Reading around the forums and looking at you-tube, I find people believe that auto-titans aren't useful and are wasted use of a titan.
So for fun I started to use them, and was surprised to learn some of the game-changing tactics they can facilitate. Once you understand what a auto-titan is good for, how they operate and 'think', you can better coordinate with them to do some pretty cool stunts.
I should out right say due to possible prejudice against auto-titans and misunderstanding of what this guide is about: you must work WITH you auto-titan, not just set it to guard in a corner (or harvester) and leave it there to fight by itself.
...nor have it follow you around like a giant mechanical dog chasing a wall running stim using hot-rod pilot. You as the human must be the brain that directs the auto-titan's mechanical brawn.
So I hope this guide will show how cool using auto-titans to supplement your normal pilot and titan game-play can be. TFall2 is about the seamless transition between pilot and titan. Doing so makes the game way more fun, and is actually really useful.
1. Mechanics of the auto-titan
1.1 Titan 'threshold' and 'leash' areas
1.2. The Auto-titan brain
- All auto-titans have a circular area centered on them I call their 'threshold area' which is about two heavy weight titans wide in diameter.
- They also have a greater area outside this threshold that I call their 'leash area' which is about five titans in radius.
- When a pilot moves outside the leash area the titan will begin to follow the pilot until the pilot comes inside their leash area again.
- If the pilot is moving inside a building the titan will attempt to maintain the shortest distance to the pilot while staying on the maps navigation mesh so that when the pilot exits the building they'll be relatively close to them for an easy embark.
- The titan will move inside this leash area to avoid collisions with their pilot, allies, or enemies.
- Enemies outside the threshold but within the titan's leash range and slightly beyond (unique for each titan) will be targeted with auto-titan ranged attacks
- Enemies inside the threshold will be targeted with melee AoE attacks if a minion, or direct melee attacks against titans or reapers and override range attacks.
- Guard mode sets the threshold like an anchor, so the titan will no longer follow the pilot but will retain the other aspects described; like moving in their leash area.
- Guarding titans will look in the direction of the pilot if they see them and not attacking, as if anticipating the follow command or embarking.
- Titans will naturally dodge E-smoke, titan traps, and pilot ordinance inside their threshold space.
It helps to think of auto-titans as having a 'program' that executes ever second. On execution the program will go through a procedure of checks until it reaches the best 'action' and then it will perform that action, then rerun the program. I find this is the heir achy of operations but dunno 100% since it's hard to test.
- Check if auto-titan can make an action or is unable (staggered / stunned / reloading etc).
- Check if standing in trap or in danger, will dodge out of it if it is (like enemy or ally e-smoke).
- Check the titan command state (Follow or Guard).
- If following, decide to move or attack, prioritizing move with greater leash distance from pilot.
- If guarding, then the auto-titan only considers attacking.
- If attacking check for most threatening target. More titan like means greater prioritization. Closer range means more prioritization.
- Select most appropriate attack for range and target type. Melee if target in threshold. Ranged attack if outside threshold and in titan's range. Defensive if suffering sustained damage or in special circumstances. Use offensive or utility as soon as available if using Assault chip.
The interesting thing about Assault chip (AC) kit is that I think it increases the frequency of the AI's brain program for attacking. This means they make more attack actions in shorter time, and thus can appear to be more 'aggressive' in their attacks. The tool tip says increases titan precision but I think that it's more that they attack more often and more of those attacks (with same accuracy) will likely hit their marks, rather than attacks being more accurate; but I don't know for certain.
Treat this as a 'working understanding'. Thinking this way helps you understand what titans will likely do. This info is likely incorrect in terms of game code and implementation.
1.3. Auto-titan weight and kit pros and cons
Titan weight influences the follow speed, attack speed, and dodge frequency of your auto-titan. Light titans are faster and quicker than heavier titans. Be conscious of the weight of your titan and the range of their attacks so that you can use them to the best of their capabilities.
Example is north-star with her large targeting area being able to provide sniper fire over long distance, while ronin auto-titan would be best in sneaking up on rodeoed targets to sword slash them.
Considering this, titan kits also apply to auto-titans except those that required piloted activation like most core related kits. Some kits require AC to be used by the auto-titan to get their benefit, while others don't.
This maybe the distinction between bounty titan 'names' e.g. 'Edge' ronins using thunderstorm, while 'Keen' ronin using temporal anomaly. This makes sense observing their behavior but I have no proof of this claim.
1.4. Auto-titan special conditions
Titan AI have interesting special conditions pilots should be mindful of.
1.5. Auto-titan defensive use
- Attacks from auto-titans will never hurt their pilot, while attacks from a piloted titan will hurt the disembarking pilot. E.g. fire a cluster missile with a north-star, disembark, you'll be damaged by that missile's AoE. Get a enhanced north-star to fire the missile you won't suffer damage.
- Auto-titans can still suffer self damage from their own attacks. If the titan attacks with explosive type weapons like rockets or grenades at close range then they'll suffer some splash damage from direct impact (typically if a ranged target rushes the auto-titan). Damage over time traps or abilities will damage auto-titans unless they use specific kits to stop this (Scorch's thermal plating) or don't use assault chip to prevent these abilities being used.
- Your auto-titan if below two thirds of their health can be instantly 'executed' by an enemy FD or Bounty auto-titan. They'll appear to 'kick over' your titan and bypass doom state. It is also possible for these FD and Bounty titans to bypass doom state via melee if that attack would have doomed your auto-titan. This doesn't apply to enemy player auto-titans I think... (It's hard to test this by yourself).
- Auto-titans if they suffer significant damage will 'stagger' and not move or attack during that period. Pilot AT weapons, AT effective ordinance, and rodeos can stagger titans. Also significant damage by titan abilities can also stagger auto-titans. You can exploit stagger to assist your auto-titan attack bounty titans and enemy player auto-titans. Some FD titans cannot be staggered like nuke titans; while others can be like mortar and sniper tones. Once a titan is stagger there is a definite time to wait before they can be staggered again. Rodeos will always briefly stagger an auto-titan.
- Auto-titan damage dealing will still earn core meter energy. You can't see this until you embark, however, you will still get the 'core earned' medal notifying you that your auto-titan has filled their core.
- Ronin and Scorch are special auto-titans that have buffed up melee capabilities due to Ronin's sword range and damage; and scorch using his flame shield defensive as a CQC attack. These titans are prime for using as rodeo ambushers where you rodeo then ask them to follow so they approach the target from behind and start damaging them. You can then embark, or supplement with titan damage dealing.
Auto-titans use their defensive abilities at different ranges and for different purposes. Figuring out the actual 'trigger' for defensive abilities is bit tricky, but here's some observation from my experience. I believe it has a mixture of range, duration of sustained damage, and possibly health as triggers.
- Scorch uses flame shield as a CQC ability or as a mid-range shield to block continuous sustained damage.
- Northstar will fire out tethers upon seeing a distant titan or reaper to stop their approach. This can be somewhat random.
- Ronin will sword block attacks only if targets are beyond his attack range.
- Monarch will use energy siphon on the nearest viable enemy as soon as it's available, but only if her shield is below ~50%
- Legion will use gun shield only after being attacked by a titan class enemy (titan, reaper, stalker) and it is available to use.
- ION uses vortex shield if she suffers sustained damage over time to block it. She's notoriously hard to test... She'll fire the volley directly at the target so it can be easily dodged if the enemy keeps their distance, but if they rush her up close it'll hit.
- TONE will use partical wall as soon as she sees a titan at a minimum distance (long to mid-range) and she's suffered some damage from them.
2. How to train your Titan!
You don't need to use assault chip to exploit the power auto-titans, however, some titans due to accessing their offensive and utility abilities gain more from the kit than others. People generally focus on mastering titan and pilot game-play separately, and don't considering going that extra step and mastering the transition between states via exploitation of auto-titans.
Also, different titans had different effective ranges where their attacks will most likely hit their target. This is a common mistake I observe when people use their auto-titans. They'll let a north-star melee a target at close range, or they'll park a ronin to guard a site and enemies will just shoot it at long range. You generally want to avoid titans (except scorch and ronin) from entering fist fights because it reduces their damage output and prevents them from using abilities if running assault chip. If enemies attempt to melee your titan, either rescue it (embark), help it, or let it die and exploit it's sacrifice as a distraction / decoy.
So you generally want to keep your auto-titan in their sweet spot range to use them to the most effect. This means that some titans will be better at guarding at a distance, guarding at medium range, escorting you around the map, attacking foes in melee range. Each titan is unique, thus so it their auto-titan...
AC makes ION and monster compared to default behaviour... Her utility and offensive abilities are both damage dealing one being a trap, the other a hit-scan beam. The main damage dealer is actually trip wire. People don't expect the trip wire to have such a huge blast radius, which allows ION to 'accidentally' kill rodeoing pilots if the wire is triggered by enemies or minions. She will deploy the trap in front of her so it is basically CQC use, but also deters enemies from entering her threshold trigger melee, thus she continues to fire with splinter rifle rounds. This makes ION a great 'escort' titan (you walk with the titan and attack targets together) and an ambusher (you attack a titan then call your auto-titan to follow and start attacking your target so 'sandwich' your target in a cross fire.
I personally prefer zero-point trip wire so that my AC titan will always deploy it as soon as it comes of cool down which is rather short. Without that kit the wait is longer because of linkage with energy usage. So this kit increases her theoretically damage output.
Without AC (you're missing out!) you can use everything except grand cannon. I feel that refractive lens or vortex amplifier are the most useful. ION doesn't use ADS split rifle fire much, and vortex shield is infrequent. I never take AC off my ION now unless doing a turbo dash vortex amplifier build.
A good pilot load-out for ION is stim with g-star. You can set her into guard mode so she attacks a range, then call her to attack targets you are distracting as a pilot. You should be able to then kill the titan quickly with a MGL weapon after ION dooms the titan so you can prevent enemies going nuclear. You can also use g-star to trap pilots so she'll destroy them, and increase the chance of laser shot and trip wire hitting them.
Scorch gets some benefit from being able to use fire wall and gas trap from AC, but he uses gas trap more like a AoE effect to his primary thermite grenade fire, and he uses fire wall like a mid-range surprise attack in-between thermite grenade shooting. He's the best minion farmer around of all auto-titans due to the lingering effect of his attacks, and can help a pilot as an escort / ambusher auto-titan. Key is to tell him to guard at mid-range when you want him to attack with fire wall and range attacks; or to as him to follow so he start burning your rodeoed target to help you survive.
While the benefits of AC indirectly increase his damage and survival if enemies stay in / avoid his thermite, it is recommended to use AC if you pair it with thermal plating kit IMO to stop your auto-titan from suffering self damage from his own attacks and committing suicide. The no weak spot buff is also rather neat bonus for your auto-titan; helping him charge foes you lead him towards while you assist him with pilot based titan damage.
If you don't use AC (which is viable since he'll still use flame shield) then inferno shield or wild-fire are the only choices that benefit auto-titan. Both are good depending on auto-titan playstyle. Inferno shield enhances auto-scorches CQC attack power (ambush). Wild-fire enhances his guard mode attacking (escort / farming). Pick the one you want to pursue.
For CQC ambusher auto-titans using phase embark is highly recommended because it halves the embark time. This can save allot of health after you've stolen a battery from a target and want to give it to your titan to protect it's health and heal it. For mid range guard based scorch builds you don't need phase embark as much. Good pilot load-outs are Amp wall with a hack mode charge rifle because this helps strip enemy health down so your auto-titan can get a surprise kill.
TONE gets a modest damage boost by being able to fire rockets with AC but the way she shoots them directly means they are best used on reapers than actual titans. The real benefit of AC on TONE is sonar pulse being a pseudo map hack. She is best use defensively in guard mode, and as a distraction while you damage foes from an unexpected angle.
Tracker Locks auto-tone acquires I don't believe transfer to piloted use-age unfortunately but I'll need to test this. This means that the only kit that benefits an auto-titan is rocket barrage with AC, or reinforced partical wall without AC. Since the wall was bugged and can be easily compromised by ronin arc wave, I prefer the rockets.
Tone can actually be rather cool in that she'll project the shield in-front of her so you can also use her like a recharging giant partical wall boost. This can work well with holo pilot tactical with proper set up. MGL or Archers can help deter enemies from charging your auto-titan because tone's are weakest at CQC. This makes phase embark a rather useful pilot kit to assist with rapid escapes.
RONIN is a pretty lethal without AC due to his sword melee range and damage. He's the best escort / ambusher auto-titan out there due his speed shotgun and sword.
AC does benefit Ronin by granting his abilities. Phase dash is situational but can backfire if he reappears inside a foe. Arc wave can reduce the Ronin's over all damage output due to waving as soon as possible, but the stunning effect can help pilots deal more damage to enemy titans. I really like using a thunderstorm AC Ronin in FD with a grenadier pilot. He distracts the enemy and drops their defenses. I deal damage using ordinance, SMR, and Satchels. Double team FTW!
Without AC only phase reflex and ricochet apply to auto-titans but their usefulness is limited due to how the auto-titan fires directly at enemies, and dodges in phase realm (due reflex). Like said, AC isn't needed for ronin due to his sword damage, but it does have it's benefits in FD.
A fun pilot build I like is 'Zeus'. Phase shift pilot with volt / EPG and arc nade with thunderbolt and phase embark and kill report, and a AC ronin with thunderstorm. Pretty fun and rather effective due to the blinding effects of arc based attacks.
Probably gets the least out of AC kit of all the titans. She can't hover, and she'll use cluster missile whenever it is available as a direct fire attack, which compromises it's effectiveness against non-minion targets spawning from their drop pods. Northstar is thus a 'long range minion farmer', and is best used as a hidden sniper sentry turret. But she is easily killed by enemies if found, so her auto-titan usefulness greatly depends upon long range management.
Interestingly, Northstar only 'half-charges' her rail-gun as an auto-titan regardless of AC kit. So she doesn't quick shot minions, nor can she fully charge shoot titans. It's interesting. AC kit is probably better for FD or CTF where you want her to act as a long range sniper sentry, and lure enemies out into open areas. Best kit for AC auto-titan is enhanced payload, without AC kit auto-titan benefits only from piercing shot kit, and tether trap kit. Due to her behaviour both of these kits aren't that useful for the auto-titan.
I like to use auto-titan north-star with a stim pilot and phase embark similar to ion. Reason being is that Northstar requires long distances to be effective due to her lack of a damage blocking defensive ability. Stim helps exploit this long distance requirement if you have a mastery of wall run boosting mobility. She can be rather useful in CTF game modes.
She gets quite a bit out of AC kit from rocket salvo despite not being able to use rearm...
informs me that he and his brother saw her use it in comments; with video proof. Appears trigger is that both salvo and siphon need to be on cooldown... But the AI shooting behaviour makes this unlikely to happen).
..She'll fire them salvos when they are ready at close-mid range to kill minions and titans. Unfortunately the only upgrade that effects salvo is MTMS and this prevents her from using it against minions, and makes it much more infrequent. Missile rack only effects piloted salvo rocket use, surprisingly.
In my experimental experience, auto-titan Monarchs are best with arc rounds, energy field, and accelerator core upgrades because these make her more lethal (accelerator), enhance her survival (energy field), and assist with rodeos by stripping titan sheilds (arc rounds). These upgrades are also the only ones that auto-titans can actually utilize.
Superior chassis may sound appealing to a auto-titan, but in my experience what you gain in health you lose in damage opportunity, so your auto-titan is less threatening and more of a harder to take down distraction. This upgrade I find more potent for a battery gobbler build with battery thief. Monarch can be kitted out for different playstyles, so experiment with using auto-titans with different styles. As said, not all titans get much out of AC kit use. Monarch is middle road. Salvo rockets are nice, but not necessarily needed if you want to focus on piloted titan usage.
So best kit for an auto-titan is a toss up between shield amplifier or survival of the fittest. Only use SA if you have Energy Field as a core upgrade is my advice; since 20% extra from all targets hit by the AoE can mean instant shield refresh. Survival of the fittest is situational and isn't really needed unless playing try hard LTS; but I've had fun using it in FD and 'healing' my Monarch by fetching batteries as a pilot.
Monarch is a really good escort and ambusher titan but needs to be at closer range than ION but less range than Scorch or Ronin. She's also rather good at defense, but needs pilot or ally assistance. Key is to embark, max her shield using energy siphon, and then use her as an auto-titan. I find monarch can be a really potent auto-titan due to her shield core. You can embark in her when the situation is right but then work with her in other situations such as killing minions and pilots when no enemy piloted titans are in play. You can also exploit her auto-titan to assist with battery stealing via rodeos.
Phase embark greatly increases monarch auto-titan effectiveness especially if you focus on battery stealing so a pilot running cloak and low profile with satchels and the archer can greatly assist a auto-titan monarch. I've played this way in FD and it's possible to actually 'heal' your titan, and also get early upgrade cores. Monarchs rather hard to play in FD due to round restarts resetting her upgrade status, so this auto-titan playstyle allows you to boost her core gain via battery stealing (can potentially double steal if using battery thief for an execution theft).
Legion gets access to ammo switching and power shot. While ammo switching doesn't animate it is functional, with legion switching to short range ammo for closer ranged targets. Power shot can supplement his damage output, but it is easily blocked by piloted titans.
I recommend using AC in FD mode because of executioner and drill shot aegis options.
Kits that apply to auto-titan legion are enhanced capacity, light weight alloys, and bulwark; and hidden compartment for AC use. I like HC personally due to juggernaut in FD making this his default behaviour.
Legions is best used as a defensive titan where you set him up in a location and assist him to get enemies in a cross fire... He's great bait for pilots and titans you can then exploit to combat as a pilot. Rather good with a cloak based pilot build.
3. Range Management
3.1 How to move with the Auto-titan
The key to controlling titans is knowing when to issue the guard and follow command. Use guard mode to set the titan at its appropriate effective range so it will use it's guns / abilities to attack. Use follow to have the titan come to your position and escort you, but also to lead it to attack enemies you are presently attacking with melee.
if you stay at range you can make your titan attack at range then retreat by toggling guard then follow mode. This can lure enemies into areas you want them to come to.
However this runs the risk of your titan entering a fist fight, reducing it damage and likely getting it killed. Melee gets priority over following, so this will hinder your titan's capability to come to you. So you will need to intervene to save the titan by embarking or killing the enemy inside it's threshold triggering melee.
If you fear that your position will be overrun, embark into your titan in guard mode. Relocate, then disembark. The titan will stay at the area you disembark from, allowing for better placement of titans. Use this to setting up an ambushes or defensive cross fires, allowing you to call your titan to come to you, then asking it to guard when it gets into a good attack range; thus providing you with appropriate cover fire.
3.2 How to attack / exploit Auto-titans
The trick to exploiting auto-titans is to combine them with piloted usage. Piloting your titan gives far greater control over their position than issuing follow and guard. Think of auto-titan use as a brief excursion to achieve some greater goal, be it a battery steal, faster DPS, faster farming, safer objective plays...
An 'Ambush' attack is where you detect a enemy titan's presence but they're not aware of you. You then disembark and park your titan in a corner so it is hidden. You then sneak up on the target and deliver some damage / rodeo, and while the titan is distracted by you, you ask your titan to come to you, then ask them to guard so they start attacking at their effective range with guns / abilities / melee. You can then embark. Alternatively, you can flee to your auto-titan and embark to surprise the chasing titan (they're chasing a pilot but run into a piloted titan).
With better practice of Ambush attacks you can master the hidden art of resurrection thought lost with the ancient dark magic of ronin nuclear ejection looping. If your auto-titan is on it's last legs, you can perform an ambush then ask it to come and melee your melee target. If you get the timing perfect so that you auto-titan dooms your rodeoed target as it destroyed you will INSTANTLY
fill your titan meter. This may sound remote but it happens more common that you think. Even if you timing and judgement of health is off, you still get a battery and the rodeo titan meter bonus, which gives a substantial head start on your next titan.
This may sound heretical that sacrificing your titan can be a smart thing; but people who limp around in a titan killing minions aren't thinking of the war. You could be killing those minions as a pilot to earn your next titan. Don't be afraid to auto-eject titans if you think you can kill the enemy as a pilot. Unfortunately anti-titan pilot effectiveness strongly depends upon pilot load-out options. So I'm not surprised that the power of auto-titans is rather inaccessible to players; who would think to use them this way? They must be crazy!
This attack pattern is where you set up your auto-titan in a defensive position where they'll be relatively safe. They'll draw foes to them, and you can set up in a position to create a cross fire. The titan is at greater risk of dying than an ambush due to forgoing element of surprise; but you may want this. Overwatch also is rather useful to farm minions in their spawns, so you can increase your score contribution in bounty hunt whilst guarding the banks. You can then decide to embark to save your titan after you steal a battery from a foe, or to weaken foes in preparation for it's death so you can increase the changes of earning a new one in like 10-15 seconds.
This attack pattern is where you walk with your titan and cover each other. Since the titan only follows you if you leave it's leash area, you can let the titan take point if enemies are nearby and can set it to guard mode to prioritize attacking. If you think the danger is too great then embark and control the titan manually. Escorting works when you're titan is the only one in play. Enemies will attempt to shoot it with AT weapons that are ineffective against pilots so you can return fire safely or flank them. The titan's AoE melee attacks also create a safe shield when you inside it's threshold area. Escorting can also allow for double teaming with your titan to DPS enemy titans really quickly. You can thus transition into over-watch or ambush attack patterns easily when you see the right opportunities.
As a general rule, pilot your titan to fight other piloted titans but exploit auto-titans as initiators or as sacrifices to gain advantage (battery) or mitigate lose (faster titan recovery), let your auto-titan fight minions, but help it deal with pilots by working with the AI.
3.2.4 The case for warpfall
Since you can increase the earning speed of titans by doing the sacrifice trick, it is possible to exploit warpfall as a mortar attack more often. Warp fall instantly kills bounty titans, stops FD nuke titans from nuking, and can exploit the 'crouch in e-smoke' anti-rodeo titan tactic to your advantage.
When combined with auto-titan tactics, warpfall becomes an organic extension of ambush. You rodeo, then call for your titan so you can quickly embark with a battery and surprise your wounded target, and their ally that thought they were safe in a pack environment.
4. Pilot load-outs
When working with auto-titans you generally want to have a pilot build that works well at killing titans but also allows you to freely move about so you can steer them using the guard / follow toggling I mentioned.
Some good combos I find are:
Cloak + Low profile + Satchels + Archer
Phase shift + Arc nade + Charge rifle + Phase embark
Holo + Smoke grenade + MGL
Grapple + Hover + Grenadier weapon + Fire-star + Demo Expert + Archer
Amp Wall + Charge rifle hack mod + Spitfire / SMR + Fire-star
I always run warpfall on my titans.
The SMR is also a rather interesting weapon to use when working with auto-titans to learn how to wield them. These tactics take practice, esspecially learning the effective range of titans so they attack with abilities and weapon fire, and don't get lock in melee fights they can't easily win. Learning when to toggle the guard and follow cues to manage auto-titan range is important!
I wrote this guide due to a request by @RedShield75
and from discussions with @Magikf1ngers
. I'll attempt to supplement this guide with videos but am on XB1 thus DVR is limited to 5 minute record lengths. I'll see what I can scrounge up, but issue is that often you can't see what my auto-titan is doing from pilot only perspective. I may draw some diagrams to supplement at a latter date if this guide is helpful to people.
You don't know until you try!