For the second in our series of ‘Versus’ guides we turn to another of New Eden’s finest pilots, Nydwen. He specializes in the piloting of heavy class ships so who better to impart advice on how to take on support ships when flying a heavy?
Over to you Nydwen…
So, the battle has begun and you’ve just launched into space in your nice, shiny new heavy. Sadly it won’t retain that showroom sheen for very long. At the start of the fight it is important to take stock of your surroundings. Take a little time to hang back and let the fight develop around you. This allows you to pick your engagement and with some basic tactics you can tip the balance in your favour.
Know Thine Enemy
Supports are heavily shield-based with low to moderate armour. This fact allows you to pick a shield-based weapon for maximum effect. In this situation I would currently recommend the Storm, Rhino or Cyclone as your ship of choice. The Storm is slightly shield damage-based while the Cyclone and Rhino deal equal damage to both shields and armour. Both the Cyclone and Storm have a slight edge over the Rhino due to their EMS but if you have not unlocked these yet, the Rhino can step in without problems.
The EMS allows you to temporarily stun the target enabling you to sweep in and take up position behind and under the enemy ship while also allowing your team to focus in on them.
If done correctly, by the time the EMS stun runs out, your target should have little to no shields and will require only a couple of extra shots to finish the fight.
Another important fact to consider is what type of support are you up against. Support abilities vary wildly from ship to ship. For example, a Banshee has the ability to strip shields with its buff beam and also heal its team. The Banshee also has a phaser which will deal constant low damage until overheat, and in addition it has a blinding effect on anyone directly facing its glare.
Another ship to be wary of is the Revenant. This craft packs a gatling gun, buff beam and mines! When tackling the Revenant, it is fairly similar to fighting a Banshee but be wary of chasing the target in a turn fight. The Revenant can keep turning and dropping mines in your path, which do significant damage, should you not avoid these.
While going head to head against a support craft it is very important to bear in mind your surroundings. Ideally you want to be in or around some structures or an enclosed area (think caves).
The reasoning behind this is you are limiting the space in which the support can maneuver making it much harder for them to avoid your shots.
Also, by darting between structures you can break any buff beams or phasers that have locked onto you. Currently this is the only way doing so and this should form the mainstay of your strategy.
Supports are a dangerous opponent to play against. Most have both the ability to strip your shields and also heal any targets you are hitting. Supports should be a high priority kill but be sure to keep an eye on your health. Once it becomes apparent there is too much incoming damage to stick around, make use of that MWD! There is no shame in a tactical reposition. I like to warp out and stop right next to a structure at which point you can dart around it and turn around to await any incoming hostiles.
Finally, no guide of mine would be complete without a nod to the Maelstrom. This ship can drop any support from 100% to 0% in one shot should you land the mortar.
The targetable area on the hull of support ships is a lot different than that of a fighter due to the vertical nature of the ships. This makes the shot a lot harder but the rewards are there for those that master it.
One final tip that applies to the Maelstrom: it is possible to engage warp and drop it when you are a couple of feet from the target. Just as your ship is starting to slow down from warp, activate the EMS and fire the mortar. If your aim is true this will have one of two outcomes.
Either you will instantly stun the target allowing you to turn around and finish the job or you will land the shot and instantly vaporise them without allowing them a chance of escape.
This approach is the hardest to pull off but it is also my favourite and it looks awesome! Once you can reliably do this you are truly a threat on the field that can swing the balance in a match.
Amazing advice there from Nydwen. Thanks pilot. If you want to know how to tackle the heavies while flying a fighter, have look at General Stargazer’s Versus Guide.