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Homeworld of the Gorn Confederation

  • Gorn Basics • Gorn CA • Phasers •  

Feature Ship: Gorn CA
E.L. "S'faret" Crisler

This article originally appeared in Hailing Frequencies issue 5. It has been recreated here from the original material.

The Gorn CA is one of the least talked about of the early era CA ships. Every knows the CAís for the other races and they are discussed on a regular basis but the Gorn ship plods steadily along without the lime-light or complaints that the other early era CAís suffer from. Now why is that? Is it the most powerful ship in the era? No that would stir some discussion. It also is not the weakest ship. In fact in raw weapon stats it is middle of the road for early era CA ships. It is this middle of the road attitude that makes it so easy to overlook. However in verstility it is not middle of the road, in fact it is the most versatile ship in the game for early era play. 

This seems like a bold statement, and it is. But the Gorn CA has the most tactical options of any ship in the game for its era. And as the passage of time occurs and upgrades are offered this versatility is improved upon, keeping it the best CA built. Letís begin with the early era version of the Gorn CA and look at what it brings to the table. 

The first place we will look, and perhaps the most important, is the ships power. The Gorn CA has a total power of 38, this does not include batteries. The reason power is the most important is that it is the basis for everything else on the ship. The Gorn CA has the second highest power availability in the game for a Cruiser class ship. At 38 power (the D7 has 39) the Gorn ship can perform most tasks and maintain a decent speed. The Gorn CA can hold a speed of 20 and still charge all weapons at full capacity. Various factors such as ECM and Phaser Capacitor settings can affect this to various degrees. But at the default setting speed 20 will charge everything. 

What this means to the Gorn player is that he has power to play with. Once the Phaser capacitors are charged more power is available. Also by making some tweaks a speed of 25 can easily be maintained and a good weapon recharge rate held. This adds to the versatility of the Gorn CA. 

Okay, now that we have an idea of the power we have lets look at how we can use it. The first major use is movement. The Gorn CA is renowned for itís poor turn mode and it does not disappoint in this matter. With a D turn mode, the Gorn CA is one of the most sluggish ships in this class. However, while many see this as a weakness, in truth the weapons arcs on the Gorn CA make this an advantage if played right. I will explain on this a bit further down. The key here to remember is that the CA does not turn well, so donít get into a dogfight, you will usually lose.  After movement lets look at ECM. This is an often-overlooked area of any ship tactic and with the Gorn CA it is an area that can make a nice difference in a fight. The nature of Plasma is such that ECM does not have a profound effect on how it works. In fact only a major ECM shift can cause any effect. With this in mind the Gorn CA has a unique advantage, early in the fight the Gorn Commander can safely use all his extra power to up his ECM levels and thus make him harder to hit. 

This advantage cannot be overlooked. The Gorn CA is one of the toughest ships in the game, easily as tough as the federation CA and almost as tough as the Hydran Ranger. This means it can take an incredible pounding and still be a decent fighting ship. When you take into account itís good shielding, the use of ECM can make a Gorn ship VERY tough to hurt. Another factor that plays into this is the ability of the Gorn ship to fight a VERY effective battle at range 15. With the ECM shift and the low yield of most races weapons at this range the effectiveness of using the extra power to ECM becomes obvious.  The next area and the one everyone has been waiting for, weapons. The Gorn CA comes armed to the hilt with 8 Phaser 1ís and 2 Type G Plasma Torpedoes.  Lets begin with the Phasers. The Phasers on the Gorn CA are its primary armament. Now I know most people feel that the Plasma is the primary weapon but this is just not true. The Gorn CA possesses the best weapons arcs on plasma of any ship in the game. From all angles at least 4 Phasers can fire and on the front and rear arcs 6 Phasers can be brought to bear. This means that the Gorn CA can deliver the same Phaser firepower to the rear that the federation CA can deliver to the front. 

This incredible firing arc system is the major strength of the Gorn CA and a counter to its slower turn modes. By making it impossible to find a weak spot on the CA the turn mode is no longer a problem. In fact it is an advantage because now the Gorn commander has an edge. Most people forget about the weapons and make the mistake of coming at the Gorn CA from the rear. They usually only do this once. 

Since all the Phasers are type 1 the Gorn vessel does decent damage even at medium range with JUST its Phasers. As far out as range 15 the Gorn CA can average 4 points of damage on an opponent from ANY angle. This is more than any other ship can average except in their front arc. 

Besides Phasers the Gorn CA also packs 2 Type G plasma Torpedoes. Most people consider the G basically a heavy F torp and downgrade instantly. This is a mistake, the G torp has a good range. At range 15 the Type G torp can deliver 15 points of damage. This is better than any other heavy weapon in the game at this era except the plasma R. 

The Gís are set in offset arcs. This provides a narrow area of fire where both can hit the same target at once. However this is not what they are designed to do. Each plasma has a huge arc covering their respective sides of the ship. As such it is possible for the CA to deliver at least 1 plasma torp and 4 Phaser ones in a typical broadside volley.  Now that we see what the Gorn CA has, lets figure out how to use it. First we will begin with the plasma. Plasma is one of the easiest weapons to start learning SFC with. It is also one of the most misused weapons in the game. 

Plasma packs an incredible punch; in the case of the Gorn CA it can deliver 20 points of damage at close range with a single weapon. This is the key to using plasma. A plasma weapon can typically deliver the same damage in one shot, that an entire volley of heavy weapons from other races can do. As such plasma should ALWAYS be fired in single shot volleys. 

In the case of the Gorn CA, the plasma is placed to perform the function of crushing a shield. Basically the Gorn ship positions to fire plasma and then dances out. The plasma will crush or damage a shield, then the other plasma is brought to bear and the same task performed. In this way the plasma is used to drop or damage as many shields as possible. The Phasers should be held early in the fight to provide good close defense as well as waiting for an open shield. 

By firing the plasma in single volleys you keep one plasma armed at most times. At the very least one is always on the verge of arming. This is an excellent deterrent to make sure an opponent keeps his ranged. When mixed with Phasers, the plasma makes an ugly surprise for those silly enough to get close. Now this seems like a simple tactics set but in truth this is the basis for most Gorn tactics. Lets take a more direct look and see how these basic premises can be applied. Below I will describe some specific tactics for using the Gorn CA. 

Gorn Anchor: Lets start with the most well known of the Gorn tactics. Basically the way this tactic works is to close with the enemy and grab him with your tractor beam. Drop your speed and reinforce your shields. Then pound the enemy until they are dead. This works well for the Gorn CA due to its tough nature. When in a one on one slugfest few ships can stand up to the CA. This tactic will leave the CA bloodied and damaged but in most cases victorious. A more practical approach to the Anchor is to first knock down a shield or two and do some internals to hurt the opponent. Then close and finish.

Plasma Ballet: This is a broad term for a very general set of tactics. Basically it involves a plasma boat making its attack run and then flying away to rearm. The Ballet part of the title came from its use against other plasma ships. They almost seem to dance as both seek the best firing position while trying to stay safe. 

Gorn Broadside: This is a specific variant of the Plasma Ballet approach. The Gorn ship uses its ability to fire good volleys from a side. You get on a crossing pattern with the enemy ship. Usually presenting your #2/#3 or #5/#6 shield. You need your speed to be a bit more than the targets to make this effective. At around range 15 as the target closes to attack, fire your plasma and turn way from the target, doing a full 180. The target can either close on you and eat the plasma or turn away. If he closes you finish the 180 turn and fire the other side then turn away again to present side one. 

Even if the target manages to get a fresh shield to the second plasma he will eventually lose his shields in the front to this tactic as long as he seeks to close. When you have an open shield fire Phasers as the opportunity presents itself. 

Shield Shredder: This is a tactic I developed myself and have yet to see others make good use of it. The goal of this tactic is to leave the enemy with little if any shields on ANY facing. You begin with standard plasma volleys. Firing one at a time. However you do not wait for optimum shots on a down or weakened shield, you take any shot that will do damage to a shield. Do the same with Phasers on undamaged shields. After one or two volleys like this, switch one of the type G torps over to enveloping. When it hits, the enemy shields will slowly be stripped away. When two or more shields are down or nearly so set the second to enveloping as well. Another volley and you have your opponent. Suddenly he has no shields and is facing a Phaser boat that can fire from any angle plus double strength plasma. 

Gorn Shuttle Swarm: This tactic works best against cloaked vessels. Gorn ships carry more shuttles than the average CA. The key here is to arm your ship or group of ships with as many admin shuttles as possible. The all shuttles are launched and told to attack the enemy. Shuttles will soon swarm any cloaked ship. Another use of this tactic is to provide a nearly impenetrable missile defense shield. All those shuttles suddenly become the ultimate point defense system. 

Phaser Enema: This tactic was developed almost exclusively for SFC. Basically opponents facing a Gorn ship tend to stay at medium ranges and high speed. When they suspect plasma fire they turn and run, presenting the weaker rear shield. The Gorn vessel will forgo the use of plasma for a while and use Phasers to down the rear shield and slowly gut the enemy. Use your Psuedoís to force the opponent to turn away. When he presents his rear shield fire all Phasers. Keep repeating as needed, occasionally use real torps to keep him honest. Sooner or later the rear shield will fall and the opponent will begin to be hurt. Now is your chance. If he breaks off you gut him slowly. If he closes you pound him with plasma. 

With these basic tactics in hand lets look at each of your possible foes and see how to best employ the Gorn CA. 

Romulans: The traditional enemy of the Gorn, fights with Romulans tend to be long and drawn out affairs. Neither side can get to close due to the power of the other sideís plasma. These fights typically are a bloodbath in the end but this is the kind of fight the Gorn can win. Use the Broadside tactic and mix it with the shuttle swarm. This will keep him honest with the cloak. Use T-Bombs for flashcube effect to get some plasma shots in. Try to keep range 5 or better at all time and keep your speed near 20. This way if he uncloaks you can scoot out to a distance that neutralizes the heavier plasma he possesses. Once he is damaged and you are sure he has no plasma go for the anchor to keep him from cloaking and fleeing. 

Federation: While technically an ally, some border skirmishes still occur. Use your ECM advantage to provide as much defense against photons as possible. Try to keep the range at about 15. Employ the broadside tactic and try to get to his rear arc. Once there, stick like glue on him in this position. The Federation ship is very weak in the rear as far as weapons. You are just as maneuverable and can easily stay on his tail. Use the plasma in single shot volleys and knock down a shield or two. If two shields are down and at least two more are damaged shift to the shredder tactic. Otherwise use opportunity fire with the Phasers on a down shield. 

Klingons: This is not a historical enemy but is probably one of your toughest foes. Use an ECM shift in your favor to neutralize his disruptors. He will typically fly fast and way from you so use the Phaser Enema to effect. Hold back the plasma for sure shots. Use the Shuttle Swarm to counter drones as well as keeping near speed 20. The Klingon ships are tough but that glass rear shield is their weakness. The Phaser Enema is most effective on Klingons. 

Lyrans: Against the typical Lyran player this is an easy fight. They will seek to close to use the ESG as a ram plate. Just go to the broadside tactic and nail them as they come. Against the advanced players the Phaser Enema will be the only tactic for a while and it will take a while since they have better shields than their Klingon allies. If they do keep closing fire plasma so it hits BEFORE the ESG gets to you. When you have a down shield fire all Phasers. You are hoping to disrupt their weapons on their pass. 

Hyrdans: The first problem you will have are their fighters. Begin by loading your plasma as shotgun. This will knock the fighters out early. Without the fighters, in a BPV match the Hydran ship is much weaker than yours. Against the Ranger just move to the Broadside and keep him at range. 

General Tactic: The Gorn posses a fair number of transporters and boarding parties. The Gorn CA has 3 transporters. Set your hit and run raids to hit the enemy transporters first. This will neutralize their ability to use H&R on you to take out your plasma. 

These are just some of the basics that come into play when using the Gorn CA. The next time you face or fly one maybe this article will help you take it less casually.




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