“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk”
— Shakespeare, Henry V
You might think the Aphid-Vortex (aka the Aphex Hover) is a very fun setup to run. You’d be right. It is an incredibly delightful robot and even quite deadly. Too often do we forget to have fun while running the most effective builds, but this one? The best of both worlds.
While the Hover has one less light hardpoint than the Griffin, it gains what it has lost in form of much superior speed and health. This bot is incredibly spry and is often the first choice for a hybrid beacon runner that can pack a punch.
So what are the things that make an Aphex such an effective set-up? First up, it has none of the steep learning curve an Inquisitor or Kumiho needs. Almost all pilots have experience running a Griffin RDB or one of the fragile Aphid builds like Aphid Stalker or Patton. The Aphex needs these two pre-practiced skill sets to master it very easily.
The speed of Hover on the ground makes it a very effective platform to deliver its payload and retreat beyond range. The payload itself is very deadly. Aphids are notorious for causing massive instantaneous damage, and the Vortex is its much more nasty cousin. Together, if leveled up sufficiently, they can deliver almost instant death, in some cases, even faster than a DB setup.
Hover’s ability, Glide, had been unpopular among the pilots as it exposes the robot to, well, everything. But, in case of Aphex it actually serves to improve the single biggest problem with Aphid style weapons- crashing against buildings due to its low curvature. Now, the Glide lets the pilot ascend to any height that the pilot judges comfortable for them to clear obstacles from. Another oft underappreciated factor is the primary effect of the ability itself. While the sudden jump from the ground exposes itself for any an all to take a pot-shot, it also is very unexpected. Most Reds can’t react to the sudden movement as it delivers its load and glides back down.
The glide itself, as of the latest iteration seems to be controllable. A height of the first jump depends on how long the button has been pressed. The descent too can be controlled the same way. So, the RDB style guerilla warfare is very possible with Aphex.
The Aphex Hover actually bypasses a lot of the things that conventional bots can not. The bot can take advantage of the blind spot on top of each bot where its weapons can’t point to make an escape and evade while it waits for the weapons to load.
Another very cool thing that only the Hover can do is bypass physical shields. Due to the height gained during its glide, The Aphex charges drop right on “top” of bots, making shields of Lancelot, Galahad, Rhino redundant. In fact, even Bulgasaris, if they are really lucky (due to the curvature in its shield, and some angular difference between the shield and flight path of Aphid, Vortex) can block only about 20-30% of the damage. Even Raijin’s tall shield can be bypassed in this method.
The sudden vertical jump of Hover lends itself to some very interesting maneuvers. In weapons that don’t lock on, a sudden intuitive jump can mass the projectiles miss entirely, like in case of Orkans or Pinatas in close quarter combat.
Often, making your flight path unpredictable with a variable press of the ability button can stagger your glide, making the enemies miss a lot of shots. This is helped on by the fact that Hover has a rather small frame than say, Griffins. It’s silhouette is almost like that of a Rogatka, making the target a lot smaller.
Aphex Hover is not without its hunters. Energy weapons, particularly lock-on types like Zeus, Scourge, Shocktrain are fatal. At 350m, you’re in range of accurate plasma fire and even rockets with a wide splash like Pins and Tulumbas. Other Aphids and Vortex tend to miss if you’re mid-flight, but will hit if you’re on the ground.
The Aphex Hover is like a Hawk. As you soar above and rain fire upon your enemies, you’ll see the fiery charges tear into your enemies, like claws made of fire and smoke. You will be the hunter in the sky.