Heavy on Flag (Role)
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The Heavy on Flag role, abbreviated HoF, is a defensive role played within Tribes: Ascend. It is generally played by a heavy class, specifically a Doombringer. A HoF's main objective is to remain on top of their teams' flag to physically body-block enemies cappers and prevent them from taking the flag.
As the enemy flag cappers and flag clearers tend to use explosive weapons which can knock the HoF off of their flag, HoFs tend to prefer heavy classes, Juggernaut, Doombringer, Brute, since they have the most mass and health.
The Doombringer is usually the preferred choice for Heavy on Flag, as the Chain Gun provides better anti-air support for incoming enemy Pathfinders than the Brute's or Juggernaut's weapons (save for possibly the Juggernaut's X1 LMG). In addition, the Doombringer's Force Field and Mines will make quick work of any enemy Pathfinders careless enough to not clear the flag-stand before attempting to grab the flag.
- Chain Gun or Chain Cannon: The Chain Gun or Chain Cannon are the preferred primary weapons for Doombringer HoFs. Most flag cappers will come towards and leave the flag-stand from the air in a generally linear motion, which makes scoring direct hits very easy for an environmentally aware Doombringer. This linear motion tends to favor the Chain Gun over the Chain Cannon due to the superior DPS. However, the Chain Cannon is a more forgiving weapon to learn with, and takes longer to empty the clip with, making it perfect for flagstands further away from Inventory Stations or those using Safety Third instead of Looter. While a direct hit with the Heavy Bolt Launcher is usually enough to kill an enemy Pathfinder in one hit, the slower rate of fire, slower projectile speed, and lower chance to hit do not make it an ideal choice, as one can usually succeed in doing some damage with a Chain Gun or Chain Cannon.
The secondary weapon slot is part of a small debate, and generally tends to resolve around personal preference and enemy/friendly strategies.
- Saber Launcher: If you noticed a lot of vehicles assaulting your base, it may be beneficial to use the Saber Launcher to damage or destroy them. In general, you should try to get a teammate or two to deal with enemy vehicles though, as the HoF must not take their attention away from incoming cappers. The Saber Launcher may also be beneficial to maps that require cappers to remain in the air to grab the flag or escape with the flag.
- Titan Launcher: Using the Titan Launcher can be much more useful for taking out short range harassment or and enemies attempting to clear out your flag stand. It may also be more useful to a Doombringer who temporarily leaves the flag stand to deal with harassment if the flag has already left the stand. It is also often used to hit the flagstand with splash damage in order to either kill or knock a capper off his route. This is usually done in conjunction with the attempt at a bodyblock and after attacking with the Doombringer's primary weapon.
- Force Field: The only pack currently available to the Doombringer, the Force Field is a very useful obstacle for enemy Pathfinders. An enemy walking through a Force Field will take a minimum of 240 damage, up to 800 if they are traveling at fast speeds. As most Pathfinders in higher level games will easily be moving at 200 KM/H when they grab the flag, a Force Field has a high chance of instantly killing them before or after they grab the flag, depending on their perks. Using a force field to block either a mine or an outgoing route that cannot easily be chained is generally the best strategy.
- Mines: Mines are arguably the best belt item to have; they can be deployed almost anywhere around the flag and must be destroyed or dodged by incoming cappers to prevent taking massive amounts of damage. Placing Mines on the inside of Force Fields can make them harder to destroy, posing a larger threat to unsuspecting or fast moving cappers. Mines should generally be placed on the exit of a route, as this increases the chance of a Pathfinder triggering the mine.
- Safety Third: Safety Third is an invaluable perk for any Mine-wielding Doombringer, as the perk allows them to carry and plant an additional Mine while making the Mine activation radius 10% larger, resulting in deadlier Mines. However, the increased radius only applies to the explosion, not the trigger radius, so care must be taken to ensure that the mines are placed far enough apart so they do not blow each other up needlessly.
- Looter: Looter is a semi-popular perk for Doombringer HoFs. The +1 belt item per ammo drop allows Mine-based defenses to thrive without the Doombringer needing to visit an Inventory Station as often, if at all, depending on how many enemies die on or around the flag-stand. It also allows the Doombringer to be less careful with ammo for their Chain Gun or Chain Cannon, resulting in more "spray and pray" shooting. While this is generally frowned upon, it may be useful to new Doombringers or HoFs who don't have quite the accuracy of some veterans.
- Super Heavy: Super Heavy is the most common, and, in many situation, the most useful perk for a HoF. Super Heavy provides two benefits when fully upgraded: first, the mass of the player is increased by 80%, meaning that the player is not knocked back as far from nearby explosive-type weapons. This allows the HoF to stay on the flag where he is needed. Second, it provides you with a passive ability: any enemy that collides with you at high speeds will take damage. The is incredibly beneficial; if an enemy capper does not manage to remove you from the flag stand before trying to grab the flag, they will take a high amount of damage and will be killed in most instances. This can be very useful if there are a lot of cappers going for your flag at once.
- Quick Draw: Quick Draw will allow the player to quickly switch between weapons. This gives him the ability to quickly switch to the Titan Launcher to use when the capper touches the flag-stand, in order to deal guaranteed damage and potentially knock the capper off course. This perk is more useful for the more experienced HoF, as a non-killing bodyblock will stop the capper from getting out anyways.
- Be aware of incoming friendly flag cappers carrying the flag. It is entirely possible that you will prevent them from capping if you are standing directly on top of the flag. If you see an incoming friendly capper, step back or to the side of the direction they are coming from. This will help give them room to cap the flag, while also defending the flag and your carrier from one route of attack.
An alternative to the Heavy on Flag role is the Light on Flag, which is played the same way but with a light or medium class. Soldiers running Super Heavy can be effective Light on Flags, playing the role of Soldier on Flag using Proximity Grenades and the Thumper to damage incoming cappers. Sometimes Infiltrators will cloak and run Super Heavy while standing on the flag to catch incoming cappers off guard.