Attacking an enemy portal is the process of destroying its resonators. When all of its resonators are destroyed, the portal is neutralized, ready for you to capture for your own faction. Attacking a portal requires the use of XMPs or ultra strikes. Firing one of these weapons will drain some of the XM energy from each enemy resonator in its blast radius; the percentage of damage incurred is displayed above each damaged resonator. When a resonator’s energy is drained completely, it is destroyed. Each resonator you destroy grants you 75 AP. When all the resonators on a portal are destroyed, the portal is neutralized. It will turn red briefly, then fade to gray. The portal is then ready to be captured.
How to Attack
To fire an XMP or ultra strike, you can select it from your inventory and tap “Fire.” Alternatively, you can long-press anywhere on the map screen to pull up a context menu, and select “Fire.” Either action pulls up the firing screen. A carousel will appear at the bottom of the screen, showing your available weapons (XMPs, ultra strikes, and flip cards), as well as your power cubes (including XM tanks). (Note: This article only discusses the use of XMPs and ultra strikes. For the effects of flip cards and power cubes, see their corresponding articles.)
Swipe left or right on the carousel until the desired item is inside the brackets, then tap the “Fire” or “Use” button. Like all leveled items, you can only fire weapons or use power cubes at your level or lower. Firing an XMP or ultra strike will damage all resonators within the weapon’s range.
You can increase the damage inflicted and the chance of a critical hit by charging up the weapon before firing it. To do this, start by holding down the “Fire” button. You’ll see a charging animation, with particles repeatedly moving in towards the center. Release the “Fire” button when they’re as close to the center as possible for bonus damage of up to 20%. Higher level weapons have a faster charging animation, making it more difficult to hit 20%.
Firing an XMP or an ultra strike will cost some XM from your reserves. The amount of XM required depends on the weapon’s level:
Resonators incur more damage the closer they are to the center of the weapon’s blast radius. Therefore, to inflict maximum damage to a single resonator, you want to stand right on it if possible. The damage falloff as distance to the target increases is stepped, not linear: each quintile (one-fifth) of the weapon’s maximum range halves its effectiveness:[source]
The formula which determines the base damage you inflict on a resonator is:
D = ∥Dmax ÷ 2⌊5 × R ÷ Rmax⌋∥
…where D is the amount of damage dealt, Dmax is the maximum damage the weapon can inflict, R is the range to the resonator, and Rmax is the maximum range of the weapon.
Links and portal shields increase a portal’s mitigation, which will reduce the damage received by its resonators. For example, a portal with 50% total mitigation will incur only half as much damage as normal. A portal’s total mitigation level is capped at 95%; adding a shield or a link to a portal whose mitigation is already at cap will therefore provide no additional mitigation. (However, it can help “pick up the slack” if a shield or link is destroyed.)
Occasionally you may score a critical hit on a resonator with an attack. If this occurs, the affected resonator will take double the normal amount of damage. A critical hit is indicated by an exclamation point (!) in front of the damage value displayed in your scanner.
Critical hits can also be scored against mods; which can cause the mod to be “stripped” from the portal. The chance of this happening depends on the mod’s “stickiness” property. Most mods have no stickiness, meaning any critical hit will destroy the mod. However, the higher the mod’s stickiness, the more likely that it will deflect a critical hit.
When a mod is destroyed by a critical hit, you’ll see an orange explosion centered on the portal. If the mod was a shield, you’ll also see the shield dome turn red and then disintegrate. If it was a different mod, it will appear briefly over the portal and shatter.
There are several things that can increase the chances of a critical hit:
- Stand closer to the target (the resonator to hit, or the portal itself for mods)
- Use ultra strikes
- Use higher-level weapons
- Charge up your attacks by long-pressing the “Fire” button
Note that all mods will be destroyed when a portal is neutralized, even if the last attack was not a critical hit.
Links and Control Fields
When all of a portal’s remaining resonators are close to being destroyed, any links or control fields anchored to the portal will drop. If you cause this to happen by firing an XMP or ultra strike, you will get 187 AP per link and 750 AP per control field.
The portals fight back. An enemy portal will attack you when you damage one or more of its resonators and you are within its “zap range.” The higher the portal’s level, the greater its zap range and damage:
|1||75 XM||40 m|
|2||150 XM||45 m|
|3||300 XM||50 m|
|4||500 XM||55 m|
|5||750 XM||60 m|
|6||1,125 XM||65 m|
|7||1,625 XM||70 m|
|8||2,500 XM||75 m|
At low levels, you generally want to focus on building rather than attacking; most portals will be too strong and you don’t have access to higher-level weapons. However, if you find a portal with only low-level resonators on it, you can try taking it down. At this level, you will always want to stand directly on a resonator when attacking to inflict maximum damage on it. But it’s better to get together with a higher-level agent: let them knock stuff down, then you deploy.
At higher levels, you have access to stronger XMPs with greater range. At that point, it starts being more advantageous to stand on the portal itself rather than the resonators. You will be able to do good damage to all its resonators at once, and you’ll destroy mods faster.
Links and portal shields increase a portal’s mitigation, reducing the amount of damage resonators take and making it harder to neutralize the portal. Note that mods may be stripped off at any time during an attack, but links remain until the portal’s nearly dead. This means that link mitigation tends to be more “durable” than shield mitigation. The plus side of this is that neutralizing one of the two portals supporting a link will reduce the mitigation of the other. Attacking the weaker portals first in a heavily-linked cluster will help soften up the stronger ones, making it less difficult to take them down.
Before firing your XMPs, it can be beneficial to use ultra strikes to strip the mods from the portal. Because of their narrow blast radius, you may even be able to do this without being zapped if the resonators are deployed far enough away. Doing this debuffs the portal, making it easier to take it down with your XMPs. Even low-level ultra strikes can do a decent job at stripping mods.
Ultra strikes, with their increased damage, are also good at quickly taking down individual resonators, rapidly dropping the portal’s level and reducing zap damage inflicted by later attacks.
Keep in mind the range of your blast. As higher-level weapons have greater blast radii, they more easily hit multiple portals, meaning that you can be attacked by more than one portal at once. It might be tempting to stand in the middle of a field and drop a huge XMP, but you will have the entire field of portals attack you at once, and you’ll be out of XM very fast, obliging you to recycle items or use power cubes to continue the attack.
One way to reduce XM drain is to find an edge where only one portal can hit you then start working your way around the edge of the field destroying the resonators. As the resonators are destroyed, the portal’s level will drop, weakening its counterattacks. Let your splash damage weaken the portals ahead of you. This method will, however, cost more XMPs, since you are not using the full potential of your blast radius.
One way to attack heavily linked and shielded high-level portals without using power cubes is to attack until you run out of XM, then recycle XMPs one or two levels below your own level until you have just enough XM to fire again. Any damage the portal can deal to you will be wasted, since after firing you’ll have little to no XM to lose.
- On 17 January 2013, XMP range was drastically reduced. For example, a level 8 XMP’s range went from 400 m to 168 m.
- XMPs began costing XM to fire on 18 April 2013.
- The ultra strike was introduced on 1 August 2013, but was only hackable on certain Motorola devices. They became hackable by all agents on 8 May 2014.