Wednesday, 19 October 2011
Taurean Eltanin v Darius Carnifex (part 3)
Some hours after my loss to Darius and his Loki, Tawa and I were part of a small gang that had jumped in on a mission runner. The op had been a bust - I don't remember exactly why, but it probably had to do with the distance we needed to cover in order to reach the mission runner - and I was returning to Hevrice in my Malediction to reship.
As I jumped into Hev, I saw Darius in a Vagabond, sitting a little way off the gate. I held cloak and discussed this with the fleet. We agreed that I would try and point the Vagabond, and then the rest of the fleet would jump in. Tawa, in particular, was keen to strike a blow at Darius.
I broke cloak and started speeding towards Darius. He immediately opened fire and began burning away from me to keep my transversal low; I compensated by maneuvering towards him at an angle, but he was fast. Very fast. I'd only seen him fly a Dram before, and Drams are meant to be fast, so I thought nothing of his speed as I have little experience with Drams (although in hindsight I recall that his Dram was faster than Wolf's).
However, I have a little more experience with Vagabonds, and this ship was fast even for a Vaga. I closed the distance slowly, taking fire on the way in. Fortunately, I fly a pretty buff inteceptor, and I was doing pretty well.
As soon as I landed point I summoned the fleet, and they jumped in. I then spent my time trying hard not to let Darius escape. He started burning away from the gate, though, and this meant that my fleetmates couldn't actually catch up!
I realised it was time to bail, but Darius was not going to let me go easily, as he used his speed to keep me in point range; presumably he overheated his point and prop mod. As his tracking seemed good enough to hit me regardless, I aligned to a celestial and started spamming warp. I had nearly escaped his point when I exploded.
Victim: Taurean Eltanin
Corp: The Tuskers
Damage Taken: 2336
Name: Darius Carnifex (laid the final blow)
Corp: Acephalia Inc
Weapon: 220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II
Damage Done: 2336
Rocket Launcher II, Qty: 2
Medium F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction
Catalyzed Cold-Gas I Arcjet Thrusters
Warp Disruptor II
Small Targeting System Subcontroller I
Caldari Navy Foxfire Rocket, Qty: 150
Small Ionic Field Projector I
Gremlin Javelin Rocket, Qty: 600 (Cargo)
Foxfire Javelin Rocket, Qty: 588 (Cargo)
Thorn Javelin Rocket, Qty: 600 (Cargo)
Damage Control II
Rocket Launcher II
Micro Auxiliary Power Core I
Phalanx Javelin Rocket, Qty: 600 (Cargo)
Caldari Navy Foxfire Rocket, Qty: 426 (Cargo)
As I warped my pod to safety, I prepared to drop a "gf" in local, but Darius got a comment in first that stopped me.
He's just all class.
This fight was a huge learning experience for me, as I'm still a relative noob at flying an interceptor.
First, this is one of several fights where I've been able to land point to no effect because my backup can't actually catch up to the fight. I'm going to post more on this separately, but one of the weakness of my beloved shield fit Malediction is the lack of a web or scram for slowing down fast ships.
And if I am going to fly a shield tanked Malediction, I should actually skill up for it. I'm about 1000 ehp below max with my current skills; having decent shield skills would have let me escape this fight easily. While on the subject of skills, my mwd skills are also too low; I could get another 2-300 m/s out of this fit if my mwd skills were at max, which again would have let me escape the fight.
I also forgot to overheat my prop mod on the escape again. My excuse here is that overheating the AB on a Vengeance is nearly always pointless, so while I never forget to overheat my point, weapons or repair system, I rarely think to overheat my propulsion modifier. Again, if I had thought to do this, I probably would have survived the fight.
Finally, I found it quite difficult to maintain point on the Vaga (before I decided to bail and he decided to chase me) so I'm going to drop the kiting rigs for targeting and sensor rigs to let me take full advantage of my improved point range. If I get my missile range skills to max (only one more rank to go) I'll still have a 15.2 km range on Javelin rockets, which is more than enough to kite AB fit frigates.
All told, this last fight was a story of a noob in an underskilled ship getting spanked by someone who knew what they were doing - when Darius summed up the fight as "fail" he was quite right. So far I've been able to get by on the fact that few ships are set up to combat interceptors, and that people often have more important things to worry about than targeting me (ie, my backup). Flying against a competent high-speed pilot has underscored my weaknesses.
I'm also left with mixed feelings about Darius himself. He has destroyed me twice, yet I can't help shake the feeling that he's simply not that dangerous. Each time he's beaten me he has relied on a combination of my own lack of skills/experience and a ship that costs 10x more than mine (plus snakes?). That's about as exciting as me jumping my Vengeance in on a month old Rifter; the result is hardly unexpected.
As a comparison, toothslayer has also beaten me twice, but has also died to my launchers on one occasion. Technically, this gives him a worse track record than Darius. However, toothslayer has fearlessly engaged me (and won) in equivalent ships; he's a skilled and aggressive combat pilot that deserves the respect of other combat pilots.
I suppose that, in the end, Darius is a niche pvper. He uses high speed, high investment ships to outmaneuver and destroy low speed, low investment ships (and that's not a criticism, it's a reasonable tactic and he's clearly good at it). Outside of that niche, however, I've not yet seen anything I need to fear.
Still, I look forward to crossing swords with him again some time. He's surprised me before, and may well do so again.