Today in our extensive HighFleet guide series we’ll talk about the dreaded, scary, monstrous fleets called Strike Groups. Whether you want to find them to give them a taste of their own
nuclear medicine, or to avoid them altogether, we’ll help you out.
HighFleet Beginner’s Guide: Strike Groups
Before we talk about tips and tricks, first let’s dive into what Strike Groups are exactly and how they behave during a campaign. Simply put, at the start of a game four fleets of enemy cruisers and fighters spawn with the sole purpose of hunting you down.
They move randomly from city to city approximately once a day, or respond to alarms being raised by cities, traders, and other fleets if you’re spotted. Strike Groups then travel to your last know location. They sometimes carry a bunch of long-range ballistic missiles to mess with you from a distance too.
Fight or flight?
So, what are you supposed to do with them? In this Highfleet guide we’ll talk about how to evade and fight Strike Groups. Depending on your playstyle and available resources, your strategy should change drastically.
But as a preliminary tip: only fight Strike Groups on your own terms! At best they’re very tough, at worst they can low key ruin a 20 hour playthrough altogether. So be careful. Evade them as much as possible, only strike if you’ve got the upper hand.
Generally speaking it’s wise to only attack Strike Groups if your main fleet isn’t spotted yet and you have some long range weapons. Softening up a stationary Strike Group with a barrage of fighter jets is a great way to weaken them. As an added bonus, damaged Strike Group will land at the nearest city for repairs. That makes them an even easier target, or at least slows them down.
Alternatively (or additionally) hurling some ballistic missiles at the enemy fleets is a good idea. Do keep in mind they have SPRINT-defences to counter missiles, so the first few will likely not do any damage.
Radar off, strike silent
As we described in our general Highfleet beginner’s guide, you should always have your radar system turned off to keep Strike Groups guessing. Intel can be gathered from intel-cities, while your radar is just a giant neon beacon pointing anything with a detection system (i.e. Strike Groups) to your direction.
To clarify, ELINT is a passive warning system that is on most flagships and auxiliary vessels, including the enemy’s. It has a range of approximately 1500km. So if your radar is turned on by default, the enemy can spot you from multiple cities away. But guess what? Your radar only picks up targets at 750km, i.e. they’ll pick up your signal from twice as far away as you will see them.
But it gets better. Strike Groups have their radar on by default, so your passive ELINT will pick them up easily. No need for radar, except for some advanced situations that we might get into in another guide. ELINT does what you’d expect the radar to do, while not putting a giant marker on your head.
Cat and mouse
Another strategy you might want to employ while playing a game of cat and mouse with Strike Groups, is to pretend to be a mouse while you’re really just a cat in disguise. What do I mean by that? Well, while HighFleet doesn’t let you encrypt messages or leak info, you can misdirect enemies pretty easily.
Say you’ve got your own detached units consisting of one or two fighters and a tanker. You send them from town to town while your flagship with the main support fleet chugs along. Sometimes to take the heat off of your main fleet, getting caught on purpose can be quite beneficial.
So when you think an enemy Strike Group is close, just let cities sound the alarm somewhere on the exact opposite trajectory of where your main fleet is going. They’ll always travel to your last reported location. Once they arrive at a city you’ve since left, you caught them in a trap and you’re free to blast them to bits with missiles, aircraft, before finishing them off entirely.
Actually fighting Strike Groups
Chances are, you’ll need to fight Strike Groups at some point. So how do you do it? Let’s say you fight a Strike Group like the one seen below (an early game SG, they scale in difficulty the further you go north).
Before a fight commences, you get to see your opponents. Like we said in our Highfleet combat guide, always look for weak spots in the armor to take out essential modules like the bridge and thrusters.In the example above, an early game Strike Group staple is the Negev. It looks big and intimidating at first, but really is just a big support ship that you can easily drop with any fighter. Look for weak spots to quickly destroy the bridge or take out guns and thrusters to make the Negev harmless.
This always works; before a battle starts, make sure to inspect the enemies and know where to concentrate your shots. You’ll notice ships go down super easily if you actually aim at parts, instead of the intuitive spray and pray strategy.
Image credit: Microprose