Squad Tactics: Meet the Sniper

by Indiana… on Monday, 4 July 2011

With many of you lovely people reading the positive reviews of indie hit Frozen Synapse, we have seen a gigantic upsurge in the numbers of people playing. As such this is the fourth in a series of guides to get you new players up to speed with tactics and strategies that people who have been playing since the beta regularly employ.

Meet the sniper: greet the sniper, make him at home, get to know him…this man will win you games.

But first things first, forget what you know about the sniper.

 As you have just seen, Valve, Hollywood, pretty much any source of media you've ever consumed containing persons with, or strategically sans, guns will have presented you with their own take on the sniper—how nice of them. But the critical thing is none of these impressions will help you with the serious business of shooting vatforms in their heads, in the fastest possible combination.

The sniper is primarily a defensive unit, this cannot be said enough. In terms of potential kills per minute he ranks lowest of all the classes and as such you may wonder why we are even discussing such a lowly unit. Shake that stupidity from your mind…this man will win you games.

These games may to the untrained eye seem to revolve entirely without the sniper's intervention, indeed this is almost the mark of of a good game containing snipers. The power of the sniper much like the explosive specialist is in what enemy units must do to avoid being killed by them. Units must avoid empty space and using cover, which leaves them either cowering or dashing around somewhat aimlessly thus negating the greater part of their effectiveness.

Combined with a well placed explosive specialist, a sniper can keep an entire team fixed down which leaves you with the most important two steps of your game plan done.

However Frozen Synapse is not won on the defensive; keep your snipers moving to important hot spots as they arise and securing them; but importantly remember as much as the sniper is for support, the other units must support him. You can see the trails made from sniper shots so use this to allow you to zero in on enemy snipers; winkle them out with explosives and flush them out with combined arms. But this can be done to you, so keep on the move and stay frosty.

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