FTL Guide: I trained for decades in the PFC+ academy and all I got was this stupid NCO rank

I really enjoy the FTL role, and I think it has come into its own as a hand me down from the RTO/tech caller downer, and I’d like to outline a few strategies I use as FTL. This is assuming you have a decently sized squad, decent to competent SL and probably another FTL to cover what you dont, but none of these are essential.

To be an FTL is to be the fixer, the guy that can do a little bit of everything depending on what the situation calls for, and in this I’ve outlined a few different paths one could take. I expect most FTL players will dip between each as the situation requires, favoring one style or another. Try them all out and see what fits for you. Some of these strategies can also apply to an SL, but they are typically more focused on the squad’s goals as a whole, and a good SL will focus on the things his squad needs the most, corresponding with command, giving AOE buffs, and having everyone track the “it” guy, which leaves you a bit more freedom for fun and gimmicks.

  1. Battle Master

The first path, battlemaster, takes the common joke of describing SLs as “PFC+” and ramps it up. For this path, grab 1-3 non drooling PFCs and have them follow you around like a gang boss’s henchmen, get a decent assortment of weapons, preferably close to medium range, because that’s what you’re gonna be focusing on. The point of battlemaster is relying on a small amount of boots to backup your firepower, being the tip of your squad’s spear and focusing the enemy attention on you. I would reccomend medium armor for the sake of mobility, but light armor is a decent replacement if you’re good at dodging, which is typically a more useful skill than being good at than taking hits. You will definitely need to pack explosives for breaching structures and breaching defensive lines, but a shotgun can help in a pinch, and as well many walls can be shot down with rifle fire if you can spare the ammo.

The battlemaster is a pretty straightforward role, and isn’t strictly neccesary as a FTL class, but your team leader pin can single you out among the boots around you, and if you at least speak up once and a while you’re much more likely to get revived by medics.

  1. Support Specialist

The support specialist is a path I often take on low pop rounds. See how many engineers and medics you have, depending on how many of each, tailor your loadout to pick up the slack, or help with specific orders like making a fob and setting power. The support specialist is a dedicated flex role, but don’t be afraid to follow the horde of medics on high pop and guard the flock with an IFF weapon, the synth will especially thank you for helping do their job.

  1. Tactician

Probably the “intended” role of the FTL, the tactician is concerned with relaying the ongoing ground situation, reporting the queen or other HVTs, and working with JTAC to call in supply drops, mortar, cas, obs or rappels. You should pack lightly, getting a radio backpack is a must, with a scoped weapon and laser designator. Grabbing a flaregun with signal flares is very helpful for not dying to woyer #53, but do know that you are ultimately responsible for every coord you call in.

  1. Stooge

My favorite and preferred path, the Stooge involves following, protecting, and relaying the orders of the squad leader, acting as his executive officer and helping to round up stray marines not listening to the word from on high. Expect to pack medical supplies, IFF weaponry, and armor to match the squad’s job for the day. If you follow the SL around long enough for them to rely on you, you will almost definitely be called on to replace them when they die, so keep tabs on whatever SL is telling or being told by command, and expect to keep on the squad’s main goal whenever it’s your turn in the sergeant chair. It helps to mirror the SL’s leading and operating style, some flies prefer vinegar but if everyone in the squad hates the CL, then being the one guy not hostile to him will end up netting you his special combat gear if he feels like giving it out.

  1. Pack mule

The pack mule is simple, beautiful, straight foward, and always beloved. The packmule requires you to be highly in sync with your squad to know what they need and what ammo they have. Prepare to stock ammo, MREs, Flares, explosives, whatever else your squad needs, as well as being in charge of supply drops. Make sure to proactively let your squad know to come to you for ammo or other supplies, and toss out spare magazines on the frontlines if there’s time. It wouldn’t hurt to go into combat with a decent handgun and a backpack full of bullets if you want to full time this path, and one could argue that it is a subset of the support specialist, except that you don’t always need more medics and engis, but everyone always needs more ammo and supplies.

  1. Commando

The final, most radical path I have for you today is the commando. This path is similar to the battlemaster in that it involves leading a small team of marines on the frontlines, but this path is different in that you are focused on flanking the main force, or gathering key resources from the colony, taking out especially difficult enemies, scouting locations, anything command needs. You will be expected to operate outside of the normal supply lines, so make sure to stay self reliant with medicine and ammo, and make sure everyone you bring with you is competent, robust, and obedient, or you will simply feed caps to the enemy. Pack light armor, preferably suppressed weapons to reduce noise profile, reduced lights if you can’t bring night vision, and make sure to be QUICK! You don’t want to get bogged down leading a fireteam behind enemy lines and the more attention you get the less likely you are to succeed. If you plan on breaching enemy defenses, ask for extra c4 and breaching charges, do not bring flamers, they’ll simply force bugs to fall back and call for backup, get quick kills, get whatever you need to grab, get out. If command needs you to kill a tough bug, try sniping them with AP ammo or set a trap with an OT explosive. Custom stims also go a long way in keeping everyone alive. Last word of warning, make sure the rest of the squad knows what you are doing and that what you are leaving the main fight for is actually worth it.