February 8, 2012

How To Counter A Slicer With A Raptor

Caldari interceptors are often looked down on as the weakest interceptor specimens. The Raptor usually gets a bad rap because of it being the slowest of the tackle interceptors, while not having the tank to make up for it. Additionally, people get hung up over fitting it for damage so much that they forget what tackle interceptors are really good at.

But I'm not talking about a "properly-fit" Raptor here. Tackling Raptors are pretty thinly-tanked, and get blown out of the sky by Slicers. Not this one, though. What happened there?

Afterburner Tracking Disrupting Interceptor

... That's what. Or, more specifically, this fit.

Tracking Disruptor
As I enjoy flying fast frigates, I like to take advantage of their biggest pluses: high speed and low signature radius. Together, it means they are hard to track -- particularly if afterburner-fit. Even with a plain afterburner setup, though, bigger ships will kill you if they have a stasis webifier, and other frigates still likely track you just fine. My solution? Use a faster ship (interceptor) and break their tracking further with a tracking disruptor!

The tracking disruptor can be equipped with two different operation scripts: an Optimal Range Disruption one, which results in dividing the optimal and falloff ranges of the target ship in half; and a Tracking Speed Disruption script, which results in reducing the tracking speed of the target to half of what it was.

So, let's take the Raptor vs Slicer scenario:

Imperial Navy Slicer
The Slicer is quite an amazing frigate. It is mindbogglingly fast and agile (think 4-5 km/s fast), and can easily hit out to 20 km with Medium Pulse Laser IIs. It usually orbits its victim at 18-20 km (presumably outside the victim's range) and burns it with its lasers without taking a single point of damage. But... what happens when it encounters a Raptor like mine?

I engaged the Slicer and plugged an Optimal Range Disruption script in. As I was using blasters, I was not able to hit out to 20 km where he was -- but he was not able to hit past 10 km either. Even so, he was far faster than I was, as he had a microwarpdrive and I only had an afterburner. So, being cocky and thinking "it's only a Raptor, and he doesn't even have me pointed", he approached and tried to take swipes at me from 12-13 km, from where he could indeed score hits on me. What he did not realize, though, is that the Raptor gets a bonus to warp scrambler range. Overheating it, I was able to hit him with the warp scrambler at 13 km.

His microwarpdrive off (and his speed neutralized), I began the approach with my afterburner overheated full blast. As I got closer, I switched my tracking disruptor off -- and swapped in the Tracking Speed Disruption script. The rest was history. I orbited him at 500m at my afterburner speed of 1400 m/s, and he was hardly able to hit me while I pecked away at him.

And then Kahega came in to get the last shot because it is apparently unacceptable for a Raptor to get a solo kill.

The Lesson

The tracking disruptor is an often under-appreciated module, but just like all forms of electronic warfare, it can change the tide of battles, or cause very surprising wins (that was a 1v1 despite the others showing up). I have also tackled a couple of Cynabals with this (though my gang failed to kill them), and almost solo killed a Loki on a lowsec gate.
My favorite ship to do this tracking disruptor trick on is the Malediction -- it is fast, relatively tanky, has a low signature radius, and does not itself care about tracking (it uses rockets). Feel free to try it yourself sometime. The Stiletto is also effective, as it can fit a MWD or a web in the extra mid slot (never use a shield tank while doing this).

The important point? Electronic warfare can be effective even on non-EW specific ships. You just have to use it mindfully.

Of course, you could try something different, too. Afterburner tracking disrupting interceptor is so crazy it worked, so find your own setup that does the same. I'm sure there are more out there.


  1. I just killed a Crow that was attempting to use this trick the other day. I saw the tracking disruptor in his fit and had no clue what it was for.

    I was in a Daredevil at the time with Neutrons, so I don't think the disruptor really did much. However, he also made a pilot error in maneuvering which allowed me to corner him. He also had no web, whereas I had a scram and a web fit.

    My point is, this is a fun fit for specific situations, but you need to pick your situations carefully. This fit is very vulnerable to webs and web-bonused ships. My Daredevil gets a 90% web, which would eat this alive once you approached to close orbit.

  2. Oh yes, you definitely need to pick your situations carefully. Attacking a Daredevil in any ship that depends upon its speed to survive is just silly.

    The setup I detailed here has very low DPS, and depends on rendering the target helpless and pecking away at it until it dies. That is simply not an approach that works against a Daredevil.

  3. In my personal pilot experience, unless you're in a very agile ship. Orbiting someone at 500m at the speed of 1400 m/2 is not easily achieved. I am not sure if the fact has been exagerrated a bit. I've tried flying a Rifter with 2x nanofiber low fitted and orbiting someone at 500m with MWD active, I was not traveling anywhere near my top speed.

  4. I believe when orbiting at 500m it ends up being closer to 900-1000 m/s as you're slung out. That's enough to cause tracking problems even to non-TD'd ships (which is why I prefer the Malediction usually). As you get farther away (set orbit to 1 km, or 4-5 km if you want to be evil with rockets) your speed keeps increasing, maintaining the tracking hell for the target, while giving you more distance to play with. That is how I am able to beat Taranii in the Malediction. Range disruption, then sticking to 4-5 km out.

  5. This is real old, but I just saw it.. Anonymous#1, I think I was the crow. I was my rolling dice for whether you were AB fit.

  6. AB fit or not, he would have still killed you, unfortunately. 90% slowdown webs do that. I never engage Daredevils in frigates unless I *really* know what I'm doing.

  7. I'll add some info here. I exclusively fly frigs in PVP, and about half of the frigs I fly I fit a TD. I guess this is because I started PVPing in a sentinel, and it's still by far my favourite ship. (although lately it's less and less useful, due to how often AFs are used as scouts for fleets).

    I've found that ships with tracking bonuses (except for laser boats) will still hit you pretty well when trying to orbit at 500 with an overloaded AB in an interceptor. In an AF, forget about it.

    The optimal range script is generally much more effective on frigate sized ships. What I was trying to do with the crow, if that was me (did you have meta4 guns fitted? :P) was orbit at 23ish km, and the TD keeps me safe from every frig sized gun at that range.

  8. Still a bad idea against a Daredevil. I never fly a Daredevil without a faction web for the range, and overheated that can give up to 18 km of 90% web range. A bit of range maneuvering to wobble the Crow's orbit, and you have a web on it -- with it soon to die. Against any other ships, that's a fine idea, but the Daredevil and Cruor, not so much.

  9. Yea, I know. But I'm willing to risk a crow for maybe a 30% chance of killing a daredevil.

    Although, I'm pretty sure that an AB daredevil would almost never flip me into fed navy web range. I run with all speed/agility mods in the lows.

    In fact, I'm willing to risk a crow for a 1% chance of killing a daredevil, because there's basically no one around in my timezone. :)

  10. I know this is old as hell, but I wanted to add a surprise fit my corp uses. Stealth bombers with a sensor damp instead of a TP. I have seen him get a lot of solo kills this way, on a range of ships. He will just pull out to the end of point range, and fire torps. Even got one on a Caracal that way. Works exceptionally well running in a group of two or three. Have a mix of sensor damp and TP, and watch them melt. We generally do something like this. http://o.smium.org/loadout/2916