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A Guide to Isida
Isida, in a nutshell, is a unique weapon. Given this information, it opens a variety of unique play styles to the user, but take note now lest you be disappointed in the future: Isida is by no means a raw offensive threat. Still, countless tankers haplessly wield this tool, ignoring the gravity of the responsibilities it requires and becoming more of a liability than an ally. This guide is made for the sole purpose of diminishing their number, and in their place, sprouting responsible and capable users of Isida.
This guide covers tips on how to use Isida to its full potential, its strengths and weaknesses, its functions with different combinations, strategies against different weapons, and we will even touch on its history.
The Amazing History of Isida
Isida first came out on September 28th, 2009. Since the beginning of Tanki, only Smoky, Firebird, Twins and the Fear Machine (Railgun) were out, and Tanki knew that to increase their player base, a wider range of weapons and tanks were required. As a healing and damaging weapon, Isida significantly changed gameplay. Up to that point, the player pool consisted almost entirely of Dictator-Railgun at high ranks, due to their massive advantage against the “Tier-1” weapons and tanks. However, the introduction of Isida brought an entirely new facet to the game, being one of the only two methods of restoring a player's health in the game (the first obviously being a Repair Kit). Isida Mania didn't kick in immediately, however, since seasoned veterans still preferred to use Fear Machine instead. However, this new weapon made sure that Tanki Online's overall gameplay would never be the same again.
Isida's history is pockmarked with the scars of many past mechanical reorganisations. After it was first brought to the field, Isida sported several characteristics that may sound completely absurd at the moment – for example, it used to be able to self-repair itself without attacking an enemy. Just by holding the Spacebar down, you could slowly boost your health, even with nobody within range. This mechanic was removed two weeks later after developers realised the ability was incredibly overpowered, and not suited for Tanki's gameplay.
On December 30th, 2009, Isida was shifted from healing in “Percentage” to healing in “HP”. To put it simply, Isida formerly healed by "HP in comparison to the full life of the tank". Its points were given by the percentage of the tank it healed. Afterwards, the points given to an Isida were given by the amount of health they actually gave back. So, previously, healing a Wasp was easier to get points than a Mammoth. However, now, a Mammoth would give you lots more if it was low on health due to its higher health to heal, but it'd use up more of your fuel reserve.
Also, a fact you may not have known about Isida: the bringing of Isida into the game changed the supply name from “Double Damage”, as it was called then, to the current name of “Double Power”; since Isida didn't only 'damage' the opponent.
Another subsequent update also changed the point gathering abilities of Isida. Now, one only receives points once they let go of the spacebar, not simply after performing the repairs. Thus, if you are in the middle of healing and you suddenly perish, you do not receive any points, due to the fact you failed to let go of the spacebar. As an Isida, it is key to remember: if you're on very low health, repeatedly tap spacebar as you heal an injured ally. This will mean you can get a small collection of extra points you would not get if you held on and were suddenly killed.
Come the end of the 2016 fall season, another update cut down Isida down to size, since its damage per second and vampire-like health suction abilities had reached obscene levels and popularity. Healing and damage were no longer equivalent, with the weapon's healing factor being overall decreased. This way, trains of Isidas could no longer stay alive indefinitely and ruin the balance of many TDM and CP matches.
What is it and what does it do?
Isida has the shortest effective range of all weapons in Tanki Online, but it happens to have the highest damage per second, even compared to its two siblings, Firebird and Freeze. However, its special effect is unlike any other, allowing it to repair another tank's wounds just as quickly as it can damage an enemy. If you're the kind of player that loves charging about the field and ripping opponents to pieces, this is not the weapon for you. Even the vampiric effect of Isida's attack mode won't do much to keep a fighter alive for much longer, only preventing one or two shots from destroying them at top performance.
This brings us to the subject of Isida's healing powers, of which have two prongs. It has the ability to heal teammates by pressing spacebar against then as you would an enemy. Instead of a yellow, orange or red beam, they'll be met with a friendlier blue or green beam instead.
Pros and Cons of Isida
A healing ability that also gathers experience.
Adaptive shooting that allows the beam to strike anywhere on the hull.
An excellent team player.
Shorter range than Freeze and Firebird.
Only can attack/heal one person at a time.
Awful camping weapon, unless it's a method of ally repair.
Since we have covered a short overview of the weapons of Isida, it'd be pertinent at this time to evaluate each of its sets. What is the best hull to accompany this weapon? All combinations with Isida can set itself upon are listed below in detail as a short overview of the best places to use each of the combos. Also, this will list the worst and best overall combinations.
We start with the weakest, but fastest hull – Wasp. People generally favour speed with Isida, and for good reason: evasion is a great tactic to cheat death with.While it's not the champion of killstreaks or anything like that, it's effective in dashing from teammate to teammate to send a lifeline to defensive outposts, such as a Titan/Vulcan overseeing the field from the cliffs of a Serpuhov. The low health of Wasp causes it to not be the best hull generally in a supply war, as most parameters are doubled and can spell trouble for a Wasp that receives a minimal defensive boost from multipliers. Don't forget that the key with an Isida-Wasp is to aid someone in grabbing the flag, or to take it and run in the event that you should run into trouble yourself.
Best Scenario: No Supplies Battles, Medium-Sized Maps (e.g. Iran, Red Alert)
This combination has dropped in popularity since the global balance update of late 2016, where it lost its infamous health retaining capabilities. Unfortunately, the sight of a Hunter is rare on the battlefield, though it has its uses as an alternative medium hull with more strength and torque than the likes of Viking. The versatility of the tank is phenomenal. It can defend effectively, as well as attack – but does it work with Isida? In some cases, the answer to that would still be yes - Hunter is a very effective compliment to Isida. Hunter/Isida has the necessary speed an Isida requires be offensive and yet the life that can sustain it long enough to escape. However, this would ultimately be better for TDM and CP steadfast techniques, as to keep heavily opponents alive while dealing extra supportive damage to enemies.
Best Scenario: Medium Map No Supplies Battles, Supply Wars, Large Maps
There's a reason why you don't often see a Titan/Isida in a battlefield, especially as you reach the higher end of the rank roster. This tank, judged by many as the ugliest combo, is one of the most ill-fitting, too, unable to see effective use in maps like Serpuhov, Red Alert, or even Polygon in several instances. However, if by any chance you encounter a very small map (e.g. Island; Farm), turned into a supply war, with lots of Badger family modules on the enemy team up to the rank of Commander, then it may be wise to use Titan/Isida M3 in this scenario. However, it is rare to find a map suited for this combination, as Isida requires nearby teammates and enemies alike to be effective. Thus, a steady supply of supplies is necessary for using this combination if you're planning on tackling any medium sized team map.
It needs to be remembered that Isida is not a camping weapon. It can heal other defensive tanks effectively but that's the limit of its effectiveness. Trying flag sitting tactics with Isida only occasionally works, but there are far better weapons for this role, such as Twins, Thunder, or if your heart's set on a proximity weapon, Freeze.
Best Scenario: Small Map Supply Wars
The combination of Isida and Dictator has always been an effective and common combination. As both were Tier 1.5, many people used such before the rebalance, especially as they progressed up to the Warrant Officer ranks. There was also a large influx of Dictator/Isidas before the “Tier 2s” came out, back in the old days (read above in “History” section). Nowadays, seeing Isida paired up with a Dictator is a rare day indeed, since Isida and a high torque aren't exactly a complimenting combination. Not only this, but its speed is subpar in comparison to its other medium class brothers, Viking and Hunter, and it no longer has extraneous health to rationalise its use. However, Dictator gives Isida one unique advantage through its design: height. With the alteration equipped, this means that Isida can literally strike from just about any angle, making it an incredible camping asset for Polygon CPs and Gravity TDMs and CTFs.
Best Scenario: Maps with many ramps (e.g. Polygon, Gravity)
Who hasn't seen one of these? It's as if the whole Tanki community is addicted to the combination of Hornet/Isida. Yet, is it as good as people make out? What makes it so popular?
The secret lies within its similarities to Wasp/Isida: nimble, decent speed, and excellent at chasing down opponents and allies alike, though the latter is certainly more exemplified. The only difference between Hornet and Wasp now lies in the overall top speed and overall crystals spared. Since Hornet is slower than Wasp at top modification by approximately 0.5 units, and is ultimately more difficult to control, the real reason to use this over Wasp is its overall torque, more stable design, and cheaper expense.
Best Scenario: Pretty much any medium/large map
Isida, according to statistics and general logic, is better in more situations with faster tanks. The combination of Isida with a slightly heavier tank won't always unilaterally win the battle, but with the right teammates at its disposal, there's little that can stop it.
Viking/Isida, a fairly common pairing before the global update of 2016, had declined sharply thanks to the overall decreased damage that forced players to look elsewhere. With supplies, specifically Double Power and Speed Boost, there's not going to be much standing in the way of this fearsome machine when keeping a monstrous metal wall at maximum health, letting it continue to pump plasma, sprays or ballistics into their enemies.
Best Scenario: Medium Map No Supplies Battles, Supply Wars, Large Maps
Har. You kidding me, right? It's easy to understand how Mammoth doesn't sound particularly effective, does it? Believe it or not, though, like Titan, it has niche roles that grant it potential in a select number of situations. It's a rare sight to find one of these machines nowadays – it is not an attractive combo to use, and neither, say many, a fun combo. Mammoth is for mass domination, not massaging lazy tanks from the back lines, isn't it? Coupled with the problem of Isida only being able to latch onto one foe at once, this combination slowly becomes one of the most tedious and painful to use in all but the teeniest of maps.
You have to remember, however, if you use it, that your tank is not good enough for playing with “cover”. You really have to chuck yourself out there and take the fire for your team. If your flag is in a tight space, and you can only approach it from a tight angle, Mammoth/Isida may be a good flag-sitter, as it can just take constant attack.
Best Scenario: Small-map Supply Wars. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
The Strategic Tips to Isida Domination
Since almost all Isidas use their weapon in CTF, TDM and CP modes respectively, this segment will only effectively cover those regions. If you're looking for advice on how to use Isida in a DM... don't.
- The most important factor to take into account when using Isida is the balance between attacking and healing. Many Isidas one will typically meet on the battlefield are either too focused on healing team-mates or too focused on capturing flags. The key to capturing the essence of Isida in a CTF battle is supporting your team to help aid you in capturing a flag, be it through your effort to keep your teammates alive or to grab the flag yourself and heal your supporters. You need to make sure though that your focus is capturing the flag, rather than running around healing teammates to no ultimate endpoint.
- A crucial thing to remember if you are an Isida is that you are the healer. It is almost always best to drop the flag off to another attacker if you are together in an attack, so you can heal him as you return to base. Don't be selfish. It's a nice way to show you care about your team, and it likely will result in more flags being captured and, notably, more spoils.
- It's key as an Isida to appreciate all players around you and not stick with a single player, only healing them (with exceptions made when your team-mate have the flag and need healing). You need to be always on the look-out for those who “need a hand”.
- One of the most important points to stress for an Isida is to remember that if both flags are grabbed, you need to go to the attacking flag and help out your attacker if you are on middle ground. You are, or at least should be, a mixed priority player. You can let the defensive weapons, such as Smoky, Railgun, Shaft, or a defensive Freeze to clear out the threat with your flag. You are an Isida. You heal people, such as attackers, and you also provide support damage versus opposing attackers.
- It is important to remember that if the enemy flag is in your base, and your flag in the enemy base, then at minimum one Isida should be sticking with the flag holder. Whether that be you or otherwise, it is always useful to have someone healing them in times of need. If you see them alone, don't be afraid to stick with 'em. If you're getting bored, remember that you're doing your entire team a service by backing up your flag-bearing teammate.
- As an attacker, you require some basic Tanki skills in attacking, so I'd recommend reading Ranger7's “Attackers guide”. Not only that, but you should try to learn basic attacking skills, so your focus in a CTF game is supporting the “cappers”.
- Isida should not be under-rated in its threat to kill enemies, as underpowered as their stats visibly are. Due to Isida currently having the highest damage per second, you need to know that, as an Isida, if you're healing a teammate that's currently dealing insufferable amounts of damage to an enemy, you have the potential to not only nab a kill in the end if you switch targets and sweep your beam over them but save your ally some energy for a secondary onslaught. Take the kills, and you'll be on your way to success with Isida's resources. One must realise that a solely healing Isida is not going to get you many points – which will lead you to not getting many crystals, respectively. However, as always, there is a balance with this – you need to know that healing is more important in general as an Isida, as that is your specialised effect.
- Remember: you only get points once you let go of the spacebar. Thus, if you are in the middle of healing when you die, you do not receive any points, due to the fact you failed to remove your spacebar. As an Isida now, it is key to remember: if you are on very low health, stop healing every now and again by letting go of the spacebar. This will mean you can get extra points you would not get, should you held on and were suddenly killed.
A couple of actual Isida skills you can use that will help you in battle:
- Use your conic range to your advantage, as it's far more variable with the Broadband emitters alteration. You will be able to attack or heal people on levels above you or further away from you, and altitude differences won't be much of an impediment.
- Mine usage with Isida can make for a support unit surpassing all expectations. As with all short range guns, using mines as a standoff or delay tool can be a legitimate life saver, delaying opponents from brandishing their own short ranged weapons against you or simply halting the progress of offensive threats like Wasp. One of the best times to use a mine is during a close ranged confrontation with an attacker who wants your head on a pike. Wait for them to charge at you, lay a mine, and then back off a touch. Most will follow you and run straight into your loading mine. Also, of course, use mines when running away with the flag or backing up the flag carrier in tight spaces, as your “hunters” will very possibly be at least slowed down by them, if not killed off immediately.
- Finally, something a bit more obvious, but Isida has no recoil. Thus, when you need to leap from a ridiculous height (e.g. anywhere in Madness), there are a few methods one can use, but the tried and true method is simple and reliable (i.e. Twist and Jump). Just turn as you leave the height in question (make sure you have suitable speed), and you should land straight up after rotating horizontally a few times.
In the final section of this Isida guide, we're going to look at the “fighting” -- that is, Isida's gameplay against all the weapons in Tanki, and the best strategy to confront all of them.
Against a Smoky, an Isida needs to know before they go into close combat that if the Smoky does not hit them with a Critical Hit, then they'll likely do alright in a one on one situation, as most Isidas can outpower a Smoky of the same modification so long as they have same hull type. Granted, a critical hit won't do far more damage than usual, only sporting a 10% damage increase itself, but the fact that they have roughly a 20% chance of occurring that rises with each impacting shot.
Bearing the above in mind, it's often best to confront a Smoky as soon as possible. However, avoid giving them space to back into, as with all long-range guns. You need to limit them as much as you can to the possibility of them escaping you, so try and corner them into building alleys and into open space.
Firebird is a weapon that needs to be dealt with carefully, to say the least. You need to know before approaching a Firebird whether you have the speed to keep up with them, or whether you are in a situation that means his burn will either be too low to kill you upon attacking them.
The perfect-case scenario would be coming to the Firebird around his most vulnerable position (where's he not looking, and when he has been either damaged or is low on fuel reserves). On the other hand, remember not to wait too long for that situation, for once your exposed tank gets touched by their burn for a while, you are much less likely to stay alive.
When you're facing a Twins, you have to realise that unless you use the advantage of abilities such as cover, your chances of survival versus a weapon with a higher cumulative damage rating is next to nil, especially when their ammunition is infinite while yours requires time to charge.
Using cover as an Isida is one way of being able to get yourself out of an awful situation and into a better one. Make sure if a Twins is coming to confront you that you don't automatically follow the train of thought that “I'm a short-ranged weapon; I need to get as close to that dude as possible. I'm going just to go meet him.” Moving directly towards an active Twins is a great way to remove yourself from the battlefield, as they're great at nullifying close ranged targets, especially considering their impact force can disorient a tanker's driving capabilities and send their aim all over the place. You'll have to try and outmanoeuvre as many bullets they send at you as possible and take maximum advantage of the time you have to hide behind barriers and walls.
The obvious Railgun-pwning technique revolves around making them miss by ducking into cover, driving into them and attacking for a moment, driving back into cover, repeat. However, since light hulls that were capable of this were slowed drastically and Railgun's reload speed has been decreased, this tactic becomes a lot less viable. But since that's a standard movement tactic and not much of an Isida specific tactic, you may not have the opportunity to do that. So ultimately, what is the best way to deal with a Railgun as an Isida? If you can survive a Railgun and out-run him in pace, then often the best thing to do is to show yourself, outmanoeuvre them, and plow away at their health and hope to whatever you believe in that your hull health, Railgun's damage variation, and whatever resistances you may have active align in such a way to keep you alive for one more shot.
However, there are smart moves you can pull to fool an unwitting Railgun. As a fast Isida, make sure you are always going around the Railgun or moving at least, so their shot would be more likely to miss. You should do this in every opportunity you acquire, as standing still only makes you that much easier of a target.
It's not worth it to dwell on Isida vs Isida too much, but one other thing I can suggest is you ramming into them or at least moving a bit – that little bit of what I call the “white light” shining, gives you an advantage in the duel. If part of their beam misses at any point of when you are shooting each other, you will gain a higher amount of damage output on them than on you. You can also achieve this by ramming into them.
“Use the Splash-Damage!”, to quote the Thunder “Best of” Guides said a few years back. It could be said the same with Isida. Use the Splash Damage indeed! Get that Thunder right up to you, so he's hitting himself, then when they've done the damage to themselves, you'll just have that much less trouble to deal with.
Thunder is a weapon where you have to approach them close-up to remove their threat. If they have space to back up into and see you from far away, you can count yourself dead. There's no reason to approach them – try hiding. The best way is to get close to a Thunder from the start – then you have them under your hand.
Unless you are lucky and find yourself facing a Freeze, there is no reason to approach a Freeze head-on, unless you're in the mood for dying in an annoying fashion. You need to know that once a Freeze has room to back into and you are frozen, you may as well not bother moving – you're pretty much screwed, unless a teammate backs you up and kills the Freeze for you.
Thus, as an Isida, we need to learn ways to avoid the killer effect of the frost spouting devil. One essential technique involves ramming into a Freeze from either behind or preferably the side, then taking them by surprise by moving in the opposite direction of their turning turret. This will help you avoid being frozen until the last moment (by which time, hopefully, you will have killed them). You need to try and make sure you don't get touched by a bit of that Freeze, however, particularly when you want to run away with the flag. It requires immense skill to avoid the Freeze totally. A touch of that Freeze hinders your escape significantly, and if your hull begins to turn blue, you can pretty much call it game over.
Also, remember, that if you are in a group attack, and a Freeze mounts upon you, try and make sure you do not get touched by that Freeze under any circumstances. Since the flag-carrier is likely to be bombed under the Freeze, in particular, you should avoid him and attack him from an area where you are not going to be hit, then when the Freeze is (hopefully) killed, you will be able to pick up the flag from the flag-carrier's drop-off, and run away way faster than you. On the other hand, you can completely halt a flag-pursuer's progress by standing between them and the flag bearer, since Freeze's spray cannot pass through tanks anymore thanks to the '16 update.
You also need to remember that if you have the flag and are frozen, it is almost always better to drop it off to a different team-mate who is not frozen. Remember to charge back into the incoming Freeze, though, as they have just as much of a chance to swipe the flag back as your ally if you're not careful.
Ricochet's strong bullets and knockback are pesky annoyances for an Isida, and you need to learn the art of dodging and moving while shooting if you are facing one of these. If there's one thing a Ricochet doesn't like to see, it's his bullets missing a fast-moving tank weaving around them constantly. You should try and approach him, and make sure he can't use his knockback to run away and shoot you from a range. If you sense you are losing the fight, move into cover behind a non-planar surface while dodging his shots. This means no flat walls anywhere nearby for them to bounce projectiles from!
It's important to note that a Ricochet can do a lot of potential damage if you do not get close to him, so you need to remove him as each shot, particularly when drugging, is completely deadly.
To finish this list off, the million dollar question: how do you face a Shaft as an Isida? If you sense a Shaft's eye on you as an Isida, move into cover ASAP. If he shoots you just before you move into cover, then you should be able to survive it unless they have a Double Power or higher modification. You then should try and come at the Shaft, either when he is looking in another direction or has just shot at a different person – whatever they're doing, though, go after him IMMEDIATELY. If, however, he remains trained on you, try to avoid his area of sight by going out of his range. Try not to drive anywhere that might be in their crosshairs, as certain death or grievous injury is sure to follow. They'll get bored of you eventually or die. In a CTF situation, make these buggers your top priority, as they'll utterly ruin you should you decided to leave them unscathed.
Please note that those were for an Isida attacking an enemy; don't think that's how to heal those weapon users as well! If you're trying to heal a team-mate, the best tactic is to approach them and press the spacebar. (Y'know, the only way you can heal them. Pretty straightforward for even the dullest of minds.)
For more information, check out the Pro's advice on Isida in the Tanki Online V-Log here.