An anti-tank missile launcher best suited for mid to long range combat. This turret is equipped with a laser aiming system for firing homing missiles. Missiles will damage any enemy within the blast radius, including the tank firing them if it is standing too close. This turret can be mounted on any hull, but a heavier hull is recommended for easier aiming.
An aptly named weapon, Striker is a multiple barreled weapon with two distinct firing modes, not unlike Shaft: a single-fire mode, of which allows the turret to release one concussion missile at a time through the tap of the spacebar, and a salvo mode, which is capable of locking onto a target by holding space, painting a beam onto a target, and sending four missiles in their direction. The difference between these two modes spare missile quantity is the projectiles' character -- whereas single-fires move blindly forward in whatever direction they were launched, salvo missiles sport heat-seaking properties; that is, they're capable of literally changing their trajectory in an attempt to follow whatever target was locked onto.
Striker shares a number of base characteristics with Twins, from its non-centralized barrel placement to their projectiles traveling through space before hitting a target, instead of landing immediately as the likes of Thunder or Railgun might. However, a few major differences allow Striker to stand apart from its cousin, such as projectile acceleration; whereas Twins' plasmic rounds travel at a fixed rate, Striker's rockets are constantly accelerating, which means they're getting faster the longer they're airborne. Of course, this feature is only made relevant by the range a rocket can reach, of which is far superior to the range a Twins projectile can muster. However, the reload for this turret is fairly slower than its cousin, taking full seconds to supply itself with another shot instead of milliseconds.
What makes this turret stand out from the rest, however, is its targeting system, which in the right hands, can turn a match on its head. While Striker can deliver single shots with a tap of the spacebar, holding it down activates a small laser sight. When directed at an enemy, a small gauge appears over their tank, and when it reaches completion, all four rocket slots fire automatically at the target. Since each of these shots has power comparable to that of Smoky and Thunder, being struck with four of them within the span of a second can't be high on anyone's to-do list. The gauge's progress, however, can be stopped in the following ways: either the laser is blocked by a foreign object such as a wall or another tank, the laser is no longer aiming at the target, or the spacebar is released. The former two, if contact is lost, can be redeemed if the target is required within a second or so; if not, the gauge fades, and the locking process must begin once again. The latter causes the gauge to disappear immediately.
• Cluster Targets -- Like Twins, Striker sports splash damage, but the degree to which its blast radius extends is much further, just barely larger than that of Thunder's at most modifications. This can be used to effectively launch single-fire shots into a crowd gathered around a location. However, the fun doesn't stop at pseudo-Thunder; while difficult if targets are mobile, it's possible to lock onto one tank in a cluster and send them all into the stratosphere with a well-timed salvo, possibly accruing multiple kills at once on nearly brand-new tanks.
• Heat-Seeking Conditioning -- Striker's salvo rockets are capable of tracking a target, even when the laser is no longer painted on them. Tankers use the time that the rockets are traveling through space to duck behind cover, letting them all harmlessly discharge on the other side of whatever surface they took shelter behind. To increase the changes of the missiles striking home on an enemy hull, rotating the turret in the direction slightly away from the obstacle upon launching the salvo is a wise option. The curve of the rockets may be just enough to not only bypass the obstacle, but strike near enough to the target to deal considerable damage, if not outright destroying them. The same can be done over small barriers.
• Cover Maximization -- One last note on Striker's similarities to Twins is that they both begin firing from the right barrel upon respawn, alternating with each shot. Since Striker is a turret that may have potential with its moderate reload speed to stay encamped behind a building, it may be possible to use only one barrel of the turret to launch a deathly blow to an opponent without exposing much of the tank to fire, at least in comparison with single-barrel turrets. However, keeping track of what side is destined to fire next is critical to survival, as shelter could suddenly turn into a threat if a rocket is mistakenly expended into the very wall a tank cowers behind, the splash zone causing grievous damage to any tank.
• Retreat-locking -- Tankers love to use another's splash damage against them by getting close, and users of Striker suffer the same fate. An astute strategy employed by users sporting Hunter, Wasp, and everything between is to retreat from targets approaching, locking onto them the second they find interest. Most tanks can't survive a full salvo, and medium hulls aren't on the exception list, so it's wise to have a method of retreat available for a Striker user at all times. a circuitous path is always an excellent home for a Striker-user, since there's always a forward and reverse route to take in event of emergency.
Striker, if employed properly, is an excellent defensive weapon, able to flatten any light hull that dare threaten the home flag they're playing bastion to. If they don't survive an initial onslaught, then they're at least guaranteed to deal enough damage to cause concern to the flag thief. Wide, flat maps with a relatively low prop-count such as Desert, Serpuhov, and Esplanade are excellent hunting grounds, providing plenty of opportunities to catch prey in the open with a locking laser, unable to reach the safety of shelter before being turned into scrap metal. However, bear in mind that many CTF-dwellers enjoy surpluses of Speed Boosts and light hulls, meaning that a crafty Hornet has the potential to dodge a salvo at a large enough distance if traveling perpendicular to the rockets' ever-curving path (resulting in them likewise moving in a curved path, sorta like the Coriolis Effect). Single-fire is useful for cramped maps such as Pass, where tight paths force players down a number of roads that can easily be blockaded with a skilled Striker, utilizing splash damage wherever possible. One of the best maps to enjoy CTF mode with Striker in both a defensive and midfielding light is Scope. The paths that extend beneath the surface allow for easy splash damage, and the large amount of no-man's land in the center makes for easy targeting with salvo after salvo, should anyone dare traverse aboveground.
This turret isn't flawless as a standalone, by any means, but it has the same charm as Thunder and possibly more under medium-ranged conditions. Slash damage is delightful against groups of squabbling tanks, and single-fire mode sees more prominence as an on-the-fly solution to picking off immediate threats and otherwise. Locks are more difficult to achieve in DM mode, since the larger number of enemies and the lower number of allies results in everyone in the general vicinity making a beeline for the laser's origin in fear of being melted where they stand. However, when they are acquired, it's pretty satisfying to watch a tank ascend skyward with each blast, with everything within a dozen meters suffering chip damage to injuries just as severe. A large supply of Double Powers, a medium or heavy tank (since reverse-locking is difficult without allies to watch one's six), and a pair of mines is more than enough to crush competitors unwarily drifting too close.
A large number of locks is possible now that there’s allies available to give them an assured forward plan of attack, instead of having to watch all sides and potentially miss a number of enemies; however, since there’s no focused point that enemies direct their attention to, it’ll be harder for Striker users to capitalize on lots of splash damage kills. However, t’s possible to continue the retreat-lock method again, so it’s best to use this early and often when fighting with proximity-based turrets. (Bear in mind that mid-ranged turrets might be more commonplace in TDMs due to tankers not being required to exit their bases in order to score massive quantities of points.)
Control Point mode might be where Striker really shines as a weapon of siege. Multiple targets gather around points in order to wrest control to their team, granting countless opportunities for both single-fire and salvo missiles alike to critically injure several tanks at once, potentially leveling the entire point if executed properly. The standard “heavy hull on the point” strategy is turned on its head when they suddenly have nowhere to run as the lock-on gauge slowly builds, having to rely on using their weapon’s impact force such as Smoky or Ricochet to deter Striker’s aim. Users of Striker in this terrain may only rarely need move to adjust their angle of fire, so heavy hulls (or medium, depending on the size of the map) are usually the most promising vessels to transport this concussion launcher about.
Striker relies on being able to adjust quickly in order to maintain a lock on its target, plus surviving long enough to deliver a salvo and handling some of the damage they dish out in the form of splash. Light hulls are able to fulfill the first half of the above requirement, and if they play to their strengths (by avoid getting close to enemies and using their speed to evade them), a fun yet very challenging playstyle is made available. Some would claim that this combination is more difficult to use than a standard XP/BP combination for a number of reasons: 1.) the barrels are not centered, so peeking from behind corners to deliver shots requires a few more fractions of a second’s thought to determine which barrel is destined to fire next, 2.) unlike XP/BP, there’s two methods of attack. Where one is similar (but requires trajectory calculations more complex than what Railgun offers), the other requires a player to maintain a lock on the other for a few seconds, which in a high-speed arena such as XP/BP, is notoriously difficult to achieve. All in all, a light hull with Striker is a glass cannon, but can deal massive damage if left unchecked by weapons with the ability to track it.
The middle road is a road that Striker can sufficiently manage. With an acceptable balance of speed, armor, and weight that can handle the recoil of the weapon (of which Wasp and Hornet may have difficulty adapting to), the medium hulls are an effective conduit to house the weapon in an expansive variety of maps. However, in terms of individual hulls, each sports its own unique characteristics that allow an advantage for one over another. Viking, being the fastest hull amongst them, is able to effectively perform at similar levels of effectiveness with light hulls with a Speed Boost activated, its lateral acceleration statistic making turns less choppy and sudden, resulting in easier locking. However, its height an stability come to bite it in the back when attempting to attack tanks at different altitudes: due to a combination of having nearly no ability to rock back and forth and having the lowest tank profile, firing shots above or below its current altitude is not an easy feat. Dictator can easily remedy both issues, but it loses the speed that Viking offers. Hunter takes the pure middle road, having moderate abilities to utilize Speed Boosts, drift effectively when activating one, and being able to take a punch at most modifications like a medium hull should.
While the heaviest of the bunch aren't likely to be dodging or chasing any time soon, these are the most reliable of the bunch for both small maps and maps with little to no cover. Since Striker is so effective at taking out heavy hulls, any lingering on a map with plenty of flat terrain and little room to escape are likely not going to last long. The thing about Titan and Mammoth is that they still get the greatest average health bonuses from protection modules, which means that a Striker module equipped equals far less self-damage taken from close combat. Firebirds and Isidas become somewhat less of a problem than usual with the high damage output of this turret, though turrets with a less frequent fire rate and therefore more time to stay in cover are a bit more troublesome to deal with. To boot, neither hull does a lot of rocking to adjust turret attack altitude, meaning that maps like Gravity and Atra are sometimes a pain in the neck for Titan/Striker to attend with.
The close ranged threats are undoubtedly the most threatening to any Striker's life, and the realms they thrive are those that Striker does not function well in. Maps with multitudes of walls, barriers, buildings, and other various polygons allow for these weapons to sneak directly on top of other tankers. This is a doubly egregious situation for Striker, as it not only has to contend with a slower reload and lower cumulative damage rate, but it also has to stomach its own missile burst radius alongside the continuous stream of external injury.
The best way to handle one of these is, as for any turret, to use distance to one's advantage. A series of single-fire missiles over a salvo is recommended, as a proximity weapon can easily dive behind cover and waste a half-charged target lock. At the same time, sporting excellent reverse driving abilities will serve any Striker user well, allowing extra time to retreat from an incoming swathe of flame, rime, or nanotechnology and providing more chances to open fire.
Cover is a Striker's friend in dealing with these weapons, since their high impact force and consistent, low-damage rate of fire make aiming in one spot difficult, ergo locking onto one is nigh impossible if they're a crafty shot. Fighting a Ricochet is especially difficult thanks to potential cover becoming a threat, as a bouncing round does just as much damage as a direct round (most of the time, discounting the extra travel distance it may need to make).
In order to effectively combat these weapons, cover in areas with non-planar surfaces, such as pipes, the small crate collections, rock cliffs, and slanted surfaces all make for useful defensive positions. Remember to keep track of which barrel fired a missile last, and you can potentially minimize your exposure time. Using the splash effect in narrow areas that these weapons love so much can open the possibility of indirect damage while still remaining protected. The fact that Vulcan and Twins are effective on flat, clear ground with few obstructions means that from behind cover, it's possible to easily acquire locks on these users, since light hulls that can escape the line of sight are infrequently paired with that weapon.
Fighting these effectively is entirely a matter of distance, just as Firebird, Freeze, and Isida, except with a smaller zone of safety and impact force that can interfere with lock acquisition. In fact, attempting a salvo against these is almost never recommended, as too much damage will be sustained during preparation as the laser sight is constantly disrupted and delayed, potentially even being restarted if there's ample cover nearby (which Smoky users thrive around). The looming threat of Smoky's HEAT shell is also present at all times, nullifying the shield that range provides. Hammer equipped with the Slugger alteration is especially terrifying, since the pellets it fires can now reflect off of surfaces and render a Striker's cover useless from even longer distances.
As with short ranged guns, the path to success is to use single-fire mode, keeping a considerable distance from these two turrets to minimize the amount of damage they incur. Splash damage will be invaluable for damaging runaways as they search for cover, since they both can afford to deal with some the most shallow and stringent of nooks. Hammer especially finds itself in a serious bind when it runs out of ammunition, allowing a Striker with a lighter hull to begin pursuit and even allow for a salvo opportunity. Retaliating with splash damage to cause a Smoky to miss every once in awhile is also somewhat viable, possibly delaying a HEAT shot that could end a tank's life.
The splash damage giants take areas with cramped environments as well as wider spaces by storm, and if not taken care of sooner than later, they will dominate the match. While Thunder and Striker are more offensive fighters, Magnum is logically more defensive, which means they may be found in varying quantities depending on the battleground in question. This makes neither of them less threatening to a Striker, however, as excessive cumulative damage has already been deemed its worst enemy.
A Striker can beat another Striker through determining the mental process of the other. If the enemy is interested in locking on, the wisest course of action would be to send single-fire rounds in their direction and find temporary shelter. If they wish to send one rocket at a time in return, their distance is a factor in what to do next. If they're too far away to impact but the cover in the area is sparse, a lock is the most effective way to win. If there is cover and they're still distant, one should advance to their location, sending missiles into the wall or ground behind whatever they're using as shielding. If they're very close, trying to engage them as closely as possible is a wise investment, sending rockets into their barrier instead of them so that damage is dealt through spash to the Striker, and not the user. This puts the enemy into a position where they cannot deal large amounts of damage to the user without doing the same to themselves, and they may try to escape. This is usually unsuccessful depending on what kind of cover they use. The above logic also applies to Thunder, and to a smaller extent Magnum, though a simple lock is usually enough to be rid of these.
Both deadly from a distance, these turrets have the edge in immediate shot impact over a Striker's limited projectile speed. Missiles take much longer to travel than electromagnetically ejected shells or energy-based mass drivers, and as such, distance is not a friend in the case of tackling these two weapons. The fact that they almost require deep cover in order to function makes splash damage near ineffective in damaging them.
Their weakness lies in their typical lack of mobility. While this is less viable in the case of Railgun, Shaft is almost consistently immobile in order to deal unflattering amounts of injury to distant tankers. They're not much of an issue when it comes to painting a bullseye over them for lock-on purposes, especially if they're already distracted with the movements of another enemy. Getting as close as possible without intaking any splash damage is recommended, as they'll have to take far more time to turn and face a Striker that's about to send pieces of them into the stratosphere. Railgun, on the other hand, is another can of worms: they move around quite a bit when they're threatened, as they're not locked into place via a scope mode. When left unattended, they're usually comfortable taking a single position and floating about within it until they're noticed. This is the window of time that needs to be taken advantage of, and it needs to be done at close range. Waiting until they're about to fire at someone else to begin the targeting cycle will render them only capable of flight, and if they're blocked into cover, it'll be a tall order to dodge all four missiles and remain in one piece, much less be able to retaliate with a round.