HOC Combat Mechanics
Recall that Heavy Ordnance Corps (HOCs) are fire support units with highly limited deployment conditions as shown in the official infographics, included below for your convenience.
HOCs gain EXP as though they were a T-Doll with 1 Dummy Link, and their experience requirements are higher than that of T-Dolls.
This compounded with their high resource usage means leveling HOCs via combat is not recommended. Writing and using Special Combat Reports is the way to go.
Each HOC unit has four main stats: Lethality, Pierce, Precision, and Reload.
- Lethality: The stat determining direct damage dealt by the HOC.
- Pierce: The stat determining the HOC's shield breaking ability. (More on this later)
- Precision: The stat determining the HOC's accuracy.
- HOCs have a minimum hit rate of 40% and do not suffer from night battle penalty.
- Hit rate can be approximated by using the T-Doll Accuracy formula: Hit Rate = Accuracy / (Accuracy + Evasion)
- Substitute at a ratio of 8 Precision:1 Accuracy.
- Reload: The stat determining how quickly the HOC fires.
These stats can be raised in a variety of ways:
- Leveling and enhancing the HOC, using Enhancement Capsules
- Placing Chips in the HOC's Circuit Board
- Increasing the HOC's Rarity for a larger circuit board
- This also increases the stat cap for placed Chips
- Enhancing the Chips for increased stats
- Using Chips of the same color for a same color bonus
- Increasing the HOC's Rarity for a larger circuit board
- Performing Iteration on the HOCs to further increase their stats
- This is colloquially known as gaining "red stars"
These mechanics are nontrivial, so we'll skip over them for now. They are explained in detail in the two other subguides in this series.
I have strong Echelons, do I still need HOCs?
HOCs are definitely a hassle to deploy and they are not even available on all maps. Add that to the fact that most of GFL EN has already beaten Chapters 9 and 10 without HOCs, it may seem like HOCs aren't necessary at all.
Unfortunately, MICA Team is essentially forcing the player's hand with a new mechanic that comes with Continuum Turbulence, Force Shields.
Some enemies in the upcoming event will have a Force Shield value denoted by a white segmented gauge below their HP bar, usually between 30-50%.
Each tick of shield gauge corresponds to 10% damage reduction. This is applied after most other damage calculation steps (including Armor reduction).
HOCs can reduce enemy force shield value with their attacks. The amount of force shield reduction is determined by the HOC's Pierce stat.
BGM-71 has very high Pierce and is usually the best HOC for this purpose.
While players with extremely strong echelons are able to brute-force partially shielded enemies without much trouble, it becomes very challenging if not impossible when shield gauge is at 80% or above. Fully shielded enemies are completely invulnerable to every source of damage without HOC support, so HOC deployment becomes mandatory against them.
Continuum Turbulence marks the formal introduction of a new enemy faction alongside their tough combat units. The same enemies showed up during the VA-11 HALL-A Collaboration Event as "White Knights", though this time they will be much tougher and come with the aforementioned Force Shields.
Detailed coverage is provided by Ceia in the Continuum Turbulence Preparation Guide, so this page will provide a simple recap.
A standard enemy with offensive stats similar to SF Rippers, but Strelets are much tankier in comparison.
They deal low damage per hit and have low accuracy.
Rodeleros are lightly armored enemies that move at a normal speed. Are often shielded.
Once in range, Rodeleros will charge up then leap to the horizontally closest T-Doll, launching a laser that damages the entire row the T-Doll is in.
The laser is easily dodged and can be baited by moving a T-Doll to the front column, causing all Rodeleros to fire on that T-Doll's row.
Doppelsöldners, also known as "doppels" or "gundams", are slow-moving and heavily armored enemies who are often shielded.
Their regular attacks are missiles that deal AoE damage multiplied by the number of target dummy links, so a 20 damage missile will deal 100 damage to a 5-link T-Doll.
To make matters worse, their devastating Skill can activate 10 seconds after battle start, where the Doppelsöldners fire a barrage of missiles at pretty much the entire player side of the field for huge amounts of damage. Doppelsöldners are extremely dangerous if not dealt with in a timely manner.
Uhlans are armored tanks that behave a lot more like real tanks than the KCCO Typhons seen in Singularity. Are often shielded.
Uhlans move slowly and have a fairly negligible normal attack, but they have two very powerful skills.
Ramming (6s ICD): Targets two tiles in front of itself then literally runs over the targeted area, dealing massive damage to any T-Dolls caught in the AoE.
Blast (10s ICD): Launches 2 missiles with 1.5 radius, dealing massive damage to any T-Dolls caught in the AoE.
Role of Heavy Ordnance Corps
Recall that HOC units are extremely costly to field thanks to their heavy resource consumption. Players should therefore only deploy their Heavy Ordnance Corps units when their presence is absolutely required.
The scenarios in which deploying a HOC can be worth the cost are covered below:
HOC units provide Support Fire to combat echelons within their range. For a refresher, check the official infographic below:
When Force Shields are not present, the effective value of HOCs is often greatly diminished, especially earlier on when players haven't had enough time to raise their HOCs' rarity and chip stat bonuses.
2B14 is an exception to this rule of thumb, however - while she has a low Pierce stat and isn't great at dealing with Force Shields, 2B14 makes up for it with her incredible Lethality stat and a skillset tuned for massive AoE damage, greatly surpassing the output of even a maxed out Airstrike Fairy.
Since HOCs are timegated, it'll take a while for players to raise their 2B14 to her max potential. Nevertheless, even at low rarity the support fire from 2B14 can be appreciated, especially for echelons that both need a source of sustained AoE damage and the protection of Taunt Fairy.
Starting in Continuum Turbulence, structures are added to the map as a new feature. They will often be enemy installations that impede your gameplay in some way, consisting primarily of the Missile Launcher and Anti-Air Platform.
Disabled Helipads still grant Action Points when captured, can be used for emergency repairs, and player echelons are still able to resupply from them.
The function of minor installations like the Control Tower will be explained in the chapter clear guides for Continuum Turbulence when they show up.
One important feature of HOCs is their ability to target and damage an enemy installation with direct fire to damage and destroy them; this does not consume Action Points, but will consume Ammunition and Rations.
The Missile Launcher is like an enemy HOC and will devastate your echelons with AoE fire. If possible, it is highly recommended to destroy enemy Missile Launchers before fighting within their support range.
HOC Usage Tips
- Always deploy BGM-71 first if you plan to face enemies with Force Shields.
- HOCs can be used in a swap chain just like any regular echelon.
- Using even just a single HOC for Fire Support more than doubles the per-battle resource cost, so they should only be used when necessary.
- If HOCs need to be deployed, turning off Fire Support until you know that it's needed can save you resources.
- This requires careful planning; there's no way to turn it back on in combat if you mess up and enter a fight that needs HOCs!
- This can be useful in maps where it's difficult to resupply HOCs.
- Avoid using HOCs as dummy echelons if you don't actually need their fire support, as their ration cost is incredibly high and you are forced to pay for expensive repair if an enemy runs into them.
- While all of Continuum Turbulence can be cleared with a 1★ BGM-71, diligently training all of your HOCs will make the fights much easier.
How come some videos show the player fighting enemies without destroying enemy Missile Launchers first?
It is not always possible to immediately deploy a HOC on every map, so players may be forced to deal with them. Sometimes on maps with strict turn limits like the Ranking Map, the gains from saving AP (by not moving a HOC to kill the missile launcher) outweighs any additional damage that the player takes.
I have to fight shielded enemies but I don't see a way to deploy HOCs! What should I do?
Similar to the previous question, this is intended and the shielded enemies will often have a relatively low shield value (30-50%), allowing a strong player echelon to defeat it without HOC assistance.
Note that after Continuum Turbulence there will sometimes be maps containing 100% shielded enemies and no way to deploy a HOC; those enemies must be avoided at all costs as there's no way to defeat them.
My HOC died! Where do I go to repair it?
Go to the Garage (new dorm facility) and select the Maintenance Machinery. 10 Quick repair contracts can be used to instantly complete the repair.
- Ceia#0027 for recording and providing the educational GIFs used in this article.