April 17, 2012

Adventures in Gimmickry: The Cormorant

I’m Kahega Amielden, and this will be my first entry for Accidentally the Whole Frigate. I will make my introduction brief – I have been a friend of Petrus Blackshell since he began flying, and not too long ago I was invited to share my own insights here.

Today, I am going to look at one of the most underused ships among the capsuleer population, and one that is perhaps one of my favorites: the Cormorant. 

The Cormorant is the Caldari destroyer, and the role intended for it is rather obvious. It receives extremely significant range bonuses to hybrid turrets, and railguns are already the longest-ranged weapon system in the universe. When fit with railguns, perhaps using its plentiful midslots for tracking computers and the like, can put out great damage at absurd ranges.

This entry, however, is not about that use of the Cormorant. When fighting other capsuleers, knowledge is everything. One of the hallmarks of a good pilot is target selection – being able to know when you can win, and when you need to run away. To do this, you take advantage of the fact that most ship fits are rather predictable.

For example, a Rifter is almost always going to be fit with autocannons. Artillery Rifters do poor damage and are harder on your fitting resources (powergrid and CPU), and putting lasers or hybrid weapons on the Rifter will both be harsh on fitting resources and will waste the ship’s projectile tracking and damage bonuses. A pilot about to engage a Rifter will know almost exactly what he’s up against. This will enable him to either exploit the Rifter’s weaknesses or decide that he cannot win and refuse to engage.

This is an Incursus with a shield hardener and a sensor booster running.
You will never, ever see this. I hope.
Another factor at work is that most capsuleers are very susceptible to popularity. Certain ships are significantly more popular than others, and not always justifiably. As excellent as it is at its role, few serious capsuleers fly the Cormorant.

So what happens when an enemy frigate pilot sees a Cormorant on his scanner? He’ll either think the pilot incompetent and engage for an easy kill, or suspect a sniping fit and try to get close where such fits are vulnerable. What if this Cormorant pilot were to use his enemy's presumptiveness against him?

The above is a favorite fit of Petrus and I. Note that while it does have railguns, it uses its midslots for tackle and has an optimal range of under 15km. – definitely not the sniper fit I suggested above. Note the two stasis webifiers which allow me to keep the target anywhere I want him to be within 10km (or 13km if they are overheated).

So what happens when a capsuleer frigate comes in on this Cormorant? He’ll try to get in close so that the railguns have trouble hitting and he can quickly melt through the fragile tank. In practice, as soon as he gets to that 10km mark, the webs will turn on and he will be effectively stationary and helpless.
Many times, this is so surprising to the pilot that they cannot figure out what they should do. If this Retribution had quickly swapped to Scorch (long range pulse laser ammo) when he saw that he would be unable to get point blank, I would have melted quickly – he would have had at least as much range and damage as me with much greater tank. But he didn’t. He sat there, confused, while I burned through his armor. This brings up another important point: Being able to think on your feet is what distinguishes a good pilot from a poor one.

The interesting part is that outside of taking advantage of peoples’ misconceptions of what a Cormorant is, the fit itself is pretty poor. It has no hope of killing anything bigger than another destroyer, and with an afterburner it’s too slow to catch anything that doesn’t want to be caught. Pilots who would choose to engage would load long range ammo before hand, and be ready to shred it at the only range it can fight at.

The only redeeming quality to the fit is that it is deceptive, and yet it has met with success after success for an investment of under 3 million ISK per ship.

The lesson is clear: information is one of the most potent tools available to you. Making sure you know what you’re up against is crucial, and preventing your enemy from doing the same is deadly.  


  1. I am Petrus Blackshell and I approve this Cormorant fit.

  2. I like it - though I would probably try a Blaster cormie first if I were to give it a go. Good first post :) Keep it up.

    1. For the purposes of cheap tech 1 gimmickry that will still kill AFs, blasters don't work - you'd need Null to have enough range to pull it off, and you don't actually get all that much out of it in terms of damage.

      If you wanted to make a t2 version of the fit then you could consider a rack of neutrons. You get about 7 + 4 km range with Null and significantly more damage. However, you lose the ability to scare off kite-fit ships like slicers, and don't have the option of holding at ~12km to deal with autocannon ships like thrashers with barrage.

  3. Such a shame the Cormie lost a midslot. It is missed :(

  4. Could you update the fit to account for the lack of a midslot or is it just not viable anymore?

    1. It is indeed not viable anymore. The two webs were paramount.

      However, the Corax has 4 mid slots, and the same fit works on it -- both with rockets and light missiles.

    2. You could always take out the point.
      Sure, you'll lose some kills, but it's surprising how often people stick around to die anyway.