KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Plan your attacks carefully; be sure that backup won't show up for that seemingly defenceless cargo hauler.
Learn how your ship fly and what every system you put on it does, if you know what it's possible for you to accomplish chances are you'll come home alive.
It's easy for people to forget what ships can do, and that some ships can fire backwards as well as forwards.
Learn about the various depots, some are more heavily armed than others and it pays to know which ones can call in backup.
LONE WOLF TACTICS
Watch your comm chatter for transports in distress. Zoom to Distress Beacon, but stop about 70km away. Wait for Marauders to take out the transports and fly away. Roll in yawning to pick up the cargo. Every 200 cargo pods execute a few Maas corvettes to stop yourself getting bored.
Lying just above the centre of the L-point facing toward its exit (red) cone, use allies or attached T-fighters as mentioned before. When something comes out shoot it [for best result use rapid fire PBC on the T-fighters, the key here is concentrated firepower].
Note: this works even better using allies or attached T-fighters on the fire at will setting.
Position on the blue side of an L-point, about 5-6k distant. Simply wait for a Megafreighter to come through. By the time you have control of the missile the escorts should be coming through, all with their rear facing you.
Detonate as you approach 1k distance. The escorts even if they turn as they pop in will still be rear-facing to the missile. With good timing you can destroy all the escorts and force the freighter to drop its cargo in one instant. Any escorts that survive will be badly damaged and easy prey. After a time the megafreighter will block the L-point and if it is a 2 freighter convoy the second transport will collide with the first one, causing a mess that will heavily damage or destroy both freighters and any surviving escorts.
If you plan to attack heavily escorted ships, try to select a convoy of 2 or more transports. If they're getting out of the area (either by Lagrange point or getting out of a LDS interdiction zone) attack only a few transports (not all of them) that way the escorts will split (don't bother hostiles not shooting at you, they'll continue escorting the remaining untouched transports in the convoy).
When the intact transports get ready to leave, all (or if not all, most of) the escorts will form up to follow them, leaving you free to collect the loot.
[by the Sinner] Approach a non-hostile convoy from the rear. Keep your T-fighters on "fire at will". Lock on 1 escort and fire 3 deadshot missiles, before they impact use thrust override to pass them and position behind a 2nd escort. Use rockets, or PBC fire as soon as the deadshot impacts and the escorts go hostile. You should make short work of the 2nd escort, and if the 1st escort survives he'll be heavily damaged and easy prey.
If you can manage to make the transport release its cargo (without destroying it) you can then flee at maximum speed. The escort will chase you for a while but eventually will abandon pursuit and go back in formation with their sheep [don't flee too far or the cargo pods will disappear). For best effect use manual thruster override to flee and, after getting a some speed turn off the Nav Assist and turn back to see what's happening.
Note: if you want to destroy the escorts you can drop mines while fleeing (proximity or seeker are fine).
ALLIES/REM FIGHTERS/T-FIGHTERS TACTICS
Missiles and mines cost money or resources and piracy doesn't need them. Initiate combat by firing on the freighter and slowly straff with attached T-fighters attacking target. Escorts will damage you but ignore them. Once cargo pods are released, switch to fire at will, then immediately thrust away until your autorepair heals you up - then turn and finish the escorts. Collect the pods at leisure.
When attacking a few fighters or interceptors, undock the T-fighters and order them to attack. Fly in circles round the T-fighters, who will usually destroy the fast and agile enemy much more quickly than you could (they are very accurate).
When attacking many fighters or interceptors, gather them all together by flying through them and thrust away. Turn direction abruptly and thrust again, then turn to face them while flying backwards. They should all be bunched together in a nice tight pack. Fire an REM missile at them and detonate it just before you get to the middle of them. (This is useful in one of the later missions in Act 2 when you can't be bothered with stealth.)
Fast is not always good in dogfights. Docked T-fighters on fire at target/will give you the firepower to overcome most head-to-head close range confrontations when you're more or less stationary, even when numbers are against you.
Sometimes, attacking with your allies does not make ships hostile to you, only to your allies. This allows you to call Jaf for pickup while the fight is still going on [warning this is risky business for your fighters].
If you can distract the escorts (i.e. by letting your T-fighters lose on them), you can shoot the transport without the escorts becoming hostile (the escorts have to be a certain distance away 10-15km).
REM fighter can be usefull for piracy, with a hit an run tactic. Stay about 20 km from an L-Point with the 2 t-fighters undocked protecting your vessel and few seeker mines. Take the REM Fighter near the L-Point, wait for juicy TRNs, hit them just once and get back to your vessel, no need to dock right away. Escort will follow the REM Fighter. T-Fighters and mines will welcome the escort, unlink and have you vessel finish the job.
Note (by Jet): at the moment it is unknown if having a self defense software module installed on your ship will hinder or help with this tactic.
If you position your T-fighters (give them the order to stop to position them not too far from the target) and mines (closer to you) in layers, you get a potentially more efficient setup.
Lure the escort with the REM fighter, when the hostiles bypass your T-fighters' position activate them (by using one of the attack target, fire at will, or defend me order). At that point the hostiles should be in the mines sensor range, those that turn to attack the T-fighters will be sitting duck for the mines, those that continue to follow the REM fighter will encounter a nasty surprise (a textbook crossfire I think).
As the name suggests, Turret-Fighters can act as turrets while mounted on some ships (Advanced Patcom, Heavy Corvette). You can use this to your advantage if you wait before giving them the order "attack target" until you bypass the ship you're targeting (in a head to head confrontation), used that way the T-fighter can get clean shots in the enemy vessels unprotected rear at close range.
If you manage to dump enough things (pod, ships, whatever) to block the entry side of a Lagrange point, ships that want to transit through will start stacking up in the queue, once they reach their station in the queue they stay motionless making it easy to plan an attack.
When exploding a weapon generated LDSi field will detonate all missiles within it's LDSi effect radius.
You don't have LDSi missile in your loadout? No problem, if you follow a convoy from a station toward a Lagrange point, they sometimes drop out of LDS to re-align, shoot a that moment, the escort becomes hostile, you go back to LDS, they shoot an LDSi missile at you and there you are in the middle of nowhere. You have 40 seconds to make the transport release its pods. You don't even have to shoot the escort since they'll usually continue to escort their transport once it resume LDS travel.
Attacking while in LDSi/port speed restriction fields has it's advantages over the LDSi only of L-points. A ship that's not moving faster then 200 mps is an easy target. And very often ships and escorts hang still around bases Note: sometimes the transport docks to deliver its cargo so hurry up, sometimes it just docks and keeps it, talk about sitting ducks.
Comment by IceTea[GeNeX]: You might not move very fast, but I experienced that I fight better at half speed.
You can apparently "block" a Lagrange point by dropping a cargo pod just before the exit. This can be useful in some places (Black eye L-point comes to mind) where enemy (pirates) ships transit through the L-point preventing you from calling Jaf to collect to pods scattered around.
Try throwing a cargo pod at your target to damage it (very difficult to aim and coordinate, especially if the target is moving). Alternatively you can use a pod of something dangerous (neutron warheads, antimatter... choose your poison) damage it a bit so that the collision will ensure the destruction of the pod and a satisfying explosion as the contents vaporize a small part of space.
First undock your T-fighters, position them not too far from the convoy and order them to Halt. Then go in yourself and have a pot shot at the transport, then flee as mentioned before but not too fast (you have to keep the escorts within range). When you turn to face your pursued (Nav assist off don't forget) select the transport and order the T-fighter to attack it until it release it's pods, then either chose another transport for them to attack or give them the orders to dock with something far away.
When you have to get through a seeker mines field, moving backwards at a speed greater than 500 m/s makes it really difficult for you or your Turret-fighters to hit a mine (but this is a small target, of course), at speed greater than 600 m/s you'll probably NEVER hit one.
Note (by Jet): I'm not sure about this one, because I've done it at much greater speed, but keep in mind the author is using a keyboard only configuration
ANTI LDSi TACTICS
If you have to make a pass on a target and are unable to prevent it from transitting to LDS for any reason, subtarget the thrusters once within 5k range. With a high penetration weapon you can disable thrusters fairly easily. Once thrusters are disabled the target will drift, and since it is unable to orient on its navigation target it won't enage LDS. Leaving you a short time, free to deal with any escorts. This is most useful on large freighters with juicy cargo you spot at the end of a piracy trip when you've exhausted your LDSi missiles. Thrusters repair quickly, so you don't buy alot of time. Destroying the crew also causes the drift, but for some reason the crew "repairs" quickly, and thrusters are easiest to target.
UNUSUAL WEAPON TACTICS
Using powerful explosives (mining charges and the like) you can move asteroid around.
You'll find most Marauders fly in formation and attack in a nice neat pattern till you engage.
Make sure your T-fighters are on "safety" and fire your deathblow as soon as you approach. You can destroy all the marauders in a single strike since they are so close together and all facing the same way.
Use LDSi and disruptor missiles to prevent enemy ships from fleeing.
When fleeing, fire an LDSi Short Range missile at your pursuers (if they're not too close, say 10-15km away) to prevent them from following you in LDS.
If you have seeker mines, place them in front of a Lagrange Point, then when you fire on the escorts of neutral freighters, they will turn hostile and the seeker mines will attack them, leaving you free to pirate the freighter.
Don't go near proximity mines, even yours have a nasty habit exploding when you get too close...
You can use REM probes as a kind of directed kinetic weapon, with its nice 2200 speed it gives some punch, and can be directed to follow a target.
Note: Watch out the distance from your ship, the max REM link range is about 50km but you'll start experiencing control problem before that.
Using the Long range cannon (called something like Longbow sniper cannon in my version), lurk 25-30km from the entry to an L-point. When the transports stop to align, point and shoot, the escorts won't be coming for you, they'll turn hostile get a bit annoyed but stay around the transport (maybe shoot a few missiles).
Note 1: single shot is enough for SNRV, a few shot necessary for a classic transport and almost all the magazine (15-20 rounds depending on distance) for a mega-transporter.
Note 2: having an Imaging module makes this tactics far more easy to use (and better aim).
Note 3: despite the great speed (8km/s) at which the sniper bolt travels, at great distances it takes a few seconds to reach the target, so select only very slow or stationary targets.
Note 4: did you know the sniper cannon ignore shields?
A use for these nifty LDSi mines is seeding a transit route (ie. between a station and the nearest L-point if it's reachable in a straight line). The key is timing because these are timed mines (300 seconds after launch they activate) and the LDSi effect last for about 120 seconds. They also activate on proximity (though proximity is a poor word for a 35km sensor radius), the LDSi effect emcompass a 40km radius.
A use for Mining packs (and possibly other remote devices). If you are having problems being attacked by stationary objects - like gunstars, you can move them out of range by ramming them with a mining pack. This does a bit of damage but can also start them moving away at about 300 m/s. So if you ram them and then wait a bit whilst they drift away, you can get them out of the way with minimal risk.
Using a cargo pod with an explosive cargo (love those neutron warheads) docked to your hull. Simply wait for a juicy freighter with lots of escorts at your favorite L-point. Follow the convoy till it hits LDS. Use an LDSi missile to drop them out. Line up on the freighter and overide thrust at it so the freighters rear is aligned vertically in your HUD. Release your cargo at 500m range, rotate 90 degrees, adjust your heading slightly to avoid the freighter. Use your side and forward thrusters to miss the freighter (it will be a SMALL margin). With luck you'll destroy the freighter and its escorts, cargo pods will be heavily damaged but intact.
Ever see those freighters lined up at the L-point waiting to transit? It's like the all-you-can-eat buffet. Seed the area with plenty of seeker mines, not to close together, string them along in a line extending out from the L-point. Once the buffet is prepared, move out to about 30k from the L-point. Begin firing 2 deadshot missiles at each ship while accelerating to outrun the deadshots, escort and freighters alike(Utils only take 1). The freighters don't go hostile, so only the escorts should draw the seekers.
Timed correctly you'll pass the buffet line at high velocity firing at the freighters to draw the escorts attention, the escorts will turn to face you as the seekers and deadshots impact their unprotected rears.
Raid a military supply convoy for explosives. Neutron bombs, Explosives, a variety of dangerous cargos will work. Instead of allowing jafs to pick up this cargo, dock with it. Take it to any L-point popularly used by those Maas megafreighters. Park it near the exit point of the L-point, and soften it up carefully with your PBC so that one shot will destroy it. As soon as a megafreighter convoy pops in, you just need to wait till both are in close proximity to your "boobytrap", usually as they realign with escorts.
Just shoot the cargo pod from a range of about 4-5k. The resulting explosion will usually annihilate most of the escort and the freighters will either release their cargo or be easy pickings. As long as you never tagged the pod you shouldn't even be hostile to any survivors. Combining the above with a high explosive remote missile as the cargo pod detonator will usually destroy all the escorts and often the mega freighters as well.
This takes a little bit of practice to get right. Sometimes you'll get lucky and be able to pick up 2 cargo pods of explosives. Downside to this tactics, is occassionally you'll catch innocent bystanders like Indendent Utils, but since you didn't fire directly and the damage is collateral they won't go hostile on you. This tactic can work even if you only have a tug, but shopping for the explosive cargo pod is a little harder. But the pay off is huge considering you can take down 2 megafreighters plus escort with little risk.