I had just jumped from Hevrice to Jov, when I saw an Ishkur sitting on the Jov side of the gate. Not a flashy pilot, I could not engage her without triggering the gate guns. Thinking for a moment, I elected to do nothing - I just sat there, unmoving, and let my cloak expire.
Shortly after becoming visible, the Ishkur decided to come over and take a look. She targeted me and launched drones, but did not immediately engage; perhaps she was switching ammo types. After a few seconds of no action, she decided to engage me and opened fire.
I immediately turned on all my mods, including the armor repair system; baiting the Ishkur had essentially required the sacrifice of my shields, as my lack of transversal meant she was hitting for max damage with everything.
Knowing that blasters suffered from short range, I tried to open my orbit, but the Ishkur pilot had the range control, and I struggled to get out of her blaster's optimal. Seeing that we were very evenly matched, I overheated my repair system and my rockets, trying to catch up in the damage race. I briefly considered going after her drones, but killing them efficiently would demand my web, and then the Ishkur could just disengage. Equally, I would need to switch out the Rage rockets I had loaded, which would give her even more of a head start on the damage race.
At some point, the Ishkur decided that things were getting a little too close for comfort, and decided to use her range dictation to try and escape. I did not notice at first, because I had been trying to open my orbit, and I assumed that I had finally succeeded. As the distance between us continued to increase, however, I recognized the escape attempt for what it was.
Hitting "approach", I overheated my scram, web and afterburner. Unfortunately, I needed to kill the overheat on my repair system to stop it burning out, but I was only taking drone damage at the moment, so I had some breathing space. With my afterburners overheated, the Ishkur's speed advantage was reduced to a few m/s. Still, she had managed to put nearly 10km between us - my align time is not that great, so even though I noticed the escape before then, coming about gave her another second or two to run - and she was within striking distance of safety.
Worse, my dps had dropped to zero because she had out ranged my Rage rockets. While the same was true of her blasters, her drones kept me from repping back up to full armor. While her active tank was nowhere near as strong as mine, she had no damage holding her back. She must have been having cap issues, though, because she did not repair as much as I feared she would.
At some point in our slow motion race, the tide turned. Perhaps she needed to kill the overheat on her afterburner to avoid burnout. Perhaps she missed an afterburner cycle when her repair system capped her out. Whatever it was, I began closing the distance again.
As soon as I could, I killed the overheat on my point and web - both were near burnout, and I could not afford to lose them. My launchers had also almost reached critical, despite the break I had given them while the Ishkur was out of range. I could not afford to overheat them again, so I simply opened fire once I thought I could start landing hits.
At this point, the Ishkur was at about 25% shields, 50% armor, and 90% structure. My armor had been holding at about 50%, but I was now taking damage from the blasters again. Having not considered the matter during our chase, I found myself needing to reload, giving the Ishkur further respite.
After an agonizing 10 seconds, I opened fire again, stripping away sheilds and eating into armor. At some point, I had been joined on the gate by Nalanthii in a Rupture, who offered me assistance. We both knew this was simply a gesture; he would have managed to land only a few hits before being forced to warp off by the gate guns.
As the Ishkur hit about 25% armor, the overheat from my afterburners burned out my web; what little range control I had was now gone. Risking everything, I threw my launchers back onto overheat, trying to destroy the Ishkur before she escaped.
Finishing her armor, I started into structure, gritting my teeth at the obscene amount of hull built into Gallente ships. As I chewed away at her last remaining tank, I lost both my afterburner and my point; my mids had burned out completely, and she was now free to warp away.
She kept trying to pull range, though, oblivious to the fact that my point had dropped. Somehow, my launchers kept firing, despite the overheat running up and down my hull. The distance continued to grow, and soon the Ishkur would hit warp range. One last volley sealed her fate, however, and the Ishkur exploded!
Corp: The Last Watch
Damage Taken: 4084
Name: Taurean Eltanin (laid the final blow)
Corp: The Tuskers
Weapon: Caldari Navy Phalanx Rocket
Damage Done: 4084
Damage Control II
Warp Disruptor II
Null S, Qty: 126
Small Semiconductor Memory Cell I, Qty: 2
1MN Afterburner II
Light Ion Blaster II, Qty: 2
Nanite Repair Paste, Qty: 21 (Cargo)
Antimatter Charge S, Qty: 59 (Cargo)
Salvager I (Cargo)
Hornet EC-300, Qty: 2 (Drone Bay)
Hobgoblin II, Qty: 2 (Drone Bay)
Warrior II (Drone Bay)
Small Nosferatu II
Null S, Qty: 63
X5 Prototype I Engine Enervator
N-Type Reactive Membrane I
Small Armor Repairer II
Light Ion Blaster II
Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S, Qty: 877 (Cargo)
Null S, Qty: 1508 (Cargo)
Analyzer I (Cargo)
Hornet EC-300, Qty: 2 (Drone Bay)
Hobgoblin II, Qty: 2 (Drone Bay)
Dropping a weary "gf" in local, I watched her warp her pod out. I couldn't have stopped her even if I had wanted to. Instead, I slow-boated over to her wreck to scoop the loot. Nalanthii then salvaged the wreck for me.
A very, very, intense fight. Absolutely awesome.
Overheat tends not to play a big role in my fights. I largely try and permatank damage while grinding down my opponent. This does not lean heavily on Thermodynamics, which is why I only have it at level III. After this fight, however, I took a break from training Warhead Upgrades V and put Thermodynamics IV in the queue.
I'm largely happy with how this fight went, and my tactics and responses. I obviously missed a trick by not reloading while she was out of range, and I got lucky in the last few seconds of the fight, when the Ishkur could simply have warped away.
The Ishkur's range control also underscores the need for me to max out my nav and range skills soon - they are already all at IV, but that last, final level in each skill will make a huge difference. Warhead Upgrades V is my last dps skill, and that should finish up in a week or two. From there, it's all navigation and range.
I also need to take another look at my fit; I have perfect cap skills now, which means I can drop the Capacitor Control Circuit if I want to. While it did allow me to run my overheat while being cap stable (which is not the case if I drop the CCC) an extra 10% damage would have been a huge help here.
Finally, I should try and sneak Salvaging IV into my training; I made more off the salvage than I did off the dropped mods, and I am currently unable to salvage T2 ships. Food for thought.