As a Brutor, I have been more oriented toward combat and making people bleed from the start, and thus I studied up on my Minmatar Frigate skills a bit extra before becoming a capsuleer, so I was actually able to fly a Rifter right from the start. However, unlike most "starter" frigates, the Rifter stays versatile throughout a pilot's career. As I evolved from my days where I considered a shield booster an appropriate "tank" for anything, I have used it for everything from missioning ship, to a fast (3.8 km/s) suicide tackler, to a sniper boat, and to a general purpose dogfight role.
Because of its uniquely balanced 4/3/3 slot layout, the Rifter can fulfill these roles and more. However, there is one specific "cheap and dirty" set of modules I fit most recently that has brought me great success:
- High power slots
- 3 x 125mm Gatling Autocannon I, loaded with Phased Plasma S, or EMP S ammo
- Small Nosferatu I
- Medium power slots
- 1MN Afterburner I
- Stasis Webifier I
- J5b Phased Prototype Warp Inhibitor I
- Low power slots
- Damage Control I
- Small Armor Repairer II
- 200mm Reinforced Nanofiber Plates I (or another 200mm plate)
That's right, a mostly Tech-I fit, since my skills are not quite good enough to fly all Tech-II modules. Now, here are some effects that I get out of my Rifter using this fit, and reasons for certain modules:
- Small (125mm) guns: I will be flying very close to the enemy, so I'll need good tracking. I might also need to shoot their drones down, so all the better to use a smaller set of guns. DPS: 46. Not much, but a fair amount against small targets
- Nosferatu: does so much for my defenses when I run it at the same time as my armor repairer. It repairs me while draining the target's energy. Win-win!
- Afterburner vs. Microwarpdrive: Firstly, I would not be able to fit a MWD instead of the AB in this fit with my current skills. Second, I don't need to be afraid of bombs as much. Third, I don't need to be afraid of my getting close up and getting my MWD shut down by a warp scrambler. ABs are not affected by warp scramblers, so I will still be going my 800 m/s no matter what.
- Small Armor Repairer II: Enemies usually get cocky when they see a lone Rifter with no MWD and no T2 guns, so they are most likely to be frustrated by the surprisingly strong tank that this module provides. Effective HP in this Rifter: 2890.
The way to use this fit is to stay within 0.5-2 km of the target, all the while slowing him down while spinning around him as fast as possible. This can achieve a lot of solo kills with overheating of the modules, as demonstrated by Jessie Arr, the inventor of this fit, but I myself deal a bit less DPS because of my... inferior skills.
Hooray, Jessie Arr and his special Rifter!
Nevertheless, I should present you some success stories. I was not solo in most of these, though, and also in some of them it was sheer luck to happen upon very poorly equipped/flown enemy ships:
- Tanked a Harpy Assault Frigate at close range and held him still while my buddy Friek and I blew him to smithereens. Killboard
- Tanked both a Vexor Cruiser and a Vigil Frigate while holding the Vexor still and making it sad, again together with Friek. To be fair, the Vexor did not use its drones for damage, so it was fairly easy to tank. Killboard
- Friek had to run away because the Vigil started chasing him, so after he warped out, I solo'd the Vigil. Killboard
- Helped my gang bump a cowardly Typhoon Battleship off its station's docking point, then kept him there and made him sad. Killboard
- Solo'd a more expensive cyno-frigate (Crucifier) while it was doing its business. Killboard
- Shot down a Taranis Interceptor. Killboard
- ... And solo'd the Executioner Frigate that was helping it. Sad, though, it was carrying exotic dancers and Quafe. It was heading to a party... Killboard
- Baited and tanked a Vagabond Heavy Assault Ship until my gang arrived and helped me kill it. His mistakes: using longrange ammo against me, and not launching his Warrior II drones, which would have torn me to shreds. Killboard
- Caught a Drake Battlecruiser trying to escape our gang. Killboard
- Caught a rather poorly-fit Thorax Cruiser trying to escape our frigate-gang a few days ago. Killboard
- Update: successfully 1v1'd a Punisher Frigate that had Tech-II guns and faction ammo. Killboard
Now, take a look at those links, and mark the worth of those ships. I played a principal role of bait/tackle in most of those. And, in the process, I have only lost about 10 Rifters in the same period of those kills (many in unrelated endeavors). Now, each of my Rifters is worth around 1 million ISK. The ships I helped kill were at times worth more than 100x my ship.
Remember what I said about sticking to smaller ships at first? This is what I meant. Had I been in my Battlecruiser, many of these kills may not have happened, and I might have been on the hurting end instead. It's all about the ship roles.