This isn’t the first time I’ve written a blog on snipers and artillery (check User_Blog:Mr_Bang_Bang/Snipers_and_Artillery:_Useful_or_Obsolete?). However, due to the later addition of so much more robots and weapons after my blog and a user request by Maglectivire, I’ve decided to create an updated, more instructive guide to see how to use sniper robots, weapons and loadouts plus whether their place in the game has become untenable.
Note: All statistics are at level 12 MK1.
Sniper Robots and Weapons
1. Fury. Boasting 3 Heavy Hardpoints, a speed of 33mph and 190k health, the Fury has unparalleled instant damage output among long-range robots. However, it is vulnerable while its weapons are reloading (e.g the Trebuchet which has a long cooldown) and its large size means that it is almost impossible to miss. Using cover when reloading or under attack is key to this robot, as its slow speed means that it cannot escape all but the slowest of enemy bots.
Recommended Weapons: 3x Trebuchet, 3x Tempest
2. Butch. With 4 Heavy Hardpoints and the Quick Draw ability (can use 2 at a time, then swap the used weapons for the others), the Butch has the potential to fire at the enemy at a higher rate and with some weapons, almost constantly. The Butch is slightly less well-protected than the Fury, with 185k hitpoints at the same level...however it is faster with a top speed of 39mph and has a smaller frame. Despite this, pilots should still use cover when appropriate, but can afford to stay in the open for longer.
Recommended Weapons: 4x Trebuchet, 4x Tempest or 2x Trebuchet and 2x Tempest
3. Natasha. Although it isn’t seen in the higher leagues, the trusty Natasha is a common sight in Silver-Gold leagues and has a top speed of 33mph and a durability of 190k health. Sporting 2 Heavy Hardpoints and 2 Lights, the Natasha also has a large size, meaning that it should use cover quite often. As it has similar characteristics to the Fury, its playtsyle is also similar.
Recommended Weapons: 2x Trebuchet and 2x Gekko, 2x Tempest and 2x Molot, 2x Zenit and 2x Noricum (up to Gold league only)
4. Raijin. Despite its 250k health, crawling ability and decent speed of 36mph, the Raijin doesn’t seem to be an ideal sniper, with only 2 Heavy Hardpoints. However, its key strength lies in its ability: Bastion Mode, which immobilises it, raises its hull to give the pilot a better view, deploys 2 forward physical shields and boosts its firepower by 30%, giving it equal firepower to the Natasha. Players should use the crawling ability and raising hull to get to vantage points with a wide field-of-fire. The physical shields will protect the Raijin from almost all long-range weapons and the firepower boost means that it can dish out a lot of pain.
Recommended Weapons: 2x Trebuchet, 2x Tempest
Things to Avoid:
1. Ballista. This is very lacklustre as a sniper weapon, due to its low damage and lack of robots with enough hardpoints that are suited for sniping (including the Spectre).
2. Arbalest. To be brutally honest, this ‘weapon’ is pathetic. Its damage is barely noticeable...you’d be better off using a Gekko. However, its description is right when it says that patience is required to use this weapons...as it would take days to kill enemy knife-fighters using this weapon.
General Tactical Points
1. Use cover. When reloading, always hide behind cover. Corner peek to see any enemy targets, but due to the large size of sniper robots getting behind cover is essential.
2. Make sure that your location is safe. What I mean by this is that not only can you quickly move out of cover, fire, then retreat back, but also whether you have a separate escape route. Ideally you’d have a few obstacles/buildings behind you to hide behind if you are ambushed by a knife-fighter. That way, you can lengthen your own survival and give your teammates more time to help you.
3. Prioritise your targets. Priority targets include high-threat robots (e.g Bulgasari Shocktrain) and robots that your teammates are engaging. Although this is contraversial, this can apply even when you are under direct fire (always if you are using Zenits and Noricum, due to the 300m minimum range), unless your attacker is capturing a friendly beacon.
4. Make sure that you have a good view of the battlefield. Open maps such as Yamantau are ideal for snipers, due to the large open spaces. Try to get into a position that is both safe and has a wide view. The Raijin’s climbing ability is very useful for this.
5. Make sure you stay at range. Always stay at least 700-800m away from your target, preferably more. This is because once you’re within 600m, you can be hit by higher-DPM weapons such as the Dragoon, and within 500m you will be hit by knife fighter weapons. This applies to Artillery builds especially, as you cannot target enemy robots within 300m of yourself.
6. If you are playing Beacon Rush or King of The Hill where capping beacons means everything, think about switching to a beacon capper or knife-fighter after you’ve unleashed all your ammunition or after a couple of minutes. Players who stay in camper loadouts for the entire game are not only useless, but also a liability as their teammates will be often outnumbered.
7. Following open from the point above, if you really want to use snipers and artillery regardless of what impact it might have on your team, don’t choose it as your first robot unless for Team Deathmatch.
Are Snipers and Artillery Still Viable?
Currently, snipers are definitely viable in the low leagues, and are still quite common in mid-leagues, but less so in the higher leagues. However, due to Workshop 2.0, this might change as players acquire more powerful and knife-fighter inclined robots and weapons that can pose a larger threat to snipers, making the tips above even more important.
Snipers can upgrade too. Players can upgrade their sniper Natashas and Leos to Furies and Butches, and start to use Trebuchets and Tempests instead of Nashorns. Keeping your hangar in the competition as the arms race between players continues is extremely important. Those who don’t will be left behind and suffer more and more defeats. In short, keep upgrading your robots and weapons (not just in terms of levels, but also replacing them with better ones).
Unfortunately, the Zenit and Noricum are the only long-range Artillery weapons, so levelling them up, improving tactics or mounting them on better robots are the only options for dedicated artillery pilots. Remember though, artillery is less useful and quite rare in the high leagues.
Finally, as previously mentioned, Snipers and Artillery aren’t useful in KOTH or Beacon Rush, as capturing beacons is a priority and they are ill-suited for that role.
Despite initial worries, the position of snipers and artillery pilots have remained relatively unchanged for low-mid league players, although as the component arms race continues these pilots will be forced to join in or be left behind. Remember, never be lax about improving your hangar...always make sure that it can keep up with the others.
Thanks for reading, and please comment below!