A phalanx allows you to determine the arrival time for fleets destined for an enemy planet. One often uses this information to launch attacks against that enemy planet, timed to arrive two or three seconds after the phalanxed fleet arrives.
A blind phalanx is a technique used to accomplish the same timing, without the use of a sensor phalanx, hence the 'blind' aspect.
Timing, arithmetic, and luck are all key components in successfully implementing a blind phalanx, and the risks of failure are considerable.
Because a fleet on a return mission can not be recalled or otherwise change its arrival time, if you or another player has an attack fleet that is able to land at the same time as the returning fleet, then you may want to consider performing a blind phalanx.
If You Are Being AttackedEdit
If you are online when an attack is launched against you and you see the attack on the Overview Screen, immediately make note of the Server Time that is displayed, and the time remaining before the attack lands. Note that this server time is only valid (useful) if you were actively refreshing your overview page when the attack appeared, or can assure yourself that the attack was not launched minutes ago and you only just refreshed your page. If you were not online at the time the attack was launched, you can still perform a blind phalanx, however your risk of failure is significantly greater since the attacking fleet may not be traveling at 100% speed and you do not know the exact launch time (you only have the time you first noticed the attack).
Since you know the composition of the attacking fleet (hover mouse over the word "fleet" on your overview screen), and you can determine the attacker's flight technologies by probing them to determine their technology levels, you can calculate the flight times required for the attacking fleet. This assumes the attack was sent at 100% speed.
If the countdown to arrival of the attacking fleet (given in the overview screen) is longer than the flight time calculated above, there is no reliable method of launching a blind phalanx, and any retaliatory attacks you make will be pure guesswork... unless you happen to know the launch time. If you do, you can perform calculations on the attacker's flight time at 90%, 80%, etc until you find one that matches the countdown to arrival given in the overview screen.
Now that you know the attacker's flight time (with % speed) from their planet of origin to yours, and you know the time their attack will land at your planet, you can calculate the time their fleet will return at the enemy planet by adding the flight time you calculated (don't forget to adjust for % speed) to the time the attack lands.
You can now launch your own attack against the attacker, timed to arrive at their planet only seconds after their attacking fleet lands.
This form of blind phalanx is fraught with dangers and involves many assumptions, making it the riskiest form of attack.
This form of blind phalanx involves long-term observation of an enemy's pattern of fleetsaving from moon to debris field. In very brief, if you know approximately when an enemy launches their fleet for saving, and you know approximately when their fleet returns on a daily basis, and you know the composition of the enemy's fleets, and you know your enemy's drive technology levels, you can calculate what system that enemy saves their fleet to. Longterm observation will reveal a debris field in that system disappearing on a regular basis at the same time every night.
Using similar calculations as with blind phalanxes where you are being attacked, you must use the time that the debris field disappears (refresh the galaxy view page every 2-3 seconds) as the time the attack would have landed at your planet. You would calculate the flight speed % to match the enemy's known offline time (you probed his staging planet until his ships disappeared, right?). Doing the calculations, you can deduce when the fleet will land back at the moon.
Note that there are inaccuracies in the times based on his launch time (when your probes arrived at his moon to tell you his fleet was gone) and when it arrived at the debris field (when you last refreshed the galaxy view to tell you it was gone). Therefore pad your arrival time by your inaccuracies.
One way of counteracting a blind phalanx is to send all of the fleet and leave some recylers behind. After sending the main fleet, send remaining recycler to harvest that same debris field at the 100% speed. That way, the debris field cannot be used for calculating the times.
The risks are significant when performing a blind phalanx!
Without an actual phalanx, you do not know if the enemy has other ships set to land seconds before your retaliations lands, overwhelming your attack in what is known as a ninja. This is the most common and biggest risk that you face.
If you give the enemy too much time, such as if your fleet lands too long after theirs returns, the enemy will have ample time to simply re-launch their fleet to a safe location, having wasted your time and deuterium.
If your retaliatory fleet lands too early, the effort and deuterium will have been wasted as well.
Therefore, you should only consider performing a blind phalanx when you can overwhelm the enemy's returning fleet and if you are certain about your flight time calculations and by extension the launch times that you determined.