Mini Masterclass – Flying the Fighters in Team Deathmatch

by CCP Games

Greetings rookies. We trust you are settling in well in your new role as a Valkyrie pilot? You'll do well to remember that no amount of virtual training exercises or the scouting of maps can prepare you for the intensity of a real battle against live opponents... and so we are here to help.

At some point, you'll be called upon to traverse the vast spaces of New Eden in order to secure control points and take down enemy carriers. That said, for the most part, you will be engaging in ferocious head-on battles with enemy squadrons, intent on your destruction.

You will not be alone. You will work as a team. What follows is a series of training modules that will help you survive in a Deathmatch situation. We begin with advice for fighter pilots from one of the best exponents of the craft in known space, SuperKev.

General Advice

The object of a Team Deathmatch (TDM) is pretty straightforward on the face of it. Just kill 30 of your opponents’ ships before they kill 30 of yours. So, to state the obvious, you must do two things: kill as many as possible and avoid getting killed yourself.

A lot of people focus on going in hard without thinking, but they forget that each time they are sent back to the tubes, their team moves one point closer to losing. Fortunately, the fighter class gives you a great opportunity to contribute both in the killing and avoiding getting killed departments.

Ship Choice

viveship Choose a fighter with excellent firepower. The Wraith is the obvious choice here. With its upgraded capacitor, you can often maintain a speed and turning advantage over your pursuers. The Wraith's strong armor lets it take a lot of punishment and survive encounters that would kill lesser ships.

The Assuage is my second choice for a fighter in a TDM situation. It's not as durable as a Wraith, but it feels nimble and fast. If your aim is true, you can deal out a lot of damage with its pulse cannon. Its EMS provides instant missile defense. When timed well, it allows you to stun pesky heavies and even fighters or support ships quite easily.

Squad Setup

SHIP Displacer cropped I am typically a lone-wolf player, but flying in a squad has its obvious benefits. I usually fly a Wraith, so sometimes it's handy to have a healer like a Displacer or Guardian to keep my armor topped up after a heated encounter. I'm always happy when there's a Displacer on my squad, because its heal beam is effective and it drops spiderbots, which can literally be a life-saver when you're low on armor. Another handy wingman in a TDM is the Revenant. Aside from its minor healing capabilities, its corrupt beam gives its teammates a damage bonus, and its mines can create distracting and deadly hazards for your enemy.

If you're flying with a squad, try to stick together. As a fighter, it's your job to keep your healer alive, just like it's their job to keep you alive. You don't do any good to each other on opposite ends of the map.

Specific Strategies

Com Alerts Main Always remember your dual goals of killing and not getting killed, so position yourself accordingly.

The best places to achieve these goals are spots that offer good cover and opportunities for ambushing your opponents. Take time to practice weaving in and out of structures at high speeds. These maneuvers will serve you well when you're being pursued by multiple bogies or missiles. If multiple enemies are targeting you, weaving through structures breaks up their coordination and can cause them to lose visual contact with you.  Often, some of your pursuers will break off the chase and go after an easier target instead, or one of your teammates will join the fight to help you out. When your attackers get sufficiently broken up and confused, you can often turn the fight around on them by going on the offensive and taking them out one at a time.

You don't always have to stay in cover; you can pop out to engage an enemy. Just don't allow yourself to be dragged too far into the open where you'll be easy pickings for pod missiles and phasers.

Speaking of phasers, they can peck you to death if you're not careful. If you're being phasered, do not try to run away. Instead, try to get close to the ship firing at you. Phasers are less likely to hit you if you're close to them, so your fighter's fixed aim weapons will give you a major advantage at close quarters. If you're fighting a Banshee that's dropping spider bots, just pick them off. The Banshee's probably stripped your shields with its beam anyway, so you might as well prevent it from using those spiderbots to heal its own armor.

A TDM will often start to swing heavily in one team's favor if they manage to gain a numbers advantage on the battlefield. If you launch from the tubes and see that there's nothing but a ball of red ships on your HUD, resist the urge to fly right over there. They'll just pounce on you en masse and you'll find yourself back in the clone room again. Linger near your carrier until two or three more of your teammates launch, so you can go in as a group. Use the Com Alerts wheel to urge your team to "Group up!" Or, you can find an enemy ship that's strayed from the ball. Targeting enemies on the fringes of a group and drawing them away from safety-in-numbers is a good way to spread the battle out and give your team a fighting chance.

Focus on taking out the greatest threat on the enemy team. Sometimes this is a skilled fighter pilot, or a support pilot keeping a number of other ships alive, or a Gorgon that's lobbing pod missiles into the fray. By sending the biggest threat back to the tubes, you temporarily prevent them from doing more damage to your team, thereby giving your team a chance to stack up a lead.

Thanks SuperKev. Ignore his training at your peril, rookies. Next time we will be putting support pilots through their paces in a Team Deathmatch situation. Check back here regularly to up your game.

Fly safe!