Top of the morning!
In the final part of my series on base defense, I’m going to talk about what is probably the most important aspect of base defense: making your base unpreppable. If you haven’t done so, check out my other posts on base defense to learn how to stop the three main types of attacks that you’re likely to face : Siege Mortars, Siege Missiles and Blitz fleets.
The Prep Fleet
The goal of a prep fleet is to deal as much damage to your base as possible without hitting that 25% threshold. They will also attempt to destroy your guard fleet (guard fleet don’t count towards base health and thus don’t contribute to that 25%). They are generally faster ships, such as Sea Wolves or Sea Scorpions, and are often equipped with Assault Missiles with Solid Fuel Booster 3. You may encounter opponents who use their main base fleet for prepping as well, but that typically only applies for Siege Mortar or Siege Missile fleets. If your base is set up to handle those fleets, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem.
Most prep fleets won’t venture too far into your base. They’ll stick close to the entrance and try to snipe as many turrets as they can. If your guard fleets are exposed, they’ll try to snipe those as well. If your guards are baitable (have a large patrol range that allows them to leave the safety of your base), they will lure your guards out of your base to be picked off. When sniping towers, they will target the ones that will give their main fleet problems. Bombards, Howies and Cerbs that are too close to your entrance and unprotected by Flaks are all in danger. Flaks themselves will often be targeting by Bunker Busters but often, they’ll wait until the main attack to do that so you don’t have a chance to repair it in between.
By destroying your guards and a handful of your key turrets, Prep fleets make your base MUCH weaker, allowing their primary base fleet to come in and flatten you with relative ease.
The first thing you need to know is that you will likely never destroy the prep fleet, nor should you try. Instead, your goal should be to make it so they can’t get at your guards or key turrets without dealing more than 25% damage to your base. One of the best ways to do this is place all of your research buildings at the front of your entrance, forcing your attacker to destroy them before they can get to your towers. The more research buildings that are destroyed, the fewer towers they can pick off before bubbling you.
You’ll also want your first towers to either not be an integral part of your defense (such as Sentinels) or be protected by Flaks and/or Bombards. I prefer having Sentinels as the first two towers since that forces them to take at least some damage and if you lose them, it doesn’t hurt you nearly as much. But it does bring you a lot closer to that 25% and that’s what you want. Just make sure that all of your turrets are covered by as many other turrets as possible. Having two or three off by themselves is just begging to be prepped.
You’ll also need to make sure that your guard fleet stays where it can be protected the most. This generally means a small patrol range that doesn’t let them wander away from your Bombards and Flaks. If you’re online during the attack, you may even want to pull them back into the middle of your base so they’re completely unreachable. If the prep fleet fails to kill the guards, your opponent may decide not to follow through with the main attack.
Know Your Weakness
Since the goal of a prep fleet is different than a main fleet, your weaknesses are also slightly different. A base is weak against prep fleets if your opponent can destroy four turrets and/or your guards without bubbling you. You want to lose no more than two towers and your land layout MUST be able to ensure that. A weak design makes your base preppable.
Putting It All Together
So I’ve talked about how to stop the most common fleets you’re going to face. Some employed similar strategies and some very different strategies. So how do you build a base that does it all? Well, that’s the million-facebook-credit question. The truth is, you really can’t make a base that can stop absolutely everything. But you can get pretty damn close and here’s how:
- Use a variety of turrets.
- Your Howies and Cerbs are your lifeblood. Make sure they’re unreachable from outside your channel and protected by your Bombards, Flaks, VMs and guard fleet. You’ll also want them positioned so they can fire for as long as possible.
- Keep your research buildings near the entrance to your base. This helps you bubble quicker.
- Have Anti-mortars on your guard fleet to help your Bombards.
- Have a 90-degree turn or two right next to your Howies/Bombards. This slows down your attacker, giving your towers more time to fire.
- Make it so your guards can’t be lured away from your base.
- Try to avoid grouping key turrets too close together so they can’t be pinched.
- Have at least two of each type of defensive tower in case one gets Bunker Bustered.
Here’s an example of a base that employs these tactics.
This is a strong base design that satisfies 7/8 of the criteria listed above. The only one it doesn’t meet is #7. The Howies and Cerbs can be Pinched, as can the VMs. However, this risk can be mitigated by using an Arbiter with Engine Disruptor in the corner behind the Howies to slow down enemies moving through the area. Just remember to move the Arbiter away from the corner as soon as you see the countdown start so it doesn’t get Pinched as well.
The lone ship up near the top is a sub. A Barracuda is ideal but a Predator should be fine if you don’t have those. Stalkers are probably too slow to use efficiently here. The idea is, as your enemy tries to come in, you’ve got a sub sniping them from behind. This is a great way to deal extra damage that can’t be reduced and it gives your attacker something to panic about. If you can make them unsure of what to go after, they’re more likely to make a mistake and a mistake in this base is deadly.
The other three guards are ideally Thud Goliaths with 3-4 Hailstorms but you can any SFB3 Assault Missile ships instead. You generally won’t have the technology for the base itself until level 30 or 31 and it’ll probably be even longer for the guard fleet. The good news since both Barracudas and Goliaths are Forsaken-based hulls, they will likely be available as research in the relatively near future. So for those that didn’t get them, don’t worry too much.
Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.
Until next time,