An (Almost) Comprehensive Attack Helicopter Guide – Battlefield 4

An (Almost) Comprehensive Attack Helicopter Guide – Battlefield 4


In this video, I will discuss the optimum
loadout for the attack helicopter—yes, there is only one, general principles of engagement,
and will provide a brief guide on how to engage every threat you will encounter, with a specific
focus on the MAA, because people still seem to have trouble with it. I’ll not spend
a great deal of time on the technical aspects of it, since I think that learning to aim
with the thing simply comes with practice, and is really quite secondary to learning
the air metagame. Why is the strongest vehicle in the game so
unused? Because people don’t know how. It’s no surprise that the vehicle with the highest
skill ceiling in the game also has the lowest skill floor. On top of the difficulties a
single person will have learning to play it, the vehicle needs two players flying to have
any measure of success. Because of this, the inexperienced nature of two vehicle occupants
tends to compound, making the bad players worse when acting in the same vehicle. A single
person cannot be expected to use the attack helicopter effectively, and his damage output
will be less than half of what it would be with a gunner. We can see why it is the least
used vehicle in public games—many players prefer vehicles that do not require support
to be effective. Tanks can be used solo without much difficulty, and do not gain a significant
advantage from having a gunner. LAVs can operate independently, especially since the changes
to turret look height. Scout helicopters, while benefitting from side seat passengers,
are no longer significantly impacted by them, and can function without effectively. The
attack helicopter, on the other hand, approaches uselessness without two communicative players. If you’re a dedicated scout helicopter pilot,
I want you to forget everything you know about flying. In fact, the only thing marginally
transferrable from the scout to attack heli, barring the basic fundamentals of Battlefield’s
rotary wings, is the ability to understand lines of sight. Regardless, it is a terrible
idea to fly the attack helicopter like you would a scout helicopter. Scout helicopters rely on mobility to succeed.
Their ability to accelerate and turn quickly, when combined with the fairly small airframe
sizes, allows the pilot to close to under 50 meters and eliminate infantry and light
vehicles exclusively. Because they move so unpredictably and are so small, the danger
in closing to extreme close quarters is fairly minimal, as the travel time of many rockets
is not sufficient to accurately lead a Little Bird, even at under 50 meters. Accuracy while
circle-strafing and looking downward is a good skill to have, as not many engagements
will be done while traveling linearly. On the other hand, an attack helicopter played
like a scout helicopter is asking to get hit by a tank shell or RPG. They are significantly
larger than the scouts, and are somewhat more sluggish in their responsiveness, though they
do have a significantly higher top speed, allowing them to outrun anything barring jets.
The biggest thing to know when it comes to these vehicles is that they are extremely
powerful at range. Unlike the scout heli, which cannot kill anything beyond 100m, and
struggles at that distance due to the spread on the miniguns, attack helicopters find no
disadvantage engaging a tank at 400m compared to engaging one at 50. Zunis and TOWs are
always pinpoint accurate, and do not have any sort of damage dropoff. While the 30mm
has spread due to recoil, its first shot will always be perfectly accurate. Between 200
and 600 meters is the sweet spot for engagements, and they are possible out to 700m, though
this approaches the maximum range of the TV missile. The scout helicopter often uses small
objects such as rocks and trees to break line of sight; the Attack Helicopter can use range
and larger landforms to do so. If you find yourself spending excessive time close to
the ground, and find yourself getting hit by tank shells and RPGs, evaluate how close
you’re getting to your targets, and consider increasing that range. You’re used to me telling you that there
is no best loadout. This is true for the infantry game, but the statement is false when it comes to helis *somehow I missed this in editing* Hydras
are significantly better at anti-infantry (Zuni needs TWO direct hits to kill, has pitiful
splash) whereas Hydras kill in two hits on splash alone, and there is more of them in
a mag, and they fire faster. Zunis are really awful against infantry compared to hydras,
but the role of anti-infantry is that of the gunner, not pilot
-Smart Rockets are hydra clones with auto guidance. Since they have less range than
Zunis and have the same limitations, they end up being worse even with the guidance.
Not recommended as encourages bad aim. Zunis are better than Hydras at anti armor
roles, which is the primary function of the pilot. Hydras are good at anti-infantry, but
that role is redundant with the gunner existing. Smart Rockets exchange an incredible amount
of damage output for marginally improved ease-of-use against armor, but they are essentially useless
against air. The technique to using them is pretty simple.
Your goal is to hit as many of them as possible in as short as possible a time. If you have
a buddy to practice with, I recommend finding an empty server and simply trying to Zuni
each other out of the air. This is, of course, easier said than done, and I am far from the
best rocket podder in existence, as I have, relatively speaking, little time spent in
the attack helicopters. The Tow missile is, most of the time, going
to be better than the heat seekers. Heatseekers become marginally useful in 10s
where they can assist the initial dogfight. Their usefulness does not extent past this.
Heatseekers do not have a enough utility to justify the DPS loss in not using the TOW
missile. They can surprise a bad pilot, but are otherwise fairly terrible, as any competent
pilot will not allow a lock-on to hit except in very specific circumstances in 10s. TOW missiles take practice to use, just like
Zunis. With any wire-guided missile in BF4, it’s best to ignore the crosshair, and simply
try to align the missile’s bright tracer in the air with whatever you’re trying to
hit. Unlike IFV and Boat TOWs, which are simplistic in the fact that you can simply put said tracer
over what you’re trying to hit, you have to control the entire nose of the helicopter
to hit anything with them. This takes quite a bit of practice, and I have found that it
is easier to simply estimate the time that the TOW has sat in the air, and when I predict
that the missile is close to the target, I snap in whatever direction is needed to put
the tracer over the what I’m trying to it. This tends to work better than following the
target from the beginning, since it’s almost impossible to predict and successfully follow
the rapid movements of another helicopter or jet from the moment the missile is launched.
I’m still working on the technique, but I’ve gotten significantly better at it since
I started, and continue to improve. Speaking of pilot loadouts, there’s no question
as to whether or not you should use air radar. Use it. You must know when a jet or helicopter
is trying to strafe you, and the loss of the minimap is acceptable when the big map exists. If you’re gunning and you’re having a
hard time getting hits on infantry, make sure to tell your pilot what you’re doing. The
pilot can’t see what you do, so it’s important that you let him know what’s going on. If
you do, you’ll find that the 30mm is much more effective against infantry, because it
is so much easier to be accurate when the platform is hovering rather than dipping and
dodging. The coordination should go both ways, too—if you hear your gunner start to shoot
at something, try to keep the helicopter somewhat level, so that the kill can be finished more quickly. TV missiles are notable for having a fairly
large minimum turn radius. In other words, there’s only so much you can do to make
them go where you want. If you feel like the missile is sluggish, you’re probably simply
experiencing the limited rate at which you can turn. Like I said earlier, I am far from
a master of the technical aspects of the missile, but if you can’t hit anything, it’s probably
because you’re not accounting for the limited turn radius. Essentially, you want to predict
where the target will be, much like you would when leading a SMAW or AP Shell. If you think
of the missile as a dumb fire rocket with minor course correction, you’ll find that
you’re a lot more successful. However, there are some funny shots you can make on targets
behind cover if you keep that in mind. If you know the other heli is hovering behind
a building, or if there’s a tank in a similar place, have your pilot point upward, and then
do a top down attack, as shown. Beyond that, practice more. There’s a nice video by Art
on the Boat TV missile that also applies here, if you want a bit more information. In terms of countermeasures, ECM is preferred,
despite its unreliability, for its ability to remove the user from air radar, which can
make sneak attacks possible on other helicopters. The gunner should always run Extinguisher,
so a hit from something like a TV missile or tank shell is not a death sentence. While
the gunner can’t activate it directly, midair switching can be done, as shown here
It’s an important technique you should master with your co-pilot of choice. So, now that the loadouts are finished, why
don’t we talk about how to engage the various threats? Might as well get it out there at the beginning.
The MAA is far from the most significant threat to the attack helicopter, as it is stuck on
the ground, and thus proper positioning can be used to negate it almost completely, especially
if it sits in base. In fact, if it is base camping, it’s probably not even worth removing,
as doing so can allow a more competent user to get into it. The approach to the MAA is
pretty simple—if you know where it is, and the MAA doesn’t know where you are, you
win. If the opposite is true, the MAA can win, but it is not a sure thing. If the MAA
knows where you are, and you know where it is, we get a stalemate of sorts. The Attack
Helicopter can’t get sufficient damage on a properly played MAA to destroy it, and the
MAA can’t get enough damage on the helicopter to remove it. The process of engaging an MAA who doesn’t
know where you are is pretty simple. Lead with TOW and TV missile. This will usually
do around 60 damage, but can do as much as 90 if the TOW is landed at a perfect 90 degree
hit. This will also impair mobility on the vehicle, making follow up Zuni and 30mm easy
to hit. At this point, even if the MAA does know where you are, it is impossible for him
to win the fight on his own, as getting 40 damage on the MAA is always going to be faster
than it can get 80 damage on you. This is the primary reason not to use heatseekers—it
becomes much, much more difficult to engage the MAA without the TOW missile. Speaking of damage output, a direct engagement
against the MAA who does not have APS is not the death sentence people assume it to be.
As I said, the damage output of a coordinated heli crew is incredible, and can actually
match an MAA who is shooting directly at the helicopter. Now, as I said, the MAA isn’t much of a
threat to top players in the attack heli. But, given that this is a game balanced around
the top level, what is the counter to a good heli crew? The answer is the Stealth Jet.
I will throw in some mention of the attack jet here, because it has a similar interaction,
but its worse main cannon and the existence of JDAMs make it play a bit differently. Back
in Battlefield 3, jets and helicopters had the same flight ceiling. The result was attack
heli domination, for one reason, with that being that a jet absolutely has to do a top-down
attack to be successful. If a jet attacks from the same plane or beneath, he will get
a combination of TOWs, Zunis, TV missiles, and 30mm thrown at it, and he has very little
chance of surviving all of that. You’ve seen my TOW shots—all of them are on jets
that attempt to strafe the vehicle at the same altitude. It is exceedingly difficult
to fight against a good jet pilot since the introduction of the lower flight ceiling for
helicopters, since they can no longer simply ascend to max altitude. It can be done, but
only by the very best of TV missile users. The process is simple; the execution is difficult.
The pilot has to point is nose up at the right moment to let the gunner release a TV missile.
The gunner will then have to apply the proper lead as the stealth jet inevitably sees the
missile and pulls away. It can be done, but it is not easy. Note that you can simply land
an repair when dealing with a stealth jet; two engineers with the mechanic perk will
be able to out-rep any number of strafes given that the stealth jet takes long enough to
come around, however, the attack jet pilot can simply drop a JDAM on a landed helicopter.
In the 10s scene, just ask your stealth jet pilot to take care of the other guy, and hope
he succeeds. You can assist the duel with a selection of 30mm, Zuni, Heatseekers, and
TOWs. If a stealth jet can be baited into range, then the dogfight between jets can
be ended quickly. Locating and eliminating lock-on threats is
the primary role of the gunner. The pilot, since he should be using Zunis, will have
trouble getting sufficient damage on the lock, and the limited ammunition capacity prevents
the rockets from being spammable. Fortunately, there’s a big white arrow that appears when
getting locked by a stinger or Igla. Since it indicates direction only in the x and z
axes, it can still be difficult to locate the lock. The proper course of action is very
different when the lock is spotted, and when it is not. If it has been located, it is the
gunner’s duty to inform the pilot of this with a callout. The pilot can then know to
stay somewhat steady to allow the 30mm to be the most effective. On the other hand,
if the lock is not spotted, and is not likely to be killed before the next missile is released,
the gunner should communicate this so that the pilot can simply fall back to cover, as
you’ve seen several times in this video. An important thing to note about MANPADs is
that the 30mm cannon outranges them to a great extent. The stinger cannot lock at all outside
450 meters, which is well within effective range of the 30mm. This is yet another reason
to keep your distance when playing the attack heli—you can just keep outside the stinger
radius, and have the gunner continue to eliminate targets. If you find that you’re getting
killed by stingers, well, you shouldn’t—I’m not saying that you should go back to base
every time you get the slightest hint of the lock, but you should know when to leave an
area, and when to stay. Something that may help in learning this positioning is to play
infantry with a Stinger rather than fly more in the attack helicopter—by doing so, you
can learn which angles are safe, and which are not. Beyond that, simply practice more,
and make an effort not to simply fly back to base every time your ECM goes down. You
don’t need to retreat completely; you simply need to make sure to always provide yourself
an out if your countermeasures are down. PLDs and Soflams are very dangerous in some
situations. Since missiles that lock onto a laser-designated target perform top-down
attacks, horizontal cover means nothing, and vertical cover for helicopters is usually
few and far between. Thus, it’s important to avoid exposing oneself to a potential laser
designation when ECM is down. It should be noted that Soflams are significantly easier
to spot than the PLDs, and can be simply shot with 30mm or Zuni rockets. On the other hand,
while PLDs do have the same red laser glow, a clever user can remain almost completely
concealed. Due to the fact that there’s no rocket to give away the PLD user’s position,
as is the case in identifying MANPADs, it can be very difficult to locate the source
of the lock. On top of all this, laser-designated missiles go through ECM much of the time,
making them still deadlier. Tanks and LAVs can also carry PLDs, but ECM lasts longer
than it takes to kill one of them. So, when engaging laser designations, make sure to
always have ECM available when exposed, and pre-ECM when possible to avoid laser designated
missiles hitting despite countermeasures. The fight against other attack helicopter
is usually a game of who has the best TV missile and Rocket Pod aim. I find that, at the top
level, the mental capacity needed to succeed in a 2v2 is significantly less than what is
needed to succeed in an armor duel, but it certainly takes an incredible amount of technical
skill to be effective at dueling other attack helicopters. Unless you can get a below radar
sneak attack in against the other pilot, there’s nothing I can say, other than to practice
your technical skills. The scout helicopter tends to out damage you
in close quarters if you’re fairly new to the attack heli, like I am. Yes, the Zunis
can simply 5-hit kill, but it’s hard to hit little birds that are bobbing all over
the place. The solution is simple—run away! I don’t mean run away with your back turned;
keep your nose pointed at the enemy scout helicopter while doing so. While you’ll
lose the height advantage, the attack helicopter as a much higher top speed than the scout
does, which allows your heavy-hitting 30mm and Zuni to beat out its miniguns, which will
be doing little damage at the proper ranges. Barring that, if you’re really unconfident,
you can simply use your higher top speed to lead it on a merry chase around the map until
someone else takes care of it. There’s only three more things on the battlefield,
and those are Tanks, LAVs, and Infantry. There’s only one thing you need to keep in mind here,
and that is to keep your distance and elevation. You can, quite literally, squish everything
on the battlefield, and even the best tankers will end up having their 70 KD ruined by attack
helicopters who simply keep these guidelines in mind. If you’re getting hit by tank shells
or LAV tow missiles, evaluate how close you’re getting to everything. Maybe, instead of committing
all your rockets to a strafe, let your gunner get some damage beforehand, and then simply
finish the vehicle off with Zunis. Remember, tanks can only look so high, so it’s important
that you stay above this maximum angle. If you keep getting hit by SMAWs or RPGs, sit
at range—450 meters is the sweet spot, and let your gunner use the 30mm for the best
effect—you should save your Zunis for armor, anyway, and remember, if you’re gunning,
communicate to your pilot what you see. The pilot can only look in one direction, but
you can look in many. So, if you see a ton of enemies clustered together, tell your pilot,
so he can hover, and let you take them out more easily. Pilots should remember that it’s
difficult to aim the 30mm when you’re dodging around, so try to hover when it is prudent. This guide was not intended to provide information
on the technical aspects of using the helicopter successfully—I find that aim and other such
techniques are overemphasized in many guides. Someone with subpar technical skill and superior
positioning will often succeed to a greater extent than those with a great deal of ability
when it comes to hitting rocket pods and TOW missiles. If you have the right loadout, and
you have a general idea of what you need to do, then all that’s left is for you to practice
more. Hope you got something out of
the video.

52 thoughts on “An (Almost) Comprehensive Attack Helicopter Guide – Battlefield 4

  1. Kinda long winded, and considering that a new battlefield will be here in probably less than 5 months and have to do this all over again

  2. I basically played only with he attack chopper for half a year as a gunner, because of that I met and played with probably some of the best attack heli piolts in BF4. (I play on ps4, primarily on a hardcore shanghai server).

    Here is what I learned:

    Best noob piolt loadout: heatseakers, Zuni (rockets don't matter that much, your not that accurate nor good with them), ECM, and gyro stabilizer.

    Best pro piolt loadout: Tow missile, Zuni (most of the time at least, I've seen them use it in different ways bc of different playstyles), fire extinguisher (you can escape lock-ons by getting behind buildings, but when you do get hit you will regain total function and control. Even if it's a critical hit and you lost control.) and finally gyrostabilizer.

    note: this is just what I've seen used by really good piolts on a hardcore shanghai server, it may differ on other maps and maybe in core. just don't get your panties in a twist if you don't agree.

    p.s. keep up the great work marble!

  3. A couple things I would add:

    Pilot:
    – Rolling is about 800x worse for gunner aim than pitch or yaw, so dodging up and down is better than dodging side to side
    – Figure out your flight pattern before starting the strafe – thinking ahead especially in hot zones is very important
    – Your top priority should be avoiding damage – don't get greedy. That means dodging TV missiles, staying out of TOW and MBT zones of fire, and maintaining a plan of retreat for when your CMs are down

    Gunner:
    – Don't zoom in (or toggle thermal) when you don't need to. Restricting your viewing distance can make it harder to aim sometimes, especially when firing at moving targets
    – The TV missile's turning starts out fast, but decreases as you get farther from the helicopter
    – Don't fire your TV missile in close encounters, instead favoring the gun for near targets. If the target is close, it is much harder to hit unless your pilot sets you up for it perfectly.

  4. Great work Marble! I appreciate the comments on the stealth jet's top-down attack since I find that a proficient jet pilot can hold complete dominance over air space without an effective counter. Having used the technique myself, I often find that proficient stealth Jet pilots sit at the top of the Battlefield food-chain (stealth Jet -> attack jet -> attack heli -> Scout heli -> everything else on the ground) in exchange for near-uselessness against ground targets. Seeing this advice gives me hope that more effective heli crews can properly fight Jets without getting creamed so often, bringing BF4's balance of power back in line. Keep up the good work!

  5. Very nice guide, thanks.
    Now we need an MAA guide.

    So, if i'm a stealth jet, I should do a top down attack on an attack heli ?

  6. I was just looking for something like this on your channel yesterday only to be dissapointed since you just had a BF3 version … Until today. Thank you for doing what you do.

  7. Hey +MarbleDuck, can I ask you, what DPI do you set your mouse and what % do you set in vehicle sensitivity in BF4?
    Really nice material, excellent content 🙂

    -quack

  8. great video as usual, I can't wait to try your suggestions. But you will never persuade me to think that the maa it's balanced 😀

  9. Hi, could you give any tips about key bindings? I currently use standard bindings but A and D for yaw makes aiming the tow impossible. Should I change it to something else or get used to this way?

    Loved the video btw, thanks!

    Edit: Also, what do you think about a controller for flying?

  10. one word, ZUNIS, fatser reload, and more damage per rocket, metioned that you only need 5 to take down a transport chopper, and 4 to an attack helicopter as well as an scout helicopter

  11. AH got really too overpowered after CTE Patches while nerfing the only viable counter to good pilots, the SRAW.

     DICE = fail

  12. dude im not gay but i love listening to yor voice wen im crashing out. awesome story reading vocab&voice.
    so just wanted to say thanx mr duck.

  13. Great Vid, out of all the Vids I have watched on youtube you are the first person to talk about the lock on signal indicator in the hud I never knew about this !! Good job mate .
    Also this might sound dumb but when I fire TV if it misses ( mostly ) how do you get back to cannons quickly ??

  14. For me the biggest threat is MAA, on a hill with active radars. The only way I seem to die is because of active radars mobility hitting me while I'm taking out another target and I crash, seriously annoying

  15. I completely agree with your load out but for pub games thermals are generally better because most pilots don't know how to fly correctly

  16. Almost everything you said in the first 2 minutes of the video was utter bullshit. An atack helicopter is much more effective when played alone if the possible gunners are retards. (Seatswitch + tv guided+ thermal optics). I always manage to score 45-60 kills and 5-7 deaths max alone. A tank is much more effective when played with gunner with soflam. it's an always win tactic if the two player work together and commicate. This applies to all the main battle wehicles. After this 2 minutes i stopped watching ur video btw.

  17. Creo que ha sido un vídeo excelente, me subscribo a tu canal . Creo que tiene un contenido muy bueno y grandes consejos, thanks for sharing! un saludo desde Barcelona, Cataluña EU

  18. I still think that FLIR optic for the gunner is better than the zoom, I can shot at an enemy further away than 400/450 meters, it is really easy to do, in fact with thermal optic as a gunner I always shot out the enemy chopper crew and give to my teammates a chance to steal the chopper. In my opinion, Thermal optic is better than zoom

  19. Anyway I agree with you on everything else. That call out at 17.43 is very similar to the calls outs that I usually recieve by random pilots on pub games, "He is there" yeah thank you man, really usefull when I am looking at 1kilometer of the map to find a little stinger hidden in the bushes

  20. Can you elaborate when you said
    "The time tow has sat in the air, and when i predict the tow is close to the target i snap in whatever direction needed to"

    and when you said tracer .. you meant the smoke trail that the tow leaves behind ?

  21. They should make ECM jammers only prevent laser guided missiles and laser designations, not a hard counter to everything in the game. IR flares should only prevent heat seeking missiles, like they are now. This would be a simple balance change but would make being infantry actually fair.

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