Sleep Phase Mechanics
Thargoid Interceptors use various special abilities (read more about these in our Special Attacks page) which occur whenever a Thargoid Heart is broken. The Caustic Missiles, Shutdown Pulse and the Panic Shield Regeneration abilities require the Interceptor to have a Target Lock for it to be able to activate them (similar to how seeker missiles work).
When the Thargoid Heart is broken, it will begin looking for a Target Lock. The Interceptor can only make a Target Lock when the current active target (most damage dealt) has a heat signature above the minimum detection threshold (~20%) or are within the minimum detection range (~700m).
The Interceptor will continue to try and get a Target Lock on the current target until 35 Seconds have passed. This is called the “Sleep Phase”. After this period, the Interceptor will give up on getting a target lock, deploy new Thargon Swarms (if one is not already active) and continue the fight. Effectively skipping any Caustic Missiles or Shutdown Fields that were due for that Heart
If the current target can maintain minimum distance and stay cold/silent running, the Thargoid Interceptor will not be able to get a Target Lock and will not deploy its special abilities.
The ‘Current Target’ can change while the Thargoid is in the “Sleep Phase”. If the new target is not cold enough or too close, the Thargoid will wake up and use its special abilities. Ensure your teammates know this so they do not pull aggro while hot or attack the target during the sleep phase.
If you destroyed the previous swarm during the current sleep phase, the Thargoid will fire one volley of main-cannon fire before deploying the next swarm. If you destroyed the previous swarm before the current sleep phase began, this will not happen and the Thargoid will deploy the swarm immediately.
In a solo fight, the Sleep Mechanics can be used to skip the special abilities (Shutdown Pulse and Caustic Missiles) and also open up a window of opportunity to use ramming tactics to destroy the Thargoid Shields very quickly.
When you break the heart of a Thargoid (using either Heatsinks, Silent Running or a Thermal Vent Beam Laser) reduce your ships temperature below the minimum detection threshold (~20%) and wait 35 Seconds. This will allow you to skip the Special mechanics.
This does not allow you to skip the lightning attack after the first heart!
After the 35 Second sleep phase, the Thargoid will begin deploying its swarm. During the deployment the Thargoid Interceptor is inactive for ~7 seconds. Should you ram the Thargoid with your ship during this inactivity, you can effectively destroy the shields without risking being hit by Lightning.
Destroy the Heart.
Use your TV beam or Heatsinks or Silent Running to stay cold.
Position yourself 1000-1500m infront of the Thargoid.
Wait until you hear the Interceptor make a “Swarm Deployment” Sound (2x Loud Honk Noises)
Slam into the Thargoid Interceptor (Aim for about half-way along a petal)
Continue to boost past the Thargoid.
Ramming the Interceptor before the swarm deploys while solo will not work as this will trigger the “Panic Shield”
The wing tactics that can utilize the sleep mode include the solo tactics mentioned above plus a the ability to have a second wingmate take advantage of not having aggro.
During the Sleep Phase the Thargoid is only concerned with the heat and distance of the current target. Any other pilots in the fight are essentially ignored. These pilots can use this to enable opportunities for ramming damage and other attacks.
As mentioned previously, whenever the Thargoid does a target swap, there is a Target Swap Lockout period, where it will be locked to the new target. During this time, other commanders can do anything to the Thargoid without the risk of waking it up and regenerating a “Panic Shield”.
Destroy the Heart
CMDR 1 goes cold and holds the Thargoid using only Heatsinks or silent running (no TV beam)
CMDR 2 uses a TV beam to take the Aggro and cause a target swap to occur.
CMDR 1 uses the Target Swap Lockout window to ram the interceptor and destroy it’s shields.
Of course, any damage dealt during the Target Swap Lockout will count towards the next aggro change once the timeout expires.
Additionally, once the shield is removed in this manner, everyone but the aggro-holder are free to open fire on the Interceptor, exerting and destroying the next heart before the sleep phase ends. This will trigger a new sleep after the initial 35s have passed, and the Interceptor will not launch a swarm or fire its cannon when transitioning between the first and second sleep phase. This allows an efficient wing to stun-lock an Interceptor and take it down without taking any (ramming excluded) damage.
For a more detailed overview on panic shields, see Thargoid Shields
A Panic shield is an instantly-regenerated shield that the Thargoid Interceptor can create if the shield is broken too soon after losing a heart. The panic shield will also activate if the Interceptor shield is broken prior to the “Sleep Phase” ending, however this requires a Target Lock and if the ‘current target’ remains undetected, the shield will not regenerate.
Hence, if you break the shield before the end of the “Sleep Phase” you must ensure that the Interceptor is not able wake up from the “Sleep Phase” until it ends.