Sunday, July 31, 2016

Preparing for the September Raid

I was going to write about the rest of the new FM prizes next... bigger Stealth Armors, Limited Minigun Turret, and the Expanded Concussive Charge.  But I think it's more important to start thinking about what to do for the September raid.

First - just some quick thoughts on the FM prizes:

Stealth Armors:
All we've had for a long time is D2-S.  Now we get D3-S through D5-S.  They all give the same Cloak Efficiency increase... 5%, but the larger ones also have some explosive resistance.  I'll come back to this later in the article.

New Minigun Turret and Special:
The new Minigun turret and the Concussive special clearly go together.  You could also use the new special effectively on Gargoyles (if you think they will fire), or possibly even any non-concussive turret just for the splash (+60% splash  is a lot).  The Minigun has 150 range to cover a big piece of a base's channel from the center island (compare to 131 for a Glacial and 140 for a Coldsnap), and this can even be improved if you use the AT:R Transformer.  Build it if you get it.

On the September Raid:
Most of us have seen videos (at least) from the preview, and hopefully you have tried the new Reaver Armada targets.  Also, subs have gone into the Foundry under the Skirmish Category.  So to prepare for the next raid, you've got quite a few options to think about, depending on what you have:
  • Build / Refit 3 Special subs (Cuda / Spectre / Nighthawk)
  • Refit Tiger Sharks 
  • Wait for August Hull Raid prize
  • Build / Refit a surface ship with Concussive Reciprocator

The targets have a couple pieces to them... 

First there is a central Reaver Hulk.  This ship spawns drones (in the Reaver Armadas) and also fires a mortar that lays down Subsonic Cavitator fields.  Subs that enter a Sub Cav field are surfaced and then have to wait for their dive timer to reset before diving (even if they leave the field).  The drones are pretty fast, and if you are not pretty far out from the center when you surface, they will catch you and fire a concussive splash cannon.

The other ships are Reaver Scouts that emit a Sub Cav field (occasionally) and have some sonar too.  If the scouts see you (when close enough), they will start moving and fire at you with a concussive splash cannon.

All of the ships also have an explosive death weapon that has a larger splash radius than torpedo range.

My general strategy (not that it's unique) for dealing with these targets is to find a gap in the initial sub cav fields, kill a few Scouts, kill the Hulk & Drones, then kill the rest of the Scouts.  Patience pays off - I usually sit outside of the Scout Sub Cav range, wait for it to come on then blink off, then go ahead and enter my torpedo range.  If you are in range when those fields come on, then you'll take fairly heavy damage from the cannons, and it is also tough to get out of range when the ships explode.  I have found that on my build, it takes 5 volleys to kill a Scout, so I count those volleys and try to be pointing the other direction and moving away when that 5th volley fires.  This minimizes my damage from the death weapon.  Each player's sub build might deal damage differently, so I recommend that you count volleys for yourself so you understand how your subs perform.

Now that we understand the enemy, lets look at our options.

Build / Refit 3 special Subs
I lump the Cuda, Spectre, and the Nighthawk together because now that they all have three specials, the builds are pretty similar for each.  If you have none of the subs built yet, I recommend building the Cuda, since it is the quickest build & shortest repair (and still pretty effective).

The upgrades for each sub as brought into the Foundry are nice, but the additional Retrofit upgrades aren't very good (for R1 - R3 at least).   R4 tends to give more resistances and the DPS starts to get noticeable (maybe)... but it's going to be a long grind to get there.

I show a few builds in the following Huggy's link:

Notice the Basic Cuda build is just about 1 week per ship, so there is still time to build these before September's Raid.  Even the Magnus version is under 8 days (no officer, tokens, or R&D upgrades)

The basic build uses Speed 5, Cat Drive 3, and Stealth Attack System 4 (Use Nautilus Battery 3 if you don't have SAS 4).

As an upgrade, using Magnus 2 & Ablative Armor 3 will give you more resistance against the explosive death weapon at the expense of some turn speed.

You could use Styx, but I think these enemies have decent corrosive resistance.  The DoT damage just doesn't seem as effective as I am used to on other targets.  

If you don't have any Scourge torpedos, then you could use Assault B, but you might want to use some Stealth Armor in that case, since you will need to get closer to the enemy to fire.

Refit Tiger Sharks
In my case, I have some Tiger Sharks that I've been using for a while, and I've been fairly happy with them.. until now.

This is my build:

 The Sonar ship was built for Anti-Scourge (and it worked well for that).  The Phantom uses mostly Cobras, but I was never motivated enough to build an all-cobra fleet.  Anyway, that fleet will do a Level 70 Armada, but take 3-4 hours of damage, mostly from the Death Weapons.  So to improve it, I plan to refit it in a similar way as I described above... replace the Speed 5 & Cat Drive with Magnus 2 and Ablative 3.  I don't think I'll be giving up offense to add more Stealth or Concussive Armor.  

Also notice that I didn't suggest building these from scratch... at over 13 days each, even with weapon build time reductions, they are a bit long to build.  That's why I talk about the next option...

Wait for August Hull Raid Prize
If you are building from scratch, we have had it confirmed that there will be a new sub hull prize coming in the August Raid.  If you've been successful in the current Assault raid cycle, it may be worth while to wait & see what that sub is like, then build & rank them (maybe even just one) for the September Raid.  Some players have been successful with just a single sub against the Armada targets - it might take a while, but splash does less total fleet damage against just a single ship.

Build / Refit a surface ship with Concussive Reciprocator


This one is a little radical, as these new targets are "designed" to be hit by subs.  But watch this video:

Ruube's build is here:!B0N80292929293863066E392G2G2G2G2G2GC0C0C0C00ZZ0ZZ0ZZ0ZZdC

This was pretty effective - I noticed a couple things:
- He mounted Resonance Battery on his build, and used the static Sub Cav fields to trigger it.  He stayed within that area to keep his battery triggered.
- His shots generally fell behind the target - a projectile speed boost or a slowdown field would help.
- The Reciprocator is nice because it has the longest spinup decay time of any of the concussive cannons available.

On that build, I would replace the Agility System (where Evade & Stun/Slow resist isn't helping vs. those splash weapons) with a special like Combustion System 2 or Explosive System 4.  

Even before seeing this video, I was thinking about trying it, and it's nice to see it being used effectively.  I was thinking about builds like this:!B0MI02929292938066M6E2G2G2G2G2G2G2G2G0M6E2929292938066M6E2G2G2G2G2G2G2G2G06S02929292938066M6E2G2G2G2G2G2G2G2G0N602929292938066M6E6L2G2G2G2G2G2GC0C0C0C00ZZdC

All the ships share:
  • Concussive Reciprocator to deal damage.  Its long decay time and high damage at medium range make this a better choice than the Concussive Gatling.
  • D5-CT armor gives Concussive Resistance (which is the main source of damage in this case) and also some Assault Deflection, making it worth the build time.
  • Hydraulic Resistors give more Concussive Resist - use Speed 5 if you don't have this available
  • Ablative Armor 3 resists the Death Weapon
  • Strike Warheads add 45% additional concussive damage (use Concussion Warheads if you don't have this... or to save build time)
  • Combustion System 2 gives more projectile speed & splash
Your hull choices also result in some tradeoffs: 
  • Frostburn Interceptor has the field that debuffs your enemies' speed, defense, and fire rate.  But it has lower Concussive Resistance than the other choices.  (and the field will clear the Sub Cav fields)
  • V2-H Interceptor (R15) have the highest Concussive and Explosive resistance of these options and also adds Assault DPS.
  • Artemis has the mines which you might be able to use effectively (although I suspect they will be spotted from range and may just add repair time).  It has the highest speed, but the lowest defenses of the hull choices here.
  • Prototype Hunter has an extra special slot that could be used for Resonance Battery (20% Speed, Offense, Defense) or Resonance Capacitor (20% Speed, 36% Offense).  It also has extra built in Assault Deflection and slightly higher built-in Concussive Damage (50% vs. 40%) than the other choices.  With fewer surface weapon slots, torpedos are needed to make up the DPS difference.
One more idea with these - I was thinking about building just one and sending it solo (like Ruube did).  But another idea is that if you have some of the newer Conqueror or Defense hulls that put out friendly fields (like Vendetta, Vanquisher, or Retribution) you could bring those ships with the solo ship, and use those (overlapping) fields to really juice up a Resonance Battery... Obviously you'd need to use that instead of one of the specials on my builds (probably the Combusion System).

I'm not really sure what will work the best... I'm leaning towards the Frosty with its field, but I've heard good arguments for the V2-H and the Proto-Hunter.  I think each player will need to decide based on what they have available to try.

Well... those are my thoughts... if you have something else to add, please leave a comment below!