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Guide to Hornet-Railgun battles

The “Хоре-Рель” Battle Mode is an increasingly popular mode in Tanki, particularly aimed at show-casing a player’s skills at shooting and driving. Battles set apart for only Hornet-Railgun, these CTF games, better known as “XP” battles, are great fun to play, and give the sense of a purely skillful side to Tanki. It is well known among players that those who are confident and able at playing in XP battles also thrive elsewhere on the battlefield, due to the way they build up your driving, aiming and awareness like no other.

However, there are many players out there who have never even heard of this awesome battle mode, let alone know what it is about. In this article, I will seek to bring to you all not only the basics on what this game mode is; but also bring some of my own tactics for the more experienced players, as well as some useful in-game tips.

As common readers of my newspaper articles would well know, I do like to split up my articles, especially guides, into different sections to help differentiate between each aspect to the game mode. I will put this into two main sections – one at the beginning, one at the end – as well as two smaller sections in the middle to address the different questions that are asked when seeing this topic raised. My hope is that, through this guide, you would be informed and persuaded to try out this game-mode, with some new helpful insights that can help you on the battlefield. If you still have any questions left at the end, feel free to ask and I’m sure that, if not me, one of many XP players who have read this article will be ready to help you out.

Just before I start this article, I would like to make it clear that, as a lot of you have pointed out – some more so than others *cough* Elain *cough* – I am nowhere near a pro XP player. In fact, on the day I write this, I have suffered a 5-0 duel defeat. However, at the same time, I have played this mode for a decent time now, and I have learned some things that I would like to share with you all. So here goes – and I hope you find at least some of it beneficial.


Its always a good place to start in a guide cutting right down to the basics, right from the very beginning. To put it simply, XP battles are “Battles with only Railgun and Hornet allowed played in ‘No Supplies & No Micro-Upgrades’ CTF Mode.” Primarily played in Sandbox, they are played to hone skills and offer a unique sense of “solely skill” to the battlefield – which is one of the main reasons people play it. For this reason, it is also definitely the most popular 1v1 Dueling Combination. The XP combination of Railgun-Hornet is a unique combination – in the sense that it offers an arena where manoeuverability, aiming and timing, three key skills that show up in much of gameplay, are focused upon. Currently, as you all well know, creating a battle will not offer you any “limits” on guns and hulls – and thus, the only way to tell if a battle is an “XP” Battle is by looking at the name of it. It is likely that if the title of the battle contains any mention of the term “XP” or “Хоре-Рель”, you will be joining an XP Battle.

Firstly, and most importantly, though not impossible, it is rare for you to find an XP battle below the rank of Warrant Officer Five. Very few players actually play it at that rank, as they are still getting used to driving their tank in normal battles, and have not gotten advanced enough to focus on playing a tough, skill-orientated game mode like XP. It is also down to the fact that very few players know about this battle mode at that rank – which is one of the reasons I am writing this article.

Now, is Railgun-Hornet the only thing allowed in XP battles? Firstly, can other hulls be used, for example? What about Wasp? Now, here’s a slightly more confusing-ish side to the story of XP battles. If you notice, many battles go by the title of “XP/BP”. This means that Railgun Hornet as well as Railgun Wasp are allowed. (Look below at my Russian translations for more information.) However, in battles titled XP, it is generally accepted for players to use Wasp with the suggested paint limits below. However, you should not take this for granted. Many players will not want people with Wasp joining the XP battles. This is shown by battles titled “XP строго”. Thus, if you are a Wasp XP’er, please respect the creator’s wishes and avoid joining a game titled such.

Secondly, there is the issue of the paint. Are paints allowed? Many XP battles are called “XP-K” – which in Russian, is short form for “Hornet-Railgun -Paint (The – interpreting No Paint). However, this is only used when dealing with M3 Hornets, which are not allowed to use paints in XP’s. What about the lower upgraded Hornets, however? There is an important rule to remember – Paints in XP (And XP-BP) are balanced according to health so as to make sure that you will be able to survive one shot of M3 Railgun, but not thus be able to survive 2 shots of M1 Railgun. This means care must be taken. Now, I will quickly sum up a basic list.

Basic List of Protections Allowed in XP Battles

M1 Hornet – Max 30% – Tundra
M1 Wasp – Max 30% – Tundra
M2 Hornet – Max 20% – Savanna (10% is acceptable too)
M2 Wasp – Max 20% – Savanna
M3 Hornet – NO Protection Paint.
M3 Wasp – Max 10% – Forester/Emerald/Corrosion

It is one of those things about Tanki that it is a Russian game played with a large majority of players speaking Russian. And learning the XP (Also referred to as XP-K, as mentioned above) terms is one of those very difficult things to master in a game dominated by Russian speakers – a large amount of which don’t know English fluently enough to talk to you. And that’s why, below, I have compiled a short few words for you to know which can help you in a Russian game dominated by Russians.

Some helpful Russian translations for Dialogue in XP Battles:

Хоре-Рель – Railgun/Hornet [Short Form]
хр-краска/XP-K/XP-KP – Railgun-Hornets No Paint.
XP adekvat/ ХР адекват– Only Hornet-Railgun Without Paint
др к – Dictator-Rail
1 “дикорельса”, 3 – “хоререльса” / “ХР” – 1 Dictator-Railgun, 3 Hornet-Railgun [Per Team]
ХР (треня) – XP Training
XP/BP / XP/BP + 10% – Railgun/Hornet and Railgun/Wasp
дай место/dai mesto – Give Place
выйди/viddi / выход/vykhod – Leave
строго/strogo – Strictly (Used in Battle Titles where creators do not want Wasps even to join)
гo – Go!
стоп – Stop

One important thing to remember, that I can’t really describe to you in a list, is when asking someone to leave who doesn’t have the correct equipment for XP-K. I simply say “#Username, viddi. XP-K.” It normally works, and its one key thing that is often comes in more handy than you would expect. There are a fair few players out there who do not know what XP-K means, and sadly, some who do just want to join to spoil the battle. There will often be players who mess up an XP-K game by joining with the wrong combination and refusing to leave. Unfortunately, that’s life. However, it does not normally take much time to set up another one. I can be pretty sure that some of you readers will have a lot more useful words to add to that Russian list of words for XP-K battles. If so, please leave some below to help our readers.


Of course there are a lot of different types of XP Battles – ranging from Different amount of players, Different Maps, to Different Settings and Different Limits. So which is best to play?

Undoubtedly, a lot of this comes down to opinion. However, let me express the BASIC rules about what kind of XP battle you are looking for. Firstly, you should make sure that the battle you are playing is a Pro Battles and that it has “No Supplies”, “No Changing Equipment” and, also crucially, “No Micro-Upgrades”. The point of playing an XP battle if Micro-Upgrades is allowed is, in my opinion, absolutely brainless. XP battles are for fair and purely skilled games. If someone has Micro-Upgraded their Railgun to the point where it can one-shot your Hornet – is there really any point in playing? So remember this. I see lots of XP Battles where Micro-Upgrades is turned on, and whenever I see that, I repeatedly feel like banging my head onto my desk. Like, seriously. I wouldn’t play with Micro-Upgrades in any No Supplies Battle – let alone an XP battle where skill is supposed to be the final letter.

Remember, also, that you can create a Pro Battle without having a Pro Battle Pass, and join it for free if you are the creator. Thus, if you are out of crystals, you can still play XP Battles, by creating your own.

As for Bonus Boxes and Crystal Boxes, it is more down to opinion than anything else. I personally prefer in Sandbox XP battles if both are turned OFF. However, the large majority of games use Bonus Boxes equipped to give a more “exciting” feel to the battles. I personally reckon that in the map Sandbox, Bonus Boxes give a lopsided feel to what I think is a game mode that should be purely orientated by skill. On the other hand, in larger maps like Barda and Bridges, I prefer the ability to play with drops as it gives the game a more open situation. Crystals are also optional, but most find it a disturbance more than anything – the only reason would be to hope for the Gold. Most at higher ranks prefer the temptation of a big fund to picking up lots of boxes.

Now, maps. Well, there’s many options. Undoubtedly, the most popular is Sandbox, and I would recommend that as a good starting place for XP Battles. It gives all the necessary tactics for you to learn with higher levels, and some ramps into the middle to provide extra routes, as well as a fair bit of cover. Sandbox is a map made for XP Battles – and to be honest, its certainly my favourite map to play XP. Other common maps include Zone, Island, Boombox – and as you approach higher ranks, bigger maps for more players of which most popular are Red Alert, Bridges and Barda (the latter, particularly down to the recent release of the new layout of this map).

Don’t forget that there are also other main points to think about. For example, game size. 2v2, 4v4? I would definitely recommend for players to begin their XP-K playing with a 4v4 Sandbox. This is because you have other players to rely on, and also can learn more from seeing skills from other players. 2v2 is for the more pro players, as it requires more skill – since each shot matters a little bit more.


Just a mini section here to tell you all about the one place to go to play/find XP battles – if you have never seen them before, this may be why.

XP battles are always found on Server 1. Occasionally, you may see one on Server 2 and maybe once in a blue moon on another server, but that is rare. Therefore it is crucial that if you want to play XP battles, you must go to Server 1 to find them. Server 1, is unfortunately, often full, due to the amount of players that want to play on the first server. Understandably, this can get annoying when you keep refreshing to want to join – but I have never had to wait more than a minute refreshing before getting into the server – and trust me, its worth it if you intend to play XP Battles.

So where do you go for XP Battles? Remember. Server 1. And if you want a direct link to get there from here, now, just click here. Remember that even if the server is “Red” via the homepage, you can still load it by going to the server address – unless of course it is so full that no one can join, even by the server address. Just simply remember to replace the number of the server you are in with 1. Simplez. And to remind you all:

Where? Server 1.


My final section in this article will be my tips for success in an XP Battle. My “Things to Remember” List. Probably the only section of it that really well and truly is a guide. In this last part, I will give you in-game tactics for success, basic rules to follow and ways to practise your XP skills all in a list of twenty-six points. And guess what. All will start with a different letter.

Now, that’s taking tips to a new level. Tips in an acrostic. Hopefully, it will encourage you to remember each of them – and maybe you can suggest your own too. Before we start, I’d just like to remind you readers that these tips are generally rather basic since most accomplished skills come over playing time rather than simply reading tips. Get stuck into these though, and it’ll give you a real head start over the rest of the game. So, we start off at the beginning of the alphabet.

Anticipation – Anticipating enemy paths is an absolutely crucial thing to learn in XP Battles. Because of the charging feature, players have to completely rely on their anticipation to work out the perfect timing to charge up. Lets say an example. Think of an enemy running back across the middle of Sandbox to capture your flag. You are running from the right hand side of your base down the channel towards the enemy flag. Without anticipation, it would take far too long for you to get your shot in before the enemy captures. However, with skill and charging your Railgun early, you can drive your tank to an angle where you can just get the enemy flag in sight – and more than once, I have been able to kill the enemy just before they capture the flag, and return it. Without the simple art of anticipation, it would have been impossible. Learning to predict an enemy’s moves, particularly in duels, can make the difference between a victory and a loss.

Be Patient – Patience – not something we’re all too good at, if I’m going to be honest. However, sometimes you just have to wait. I’m not saying “Don’t be alert”, but rather not to commit yourself too rashly. This is especially important in a 1v1. Committing yourself, even when something as luring as a flag is in sight, needs to be done with care. If an enemy is watching you, Be Patient.

Charge Early – This is dead cert one of the most important ones for readers to remember. Charging Early is CRUCIAL! Firstly, and most obviously, you should not always wait to see an enemy before charging. This ties in with anticipation. Secondly, popping out is another thing that is needed. Don’t go into the open before you charge – or else the enemy may charge just before you, which almost always means that you will miss. Don’t forget this. This is one of the most important.

Drop The Flag – Particularly in 4v4s on Sandbox, dropping the flag plays a key part. You will find so many times where you are either running away or in your base with the enemy flag, and there is a person with full health near you, while your health is low enough to be killed in one more shot. Dropping the flag is necessary – it is always best to have someone with full health holding the flag. But there is a key factor in this – you need to make sure the player is ready to collect it. I see so many people just drop a flag to no-one in particular, and a random enemy runs in and returns it – leading to an easy enemy capture. You must pick someone to drop it to before just dropping it wildly. Note that when you are running away with the flag, you also just can’t drop it – the ideal scenario is for your team-mate to be in a position that he immediately runs onto your flag. Be careful – a failed drop-off can have severe consequences.

Every Shot Counts – Obviously, you might say – but this is definitely more true than if you are a Twins-Mammoth in a Silence Drug-War. Landing a shot – any shot – makes a big difference in a game. And please don’t play for the kill in XP Battles – I must admit I am guilty of this occasionally. Just make sure you land your shot whenever you have the opportunity. It matters.

Focus on Drops – Unfortunately (in my opinion), many of the XP Battles are played with bonus drop boxes, and so it is crucial to go for them – even going out of your way to pick them up. Double Armours – one extra Railgun shot, crucial. And when the enemy has the flag, picking up a Double Power can decide a flag and a non-flag. Nitro isn’t so important, but remember to bomb aim for the drops. They are important.

Get priorities right – When I say “Get Priorities Right”, I am particularly meaning about learning whether to focus in attacking or defending at points in matches. If you are winning by quite a way, you may be able to risk hunting down the opponent more frequently than defending your flag – since it will not be so bad if they capture, and it opens up the game more when teams attack. However, there are times when you must defend. This point also addresses learning which enemy to attack – the flag is always the big deal. If an enemy has your flag, make sure you aim for them. Sometimes, you may even have to go without shooting a different enemy who may be directly next to you – but save your shot for the player with your flag. Get priorities right.

Hide! – Hiding in an XP Battle – particularly Sandbox – is not easy at all. However, sometimes you just have to stay in a hidden position. The ideal position for this is the house – this is one reason why the Blue Team in Sandbox is, I would say, greater than the Red – since you can snipe into their base at the same time as having cover. However, when with the flag particularly, hiding must be done. Sometimes you will have to stay open on one side to protect yourself from another. This means you need to be constantly alert. Keep checking whether ghosts are spawning, or if tanks are coming in your direction. Hiding is an art – and it must be practised.

Invisibility – Keeping invisible is really something that is important for all areas of Tanki – not only XP Battles. But sometimes you have to not play the shot. Even when you have a bar available, its often needed just to be able to creep away without being noticed. Make sure you don’t focus on not being noticed unless necessary however – after all, Every Shot Counts.

Jutting out – an art that needs honing but can pay you great dividends, particularly in duels. Just jutting out a tiny bit of your tank can make people hungry to shoot it – and if you dodge, you will immediately have an advantage due to the lack of their charge. Jutting out is not crucial – but a useful thing to learn.

Keep Moving – Trust me friends, you have GOT to keep moving. Keep Moving. When you shoot, while you shoot, before you shoot, don’t stay still. This is especially true for larger battles – a moving target is incredibly hard to aim at. This is a general rule, of course – there will be times when stopping to take stock is important. However, when on the hunt especially, don’t stop moving.

Line up Double-Shots – If I’m honest, this is the most difficult technique to master out of all of these strategies – something that particularly the more skilled upper ranks need to learn. Lining up a double-shot is an incredibly useful tactic to have under your belt. It comes in line with careful manoeuvering – it takes time to practise. But its worth it. Lining up a Double-Shot in XP Games pretty much counts for damaging two people with a shot at the same time – whether you shoot through someone to hit them or not, they will still probably require only one more shot to destroy. Of course, if you don’t trust your skill with this, don’t try and delay your shot just to hope you get a double in. However, if you see the opportunity, go for it. You need to be always on the watch for a double shot. Subsequently, you need to help avoid these double-shots too. Never run directly in line with another team-mate unless you cannot avoid it. Even when “protecting them”, its unwise to cover them completely, since both of you will get damaged and it will cause more problem than solve.

Morals & Manners – Morals in an XP Battle make such a big difference to the friendly atmosphere around which it is played. I’ll run through them here for you all. Basic morals include stopping play when a team goes down one player; not capturing flags when the teams are lopsided (unless the score is already almost “finished”); and following basic orders. Stop when someone tells you to (“cton”) – and don’t start shooting until someone says “ro”. Remember also that just simply saying “ro” yourself then starting is not fair. It is always best to ask first: “ro?” and if an enemy says “ro”, you can begin battling. It is also good manners to give back a flag if you captured whilst there was an unfair advantage in the game. It is so easy to be selfish in XP Battles – but they are there for pure skill; and unfair players make an XP Battle’s sense of fairness dead.

Never Risk Turtling – I’m sure that saying Never is taking it a bit far – but risking turtling in any XP Battle (Particularly a duel!) can prove costly. Seriously costly. By turtling here, I mean flipping upside-down. It is never wise to try to do a shot to the side whist in mid-air – and trying to jump on top of opponent tanks can also be dangerous. Make sure you are extremely careful – turtling can cost your team.

Openings – Capitalize on them – Capitalising on openings is an art that demands not only XP skills, but basic Tanki knowledge. You have got to know when to confront the people in your base, and when to immediately concentrate on attack. Lets give an example. Say, there’s an enemy running away with your flag – and all his three team-mates are surrounding your flag; all your team-mates have been killed. You respawn on the right hand side. You might say: “Confront the most enemies, and remove them”; but there is an opening to the enemy flag – and if no-one catches the player with your flag, it will be a capture. Thus, you have got to make the right decision. In other opportunities such as turtled opponents, you have got to make sure you don’t surround your flag when you have a chance to make an impact; whether it be drug boxes or an empty enemy base.

Perfecting your aim – Of course, what’s a good Railgun if he can’t aim? Playing XP Battles means you have to have a good aim – particularly in the larger maps such as Barda. There’s no fun playing if you can’t learn to hone your shooting; and so practise it! Try set a target for yourself in a map – perhaps a window to aim at on a house from far away. Shoot whilst moving; shoot from different distances – if you perfect your aim, your skills will be so much more useful, and can be used for not only XP Battles, but also Clan Wars. This is also done by playing with Railgun-Hornet in normal battles – we’ll come onto that later.

Quick Turns – Aha, now here people are often surprised. With the recent update of the new physics, the turning of the tank has been made so much easier. This co-incidentally means that it is piles easier to dodge an enemy shot. You would not believe how many times I have missed a shot by a simple “reverse” technique to dodge a shot – even when the enemy is right next to me! (That might be partly due to my poor XP skills… but still the point stands!) Learn to turn quickly. That includes quickly turning up ramps to avoid enemy shots when you are under pressure – take full advantage of the new physics and let it flow with your gameplay.

Return the Flag? – Once again, a general technique for the whole of Tanki. There are times when its not wise to Return the Flag. Perhaps, you will have enemies already crowded round your base and one is sitting on the flag. It is never ever EVER wise to return a flag whilst a player is sitting on your flag. Sometimes, you can draw them out to where you are, and where the flag is; and then return it so they will have to go back to take the flag. It is not so disastrous if they are close to it, since it will take a bit of the flow out of their movement when you return it, and hopefully help your team. Of course, this needs to be balanced out with the position of your flag – don’t just go and wait to return your flag if its inches away from being captured. On the other hand, do remember that returning the flag isn’t always the best idea.

Spawn-Shooting – Spawn-Shooting is an art that everyone can do, but not everyone can perfect. Back before the rebalance, M3 Railgun-M3 Wasp combination duels used to be recipes for spawn-killing – but now, its simply the art of charging up before your enemy can. Now, now, now – this goes both ways. Not only should you make sure you charge early when someone is respawning, but also… alert here! I see so many XP players be foolish and hold down the space bar from spawning. This must be done with extreme care. If facing off with an enemy as you are spawning, they will take every advantage they have of their earlier shot to shoot you off target. Only do this if you know for sure that the player you are facing has recently shot and has not loaded their bar yet. I have missed many an important shot by holding down by space bar rashly.

Tipping Backwards and Forwards – Tipping – a very important Railgun-Hornet art to learn. Especially in maps like Sandbox with levels to make aiming just that little bit harder, tipping backwards and forwards to get the right aim is a significant skill to hone. Firstly, you must know which way to drive and stop for the different level you are aiming at. Secondly, you must know when to stop moving during your charge. This is, I must admit, one of the toughest techniques to learn – smoothly tipping whilst moving. Especially hard when you are trying to shoot someone on a different level whilst running away with the flag. Getting the balance between stopping and keeping moving is surprisingly hard!

Use your power to flip ’em! – Earlier, I considered the care you need to take not to flip – it goes the other way too. Flipping an enemy can turn a game around. And I’m serious. All us XP players will know the difference a momentum shift can have on a game. And with the new physics and the power of your Railgun, it is very possible to flip your enemies with your power. Take all advantages of ramming into them from the side. Try all you can to flip your enemies. If you can get one player out of the game, just think of the difference it can make. You know how important it is when a player is red-carded in a game of football and the difference it makes when it goes to 11v10 – just think of that, but suddenly shortened to the gap of 4v3. The time that an enemy will take to self-destruct is absolutely pivotal in many battles, especially if you are on the back foot.

Value Opponents’ Skills – “Learning to appreciate enemies’ skills will help you hone your own.” And that quote was from me. Watching your opponents will undoubtedly help your own skills. Make sure you don’t write off the opponents skills as their own style – you can use it too! It is often more useful to go through a painful 7-0 defeat than winning 7-0 against easy opposition – if you don’t fight the big guns, you won’t get much better yourself!

Warn your team-mates – This is particularly useful when in bigger maps, since in smaller, it is easy to notice flag warnings anyway. All the same, it is useful to keep alerting your team-mates on issues. If you are low on health for example, and need a hand with the flag, simply typing “f” can help alert them to your issue. Similarly, if your team is endangered at the flag, type “f”. Remember to type them out in Team Chat however – alerting your enemies can be a costly mistake if they know, for example, that you are weak; or that your team is challenging the opponent’s flag.

XP in normal battles – One thing that I have found useful is practising my Railgun-Hornet skills in normal battling. Playing battles such as Polygon DM’s, or other bigger-map drug wars can help you really learn how to play your XP Combo in a correct manner. Though things will obviously be different in those maps, don’t underestimate its effect on your skills. If you only play Railgun in the same XP Games, you won’t be able to fully appreciate everything that can be brought out of the weapon.

Youtube Rail-Hornet Gameplay – This may sound a bit odd, but watching videos of other Rail-Hornets can be incredibly useful. Though there may not be that much footage of XP Battles on Youtube, there will still be some about. And of course, if you want to watch Light Format Clan Wars, many of them can be found on the English Cybersport Channel. One that you may find silly for me to suggest, but that I have found particularly useful is this video by gamepiong that won the “Best of Guides” Contest in 2012. This may have been before the rebalance, but it still shows the incredible skills of a Railgun-Hornet on fire. Watching people play from an outside perspective can be a great help in honing your skills.

Zig-Zag Driving – And, finally, the first point that I thought up of – the one that led me to the idea of doing an acrostic. Zig-Zag Driving – the art of dodging the enemy Railguns by turning while moving. Zig-Zagging in movement is a fantastic way of dodging enemy shots. Don’t let this disturb your aiming, but its crucial to learn the art of driving in an awkward formation for the enemy to aim at. One missed shot can make big differences in an XP Battle.


Thanks for reading this guide. Once again, its been long – but worth it, I hope! Feedback appreciated, and do remember to give your own tips, words, and everything else you can think of that may be relevant for this subject! Go to Server 1 now, and try XP Battles out – trust me, they’re great fun. Once again, thanks for giving this a read. Hog – signing out.

By Hogree