30 October 2013

Merlin versus Loren Gallen Incursus

Starwalker periodically checked Battleclinic and top solo pilots for their fits, that was how he knew about Loren Gallen and that he was ranked the number 1 pilot in New Eden:

He had also seen that he flew and lost mainly the Incursus, at least recently. The fit was very standard with neutron blasters and an armour tank. So when Starwalker saw Loren Gallen in local and found an Incursus on scan it seemed very logical to link the two. The next logical thing was to be easily found, in his shield tanked blaster Merlin.

Sitting in a complex a little away from the warp-in point seemed like an obvious invitation and soon Loren Gallen was there too, in an... Incursus. Starwalker started to burn for the Incursus and was going to simply brawl. He wanted to see how the fight would go and whether Loren Gallen would pull any range tricks.

As the range closed to around 12km the Incursus opened fire and Starwalker had a sinking feeling that he was about to be kited by a railgun Incursus. However, the incoming damage was very minor and the range closed to a point blank slugfest, with the Merlin slugging away like a champion.

The Incursus was doing comparatively little damage in return and the thought crossed his mind that he might actually win this fight. The Incursus armour repairer was kicking in and the armour seemed to be going down very slowly, too slowly. The Incursus had switched ammunition and was now applying the hurt.

Soon the Incursus was winning the DPS war as the Merlin's shield gave way and the Incursus was still only in low armour and not in structure. The Merlin was finished, and the Incursus smashed through the last bit of structure to grab victory. Good fights were exchanged and Loren sportingly noted that it was close but Starwalker knew better, he had been convincingly beaten in a straight up brawl.

The tale of the tape showed that Starwalker had gotten off to a good start because Loren had incorrectly guessed that the Merlin was rail-gun fitted. However, the Incursus had managed to survive the onslaught and absorb nearly 4,600 points of damage, which must have required Exile or something similar to not even enter structure. The Merlin had taken nearly 4,300 of damage and had been destroyed.

27 October 2013

Dual Repair Incursus

On entry to a system Starwalker received a call for help from fellow Rebel Cutter Sense, who was chasing a Hawk in his Atron. Starwalker was in his gank fit Merlin.

[Merlin, AB2W]

Damage Control II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II

1MN Afterburner II
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I
Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I

Light Neutron Blaster II, Void S
Light Neutron Blaster II, Void S
Light Neutron Blaster II, Void S

Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I
Small Hybrid Burst Aerator I

The idea behind this ship was simple - brute force; catch the target, hold it close with the dual webs and blast it in the face up close and personal. The downside for this fit was that it epitomised the glass cannon and if the target could weather the initial storm then the Merlin would not survive under fire for very long.

Starwalker entered the complex and the Hawk and Atron were nearly 100km away, so he started the slow burn towards them. Before he had gone very far a small gang had jumped in behind him and an MWD fit Incursus was approaching very quickly. For some strange reason when he tried to warp away he was unable to and so he decided to go for the Incursus.

The Incursus was in a tail chase so as it reached 15km away Starwalker turned his Merlin towards it and engaged. He knew that he only had a few seconds before the rest of the gang arrived and the Merlin would be destroyed, so he had to make those seconds count.

With the blasters overheated and some implants the Merlin was putting out close to 300 DPS and as the range dropped to around 1km those blasters tore away the shields and started on the armour. The armour repairs started but they were not keeping pace with the incoming damage and as each second passed the blasters worked their way further into the Incursus structure.

The Incursus was on fire as rest of the gang arrived and they were trying to save their comrade by killing the Merlin faster than it was killing the Incursus but it was too late - the Incursus exploded in a blaze of glory followed shortly afterwards by the Merlin.

It was a little while later when Starwalker looked at the killmail that he had gotten a nice surprise revelation. It was a dual armour repair fit.

[Incursus, Takeda Kashada's Incursus]

Damage Control II
Small Armor Repairer II
Small Armor Repairer II

'Refuge' Adaptive Nano Plating I

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
Small Electrochemical Capacitor Booster I,Cap Booster 100

Light Neutron Blaster II,Void S
Light Neutron Blaster II,Void S
Light Neutron Blaster II,Void S

Small Ancillary Current Router I
Small Anti-Explosive Pump I
Small Auxiliary Nano Pump I

On previous occasions when he had tried to kill a dual repair fit Incursus he had simply not been able to. Typically those (T1) frigates had hit for somewhere between 150 and 200 DPS, perhaps a little more with overheat. This time was different, in short, the Merlin firepower had overwhelmed the Incursus active tank and that was important to know as this was perhaps the strongest (T1) frigate tank and comparable to some of the T2 frigate tanks.

This knowledge was then used to take on what appeared to be another dual repair Incursus but with a different result - the loss of a Merlin. It was not a dual repair fit, presumably the extra armour buffer, combined with the afterburner speed allowing more damage mitigation made the difference. The only good thing was that another Incursus came in to get in on the kill and killed the offending Incursus.

19 October 2013

Cost of Experimentation and Learning

Starwalker liked to experiment a little with his ships and their fit, sometimes it seemed to work and at other times it failed miserably. Similarly, he liked to see what a ship could do in a certain situation even if that meant losing the ship that he was flying. He saw this as the cost of experimentation and learning and he had no qualms about losing ships.

Whilst he was not afraid to experiment and lose ships that did not mean that he wished to throw away ships in a useless attempt to beat the odds. It was a blurred line between what was a stupid decision and when that decision to experiment was good. The cost in lost ships was simply a necessary part of learning about ship capabilities.

Starwalker had recently lost a Breacher to a Daredevil to see if the dual tank made any real difference to the fight - it did not. When flying this Daredevil it was lost when Starwalker decided to engage an Algos, a fight he could easily have avoided. He had known that taking on an Algos with a T1 frigate was a very difficult proposition and consequently he had avoided them generally. The question he wanted answered was would the DPS powerhouse that was the Daredevil fare any better - in short, no.

The Caracal had a reputation of frigate killer with its Rapid Light Missile system and Starwalker jumped into a small frigate gang at the sun to see what would happen. He was scrambled very quickly, which shut down the micro warp drive. Without a working propulsion system all that Starwalker could do was to attack the nearby frigates. This Breacher went down along with an Incursus but despite a good tank the Caracal was destroyed.

The brawling Merlin that Starwalker was flying was just ambling away from the station scanning the nearby complexes when an Incursus arrived and docked up. A short while later it undocked and then started to pursue the Merlin. Since it was travelling just under 1300 m/s it was clear that it was afterburner fit and had speed modules fitted. It was a simple assumption from there that it was railgun fit.

At this point the decision was to stay and fight or to leave before the Incursus caught up. Starwalker decided to stay, to see if the Merlin could get in close despite the speed disadvantage. The Merlin applied some modest damage but despite overheating the afterburner the range stayed around 7km and it was not long before the Merlin was a wreck.

A far more questionable decision and one based on an invalid assumption was to engage a Harpy in a Kestrel. The intent was that the Kestrel with its dual web fit could leave the fight based on range control. This notion was soon destroyed when the Harpy engaged with its point and railguns from 20km away. Whilst Starwalker had previously fitted a Harpy as a brawler not everyone did so. Burning in with the afterburner was incredibly slow and despite briefly getting into scramble range the Kestrel was doomed.

12 October 2013

Rock Paper Scissors

Starwalker was out and about in his shiny Wolf. It had been fitted out with auto-cannons, in line with his preference to fly brawling ships and fitted with brawling in mind. This particular Wolf also took advantage of the extra CPU that came with the implant set of Genolution Core Augmentation CA-1 and CA-2. For Level V skills only, then the Tracking Enhancer would be downgraded to the meta level 4 version:

Damage Control II
Explosive Plating II
Gyrostabilizer II
Tracking Enhancer II
Small Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I

200mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma S
200mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma S
200mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma S
200mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma S
Small Diminishing Power System Drain I

Small Projectile Collision Accelerator I
Small Projectile Ambit Extension I

The demise of this Wolf was unfortunately not a glorious death in a fireball of destruction after a close battle. It was foolishly caught by a light missile Condor. Starwalker had been distracted by picking up some drones and his drone overview did not show any ships. In short, he had not seen the Condor arrive - until it had established its lock, and then started to fire. Those were potentially very expensive drones.

Whilst the Condor started to peck at the Wolf's shield it also applied a tracking disruptor and Starwalker knew that his only chance was to escape, if possible. With the tracking disruptor applied he was applying no appreciable damage and whilst the incoming damage was modest it was working its way through the defences. It would only be a matter of time before the tank was overwhelmed.

The first slingshot failed and his small ancillary armour repairer was running low on charges, the second sling shot failed and his armour repairer was exhausted and it had started its reload cycle. It didn't matter, that reload cycle would never finish as the proud Wolf was going down and it died with a whimper.

That was EVE with its Rock Paper Scissors philosophy at work. The Wolf had met an asymmetric opponent, where the Wolf was designed to brawl the Condor was designed to kite. In theory the Wolf could strike the Condor at any range up to 30km away but the tracking disruptor stopped that. If the Wolf could scramble the Condor it would die but if it could maintain its range control then the Wolf would die.

It was a similar story to how Starwalker's Daredevil was killed. He had moved in towards a Tristan without taking a simple precaution - what guns were fitted. The Look At function would have shown a Tristan with no guns fitted and therefore almost guaranteed that it was fitted with a trio of energy neutralisers.

The Daredevil found out the hard way that its on paper over-heated damage of around 450 DPS (and nearly 500 DPS with a couple of implants) is zero when it has no capacitor. Like the Wolf this Daredevil exited EVE with a whimper too. 

8 October 2013

Breacher versus Daredevil - Too Ambitious

Starwalker saw the pilot was old (2005) and that he was in a Daredevil. Usually he would pass on by as that was too ambitious in a T1 frigate but today he thought he would try his luck. He wanted to see how this dual repair fit Breacher got on against the DPS powerhouse that was the Daredevil.

The Daredevil was waiting at the warp-in to the plex, which was a bad start as the range was around 2km, ideal for blasters and not ideal for the Breacher. Couple that with the 90% web that the Daredevil had and it really signalled the beginning of the end.

Even though the fight was almost over before it had started Starwalker launched his drones anyway and set his ancillary shield booster going. His only real hope now was for a poor fit or some pilot error. As expected, the incoming DPS was enormous and he had to almost instantly start his ancillary armour repairer too. However, the extra tank seemed to make no significant difference, as the Breacher entered deep armour the Daredevil had only just lost its shields.

It was over within seconds and Starwalker was so surprised at how quickly the Breacher had been decimated that he was too slow to warp his pod away and he lost that too for good measure. It had only recently been fitted with the Genolution implants, so it was a shame to see 100m in implants destroyed but that was low-sec and being podded was an occupational hazard.

Starwalker was not worried about the loss - losses happened, he simply got a new clone and fitted another 100m ISK worth of implants. It had never been a good idea to engage the Daredevil in a Breacher, it had always been just a roll of the dice and this time it had not worked.