ASC + NAC: Keeping Infiltrator fresh

There have been two big changes over the last month that I have been quietly testing with my CQC build.  I held off on writing about them until the changes hit live and I had time to decide if these were viable builds.  After going back and forth between suits and cloaks, I am comfortable saying that my preferred build for CQC infiltrator is currently the advance shield capacitor suit, coupled with nano-armor cloak.  Let’s break both of them down, compare to other options out there, and discuss what needs to be done to utilize both of these options fully.
Advance Shield Capacitor
In GU13, this was buffed significantly to the following values:
Advanced Shield Capacitor’s delay reduction improved to -4.0 seconds at max rank.

  • Rank 1: Recharge delay reduction increased from .5 to .8 seconds
  • Rank 2: Recharge delay reduction increased from 1 to 1.6 seconds
  • Rank 3: Recharge delay reduction increased from 1.5 to 2.4 seconds
  • Rank 4: Recharge delay reduction increased from 2 to 3.2 seconds
  • Rank 5: Recharge delay reduction increased from 2.5 to 4 seconds

 

 

Default recharge is 10 seconds, and with max rank, you now had 6 seconds of downtime before shields would go back up. Great!  So why chose this over nanoweave or flak?  Without getting too off topic on the finer points of playing a CQC infiltrator, the essence of being successful in this role is by quickly eliminating targets who are not fully expecting you, or are not prepared to kill you first.  In the middle of a fight you can run in, find vulnerable targets via recon darts and quickly dispatch them with an ASR or SMG.  Inevitably however, you will take damage in the middle of combat while killing the target.  This is where the ASC comes in – instead of standing in a corner for 10 seconds, burning valuable cloak to stay hidden until you think the 10 seconds are up, you are only down for 6.  This lets you play a much more aggressive hit&run style of infiltrator, taking small amounts of damage, and being back up and in the fight at full strength in nearly half the normal time.

ASC is well complemented by medkits, as you can take rather significant damage and within 6 seconds, be back at full health and flanking the next enemy.  I REALLY enjoyed that fact, and found myself very happy to have that shorter recharge.
Here is the main point that sold me on ASC.  If you are playing an SMG/ASR infiltrator, mobility is the key to survival.  You are constantly flinging recon darts, moving from cover to cover, flanking and ambushing small groups of enemies.  Even in crowded fights, you are trying to create situations where it becomes a “small fight” that you can win using surprise and high DPS from an SMG.  The ASC lets you remain highly mobile, drastically reducing the time you spend in a weakened state.  The dirty truth of CQC infil is that you often take some sort of damage – this isn’t a clean headshot on a target at 150m.  You are sneaking up and spraying bullets at players with SMG’s, shotguns, LMG’s and other toys, on their turf, at their optimal range.  Even if you play your hand perfectly, you will usually walk away wounded.  Being able to recharge quickly lets you stay on the run, and stay one step ahead.
Nano-Armor Cloak
This one hit live just this week.  I was really excited to see the changes posted as I have always felt that NAC had potential but was far too limiting compared to hunter cloak.  I told people that no matter what you were doing, the only real choice to use was hunter cloak.  Well, here’s the new stats, and with it, a new reason to try this cloak.
Nano Armor Cloak
  • Rank 1
    • Max cloak time increased from 3 seconds to 6 seconds
    • Charge time from depleted to full decreased from 24 seconds to 15 seconds.
  • Rank 2
    • Max cloak time increased from 4 seconds to 6.5 seconds
    • Charge time from depleted to full decreased from 24 seconds to 14 seconds.
  • Rank 3
    • Max cloak time increased from 5 seconds to 7 seconds
    • Charge time from depleted to full decreased from 24 seconds to 13 seconds.
  • Rank 4
    • Max cloak time increased from 6 seconds to 7.5 seconds
    • Charge time from depleted to full decreased from 24 seconds to 12 seconds.
  • Rank 5
    • Max cloak time increased from 6 seconds to 8.5 seconds
    • Charge time from depleted to full decreased from 24 seconds to 11 seconds.

As you can see, at rank 5, your cloak lasts 8.5 seconds, and recharges in 11s.  You have a 35% resistance to incoming fire (which is unchanged from the original cloak stats).  At lower ranks, you only get a 25% resistance by the way.  Compare to hunter cloak, which lasts 12s and recharges over 6s (max rank).  They may look closer number-wise, but trust me, those seconds matter, and the difference is easy to see.

So, what do I think about NAC?  Well, clearly the benefits only kick in if you are taking fire.  For obvious reasons, this does not make it a very useful option for the long range sniper.  Afterall, I’m constantly staying cloaked until I have a good shot, and I’m very fond of burning out my cloak while sniping at mid range.  But consider the close range sniper, or SMG/ASR infiltrator.  What happens when you start taking serious fire?  You cloak up and try to run your ass to cover!  I know I do.  While I don’t really want to get into the detailed analysis of how many more bullets you can survive at various ranges, what I will say is that 35% resistance to damage (applied to shields and health) make you a lot less squishy.  I found that very often, I was able to survive and get to cover, often with most of my health still intact.  Now, add in the ASC and you are back at it in 6s with full health!
Another way that I used NAC was by running INTO the enemy, through fire, to reach a favorable flanking position. This is something I never did before, as running headlong towards bullets is generally a no-no for any soldier, much less an infiltrator.  However, with NAC, I tried several agressive pushes towards the enemy and was very pleased with the minimal damage I had taken by the time I was decloaking and unloading onto piles of targets.  The buff to up-time and recharge gives you the ability to use the cloak for a while, and have a decent bit recharged by the time you are done firing your weapon and need to cloak up again.
I did have to make a few other changes to my style of play for NAC.  One, is that I spent a lot more time not cloaking.  NAC is there to survive the get-away, or let you push through nasty areas with barely a scratch.  Hunter cloak let you move from cover to cover, flank enemies and decloak just in time to spray someone down, before cloaking back up to run away.  You have to change the habits developed with hunter cloak in order to use NAC.  I relied more on my terrain and darts to stay hidden, only occasionally cloaking to move in on a target.  It generally didn’t hurt my performance and in fact, showed me how unnecessary spamming the cloak sometimes is.
I can’t begin to relay to you all how powerful the combination of these two fits are for a CQC build.  It greatly increases the ability to play aggressively, since you are able to shorten vulnerable downtimes, and minimize incoming damage while you reach cover.  I prefer using the Armistice for CQC and really enjoy taking less damage while cloaked, during reloads.  I am either spitting bullets of death or near-invisible, and 35% resistant to incoming fire while I reload to spit more bullets.  It’s a really beautiful thing, and I think I will be playing a lot more SMG infil now.
It goes without saying, but both of these options shine with max rank cert investment.  I wouldn’t bother with either unless you have them maxed, personally.
I still use Hunter Cloak for sniping, or for SMG/ASR combat with lots of open terrain.  I also only use ASC for SMG combat, and stick to nanoweave or ammo belt or all other situations.  I do get burned by proxy mines but I like the ASC too much for now to ditch it for flak.
I hope you guys enjoy this post and consider adding some new flavor to your old infil builds!  My hat off to SOE for tweaking the suits and cloaks so they are viable and we aren’t shoehorned into a single build.
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