I hope this guide helps new players and also provides some food for thought for the more experienced. Personally, as much as I’ve played a lot of competitive Fleet Battles, my heart and soul has always belonged more to the realm of the dogfight where pilots clash in the eternal struggle for glory and victory.
At the time of writing, there are current starfighter configurations, tactics and strategies which seem to be meta; however, I believe these are temporary and, if we continue to encourage competitive play and nurture the overall player base, we’ll evolve an unparalleled Star Wars dogfighting experience.
In Star Wars: Squadrons, I think the developers got Dogfight Mode just right: the game offers sufficient accessibility through the single player tutorial and controls to encourage new players to continue, but also sufficient complexity in those controls and the flight model to keep more invested flight/space sim fans interested. It also features X-wings and TIE Fighters so what’s not to like?
Anyway, I’ve provided some tips on the SWS main Facebook group throughout the duration of the game’s lifespan and I wanted to contribute something more comprehensive for the community. Like I said, I hope it helps you. I’ve tried to keep advice generic and widely applicable to a variety of situations. I’ve intentionally kept details light on specific component values, statistics etc. and this is not a guide on how to fly specific starfighters. ‘Generic’ is the operative term in this guide and I hope it helps players improve their game, but also gain understanding and insight so they may independently pursue more specific or esoteric learning.
The guide is organised into the following sections:
· Preparation: The Basics
· Which Starfighter?
· The Dogfight
· Basic Manoeuvres
· Maps – Points for Consideration
Before I continue, it’s obvious that SWS has a steep learning curve and, with much of the long term player base having mastered most of the flight mechanics, that curve is steeper than ever. However, you will learn quickly if you seek advice from others and take five minutes each play session to intentionally practise something new.
If you wish to find a wealth of information about the finer details of various game aspects, hop on over to ‘Competitive Squadrons’ on Reddit which can be found here:
Also, by way of disclaimer, the following advice is based on knowledge I’ve acquired from other players, as well as, my own experiences. It’s possible that I approach dogfighting in different way to others. I consider the following advice useful for minimising your own deaths while making you useful to the rest of your team.
Preparation: The Basics
Play through the single player tutorial first because it’ll help you familiarise with all starfighters except for the B-wing and TIE Defender, as well as, the various controls and player abilities you’ll need in PvP. Also, the missions are quite fun.
It’s likely that, if you haven’t already bought the game in order to experience certain starfighters, then you’ll be drawn to certain types during the single player and their respective play styles. For instance, I prefer interceptor and fighter style craft because I try to rely on speed, evasion and then scoring decisive damage rather than absorbing it with slower ships.
When you’ve played through the single player, earned sufficient requisition points to start customising your fighters and have an idea about the type of starfighters and play style you prefer, then you’re ready to approach Dogfight mode with some meaningful tools at your disposal.
Before entering your first Dogfight, it’d be wise to play a few private ‘Custom Dogfights’ because that’ll include the server side patches which are now in effect. Unfortunately, ‘Practice Mode’ is client side and does not accurately represent the starfighters you’ll fly in PvP. ‘Practice Mode’ still has its uses but you’ll be able to safely explore each of the PvP maps and also learn the somewhat rebalanced starfighters in ‘Custom Dogfight’ mode.
It’s up to you. In my experience, I find players fly the ship they like best regardless of how objectively capable it is on paper. I always loved the X-wing and I’ll fly it better than I fly a TIE Fighter despite them being comparable in terms of performance. I also love the A-wing from my days flying it in SWG: Jump to Lightspeed and my Fleet Battle experiences have caused me to fall in love with the TIE Defender. You’ll work out which ships work best for you based on your experiences with them.
Every starfighter in SWS can be incredibly effective and each are well balanced against each other. As a player who flies both factions equally, I certainly feel that this is the case with the release of the game’s final balance patch.
Of course, starfighter roles can shift depending on how you configure particular ships but a comprehensive guide could be entirely devoted to that subject. My advice with identifying more nuanced configurations with each starfighter is, seek out those who fly them the best and ask for their knowledge. I will provide some succinct insights into each class of starfighter though:
Interceptors – Great at evasion and speed; offer respectable firepower but cannot absorb much damage. If you like to stay fast, agile and rely on hit and fade tactics, these are the fighters for you. The game’s officially designated interceptors are the A-wing and TIE Interceptor. In regard to unique abilities, both the A-wing and TIE Interceptor can make use of targeting jammer which makes the starfighter invisible to sensors for five seconds. If used well, this ability can be incredibly powerful. If also used in conjunction with Reflec hull, you can achieve unparalleled stealth in battle.
The A-wing is a very small and fast vessel but cannot absorb much damage and is very energy intensive when you increase the frequency of your boosts and drifts. To me, and one of the reasons why I love this starfighter so much is, it feels like a very high performance older generation starfighter. Compared with some of its rivals, it’s woefully slow regenerating booster and shield energy but it can be highly competitive when played in a ‘hit and fade’ role.
You will be difficult to hit in a turn fight against lower skilled players but veterans will exploit your inexperience and destroy you quickly until you master energy management and the ‘hit and fade’ tactics this starfighter is optimised for.
The TIE Interceptor boasts slightly higher speed than the A-wing and has significantly superior standard blasters. This interceptor obviously lacks shields though and is very easy to bring down for any enemy player who can sustain a high energy attack on you if you don’t evade pretty much immediately. Also, situational awareness is harder to establish in the TIE Interceptor due to its forward facing viewport.
Personally, I think the TIE Interceptor is one of the hardest ships in the game to master and some of the finest pilots in the game are those who maintain low deaths and a high Kill/Death (K/D) ratio in it. If you’re starting out, I advise to learn the TIE Fighter first.
Fighters – Fast and can be very agile; however, offer more protection if you get hit and a broader range of heavier hitting weapons options. Torpedoes won’t really help you out in a dogfight, but the ion missile is one of the best disposable ordnance options in the game. Additionally, concussion missiles can be dumb-fired and will one-shot even heavily armoured opponents (best fired at point-blank range). The X-wing and TIE fighter are the game’s official fighter class ships.
Like the A-wing, the X-wing’s canopy offers a good view and its standard configuration is quite agile whilst offering respectable durability.
You can configure an X-wing to be more like an interceptor or perform closer to a bomber class vessel; however, I tend to prefer optimising its flexibility because this is the feature which truly sets it aside from other classes of starfighter. Having the ability to peel off and quickly intercept an enemy whilst also being able to brawl in close quarters combat can be very useful as the dynamics shift within the dogfight.
Of course, the X-wing is comparatively larger than both interceptors so you will be easier to hit if you haven’t yet mastered drifting mechanics. Therefore, while you can survive for a reasonable time in a turn fight, you need to have an exit plan if you start taking substantial damage.
The TIE Fighter lacks shields but, unlike the Interceptor, can soak up surprising amounts of damage. It’s also highly manoeuvrable and can carry the burst cannon. For both the X-wing and TIE Fighter, I suggest practising and mastering the burst cannon as it’s a very powerful primary weapon. As previously indicated, the TIE Fighter is a good transition vessel for pilots who wish to succeed in the TIE Interceptor.
Bombers – These have high levels of firepower, absorb lots of damage and can be surprisingly agile.
Bombers are very stable to fly and the guided rotary cannon primary weapon is also relatively easy to aim whilst being especially devastating to interceptor class vessels.
On the New Republic side, you have the choice of the Y-wing and B-wing. The Y-wing is generally easier to handle but the B-wing offers the exclusive combination of forward facing ion and laser weaponry. The Y-wings major attraction is its Ion Cannon Turret which auto-aims and is incredibly effective against the heavily shielded but lightly armoured TIE Defender.
The TIE Bomber can be incredibly durable with its reinforced hull and its rotary cannon options are particularly devastating when used in conjunction with careful power conversion.
Support vessels – I won’t go into much detail about support vessels. Generally speaking, they’re best played with a cohesive team on comms but a well flown support using mark and resupply auxiliaries can be incredibly useful if being flown solo! Yes, there are the turret mines, which may score you a few low level kills, but an experienced pilot will simply shoot them down.
The outlier: TIE Defender
The TIE Defender is unique and sits somewhere between interceptor and fighter. If flown using conventional power settings, it’s slow and, whilst heavily shielded, will be taken down easily. It is not a beginner ship. If, however, flown by someone who understands how to use boost gasping and dead drifting, it’s the consistently fastest vessel in the game, offering superior agility to either interceptor whilst being capable of carrying fighter class ordnance (except torpedoes but these are useless in Dogfight mode). Like the TIE Interceptor and A-wing, the TIE Defender is a high risk, high reward starfighter.
So you’ve mastered the basic operations of starfighter flight. You’ve completed the single player and are ready to face living, breathing opposition. You’re going to be met with the entire spectrum of ability and skill. My advice? Even for veterans? Treat every adversary with respect and as a very real threat. You need to fly your best at all times because ‘Pilot Error’ is very real and so is hubris.
Resupply Beacons and Auxiliaries:
Each dogfighting map will have varying numbers of resupply beacons. With the exception of perhaps the TIE Interceptor, I would try to ditch using repair kits as soon as you can and try to rely on the resupply beacons instead for replenishing hit points. If you run low on hit points or disposable resources, try timing your arrival at a resupply beacon just as it respawns. Try to save that auxiliary slot for some kind of offensive measure if possible.
As far as offensive auxiliaries go, there are plenty of options. Personally, I don’t rate seeker mines highly as they’re so easy to counter when you know how to. Here’s my video about countering them here:
My personal favourite explosive ordnance options for dogfight mode are:
Barrage rockets – low damage but compliment the standard blaster on the A-wing well
Quick lock missiles – Superb for finishing that low hit points target at close range. Can also be dumb-fired which can be useful in an instant on very low hit points targets.
Ion missiles – Release at close range for an almost guaranteed disable. This ordnance option is one of the best arguments for flying a ‘fighter’ class starfighter.
Concussion missiles – A bit harder to use in a dogfight but great if fired immediately after an ion missile. Disabled fighters will almost certainly be killed in one shot by these. Also, a more advanced tactic: can be dumb-fired at point blank range for an instant kill.
There are obviously other useful forms of explosive devices but the above are my most frequently used. With anything which requires a lock on, try to launch the missile as close to the target as possible to maximise chances of a hit.
Each map is different but both sides will start on a direct merge (or ‘joust’) and your team’s objective is to score thirty kills before the enemy team does. It’s therefore important to minimise your deaths whilst maximising the opponents’ deaths.
The Initial Merge:
It doesn’t matter what angle you fly in at as long as you’ve thought about why you’re doing it. If you simply want to rush in blasting away, more power to you – that can work sometimes; however, it might not be the most tactically secure idea.
It’s wise to consider flanking to the left or right relative to the merge and try catching an enemy off guard. Oftentimes, on maps where you can see the other side of the map, you’ll be able to identify the enemy as little blobs before they enter sensor range. Bigger blobs are often supports or bombers. Faster blobs are likely fighters or interceptors. You’ll see what I mean if you try looking for them. It’s wise to look out for the enemy prior to sensor range because you’ll get an idea of their position, direction and formation. You may then use this information to inform your approach.
However you choose to merge, it’s wise to cycle through all enemies when you’re in range and identify your first target. Signs of ideal first targets:
· They haven’t seen you (or aren’t facing you)
· They’re flying straight or predictably
· They’re somewhat separated from their team
· Also consider your own team. If multiple enemies are converging on one of your team mates, if might be wise to reduce that threat by targeting one of them. Perhaps cycle through and ping another to inspire your team mates to assist.
Short of showing mercy to newer players who need encouragement, you should aim to act with complete ruthlessness against any competitive opponent with no quarter given. This is obviously a game but look at the most successful combat pilots from history: the best of them who survived wars, picked on the most vulnerable targets they could identify. Adopting this attitude will help you maintain a mindset where efficiency remains at the forefront and also prompt you to maximise stealth and evasion.
The so-called ‘furball’ is the cluster of starfighters engaging in close quarters combat – a series of ‘turn fights’. These are the classic starfighter combat encounters most of us probably imagine when thinking about dogfights where fighters twist and turn jockeying for position to make the killing shot. The main furball will often naturally centre around a certain area of a map, perhaps a resupply beacon or an area of open space. The furball location may be influenced based on the nature of each teams’ respawns. If a team is unfortunately ‘wiped’ (as in all players killed and waiting to respawn in) then the dominant team will likely converge on each respawned fighter as they return to the engagement. If both sides are more balanced, the furball might shift. Try to avoid the furball if you’re able to do so. Why? Well, you’re most likely to die there.
If you wish to remain alive, you should aim to use the terrain to your advantage, intercepting enemy players, scoring damage (hopefully fatal) and then disengaging to relative safety so you can assess the situation and start over. You should only be manoeuvring with an enemy fighter if absolutely necessary. Why? Because, if you’re manoeuvring with the enemy, you’re part of a furball and are vulnerable. It’s highly likely that it won’t be the enemy you’re turn fighting with who kills you but rather an opportunist you never saw coming.
If you get into the practice of assessing the engagement zone to gain initial situational awareness, then picking targets of opportunity, intercepting, disengaging and then repeating, then you can be a major help for your team as well. For example, perhaps you’re assessing the situation and see an enemy on a team mate’s tail? Be that opportunistic pilot and kill that enemy while they’re distracted. Additional benefit? You’ll have saved your team mate too.
How do you practically achieve avoiding the furball? Use basic data. Starfighters have a maximum blaster range of 1000 metres. Also, if you’re using Reflec hull, you’ll be invisible to sensors at >1500 metres. Try to use this distance as a ball park figure to establish a safety bubble. I try to gain at least 1500 metres of separation from the closest enemy as I move around the map and only close the gap in order to attack.
Continuously cycle through your enemy targets and check to see which enemy players have you targeted too. This information combined with maintaining a healthy distance will help you plan your next steps. Will you need to fly evasively or increase separation? If you’re slower than your enemy, can you put terrain in between you and them? Do you need to set up an attack instead? Whatever the case, you’ll be in a better position to dictate the terms of the engagement.
Other reasons for avoiding close furballs wherever possible are as follows: bear in mind that our starfighters travel at high speeds comparable to early Cold War era fighter jets. In 5 seconds at full boost, an A-wing can travel 1300 metres; a TIE Interceptor can cover 1350 metres in the same time. So on a direct joust from 1500 metres and assuming standard blasters are used, a fully boosted A-wing and TIE Interceptor will enter firing range in <1 second. Add into the equation the fact that, unlike Cold War era fighter jets, our starfighters can almost instantly accelerate on ever changing unpredictable tangents when dead drifting, this multitude of new and ever changing information will lead to cognitive overload if neglected. So, endeavouring to control as many factors as possible in a dogfight is beneficial.
If you insist on entering and remaining within the furball (because admittedly it is fun…) then have an exit plan in mind. You don’t want to be in a position where you’re unable to disengage when you want to.
I touched on this area earlier, but there is plenty you can do to be a good team player even without voice comms:
· Ping low hit points targets. If you can encourage a few of your team to destroy that low health player, that’s a quick and easy win.
· Clear your team mates’ tails when possible. Ping any aggressor which is attacking your friends. Even if said assailant doesn’t get shot down, the increased pressure put upon them may be enough to save your team mate.
· Don’t chase enemies for too long especially if they’re highly evasive. This mistake leads to tunnel vision which leads to you being vapourised. If you focus the same target for too long, you’ll lose situational awareness and likely be picked off by an opportunistic enemy. Over focusing a target often occurs when the attacker wishes to confirm the kill for their own score tally. Honestly? If someone else is in a more convenient position to confirm the kill, let them have it and move onto someone else.
· Choose another enemy if multiple of your team attack the same enemy without good reason. Remember, there are four other targets out there and they’re likely after you.
· Let your damaged team mate get the resupply if their need is greater: it will respawn.
· However, do take the resupply if an enemy is just about to snatch it.
Basic Manoeuvres: Joust and J-hook
When deciding on how you’re going to manoeuvre, one of your best friends is your H.U.D. and specifically the targeted fighter display screen:
This screen will display the direction the targeted vessel is orientated in relation to your own. As you can see above, the enemy X-wing starfighter’s nose is directly pointed towards you on the H.U.D and it will display this no matter where the enemy is in relation to you, be it at your 12 o’clock, 6 o’clock or even directly above.
This information will help you. How? If the enemy’s nose is pointing at you on the H.U.D and you know they are behind you, they’re chasing you. If they’re in front of you and pointing at you, you’re entering into a joust with them. Use this H.U.D to support your situational awareness. Basically, if that enemy fighter appears to be facing you from any direction and they’re within 1000 metres range, then they’re an immediate threat.
Jousts are one of the most common potential occurrences in a dogfight and, let’s be honest, they’re tempting aren’t they?
I’m not going to tell you not to joust. The fact is though, if you find yourself set up for a joust, it is likely that you have a range of superior options available to you so you can avoid it. Why would you want to avoid a joust? The problem with most jousts is that, while they provide you with a very easy firing solution on the enemy, they will also have that very easy firing solution on you. And then assuming both pilots have similar aiming skills, the encounter just comes down to who can lay down the highest weapons damage and who has the most durable starfighter. Essentially, it’s a case of breaking what I consider to be one of the number one rules of starfighter combat which is: don’t willingly put yourself in a vulnerable situation. Even if you win a joust, it’s likely that your ship will be significantly damaged and thus vulnerable to one of the other four enemies in the combat zone.
To that end, the only time a direct head on joust is really acceptable is when you know for certain that you have a significant advantage, i.e. the enemy is critically damaged. The slight exception to the rule would perhaps be heavily reinforced bombers with rotary cannons but even then there are better options.
Instead of a direct head on joust, you should try to incorporate some form of vertical or horizontal drift into the merge in order to throw off your opponent’s aim. AirierWitch demonstrates what she refers to as the ‘Oblique Head On’ which illustrates this technique here:
Obviously, you’ll score less damage than with a direct head on joust, but it can be a very useful tactic for finishing off a critically damaged enemy and it reduces risk to your own starfighter. More detail on jousting style manoeuvres may be found here: (2) Joust Escapes #1: Oblique Head-On as first defined by Wolfsfang (Example video in comments) : StarWarsSquadrons (reddit.com)
The highest impact manoeuvre you can learn is the J-hook. The J-hook is something you likely will start to naturally do as you develop confidence with drifting defensively; however, Avenger One made a very informative video about it and it basically enables you to dictate the terms of a close quarters encounter, providing you with an advantageous firing solution whilst remaining difficult to hit by the enemy:
The J-hook is very useful as a foundation defensive manoeuvre and it’ll encourage you to think more situationally, as well as, getting you to start thinking about the changing dynamics of dogfighting encounters.
I’m no psychology expert but mindset plays a massive part in regard to your performance in a dogfight. Here are some points for consideration:
Hubris. Yes, the Greek tragedy kind. Usually happens once you start experiencing some success. Perhaps you’ve had a string of games where, now you’ve become more adept, you’re consistently destroying those newer players? Avoid over confidence. Like I said earlier, treat every adversary with respect and as a very real threat. Whether it’s a pilot with more experience or you’re blindsided by that new player you didn’t see coming, hubris leads to bad habits and is the enemy of progress.
Teamwork is your priority. Even if flying solo queue, flying for your team is the key to overall success and also your own personal development. If you fly with the team in mind then you will understand situational awareness faster; you’ll learn about the dynamics of the dogfight sooner and you’ll become a better pilot overall.
In regard to feelings, I find trying to maintain neutrality and being present in the moment as much as possible is useful. If you can empty your mind of any intrusive feelings or thoughts, you’ll have the cognitive capacity to make the right decisions at the right times and react more appropriately to unforeseen challenges. If things go wrong, which they often will, you’ll be more receptive to them and will learn more effectively if you can put your feelings aside – of course, this is easier said than done. In short, trying to maintain a cool and calculating outlook is useful.
Evaluate your performance honestly. You had a good dogfight? Why? You had a bad dogfight? Why? Whatever the reasons, take them onboard and try to identify some actions you can put into practice next time.
5. Remember, you may have lost the dogfight, but the only war is with yourself and you only lose that when you give up. The best players started at the bottom. Why are they the best players? Well, it’s because they persevered after being burned down repeatedly and learned from their mistakes. Fortunately, SWS is a game and you get to respawn if you get shot down.
Maps – Points for Consideration
The following section provides my feelings and thoughts about each of the Dogfight maps in SWS. The best way to acquaint yourselves with these zones, however, is to set up a private custom match and fly around them.
The Opening Merge:
Both factions merge in open space adjacent to the Fostar Haven superstructure. Most players will head in on the trajectory they loaded in on; however, I prefer to extend either further away from the station and flank around the side. Otherwise, I’ll go ‘up’ and ‘dive’ in usually on the trailing enemy.
Fostar is a great map for gaining a very early picture of the enemy team’s composition, positioning and entry vectors. Try to ping targets early as you cycle through them.
Fostar has two resupply beacons and it’s quite a large map so there’s usually one open for the taking when you need it.
Personally, I try to fight mostly in the open and only duck into the station superstructure to set up an attack or deny enemies a clear firing solution.
The station’s docking arms (whatever they are) can appear seemingly from nowhere and cause terrible damage if you clip into them. Also, the obsidian asteroids camouflage against the black backdrop of space and are easy to collide with especially if you’re drifting all over the place. These features can be used for setting up ‘manoeuvre kills’ on enemies where you try and make your opponent smash into the scenery.
Fostar has some interesting tunnels. Personally, I’d avoid them unless you have a penchant for Death Star Trench style runs.
The Opening Merge:
…is a direct joust. I prefer to dive for the clouds or shoot for the stars. In regard to identifying the enemy’s composition and position, well they’re IN FRONT OF YOU! You can identify their composition when you’re safe.
If flying New Republic, I’ll almost certainly take an A-wing with sensor jammer, engage that immediately and try to intercept a weakened enemy from the initial joust.
If I’m flying Imperial, I’ll be in a TIE Interceptor of Defender and will immediately dead drift at speed out of the way of the joust. Outside of competitive play or custom games, you can pretty much assume that most players will joust at the start of a Yavin match. Watch out for those who don’t…
Yavin has two resupply beacons basically on top of each other and fairly close together. You want to try taking control of these early on in the match.
Many pilots hate Yavin due to how exposed it is and because it starts with that close quarters joust. Also, if your team is wiped early in the match, it’s very easy for the dominant team to essentially lock the opposition out as they respawn in.
If you do find your whole team is wiped, try to regroup as best as you can and take control of the resupplies.
Yavin is one of my favourite maps because it punishes lazy and sloppy flying. You have to stay fast; you must stay evasive and you need to become adept at cycling through targets in order to pick on those with low health. Also, you should regularly keep track of your wing mates and support them where possible. Team work is especially key on Yavin and most of my favourite dogfight encounters have happened there.
The Opening Merge:
In comparison with Yavin, both teams start the match significantly far apart and the initial merge provides time to very carefully think about your approach. Will you fly through the station? Skim the surface? Fly underneath? Go ‘high’ or wide? Personally, I avoid most situations where my starfighter is restricted in its movement so I’ll tend to avoid flying through the station. I prefer to go ‘high’ and establish an early view of the incoming enemy. If I see a player mirror my actions, I’ll tend to tie them up first. If all the enemy filters in on a standard head on merge, I’ll pick off the trailing fighter and come in from behind.
Esseles has three resupply beacons: two positioned on the outer ring and one in the station’s centre.
My preferred approach is to frequently switch my position between the ‘top’ and ‘underneath’ of the station using the superstructure as a shield. I also tend to use the external resupplies and will only venture into the station itself for very short periods.
My advice is to not give chase to fleeing fighters into the station. Instead, track their movement and wait for them to emerge. Beam them down on exit.
One of the lesser navigated features on Esseles is the small asteroid field. This asteroid field can be useful for baiting enemies and setting yourself up for a killing shot. Unprepared enemies will often ‘pilot error’ in this asteroid field.
The Opening Merge:
Most pilots will file down the asteroid’s central ‘corridor’. The safest option is to take one of the adjacent corridors and try flanking the enemy. You can try attacking from ‘above’ but do note that, whilst the asteroid has a huge split in the top, it doesn’t always offer the best position to intercept from, especially if the enemy catches onto what you’re doing. Also, being caught ‘above’ the asteroid offers limited space for manoeuvre as it’s also close to the edge of the map.
My favoured approach to the opening merge on Nadiri is to flank around left or right at high speed, try to intercept the most vulnerable/oblivious enemy I can see on my way in and then exit down one of the other ‘corridors’ or round the outside. Given the closed in nature of Nadiri, I find it’s useful for the team to try and create a degree of chaos amongst the opposition early on.
There are two resupply beacons on Nadiri located in adjacent corridors. You will find that these tend to be hotly contested.
Nadiri is obviously very claustrophobic and room for error is slim when manoeuvring within its tightly packed corridors. I tend to refer to the disk shaped habitation pods as ‘the badly stacked dishwasher’ due to the random pieces of asteroid debris which accompany said pods and the close proximity they have to each other.
While closed in, Nadiri is excellent for making use of the terrain to your advantage. I try to stay highly mobile and always ensure that there is some inanimate object between me and any enemy that I’m not directly attacking. Always plan your entries and exits carefully with Nadiri. The last thing you want is to be pressured into a corner (literally) with no idea about where you’re going to escape to.
In regard to starfighter choices, I prefer the A-wing when flying New Republic and find this map superb for ‘hit and fade’ tactics. As Empire, I’ll usually take the TIE Defender and will use similar ‘hit and fade’ tactics. Safety warning: the TIE Defender can quite easily be closed down by ICT carrying Y-wings on Nadiri and, with any TIE cockpit fighter, be very vigilant when drifting through the station. Those walls close in fast!
I don’t fly them, but I sense that bombers do well on Nadiri. The asteroid provides lots of natural cover and, if you’re able to lure lesser armed vessels into a tight corridor, you can set up a devastating blast from your rotary cannon.
The Opening Merge:
Similar to Fostar Haven and Esseles, teams start the match significantly far apart on Sissubo. Given the debris field nature of the terrain, you have lots of options as to the direction you can enter the combat zone from. Going ‘up’ is an easy option but bear in mind that doing this will put a lot of debris between any enemies who choose a direct path on the merge and yourself.
Even if you do choose to merge from a more ‘head on’ approach on Sissubo, there is plenty of debris to shield your approach.
Sissubo only has one resupply beacon located in the map’s centrally located large ‘tube’ structure (pictured). Most furballs will centre on this area.
Know that most action will centre around the single resupply beacon is useful and provides opportunity to stay highly mobile around the map’s edges, using debris to mask well chosen hit and fade attacks. The way I view Sissubo is, while there is only one resupply, you should use the environment as cover and really aim to minimise your deaths here. Use the resupply ideally only when you’ve exhausted all your missiles and countermeasures.
Sissubo also comes with a rather bright star. If you’re confident with your starfighter control and situational awareness, trying to put yourself between that light source and your enemy can effectively mask your attack run: it’s a very bright light source.
The Opening Merge:
Similar to Sissubo except the asteroid obstacles are generally larger at Galitan. They’re also very tightly packed together in places so it’s very easy to run out of space very fast if you’re not planning your flightpath as you fight.
I tend to flank around the outer edges of the map. I’ll then try to line up an interception on an enemy whilst trying to position larger chunks of debris between the rest of their team and I. I will then almost always extend away from the emerging furball and then set up my next ‘hit and fade’. If I’m pursued, I’ll try to tie up the aggressor amongst the asteroids.
There are two resupply beacons on Galitan.
I fly Galitan very similarly to how I fly in Sissubo ranging around the out edges of the map while using the terrain as protection. If I do get caught up in a furball, I’ll try to extend to a safer distance and line up a more advantageous shot.
The larger asteroid formations are where the space can become very limited. Some pilots like to try camping in these areas; however, this is an easy tactic to counter if you’re patient and such pilots aren’t much of a threat if they choose to tie themselves to a limited space. In these situations, I’ll tend to attack more exposed enemies and come back for the hermit later.
Similarly to Sissubo, Galitan has a fairly bright light source in the exploding moon which can be used to dazzle your opponent.
The Opening Merge:
Every pilot has their favourite and worst map – Zavian Abyss is certainly my worst. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll make a success out of it but it’s just so cramped! It’s essentially a tube wrapped in electric death clouds. Don’t fly into the electric death clouds: you’ll die.
On the opening merge, I’ll tend to fly to the outer edge of the ‘tube’ and then intercept using the various asteroid and metal debris as cover similar to Sissubo or Galitan. The main difference with Zavian, however, is the tubular nature of the map. Your ‘hit and fade’ options are basically either end of the map and these ends are where players tend to respawn.
The Dogfight: The main furball will inevitably focus around the derelict Venator and surrounding asteroids. There are two resupply beacons in close proximity on Zavian. The Venator placed resupply is easiest to access; however, I tend to find is also the most heavily relied upon. The resupply stuck between the large asteroid and aforementioned death cloud is obviously useful; however, make sure you have your exit planned. All too often, I’ve seen newer pilots go for the resupply but then get unceremoniously melted as they get lost in the storm.
You can do this on any map featuring death clouds; however, on Zavian Abyss, you can more reliably disable enemies close to the map edge and they’ll often drift helplessly to their deaths. Ionised TIE Defenders are particularly vulnerable to this death due to their extremely low hull strength.
Flying beneath the Venator is a popular escape route for desperate pilots but exercise caution if flying pursuit. It’s very easy to run out of space down there. Personally, I try to exercise the same approach I use on any map which has tightly closed in areas: plan ahead and try to make use of the open space as best as you can. Yes, you’ll be more exposed but you can tactically weave within tighter packed objects for cover when needed.
I hope that you find the above information useful. I’ll endeavour to edit the document over time as necessary and I welcome any feedback and alternative viewpoints.
*pronounced: Leaf-Chow-soo 🙂 or just ‘Leaf’ or simply ‘Chow-soo’. I don’t mind, really.