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Phantom Brigade Tactics Guide

Phantom Brigade Tactics Guide

Asymmetry

General FAQ
The main consideration in your engagements is asymmetry. You will generally be outnumbered and outgunned. You neutralize those advantages by abusing your own– the ability to predict your enemy’s movements.

You cannot put out more damage quicker than them, nor can you stand still and trade blows. Therefore your most useful tactic will be to negate incoming damage, either by taking hard cover, killing priority targets to create safe zones, shielding, or even just dashing in the middle of an incoming burst.

Defensive

Playing defensively is a good idea when you’re still not confident in the combat mechanics. Instead of taking risky maneuvers like popping out for quick shots, hide in cover for the full duration of an enemy’s attack. Instead of betting that you can kill them before they kill you, leave the gambling to someone else and stand behind a hill.

Generally, keeping your units close to cover and maneuvering cautiously will work decently. But, eventually, you might want to get a little more…

Aggressively Defensive

Cover is a wonderful thing. Because of how line of sight works (in real life as well, not just in-game) a closer piece of cover blocks more than one farther away even though getting closer exposes you to more and more accurate fire.

This means you might dash towards an enemy to avoid damage. Instead of running away as a group, you might run to the sides, split up your squad, get them into good positions to shoot at enemies while they’re in cover from the ones shooting at them.

That’s the aggressive part. Avoiding damage is only half of the mission; you must also eliminate all enemies. Eliminating them quicker means that they have less time to shoot at you, and so maximizing your damage output while remaining safe is the best way to play the game.

Mobility

Mobility is the key to all the above. Remember that Phantom Brigade is a fully 3D game, so use those thrusters to their maximum potential. Dash on top of buildings and off the sides of bridges. Jump off cliffs to break line of sight suddenly. If you’re feeling cheeky, run in front of another enemy to make them take friendly fire in the rear.

Time is your main currency, and being able to move quickly lets you make more efficient use of your time. Increasing your run speed is always good, but not at the expense of other capabilities, and besides, eventually you will want thrusters on every machine to dodge missiles and jump off cliffs.

Cover

General FAQ
The difference between cover and concealment is subtle but important: cover will stop a projectile. Hills offer excellent cover, as do buildings, but the latter can be destroyed and eventually shot through, as seen on the building to the left.

Keep this in mind when ordering a unit behind cover when under heavy fire– they may not be able to stay there for very long, especially when fired upon by weapons that do high impact damage.

Remember that a unit only needs to be in cover from the enemies currently attacking it. If possible, stand where you are protected from attacks but where you can also shoot at other enemies. Use any lull periods to fire back or reposition to better cover for the next incoming attack, and frequently check the timeline to figure out when and where to move.

Cover angles

General FAQ
The LOS line is drawn straight and true from shooter to target. It does not take into account scatter and the size of the target, so if your head is peeking out from behind a hill and your enemy is firing a machine gun at you from a long distance, there’s a good chance you’ll still take damage.

See also:  Phantom Brigade Combat Guide

Watch out for a red cone appearing even if you’re getting the dotted red line. That means you still have a chance of getting hit.

Even if the red cone does not appear, it’s a good idea to visually check your cover to make sure that it can, in fact, shield you from whatever’s shooting at you.

Priority targets

In more than one way. Kill priority targets first– targets which pose the greatest threat. These are usually enemies with missile weapons, plasma weapons, then those with railguns, machine guns, sniper rifles, and anything that does concussive damage.

Why? Those weapons negate your greatest advantages– prediction and cover.

Missiles fly above cover, are slow compared to projectile weapons, and are not predicted on the graph, making them very difficult to dodge without practice while also forcing you to spend more of your precious time evading. Plasma weapons move slowly but track, and one of them can be lobbed as well, making them difficult to evade.

Railguns go through cover. Machineguns have a long burst time, forcing you to stay in cover and waste time, and also deal enough damage to destroy whatever you’re standing behind. Sniper rifles do a lot of damage from a distance. Concussive damage is dealt separately from barrier / integrity damage, making it potentially extremely lethal.

But, on top of that: kill one target at a time. Splitting your fire runs the risk of not disabling an enemy unit, making subsequent turns harder. Say you’re in a 4v8; on your first turn, if you split fire and disable 0 enemies, you still have to dodge 8 enemies’ worth of fire on turn 2. If you focus your fire and disable even 1 enemy, then on the next turn you only have to deal with 7, making it easier to press your advantage.

Sure, you’re going to overkill a lot of enemies while you’re getting used to combat, but that is still better than underkilling and compromising your position.

Facing

Since hits are simulated with physics, the facing of a unit matters a huge deal. Primary weapons are always held in the right hand and an enemy unit without any weapons will eject; this instantly suggests a tactic: shoot all enemies from their right to disable their arms and potentially force them to eject.

Getting hit in the rear doubles concussive damage. This is because the pilot capsule is in the rear! This is especially dangerous when retreating down kill funnels like city streets, since even if you dash, you can still be hit by projectiles. If you will be under extremely heavy fire, it might be worth shielding up and walking backwards instead of dashing if you’re caught like that.

Forced Ejects

General FAQ

An enemy unit with no remaining weapons will eject. A specific icon will appear over its tab, but note that if it is also crashing within the same turn, the crash icon will take priority over the eject icon. It’s always worth clicking on the unit to check.

An ejecting enemy will not take any other actions that turn, so ignore it and shoot at other things. You still need to be careful of colliding with it.

Forcing enemies to eject is a great way to get rid of them quicker as well as getting easier salvage, since intact parts cost 10 points less to either salvage or scrap than if the part were destroyed.

Evasion in the Open

Your main options in the open are to make a mad dash for cover or shield and walk. This is actually a tougher decision to make than it sounds.

If you choose to dash, dash perpendicular to the direction of fire. This forces the enemy to rotate to track you, and so any rounds they fired at your previous location will miss. Never dash straight towards anyone shooting at you, for obvious reasons, and avoid dashing in a straight line away as well.

At close ranges, projectiles may travel quickly enough to hit you anyway. The advantage of the shield is that you know it will protect your unit. The downside is that it has a limited durability.

See also:  Phantom Brigade Body Parts Stats

Missiles still can track you if you dash too early. You’ll have to learn the timing yourself, but I generally wait 1 second per 20-30m between my unit and the enemy.

Weapon Tactics

Assault Rifles, SMGs, Shotguns

These weapons (except the SG1 Auto) have zero scatter penalty while moving, so they are invaluable for flankers who can fire without having to stop. Their medium-short action durations start to limit their usefulness as your units get faster, since you have a shorter window while moving between cover, so don’t discount the usefulness of modules that reduce attack duration. Average heat, excellent damage, and low-ish to average range make them good weapons for when you want a general-purpose machine.

Sniper Rifles and Marksman Rifles

Apart from being built for longer-range engagements, sniper rifles also boast high single shot damage, and the SR3 literally has a single shot firing action.

Don’t discount its lower average DPS. If its single-hit damage is high enough, that can guarantee a part destruction on a hit, which will either instantly disable an attack (left or right arm), force an eject (right arm with no secondary weapon), force a crash (legs), or even just kill the target outright (upper body).

Marksman rifles straddle the boundary between assault rifles and sniper rifles. Their main drawback is having a penalty to scatter while on the move.

Railguns

Railguns generally have lower numerical stats than their counterparts, but gain the incredible ability to shoot through cover, as well as immense projectile speed. This makes it more likely that their shots will land on target, while also allowing you to poke at targets from behind your own cover.

Their usefulness can’t be overstated.

Machine Guns

Machine guns generally have huge accuracy penalties while moving as well as long action durations. Put a unit down,

Missiles

Missiles follow an arc and take a relatively long time to reach their target. Nominally their speed is displayed in meters per second, but since they follow an arc, the distance they travel isn’t straightforward to determine. You’ll have to get a feel for it yourself.

Their ability to deal splash concussive damage, follow a trajectory over cover, and track their targets make them extremely busted, and they amplify one of your greatest advantages by letting you return fire from behind cover.

Remember that you can fire them at any time from any where and still have a good chance of hitting your target, so don’t even walk into the open unless you have to.

Beams

TODO

Incendiary weapons

TODO

Not much experience with them.

Looking at the stats, generally decent kinetic damage and excellent heat characteristics. May be a good choice for disabling and bullying enemy units at range. Note that heat damage does not scale with level.

Plasma weapons

Plasma weapons are rather unconventional. Their projectiles travel relatively slowly (roughly 3x as fast as missiles). The repeater and seeker are the only ranged weapons capable of dealing stagger damage. All three plasma weapons are very capable concussion damage dealers.

Used properly, the plasma launcher is a terrifying tool, capable of concussing any unit from the safety of cover. Just beware of its large blast radius and the corresponding capacity for friendly fire.

The plasma repeater is more situational, but it lets you bully an individual target by staggering and then crashing it. Excellent when paired with a shield to give a light, mobile machine the ability to absolutely bully any target it encounters.

No experience with the seeker. I have heard that its tracking… leaves much to be desired.

Concussion

Concussive damage is tracked separately from barrier / integrity damage, and represents the pilot’s ability to fight through injury and remain functional. Concussive damage is doubled from the rear, since that’s where the dummy plug pilot module is located.

Since kinetic and concussive damage are completely separate, there’s not much point in optimizing for both on the same team. Stick with one and build your whole team to put out that type of damage. Usually a given weapon type will have at least one model that does concussive damage.

See also:  Phantom Brigade Building Power

Concussive damage and resistance does not scale with level. This means that a lower-level concussive weapon can remain useful for much longer, at least until the hidden buffs / debuffs to damage based on level difference kick in.

Melee

TODO

I don’t play melee much, and I’ve heard that it takes a lot to get used to, so I’ll save this section for later.

Hold CTRL while picking a target to switch sides for the weapon swing.

What I’ve heard is that the simulation silhouette is inaccurate. What actually happens is that in the middle of the melee action, your unit takes a swing, and damages anything in the path of the melee weapon’s hitbox. The simulation silhouette is just a rough guess as to where the weapon will actually travel through.

Keep In Mind

Action Duration

Especially important for firing on the move. Your window to shoot an enemy can be very small, so if you have a long action duration, your target may move out of your line of fire in the middle of your action. Keep an eye on the timeline and scroll through it to get a feel of how your attack will hit.

Collision

When two units get too close to each other, they may collide. This is distinct from crashing and from melee attacks; this is a good old-fashioned fender bender.

In a collision, a heavier unit will knock down a lighter unit and put it into a crashed state, while the heavier unit continues on unimpeded. Raising a shield raises your weight class for the purposes of calculating collision.

Dashing increases the force behind collision, but does not increase your weight class, so dash into your foes at your own peril.

Crash

Crash is just another fancy name for stun. A crashed unit cannot act, whether because its legs were destroyed, or it got rammed by something heavier than it. The stun duration can be seen on its timeline.

If you’re really close to an enemy unit and you have a shield or are heavier than it, consider crashing it instead of (or after) shooting. Especially if it was going to subsequently attack you, this is a great way to disable it for the current turn.

Reinforcements

General FAQ

You CAN kill airdropped reinforcements on the turn they arrive, even if they can’t be targeted. Hold down CTRL and target the terrain. This works better with moderate scatter.

Friendly Fire

Friendly fire is not very friendly. Be very careful when ordering your units to shoot past each other, especially while moving and dashing. After you’ve given all your orders for the turn, slowly scroll through the timeline again and watch for any inadvertent crossing lines of fire.

You take full damage from friendly fire, so avoid it at all costs. On the flip side you can absolutely make enemies shoot each other.

Cover angles

General FAQ

Always be sure that your cover actually covers you. Railguns penetrate cover, missiles arc over, and machine guns spray enough lead to have a decent chance of hitting any part sticking out from behind cover. Machines are taller than the LOS line indicates because it is drawn to center mass.

Concussion

Concussion damage is tracked entirely separately from kinetic damage. A high-integrity tank can still be disabled by knocking its pilot senseless, leaving the metal mostly intact, but the same applies to you as well.

It’s generally more effective to specialize your entire team in concussive damage if you’re planning to concuss enemies. The “Concussive Payload” weapon module boosts concussive damage and can be hideously effective against tankier and tougher enemies.

Remember that concussive damage is doubled from the rear. Great news for extremely speedy flankers! Also remember that you can “force” an enemy to turn around by moving their target, but just be careful of friendly fire when doing that.

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