Secret Romulan Transmission: Electronic Warfare


Secret Romulan Transmission: Electronic Warfare

Romulan Star Empire Imperial Star Navy Communication
All ships - all ships

Re: Usage of Electronic Warfare also called EW

The following is a High Command summary if EW tactics for Romulan captains. EW should be considered a very important tool for keeping healthy shields in combat, especially for Hawk ships with their weaker hulls and in the current environment of slower shield regeneration.

Without going into the entire article, here is a summary:

You will find no more inexpensive way to reduce damage to your ship and shields than ecm! Learn to use it and use it effectively and you will win more battles.

For a Romulan, it is more important to keep your shields up and healthy than it is to inflict damage on the enemy (i.e. You will lose a slugging match!). The most cost effective way to do this is with ECM -not- shield reinforcement -not- cloak. (Cloak works better but costs more, and you can't shoot back.)

Power settings

Before we get into all the technical mumbo jumbo of ECM, let's talk about power settings:

Often in dogfights, the first thing that goes when people start firing away at each other is ECM/ECCM.

Here's a typical energy panel setting:

1 - Movement
2 - Weapons
4 - Shields
5 - Tractors
3 - ECM

Now with this setting, after you've fired your heavies. What is the FIRST important system to lose power? Right, ECM. You won't slow down, your weapons will get power, but your ECM/ECCM bar will quickly go from green to blank. This gives a Romulan who has power settings like:

1 - Movement
3 - Weapons
5 - Shields
X - Tractors
2 - ECM (with +4 points in ECM)

... the opportunity to inflict damage without any serious worries of receiving some in return.

Remember, after you've dumped your plasma, the most vulnerable time for your ship is when you are close to the enemy and turning away. If your power settings are setup to give weapons priority, a plasma dump will take energy from ECM and give it to weapons during retreat when ECM is needed the most!

Also, some opponents watch for ECM to drop in a Hawk ship to determine if real or pseudo plasma has been launched... with this setup, the ECM WILL NOT DROP no matter what you unload on them.


Ship ready for battle:

Weapons over ECM setting - Weapons ready, Speed max., ECM +4

After the battle has been joined:

Weapons over ECM setting - Weapons charging (mostly), Speed max., ECM +0

This ship is now vulnerable to counterattack!


Ship ready for battle:

ECM over Weapons setting - Weapons ready, Speed max., ECM +4

After the battle has been joined:

ECM over Weapons setting - Weapons charging (half), Speed max., ECM +4

This ship is much better protected while leaving effective enemy phaser and heavy weapons range.


Note: The WB+ and WE may want to switch their power setup to:

3 - Movement
2 - Weapons
5 - Shields
X - Tractors
1 - ECM (with +1 point in ECM)

What is ECM/ECCM?

ECM - Electronic Counter Measures. Basically ECM simulates the ability of your ship in SFC2 to reduce enemy weapons damage, either through jamming, jinking, or stealth.

ECCM - Electronic Counter Counter Measures. Basically ECCM simulates your ship's ability to overcome enemy ECM to reduce or eliminate its effects.

Your ship can create up to 6 total points ECM/ECCM (at the cost of 1 point energy per point ECM/ECCM). We'll get into other sources later.

What is an attack shift?

An attack shift occurs when you have positive ECM against an enemy weapon. The break points for attack shifts are:

Pts ECM ----- Shift
1 ----------- +1
4 ----------- +2
9 ----------- +3
16 ---------- +4

Under normal combat situations, a Romulan can only achieve a +2 attack shift (through +4 points ECM).

You cannot have a negative attack shift (i.e. Extra points of ECCM are wasted energy)


You -------- Opponent

4/0 -------- 4/0
Both you and your opponent have a +2 attack shift. This is fine since you use plasma which comes with +3 ECCM built in. Romulans don't start a fight with their phasers (usually), so the enemy is mostly wasting energy he could spend on some other system.

4/0 -------- 4/1
You have a +1 attack shift (4-1=3 ECM). Your opponent has a +2 attack shift. Now you're at a disadvantage. Add one more pt. ECM to gain your shift back (5-1=4) or reduce your ECM to 2 (2-1=1) for a +1 attack shift with no energy wasted.

6/0 -------- 0/6
Your opponent is negating all your ECM. Neither has an attack shift. What to do here? 1) Cloak; 2) Live with it; 3) Reduce ECM to 0 and use energy somewhere else (enveloping plasma or shields), hopefully your enemy won't notice your ECM changes and will continue to waste his energy on ECCM.

1/0 -------- 0/4
Enemy was countering your +4 ECM but didn't notice that you have reduced it to 1. The attack shift is +0 (which is bad for you), but he is now wasting 3 points energy (which is bad for him). I often do this (even though it's a waste of 1 point energy) because most of my opponents do not follow my advice (so after a weapons dump or speed increase, his ECCM goes to 0 and I gain a +1 attack shift).

Check your ECM/ECCM indicator often, especially if the enemies heavy weapons are hitting you.

Do not trust your HUD attack shift indicator. It only shows the enemies attack shift to you. Not your defensive shift to him.

Why should I use ECM?

ECM does several things once an attack shift is accomplished.

It can reduce damage of seeking weapons (plasma, drones, suicides, etc.):

Die Roll ----- Effect on Seeking weapon
1-6 ---------- Warhead 100% strength
7-8 ---------- Warhead 50% strength
9-10 --------- Warhead 25% strength

The die roll is the attack shift + a 1d6 dice. So an attack shift of +2 would have a 3-8 range in the table.

It can reduce the damage from phasers.

The charts are a bit too large to display here, but basically, phasers at range can have their damage greatly reduced, per attack shift. Closer in, ECM is less effective (but still better than no ECM).

It can reduce the chance to hit of direct fire heavy weapons.

Each attack shift reduces a heavy weapon's chances of hitting by 16.67 percent. So a proxy torpedo fired at range 25 would normally have a 50% chance to hit. With a +2 attack shift against it, the chance to hit is 16.66%, a substantial reduction.

Note: ECM can be used in conjunction with cloak to further reduce to hit and damage! Four points of ECM coupled with cloak can take a point blank plasma alpha strike and come out virtually unscathed (with a little luck).

Why should I use ECCM?

Usually, a Romulan does not need to use ECCM. This is good because you can save the energy points for something else. The only time you should use ECCM is if you want to counter an opponent's ECM in a phaser attack. Otherwise, do not use it.

Other forms of EW in game:

Orion Pirates - These ships have a built-in +2 ECM due to stealth.

Erratic Maneuvers - This simulates a ship's ability to dodge fire. In version v5.5, it takes ~8 seconds at game speed 7 to activate and gives a ship +4 natural ECM. I recommend that if you have that kind of time to plan a defense that you cloak instead. (Perhaps a full page or two of tactics were lost with this change.)

Nebulae - A nebula provide all ships with 9 points of Natural ECM. In a nebula, plasma works against a +2 attack shift (9-3=6), so its best fired close to the enemy. You should try +3 ECM in nebula fighting a plasma race, to give a +3 attack shift and reduce damage to your ship even further (12-3=9). (Try an alpha strike of plasma at range <5... the enemy cannot weasel or tractor)

Wild Weasel - WW provides a ship under it's influence with 6 points of natural ECM. Remember, you can start cloak - cloak - end cloak while under a WW.

Plasma - All plasma has 3 points of built-in ECCM. People say ECM isn't effective against plasma. Not true! +4 points of ECM make for a +1 attack shift. That means 83.3% of the time, the plasma does full damage, 16.7% of the time it does 50% damage. Not great, but better than nothing. (Don't forget your cloak)

Fighters - Have 2 fixed points of ECM and ECCM.

Race specific notes:
(This assumes you are using a ship with the power to do so. Otherwise, try for 1 point ECM.)

Federation - Start with +4 ECM.

Fed ships love to use ECCM to counter your ECM. Counter him up to a point (usually end up with 6/0 and 0/6), after that, remove your ECM and start using cloak more. Odds are, if he's using +6 ECCM, he's starcastling with overloads, hoping you'll come within range 8. Ballet him outside range 10, preferably range 15ish since he has phasers out his... er... astrotubes. Cloak as you move away to setup your next attack run.

If he's a fast moving NEC or similar drone ship, use +1 ECM and use the other energy for speed and a defensive tractor.

Klingon - Start with +4 ECM but watch the disruptor fire. If it starts hitting, check your ECM gauge.

You may have to counter some ECCM with more ECM, but he won't starcastle like a Federation ship. If he speeds up, he has to lose the ECCM if he wants to have energy to fire disruptors.

If he plays high speed keep away, switch to +1 ECM and use the energy to phaser his back - or slow and cloak - and make him come to you.

Mirak - Start with +1 ECM and a L3/4 defensive tractor.

If he continues to fire his disruptors, switch to +4 ECM and L1/L2 defensive tractor.

If he's moving slower than spd 25 and not firing his disruptors, shut off defensive tractor, stay outside range 8, and ballet him to death. (He either has an L4/5 hold tractor or overloaded disruptors).

ISC - The situation is complex.

If he has PPD and plasma, MAINTAIN a +2 attack shift (so start with at least +4 ECM).

If he has PPD only, go with at least +4 ECM. Try and get him to waste his PPD at range and then close with +1 ECM and a HOLD tractor for an anchor/plasma alpha.

If he doesn't have PDD, either +4 ECM, or +1 ECM and envelop a plasma.

Gorn - Start with +4 ECM.

If he's going slow, keep it at +2 attack shift.

If he's going fast, switch to +1 attack shift.

Hydran - Start with +4 ECM.

If he's fusion only, reduce to +1 ECM (you'll need speed to keep away from his fighters).

If he has hellbores, try and keep a +2 attack shift and stay outside range 9 (like against a Federation ship, only Hydran are Federation on crack).

Lyran - Start with +4 ECM.

If he's going fast, try and keep it at +2 attack shift, unless he's going VERY fast, then, switch to +1 or +0 to keep away from him and his ESG.

If he's going slow and firing disruptors, keep +2 attack shift (cloak if need be).

I don't understand. -or- You make my head hurt with all these numbers.

Most new players don't understand ECM. It's not really very complex, but there is quite a bit to remember.

Here are some simple instructions:

Follow the power settings-

1 - Movement
3 - Weapons
4 - Shields
5 - Tractors
2 - ECM

Put 4 points in ECM.

Watch your ECM/ECCM gauge during battle.

Come back to this post to ask questions or review.


The enemy has stronger ships, more phasers, and more heavy weapons.

A Romulan captain that uses his EW well, just like one that uses his cloak, has an advantage over his opponent. If you do not learn to use EW to your advantage, you dishonor yourself, your crew, your empire.

A good source of general EW information by Spikeas:
(It also goes into more detail on the workings of ECM versus phasers)

Hailing Frequency Issue #4 has an article on EW:

Good luck captain.