Guide to playing in Cologne effectively
Overview: Cologne is a small to medium sized map, dominated by a large castle-type structure similar to the one in Edinburgh. It was introduced relatively recently, named after Cologne in Germany, which was the host city of Gamescom 2014. This map is scarcely seen at high ranks, although Cologne DM and CTF battles can sometimes be found at lower ranks.
Battle Modes: DM, TDM, CTF, CP
Size: 8v8, 16 Players
Close Quarters Combat
The castle structure in Cologne provides a clearing in the centre of the map, which is almost always a battleground for close ranged combat. This area combined with several supply drop areas which are available before entering ensures an intense battle. A light or medium hull along with turret such as Freeze, Firebird or Twins will be useful, and access to extra supplies will help you to survive for longer periods. Due to the size of the map, heavier hulls can also be used effectively, although traversing the ramps up and around the castle can be time consuming, and in Deathmatch, leaves you prone to ambush from enemies spawning behind.
In Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch, there are a couple of potential camping areas, although the relatively small size of the map means you will need to be either heavily fortified, or evasive to attacks to survive for longer periods of time.
The first area is the walkways around the castle. Sitting atop the castle like a true ruler, you will have the advantage of the higher ground, allowing you to fire down on your enemies, and defend the ramps when necessary. A mid ranged weapon such as Smoky or Ricochet along with a medium or heavy hull is recommended. This will allow you to perform ranged attacks, while still having the ability to put up a decent defence against close range attackers. Also, the use of mines is highly recommended as it will allow you to slow down, or even completely block enemies who are trying to travel up the ramps and along the walkways towards you.
The other camping area is the road which loops around the very outskirts of the map. Although this may seem like a relatively quiet area, you will often have a clear view of enemies as they respawn close to the edges of the map, and a medium ranged turret with light hull will enable you to move in and start firing before they even start moving. The straight roads also allow you to make a quick getaway if an enemy with close range loadout spawns nearby. Additionally, there is access to several supply drops along the roads, making this area even more convenient.
When it comes to defence, both the red and blue team’s sides are fairly similar in structure. There are several paths of attack to both the red and blue team’s flag, and so defenders will need to remain in close proximity to the flag. A couple of buildings provide cover, and the ramp up onto the castle provides a good spot to pop up and shoot across to the other side of the castle, as well as block incoming attackers.
As is often the case, a few heavy hulls are recommended for defence, along with short to mid-range turrets, such as Firebird, Hammer or Twins. An Isida or two can also be useful for maintaining the armour of defenders and backing up attackers.
The fort-like structure is a literal Holy Grail for Magnum, which is practically invincible. The heavily fortified fort (pun intended) allows for Magnum to directly fire at enemies' base whilst taking no return damage. With a couple of defensive mines for assistance and a Double Damage when available, you've found yourself a kill farm.
The flags, too, don't allow for much external enemy fire so a Titan/Mammoth paired with a high impact turret makes an ideal choice. Likewise, there aren't many escape routes, so a Freeze can be lethal in slowing down attackers attempting to flee.
Mines can also be very useful in breaking up an attack effort. Use them on the ramp down from the castle, and under the archway that leads out from within the castle. This will slow down and potentially destroy attackers.
There are three main routes of attack to the enemy’s flag in Cologne.
The first route is along the top of the castle and down the ramp. You will end up very close to the flag, however this a very predictable plan of attack, and there will often be defenders waiting near the ramp, as well as mines laid out.
The second route is through the castle and out through the archway at ground level. This is perhaps a more effective path, as defenders will often be around the corner by the ramp, just out of sight. However, you may still have to contend with the other team’s attackers respawning and heading through the castle, as well as the possibility of mines in this area.
The final, and possibly least used route, is along the roads at the very edges of the map. This actually provides two routes, as there are roads at either side of the flag. The advantage of this route is that you will often have the element of surprise if you can flank around the enemy’s base without them noticing and take the flag from behind. There is also access to useful supplies such as Speed Boosts and Repair Kits, which could be utilised during your escape with the flag.
Regardless of your attack strategy, a light hull is essential for a fast getaway, along with access to supplies to aid survival.
Cologne CP has three control points. Points B and C are located in the team’s flag areas, while point A is located right in the centre of the map, within the walls of the castle. At the beginning of the battle, points B and C will go one to each team, leaving point A to be heavily contested. The tactics for close quarters combat, as previously mentioned under DM/TDM will apply here for the battle to capture point A. Short range turrets are almost essential, along with medium or heavy hulls to aid survivability. Supplies are highly useful in these circumstances, and a couple of motivated Isidas can often be the difference between winning and losing.