Down and Dirty
Burn Cards in Titanfall are one time use perks. They can be anything from an amped up weapon to mind control that makes enemy AI fight for you. You can find all sorts of explanations online with a simple search and I encourage you to do so because at least at first, the burn cards can be overwhelming. I recommend just hitting ‘Auto-Select’ and using every card that comes up in a match until you get the hang of how each one affects your play style. Once you’ve gained some familiarity, shut that off and never use it again.
The entire concept of “HERE ARE THE TOP TEN” whatever is too gimmicky for me. Unless your name is David Letterman, top ten lists are a cheap marketing ploy that hacks use to get you to their ad driven site or video.
Fuck those people.
This article discusses the actual use of burn cards within your squad – you decide which ones are the best.
Every weapon in the game has an Amped burn card counterpart. Most of the time you can just sell these outright. Pick your two favorite weapons and stockpile those burn cards. Having an AMPED R-101c does you no good if your skill with the weapon is shit. Save yourself some headache and sell it. Also – sell every AMPED sidearm you get. Running around with a stronger pistol out doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a pistol and the damage and rate of fire on assault rifles and smgs will almost always out class it.
The only time you should keep AMPED weapons that aren’t one of your two best weapons is if you have a Daily Challenge and you want to get it over with fast.
We all have 3 burn card slots each match. When you consider your load-out, prioritize those slots in this order: two slots for the squad, one slot for you. This means your first two slots should benefit the squad somehow. “Killing more dudes with an OP weapon” is not useful to the squad. Put that AMPED Smart-Pistol in your third slot.
Think of the personal slot as your fun slot and the squad slots as your business slots. Once you’ve gained an advantage by helping your squad, then you’ve earned the right to play with your food before you eat it. Don’t underestimate the importance of your fun slot. After all WTF are we doing here if we’re miserable.
Initial Spawn Tactic: Blitzkrieg
Sadly, Burn Cards that give you a free mech are rare. Whenever you get one, tuck that bad boy away and wait for at least one other member of your squad to earn one. Holding it until every member of your squad is sitting on one is even better.
In a typical game, Titans don’t begin falling en masse until three or four minutes into game play. At the start of a new match, have everyone in your squad activate their free Titan. Starting a map with four Titans in play is a TREMENDOUS advantage. Particularly when you can hang on to them until the enemy starts spawning Titans because your firepower will easily demolish the slow one by one trickle of enemy mechs forcing them to wait even longer to engage you.
Make sure that you stick together and cover each other since these free mechs aren’t configured the same as the load-out that your squad usually runs. You’ll have to be extra vigilant in order to keep them running.
Titan Deployment Burn Cards
Tier 1: Spare Stryder, Atlas Refurb, Reserve Ogre – Instant Spawn of default Titans
In the absence of free Titan Burn Cards, there are cards that dramatically reduce the cool-down on your mechs. If you don’t have the Tier 1 Titan Deployment Cards, you still have some decent alternatives. If you all activate them in the beginning of the game, you’ll still have an advantage, it will simply come a bit later.
Titan Deployment Burn Cards
Tier 2: Pull Rank – 80 Seconds cut from your Titan Build time.
Tier 3: Decisive Action – 40 Seconds cut from your Titan Build time.
Tier 4: Thin the Ranks, Urban Renewal, Titan Salvage, Most Wanted List, Outsource – These all let you earn less build time by shooting things. Not a terrible option, but there are certainly better uses for your Squad Slots.
Basically if you don’t have a Tier 1 or Tier 2 Deployment card, just run around and farm grunts. One pod of dead grunts is 30 seconds off of build time. A pilot kill is also -30 seconds.
The Tactical Ability Burn Cards also have three levels. The Tier 1 version is constantly active and does not replace your Tactical Ability. Tier 2 is fires intermittently on its own and the Tier 3 is an enhanced replacement for your Tactical Ability.
Remember Garlock’s Gladiator Rule #1: If your enemy cannot detect you, he cannot kill you. That rule works both ways. For this reason, I cannot stress enough the importance of vision. When I discuss Titanfall squad load outs in an upcoming article, I emphasize Active Radar Pulse. Ideally your squad has two of these that alternate. You can use burn cards to enhance this ability.
Active Radar Pulse Burn Cards
Tier 1: Echo Vision – the radar is always on.
Tier 2: Packet Sniffer – Auto pulse every ten seconds
Tier 3: Aural Implant – enhanced ability replacement
The next ability to discuss is Minion Detector. The passive Pilot Kit is moderately useful in its own slot, but the burn card versions also give you vision of enemy Pilots. This addition makes the ability worth while.
Minion Detector Burn Cards
Tier 1: Map Hack – full map reveal including uncloaked Pilot locations
Tier 2: Satellite Uplink – 1 second full map reveal every ten seconds, again, excluding cloaked Pilots.
Tier 3: Spider Sense – Not directly related to Minion Detector, but it gives you a sound when an enemy Pilot is near. The other two are
Both of these abilities give your squad a decided advantage – as long as you communicate with your team. Talk, talk, talk.
The Manchurian Candidates
Mind control burn cards are only moderately helpful to a squad. They’re beneficial in the same way fighting in the middle of a friendly minion wave in MOBAs helps. When you are fighting, every little bit of damage helps and turning your enemies into friends who shot bullets is even better. That being said, I’ve found that these Burn Cards are most helpful when you’re in a Titan. Pilots don’t have enough HP for the extra damage incoming from Grunts and Spectres to truly be useful since they die so quickly that the extra damage is minimal.
There’s only a single tier of mind control:
Tier 3: WiFi virus, Conscription
I set it at Tier 3 because if you have any other Tier 1 or 2 cards, they’re likely a better use of the slot.
Cover Your Ass
The last Burn Card that I’ll mention is Personal Alarm System. If you run around with your squad peppering these mines along your path of traversal, you’ll discourage enemies from following you. It’s always satisfying to get the K when you’re far from the area of the detonation.
Anything outside of the cards that I mentioned fall into the ‘personal slot’ category. Also for the frugal, here’s the math on which Black Market Packs have the most useful cards. If I don’t mention a pack here, it’s not even worth consideration.
Tactical Ability Pack, 20K (6 Cards per pack, 10 possible) – 1 in 3.3 chance of something top tier.
Tier 1: 1
Tier 2: 2
Tier 3 and below: 7 (Ghost Squad, Adrenaline Transfusion are decent)
Ordinance Pack 20K(6 Cards per pack, 8 possible) – 1 in 8 chance. Unless you have millions of points, skip this pack and all the others.
Personal Alarm System.
Time Boost Pack 20K(6 Cards per pack, 7 possible) – 1 in 7 chance. I rate this pack only slightly above the Ordinance pack.
Tier 1: 0
Tier 2: 1 (Pull Rank)
Tier 3 and below: 6
Intel Pack 20K(6 Cards per pack, 6 possible) – 2 in 3 chance. Best bang for the buck. EVERYTHING in here is useful.
Tier 1: 2
Tier 2: 2
Tier 3 and below: 2
Titan Pack 30K(3 Cards per pack, 16 possible) – 1 in 5.3 chance. Not great and you only get 3 cards
Premiere Pack 50K(4 Cards per pack, 13 possible) – Strictly speaking the 50k cost makes this one not really worth the money.
Tier 1: 5
Tier 2: 1 (Spectre Camo)
Tier 3 and below: 7