Application of Lasers in Anti-Xeno Combat
By CMDR Naddesh and CMDR Ghosti
Overall human weapons are largely useless in Anti-Xeno combat. There are however a few exceptions which give added utility and allow for certain special tactics that can greatly improve your combat prowess.
Thermal Vent Beam Lasers
The most popular variant is the Thermal Vent Long Range Beam Laser. It has two functions in AX combat.
The primary function is its cooling effect which comes from the experimental effect ‘Thermal Vent’. AX pilots can use the TV beam to cool their ship below the 20% heat threshold outside of an attack run (when not exerting and destroying hearts).
There are several applications of the TV beam during an Interceptor fight. The first one is cooling down when starting the attack run. Here the long range modification shows why it is the go-to option. Since the Interceptor does not fire upon you unless you closer than 3 kilometers away, with the long range beam you can start cooling even at 6 kilometers away (G5) without having to waste one heatsink on the approach (minimum recommended engineering is G3). You can also use it to orbit the Interceptor practically indefinitely without using heatsinks, which is useful when you need to quickly synth something, use your AFMU or kite the Interceptor until your wingmates can rejoin the fight.
You might ask yourself – “Isn’t it possible to use it instead of heatsinks to keep my ship cool during the attack run?” The short answer is “no”. The long answer is that not only does it not cool you enough while shooting Gauss Cannons, but also increases your weapon distributor draw, increasing the gauss heat generation even more. The exception to this are the Federal Corvette and Anaconda; the enormous Class 8 Power distributor allows you to fire the TV beam between Gauss volleys to cool off part of the generated heat. Keep in mind you will still have to significantly reduce your fire-rate (and thus your overall DPS), but it will allow you to continue firing if you run out of heatsinks.
Furthermore there is one more application specific to large ship combat. Experienced pilots use TV beams in combination with a heatsink to keep cool while synthing and prior to performing a cold reboot after the heart.
The cooling of the TV beam depends on the thermal load the beam produces (The more heat generated per second, the more effective the cooling will be)
Gimballed beam lasers generate the most heat (thus have the best cooling effect) and are much easier to maintain on target.
Fixed beam lasers are only slightly worse for heat but deal higher damage and gives you the possibility of sniping the caustic missiles (which is practically useless but fun).
Turreted beam lasers have very low heat generation (and thus, dissipation) and do not work well as Thermal Vent beams.
The secondary function is damaging the shields of Interceptors. While Interceptor shields deteriorate over time, it is possible to speed up the process by shooting at the shield. It is a waste of ammo to use your Gauss for that purpose, but lasers are the perfect solution as they have unlimited ammo and greater range than the Interceptor’s cannon. Just remember that even though the shield itself will take damage from lasers, the Interceptor’s hull has 99.97% resistance to human weapons.
Shield Healing Lasers
Shield "healing" lasers or the ‘Regeneration Sequence’ and ‘Concordant Sequence’ experimental effects can be useful in wing fights. This naturally assumes your wingmates are not flying shieldless ships.
Regeneration Sequence and Concordant Sequence lasers only work on friendly targets within your wing.
Regeneration Sequence Lasers
It's possible to significantly regenerate a wingmate's shields with beam lasers which have the Regeneration Sequence experimental effect. This is especially true for ships with Prismatic shields, which rarely get more than 50% shield strength in solo fights after the shield has dropped below that limit. It is a good idea to use an Efficient blueprint on a Regen beam, unless you are in a slower ship than the wingmates you are healing (example: Corvette healing the shield of a Cutter), in which case Long Range may be a better option.
Concordant Sequence Lasers
Concordant sequence is an experimental effect that will amplify the natural shield regeneration of the targeted ship by a very big factor for a short period of time. Due to this, they work best on ships equipped with Bi-Weave shield generators, which already have short regeneration rates and unlike in PvP they do not have a hard counter in AX combat. Remember that while they are a great support module, they do not work on fully broken shields. It is also worth noting that you do not need to continuously fire at the target you want to help, as once applied buff lasts for a short period of time. Long Range Pulse lasers are recommended as Concordant Sequence only requires a single hit to apply the effect and pulse lasers have the least power draw.