Secret Romulan Transmission: Advanced Hawk-Style Tactics


Secret Romulan Transmission: Advanced Hawk-Style Tactics

Romulan Star Empire Imperial Star Navy Communication
All ships - all ships

The following are advanced tactics I use when flying Hawk-style ships. For those who don't know what Hawk-style play means: it's oblique angle plasma attacks at high speed (spd 25+). It's also called the Plasma Ballet. This is by no means an attempt to be an all-inclusive list of tactics. Virtually all the tactics I reference in my articles work against both AI and humans, although I rarely use any of them against the AI... not even this one:


Probably the hardest tactic to learn, the one that will help you the most, and the hardest to describe, is patience. Plasma demands patience. It's a slow-loading weapon. A Romulan that goes barreling into a fight will often end up dead.

The basics of patience are:
(And I break all of them at some point)

1) Don't fire all your weapons at once. Against humans, even if I have a perfect alpha opportunity, I only fire one plasma at a time. So if they weasel, no big lose. If somebody tries an overrun, I've still got aces up my sleeve.
2) Keep your enemy at range (range depends on your ship and it's Plasma types).
3) Don't do overruns.
4) Don't do closure engagements.
5) Don't chase an enemy moving away at high speeds.
6) Don't listen to him when he says, "Come on, CLOSE, will ya? I'm bored."

Learn your plasma

Know its effective ranges, its maximum range, its holding costs, its charge costs, its color, its speed, how it moves, its weaknesses and strengths. I won't go into enveloping plasma, as that's usually a special use weapon (like against the AI). All plasma (except a downgraded F) takes 3 turns to charge.

Plasma R (3 energy charge per turn, 5 energy to hold)

0-10:50; 11-15:35; 16-20:25; 21-25:20; 26-28:10; 29:5; 30:1

The great thing about R is it's range. Why close to range 10 when you can deliver 25 points damage at range 20? The downside to Plasma R is its holding cost and FA-only arc. In a WB+, WE, KE, KVL, the Rs are great because they help keep an enemy at a distance. For Hawk-play, I often downgrade the R to an S or F for energy savings.

Plasma S (2.67 charge, 3 hold)

0-10:30; 11-15:22; 16-20:15; 21-23:10; 24:5; 25:1

Firing a Plasma S at range 15 is like firing a F or G at range 5/10. Again, why close to a range where the enemy can inflict damage back on you? I sometimes even launch at range 15-20, especially if my enemy is slow moving (spd 5-15).

Plasma G (2.33 charge, 2.33 hold)

0-10:20; 11-15:15; 16-18:10; 19:5; 20:1

Firing a Plasma G at range 15 gives you a Plasma F hit at range 10. Also on the G, the cost to charge is the cost to hold (so you don't get that holding cost spike after they charge).

Plasma F (1.67 charge, 0 hold - 1 hold for downgraded F)

0-5:20; 6-10:15; 11-12:10; 13-14:5; 15:1

For me, Plasma F is a love/hate relationship. I love the 0 hold cost. I hate the Fs range. Firing an F at optimal range involves damage to my shields or ship. In smaller ships, I usually try to fire my Fs at about range 9 and get away. In bigger ships, I don't fire my Fs unless: 1) An enemy is crippled and near death; 2) an enemy is chasing me.

Downgraded Fs charge in 2 turns. Remember that fact if you're being chased. Downgrade your heavy plasma to Fs and start lobbing them at a pursuer.

NEVER let your enemy catch you

I used to say never slow down... that's not true. Now, I often slow down to cloak. I never do it when the enemy is coming at me at high speed. Never letting your enemy catch you involves good power management and situational awareness like using your Fxx Keys...

Use your Fxx keys

F1 - Overhead camera

In the past month, I've run 3 competent pilots into planets (one had me for sure) because I used the F1 key (overhead) and they only ever used the F3 key (default, follow camera).

In asteroids, around planets, in a big free-for-all, now I always use the F1 key. In fact, lately I switch to it to see where the enemy is facing, etc. so I know if my oblique attack angle is too steep. (F3 takes you back to normal)

F4 - Target camera

Using F4 is especially effective if you're close to the enemy or have fired a probe at range. It lets you know (accurately, quickly, visually) how his shields are looking and where he's facing. (F3 takes you back to normal)

F11 - Max HUD info

Max HUD info gives you the range and speed of all objects on screen.

I always toggle this on at the beginning of combat.

This also works very well in asteroids and free-for-alls to let you know what is going on. The only downside is that it can provide too much information and end up having to be shut off to see what is going on. It's great for seeing shuttles and fighters at range. (F10 takes you back to normal)

Wild Weasel? What's that?

Sounds crazy but the more I play, the less I remember to create a weasel during a fight. In fact, the past 3-4 multiplayer battles, not only did I not weasel, but I didn't even create one. "How did you survive?" you ask. "Quite nicely," I reply.

For instance, against a drone/hellbore/disruptor/photon shooter, a weasel usually isn't necessary (ECM, speed, Plasma D and cloak).

Against a plasma race, I don't allow myself to get in a situation where I take much if any damage (speed and cloak).

I use the energy point that would have went into a weasel somewhere else.

Gorn tactics anyone?

I actually prefer to create a suicide shuttle. When I've got the enemy on the ropes (they've weaseled), I like to move in and hit'em with phasers. They often alpha phasers back and it's at that point I leave a little present floating their way. Most Romulan ships can only launch one at a time, but it hits with 25 points damage. If you do it right, the mine goes right through a downed shield. Ouch!

Note: If you're cloaking when the enemy launches a suicide shuttle, it will still close and hit you, causing damage and flashing your ship. Speed up and turn away to avoid it, but not faster than spd 6 if the enemy is in T-bomb range.


Often in dogfights, I notice the first thing that goes when people start firing away at each other is ECM/ECCM. Why? Why do you do this? Don't you realize that a +1 or +2 shift can keep your shields healthy throughout a battle?

Here's a typical setting I see people use:

1 - Movement
2 - Weapons
4 - Shields
5 - Tractors
3 - ECM

Now with this setting, after you've fired your heavies. What is the FIRST thing to lose power? Right, ECM. You won't slow down, your weapons will get power, but your ECM/ECCM bar will quickly go from green to blank. This gives somebody who has their power settings setup like mine...

1 - Movement
3 - Weapons
5 - Shields
1 - Tractors
2 - ECM (with +4 points in ECM)

... the opportunity to inflict damage without any serious worries of receiving some in return. Heavy weapons have their to-hit chances greatly reduced. Phasers do about 50% less damage. It's almost like I'm cloaked.

"Blah. Blah. Blah. Talk to the hand, K'tujHegh."

Yeah, please DO NOT take my advice. (Especially non-Romulans)


Pseudos keep your opponent guessing.

I absolutely LOVE pseudo plasma. Nothing - NOTHING - gives me more pleasure than seeing my enemy weasel to a pseudo plasma. Learn to use them. I treat pseudos like I treat REAL plasma. That means I will actually take 5 minutes to setup an attack run to fire nothing but a pseudo at my enemy.

Pseudos are good for:

1) Scaring a weasel out of your opponent.
2) Getting your opponent to back off.
3) Keeping your opponent guessing as to how many real you've fired and what's holding.
4) Intimidation and fear.

Here's a tip: Everyone seems to fire pseudos in the first exchange of plasma. Next time you think about doing that... fire a real one... make it an alpha strike of Plasma S or something. I bet they don't weasel. Next game, fire an alpha of pseudos instead.

Note: Probes still inaccurately provide information on heavy weapon status. I no longer think this is a bug. I think it's a feature. I still say: shot at probes... you further intimidate your opponent.

I only have one more thing to say: Let's dance!


Good luck, Captain !