An Overhaul to Ingress Deployment and Wrecking Strategy

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.

SJ out.

30 Comments

  1. Have you tested your thought on stacked turrets in the field? My experience is that they behave in a counterintuitive manner completely unrelated to their stated statistics.

    I stood around firing X1s at a double-turret portal to take 50 zaps. I received normal damage 40 times, and double damage 10 times. The crit rate of 20% is *less* than the 30% one gets from a single turret (which I also tested) and nowhere near the 60% claimed by the stats. The damage received was 2x, not 2.5x as suggested by the stats.

    I could believe that the true crit rate for double-turret is 30% – that the second turret is simply ignored – and my measured rate of 20% is simply due to sample size. But 60% is beyond credibility.

    I was surprised enough that I created another double-turret portal and flipped it to take another 25 or so measurements, just in case there was something weird about the first portal. Nope. Same results.

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    • Interesting! I hadn’t tested it by flipping a portal and reading the measurements myself – I was planning to, then decided to hide in my room with the AC all summer. Now that it’s cooling down, I’m out in the field again. I’ll recreate your experiments soon, and see if I get the same results. Thanks for sharing the info!

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  2. This is a great resource, thanks for writing it up. Adding the zap strength of each level portal may be beneficial for all to see raw numbers. And before USs were available to all I experimented with how to peel mods off with xmps…my experience resulted in having the same recommendations as for US. Standing directly on top of the portal firing was more effective at popping mods than any other location. Also, once you see the red flash indicate a shield has been destroyed, I wait for the full animation to finish before continuing as it seems you aren’t “hitting” any remaining shield while that is still playing. Once its done you can keep firing watching the white flashes trying to pop the shield. I’d use X5-7 for this and then 8s when they’re off or only one left.

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    • Ah, interesting! I never thought about waiting until the portal shield pop animation was over! I wonder if it works differently for XMPs than for USs, because USs can knock off mods while the shield animation is going [based on the two or three times I've been in a situation where there was a shield pop animation while I was firing USs - hardly conclusive evidence, but I have a hunch]. I’ll definitely research the raw damage numbers and ranges for each portal level – thanks for the feedback!

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  3. Hi! im re really noob playing Ingress and i like a lot ur explanation XD thks a lot for it!

    i like translate it to Spanish and publicate it in my community (using ur name of curse) but i fell that i need ur approval to make it, so… u can give me ur approbation to translate and publicate both post about strategy in ingress in my Spanish speaker community?

    thks a lot in advance and u re awesome!

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  4. Thanks for this. First time I’ve really understood the difference between priclkies.
    What about the positions of particular mods in the four slots? Is there any difference?
    There has been talk that shields on the outside slots protect the FA/T better?

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  5. Now I finally know the significant differences between FA and T – thanks! :-)

    As you’ve already outlined, the surrounding of a portal has a massive effect on mod usage.
    In areas with high portal density and the attacker’s option to walk, the focus on shields could be the better option. As an attacker, at least my strategy is to get zapped until I run out of XM, but instead of using a Power Cube, I recycle e.g. 3 L7 resonators, getting 420 XM, which enables me to fire another burster. Then, it doesn’t matter whether the zap of the portals in range costs me 650 or 6500 XM – they only get the remaining 20. It’s the gear vs. time trade-off you’ve already mentioned.
    Also, I often experience “collateral damage” when bringing down a bunch of portals right next to each other: When I attack the first portals, I already destroy mods in the other portals. As a result, those portals loose mitigation, which will drop to below 95% if this has not been accounted for.

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    • No problem!

      If someone’s walking, force amps and turrets are still useful. The baconzap method [the recycling of three R7s] drains a lot of time from attackers, which has several benefits. If I’m defending and you’re baconzapping, you’re giving me MUCH more time to replace mods, recharge/redeploy, relink, etc. or to ensure I can cube between these actions. Even if I’m not in range of the portal, I’ll win the recharge race.

      As for collateral damage in portal groups, yes, that’s a major benefit of being on foot. Mitigation won’t drop below 95% if there’s more shielding than cap [say, cs/cs/cs/fa and a bunch of links. You pop off one shield, go to attack, and you still have 95% mitigation to deal with.], and rarer shields are harder to knock off. It definitely happens, but there are a lot of variables to keep in mind. :)

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  6. I tried to calcoulate the maximum xm damage of an l8 portal with a two shields and two other attack mods on ten attacks assuming that no resonator is destroyed:
    shield-shield-turret-turret= (625*4)+(625*2*6)=10’000xm
    shield-shield-famp-turret= (625*2*7)+(625*2*2*3)=16’250xm
    shield-shield-famp-famp=(625+625+625/2)*10=18’750xm
    am I missing something? :S

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    • Yes, your math is incorrect. I’ll walk through it for clarity’s sake.

      Two turrets gives you a 60% chance of 2.5 zaps. Six out of ten zaps hit for 2.5x as much, which on a P8 will be 1562.5 [625*2.5]. This means the calculation for two turrets and two shields is [1562.5*6+625*4]=11875.

      Two force amps multiply all zaps by 2.5x. [1562.5*10]=15625.

      One of each will give you 2x damage 70% of the time and 4x damage 30% of the time. [625*2]=1250. [625*4]=2500. [2500*3+1250*7]=16250.

      In the above example [two shields and two attack mods, ten attacks with no resonators lost], FA/T is the best option. FA/FA is not as good, but still fairly potent. T/T is not nearly as effective as your other options.

      I hope that helps!

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  7. That’s what I like. Real Intel I can use out in the field. I had my suspicions and this has been the talk as of late.

    Good to see in translated in to player-ese. Thanks for the write up.

    Lonster
    Keeping the skies blue for you since 2012

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  8. Pingback: Ingress Strategy, Round 2 – The Art of War | SJ Says

  9. question… would it make a difference if all resonators were on top of the portal instead of spread out? with bursters being stronger an Ultrastrikes less rare wouldn’t it be better to force them to stand on the portal with s/s/t/fa and receive maximum damage in exchange for maximum xm loss. also wouldn’t also decrease chance of shield and mod loss as it would increase chance of resonator loss. meaning in this fashion it would increase the attrition rate.

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    • No, always spread out resonators whenever possible. The weakness of turrets and force amps is that their usefulness declines rapidly as you lose resonators, so the harder a portal is to kill, the more damage agents are dealt while taking it down. Stacking the resonators just means that any agent can stand on the portal with a couple Ultrastrikes and neutralize the portal from the massive, concentrated damage of the US. Even using XMPs in that context will drop the portal quickly. There are certain exceptions for stacking 2-3 of the resonators close to the portal to make them harder to hit on a bus route, but if you’re not on foot, that’s tough to pull off anyway.

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  10. Many thanks for this article. Been doing the CS/CS/FA/T arrangement on know bus routes, taken by the opposing faction. Common Shields as They will eventually come down but as long is we cause them damage and XMP drain then the less attacks they can carry out, further down the bus route. They will think twice of attacking the next time.

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  11. A few points I’d like add to this after reading it.

    This post doesn’t cover “shield stickiness”. Yes you can get max mitigation, but common shields are knocked off more easily than rare or VR shields. And although it may not make sense to go VR/VR/FA/T from a mitigation standpoint, from a stickiness standpoint, if you go VR/VR/FA/T and have 3 shields, you get max mitigation for longer while also maintaining FA/T on the portal longer.

    Another point is the rarity and requirements of ultrastrikes. For individual portals, that are directly accessible and you can stand directly on them, using an Ultra Strike or 3 to pop off the shields/mods before bursting makes sense. But, anecdotally, I find Ultra Strikes have a slightly lower drop rate than Rare Shields, meaning it can take a long time to get a good enough number to smash a farm.

    For a large cluster of portals in a moderate to high density farm Ultra Strikes simply take far too many, and far too long to use on every individual portal (as an example, there is a farm in my neighborhood of approximately 60 portals (90+ including close by outliers that get used as reinforcement links for the main farm) in a 2 by 4 block area. The amount of ultra strikes required to pop off all of the shields in that area combined with the amount of time it would take to go and stand directly on top of every portal in the area to do so is significantly less efficient in both gear and time than it would be to just finding a spot where you get “hit the least” while maximizing the number of portals you can hit in an area. Just by sheer numbers and probabilities, there is a breakpoint of using XMP’s to tear off shields vs Ultra Strikes depending on how many you can hit. That number is probably still up for debate as to what the break point is, but there absolutely is one in terms of time and gear efficiency.

    Other than that though, it was a great read and I completely agree that it makes Force Amps and Turrets extremely valuable in the current XM economy. It also forces tear downs to be a team event rather than an individual effort, just like building is (generally).

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    • Thanks for the feedback! I’m thinking I should make a followup article/second draft soon, with all the feedback I’m getting. I also totally glazed over the fact that bursters still do a fine job of peeling off shields.

      As for Ultrastrikes at farms, what I would likely do [assuming I had the few extra minutes to spare] is pick a few interspersed “wheelspoke”-linked portals, peel the mods off with USs and wreck those, dropping the mitigation of the surrounding portals.

      Sorry to hear you’re hacking them so infrequently! This may be purely results-oriented speculation, but I’ve found that the lower the portal level is, the more common USs are. P7/8s are stubborn with them, but 4-6s are easier to get. Not as common as common shields, but I would say I’ve hacked about as many or slightly more L4-6 USs as I have rare shields from P4-6s.

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  12. Good discussion, thanks!

    We can only deploy mods in the ratio we hack them, no matter how much we like attacking mods now. So part of the strategic question is where to concentrate them? Any portal cluster than can deliver a lot of counterattacks at once is best for attack mods. A FA/T on a portal by itself somewhere will hardly be noticed, it might mean the difference between the attacker walking away with half energy vs. empty.

    Contrariwise, 3-4 shields on a portal by itself will limit reso damage to 1% for a lot longer, forcing more use of XMP and US. That’s the value of going over the 95% cap. This is especially good for portals whose interiors can’t be reached. 3-4 shields on a portal in a cluster will hardly be noticed, as the number of XMP required to neutralize the cluster anyway will knock off most or all of them in the process.

    One last mention — there is synergy between shields and attack mods. CS/CS/FA/T + 3 links will do a lot more lifetime damage than FA/T/T/T + 3 links, because the former will survive to counterattack — with high-portal-energy — many times longer.

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    • I agree on virtually all points. The synergy between shields and attack mods is one of the points I attempted to illustrate at the end of the post – sorry if that wasn’t clear! I was a bit rushed when typing up the last couple sections of information.

      As for not having the mods available, in my experience, many agents willingly discard or otherwise disregard force amps and turrets. One of the goals of this post is to educate; another is to try to convince more agents that these mods are actually useful.

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