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How to master your Titan and cause carnage in ‘Titanfall 2’

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Over the course of every Titanfall 2 match, players experience what are effectively two separate games. At first, players control fast, agile pilots who leap through the air and gun down dozens of enemies with their rifles, shotguns, and launchers. At various points in the match, though, they can call down giant robot “Titans,” which can dominate the field through brute force and powerful special abilities that can crush both human characters as well as other Titans.

As you might expect, controlling a pilot and controlling a Titan require related, but ultimately separate sets of skills. What’s more, Titans are far from invincible. While the giant robots can crush a pilot under-foot, pilots have have anti-titan weapons and a tremendous speed advantage. In the hands of an inexperienced player, a Titan can be destroyed in a matter of seconds, and leave you throwing your controller or keyboard in frustration.

We’ve put together some tips to help you learn the intricacies of controlling your Titan, and a few helpful strategies that will help you make the most of every Titanfall you trigger.

How to pick your Titan: General Tips

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Unlike the original Titanfall, you do not outfit your Titan with a bespoke loadout in Titanfall 2. Instead, you choose one of six Titans, each of which has its own weapon and special abilities. You can still select different perks to customize help make each titan fit your playstyle, but you should definitely think about what Titan class you plan to call down before your match starts.

When picking your titan, consider what loadouts work for you in standard first-person shooters. If you like to run in guns blazing, the “Ronin” and “Ion,” which both have heavy-duty firepower, will allow you to quickly clear a path for your teammates. Meanwhile, the “Scorch” and “Northstar” classes are support players, which rely heavily on traps and distance attacks. are better for defensive players who want to lock down an area. The last two, “Tone” and “Legion,” are the best jack-of-all-trades options. They have crowd-control abilities and weapons that are effective at both short and long range.

You aren’t done after simply picking your Titan model, though. Class-specific enhancement increase the effectiveness of your favorite abilities — Tone’s “rocket barrage,” for instance, can fire more shots at opponents, while Ion’s “entangled energy” can restore energy when performing critical hits. Since these enhancements often pair with a Titan’s specific abilities, it makes sense to play with the Titan for awhile, and figure out what abilities you want to enhance. Take some time to mess around with them all before settling on a final loadout.

Similarly, you can also select a “titan kit” enhancement from a set of more general upgrades, such as increased accuracy in auto-titan mode, or an extra dash. While these options are the same across all models, your selection should reflect your choice of Titan and the way you plan to use it. If you tend to let your Titan run on autopilot as you race around the map, the “assault chip” will make it more effective in combat. For faster Titans, we recommend the “turbo engine,” which grants an extra dash move, while slower, more powerful Titans will prefer “overcore,” which automatically gives your core ability 20 percent of its charge before entering combat. The “nuclear ejection” option can also be wonderful in hectic situations, as its blast is capable of destroying both pilots and Titans, particularly in close quarters.

Lastly, players can pick between two options for calling in your titan: “Dome Shield,” which summons a Titan from the sky, then surrounds with a protective shield, and “Warpfall,” which makes the Titan teleport in instantly, but leaves it unprotected. We strongly recommend sticking with the Dome Shield option: The time it takes to receive your Titan is still negligible, and guaranteeing that you’re at full health before engaging other enemies will make you a much more effective player. Warpfall is more effective if you’re trying to destroy another player by “dropping” your Titan on someone else’s, but you’re giving up a lot for something that doesn’t happen all too often.

Titan Tips: Ion

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The Ion is the quintessential “jack of all trades” Titan class, capable of dealing out damage with its “splitter rifle” in equal parts to both enemy Titans and enemy pilots, and its “vortex shield,” though not particularly effective in one-on-on combat, can be an absolute godsend when fighting in a larger battle. Enter the action with a group of other Titans, and enemies will be far less likely to stop shooting to counter the effects of your vortex shield. This ability stops almost all enemy attacks before sending them back at enemies, and should the opposing team take just a second or two before halting their fire, you’ll have a massive payload to launch in their direction.

By far the Ion class’ most useful ability is its “laser core.” Though less effective against long-range opponents, this ability fires a massive beam of energy from the Titan’s chest, destroying anything in front of it in seconds. It’s effective at both clearing out tricky Hardpoint objectives as well as defending against attacking threats, but the more mobile Ronin and Northstar can easily avoid the blast.

If you’re more interested in specializing in attacking either pilots or Titans instead of working as an equal opportunity damage dealer, you should look elsewhere — the damage from Tone and the crowd controlling abilities of Scorch both offer better options, but the Ion is an excellent supplemental Titan.

Customization tips:

The turbo engine provides an extra dash for each Titan,which can come in handy for the Ion as you move forward and raise your vortex shield. However, if you’re having a hard time finishing off enemy Titans with your weapons, we recommend “overcore” instead. The perk gives your laser core an automatic 20 percent charge, letting you use it far more regularly.

Titan Tips: Scorch

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There is no better Titan in the game than the Scorch when you need to clean up a mess. With a “firewall” ability capable of doing extremely high amounts of damage to multiple enemies in a row, and a dangerous “thermal shield” that doubles as a close-range weapon, the Scorch demands other Titans’ respect.

Enter a Titan battle that is already in progress, and you’ll be able to launch your thermite grenades and lay down a firewall before enemies can react. Once Titans begin directing fire toward you, raise your thermal shield and begin advancing, doing damage as you get close. Another firewall will often be all it takes to destroy a Titan at this point, and with the horizontally-moving “flame core” ability and splash-damaging thermite launcher, Scorch can easily kill any pilots trying to escape.

Scorch’s mix of defensive and offensive abilities make it effective against most classes of enemy Titans, but Ronin will be your most formidable threat. Because the thermite launcher uses explosives, it’s all but useless at melee range, and Ronin’s quick speed can easily let it get behind your shield and deliver a few shotgun blasts. If you see the sword-wielding ninja charging toward your position, use your firewall and run in the other direction.

Customization tips:

The flame core is one ability you’ll want to have available as often as possible, so pick “overcore” as your Titan kit. In order to deal some extra damage to enemies who happen to get too close, choose “nuclear ejection,” as well. Lighting enemies on fire before blowing them up is the perfect insult to injury.

Titan Tips: Northstar

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Northstar fares best when the other team doesn’t know it’s there. Low health and a long-range “plasma railgun” weapon mean you’re going to want to stay away from Titan-on-Titan battles. Instead, keep out of sight and fire your weapon at Titans distracted by your teammates. You’ll be able to rack up some easy kills, and can utilize your “VTOL hover” ability to gain a temporary height advantage.

The element of surprise is also key to Northstar’s core ability: “flight core.” Though it sounds harmless, this shower of rockets — not unlike Pharah’s ultimate ability in Overwatch — can quickly wipe out an entire team if they’re caught off guard. Just make damn sure that enemies don’t see you begin the barrage, as there is no easier Titan to kill in Titanfall 2 than a hovering Northstar.

Customization tips:

We recommend also using the turbo engine kit with Northstar, as enemy Titans, particularly Legion and Tone, will be unable to catch up and destroy you with their more effective medium-range weapons. If you’re opting for a more ghost-like playstyle, consider the “stealth auto eject” kit, instead. Your Titan might get destroyed by the enemy, but you’ll escape like a shadow in the night.

Titan tips: Ronin

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Ronin’s “Leadwall” shotgun and enormous sword make it an impressive offensive force up close, capable of delivering massive amounts of damage before the enemy has a chance to mount any kind of counter-attack. Don’t stay in one place for more than a few seconds, and utilize your phase shift and dash abilities heavily — they’re far more important to your success than Ronin’s weapons, as they enable you to get behind enemies for a few free hits.

The “arc wave” and “sword block” abilities will also help you to defend against attacks for a brief period of time after making your assault, but you should rely more heavily on Ronin’s superior speed to escape firefights. This goes for its “sword core” ability, as well, which will make you a more formidable threat with melee attacks, but can also lead to quick deaths if you try to turn into a one-Titan army.

Customization tips:

We recommend fitting this class with the turbo engine Titan kit. When complemented by the “phase shift” ability, you’ll be able to quickly move around opponents and get in your hits before bolting out of the way. As one of the physically weaker Titans, it’s also particularly important to pick the dome shield with Ronin.

Titan tips: Tone

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Titanfall 2 gives the Tone class the game’s highest difficulty rating, but we’re scratching our heads as to why this is the case. The Titan’s 40mm cannon is capable of doing serious damage at any distance — though medium-range encounters are where it will be most effective — and its “tracking rockets” and “particle wall” abilities both make it excellent against multiple enemy Titans. The “sonar lock” ability can make rockets more effective, and can help spot enemies behind cover, and Tone’s beefy frame provides plenty of health in case you become outnumbered.

Getting ambushed by a group of enemies very rarely bodes well for anyone in Titanfall 2, but Tone is very well equipped to deal with this situation. Lay down your particle wall and sonar lock to give your tracking rockets time to lock on, and take a few shots with your cannon as you displace. By the time the enemies have made it past your shield, your rockets should be ready to fire again.

Tone’s core ability, “salvo core,” is devastating in hectic Titan-on-Titan encounters, as it’s capable of dealing damage to several targets and is almost impossible to dodge. It is, however, very difficult to adjust after the barrage begins, and leaves the Tone open to counter-attacks from the sides and the back.

Tone’s main drawback is its slow speed. Incapable of outrunning committed pilots who attempt to steal a battery, and with a precise weapon that isn’t especially useful against humans, you’ll have to rely on electric smoke and, in some cases, the “nuclear ejection” ability in order to eliminate pilots.

Customization tips:

As one of the slower Titans in Titanfall 2, Tone can occasionally get backed into a corner by enemies. Pick the nuclear ejection Titan kit to give your opponents a nasty surprise, as well as “rocket barrage” to deal a little extra damage with your tracking rockets ability.

Titan tips: Legion

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All Titans in Titanfall 2 are a formidable threat in the right situation, but none will make you feel as badass as Legion. In one-on-one firefights, no one is capable of out-gunning its “predator cannon” mini-gun, and both the shotgun-like “power shot” ability and mobile “gun shield” make Legion a solid choice for leading a pack into enemy territory.

Though we tend to prefer the shorter-range option with Legion’s cannon, the “mode switch” ability enables you to also fire more precise shots at distant targets. This makes Legion the best counter against Northstar (other than another Northstar, of course), as well as a solid choice for taking out enemy snipers who are giving your pilots a difficult time.

In addition to its slow speed, Legion’s primary weakness lies in its effectiveness against several enemy targets. Though you can definitely hold down a position against two Titans with the predator cannon, doing significant damage requires you to concentrate your fire for a few seconds, which is plenty of time for a Ronin or Scorch to displace and attack from another angle. The “smart core” ability attempts to rectify this weakness, quickly locking onto targets attempting to change position, but your best option when fighting more than one enemy is to focus on one of them and hope a teammate shows up soon.

Customization tips:

As with Tone, “nuclear ejection” should be your last option should things turn sour. “Enhanced ammo capacity” can also give you just a little extra oomph when defending an objective, especially if you don’t have any time to reload.

Advanced tips: Look before you smash

Titanfall 2 review
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When you initiate a “Titanfall,” and jump into your enormous mechanical friend, your first instinct will be to immediately unleash hell on every enemy you can find. Resist that urge.

Instead, take a few seconds to get the lay of the land. Examine your map and identify where your enemies are located, and more importantly, how many enemy titans are in play. There’s no faster way to lose a titan than picking a fight with a squad of opponents with titans of their own. You should figure out what the rest of your own team is doing. Assuming you aren’t the only titan on the battlefield, assist friendly Titans you see before you head off on your own. Not only will you make your own survival more likely. You’ll also be able to rack up far more kills than if you had gone solo, and give you time to charge your “core” ability.

Advanced tips: Get a battery and power up!

Titanfall 2 review
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Friendly pilots are just as important to your Titan’s survival. The “battery” system introduced in Titanfall 2 replaces the standard regenerating shield found in the original game. Now, the only way to acquire extra protection from enemy attacks is to have a pilot insert a battery into your Titan. It may sound like a no-brainer to look for teammates with batteries (acquired most often from enemy Titans) but we can’t count the number of times we’ve sprinted after friendly Titans only for them to completely ignore our attempt at a good deed. Pilots can now call out to friendly Titans when they’ve acquired a battery, making it easy to locate them on the map.

If you happen to see a battery on your own, however, you should take the opportunity to momentarily jump out of your Titan and pick it up. Instead of jumping onto the back of the Titan to then insert it, you simply have to reembark as you normally would and the battery’s shield is automatically added to your Titan. If you see more than one enemy Titan close by, we don’t recommend this, but the extra shielding is almost always worth your auto-Titan taking a few hits.

Finding batteries is particularly important in “Last Titan Standing.” Wins and losses can often be determined by only a few shots here, and the shield can be the difference between you taking down a group of Titans or only one.

Advanced tips: Don’t underestimate enemy pilots

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While they may not be able to kill you with a single stomp, pilots are more than capable of destroying titans with an arsenal of heavy weapons and “rodeo” ability, which allows them to steal your batteries, or just drain a chunk of your health. The secret to keeping Titans off your back (literally and figuratively) is simple awareness. Prioritize dispatching any pilots who enter your immediate area, and you’ll find it’s not too difficult to keep them at bay.

With enormous cannons, grenade launchers, and machine guns at your disposal, it’s tempting to fire at any lone pilot you see sprinting across the map. However, it is almost always better to try and close the gap to use a melee attack, instead. Not only is a melee hit a guaranteed kill, but it also serves as the best defense against would-be-rodeo attackers. Should you spot an enemy pilot rodeo an allied Titan, a melee attack is also the quickest way to eliminate the threat.

The “electric smoke” ability, which places a large cloud of area-of-effect damage surrounding your Titan, is your last line of defense against pilots. While it can easily kill any pilot who doesn’t disembark your Titan and run to safety, the ability is only available after your core has charged to about a quarter of its fully capacity. It’s also capable of damaging enemy Titans, but don’t think of electric smoke as a weapon — it’s a defensive ability more akin to a flare. Use it as a distraction to escape dangerous scenarios and live to fight another day.

Advanced tips: Doomed, but not out

Titanfall 2 review
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In the original Titanfall, once your Titan’s health had been depleted, it would be “doomed,” and a final health bar would begin depleting before the Titan exploded. Though the dooming system does still technically exist in the sequel, it functions differently. Instead of draining automatically, a doomed Titan is free to continue fighting, with the understanding that just a few stray shots could mean “lights out” for both the Titan and its pilot.

If you see a doomed enemy pilot, launch everything you have in its direction. The time it takes to eject to safety is often too slow compared to the time it takes to finish a Titan off.

Editors' Recommendations

Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
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