Once you’ve gotten a few hundred Blackout matches under your belt, you begin to develop habits. Generally, these are born out of tactics that have worked for you in the past. This means there are items you instantly pick up and items you pass by without giving them a second thought.
The ‘Slept on Stunners’ series is about those items you may pass by. They may not unlock a previously unknown level of dominance, but they can expand your Blackout experience and be a hell of a lot of fun. Part I we make the case for the lone, hulking weapon in Blackout that shoots rockets – the Hellion Salvo.
Vehicles are a fundamental aspect of the Blackout meta. Boats, ATVs, helicopters, trucks, SUVs, Muscle Cars and ARAVs can be found all over the map. The Hellion Salvo locks-on to all of ‘em and deals heavy damage. Maybe you’ve been in a match where an opponent, or opponents, hover around the collapse in a helicopter without fear of retribution aside from a few Paladin shots, right? Consider handling them with the Hellion Salvo by locking-on to those noisy commuters and letting a rocket fly.
Once you’re locked-on to a vehicle, the vehicle’s occupants get an alert that a rocket’s coming their way and could bail. To maximize the effectiveness of your limited arsenal, consider picking your spots: Aim for a land vehicle crossing a bridge – which restricts enemy options once they bail or target an enemy attempting to run you over.
While enemies do get alerted to a launcher lock-on, this can be tactically used to coax an opponent out of the safety of their vehicle. Helicopter hovering above with a sniper? Think about locking-on to the chopper for a moment or two and watch to see if they jump out. If so, you’ve baited them into destroying their aerial advantage.
Additionally, when you see somebody navigating the water in a Tactical Raft or PBR boat, you can also give that thing a lock-on and maybe they’ll scurry. Once they’re in the water, you’ve got an opponent isolated with a limited amount of oxygen underwater before they have to reveal themselves.
You may not always get a kill with the Hellion Salvo, but you may deal a punishing blow that forces an opponent into an unfavorable gun fight.
Say you spot an opponent caught in the initial collapse attempting to drive a Muscle Car to safety. If you lock-on and fire, they’ll probably bail with likely rocket damage, collapse damage and no more vehicle to get away quickly. You’ve forced them to isolate themselves, while injured. After doing this, it will be easier to pick up kills with the ranged weapon of your choice.
Scatter & Splash
In addition to kicking up vehicle-centric mayhem, the Hellion Salvo also has uses in standard gun fights. Ideal? That’s for you to decide. But, during a hot drop it could be the first thing you see. Any weapon is better than no weapon, and rockets deal splash damage. If they hit a surface near an enemy, they can deal heavy damage or even kill them.
Outside of hot drop desperation, there are other strategic uses for the launcher. If you find yourself fighting an enemy with a solid surface next to, or behind them – it’s a good time to think about pulling out the rockets. Place one just to the side or behind them to draw them out from cover or potentially damage them. Explosions are jarring and can scare an enemy into the open where you can swap back to your primary and finish ‘em off.
If you have a weapon you feel comfortable with as your primary, you just might learn to take delight in running around with the Hellion Salvo on your back as a secondary. Keep an eye out for Slept on Stunners Part 2 as we’ll look at new weapons to consider to expand our Blackout arsenal!
Up next: it’s not a sniper rifle, it’s not an assault rifle, it’s something in-between…