Just like your beloved Shield, this guide covers a few essential bits of the Phalanx.
Table of Contents
Nobody Likes You and You’re Going to Die Alone
Dear Phalanx player, You’ll never be respected. At worst you’re an obstacle your team will shoot through so they can spam abilities and kill things faster. At best you’re like a pet turtle they keep around and feed now and then only because you’re a lousy gift from grandma they can’t throw away, and will probably get fined if they try to flush you down the toilet.
While there are some missions where the Phalanx’s abilities can be effective, the other classes can usually out-perform it anyway.
The Phalanx likes to get in close and bash faces, but in this game that’s the worst place to be.
There is a Parry system, but multiplayer lag ruins the timing and makes it useless. Special attacks, like Xeno pounces, grabs and acid spit, can’t be parried anyway. Often claws and tails will come at you from weird angles and around the Shield, or even clip through the Shield and hit you anyway. Bullets will find a way into your spleen somehow. The Shield is your best tool, but can also be the least reliable.
The team doesn’t like you. The game’s mechanics don’t like you. Sometimes, even your Shield doesn’t like you.
But that’s alright, because you didn’t come to this guide to be loved, you came here because you want to raise a g ruckus and give the universe a flaming kick in its black hole.
And with your help, maybe we’ll do just that.
Are you still with us, Marine? Outstanding!
In an attempt to squeeze some fun out of this game, I started maining a Melee Phalanx. Intense missions have started to get boring now that I have more experience with this class, so I moved up to Extreme.
I don’t have friends to practice with so I have to do quickplay Extreme missions and learn things the hard way (much to the chagrin of everyone).
Whatever build you cobble together, these notes are useful to keep in mind for all Phalanx players, some for all classes, even.
- Because almost no one uses this class, don’t expect others to know what you’re doing. Mics are recommended so you can coolly explain to the team why you’re charging at the Crusher instead of running away screaming like they are.
- While you can be aggressive and a little careless in Intense, in Extreme you need to know where your team is at all times and where the enemies spawn. This is so you won’t get enemies spawning behind you and so you can stay out of your team’s line of fire. You shouldn’t be losing a chunk of health every skirmish, at that point go practice some more in Standard before you jump into quickplay and ruin some poor random team’s run.
- If you want to be out in front all the time, tell your team to prioritize the enemies trying to get around your Shield. Instinctually they’ll want to shoot into the middle of a mass of enemies, which sucks for your chiseled butt.
- Try to find defensible spots where you won’t get in the way. Even though door-holding is a popular tactic, and you can likely hold a narrow door all by yourself, it may annoy your team. They aren’t used to this big bulky turtle getting in the way all the time and, in their eyes, hogging all the glory (and possibly interfering with their builds/damage potential).
- Poppers’ explosions don’t seem to damage Phalanx with the Shield up (at least on Intense), so feel free to tank those spicy nuggets. (It may be a Perk causing this, I need to check.)
- Don’t Shield Bash if you’re being attacked by multiple enemies, it exposes you. Use the bash when you’re sure you won’t get sniped or clawed at that moment. Learn the enemy attack patterns. Runners have like a 3-hit combo to wait through, Husks have a weird delay in their attacks that can throw you off, etc.
- Even though there’s a Parry system (melee at the right time and you will avoid an incoming melee attack, as well as deal some damage), it’s useless once lag is introduced because you can’t time it properly. Plus, you can’t Parry some special attacks anyway, like a Xeno’s grab or pounce.
- A poor, laggy connection to the host will get you killed. Try to keep your back and sides covered by walls and your team at all times so if there’s a lag spike there’s a better chance you’ll survive it.
- Synth shooters can still totally murder your meatflaps if you’re in a bad position. Watch your sides, if one or two outflank your Shield’s protection you can easily get rekt.
- Some actions will forcefully unequip your Shield! For example, diving, grabbing from an ammo box, or using some consumables will unequip it, so remember to immediately deploy it again. Some actions will briefly move your Shield to the sides, like Shield Bashing or stepping up to a higher ledge, leaving you briefly unprotected.
- Reloading your weapon won’t drop the Shield, however reloading it with consumable Special Ammo will. I guess you keep that ammo in your tight pants pocket that requires 2 hands to fish anything out.
- Consider buffing your sidearm (via Perks). The weapons I normally use run out of ammo real fast in Extreme, so I find myself using the sidearm a lot when I can’t get closer to an enemy. Also, you may want to let your team do most of the damage anyway, and you act as a mobile wall/turret for them. Aggro the weaker enemies and let them handle the tougher ones.
If you’re wanting to play in Extreme+, odds are your friends have already told you what meta gear to take. I don’t know what that currently is though since I only use what I like and fits my melee build.
Phalanx gets CQW and Hand Gun slots, so you can try equipping something powerful for close range/tough enemies and something longer range to chip at targets as they get closer.
Hand Gun Slot
In the Hand Gun slot I like the Type 78 Burst Pistol with Slow Muzzle, Hollow Points Mag, and Illuminated Scope. Recently Hollow Points got buffed to inflict more stacks of Bleed, making it fun to use in Intense and…whatever in Extreme (Also, disappointingly, using two different guns with Hollow Points installed doesn’t double the Hollow Points stacks.).
You might switch to something like the Frontier Revolver or Little Bear instead if you want to actually do some damage.
One of the Flamethrowers goes in my CQW slot because flamethrowers have the unique trait of being both hot and cool. (rimshot) Also, they have a +50% Melee Damage Barrel and a Magazine that can cause “fire puddles” on kill, so I can cook remaining Xenos as I stall them with the Shield.
If pissing off your team with flaming shenanigans isn’t your thing, try a shotgun for damage, or one of the SMGs to quickly spread slow, bleed, stumble, whatever.
I like the Flechette SMG with Hollow Points mag, +10% Damage scope, and one of the +Weak Point Damage muzzles (it’s hard to miss up close). Pair it with Perks that give bonus damage, like Take a Stand, Shield Bash, Down and Out, Shell Shock, etc. and let it rip.
The N79 EVA Laser gets an honorable mention because it does okay damage, has unlimited ammo, and will prevent you from equipping or using the Shield while it’s overheated for no good reason at all. (Seriously, this game hates you.)
Butt Heads! (Melee Phalanx Isn’t for Everyone)
Melee Phalanx is the most fun, and worst idea, for a build in this game. The problem is that even though you find it fun, 99% of others will think you’re dumb for using it. The disdain isn’t completely out of line though, the game is stacked against melee players so having you on the team is a major risk.
If you have a team that wants to earn the Extreme+ skins, they’re gonna be cranky if the team wipes 30 minutes into a mission because you were out there having fun punching Xenos in the ganglia instead of camping a doorway like a good little soldier.