets were paying out under 100k points per coin, which really isn't very good if I'm going for all the prizes and tokens (I wouldn't have done the raid at that price).

Since the strongholds are giving me trouble, I took a look at the Mega Hulls.  Elite "type" targets usually aren't my preferred target, because the points/coin ratio usually just isn't as good for me.  But this Mega Hull felt more like targets in the previous raid style, so I thought I'd give them a shot.

When I came in for the first time, I noticed the splash missile target area, and how it left a pathway to each of the power platforms when coming in from a compass point (North/South/East/West).  So I decided to prep the target by sending my fleet in along these safe pathways.  

The power platforms still have a dangerous mix of turrets on them - Coldsnaps, Mortars, Missiles, and a Coax.  I found that the best way to approach these is to spread the tank very far apart from the rest of the ships - well outside the Aegis field but still closer to the platform (the Aegis gets disabled anyway). The wide spread of ships will keep the rocket splash from damaging the other non-tanks.  Once the Platform is down I will also trigger the ships to each side of it - again keeping my tank closest to the enemy, but now covering it with the Aegis.  Although these are the same types of ships we have kited successfully in previous raids, I sit still because the splash coverage doesn't give us much maneuvering room.  If you have them, Scatter / Deluge subs can also safely come down this pathway and hit the platforms.  Although you will be seen, you won't be fired on.

Click on each picture for a full-size screenshot.

(an example of how I approach each platform - on this one my rhinos were a bit wide & I triggered the ships too early)

Once all four platforms are down, I send the tank around one side of a platform and the rest of my fleet around the other.  I have plenty of time (with all four plats down) to get around & through the splash missile coverage zone.  I keep my tank closer to the Mega at all times so that it draws the UAV bomber fire.  Continuing to keep them spread apart prevents the UAV splash from affecting my other ships.  The Mega does take a while to kill this time, so just keep firing & be patient.  If you have a quick pinch - it can be used on the Mega to reduce your damage a little bit.

(You can see the Punisher coming around through the Splash Zone & the Rhinos coming around in the other direction.  You can also see how the safe pathways through the splash zone are aligned with the compass points.)

(Final positioning - I drove the Punisher back into the Aegis field for protection against the UAVs.  After killing the Mega I'll drive up & kill the top platform from the inside)

So killing the whole target will get you 3 million points, and well constructed & driven fleets are doing it for 4 coins - my very best runs (with no crew) have come in with a 2 coin repair on the Punisher and instant repair on everything else.

Video from someone who is using a similar technique:

This is may be your best way to get points for an alli mate.  This target is co-op, but only the first person who enters will get the 1.5 million point bonus (and if someone comes in while you are dipping in & out, they get the bonus since they have been in longer).  So if you want to help someone out, they can enter the target with any fleet, sit still at the edge (out of splash zone), and let you kill the target with the technique I described above.  You will get just under 1.5 million points, while your buddy gets the bonus.  If doing this, you have to be very careful to enter at the compass point directions (North, South, East, or West), since the second person to enter will have their fleet moving a bit before it is under control.

I also checked out the Scourge Uranium Targets (around the relays) this afternoon.  Early on they weren't paying out Uranium, but I think that's fixed now.  I just popped in each one with my Styx Tigers & found: 

40: 3 Vipers:  Easy.  Pays out 2,500 Uranium.

60: 6 Vipers, 2 Daggers: I didn't stay in this one, since the Daggers tend to mess up my subs.

80: 5 Vipers, 4 Goblins: Pays out 14,000 Uranium.  No problem with the Tigers.  The Goblins have thermal but Scourge Torpedoes easily outrange it.  I was even careless to get spotted once and they still didn't do much damage while I was submerged. 

Just remember these don't pay out any raid points.

Well, I'll leave you with this thought - if you can't do this raid then I still don't think the mortar prizes are that great, so this may not be a terrible one to skip.  But if you have a high deflection hull, you need to get on building those, because I expect we will keep seeing these target types for a while.