Firefall Tigerclaw Guide
Firefall Tigerclaw Guide by Rooster128
The tigerclaw (read: “Cheetahclaw”) is a mixture of two things I find extremely fun in shooter games- going fast, and taking challenging shots. With it’s lack of splash damage, it’s not the easiest class to use- it can be frustrating starting out. But once you get past the learning curve, you will find yourself having a lot of fun with it. I’m going to share what I’ve learned about the class during my time using it. I can’t say I’m the authority on all things tigerclaw- but he is my main frame outside and inside PVP, and I believe I do know a thing or two about the tigerclaw.
A note: I have been working on this guide for a while. I realize other tigerclaw guides exist- Erickek has already written a guide that covers many things I do, in a more concise manner. That guide can be found on hoversprint.com. This is my first-hand account of playing tigerclaw as my main frame, and includes many tactics the other guide does not include.
In jetball, the tigerclaw is primarily a capper support and fragger class. The tigerclaw can cap in a pinch, but he really shines when he is duking it out and covering his teammates, while blazing a trail with his speed pads to aide with his team’s movement up the field.
The tigerclaw boasts a formidable fusion cannon, one of the deadliest weapons in the game in the right hands. His arsenal is further complimented with two projectile-based abilities – one is an AOE attack with bullet drop (Missile Shot), and one a straight-flying projectile with no AOE that ensnares its target (Disruption). The Tigerclaw’s HKM ability “Tether Field” can provide area of effect/area of denial coverage in a pinch, and stop an enemy push dead in its tracks. You can see already, he is built to brawl.
How To Be A Successful Tigerclaw
Work on those primary weapon skills!
A big part to being a good tigerclaw is being a good shot with the primary, which has no splash, but does roughly 700 damage on a direct hit. If you can string multiple hits on an enemy, you can take them out very fast! So, learn the travel time of the projectile, learn the small bullet drop it has, and learn to lead. Get ready to blame your ping if you end up not hitting anything, if it saves your ego!
Understand the “Economy of Movement”
This is true for any class, and hell- for any competitive game. But it’s very important for the tigerclaw- understand the repercussions of your actions, and try to be deliberate with your actions. The tigerclaw is about speed, you want to use that the best way to your advantage. If you run fast one direction, and it turns out it’s not the right direction to go in, and you have to double back, you are selling your best asset short- your speed. Again, I do this all the time, so don’t feel bad if it happens. Sometimes you just cannot predict the outcome of a situation- but just work to be better for next time!
Exercise Proper Tigerclaw Techniques
There are a few basic techniques the tigerclaw will be using again and again- you need to understand these fundamentals. To be successful, you need to know not only how to perform them, but when to perform them.
Knowing how to hoversprint is an important skill for every player, but it goes double for the tigerclaw. People are relying on your trailblazing ability to go fast. If you don’t know how to hoversprint, you should not be a tigerclaw. I can’t recall how many times I’ve seen a tigerclaw just walk across the map- it’s simply a waste of effort.
2. D-P-M Combo
Employing the “DPM Combo” can take down high priority targets, such as ball carriers, in short time. The DPM Combo entails snaring an enemy with the disruption shot, following up with primary fire from your fusion cannon, and then finishing the target off with the missile shot. The disruption shot cripples the target’s movement speed, making the target easier to hit with follow-up shots, and does around 300 damage. The primary fire from the fusion cannon does around 700 damage. And the finishing missile shot does 500 damage, and does not have to be precisely aimed. Most damaged enemies cannot survive a successful DPM combo. So remember, Disruption > Primary > Missile. Otherwise known as DPM, or “Dipp’em” shot!
3. Sneak Shots
If you have an unsuspecting enemy on your SIN who is about to turn a corner, line up a disruption or missile shot and light them up. There is not much they can do to evade this- both skills require no charge-up and the projectiles travels fast. Missile sneak shots are a bit easier to perform because of the splash damage, but the disruption shot snares on a hit. If a disruption is used on a capper turning the corner towards your goal, it can force him to attempt a 1 point conversion as opposed to a 3.
There is an exception to the disruption sneak shot. If the enemy ball carrier is an accord assault or dragonfly, he might be able to deploy his movement ability right after your disruption sneak shot and render it useless. In this case, you may want to try to go for the mid-air bodyblock, hovering between the goal and the carrier. If he manuveurs into you and falls to the ground, use the disruption shot at that time to render him a sitting duck, and make quick work of him. Again, this is situational- body blocking is a risky business, but can be done.
And of course, if a capper breaks away from your team, get on his ass and use a disruption shot on him to slow him down.
Sometimes, you can lour enemies into a corner by picking up the ball, having them chase you, and pass the ball to them, or to a teammate behind them, or into a corner so you lay between the opponent and the ball. Follow up with the DPM Combo for a quick kill- if you pass the ball successfully to the enemy, half the time they will be defenseless for a second when this all occurs. Again, this is all situational- but it has worked for me in the past many times.
5. Utilize your assault rifle as a finishing weapon
Your secondary weapon is the assault rifle- and as of a few weeks ago, the cone of fire is fairly tight. The weapon is beginning to feel more like a Firefall equivalent to the chaingun in Tribes. Use it for softening enemies up a bit during the beginning of a round (the midfield faceoff), and for finishing up fatally-injured enemies. If you can keep a good bead on someone using bursts in moderation, you can chew up people quite a bit with it.
6. Tackle with the Tetherfield HKM
The tigerclaw’s HKM ability is the Tetherfield. It projects a ball that can be remotely detonated by pressing the ability button after firing it. Upon detonation, it creates a snaring field that damages enemies caught in the area for the duration of the effect. If an enemy leaves the field during the duration, they are struck for a whooping 1000 damage- killing or fatally injuring most classes.
The tetherfield is good as an area of denial ability. But it’s even better for tackling the enemy team when they are making their offensive push. Enemies pushing up quickly and not paying attention will leave the sphere and be taken out just as soon as they came. And attentive enemies who find themselves caught inside the tetherfield are forced into flight or fight mode- should they stay confined in small area and duke it out in hopes of surviving, or should they flee the sphere in a frantic search for health? (They know the second they leave they will be on the brink of death.) With proper usage, the HKM can be devastating.
You are allowed to deploy up to 3 trailblaze pads, each one having it’s own reset timer. Once a pad’s reset timer runs out, it’s added to your “storage” of pads. Get a feeling for the timing of your pads- it is critical to your success. It’s worth noting that your frame’s passive ability- the auxiliary tanks – lets you regen energy faster than normal for a short duration after every ability usage- so using a speed pad will also give you a brief energy spike. It’s possible to get across the map very fast by hoversprinting until energy depletion, followed up by a speed pad to regen your energy fast, and continuing to hoversprint again.
You should always be throwing pads down, at regular intervals. But there are a few situations where trailblazing is especially important:
The First Run
On the first run, you want to provide your team with a constant speed boost towards midfield. Usually, I throw one right inside my spawn room near one of the doors, one straddling a side of the tube found in the friendly lobby, and one in midfield at the center of my team’s ledge. The last pad in the midfield is good for giving my teammates extra agility during the TDM face-off, and can also help set up an assault for a quick grab if needed. When starting off in the locker room, try to position your trailblaze right on top of an electron’s speed pad, since the boosting effects stack, and can get your team moving twice as fast. This leads into…
Some strategies for pushing into an enemy’s goal room revolve around using the electron’s damage-reducing bulwark ability on your entire team right before making the push. After the balwark is used, the stacking electron and tigerclaw pads can greatly compliment the damage reduction with added agility. Acquire an understanding for when the electron is likely to blow his bulwark, and prepare to throw down a pad afterwards. (And if an electron tells you to hug a wall, by golly, do it!)
The Side Lanes
If your team is traversing down your team’s side lanes, throw a trailblaze down right on the jump pads- the jump pads will prolong the horizontal speed received by the trailblaze because of the airtime (which means less ground drag). If your team is heading up the enemy’s side lanes, throw a pad down just as your ball carrier is turning the corner towards the enemy goal for the final push- the extra mobility increases the rate in which you’ll successfully be able to put 3 points on the board as opposed to just one.
In rare circumstances you may find yourself with the ball all by yourself- perhaps after a cross-pass that may lead to a breakaway score. The trailblaze ability requires that your primary weapon is free, but this does not mean you do not have access to them while making this push. You can throw the ball in front of you a short distance, deploy a speed pad, and quickly snatch up the ball again. It takes just a little practice to nail this technique, but is one of the few reasons why the tigerclaw can be a ball carrier in a pinch.
If you die, you need to get back to the fight fast- trailblaze back out there. If you respawn with a couple of your mates, make sure they are aware of your existence and set them up with pads, too. Remember, you need to work as a unit.
Things Not To Do
So now that we know what to do to be a good tigerclaw, let’s talk about what NOT to do…
Don’t Use the Fusion Cannon Secondary (Nova)
Hopefully, this part can be edited out a bit later. But at the moment of this writing, the nova- the secondary fire of primary weapon- is the bane of the tigerclaw’s existance. Upon trying to rez any ally, upon being rezzed, and sometimes upon switching your weapons, a full charge of your nova will randomly go off. If you are aiming at the ground, or something nearby, this can instantly kill you, or put you on death’s doorstep. The nova can also be shot by enemies (as well as friendlies?) while you are charging it. Starting a nova charge also gives away your position, and tells the enemy to fire on you to detonate your nova. Overall, you’re best off not using it at all. It is good for AOE, but it does not fire fast enough, and you can do just as much damage with a few well-placed primary rounds with not as much risk.
That isn’t to say it’s completely useless. I’m sure that once your team has a numbers advantage in the field, you could use the nova for taking out turrets- I’m not sure if this is a time-efficient way to do that, however. And you could also use it during the midfield face-off, directed at the ball and enemy team as blind spam. If you’re a good shot at short range, you can charge up a shot while hiding behind something, peaking out at the very last second to get the round off. But otherwise, you’re better off with the primary fire. Seriously.
A note: You don’t have to wait for a full charge before shooting the nova ball. Once you see fire coming out of your fusion cannon, you can press secondary fire again to release- as far as I know, there is no damage penalty from firing it prematurely.
Don’t try to be “The Guy”
Do not try to be “the guy”- the ballcarrier- if you do not have to be. Sure, the tigerclaw has the fast energy regen passive and the trailblazing, which both lend themselves to capping- but you are much more useful if you are covering your capper. That isn’t to say that you should avoid the ball- sometimes your carrier will die, and you just need to score- so go for it. But if there is an accord assault on the team, and your team is all together in the enemy lobby, you best be passing the ball to them, you best be throwing a speed pad down for them, and you best be pushing up and covering their ass.
Do not over-extend yourself past enemy lines in anticipation for a cross pass, when your team is struggling with TDM and your TDM abilities could prove useful. It can be tempting to do- setting up for a breakaway can be a valid tactic from time to time, but usually it’s better to play it safe and move as a unit. I do this from time to time myself- I’ll admit, I am not perfect, and I do silly things when I get impatient. But I know the risks I take when I do this.
Don’t use a speed pad to counter a snare.
From observation, speed pads do not negate snaring abilities from enemies- so don’t expect it to save you if you are hit by a snare! You’re better off spending the time you would have taken to throw that pad down instead on getting off one or two more shots at the enemy.
Do not, do not, DO NOT ground-sprint the entire time.
I said it before, I’ll say it again, I’ll say it a thousand times. It irks me to no end when a tigerclaw is moving across the ground on foot- you should be hoversprinting a majority of the time. You should only really be walking when recharging energy, or when you need to strafe.
Last but not least, have fun- enjoy the challenge! Part of the fun is in the challenge, so if you are not having fun with the tigerclaw, you might just not be the type of masochist who enjoys the pain and the challenge!