Valkyrie pilot Wan5 is currently ranked number one in the world and recently helped his team, the Invaders, romp home with victory in the Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas. Who better, then, to tell us all about how to squad up and start pulling in those victories.
Follow his instructions on building a better squad and you may just find yourself competing alongside the big guns at Fanfest 2017.
Voice comms is a must for efficient squad play. If it’s on Discord or PS4 party chat is up to you, but having even one member off coms can put a serious strain on your squad. There are various options available to meet up with fellow pilots looking to squad on the forums, Discord or the various PS4 groups. The best tournament teams so far have always been the ones whose members are talking.
There are three pilot roles currently available in Valkyrie, each offering a unique play style and a defined responsibilities when forming a squad. If you want your squad to stand out, you and your squad mates must utilise the tools available to you.
Squads currently consist of five players so you must use this to your advantage when selecting your ship loadout. Each loadout should also depend on the game type you’re playing but please bear in mind that Valkyrie is an ever-evolving game and everything is subject to change!
Team Death Match
Team Death Match is a really, fun fast-paced game mode. Each team has 30 clones and there are no other objectives but to kill. In this game mode your squad composition can easily swing most matches. Playing with too much firepower and not enough support, for example, can be like playing Hungry Hippos to heavy pilots. Alternatively, too many heavies and you risk getting swamped by fighters.
Recommended squad composition: 2 fighter, 1 heavy, 2 support
The fighter role
Your first job after launching should be to start prioritising your targets. Support ships should always be your first target. Keep an eye out for their beams and hit them first. Once the support is under control concentrate on taking care of any heavies that are in play. As fighters, you have the mobility advantage, so make sure you’re keeping an eye on your own support and heavy ships and pick off any attackers. In fact, defending teammates is where I get the majority of my kills.
The support role
As a support pilot your role here is to make sure each member of your squad is getting the repairs they need during the match. This does not mean that you can’t rack up a healthy score, though. Hang a little back at the start and allow a 1-1.5km lead from your fighters and heavy squad mates. As they are charging in they will start to receive fire from the opposing team. Ideally one of your support ships should stick with the heavy ship as this should be receiving the most attention and one should switch between the fighters. If you’re running in a phaser-equipped support ship, feel free to pick up those long-distance kill shots.
The heavy role
Your job here is to make as much noise as you can. The head-tracked weapons combined with AoE (area of effect) damage should make you the ideal distraction. At present, there is no friendly fire in team death match so just go wild with it. The one tip I can give for the heavy is to have faith in your support, and use the flak to cause more disruption than damage. If you see a teammate in trouble, a sure-fire way to have the aggressor disengage is to subject them to the sounds and the feeling of a flak barrage!
Tempting though it is to push the fight over to the enemy carrier, try and maintain position at about the half way mark of the map. You don't want to get caught in the kill zone and staying half way generally leads to a broken up, disorganised enemy team after the first few kills have been made. Stick together and remember your weapon ranges. If a straggler is making a run for it, let them… they will be back. Meanwhile you’ll still be in range of your entire squad for backup and support.
Control Mode is an objective-based game type. Each side starts with 100 clones with the winner being determined by the side with the most clones left. Clone depletion rate is also dependent on controlling each of the three nodes around the map. A well-organised squad can really shine in this game mode and win the round without too much trouble. Mobility is key in control.
Recommended squad composition: 3 fighter, 2 support
The fighter role
Speed and mobility is your friend in this game mode, and you will quickly have to decide who goes where. Ideally one fighter with one support should head to your closest point (A or C) while the other two fighters and support should head to B. Those heading to B should take a few extra seconds to place their drone somewhere less obvious. Drones in open space are free points to the enemy. Be ready to back up your squad mates by keeping an eye on the red squares. If they are starting to get overwhelmed then send a fighter over to help. Those at the closest point should not leave until the point is captured.
The support role
Your job here is simple: keep yourself and your team mates alive while dropping a drone at the points. Since the control points are generally around structures or debris, the support’s extra agility over the fighter gives it the ability to hug the debris real close, making you a very hard target to land hits on. Try not to get distracted too much by kills. If one presents itself by all means take it, but your focus should be on keeping everyone alive.
It’s very important to manage your capacitor wisely in this game mode. Travelling three to four kilometres with no boost while watching your buddy get gunned down is no fun. There are some really obscure and nifty places to lay your drones so take advantage of them and your enemy will have to take extra time or risk damage to get to your drone to take it out.
Carrier Assault mode is where all the fun is. Nothing solidifies a victory quite like seeing the enemy’s carrier burning up and breaking into pieces. As carrier assault uses control mode mechanics to start with, I will focus more on the carrier take down.
Recommended squad composition: 2 support, 3 fighter
The fighter role
Your job here is to damage the carrier as quickly as possible. The best carrier assault games have very few kills before the objective is achieved. Pick an armour damage-focused ship such as the Assuage or Dominator as the nodes and core do not use shields. Split up and each fighter should pick a section: front, mid or back. Once the nodes are destroyed move in for the core. With three Dominators you will be surprised at how quickly that carrier goes boom!
The support role
While attacking the carrier the fighters are going to be getting a lot of heat from both the enemy team and of course the multitude of flak cannons and missile launchers the carrier itself uses. Take advantage of your agility to stay out of the carrier defence range and only dash in when a player is taking heat. Normally flying front to rear and back on the jump gate side gives you a good vantage point for your attacking squad and, of course, access to the jump gates should you need to make a sudden getaway. Once your squad has moved onto the core, you should circle above the core room instead of going in. It’s already a tight space in there, so avoid it unless you need the cover.
Once the shield is down you have one and a half minutes to do as much damage as possible. This is done first by destroying several cooling nodes that are located on the carrier’s exterior. These nodes are highlighted on the model carrier on your HUD. There's a flak and a missile launcher in the core room. Take these out and you will face a lot less fire in there. After all that you can sit back and enjoy the fireworks.
Amazing advice there from the planet’s premier pilot. Our advice to you, dear readers, is to start putting that advice into practice immediately. We hope to see you taking part at the next major tournament!