There are a few things in life we all consider unavoidable: dying, respawning, paying taxes, dying again. The Vanu Sovereignty is creating technology which often seems both impractical and borderline insane, but time and time again they prove that what we see on paper rarely compares to what we experience on the battlefield, and that their inventions are always practical (but still very much insane). Today we will talk about one of their greatest (and craziest) inventions: the Magrider.
A graceful and stylish beast, the Magrider is a heavy tank that declared treads and tires too mainstream for its purply exterior. How does it move, you ask? No, not by sliding on the snowy hills of Esamir like some sort of rocket-powered sleigh, not blitzing along Amerish on mountain rails. This tank flies, or at least floats. Using the latest of Vanu technology (read: magnets the size of your face), the Magrider hovers a few feet off the ground, just high enough to leave a smoking pair of boots after running you over. This power of floatation gives it an amazing advantage in combat, as well as in transportation, the ability to strafe. That's right, strafe. Forget tigers with chainsaws or bears with machine-guns, this is a strafing tank. If you are not Vanu, I assume you need a moment to go change your pants. If you are Vanu, listen up.
There are several ways to utilize the Magrider in combat to take advantage of its hover and strafe capabilities. Today I would like to share with you one particular way that I personally enjoy: as an anti-armor vehicle. It's important to note that even if you have not spent a single point on upgrading your Magrider, you may still benefit from this knowledge. The differences between a standard-issue Magrider and an anti-vehicular Magrider are not as great as you might assume. I would also like to note that I am not responsible for the dozens of team-kills you will probably accrue attempting to control this ten-ton magnet (they do call it the "Magmower" for a reason.)
In PlanetSide 2, tanks have varying degrees of armor across their bodies. The front has the most armor, the sides and the top less, and the back is almost completely exposed. When two tanks engage in combat, there will almost always be a struggle to keep the front of the tank facing the enemy. This is not easy to accomplish for most tanks depending on the terrain, unless of course you are in the Magrider. The power of floatation means terrain does not affect your movement as badly as it affects theirs. So while the enemy attempts to keep its front facing you, you are strafing left and right and preventing it from landing a hit. This makes the Magrider a natural tank-duelist.
Should you decide to play the Magrider as an armor-breaking machine, here are a few upgrades you should consider investing in (ordered by importance):
Reinforced Front Armor
Unless the enemy managed to catch you by surprise, the front is where most of their attacks are going to land. Add insult to injury by armoring your front, and then add further injury to their insulted injuries.
Confirming their insanity, Vanu scientists managed to attach afterburners to our lovable Magrider. Excellent for escaping sticky situations, traversing rough terrain, or dramatic jumps over steep edges, the Magburner offers a boost of speed coupled with a small upward thrust. Historians rightly point out the cost of this equipment, for it does have a grim history. Long ago, Vanu scientists attempted to triple the Magburner's boost power in exchange for less armor and a smaller gun. Twelve scientists died in the first 2.8 seconds of the experiment, and a week later the original Scythe prototype was introduced.
Rival Combat Chasis
With a name like "Rival Combat Chasis," you know it has to be good. This performance boost grants your tank improved strafing power, reverse speed, brakes, and hovering power. If you've paid any attention thus far, I should have had you at "improved strafing."
Saron HBR Gunner Weapon
A nod to the Magrider of the original PlanetSide, the Saron HBR fires a long-range beam that's extremely effective against armored targets. When combining a long-ranged main cannon with a long-ranged secondary cannon, what you get are millions of voices crying out in terror. The only reason it is not the first item on my list of things you should obtain is because of its steep price – not to imply it's not worth every cert.
Supernova FPC Main Cannon
This is where we separate the boys from the VS. The Supernova FPC is the Magrider's armor-piercing main cannon, capable of dispatching armored units quickly and effectively. If you are wondering why it's the last item on my list, the reason is simple: This cannon opens vulnerabilities to other ground units. While it cuts through armor like butter, it has an incredibly small blast radius. This makes it very difficult to target infantry – some of which are sure to be carrying rocket launchers. Obtain this weapon only if you are truly dedicated to fighting armor and know you'll be supported by friendly anti-infantry units, and don’t forget you can always run those chaps over. You might also consider using this weapon if you have an anti-infantry secondary weapon.
Remember, the Magrider's greatest strength is its manueverability. It does not have the armor of a Vanguard or the firepower of a Prowler. What this means is that you, as the driver, have to play smart. Avoid close-quarter fighting, as the closer you are, the easier it is for the enemy to land hits. Always aim for a medium to long ranged fight. Be where you are least expected, and use your boosters to get past obstacles or to sneak behind the enemy. Engage when you have the advantage, because firing at the enemy as soon as you see them may not necessarily be the smartest thing to do! Use your surroundings, strafing in and out of cover between shots. Learn to predict the enemy's movements and firing patterns, and work to evade them.
And above all, be glad that the strafing tanks are on your side.