Welcome to the inaugural edition of Rogue Builds, my partnership with the exceptional Shaolin Rogue focused on bringing you tomorrow’s builds today. Or is it yesterday’s builds tomorrow? Who knows, we’re just looking down the forlorn paths of War Robots for builds and bots that have been perhaps overlooked, neglected, or unloved.
The idea for our partnership came from the most unlikely of places: the Pin Stalker. I’d run a Stalker for awhile, but never felt like any of the options I tried really played into the strengths of the bot and my style of gameplay. As I thought about it abstractly, it seemed to me that Pins were the weapon best suited for both, allowing my Stalker to engage from distance while offering minimum disruption to the task of beacon pilferage.
When Shaolin Rogue made a post on the Wiki Forum offering to test-drive any bot/loadout combination anyone wanted to see and make a video about it, well, I couldn’t resist. The results were encouraging enough to compel me to stick with it past the point others might have given up. Although the jury is still out (and presently, on vacation), I really enjoyed running it.
My next encounter with Shaolin Rogue’s unorthodox style was when I watched a similar video he made for someone else highlighting the “Geppo,” or Gekko Gepard. I was so impressed by the fun factor (and the amazing obstacle shooting on Canyon in the video) that I immediately bought a trio of Gekkos and dusted off the Gepard.
Shaolin Rogue did one more video like this for me a short time later, after my son Liam scolded me for having bought a Carnage. “You could have bought a Fujin, Dad, and put three Tulumbas on it.” Not having a Fujin to test his theory, I was quite happy to turn to someone who did (at least, on the test server).
So in a sense, Rogue Builds isn’t a new partnership, but a cementing of an older one. But it took a different YouTuber to make things click. I was watching a video by 3Castle, and noticed he was running a Trident Pin Natasha.
Hmm, I thought, that’s not something I see every day. As it happened, I had just taken my two Tridents and mothballed them after an unimpressive runout on my Carnage (I went back to Zeuses). As recent purchases, I was disappointed I didn’t get more out of them.
And so welcome to Rogue Builds! Today we’ll be looking at the Trident Pin Natasha.
So let’s look at today’s Rogue Build. As Shaolin Rogue points out in the companion video, there’s an element of budget-friendliness to this build that can make it appealing for the mid-game player. You won’t see this build in the endgame, and with good reason- with unlimited resources, there are just better options.
But “budget” is not a four-letter word, and just because something isn’t top of its class, doesn’t mean you can’t make good with it. A fifth hangar slot should always take priority over a Fury, so while you’re grinding out that Gold, today’s Natasha build is a perfectly workable substitute. Many players will often opt for a Trident Carnage as their midrange option in this position, but that also takes a fairly significant resource investment. Let’s compare the three.
The other upside is that you can get a look into the world of the Fury, and decide if that sort of pace and style is something worth pursuing.
The first thing to note is the mismatch in ranges. Tridents are good to 600m, but Pins only carry to 500m. That means if you’re looking for burst damage, you’re going to need to get in a little closer. That can present some challenges on maps like Canyon and Dead City.
In Canyon, you have a lot of attack angles cut off- the wall under the bridge, the berms and walls of of the canyon itself, and so on. And while wide-open spaces are good for giving you clear fire, the Natasha is not a fast bot. Getting caught out in the open, or pursued by faster bots is risk you run with the build.
For instance, the difference in maximum range between you and a Plasma Death Button Griffin is 150m. When you realize that the jump distance of the Griffin is 120m, that only leaves you 30m of “wiggle room.” Although they won’t be running you down like a cheetah, it’s also worth pointing out that Griffins are 17% faster.
Hopefully, this serves to illustrate the value of that “extra” 100m range on a Trident Fury, which may not seem like a lot in theory, but can be deadly in practice. You need to mind your ranges even more vigilantly in this build than the bot you’re (potentially) training for.
The Natasha is not a bot built for speed or mobility. She’s lumbering and slow to react compared to lighter bots, and has a sizable target profile (meaning she’s easy for the enemy to hit). One of the most common problems I’ve run into with her is the inability to quickly get back to cover after popping out to shoot. If you leave your target alive and are within range, you’re going to take some damage.
I’ve also found that weapons seem to pop off the Natasha at a higher rate than what I’m accustomed to. This has a sort of double-whammy effect. Not only are you taking heavy hits, but your ability to defend yourself decreases…leading to more heavy hits. A bit like dominos. Once things go pear-shaped for your Trident Pin Natasha, they have a way of all falling down. The trick, then, is to use strategic deployment and heads-up play to try and anticipate danger before it arrives, and pilot proactively rather than reactively.
Unfortunately, the day has yet to arrive where we can analyze performance statistics (paging Opta, pick up the Pixonic courtesy phone, please). In the absence of that, we are left with impressions rather than data, and two impressions stand out the most.
First, since I added the Natasha to my roster, my performance went up. After winning a string of games, I went and checked my profile and I was up significantly in terms of win percentage:
I’m not saying I can attribute this to the Natasha directly, but when she’s on form her damage output can be substantial.
Second, her value tends to be fairly map-dependent, which is an element of the game I’m less accustomed to (Galahads and Docs work everywhere). Let’s see how she has performed for me on each map. As ever, your mileage may vary!
Shenzhen: This is Natasha’s playground. She can set up on the periphery of the courtyard and hit targets on the other side with only modest risk/exposure, while keeping center beacon under constant threat. A joy to play.
Canyon: On the other hand, this map is a struggle. Spawning perpendicular to the center bridge means you need to waddle to one side or the other to get a clear firing path down underneath it, where a lot of the map’s action takes place. She ambushes poorly from up close, thanks to her slow pace, and a lot of the at-range shooting points are on wide-open terrain. I have found this to be her least-favorable matchup overall.
Yamantau: As with Shenzhen, this map’s wide-open firing lanes offer tremendous potential for mayhem. From the edge of the spawn areas, you can target hostiles in the center beacon enclosure while staying safely out of range of your opponent’s midrange options. You’ll be a Trebuchet target, and there’s not a lot you can do except hope they don’t see you before you get back behind something. Although she’s not ideal for it, I have taken her into center beacon directly, and if you manage to establish a forward position with some close-range backup, she can be highly effective (but again, popping out from behind the enclosing wall to fire off a volley and popping back is not a swift prospect).
Dead City: Dead City’s many terrain features means you’ve got a narrower field of fire, but this map has some promise. The two beacon risers that overlook the map give you an elevated position, some cover, and the ability to project force into the center of the map as well as some of the nearby alleys. The edge of the crater is also a natural firing position at what is inevitably a hotly-contested zone, but can put you within range of the enemy.
Springfield: While perhaps not the most popular map with players, the Trident Pin Natasha can put up some numbers here. With its mix of wide-open space and two natural concentration points on opposing sides of the riverbed (near each beacon), you can broadcast a fairly wide signal. Being a larger map, it can be a bit of a chore to get to where there is a demand for your goods and services, but once you set up shop you should be able to turn a tidy profit.
Power Plant: This map is another sniping setup, with the many obstacles compelling you to higher terrain. The challenge here though is the power plant itself, located in the middle of the map, and the abundance of cover for your potential targets. In addition, I struggled with this map because of my playstyle. If you lead with the Natasha, then you have time to get to a good position as play begins to unfold (assuming you don’t luck out and spawn on top of the hill). However, I open with a Galahad. By the time I was ready to drop into the Natasha, the battle was in full swing. The time to crawl to an elevated position was a luxury I no longer had, so I had to go ranging instead.
In summary, the Trident Pin Natasha is unquestionably a placeholder/budget build, but one that is viable and even has a little bit of upside. We’re going to head now to our Rogue Builds partner, Shaolin Rogue, for his perspective on the bot as well as some great test footage of her in action.
And while you’re over there, if you got value from the video make sure to subscribe! That’s the best way to not miss a single update from one of our community’s most exciting new creative talents.
Thanks for joining us today. How did you find this new feature? We’d love some feedback in the comments below!