The Anchor Station is a formidable UNSC defensive installation that can sometimes be the last line of defense in friendly space.
History and Role
Originally built as refit stations to service UNSC naval vessels, the versatility of their design has allowed them to be upgraded to meet operational demands during the Human-Covenant war. With fully upgraded weapon systems, the Anchor can deploy Archer missiles, Onager mini-MACs and even Shiva-class nuclear missiles, as well as numerous squadrons of YSS-1000 Sabre fighter-bombers. The latter capability was demonstrated to devastating effect by Anchor 9 above Reach, its Sabres playing a vital role in allowing Noble Team to destroy the Covenant supercarrier Long Night of Solace in Operation: UPPER CUT.
Weapons and Tactical Usage
The various upgrades available to Anchor Stations allow them to perform many roles - they can be upgraded to serve as defensive strongpoints, to perform logistics roles on planets with limited slots, or both.
Without any weapons upgrades, the Anchor is limited to AA Autocannons - these are rather potent against enemy strike craft, but are of little use against heavier vessels. The Archer Missile and MAC upgrades allow them to take on larger targets, especially in conjunction with structural upgrades, but even so a frontline Anchor will need to be supported to be able to withstand any determined assault.
A effective, if expensive, defensive Anchor build is the following:
- Weapons Systems x2 (max)
- Structural Integrity x5 (max)
- Sabre Launch Bays x3 (max)
- Shiva Launch Tubes x2 (max)
This maximises the Anchor's firepower and survivability against enemy fleets, while the large number of strike craft carried allows more of the planet's tactical slots to be used for Super-MACs or repair stations. However, you may wish to replace the Shivas - which are often wasted by the autocasting system - with Construction Bays, especially in larger games where reinforcements may be many slipspace jumps away.
Another useful, more multi-role anchor build, is:
- Weapons Systems x2 (max)
- Structural Integrity x4
- Sabre Launch Bays x3 (max)
- Shiva Launch Tubes x1
- Construction Bays x1
- Trade Facilities x1
This particular loadout sacrifices some survivability for a wider range of capabilities - the trade facilities allow Anchors to continue trade routes where an uninhabited gravity wells or logistics slot constraints would otherwise stop them. In addition, the Sabres are useful for chasing down ships that stay out of the Anchor's weapons range, while the Construction Bays and Shivas allow them to defend themselves if they come up against anything more than scouts or light raiding fleets.
However, their weaker hull means that they are easier to take out, and should be supported by repair stations - in empty gravity wells, where this is not possible, the UNSC's Anchor Optimisation Doctrine research can allow you to build two close enough together for them to repair one another; but even two starbases are likely to melt under heavy, sustained attack.
Anchor Stations can be fitted with a number of upgrades, allowing you to customise your own station depending on the situation.
- Weapons Systems: Fits the station with Archer Missiles, and later Onager mass drivers, to the station. Expensive (2 levels).
- Structural Integrity: Fits the station with further Titanium-A battle plating and internal reinforcement. This adds 2500 HP, 10 HP restoration, and 2 armour with each level. Expensive (5 levels).
- Sabre Launch Bays: Allows the station to launch 4, 8, or 14 (depending on level) YS-1000 Sabre fighter-bombers. Standard price (3 levels). Does not require "Sabre Project" research.
- Trade Facilities: Allows the station to act as a trade station - useful for when Logistics slots are limited or nonexistent (e.g. asteroids or uninhabitable gravity wells). Cheap (2 levels), requires research.
- Coordinated Resistance: Prevents the planet below from being wiped out so long as the Anchor is still intact - less useful in SotP than Vanilla, as even maxed-out Anchors will quickly fall against sustained attack. Standard price (1 level), requires research.
- Construction Bays: Allows the station to act as a SinoViet Dry Dock and produce smaller (non-capital) ships - useful for when Logistics slots are limited or nonexistent, or where reinforcements are far away. Standard Price (1 level), requires research.
- Docking Tubes: Allows the station to repair and replenish the antimatter of all nearby ships. Less useful in SotP than Vanilla, as fewer ships use antimatter and the AoE healing provided is almost negligible, far weaker than the Anchor's existing repair ability. Standard price (2 levels), requires research.
- Shiva Launch Tubes: Fits the station with Shiva-class nuclear missiles. Boosts potential damage output significantly - but, like Shivas on capital ships, requires careful micro to prevent autocast wasting them. Standard price (2 levels), requires research.
Some of the station upgrades listed above require research to unlock:
- Deep Space Trade: Unlocks Trade Facilities.
- Comms. Arrays: Unlocks Coordinated Resistance.
- Remote Construction: Unlocks Construction Bays.
- Docking Tubes: Unlocks (predictably) Docking Tubes.
- Shiva Launch Tubes: Unlocks Shiva Launch Tubes.
Other research projects can drastically increase the effectiveness and survivability of Anchors, improving on the hull, armour, or weapon stats listed above:
- Unbreachable Hull: Increases the station's HP by 10% per level.
- Advanced Fire Control: Allows the station to engage more targets, and increases damage by 10%.
- Anchor Optimization Doctrine: Allows two stations to be deployed per gravity well - this is especially useful to defend frontline worlds, uninhabitable gravity wells, or stars (which, unlike in vanilla Sins, have the same Starbase limits as normal wells).
In addition, almost every technology on the Armament technology tree (other than Code Name: Deja and Spartan Assault Teams) benefits starbases, boosting armour by 3 points, HP by 36%, and damage by up to 75%.