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How to Survive a Railgun

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Introduction

Greetings, tankers! So, you're up against a skilled Railgun user who can leap from behind cover and pulverise your health bar in a matter of seconds. Many players would be defenseless in such a situation. Only those who can think on their feet, or rather tracks, would be able to pull off manoeuvres which could turn the tables, and leave the aforementioned Railgun outfoxed and embarrassed. Therefore, I've decided to share with you some of the best tips you could use when placed in such a situation, in order to encourage you to take a closer look at the tactics within Tanki.

Feinting

- Use: Widespread
- Hulls required: Any
- Weapons required: Any
- Difficulty level: Easy to medium
- Efficiency: Moderate

This is a common trick used by many players. Basically, it involves poking your tank out of cover for a short period of time in order to make a Railgun believe you are leaving cover, and so he would shoot. You would then return the vulnerable part of your tank to behind cover, and the Railgun would inevitably miss. This is good as a moderately easy way of making a Railgun miss his shot. However, a skilled Railgun might manage to hit you before you can hide if you reveal too much of your tank to his range. As well as this, if you repetitively move part of your tank in and out of cover, a skilled Railgun might time your movements, and shoot as you leave cover, based on an estimate of when you'll do so. Therefore, it's always best to be erratic when practising this manoeuvre, or your timing can be predicted.

Ghosting

- Use: Widespread in XP/BP, Not often in non format battles
- Hulls required: Hull with equal or more speed than the opposing Railgun
- Weapons required: Any
- Difficulty level: Easy
- Efficiency: Excellent

This tactic is used all the time in XP/BP battles. It takes advantage of the time between the tank spawning and materialising. During this short period of time you can drive into and through other tanks. Use this to your advantage by driving into your enemy tank while still in "ghost" mode. Hopefully, they will shoot thinking you will materialise and they will get an early hit. If you manage to get inside their hull, shooting you becomes impossible. They will miss the shot and you can quickly get out, materialize and get a free, easy shot on your opponent.

An example can be found here

Using recoil

- Use: Moderate
- Weapons required: Smoky, Twins, Railgun, Thunder, Ricochet, Shaft.
- Hulls required: Any
- Difficulty: Medium to hard
- Efficiency: Very good

This tactic is used a fair amount, especially in higher-ranked battles. It takes advantage of the delay between the charging up and shooting of a Railgun by using a weapon with recoil to knock the Railgun's tank off-balance, thus making his aim go awry. This is easier when against lighter/medium hulls, and more difficult to execute against heavy hulls such as Titan or Mammoth, as the recoil affects them less. Conversely, this tactic may be countered, or made more difficult to perform successfully, by a skilled Railgun aiming and charging his weapon by hitting space when behind cover, and then moving out of cover just before firing. Also, if you shoot too early when using a weapon with a longer reload time, a Railgun might have time to correct his aim before he shoots, even after having been thrown off-balance. Finally, it is harder to to throw a Railgun's aim off when he is backed up against a prop for stability.

Holding out

- Use: Moderate
- Weapons required: Close-ranged - Firebird, Isida, Freeze
- Hulls requires: Any
- Difficulty: Easy
- Efficiency: Moderate

This is a tactic which involves one thing: patience. In summary, it involves you hiding behind cover, and a Railgun staring right at your position, waiting for you to show yourself. After maybe 15 or so seconds, the average Railgun user starts to lose interest, and turns away to fire at someone else, doing so soon after. That is when you leave cover, and obliterate the poor Railgun, who'll have forgotten you even existed and would be desperately jamming his index finger into his space bar to no avail.

This tactic is not effective if you have any other weapon than those listed above, as the 'using recoil' manoeuvre would be a lot more helpful in that situation. Surprisingly, this tactic isn't used as much as you would think, as many close-ranged weapon users lack patience, and so Railgun users can usually out-wait these players, shooting them as they leave cover. In contrast, a decent Railgun user would simply need to try to back away and find cover if this tactic were to be performed successfully on him, and to be prepared to hold a stalemate or to charge a close-ranged player with low health in order to avoid the situation in the first place. Consequently, this tactic is only moderately effective.

Ramming

- Use: Not often
- Weapons required: Any, but Twins is very useful
- Hulls required: Any, but hulls with tracks that stick out (Dictator, Viking, Hunter) can help
- Difficulty: Easy with Twins, otherwise hard
- Efficiency: Good

Similar to using recoil, the idea of this manoeuvre is to throw a Railgun's aim off. But in contrast to the recoil tactic, ramming does so by forcing a Railgun to shoot above you. This tactic is pretty popular with Twins users, as Twins significant recoil when firing constantly makes this easier and more effective. What this involves is trying to push into a Railgun's side in order to tip him slightly, causing him to miss by shooting over you. Unfortunately, this is only really effective when against Wasps, Hornets, or Dictators, as the other hulls are larger and have flat bases with centres of gravity in the middle, meaning more stability. Also, this is rarely effective when ramming a Railgun's front or back, as the force is applied over a smaller area.

Using slopes

- Use: Limited
- Weapons required: Any
- Hulls required: Any except Wasp
- Difficulty: Medium
- Efficiency: Good

Like ramming, using slopes involves using your hull to force a Railgun to miss. Unlike ramming, this includes the usage of the inclination of the ground, or put simply, slopes. You could always jump down to a lower level to avoid a Railgun shot, but that is often not an option. Back to the manoeuvre, there are two possible situations here. The first is that a Railgun is on a slope, and you are above. Here, you would face the ramp head on, and when the Railgun drives upwards to the point at which the ground levels out, you would push into the front of his tank, eventually flipping him over backwards. If the Railgun tries to fire, he will most likely shoot over you, and end up flipping sooner due to his own recoil.

The second scenario is when you are on a slope, and a Railgun is on the level ground at the top. Again, you should wait for the Railgun to drive towards you to the top point of the ramp, and then you should push upwards into him, forcing him to fire above you if he tries to shoot. However, once the Railgun has fired, you should reverse back down the ramp away from pushing the Railgun so you can't be tipped yourself, and then counter-attack. Both of these methods are fairly effective, and rely on timing to get them right. On the other hand, a skilled Railgun would be patient enough to hold a stalemate, and so would avoid attacking first and ramming into you at the top of a slope, as his long-reload weapon just isn't suitable for close-up situations involving slopes of the terrain.

Balancing act

- Use: Very rare
- Weapons needed: Any but Isida for defending version, any for attacking version
- Hulls needed: For defending version, heavy/medium hulls (except Dictator); for attacking version, light hulls
- Difficulty: Very hard
- Efficiency: Excellent

So, where else is beyond a Railgun's range? We have discovered using cover, slopes, and ramming to limit a Railgun's range, but there is one place left. This is directly above or below the Railgun. Again, there are two scenarios. One is that you are defending an area at a lower level, and a Railgun jumps down towards you in order to finish you off. Here, you would drive towards the spot at which the Railgun will land rather than trying to escape, and so he would land on your tank. You could then use your weapon (not Isida, as this requires access to the enemy's turret) to attack the Railgun from underneath. The Railgun will try to get off you in order to fire at you, and so you should try to mimic his movements for as long as possible to prevent this. If the Railgun does fire, he will definitely miss, and you can simply throw him off you to make attacking him easier.

The other situation is that in which you are attacking, and there is a Railgun below, waiting for you. Here, you should try to land on top of the Railgun, and once you have, you should balance upon the Railgun until he fires, which he almost certainly shall if you entice him to by moving on top of his turret. You could always lay a mine as soon as you land on top of the Railgun to damage him from beneath, but if he moves away too quickly, if it's a NS battle, or if you don't have mines, then this wouldn't be possible. Anyway, when he charges his weapon up, move away from his turret, and avoid balancing in a position in front of the barrel - he should miss by shooting below you. You can then drive off him, and attack.

However, the Railgun in the defending situation would inevitably be using a light hull to attack you, and may use his speed to his advantage in order to move off you. In the attacking situation, the only limitation is that it will not work against a Wasp. As well as this, a very skilled Railgun would simply avoid firing when you are on top of him, as he would realise that neither you or him would be able to attack each other very successfully anyway. In summary, there are very difficult tactics to use, but can be extremely effective if executed well, and show a lot of skill.