Given that propensity it was no surprise that Starwalker favoured blasters as a weapon system and flying the Merlin, which provided an excellent combination of tank and gank.
His 1v1 frigate fights tended to fall into one of the following categories:
- Close range brawl (1km - 3km) where the slugfest was to destruction. Typical brawlers were the blaster fit Merlin and Incursus
- Scram range kiting (7km - 9km) where the fight was decided by who had range control. The brawler needed to get into close range and the kiter needed to maintain scram range. Typical kiters were fitted with rockets, railguns, lasers, auto-cannons and artillery such as the Kestrel, Breacher and Tormentor
- Point range (16km - 24km) kiting where the fight was also decided by who had range control. As usual, the brawler needed to get into close range using a slingshot manoeuvre or a sharp interception turn. Typical point range kiters were fitted with light missiles, artillery or lasers such as the Condor and Imperial Navy Slicer
Each ship had the option of fitting a short or long range weapon system and the approach to selecting that system was a choice based on what range the pilot wanted to fight at. Consequently, range control was critical to a fight but a tactical advantage (or disadvantage) could come from the ship fit and its use of modules, for example:
- Stasis webifiers to slow down the target for range control and application of damage (rockets)
- Tracking disruption to reduce the optimal range or tracking speed of a turreted ship and so reducing incoming damage
- Sensor dampeners to reduce the target lock range of a ship and potentially to break the lock
- Energy neutralisers to drain the capacitor and consequently disable much of a ship's functions (propulsion, electronic warfare, blasters, lasers, active armour repairers, hardeners...). Not all modules would be affected such as rockets or auto-cannons
- Electronic counter measures (ECM) such as drones (EC-300) or a ship (Griffin) that will remove a target lock and consequently prevent any offensive action being taken
Occasionally a pilot would use more sophisticated tactics and when Starwalker's Merlin found Cynthia Nezmor's Merlin in a deadspace complex he witnessed that use of tactics. Starwalker had described the tactic in Butterfly Effect on Ship Fit but he had not used it - when one of the two brawlers starts the fighting at range and then closes into close range when the target switches to ranged ammunition. In short, deliberately varying the range of the fight.
The fight started around 10km with modest incoming damage but Starwalker was pointed and despite trying to slingshot into close range the range was being maintained by Nezmor. Starwalker switched to Null ammunition and that was the cue for Nezmor to come in close and in the final seconds of the fight he destroyed Starwalker's Merlin whilst still having around 50% of his own structure left. Nezmor had made good use of tactics to vary the range of the fight and so tipped the odds of winning decisively in his favour.