Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Astero v Hookbill

I've pretty much given up on trying to snag frigates in FW plexes. The gate decloaks you on the way in, giving them plenty of time to warp out. And you can't camp the 'plex because the beacon has a massive decloaking radius that means you are going to become visible 30+ km from your target. FW requires speed, not stealth, making the Astero a poor choice for this kind of pvp.

That said, sometimes you can find someone in their own faction frigate who is willing to engage you. I've learned not to bother with Succubi or Daredevils, as their range control means that they can just disengage when they realise that they're not likely to break your tank before they die. And while you can drive a Garmur or a Slicer away, you'll never catch it.

But some of the tanky brawlers are willing to roll the dice. And so it was with this Hookbill.

I still had an advantage, of course. Unlike him, I had more than a few seconds notice before the fight started, and I had been able to think things through.

I knew that I should expect to be double webbed, and I assumed that he would try to get under my turrets. Accordingly, I loaded IN Multifrequency.

I knew that he would have high dps. Accordingly, I took some Synth Exile to boost my repairer as I was landing in the plex.

And I knew that he would have enough range control to get away if he timed things right. Accordingly, I decided to save the overheat on my afterburner until the end of the fight, to throw off his judgment.

I landed on grid, and he took the fight.

At first, things went as I expected. We closed on each other, and I was double webbed. He didn't try to get under my guns, however, instead choosing to hold range at about five and a half kilometers. At the time this puzzled me, but in hindsight it makes sense. My decision to fit a laser to the Astero is unusual, and if I'd gone with a neut, or with an autocannon, holding range would have been the right call.

In this case, it just meant that I needed to switch to Scorch.

His dps was enough that I needed to overheat my repairer, but that seemed sufficient to hold him, at least for the time being. More surprising was how fast his shields melted; it turns out that he was armor tanked. While not what I expected, it's not the first time I've seen Caldari ships armor tanked so they could free up another mid slot.

As he triggers his ancillary armor repairer, it's clear I can't break his tank any more than he can break mine. But I can do this for about 5 min before heat damage forces me to stop. He... can't.

As planned, I overheated my afterburner and burned straight towards him as the fight drew to a close. If he tried to get away at the last minute, it didn't work.


I made no effort to grab the pod. Having given it some thought, I'm going with a 'no podding' policy for low sec, because I don't want the sec status hit. Access to high sec is just too important for me right now, and I'm already going to have to do some ratting to keep myself in the blue.

This fight is a great example of why the deadspace repairer is better than an ancillary repairer on the Astero. Unless you are able to micromanage your repairer such that you avoid over-repairing (which is a dangerous game that I suspect few players are truly capable of in the heat of combat), two pilots with ancillary repairers who cannot break each other's tank are going to run out of paste at the same time. Then at that point, barring a massive difference in buffer ehp, the ship with the higher dps will almost certainly win.

Hint: it's probably not the Astero.

But because my repairer keeps going, it's a fight he loses as soon as he runs out of paste.

The killmail was interesting, though. I'd wondered why he had gone for the armor tank, and the answer is clearly the dual prop setup. I imagine he surprises a lot of kiting ships with that one.

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