BCM173 - Refined Shade riding

(6:39) Level 5 ('Assault on the Control Room') on Heroic. This tutorial concerns the primary two Shade ride methods of bridge descent, for PAL Xbox. The main focus is on the left Shade, where my newly refined technique for a V-start Shade ride can give a success rate of over 95%; considerably more than almost all other PAL methods. Also you rarely lose health in getting down; so all in all, it's my top recommendation. But at the end of the movie I improve my technique for the standard Shade ride too.

Released March 20th 2016, gameplay recorded March 17th-19th 2016.


00:02 (Left Shade - basic idea) This opening clip gives you the basic idea for using the left Shade (I've got rid of all nearby covies). You blast it down to the top of the 'V', then ride it down from there. Usually you need to give it a flip just before it falls, so you can board; and it's critical to get a bounce off the ledge, or you'll soon die in mid-air. This particular descent is quite a mess, but I do get down alive.

00:33 (Trouble with loose grenading) Next, four clips showing some of the things that could go wrong. Having the Shade land on your head, for one thing - but that would be a real noob mistake, and I mainly included that clip for the comedy. Other failings covered are missing the ledge, having the Shade go off the V without you (another comedy clip), and failing to get the Shade down to the V at all (yet more comedy). In that last example a leg gets caught in the bridge, leaving the Shade dangling, trapped. There's plenty more I could've shown, especially the troublesome issue of cliff grazing, but I didn't want this sequence to go on for long. I just wanted to illustrate how things can be for a newcomer to the method, doing fairly random grenading. My early times with this method were probably something like this, but in particular I was only rarely hitting the ledge; and thus only rarely succeeding.

01:29 (Far landing routine, old version) What you need to do is get more precise about the grenading, so things get more predictable and reliable. I developed this 'far landing' routine which made a huge difference to me, taking my success rate to around 40%. The Shade usually lands conveniently at the far end of the V, and after a prompt flip, it usually topples off by itself (no melee needed). Then you just need to time a flip and board well, to be in with a good chance of success. On my second success here, the Shade does a double somersault.

02:14 (Issues remain) Obviously, significant issues still remain, else my success rate wouldn't be only 40%. The initial trajectory of the Shade is quite sensitive to the grenade placement, so it could easily be off-target, such as in the first clip here. In the second clip the Shade is heading outwards too much, as well as rotating backwards (usually fatal), and it misses the ledge. Third clip: being killed by the ledge, because of hitting it badly (like, with your head). And then a major aggravation: grazing the cliff as you leave, causing ejection.

03:01 (Refined grenading) Now we come to my new refinement, which is what prompted the movie. With more precise grenade placement - achieved by careful positioning and aiming - I've been able to get things working much more reliably, getting as much as a 96% success rate measured over 50 tries. The Shade tends to leave the V very nicely, that's basically why. You do still need to time your flip and board well though. In my second clip here, I move the camera around to the other side for a different view.

04:08 (With covies around) So far I've shown you footage using a save in which things were made safe, and then I got a delayed checkpoint. Now here's a clip showing what things can be like if you try the descent without first dealing with the Banshee and Elite; the two big threats. As well as hurting you badly while you're on the V, they can distract you from your boarding work. In this example I keep my concentration and get down, but I lose health from the combined plasma fire. At least I get some revenge on the pilot, with a tag as he swoops by.

04:48 (Right Shade - old routine) Moving to the right Shade for the standard Shade ride method, here's my old routine (shown earlier in BCM33), involving aiming my plasma throw from the bridge rim. I end up on the rock, which was rather novel. I get around 50% success rate with that routine, but rarely keeping full health. The ledge bounce can easily kill, and then there's a nasty rock below which has killed me way too often. Even when I survive the landing, the ledge bounce has usually knocked off four health bars.

05:35 (Refined grenading) After my success refining the V-start method, I tried to improve this one too, and here's what I came up with, involving new and more precise grenade placement. The Shade tends to hit the ledge nicer and you usually miss the nasty rock. The success rate isn't a lot higher - about 60% - but this time you usually have full health if you survive.

05:55 (With covies around) Thought I'd end with another fun play with covies around - especially as this is a good method for doing quickly. There's no trouble with Banshee and Elite pressure on this side, but I don't want that Grunt underfoot when I'm hopping onto the rim, so I make his sleep more permanent. And then after I'm down, I enjoy a spot more Banshee tagging. Meanwhile some bozo has a go at it with a needler. Yeah that'll work!

Closing remarks There was quite a lot to cover in this movie, bearing in mind that I wanted to also give an introduction to both Shade riding methods, especially on the left. In fact, after putting footage together and trying to be quite brief, the movie was about seven and a half minutes long! That was really too long for my liking, and got me wondering if I should have separate movies for the two Shades. But I didn't want to do that, and fortunately there were some bits I was able to cut without impairing the structure - and I think that improved things too.

Part of my reason for wanting to give some general introduction to both methods is that I haven't previously done tutorials on them. I showed Shade methods back in BCM33 but that was just a sequence of demos rather than full-on tutorial stuff. But also, with the left Shade I wanted to emphasize the business of increasing precision. First of all some pretty random grenading, then a proper routine bringing some control and reliability, then finally some very precise grenading.

As for how I got into the business of refining my grenading for the left Shade, that was because I was going to use the V-start Shade method in a movie. It's been my go-to method for quite a while, and I started re-checking what sort of success rate I got with it, because I thought maybe I could do significantly better than the old 40%. That led to doing a lot of experimentation, meticulously testing success rates delivered by assorted grenade throwing. In view of the eventual boost in reliability, I'd say it paid off! And then having improved things with the left Shade, it was natural to see what I could do with the other one too.