If you’ve been anywhere in the field for the past week or so, by now you know that portal shields have received yet another heaping helping of mitigation love from our buddies over at Family Niantic. The new values for C/R/VR are 30/40/60, and with them come several major strategic differences in building and wrecking.
All of the tactics I’ll be outlining follow a basic principle: there are two main resources in Ingress, gear and time. Gear is the resource that is more easily measured, while time is more conceptual [though equally, if not more, important]. The more time you have, the more actions you can perform, which covers everything in Ingress – hacking, deploying, firing bursters, even putting a mod on a portal take a few seconds. Gaining more time in any way you can is extremely valuable in this game, and in this vein, so is subtracting time from your opponent [i.e., making your opponents spend more time and/or gear taking down your well-deployed portals]. This article assumes you know how to deploy at a decent distance and that links add mitigation to portals, but feel free to comment if you’d like an explanation on those.
The first slice of these strategies, specifically, will be on how to use your mods to greatest effect, causing your opponents to spend more of both resources. The second will go over plans of attack to most efficiently break down the same barriers for when enemy agents employ the same strategies.
Let’s begin with building.
1] Stacking three or four shields is now unnecessary.
If you deploy two common shields on a portal and make three links from it, you’ve hit mitigation cap [30+30+16+12+9=97, effective cap is 95]. The same can be done with three links and one very rare shield. One rare shield and 5-6 links, and you’re just about at cap. While in earlier Ingress days you absolutely needed four shields to make a portal tough to take down, now you can just do it by accident while you’re tossing some random links and fields around in your day-to-day commute. Having one extra shield for when one pops off is always a bonus, but it’s not going to matter either way against anyone using Ultrastrikes to peel the shields off [more on this later]. However, this will matter for anyone who’s trying to wreck by consequence [such as on their daily commute].
So, since you no longer need to fill up all four mod slots on a portal with defensive mods, the obvious path is to use the rest of the slots for attack mods!
2] Attack mods are your new best friends.
Force amps and turrets are my favorite items in the game. Unfortunately, the differences between them aren’t immediately obvious. I’ll explain in detail here.
Force Amps – Deploying a force amp on a portal causes every zap to deal 2x damage to an agent. It doesn’t matter if the zap is caused by an attack on the portal or by it being hacked, all zaps have their damage doubled. This leads to opponents trying to take down or dirty farm your portals burning twice as many power cubes as they normally would, which is huge. Power cubes are not a thing wreckers want to waste, and it’s especially grim when anyone needs to keep burning cubes just to farm. Power cubes are hacked infrequently enough that this method always results in a net loss of cubes for the dirty farmers. [For this reason, I suggest dropping a force amp on each portal in a farm loop the next time you and your fellow agents farm. It'll be worth it, trust me.]
If you know enemy agents hack portals along a certain commuting route, lining shielded portals with force amps will drain more of the precious little time they have on the bus/car/train/plane/shoopuff/etc. They’ll recover the XM along the way, sure, but for areas with higher portal density and/or timing [such as at an intersection], they’ll need to burn a power cube if they decide to try to hack and wreck. Since their time is so short when not on foot, that can make a huge difference.
The issue with force amps is that they don’t stack well at all. The first grants double damage. The second boosts the portal’s damage to 2.5x, which is a paltry increase. The third brings it to 2.8x, and the fourth caps it at 3x. Hardly worth it, especially since at that point the only mitigation bonus that portal would have is from links.
Turrets - A turret basically gives a portal a critical hit ratio, for those of us familiar with console RPGs. When you deploy a turret, you see two stats being granted: Hit Bonus and Attack Frequency. The Hit Bonus is the rate at which the turret will kick in [and much like force amps, it works for either attacks or hacks by enemy agents] – one turret gives a 30% chance. Attack Frequency is exactly what it sounds like – it zaps the agent multiple times in rapid succession. The cool thing about turrets is that they stack much better than force amps. The first turret gives a portal a 30% chance of zapping twice. Two turrets means that portal has a 60% chance of zapping 2.5 times, and three turrets is a 90% chance of zapping either 2.8 or 3 full times, I can’t recall which.
Turrets have the issue of not always working, thus making them drastically worse on their own. One turret with no force amp is the same as having a force amp that only works 30% of the time. Considering force amps themselves work 100% of the time, it’s always the better choice to deploy a force amp over a turret, if you can only fit one.
The beautiful thing is when you combine them. If there is a force amp and a turret on a portal and the turret activates, it zaps the agent twice and both zaps deal double damage from the force amp. Here’s a concrete example to illustrate that. A level 8 agent has 10k max XM. A level 8 portal will zap this agent for 625 each attack, which is a tad higher than 6% of the agent’s health. If that P8 has a force amp, every zap hits for 1250, which is 12.5% of their health. Add a turret to the mix, and the portal is zapping for 1250 XM 70% of the time and 2500 30% of the time. That means that three out of ten times, this portal will erase a quarter of the agent’s health. Imagine a close portal cluster, and each one had the force amp/turret combo? They would have to burn a power cube every 1-2 shots, unless they stood so far away from the other portals that they were using their gear extremely inefficiently. A very rare shield, a force amp, and two turrets is also a nasty combo – over half the time, the portal zaps for five times as much damage [turrets activate 60% of the time, attack frequency 2.5x with 2x damage each zap] as normal.This, friends, is great mod usage.
The weakness of attack mods in general is portal level reduction. Once a couple resonators are knocked off an attack-modded portal, the damage increases by smaller margins. This is why it’s wise to ensure a portal already has a high mitigation before you attack-mod it, usually by way of multiple shields and links. As for attacking enemy portals that have been souped up with these mods…
3] Ultrastrikes are your [other] best friends.
With the latest update, Ultrastrikes are now hackable by all agents, and OH WOW did they get a power boost. For those who don’t know, you fire an Ultrastrike while standing on top of your designated target. It deals highly concentrated damage in a tiny radius, spreading out from where you’re standing. Usually you’ll just deal a ton of damage to one resonator, unless the portal is deployed awfully. This method of attack is excellent against opposing force amps and turrets – Ultrastrike away one or two resonators to drop the portal level a couple times, and the powered-up zaps are much less cringeworthy due to base damage being lower. This saves you a hefty sum of power cubes in the long run.
The second, and newer, use of Ultrastrikes is to rip mods off of portals. By standing directly on top of the portal and firing a US, you have a very high chance of knocking off a mod. I believe this will rip off turrets and force amps as well; for the times you can’t reach the portal’s center for whatever reason, the above strategy is still good.
4] Miscellaneous final thoughts
- Turrets don’t increase portal range. Only increasing portal level will do that.
Bursters deal more damage overall now, I’ve noticed, so try to drop [at least] common shields on whatever unshielded portals you see.
The fact that wrecking requires more strategy is, in this agent’s opinion, freakin’ sweet.
Thanks for reading, agents. Hopefully this information will be found useful. Good luck out there.