Monday, April 25, 2011

The Art of the Slingshot (The Art of part 3)

One of the most useful tools when solo or in a small group and engaging one or a few nano-type ships, like the Vagabond/Cynabal or even some battle cruisers, is the Slingshot.

NO! Not this kind of slingshot!
The situation is this, you in your slower, heavier, scram/web fitted ship is being effectively kited by a faster kiting opponent.  You can't catch them, and can't bring them into a fight at your range.  If you are caught off a gate, or in a belt, your chance at catching them is nil, and all that is left is a long, slow death, begging for help.  Help yourself by learning and effectively using the slingshot.  Bring them into engagement range and allow your heavier weapons to tell, heavier tank to shrug off their damage while you crush them.

Once engaged by your unsuspecting target (he's busy thinking you're his kill) the first thing he will do if he's a good pilot is try to pull parallel with you, to match heading and staying at your side, working to prevent this exact maneuver, usually somewhere between 16-24 KM from your ship.  First thing is first, get him in the right position for the slingshot.  Turn directly away from him, and as your stern(ass) spins around to face him(mooning him), you activate your MWD, as if you are attempting to escape.  Pull range like mad, as if trying to escaping, heading for 26+ km, or 30+ if he has a faction point. It may be a good idea to try to align towards something you can warp out to just in case you do get out of point range and want to bail quickly before he recovers point.

Now with him "behind" and your MWD helping you extend the range from him, he will turn as well, trying to bring you back to his kiting range of 18-24 km.  To close the distance faster he'll light off his MWD, this is where having velocity on your overview pays off.  Wait for him to build some speed/inertia with the MWD or AB.  Usually this is somewhere between 900-1200+m/s, or enough speed to start closing the distance between you and him, the deeper he "bites" the better luck you will have catching him at the end of this maneuver.  Use a little judgement and at the right time, when he's committed to closing range, that is when you control-space to kill your forward boost, but leave your MWD active, waiting for your speed bar to drop just below the 3/4 tick mark on your HUD, giving your ship the best chance at a fast rate of turn.  Repeatedly click approach target towards him, leaving your MWD active.

Now you are turning towards him and he is still burning towards you, the range between you should be dropping quickly, faster as you gain speed towards him.  The easy way is to continue to mash the approach button, but this is not the best way, there is a chance he will correct and the wasted time you try to go directly at him let's him escape.  The harder way it's going to take some practice.  Try to eyeball where his path is going to take him in space and where you can be to bring him to a Closest point of Advance, then aiming for where he is now. You just need that CPA to be inside of your scram/web range so 11-14km.... Now don't forget to overheat your MWD/Scram/Web for extra speed and extra range on your tackle.  Once he slings himself inside of your scram web range, apply DPS and tackle, don't let him out... Alive.

If you miss the first time, try try again, until either you die or he does, or you escape.  

Another pro-tip is that most people don't think very well in 3-d space, but it's difficult to describe what I am talking about so I will do my best.  Generally if you are on the same "plane" as the nano pilot, he has a better chance of avoiding your slingshot because distance is easier marked that way.  Try the same maneuver with a slight angle added.  Force him to be behind you but above the plane you are currently taking away from him, or even below you as most pilots always like to be above their targets in the game, force them to feel more agressive.  If they are thinking, "oh no, you aren't getting away from me." You are already close to success.  To put it simply humans, in general, are more likely to mis-judge the distance when operating with angles to the target as well as range.

Executing this tactic successfully can net you some nice kills in ships that should never be able to land tackle on, or up-engage faster, light, nano-ships.  I won't even try to count how many times I have seen his in PvP video's where the Ferox catches the Vagabond.  Or the Abaddon catches the BC.  When I re-find video's where you can clearly see this happening I will post them.

Example Video's for the slingshot

Endless Subversion's Mind Game  or Direct download

Prom's Friggank series, can be found in this handy FHC link


  1. Endless Subversion's Mindgame came to mind pretty quickly as a good video for looking at slingshots. Also any of Prometheus's Frigank videos will have tons of examples. All of them should be in the FHC index thread:

  2. Thanks for this, it's a very useful article :)

  3. Excellent explanation! Thank you!