Special Raids are unique Online Co-Op Missions featured in Ace Combat Infinity. Special Raids cannot be selected to play; they occur at random following a previous non-Special Raid co-op mission and require players to work together to eliminate the massive threat presented in these missions.
Special Raids are identical to other Online Co-Op Missions, except that more emphasis is placed on all players in the match working together to earn the S Rank and wipe out all enemies. The in-mission score comparison between both teams is hidden, resulting in only the total score and score bar being displayed. Additionally, Instant Radio Messages cannot be sent from a player to their team; all radio messages are sent automatically to all players.
Due to the fact that Special Raids feature an increased difficulty and typically showcase a "boss" unit (such as an Aigaion-class heavy command cruiser) or a large enemy force, these missions do not feature a Mission Update. They are the only co-op missions to do so in Infinity.
Special Raids also give a much higher credit output as compared to standard missions. It is a popular practice to utilize Forced Sortie (if active) and Contracts when a Special Raid mission is encountered.
Special Raids typically follow a color theme with the numerals: I showcases the color white, II the color red, III the color gold, and IV the color black. This theme is applied to the emblems available from those raids as well.
Some Special Raids award emblems and nicknames. These are listed below. Note that some Special Raids may require multiple sorties before the rewards are given.
|Mission||# of Sorties||Emblem||Nickname|
|Moby Dick Pursuit I||1||Giant Hunter|
|Moby Dick Pursuit II||1||White Whale Nemesis|
|Moby Dick Pursuit III||1||Aerial Fleet Destroyer|
|Moby Dick Pursuit IV||1||Predator of Hekatonkheires|
|STONEHENGE RETURNS I||3||Stone Crusher|
|STONEHENGE RETURNS II||1||Shooting Star|
|STONEHENGE RETURNS III||1||1994XF04|
|STONEHENGE RETURNS IV||1||Catastrophe|
|Satellite Interception I||3||ASAT Breaker|
|Satellite Interception II||1||Debris Eliminator|
|Satellite Interception III||1||Military Satellite Killer|
|Satellite Interception IV||1||27+|
|Pilot Aptitude Test||1||Acrobatics|
|Excalibur Onslaught I||1||Pellinore|
|Excalibur Onslaught II||1||Judgment|
|Excalibur Onslaught III||1||Lady of the Lake|
|Excalibur Onslaught IV||1||Sword of Annihilation|
Moby Dick Pursuit (MDP) was the first Special Raid created and was the only such mission available during the beta tests. When the game fully released, MDP was removed from the game and replaced by three others: Moby Dick Pursuit I, II, and III, each one tougher than the one before it. Every so often, typically every other weekend, the rate of encountering MDP III would be increased.
On August 19, 2014, the Moby Dick Pursuits were all removed from the game and replaced by STONEHENGE RETURNS I, II, and III (SHR). These missions followed the same parameters as the Moby Dick Pursuits, where they got more difficult the higher the numeral at the end of their names.
Additionally, on August 19, three other Special Raids were added: EMERGENCY GROUND STRIKE, EMERGENCY AIR STRIKE, and EMERGENCY SEA STRIKE. Rather than showcasing a specific "boss"-type unit, these missions were centered around a massive force of enemy units comprised of innumerable ground vehicles, aircraft, or naval vessels (respectively). These were also the first missions to feature AWACS Heavy Cloud in a console Ace Combat game. However, in addition to only being available at random following previous missions, the EMERGENCY STRIKE Special Raids were also only available during specific Ranking Tournaments. For example, EMERGENCY GROUND and AIR STRIKE were available for a limited time during the September 4–8, 2014 "Destroy the Enemy Forces" tournament.
Near the end of the Area 88 Collaboration Event (specifically between October 10–14, 2014), the three Moby Dick Pursuits were available once more, in an effort to emulate the fight with the "Desert Carrier" (a converted aircraft carrier on top of a crawler-transporter system) from both the manga and the video game.
On December 4, 2014, following Update 2.02, all of the Special Raids released up to that point (not including the beta-exclusive MDP) were permanently made available, along with two new Raids: Moby Dick Pursuit IV and STONEHENGE RETURNS IV, which introduced the Butterfly Master into Special Raids as another target to destroy.
On January 22, 2015, the existing Special Raids were replaced by Satellite Interception I, II, and III. During the "Fighter's Honor" Ranking Tournament (February 18 to 24, 2015), all three Emergency Strikes as well as Moby Dick Pursuit IV and STONEHENGE RETURNS IV were brought back.
On January 20, 2016, the Excalibur Onslaught IV was added to the game.
List of Special Raids
- The "Delay the final attack!" Instant Radio Message is typically used among players in Special Raid missions, to alert and warn others to wait before destroying the final TGT so other non-TGT enemies can be destroyed to earn the S Rank and receive increased rewards.
- When they appear, the Butterfly Master and her drones draw a ribbon shape with their contrails in some IV Special Raids.