October 10, 2012

Magic Nullification: Countering Kiting

So, since kiting is definitely not magic, that means you can fight it, right? Right. But how?

You can't point this!

First, you have to realize the one major weakness of almost every kiting ship: it usually cannot take, or deal, as much damage as a brawling ship. It naturally follows that you should try to hit it harder than it's hitting you. How to do that depends on your ship/fit, what type of kiter you're facing, and other factors, but here's some general advice:

  • Close distance if you can. The closer you are, the more you will be able to punch the kiter in the face.
  • Load long range ammo if you can. If you can afford it, always use T2 guns for this very reason (Scorch, Null, and Barrage ammo are your friends against kiters).
  • Overheat, overheat, overheat. This especially applies to your warp scrambler and stasis webifier, both of which gain range when overheated -- possibly giving you that small edge to get on top of the kiter.
  • Use your electronic warfare. Many kiters are easily crippled by electronic warfare (tracking disruptors, sensor dampeners, energy neutralizers, etc).
  • Run away, or get a friend. Kiting ships don't usually do spectacular damage, so you may be able to hold up until you can jump out or dock up, or until a friend can come help. You can even holler in local if there are people who may be interested in killing the kiter. They might kill you as well, but at least that way your kiter dies too.
Blob mode... engage!

So, now that that general advice is over with, let's look at some particular tactics for messing up kiters.

1. Break the kiter's approach

Remember this little piece of advice I gave aspiring kiters on how their approach should work?

How a kiter sees you
Well, you're going to get a similar thing, except in reverse! You want the kiter's path to directly intersect yours, landing you on top of him. 

But wait, it's not that simple! If you were thinking "I'll just hit the 'approach' button", you will still die to most kiters, as they see you approaching and will simply burn at an angle (as in the above illustration). When you see a kiter approaching you, watch for the direction his engine trails show up in, and double click in space directly opposite to them. This looks like (from two perspectives):

Yes, I used the same "ship burning semi-sideways" image as before. So?

When you do this, it will either end up with you catching your kiter, or him having to make a snap decision to switch direction to dodge you -- which you need to be prepared by switching your own direction, until one of you catches the other. If you're trying to catch him, overheat all the things to have a better chance at doing so. With some luck, the sudden burst of speed and tackle range will catch him off guard and win you the fight.

Storytime: This is how I got my first kill of a T2 ship in a T1-fit Rifter! I had just quit a fleet in a huff (they had sent me to scout several systems away while they got in a sweet fight) when I ran into this guy. I broke his orbit, held him down, and won the fight with about 1/3 structure remaining. I'm still proud of it to this day. As anyone who flies with me can testify, I have only gotten worse at flying since then.


2. Break the kiter's orbit ("slingshot")

All kiters are potentially vulnerable to this once they set up their orbit, especially if their agility is poor or their speed advantage isn't significant. Many kiters are surprised by the almost magical sequence of everything suddenly going wrong: their point/damage dropping, soon followed by being caught and killed.

How it works: 
  1. Double click in a random direction in space, preferably right behind where the kiter is.
  2. Turn on your propulsion mod (MWD preferably, but AB can work too)
  3. Run a cycle or so in that direction.
  4. Double click in the complete opposite direction (possibly slightly to the side), overheat things, and get ready to catch yourself a kiter.
Why it works:

Second panel: That is the scariest blue dot I have ever drawn.

When you burn out in one direction, the kiter's inertia keeps carrying him along the original orbit -- which is now too far from you. If he is using the "orbit" button, he will start almost approaching you. This leads to a very easy catch. If he is being smart and manually piloting, it may be harder, but at least it cuts out the damage for a bit, and makes him work harder for killing you.

3. Terrain advantage, or friendly help

If you ever tried to kite someone near asteroids or a station, you'll have noticed it is incredibly difficult to kite while constantly colliding (bumping) with your surroundings. As someone being kited, you can use this to your advantage.

Simply stick around stations, asteroids, gates, or other collidable objects and use them as nets to catch you a kiter.

Kiter's worst enemy.

Bonus points: substitute a friend for these for an asteroid that can tackle! (and don't tell your friend he's only an asteroid to you)

4. See it coming, and act accordingly (run away!)

Kiters are the bane of some ships' existence (e.g. afterburner blaster ships). There is little they can do to win against a kiter. So... learn to use your directional scanner, local channel, and intel channels. You can also warp in at safe distances, or try other classic "safe practices". These will all help you not be surprised by kiters. 

This also includes knowing what some common kiting ships are. It's up to you to form a mental list of these, but so far as frigates go, here's a sample list of ships for which kiting combat fits are very common (other ships can kite too, but are somewhat uncommon): Executioner, Condor, Coercer, Cormorant, Thrasher, Slicer, Hookbill, Retribution, Hawk, Harpy, Ishkur, Wolf, Crusader, Crow, Sentinel, Dramiel, Daredevil, Worm. If you have more, please let me know in the comments.

Over time, you can also become familiar with identifying the speed of a ship, and inferring its fit from that. For example, a Retribution moving at 400 m/s base speed is kiting fit; one moving at 300 m/s has a plated fit, and won't kite.

... the less unexpected your enemy will be!

5. Scram range (-ish) kiters

This sort of kiter presents extra problems since he is typically expecting a warp scrambler and a stasis webifier -- and can kill you despite you "catching" him. If one of these has engaged you, it means that he is already confident he can kill you (he has done his job selecting targets) and you most likely are vulnerable to something he is doing.

This means you are either dealing with someone who knows what he's doing (and you will have to do all of the above, possibly repeatedly, to win this) or he doesn't, in which case he will fold up easily. In both cases, you have to fire all the weapons ever. That's as much as I can tell you.

Pew Pe-pew Pew!

The... end?

Sort of. Both kiting and countering it require lots of practice, and every time you do it (whether you are successful or not) you are bound to learn something new. Try them both, too: knowing how to kite helps you counter others' kiting, and vice versa. Read both the last post and this one, grab a friend (or an enemy, I'm not picky), and go practice. Pew pew!


  1. ok so getting a orbiting kiter is done like that, what about a "keep at range" kiter?

    1. "Keep range" kiters are typically easier to break than orbit kiters, since their immobility serves only to weaken them and make them easier to catch. Typically kiters try to stay mobile, and will only be still if they have tracking or capacitor problems.

      Advice #1 will still work; by burning directly at them when they approach, you can get the same effect. #2 will also work (though a bit less, as you can't take advantage of their existing velocity to sling them even farther). Everything else still works as explained.

  2. If you can't slingshot them the first time, try multiple times. This may seem obvious, but I generally find that each successive attempt will give you more range and/or close the gap more.

  3. xD i love your drawings! Very nice guide, will show it to one of my members who needs to learn how to do this :).

  4. Don't forget bubbles in 0.0. If you break point from a kiter and warp directly to something that you know is bubbled from your direction, they will often warp after you... and land at zero as they are dragged in by the bubble. Hilarity ensues.

  5. dan carter fucking murrayDecember 10, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    petrus your corp is shit and you are too. i hate your corp, alliance, and as a matter of fact petrus, i hate you. but i like your blog actually. it's rather good and entertaining. you make me laugh. so you're not so bad. i don't hate you anymore. i don't hate your corp now. i no longer hate your alliance. now i like you. what the fuck did you do!?!?!?!? NOOOOO MY RAGE IS GONE. see you around m8

  6. Very nice guide and with fun drawings.