Top of the morning!
This is part 2 of a four-part series on base defense. Today I will be talking about defending against Siege Missile fleets. If you haven’t already done so, please read yesterday’s post on defending against Siege Mortars as a lot of the information there applies here as well.
The Missile Fleet
Siege Missile fleets are larger hulls, often Hammerheads or bigger (although there are some Sea Scorpion builds as well), that have 1-2 Siege Missiles on each ship. They will often have a Strike Missile as well, which serves as fodder for Flak Cannons. The remaining slots are usually filled with anti-mortars. Siege Missile fleets typically have Solid Fuel Booster 3 and Reactive Armor as the specials. You may also see Laser Targeting on hulls with three specials.
General attack patterns are nearly identical to that of Siege Mortars, since they ranges are about the same. Attackers will creep through the channel, stopping only to snipe Howitzers and Cerberus Rockets. They rely on anti-mortars to protect them from Victory Mortars and their Reactive Armor to protect them from Sentinels. If they have Laser Targeting, Siege Missiles become quite good at FvF so these fleets then become capable of prepping bases themselves.
Just like with Siege Mortars, you need to make the clock your friend. A solid core of Howitzers and Cerberus Rockets will force them to stop regularly and Flaks will shoot down the missiles. Most Missile fleets come with Strike Missiles, which have a slightly faster fire rate than the Siege Missiles. Generally, the Strike Missile will take the Flak hit so the Siege Missiles can get through. For this reason, it is important to have more than one Flak.
Unlike Bombards, you can have multiple Flaks firing at a time and they have a much larger range. Flaks work like shotguns – they fire all their salvos at once over a certain area and each salvo will explode, taking any missiles in its small radius with it. With the spread, splash and salvo count of a standard Flak 4, you can expect a roughly 50% chance of hitting and destroying any given missile. With the Barrage Rack upgrade, this can jump up to around 80%.
If you’re looking at those numbers and not feeling encouraged, you’re not alone. Flaks aren’t meant to provide 100% coverage and they’re going to need help. VMs and Sents generally don’t offer a whole lot of support due to the nature of the builds but having Slide Loader 3 and Thermobaric Casing 3 on your VMs and Sents, respectively, will help them inflict at least damage. The rest is going to have to come from your guard fleet.
Siege Missile fleets typically have little or no ballistic resistance so anything that uses cannons will be quite effective. In most cases, the same fleet you’d use against Siege Mortars would work well here too. Just be sure to have them far enough inside your base that they can’t be prepped. You’re going to want to focus your fire on one ship at a time until it sinks, then move on to the next. Don’t forget that you can also targets to your turrets by selecting it and then clicking on the enemy you want it to attack.
One strategy that we’re starting to see more of is guard with high evade. Personally, I’m fond of this Goliath build but have yet to get it built. It looks pretty solid on paper, though, and the evade should help immensely against missiles. Not everyone will have Goliaths but since it’s a Forsaken-based prize hull, I believe it will become available to research within a couple months. If you don’t have those, you can probably get away with this Sea Scorpion build instead.
Once again, the actual layout of the base isn’t as important as the turret placement. The only criteria is that it needs to be protect your guards.
Know Your Weakness
Without Flaks or a decent guard fleet, your base isn’t going to last very long against Siege Missiles. That’s one of the main reasons why this fleet is so popular among high-level players as many players don’t have either. When equipped with Laser Targeting, Siege Missiles become accurate enough to be extremely dangerous to ships and they have no minimum range. Keep that in mind and make sure that you get all your guards firing at once or they’ll just get picked off.
As always, one of your main vulnerabilities is to rockets. Make sure you place your Flaks far enough apart that they can’t both be Pinched at once. They can still use Bunker Busters but if they’re using more than one, they’re spending money and I’d still consider that a win for you. The big thing, though, is to protect your guard fleet. You need them alive during the main hit.
If you know you’re about to face a Siege Missile fleet, one of the things you can do is choose a kiting fleet as your guard and set it up outside your base, near the entrance to your channel but far enough away that you’ll have to move about a bit to get into firing range. The idea here is to be able to snipe your enemy shortly after he enters your base. They’ll then have to choose between continuing with their attack and going after your guards. If they go after the guards, run them around the edge of your base, keeping him in range of your useless buildings and if you can, your Sents as well. You want to waste as much time as you can while dealing as much damage as you can. He will eventually retreat in order to re-enter and try again. With any luck, he’ll have sustained some significant damage already and be easier to kill.
Tomorrow I’ll address the the third type of fleet you’ll encounter, and one of my personal favourites – the Blitz Fleet.
Until next time,