Armored Core VI Fires Of Rubicon Beginner Tips To Beat the HC Helicopter (And Beyond)

Armored Core VI Fires Of Rubicon’s first level may be a simple one but it has a skill check boss right at the start before you can get into the mecha-action game proper. Until you can beat the HC Helicopter, nicknamed by the community as the Rubicopter or Filtercopter, you won’t be able to really get to the actual game.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of, even veteran players can get stuck for an hour or more at this part. But once you get what the game asks you to do, it should click and make you understand how to approach boss fights in this game.

Here are some tips for AC VI that the game didn’t outright tell you at first, or simply don’t let you know, so you can get your head around how to beat the first boss, and understand how the gameplay works in general.

Stagger your way to victory

In most of AC VI, the best gameplan to defeat any high-health enemy is to stagger them. Build enough of the bar it until the yellow bars goes full red and then unga-bunga when they’re down as it deals massive damage.

Different weapons does different amount of stagger damage (referred in-game as Attitude Control System, ACS, or attitude).

The stagger meter drops down over time, so you need to keep up the pressure by keep attacking the enemy in some way so that the meter can be maintained and be filled up.

Understanding the default loadout

You have to internalise that the standard loadout of the Armored Core you start with is actually decent. It really is, stats-wise, a balanced build. It’s not fast enough to outrun missiles but it has enough options to work with. It’s a matter of acclimatising to what the AC is better suited with.

The assault rifle is great at sustaining the stagger meter (each bullet hit keeps the stagger meter to stick a little longer). The missiles and pulse blades do a lot of stagger damage but the blades require you to go up and close.

What you should be doing is to always shoot the missiles when it’s ready to go, be in range enough that the bullets from the assault rifle can score some hits, and ensure you are in a position to be able to rush upwards and smack the helicopter with the blade.

It’s better to use the blade when the helicopter is staggered as it does massive damage, but if you want to risk it, you absolutely can use one hit of the blade to build stagger.

The pulse blade can be chained as a two-hit attack, or charged as one big giant blow. Use them only when the helicopter is staggered to avoid the risk of being punished should the extra hit or the big charged attack miss.

Use the lock-on reticule

The lock-on reticule, whether you are hard locking by pressing the lock-on button or soft-locking automatically, has four bars surrounding the bottom side of the large circle. This corresponds to how each four weapons slots you have (which three are in use). You can see how much ammo in total you have left for the missiles, and how much ammo you have in the assault rifle in the clip, as well as if the pulse blade’s cooldown is over or not.

If you see the number “4” on the reticule, that means the missile is ready to launch and will track the targeted enemy, so fire away.

You really don’t need to glance at the bottom right of the screen which shows all the ammo count. All you need is to stare at the lock-on screen.

If you feel like the helicopter is hard to keep track of, don’t be afraid to use the hard lock-on. Just be sure to wait until the crosshairs are aimed dead center at the target or any shots won’t land on the target.


There are no drawbacks in having boost on all the time, so keep in on and slide around, use that extra mobility to better position your AC. Quick boosts should be treated as dodges, but in this build it’s not good enough to dodge all the missile barrages. You can dodge a few but not all.

Assault Boost is something you should use more in this fight, as long as you’re not charging headfirst while the missile alarm is blaring. You can end the Assault Boost early but you should consider using the Pulse Blade while Assault Boosting and is close enough to the helicopter to land a hit.

Or,try ramming the helicopter with Assault Boost, which deals some damage, and then Pulse Blade it. You should be close enough to land the hit. Don’t need to get greedy, one hit should be enough.

Be In Range

Your AC isn’t as good at surviving the helicopter’s missile barrages which only triggers when you are at a far enough range. So close the gap, Don’t hang too far from the helicopter. Be brave. Heck, float under it while hard lock-on on it and you might even get to sneak in a couple of hits while the helicopter has no answer when you’re directly underneath it.

Remember that Assault Boosts only works when you want to move forward fast, so if you want to close in to the helicopter while being right about underneath them, boosting vertically is the better option.

Pulse Blades only works at close range, and you have to be absolutely sure you are in range before committing as you’ll be susceptible to attacks when recovering from the attack animation. Don’t hammer on the melee too much, but know that a good hit is the key to victory.

This gameplay clip embedded below is an example of how to take on the helicopter. It’s by no means perfect (there’s a missed Pulse Blade swing and one occasion where the missiles staggered the AC) but it should demonstrate the gameplan on how to approach the fight.

If you are doing it right, you should be able to clear the helicopter boss in less than 2 minutes by staggering them for 2-3 times. Or less.

These tips hopefully has given you an idea on how to encounter the few other boss fights that awaits you in the first chapter.

Good luck, and go earn that callsign.

Check out our review of Armored Core VI Fires Of Rubicon here.

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