December 9, 2011

Case Study in Tackler Interceptors

Whee, I'm so fast! Oh hey look, an enemy ship! I got a point guys! Quick, kill it fast before I'm de-- I'm dead, guys.


Game over. That's all there is to tackling, right?

NO!

If that's how you do it, you are doing it wrong.

This is a failfit! Don't use it!
The pilot using that knows who he/she is and should be ashamed. Why, you ask? A few reasons:

  • Stacking penalty. There are so many redundant speed mods/rigs that most of them are being wasted.
  • Cap stability is not important in real PvP. The recharger shouldn't be there.
  • No tank. You're in a Gallente ship; at least fit a damned Damage Control II.
  • Useless guns/missiles. At the speed an interceptor goes, any long range turret (railguns, beam lasers, artillery) won't be able to hit a thing due to tracking. Use guns to pop drones that get too close.
So what does a good fit look like, you ask? Like this:
A few things to note about this fit:
  • Only 600 m/s slower than the previous. Still plenty fast for catching... well, anything except the first fit. Tackling interceptors with interceptors is dumb anyway.
  • Twice the tank. Just because interceptors are fast and nigh-unhittable doesn't mean they won't get hit, particularly by drones. The latter will always survive much longer. Note the Damage Control II, as is proper on a Gallente ship.
  • Twice the scan resolution. The latter interceptor can target a pod in 1.2 seconds, a frigate in 1 second, and everything else in less than 1 second. Nothing warps away from it, ever.
  • Twice the damage, many times the tracking. A Warrior II drone goes somewhere around 6 km/s with is MWD on, and tries to stay within 1 km from its target. Between amazing blaster tracking, interceptor tracking bonus, the MWD-bloomed signature radius of the drone, and the fact it takes this Ares just a bit over a second to target a drone, what do you think is going to happen to a Warrior II if it even gets close?
  • Lasts over 3 minutes with MWD on. Seriously, when are you going to need to hold a point on a target for 3 minutes? Bonus points if you noticed that it lasts 5 minutes if you turn the Sensor Booster off after you're done targeting the enemy at insane speeds.
STOP FLYING THAT SHIP WRONG! STOP IT! RIGHT NOW! STOP!
Okay... Now that I'm done with my ranting rage, let's get some major points covered for those who don't want to fit an Ares like my crazy contraption above.

Disclaimers: These apply to the Stiletto, Ares, Raptor, and Malediction. They are the "Tackle Interceptors" in that they receive range bonuses to scramblers and disruptors. The Combat Interceptors (Claw, Taranis, Crow, Crusader) can fulfill the same role to a point, but they are generally better at doing damage than at being fast tackling pests. As such, I am not going to mention scramblers, as they are wholly different beasts.

Stiletto
Let's cover this slot-wise:

Mid Slots

I am starting with these since they are the most important. Key mods? 
  • Microwarpdrive. preferably a Catalyzed Cold-gas Arcjet Thrusters. T2 MWDs suck for cap efficiency. Interceptors get crazy reduction to how much MWDs increase their sig radius, making the interceptor nigh-impossible to hit with turrets when it has its MWD on. Keep it on.
  • Warp Disruptor II. T2 for awesome range
  • Sensor booster. To target everything really friggin fast.
  • Tank - Medium Shield Extender II; shield tank does not reduce your speed, but it increases your sig radius, making you easier to hit. Be careful. Try to aim above 3000 EHP, 3500 preferably.
  • Electronic Warfare. If you want to be a real asshat and have the CPU to spare, fit a tracking disruptor, or a target painter.
  • No web. If you are using your warp disruptor properly, you will be outside web range of your target anyway. If you get in web range, you are most likely scrammed and will soon die a fiery death. The web also does not help against drones, as it simply makes them so slow they can't keep up with you -- which also means they drop away from your guns' range.
Ares
Low Slots

This is where your speed comes from, so they are second most important. This is also where you put a friggin Damage Control II. 
  • Damage Control II. Equip it. Now. It gives you actual structure HP. If you're an Ares, congratulations, you're now tanked.
  • Tank. Armor plates, or resistance mods. Plates slow you down though, so be careful. Try to aim above 3000 EHP, 3500 preferably.
  • Speed. Overdrive Injector IIs and Nanofiber Internal Structure IIs. Careful to not lower your tank too much with the latter. Aim over 4000 m/s speed.
  • More targeting speed. You could fit signal amplifiers to get even faster targeting speed.
Raptor

High Slots

There is little point to these other than shooting down drones. Autocannons, Blasters, and Rocket Launchers are preferred. Lasers track too poorly, so do not use them. If you want to be an asshole, you could also fit a Salvager.

Rigs

Plug an EM hole in your shields with a Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I, add to your speed or agility with Astronautic Rigs, or add to your targeting speed with a Small Targeting System Subcontroller I.

Malediction

General Flight Tips

You have a really long point range (30 km  at Interceptors V). Make use of it. Stay far, far away from the 10 km warp scrambler range. If your MWD goes down, you're as good as dead. My suggestion: orbit at 24 km.

If you are scouting, remember that you are far faster in warp than the rest of your gang (more than twice as fast as any non-interceptor ship). You should also be faster than anything they can throw at you in a gate camp, so you can get away (or back to the gate) safely. 

Shoot drones down as soon as they get on your tail. Even if the target doesn't die, make them have to replace their drones.

Survive the fight! Just because you're a frigate doesn't mean you need to die in a fire. Your job is to get the first point, and maybe to draw some fire, but if your job is done, warp off. 

You're in a lightning-fast frigate, so act like it. Be awesome and fly crazy. 
And remember, ending up like this is unacceptable.