This article is about the game Boom Beach and is a strategy guide for the use of Zookas with tips for fighting and attacking in the app. There are many intricacies with Zookas and we are going to attempt to pass on what we learned over last few months trying to master zooka attacks.
Basics about Zookas in Boom Beach
Zookas are champs when it comes to bringing the firepower. However, as much as they excel at delivering the DPS, they’re also quite fragile and used most frequently in conjunction with a meatshield or high HP troop such as Heavies or Scorchers. Utilizing Zookas alone means absolutely smashing anything their gun is pointed at, however – it is up the player to ensure that GBE is efficiently used while safely delivering the Zookas to their intended target.
In general, the biggest threat to Zookas is – Splash Damage Defenses and Mines. Accordingly, It is essential to clear a threat-free path for Zookas as they travel to their target. A stray mine, shock launcher blast or rocket barrage aimed at a group of Zookas can be an attack ending event. A less Concerning threat to Zookas are single shot defenses, IE – cannons, boom cannons, sniper towers. It is not imperative to shock or disable those defenses as they have little effect on the total Zooka population.
While Zookas have considerable power at any level, it is essential to level them up as fast as possible. For optimal results, also upgrade all accompanying gunboat abilities, IE – smokes, shocks, and flares. When it comes to high level operations, an added second of time or more DPS can mean the difference between a success and failure.
Deployment of Zookas
Objective: Direct the Zookas into a densely populated group for their journey to the core/HQ.
There are 2 ways to group your zookas while deploying them and depending on the base layout one may be beneficial over the other. Depending on the base layout, there are two ways to land Zookas on the beach.
Flaring and grouping zookas on the beach is the most reliable way of grouping your zookas in a nice compact group before even getting in the line of fire of any defenses. If however, there are splash or many single dps defenses in range it is important to smoke your group along the way so that they are protected.
The basics of this techniques are quite simple. First you drop a flare in line with the path you want zookas to take as it travels through the base then time and drop your boats one at a time so that all zookas get deployed and their path to the flare overlaps and they naturally group together.
The timing of each boat drop is not easy and if not done properly can result in a scattered swarm of zookas . In my experience the best time to drop each boat is as soon as the front zooka turn right/left the next boat is dropped and the next after that and so on. here also it is important that if you have uneven number of troops, underleveled landing craft or an upgrading landing craft, these boats are deployed last as merging them with a bigger group is much easier than having a bigger boat being dropped last. This is learned with practice and as such is very beneficial to practice on NPC or player bases.
It is especially difficult to time your smokes and zooka deployment when dropping your troops on a dangerous beach. This is where using Gearhart weekly to practice such attacks so that you do not fail when its time for Operations. Timing is very difficult and even if you have perfected it you may still struggle, but it is still paramount to not panic and drop too many smokes and you run out of gbe for later on in the raid.
Dump and Chase
Dump and chase grouping of zookas is just what it sounds like. Deploying all your zookas close to the beach and letting them group up automatically toward a nearby building and flaring from there if needed.
While this strategy works very well most of the time it is very risky, and of course very limited, as it will take one rocket launcher in beach range and you cannot deploy troops in such a way.
It is important to note that under smoke your zookas will always follow the drop flags before targeting any nearby buildings, however outside of smoke they have been known to ignore flags and go for closest buildings. This is because if your drop flags overlap your landing crafts the zookas will ignore flags and go for nearest buildings. This will result in a fully scattered group and if range of splash damage end of the raid.
The benefit of using this technique over the other is that it conserves gunboat energy that can later be more effectively used for shocking defenses later on in the attack. 1 less flare and a few less smokes, help out a lot later on in the raid.
Pathing zookas is similar to pathing warriors as they travel along the same lines with the major and very crucial difference being that they travel much slower. Because of their slower pace it is paramount that you use high level and efficient smokes so that they do not get picked off by group of rockets or shocks. Pathing zookas over long distances which is usually required for large operation bases it can be unpredictable how zookas will react to every flare as a little difference in flare drop position can result in a few zookas straying from smokes. That’s the reason why it is beneficial to use multiple pit-stops as with warriors to ensure simple mis tap cannot result in your attack failing.
If pit-stops are properly used zookas will eventually form 2 lanes and travel in straight lines or in a single group when going diagonally. This helps with minimizing your smokes and gbe usage which can later be used for shocking defenses when the troops are ready for final punch.
In the above example for instance the flare was dropped close to the sniper tower i.e. directly in a straight line from the zooka group there by splitting them in 2 around the boom cannon. If however the flare was closer to the cannon instead some zookas would have pathed around cannons and path over minefield killing a big group of zookas.
While it is safer to have overlapping smokes so that there is no way for you zookas to wander and be picked off, there must however be a balance as long base maps you will need some GBE for final part of an attack and as such using efficient smokes well spaced may be more useful.
The number one rule when flaring zookas is to never flare to a building. Unlike warriors zookas circle a flared buildings differently because of their longer range. Because of their longer range zookas if in a nice tight group end up going around to encircle the building leaving smoke all too easily and get killed by nearby defenses. If your zookas are in a reasonably tight group and you flare directly ahead to a spot (i.e. heading of 0 degrees, or 12 o’clock, from the troops perspective), then they will advance in a reasonably straight line. The defensive buildings will funnel them to some extent, and you can generally expect them to go around the sides of a building.
Generally, you are going to be able to cover your formation in one smoke. But many of you are converting from warriors, so space your smokes more tightly than you would for warriors. And smoke early, rather than late. You have to take into account the several second delay between you clicking and your smoke reaching the ground. With warriors, at worst they take a few hits. But zookas are far more fragile and much slower.
Sometimes zookas are not grouped or separate because of flare timing and when going through defenses they stray away from the pack and in some cases leave smoke screen.
As you can see, some of the zookas step out of smoke and he takes some hits. Had he placed his smoke perfectly, he could have covered all 3 columns of zookas. Most mortals won’t place their smoke perfectly. That’s life, you will get better with practice.
If some of your zookas step out of smoke, don’t react. In most cases, you will throw an additional smoke, but it will take several seconds to get there, and all the zookas that were going to die will have died before it lands. So it’s better to make a more compact pack and save GBE for later on in the raid as extra smokes can get expensive and it is better used for shocking defenses an extra few seconds.
Efficiency of Zookas
Smoke Zooka is a very GBE heavy attack strategy and it is recommended to have a lot of GBE guardians to help facilitate zookas path to the desired areas. However, even with many GBE statues an attack can be derailed if GBE is used inefficiently. Using too many smokes, shocking prematurely or dropping un-necessary flares are all GBE points that can be used for later most crucial GBE ability later on in the attack that is to shock defenses.
A very important way to save gbe is to always use dump and chase grouping strategy and to only resort to beach flaring when the beach is unsafe. One flare may not seem like much GBE but when added together it can later leave you handcuffed as you may not have GBE later for any more shocks.
Another way is to drop smokes as such (assuming a nice zookas pack) that you cover as much of the path as possible while overlapping as little of your smokes as possible. This takes a lot of practice and in early days it is better to overlap smokes but it helps to space them better.
In above example it shows that even when smokes are not overlapping if zookas are in a nice line they can path through it safely, however you should be very cautious as if even a sliver of gap is left and a rocket launcher is in range your zookas will die a fiery death.
One of the more riskier ways is to scout the base well and look for defenses in range. If no major splash damage or clusters of single dps are in range it is better to avoid smoking until the very end as well as avoiding clearing mines as sacrificing few zookas in the beginning is better than running out of GBE later.
For instance, in the above example there were no splash damage in zookas path to the flare and only a single boom mine. And as such the attacker chose to not smoke all the way to the flare and only smoke as zookas reached the flare. There were some casualties but cannons in the end take so long to target and shoot they cannot take a shot until its too late and zookas are under the protection of smoke screen.
Clearing Defenses with Zookas in Boom Beach
You can either go direct for the core (more later), or clear out defenses so your teammates can do so. You can do what warriors might call a rolling attack, where your troops are emerging from smoke into open ground, and then they immediately start engaging targets. This is very risky and not recommended in most cases, but if a base is just right for it it can be more efficient for saving GBE.
Alternatively, you can cover your troops in one final smoke, much like warriors would smoke the structure they are attacking (e.g. an RL or the HQ). If you do this, you can make your last smoke a double or triple smoke (latter in a triangle formation) if you want to be safe. Otherwise, all your troops will fit under one smoke screen if grouped tightly enough.
Cannons and Boom Cannons aren’t a huge threat to your zookas. Sniper Towers on the other hand are a little more concerning, since they fire twice the speed of a cannon. But an all zooka army can still overwhelm a group of highly boosted sniper towers. If you have numerous single target defenses, you want to mix shocks and critters.
Splash defenses (aka area of effect, or AoE, defenses) are more difficult. Your zookas tend to cram pretty tightly, as is meant to be. And splash defenses deal the same damage to every unit within their splash range. RLs, SLs, mortars, and FTs are considered splash defenses. It appears that MGs also do splash damage (from the wiki) however unpredictably.
Machine guns are challenging but not impossible to deal with if you have the shocks. On high level ops, your zookas can take no more than two bullets from an MG, and they fire 10x a second. If possible, you want to attack MGs from the edge of their range, where they’re least accurate. Zookas have a 7.2 tile range. MGs have a range of 9 tiles. Also to note when zookas are very close to MGs only one zooka at a time will be targeted and splash damage will be limited and when far away in MG range the damage is weak and sporadic enough that 1 or 2 max med kits can counter the defense caused by MGs.
A small group of zookas can easily destroy flamethrowers from outside of FT range, which is 6.5 tiles. However, if you have a large formation of zookas, some of them will inevitably crowd around it, and some will stray within range. FTs can really take a bite out of your formation if you aren’t careful; the Wiki appears to indicate that they do splash damage out to 1 tile, which means that whenever an FT fires, everybody within 1 tile takes the same damage. Also, your zookas burn for 5 seconds after inflicting additional damage so FTs can be the most deadly defense against zookas.
Shock launchers have a splash radius of 3 tiles, and as too many people have found out, on the ops, a shock blast can instantly vaporize most or all of your zookas. Mortars will do splash damage out to 1.1 tiles, and versus smokey zookas, they can easily take out 10 zookas in one hit. And their blind spots are too small for you to park your zookas in the blind spot and just let them shoot the mortar/SL. You can be pretty careful about how you place your shocks, and in the worst case, you can shock some of your own troops.
When dealing with a group of defenses you again do not want to flare to a defense. a group of zookas (boosted or otherwise) do massive damage. When flared to a building/defense all of your zookas target one building and very easily kill it, but what hurts after is that they will then reposition themselves and retarget this can take 3 to 4 seconds as their attack speed is 2 seconds. This is valuable shock time wasted, while unflared your group of zookas can take out multiple defenses simultaneously.
Killing the Core in Boom Beach
The classic way to kill the core is to put your last flare and last smoke within 5 tiles of the core, so that your entire formation is within 7.2 tiles of the closest edge of the core. Then you flare the core, so your zookas target it. Then just before the smoke expires, shock all the AoE/Splash defenses in range of you, just like a warrior player would. And then let them rip the core apart.
Again, if some zookas step out of your final smoke, don’t react. I’ve seen people smoke the stray zookas and this causes a big chunk of their zookas to be under smoke and not shooting while rest does. This takes a big chunk from your total DPS and you end up being unable to take the core as you could have.
Max zookas have 489 DPS before boosts. Assuming you have a 30% TD boost, that’s 635.7 DPS per zooka.
Now assume that after subtracting casualties en route and from snipers/cannons near the core, and assuming one round of shocks with imperfect shock timing, you have 72 zookas firing for only 8 seconds. That’s 366k hit points off the core already, and your zookas will usually get some shots off before the RLs kill them all. Two rounds is going to be 700k hit points or so. And on the mid to high level ops, you will probably encounter power cores with 800k to 1.5 million hit points. So already, with some fairly conservative assumptions, you can see that if you rush a lower-level core, you can obliterate it in 2-3 attacks.
On the highest level ops, you are typically going to face cores with 2 to 3 million hit points. You definitely want a good TD MP and at least one TD guardian, if not two. And the higher the operation the more boost is necessary to have any hope of inflicting significant damage.
And, if you have taken out the surrounding defenses, you can just let your troops keep firing, even if cannons pick some of them off. Just 10 max zookas with 80% TD boost can do a million damage in 2 minutes.
What will Zookas attack
When zookas (or any troops) reach their destination, they will target these buildings within their range:
- Enemy defensive buildings first.
- Among defensive buildings, they’ll go for the most heavily damaged one first.
- If tied, I think they go for Highest HP first (still experimenting with its accuracy).
- Then non-defensive buildings
- If nothing is left in their range, they will move for the nearest building. I believe they will move until they are in range of any type of building.
More tips and tricks on Zookas in Boom Beach
If you have more tips, strategies and guides around Boom Beach, then simply write in the comments. We will then steadily expand this article, to offer a comprehensive guide to the game.