Nuclear wessels: a casual guide to nuking stuff with Tricobalt Mines (TCMs)
Originally posted in the 12th Fleet forums, I decided to post a copy here too as I am a long-time PUG player and mostly got tips and tricks from fellow forumers in the PvE section.
It is presented in the form of a casual AAR (after action review) and not as a serious "do this or die" strategy guide. I like innovation and hope that other "newbies" too will share their own non standard tactics!
AAR for fleet STF runs
Date: 7 Jan 2013 8-11am EST
Excerpt of After-Action Report for informal MACO squadron practice
RE: Tricobalt warheads
While certainly the multiple dual heavy cannon has been touted as the penultimate weapon system of the early 25th Century, tricobalt ordnance can in certain circumstances save valuable time in demolishing large structures or interdicting Borg squadrons as demonstrated by Captain Janeway of USS Voyager.
In today's informal ESTF runs we discussed and shared TCM (tricobalt mine) tactics both conventional and specific-purpose. The "bombers" used were a Vesta and HEC, with Mk12 Tricobalt Mines as supplemental rear weapons.
The standard "attack run" for TCM bombing is - evasive maneuvers, EPTS/TSS, max damage buffs (if Tac), drop on targets at point blank range then continue prosecuting with gunfire at standard range until mines activate and destroy the target.
Conventional usage of TCMs:
TCMs are useful for opening or closing a tactical engagement
Opening an engagement: Knock down Borg (Tac) cube shield facing with DHC fire, then close in with Evasive + max defensive buffs, drop TCM salvo (Dispersal pattern II). This can destroy most weaker Cubes and structures in the first pass, especially when combined with Tactical captain powers & Graviton Anchor (Omega 3 set power). Graviton Anchor also prevents a cube from turning leaving its unshielded facing open to the task force's combined firepower.
Closing an engagement: Have a science vessel (Vesta) gravwell a group of mobile targets (ISE spheres). One or more ships then go evasive, drop TCMs (with max damage buffs & APB) then clear the scene. Done correctly, this can annihilate most standard ESTF enemies in one pass.
Special Purpose / Alternative ESTF Tactics on KASE :
It does not really matter if Donatra (KASE) cloaks or happens to cloak if you have a bomber in the team, because you can still prosecute her by "depth charging" with TCMs, which will uncloak her immedately. The trick is to deploy some fighters which will follow Donatra even when cloaked. When she's moving very slowly, drop the mines about 1-2km ahead of the projected flight path and BOOM, submarine unmasked. It works even better with multiple TCM bombers.
This is remarkably similar to WW2 air-sea anti-submarine tactics, so should not be dismissed as a mere game exploit!
This can be used in concert with Eject Warp Plasma - EWP freezes Donatra in position when she cloaks, and she will not be able to move very far from the warp plasma cloud. This makes EWP and Tricobalt mines a potent combination to prevent Donatra from ever cloaking. Means you can go in close, lock her down and deal maximum damage at close range.
In two KASE runs today, Donatra was destroyed within one minute or two due to multiple tricobalt salvoes, supported with gravity well, warp plasma, graviton anchor etc. Once the shields were down each TCM salvo took down Donatra's health by 20-30% and combined DHC fire did the rest. The bombers engaged at close range but did not stay in close range for more than 2-3 seconds, due to evasive maneuvers in effect. We could close in and escape at will to dominate the battlespace with an attack speed of >50 impulse.
When we had multiple TCM bombers on KASE I was unable to time the run due to major lag - but Donatra blew up before the sever resynced in a minute
These tactics are rarely used in standard fleet STFs (basically due to the reliability of massed escort/DHC fire) but for anything less than a pure premade or min-max team, or when playing ESTFs with unfamiliar wingmen, TCMs are a great tactical tool to save time or control the battlespace. A TCM with dispersal pattern II or III can blow up a Raptor flight on CSE by itself, esp supported by Tactical buffs before mines are dropped.
Before I purchased the Armitage, a Regent with full Omega set, 7 Mk 12 disruptor beam arrays (FAW + APB boat) plus TCM DPB2 was also very effective. I use the TCMs on that build, to shave off valuable time when blocking Borg waves and demolishing cubes.
A TCM bomber is not without its limitations, because it needs to sacrifice a rear weapons slot for the mine itself. While that's not a large hindrance, note you also need a large Dispersal Pattern (II or III) to cause maximum destruction with the tricobalt mine. A specialist bomber can also benefit from a Tricobalt tactical console. You do not need to buy the mine console, but a [TCD Subspace Infuser] console works to boost damage output for both mines and torpedoes.
A TCM bomber thus is weaker than a pure cannon ship because it loses a Lt. Cdr or Cdr boff to the large DP.
However from a team perspective, the TCM bomber can take out moderately hard targets in a single pass (or severely weaken them) with the right use of evasive maneuvers and debuffs.
Lastly, TCMs are not very effective on HSE due to the fast moving pace of the map initially, become useful for making fast attack runs on the V'ger ships and then are almost useless again against the Borg Queen's ship because her AI knows how to reserve a FAW beam attack if mines are deployed close to her.
However, it is possible to observe the Queen closely and dive in hot with TCMs + APB + grav anchor just after her FAW expires. Graviton Anchor will restrict her maneuverability, debuff kinetic resistance and allow a lucky TCM salvo to take down a fraction of her health.
TCM attack ship build (Chief Tactical Officer station):
This is a sample boff power layout for a bomber escort / escort carrier's Chief Tactical Officer (Commander rank).
1 - Tactical Team I
2 - Attack Pattern Beta I
3 - Dispersal Pattern Beta II
4 - Cannon Rapid Fire III
The supporting Lieutenant TacO on my HEC holds the secondary cannon attack power (CSV1) and a supplemental tactical team. This trades off APB2 or CSV/RF2 for the bombing ability, which to me is worth it as each fully buffed mine deals up to 80k damage per strike (3 mines per salvo) not including any critical damage.
Most Borg targets also concentrate on one target at a time - this allows an observant bomber pilot to dash in on evasive, fire debuffs and get away unscathed. With an attack speed of 60-90 impulse (Omega set + engine power boost on my boats - even faster if Omega shield proc activates) this can allow me to draw aggro away from allied escorts as well.
We hope you enjoy this drunken for-fun strategy guide. Please use hi yield tricobalt ordnance responsibly, or you will rupture rifts in subspace and nearby civilizations will be angry :)
A full Tricobalt set may have its uses, but overall i prefer photon torpedoes and mines because of their higher rate of fire.
If you fail to take out your opponent in the first run then you have to wait a long time for a 2nd run. Especially when facing multiple opponent this is a bad place to be.
In PVE you may get away with it, but PVP it's a death sentence.
Another tip to track Donatra when shes cloaked is to drop an aceton assimilator near her last known position. You get a nice long siphon drain tendril pointing to her exact location up to 5KM away.
For my mine builds (on destroyer class ships) I go with DBBs up front and dual tric mines in back. So you get a 30second buffed turn around lay time. And using beams you can max AOE or single target DPS with those weapons by using FaW3 or BO3 in the LtC position, leaving the Cmd position for DPB3.
Push button, win!
Fleetmates told me good things about trico torpedoes with big spreads and HY3 too, but I didn't like the torps much due to the long reload and significantly lower spike damage compared to the mines. 27+k unbuffed damage for each TCM is just awesome.
Well ... THANK YOU!!!
I was experimenting myself with something like that in the last week and got almost to the same conclusion as you had written above. Now this article of yours will help me fine-tune my ship.
Thx again Carmenara!
Please pardon the necro, but I just wanted to ask a question. 2 allows me to bomb every 30s (whenever DPB3 is off cooldown) whereas 1 means waiting for the mine to come off CD again.
However, 2 mines reduces my forward dps by more than I expected (gut feeling, haven't parsed the dps yet), and because I'd only have the KCB aft I don't have alternate angle fire for shooting down HPTs from cubes unless I'm pointed right at it.
Do you recommend 2 tricobalt mines or just 1?
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