Monday, February 13, 2017

Tanking it Like a Boss

Tank Basics

By:Robyn Piatt

You have probably seen the following terms in the game: tank, CM tank or spotter tank and may want to know (but were too scared to ask) what is a tank? Where do I get one? How the heck do I drive it? And possibly, who was the idiot that coined the phrase “tank” in a pirates game??  

This write up is primarily geared towards lower level players to help you understand what a tank is, how to safely operate your tank and how not to murder your fleet while using a tank. If you are already "one" with your tank then might I suggest skipping this one, you can always go and hit Dragon_Bane's base. (I hear he is a farm).

There are multiple builds for a tank on the TFC website. Tank builds can be found within specific ship classes on the TFC website (hint - look at Punishers and Tideseekers for tank builds). There are also videos showing different paths in targets and the use of different types of tanks.

In Battle Pirates, the purpose of a tank is generally two fold. The first being a “shield”, or... well, a "Tank". A ship, usually loaded with armor and counter measures (Phalanx and anti-mortars), is used to absorb, or 'tank', incoming damage from enemy weapons thus limiting damage to your primary hulls. The second, to act as a spotter when using a remote targeting fleet.

By using a tank, you can run nekked ships (ships with no armor) behind your tank and have them take little or (hopefully) no damage. The benefits of running a tank are shorter repair times (you should only be repairing your tank and not a whole fleet), shortened build times for your offense fleet and taking full advantage of ship weight. No armor = more/heavier weapon options. You can also use different specials that add additional damage and not have to dedicate special slots to something like Siege Battery for turret defense or an armor special.  

A tank may strictly be a counter measure ship with no weapons (CM tank) or it may be a combination of counter measures with a single weapon to allow remote targeting ships to fire from a distance (spotter tank).  When adding a weapon to a spotter tank you want the longest range weapon you have without having to add specials. The longer the range of the spotter weapon, the further back your tank (and fleet) is from the incoming fire.

When operating a tank you generally have a tank “defense” and then 4 “offense” ships. You can drive them independently of each other using a macro, or using the in game controls and managing the tank separately from the fleet.
There are two important things to consider when operating a tank.  The first is your tanks position relative to incoming fire and second, the rest of the fleets position in relation to the incoming fire AND the position of your tank.  Whaaaaat?? Yep, sounds confusing but it’s really simple. Tank Rule Number One - Your tank must always be the closest ship to the target. This allows the incoming fire to target your tank and not the rest of the fleet. 

Your offense ships must always be somewhere behind your tank. This may mean directly behind your tank or off to one side (but still behind) your tank. In some targets incoming fire has splash or is a multi shot spread. In these situations, if your fleet is directly behind and too close to your tank, your offense ships will take damage.  

Using the FM as an example, the stronghold targets have Coldsnap turrets. These evil bastards don’t fire a single shot but rather spray blue pellets all over the place in the general direction of the first ship the turret sees. If you snuggle your fleet right on the rear end of your tank, your fleet will take damage from the spread of the Coldsnap fire (it burrrrrrns). In this scenario, you want your fleet off to the side but still behind the tank.  This is important regardless of whether you are using a regular fleet or using a remote targeting fleet.  

Good Positioning

Bad Positioning

Tank Driving

When we are but baby tadpole pirates we are told to GROUP YOUR SHIPS!!! When you graduate to using a tank this adage no longer applies.

Think of tank movement as the “High Seas Two Step”. The first step being to move and park the fleet where your offense ships will fire on the target and the second step being to then move just the tank into position protecting the rest of your ships.  

When driving your tank, you need to get used to using the Up and Down arrow keys to select, move and stop your fleet. You also need to get comfortable selecting the Ship number on your keypad that selects just your tank.  

Using basic game commands, you would use the Up arrow on your keyboard and then your mouse to move the fleet as a group to the position you want your offense ships to be located. Then using your keypad, you select the ship number (1, 2, 3, 4 or 5) corresponding to your tank and using the mouse, select the spot where you want your tank to move.  Initially you can do each step in order. As you become more comfortable selecting and moving the tank you can move the fleet and then immediately select and move the tank.

So if I were using a Punisher tank (aka Ironsides) in the Flag position - number 1 on the key pad and a Vendetta mortar chucker fleet (my Citadels are in the wash) I would move the fleet as a group to where I can chuck mortars at the platform when remote targeting off my tank

Once my fleet is on the move, I use the keypad to select 1 (the Punisher Tank) and move the tank closer to the target so that it is now in the line of fire and my Vendettas can fire using the Punisher as a spotter.

Kill the platform then rinse and repeat. You can see below my tank is being fired upon but my Vendettas are safely out of the way and not being targeted.

The "High Seas Two Step" works with any strong hold. You need to be aware of where your fleet is in relation to your tank at all times. Not paying attention and driving your fleet in front of your tank will end up costing a lot of repair time and a few naughty words....okay a LOT of naughty words.  

When you first hatch your tank, don’t be tempted to take over the world and go out and hit the first 109 you see on the map. It probably won’t have a happy ending.

Take the tank out with some cheap quick repair fleets and practice driving with it in some lower targets. If you are ranking something, take your tank out with your fleet, save some damage and get in some tank practice while you are at it. 

Become “One” with your tank. 

Basic tank with rhinos on a Level 60 stronghold, a great target to practice with. 

Once you get the hang of it you can move up to the higher targets. You do not even have to have the big hulls to get to Tier 5 in the weekly. Just a tank and a few novas will get it done.  

Tanks are not just for the FM. Tanks are used in base hitting and in map targets and during raids.  You can even use your tank to run as a shield for another player in targets. 

There are many different types of tanks.  Your tank(s) will become an important element in your game play. 

If you are looking to build a tank George has a blog post on how to hit portions of the 109 FM targets. This also shows some really good builds and also includes some video action.

Happy Hunting


Special thanks to the "Ironsides" punisher tank.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Malice base tanking for mid levels:

  3. Full FM round in one go, 1 Pun Tank + 4 Cits:

  4. I would add a comment regards the weapon, often you will find the longer range of a missile with the special can save damage also. Obviously it's better to have a 5 special ship to use that, maybe a 4 special dependant on build, certainly if going older to a 3 special hull then launcher is the best bet.


  5. good topic thanks for post for sharing on website ..