Landing Assault Fleets in Hostile Territory
This is undervalued by many players, but incredibly important strategy. Many times, you will send your fleet off where it is possible that enemies will be waiting for it. So how do you solve this dilemma?
1) Be online when your fleet lands. Know what time it will be, and be sure to be online and a few minutes before your fleet is scheduled to land. This will allow you to react quickly, recall if necessary, or quickly bounce to a new astro after touching down. This is the single most important thing you can do, precious little else matters if you will land your fleet while you are not logged on to the game.
2) Send fleets in waves. Send your fleet in a few parts, your cruisers and heavy cruisers filled with fighters first, the rest of your fleet carriers/fighters/corvettes/destroyers 2nd, and your recyclers/battleships 3rd. Why do this? Because if you are landing in hostile territory, people will be waiting to "fighter drop" your fleets. So putting corvettes/destroyers/recyclers in your first fleet will give them massive ratios and make you lose precious fleet. Making your first fleet fighters/cruisers/HC only will mean that fighter drops will be less successful and make people less likely to do it to you and find a better target. Say, a guild-mate who did not send his fleet in this fashion
Do not use this technique however if you are going to successfully attempt the following one....
3) Shotgun your fleets. This strategy has many different names and is fantastic. What it means is you launch your main fleet at a destination, say an enemy JG that you are attacking. And IMMEDIATELY after you launch, you fire off 1 ship that is the same speed as your slowest ship from your first fleet, so that it arrives 1-3 seconds after your main fleet does. Do this several times. So that in the end, you will have your main fleet headed to a destination, followed every 2/3/4 seconds by a single Heavy Cruiser or Battleship.
What is the point of this? Simple, and yet incredibly overlooked. The game mechanics do not allow you to attack a fleet if the same player has another fleet landing at a destination within 5 seconds. Seriously. So say you have your main fleet headed to a destination and you have 10 fleets headed to that same destination at intervals of 2-4 seconds afterwards for 20-40 seconds. Your main fleet will land and YOU will be able to attack with it, or move it away, or do whatever with it, but NOBODY ELSE will be able to attack YOU. It's as if the game gives you invincibility for a full half minute as you cause huge destruction. Not only that, but this is one of the most frustrating things for an enemy. They will attempt to attack you, and as they hit the final attack button, the game will throw an error message on their screen, confusing them and giving you more time to do what you want to do.
Several things need to happen for this to work properly. You need to:
i) Have several available combat fleets left so that you can send up to 10 single ship fleets to the destination your main fleet is going to
ii) Know who you are going to attack. Plan in advance, so you're not scrambling to find out what your fleet would get a good ratio on. Planning is very important
iii) BE FAST. This will not work if you have a space of 5 seconds or more in between any of your fleets. And 5 seconds is a much faster time frame than you think it is. So you will need to practice. Send your main fleet to an empty astro ten minutes away, leaving behind 10 HC. As soon as you launch it, send 1 HC at a time very quickly so that there is never more than a 3 or 4 second interval between your fleets. You will probably not do this right the first time, it DOES take practice. But you will be able to cause huge destruction to your enemies once you master this technique. So take a few minutes, and try it out until you get it down. You will not be disappointed.
The strategy of shotgunning your fleets works well in tandem with shield rape
Let's think for a second that there is a 10 million credit debris pile after a battle. The enemy has control of the debris pile. They have several large fleets there that can devastate you if you attempt to fight them on it. But there are also smaller enemy fleets that have suffered heavy damage, at this point some of them are only fighters, maybe only recyclers, maybe just recyclers and corvettes. Any of these fleets can be shield raped by Heavy Cruisers. So what do you do? Shotgun your HC straight at the pile! Send your main fleet of HC at it, with 10 lagging behind, and then launch those in shotgun fashion. If you do it right, you will be able to land, with your own fleets invulnerable due to game mechanics, and you can destroy the fleets that are shield rape-able and then fly back to your base before anyone can do anything to you. Just be sure to fly away before your last HC lands. You will lose 1-2 HC that you leave behind......but who cares? This works the same way if you're sending corvettes to snipe recyclers. Just keep sending corvettes 2-3 seconds after your main batch, and you'll be able to hit the recyclers of your target, without their guild-mates stopping you.