Sunday, 25 January 2015

Elite Dangerous Pilot Academy - Controlling combat in a Nose to Tail formation

Nose to Tail

When an enemy ship has you out gunned, getting some distance away and forcing the pursuit will allow your wingman to fall in behind the quarry so that the three of you are in a nose-to-tail column formation.

With your wingman dealing big damage from the quarry's engine-side blind-spot, the fight will start to swing in your favour. The nose-to-tail is the smallest bait-and-switch you can pull. As soon as the Quarry switches targets the nose is free to pull back to a safe distance and get power to shields and weapons lance in towards the quarry for your counter attack. At this point, the roles of the nose and tail ships have switched and you can reset the formation and continue.

With medium range you can hold a nose-to-tail formation forever and tag-team even larger vessels. The danger is that your quarry is in a much faster ship who you can't boost out of range of, at which point the nose-to-fail formation will be impossible.
However since the nose ship can afford to distribute power to engines the quarry will usually be unable to maintain pursuit and will switch once it starts taking damage from the tail.

Slow Pace

The Nose to tail controlled pursuit goes in the favour of the two faster fighters, who can control the fight and decide who takes damage and when.  As long as they are able to take the quarry's shields down and start damaging hull and systems, they don't have to do much damage before falling back into formation.  

Most important here is that your fighters don't take damage by keeping a long distance from the quarry. You can afford to chip away at the quarry and recharge at a safe range.  Don't rush the fight and let it gun guns on you. The controlled pursuit is all about staying safe.

Closing thoughts

The nose-to-tail controlled pursuit is the easiest tag team manoeuvre to pull off and you will be able to get it down pat with minimum practice.  Its a safe formation that allows you to lance the quarry over and over again.

Be mindful of your shields and stay safe.  As the tail, close the range a little before opening fire but be ready to shoot early if your partner is taking too much heat.

As always, fly casual.