Firefall Tigerclaw PvE Guide by grayrest
Tigerclaw PvE is about two things: speed and burst damage.
Trailblaze offers up to 45% increased runspeed–the sprint/hoversprint gains are more modest–and the auxiliary tanks passive effectively grants an extra tier of jumpjets. The Firecat’s double dash setup offers more immediate burst mobility but the higher runspeed from Trailblaze offers superior juking and indoor movement to both you and your squad. Add in an Afterburner and you can hop from mountaintop to mountaintop and leap tall cliffs in a single bound.
The PvE Tigerclaw burst is all about the Fusion Cannon, which is a finely crafted instrument of mass destruction compared to the glorified grenade launcher that is the Thermal Cannon. A work of art that you will use to kill yourself repeatedly.
Jokes aside, the Fusion Cannon primary fire delivers a fast, low-drop, high damage, low AoE, plasma shot. If it hits a target that’s touching another, you’ll get splash damage on the second but it’s easiest to think of it as a scopeless sniper rifle that you body shot with at the cost of having to predict the projectile. Some people claim it’s ridiculously hard to aim, others say it’s fairly straightforward. It is harder to land than most gunfire but it doesn’t require the pixel accuracy of headshotting with the Shock Rail, Bio Crossbow, or the two sniper rifles.
The Fusion Cannon secondary fire is the Nova shot. This ability is simultaneously the best and worst thing about playing the frame. Activating alt fire begins a 1.5s charge (bar turns green) followed by a 1.5s must-release timer (bar turns red). Once the charge is complete, activating alt fire a second time will release a huge, slow orb. Waiting does not increase the damage so fire as soon as it’s charged. Nova shot delivers 1.5x the primary fire damage to anything it hits directly with falloff damage over a 4.5m radius. Since the Fusion Cannon primary is more or less tied with the Sniper Rifle (and slightly behind a fully charged Charge Rifle), this is the highest non-critical direct damage shot or ability in the game and it’s affected by Power Field, Overcharge, Chambers, etc. Glorious damage! The downside to having a HKM on demand is that the orb can be shot by you, by your squad, and most importantly by the enemies. When the nova gets shot it pops, unleashing it’s destructive power on anything nearby. This is generally you and popped novas are the primary source of death for almost all Tigerclaw players. If you’re especially reckless, you can even self-execute!
So that’s the Tigerclaw in a nutshell. You blitz ahead of the squad, marking targets, eliminating snipers, and raining novas on any group you see while bouncing around non-stop to avoid enemy fire.
Equipment – Fusion Cannon
The Fusion Cannon is a threshold/burst weapon. You want enough damage to cleanly one or two-shot your targets. If you have a shot that does 95% health, your weapon is half as good as one that does 100%. If you overkill, the extra damage isn’t doing a lot for you but it’s way better than undershooting. Because of this, the important stat isn’t damage per second but rather damage per round. The damage from nova is a fixed 1.5x the damage per round and always takes 1.5s to charge regardless of variant. With that in mind, the Fusion Cannon comes in three flavors: crafted, Accord Elite, and Chosen that all have equal dps at a given stage/quality level:
* Crafted – Fires at 1.0 round per second (damage/round = dps)
* Accord Elite – Fires at 1.25 rounds per second (damage/round = 0.8 * dps)
* Chosen – Fires at 0.66 rounds per second (damage/round = 1.5 * dps)
Stage 1 enemies have a health threshold of ~1160 health. With power allocation but no tower bonus a T4 weapon must show that it deals 971 damage/round (882 w/chamber) and a T3 must show 1013 (920 w/chamber) to hit this number. This means that a good T3 Chosen (675 dps) hits the one-shot range, a mid-grade T4 crafted (971 dps) will hit the threshold, and a T4 Accord Elite never will (T4 Q1000 should be 1100 dps, 1100 * 0.8 = 880 damage, not enough even with a chamber).
Accord Elite is terrible for Fusion Cannons. The lower damage per shot plus the fact that per-round damage impacts nova fire, they’re basically a full tier behind in quality while Chosen are a full tier ahead. Comparing Accord Elite to Chosen directly, a nova from the same dps/quality weapon will deal 87.5% more damage (1.5/.8 = 1.875) coming from the chosen as it would from the Accord Elite. As a general rule, do not buy Accord Elite cannons off the market. If it’s on the market for 100 cy or you find one and can equip it and it’s better than what you have (per round) then that’s great but know you’re a tier below what you should be.
So, if Chosen is a tier ahead, then we should all buy Chosen, right? Not quite.
For T3 above 990 damage (lower than the number above because of tower bonus damage, I barely missed at 971 and was good at 994) Chosen is twice as good as any other option. For lower tiers it’s nice because you can use it with Overcharge to hit one-shot thresholds at lower gear levels but not critical.
For T4 Chosen would be far and away the best option if it weren’t for suicides. A good blue T4 Chosen will put out a 2.7k nova with no buffs. That will one-shot you in crafted T4 plating and basically pull you low enough in Q800+ T4 Chosen to pull you out of the fight and med pack/get healed. If you’re running an overcharge or chambers with it, I hope you enjoy self-executions. I consider this to be both dangerous and an overkill and recommend the extra speed and safety of a nice T4 crafted cannon.
Note: I don’t have good working threshold comparisons between the T4 Chosen and T4 Crafted against various stage 3/4 enemies and would appreciate help in figuring out what the health pools for these enemies are so we can make informed decisions about the tradeoffs.
Equipment – Abilities
The first thing pretty much everybody notices about the Tigerclaw is that the abilities seem…bad. The stock abilties are, in fact, bad. They’re better at higher levels but I do recommend swapping the stock abilities for the accord assault equivalents and revisiting the Tigerclaw abilities at higher tiers. You’ll notice a lot of Chosen gear mentioned and that’s because this is a burst frame and the extra damage from Chosen gear is frequently the difference between one-shotting and not.
Missile Shot – This ability has one decent feature: you can shoot it at enemies without the risk of blowing up. As such, it should be okay for solo ARES running if you use crafted T4 (I’m calculating, I don’t have it researched) in conjunction with a T4 Chosen Overcharge. Otherwise you’re using mass/power for an ability that replaces your next weapon shot (not in addition to, instead of) with something that will do less damage. On a cooldown.
Disruption – I don’t find slows particularly useful in PvE. I use it for the damage and for that it’s only really useful in the T4 Chosen variant, where it can one-shot an entire corridor of stage 1/stage 2 enemies like a super Thermal Wave. This is neat but it has mass+power scaling (see fitting section) and I find this too situational for the weight.
Trailblaze – Stock offers 20% for 3 seconds. Trailblaze IV offers up to 45% for 8.1s. This sounds amazing and it IS pretty great but it’s less great than you’d hope. The 45% only applies to your normal running. Sprinting, Hoversprinting, Air Sprinting, and so on seem to be a fixed speed above your runspeed so while you can get going pretty fast, it’s difficult to get up above 18 m/s (65 kph) or so when hoversprinting. That said, 65 kph is pretty fast and can be done over any terrain or through the air. I don’t use a bike when I’m on the Tigerclaw, I put down a Trailblaze and leap from hilltop to hilltop. In addition to the travel benefits, this is useful in combat for simplifying juking and for triggering the passive to keep your energy supply up. Check the Trailblaze section for more notes.
Overcharge – You might look at stock overcharge and ‘meh, 10%’ but overcharge and the Fusion Cannon were made for each other. It’s the only way outside of chambers to raise your damage per shot and that extra damage has a tendency to put you over important health threshold. The Chosen variants of Overcharge are highly desirable from T2 onward. A top end T4 Chosen Overcharge offers up to 45% more damage for 18 seconds with a 33s cooldown. This easily pushes a crafted T4 primary fire into the one-shot range on stage 3 mobs and pushes the Chosen cannon well into ludicrous/suicidal range with a top end damage of 4.4k damage per nova.
Afterburner – The other maneuverability skill. It doesn’t offer any direct combat benefit besides a strong juke but it’s a get-out-of-jail card if you get popped by a nova and need to back out and heal up. It’s also very valuable for travel, allowing you to jump up and over cliffs. Afterburner gets massively stronger with each tier. The strength number is the impulse speed and at strength 30 or so you can coast your way to about 1/4 energy. A maxed out T4 afterburner has a 8.9s cooldown and an impulse speed of 50 m/s (180 kph), which allows you to fly forever on a glider. The Tigerclaw generally doesn’t have the mass budget for that if you want to run fast (see fitting) but a cooldown maxed, 30 strength AB is currently the object of my desire.
Crater – This ability is better on the Tigerclaw than it is on the Accord Assault. Hitting it with no energy and anything over jump height will return enough energy for you to fly out once the crater lands. This also improves your burst at lower gear levels, you can start charging a nova, hop, crater, fly up a bit and nova into the group. I find it less useful at higher gear levels and swap it for Trailblaze. For travel, it’s useful for avoiding fall damage.
Burn Jets – If staying in the air longer is your wish, burn jets will let you fly just about forever. As these don’t seem to offer superior speed nor burst, it doesn’t fit with my goals for the frame and I don’t use it. Comments from people who like them would be appreciated.
Bombs Away – While this does provide a damage spike over the area, I strongly prefer the other abilities. If you find it particularly great, I’d like to hear about it.
The Tigerclaw does very well as a standoff frame. All the damage is delivered in one non-spreading package. There’s a bit of drop at range but if you’re firing from the air at targets on the ground it’s basically not there. As long as you keep your crosshair off your target until you’re ready to take your shot, snap it on, fire, and pull it off (enemies have crosshair ESP, it’s extremely noticeable with a sniper rifle) you’ll hit most of your distance shots. That said, it’s boring and the Tigerclaw does fairly well up close. A quick tip: if something is closer than 5m or charging you, backpedall when you use primary fire. The radius is low but latency can cause you to take damage if you don’t.
The most important thing to know for any assault when facing Chosen is that chosen can’t hit diagonal strafing. They’re good at predicting horizontal strafing and decent at vertical but they whiff roughly 90% of the time if you’re moving side to side while bouncing up and down. The Tigerclaw is really, really good at this. You want to work in 3m hops or so. Unless you’re T4 maxed energy regen, you’ll slowly run out of energy as you bounce. When you’re at 3/4 energy and on the way down, fire a Trailblaze at your landing spot. This will recharge you to near full and further reduce the damage you take. I can frequently fly into a group of 10-15 Chosen and emerge at full health purely from plate regen.
For Tanken, the main threats are (naturally) the Assaults and Grenadiers. The same tactics work but I make more of an effort to keep my Trailblaze buff up because moving fast enough gets you out of splash range. Doing smaller 1m height fluctuations in the air instead of smooth 3m hops greatly throws off the accuracy of their aim.
With enemy damage mostly out of the way, it’s time for the main threat: Novas.
The first thing you can do to reduce your risk is to use a cannon that does less nova damage than you have health. This generally means focusing on plating as you level, particularly when you’re using chosen weapons. At the T4 level, I have a strong perference for health regeneration over maximum health. Chosen plating gives you a bigger tank before dying but has no health regen. On many frames this is great and it’s fine on the Firecat but with the Tigerclaw your goal isn’t to take the most damage before dying, it’s to never be below your nova suicide threshold. Regen lets you start every mission at full health and if you do get low you can AB out, hide in a corner and use a medpack then be back in the fight at full health. All together, I feel crafted and recovered plating offer a much more stable health pool and it’s the stability that I value.
The second thing you can do is to never, ever fire a nova on the ground. There’s all sorts of things that can go wrong. Someone could helpfully jump in front of you, an aranha worker or skiver could leap in your line of fire, your mouse could bug out and point the nova at your feet. You’re not doing anything for 1.5s before you fire it, get the clearest LoS you can. Even in the really low corridors like the Trans-Hub fallout bunker, you can get enough height that you’ll only take half or quarter damage from the nova.
The third thing you can do is be on the lookout for: Chosen Engineer, Chosen Juggernaut (the red shot, low risk), Tanken Elite, Tanken Assaults, and Tanken Grenadiers. The nova seems to pop when it’s taken a certain amount of damage. The listed units can apply enough damage in one shot to pop the nova on top of you. If only one is firing at you or they’re all firing in sync you can fire your nova in the gap if you do it correctly (next paragraph) but firing otherwise is extremely risky.
So finally, if all the above don’t apply and you’re firing into a group.
If you have a box or ledge, the safer way to do it is to stay out of LoS for 2-3 seconds so they stop firing at you, charge the nova, release it the instant you get LoS, and immediately pop back out of view. This works well when you’re firing down into a group like in the cave south of copa and other similar situations.
If you’re firing in the open field, you should be bouncing. Start charging the nova on the way up. About a second after peak, start strafing with your jets diagonally and backwards and release the nova. This keeps you safe in two ways. You’ve changed directions vertically, which throws off the AI motion prediction, and you’re moving away from the shot as it fires. Just a small amount of backwards can halve the damage you take.
My machine isn’t so great at recording video and I can’t play Tigerclaw at 15 fps so I have to record it using the pvp recording feature and then record the video when I play it back.
Solo ARES vs Chosen
Not my best gameplay. This video is about not being geared and things going wrong. This shows how to (and how not to) dodge against chosen, dealing with enclosed spaces, and how to fire novas so they don’t kill you when they get popped (the nova at 1:56 is popped). The first mission is S2 chosen while the second is S1 and there’s a noticeable difference in how long it takes me to go through them.
Here’s the setup used in the video:
I don’t really recommend this setup, it’s just holding me over until I put together a crafted set. One of my goals for this thread is to work out exactly what I need when it comes to crafting.
Fitting -or- The Incredible Burden of Going Fast
Fitting becomes progressively more difficult as you level it up and you’ll have to make decisions as to your exact preferences. The following is my recommendation for leveling up the frame and how I fit at T4.
I strongly recommend leveling mass first and focusing on plating if you’re not always going to be in a group. You will hit yourself with Nova and the plating is what makes the difference between surviving and taking a durability hit. Plating is expensive to make and I got by on drop plating for both my assaults but one way or another it’s very much to your advantage to not let your nova damage get ahead of your health pool
A note on Chambers: Elemental Chambers are consumables you can manufacture that add 10% elemental damage to your weapon rounds. They’re good to carry in general but only useful on the Fusion Cannon if they let you drop a mob in one less shot. You never want to use Thermal Chambers, they add a fireball effect onto Nova which looks really neat to your friends but mostly blocks your vision.
Start by swapping out all the abilities for accord abilities. You’re free to experiment with the Tigerclaw abilities but I don’t find them impressive in PvE at stock. You’ll want a Chosen Overcharge I or II if there’s one available at a reasonable price on the market. You’ll also want to get a Kitsuon Fusion Cannon with your Sunken Harbor vouchers and allocate full power. The Kitsuon’s area bonus lets you hit packed aranha more easily with primary and the extra 35 damage on the Astrek only makes a difference when you’re fighting S3 strike teams, but you can fix that with chem chambers.
Your next goal is to get T2 jumpjets, T2 5.2 speed servos. Assaults live by bouncing and if you’re not moving fast enough you will take more damage than your plating regen can cover. In my opinion the threshold is 110% stock or 100% with 5.2 servos. For the jets, I move to T2 jets as fast as I can on all frames.
Drop servos on the market are listed at 20k+ so if you can spare the Thresher DNA, it’s worth crafting a good speed/tanked jump T2. I have one that has a 2.5k cy reinforce and 1 core stablizer that I’ve used to level 6 frames and it still has 2.5k repair pool. If there aren’t any T2 jets under 9k on the market, they use chosen tech for the hybrid module so they’re really easy to craft.
I hit this phase right when Open Beta came out. As such, Chosen Fusion Cannons were like 4-5k crystite and I bought 3 and that was fine for getting me through to T4. The prices on CFC IIIs at the moment (20k+) are stupid. They are significantly better than other T3 fusion cannons and will get you to the one-shot threshold where the TC really takes off but they’re expensive enough to be hard to justify.
Acquiring a 30% speed T3 Trailblaze to replace crater is my preferred action. The movement speed is significant enough to be noticeable and is enough to get 5.6 m/s servos at 110% modifier to the ground speed limit when sprinting. I think 30% Trailblaze in combination with a T3+ afterburner is what makes the class fun but that’s my playstyle.
In my opinion, Tigerclaw is about speed and burst damage. My preferred ability set is Chosen Overcharge, Afterburner, Trailblaze, Chosen Shockwave. The fit is mass constrained and has hundreds of excess power so I ignore power completely. That translates into the following requirements:
- T4 Cannon, T4 Overcharge
- 110% Mass modifier, 6 m/s or better servos
- Q800+ plating. Nova insurance. I like both health and I feel assaults need regen to shrug off chip damage and remain above suicide threshold.
- 30%+ Trailblaze. This hits the ground speed limit when sprinting.
- 9.5s cooldown on Afterburner.
- HKM, T1 is okay
- No secondary weapon
Thanks to the information provided by people in this thread, I’ve managed to get the scaling information for all the craftable T4 components involved. I looked at the formulas below and came up with the following plan (* mark completed items):
Tigerclaw Fitting Plan
* T4 Fusion Cannon – 120kg
* T4 Chosen Overcharge – 3 cores – 120kg
T4 Afterburner, Q850 recharge/ Q290 strength – 3 cores – 433kg + 1 cores -> 390kg
* T4 Trailblaze, tank – 3 cores – 206kg
* T1 Chosen Shockwave – 2 cores – 48kg
* T1 Auxiliary Tanks, tanked – 51kg
* T4 Servos – 2 cores – 295kg
* T4 Jumpjets, tank – 292kg
T4 Plating Q800/Q800 – 600kg – 4 cores -> 396kg
Total 1918kg, 18 cores
T4 Afterburner: 10.17 s recharge / 38.7 strength
T4 Trailblaze: 30.59% strength / 7.5s duration/ 17.5s recharge
T1 Aux Tanks: 20 energy, 4s
T4 Servos: 6.11 m/s
T4 Jumpjets: 330 energy, 120 recharge
T4 Plating: 2283 hp / 13 hps
The most unusual thing here is the 4 core plating when it’d be cheaper to run 3 cores in the plating and 2 in the AB. I’m doing this because AB is supposed to (two patches ago) get a power-scaling recharge component instead of the mass-scaling. When this happens I can run a tanked strength AB, hit 115%, and use the core in a T3/T4 HKM. In the meantime, I can run a decent strength T4 mass scaling AB with the overhead.
T4 Item Formula
All T4 modules weigh 120 and consume 60 power base. The Q numbers for the components below are all between zero and one. A Q751 component is 0.751 in the formulas below. If you can craft one of the formulas below, the people following this thread are interested. To get the formula, I need the values of each component individually and not the final result.
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MASS = 120 + 201 * Q_sprint + 300 * Q_energy + 201 * Q_recharge
SPRINT = 132 – 55.05 * Q_sprint
ENERGY = 438.15 + 304.36 * Q_energy
RECHARGE = 103.53 + 65.22 * Q_recharge
MASS = 120 + 300 * Q_speed + 151 * Q_jump
JUMP = 0.69 + 0.392 * Q_jump
SPEED = 5.4 + 0.928 * Q_speed
T4 Fusion Cannon (courtesy RockinForever)
POWER = 60 + 150 * Q_damage + 100.5 * Q_radius
DAMAGE = 656 + 412.4 * Q_damage
RADIUS = 1.15 + 0.3465 * Q_radius
T4 Assault Plating (courtesy Silenciaco)
MASS = 120 + 300 * Q_health + 300 * Q_regen
HEALTH = 1519 + 955.2 * Q_health
REGEN = 5.26 + 9.74 * Q_regen
T4 Afterburner (courtesy Silenciaco)
MASS = 120 + 300 * Q_recharge + 201 * Q_strength
T_recharge = 21.2 – 12.98 * Q_recharge
STRENGTH = 34.51 + 14.57 * Q_strength
T4 Auxiliary Tanks
Energy Regen: 28/sec (fixed)
MASS = 120 + ?? * Q_buff + 150 * Q_duration
DURATION = 5.52 + 1.74 * Q_duration
Note: Buff Duration does nothing so you want to tank it as much
as possible. Mine was tanked hard enough that I didn’t have
enough info to get the scaling when I crafted it.
T4 Burn Jets (partial, courtesy Damien42)
POWER = 120 + ??? * Q_recharge + 150 * Q_damage + 75 * Q_patch + 75 * Q_duration
RECHARGE = 25.43 – ??? * Q_recharge
DAMAGE_approx = 22 + 11.25 * Q_damage
BURN_duration = 5.11 + 3.01 * Q_burn
DURATION = 6.90 + 4.343 * Q_duration
MASS = 120 + 300 * Q_speed + 160.5 * Q_duration + 300 * Q_recharge
SPEED = 27.61 + 17.39 * Q_speed
DURATION = 5.52 + 2.78 * Q_duration
RECHARGE = 21.20 – 8.705 * Q_recharge
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