Monday, 28 November 2016

Super-capitals and other life lessons

Last night a ping went out, telling us that we had a carrier tackled, and that we needed dps. I logged in, grabbed my Oracle, and started burning for the fight.

Our response time was good, and I landed on grid with the Thanatos and opened fire. Capitals do not go down quickly when confronted with sub-capitals, and this one was fighting hard. He had support ships warping in, and that made him dangerous.

One thing that always impresses me about Tusker fleets is how fast we melt support ships. I think it's probably because of our solo background; our pilots tend to fit for wide engagement envelopes, so we don't have the difficulty hitting the smaller ships the way some fleet doctrines might.

It also doesn't hurt that our AT pilots have mastered the art of matching transversals, making tracking much less of an issue than you would otherwise think.

Taking out the support ships is critical to maintaining keeping our dps ships in the fight. My Oracle was primaried by the carrier at one point, but between my engagement range and the lack of support ships, the carrier had no way of keeping me on grid. As soon as I started taking damage, I warped out, and then back to a fleet-mate. While my dps took a hit, the carrier otherwise did not achieve much. Had they been able to stick an interceptor on me, things would have been very different.

This pattern was repeated throughout the battle, with various Tuskers warping in and out as needed to nullify the effects of the carrier's dps. Despite the efforts of the locals, we reduced the Thanatos to wreckage after a short, furious fight.

There were still other ships on the field, though, so we began cleanup operations. A Slepnir had just been called as primary when a Hel class super-carrier dropped in on us.

The Tuskers are in a bit of a transition right now. We have some pilots with a huge amount of null sec experience, who have flown with the big sov holding corps, and for whom a super-capital is nothing new. But there are a lot of us - including me - where the majority of our experience is as low sec pirates, and we are still transitioning into our new role as wormhole pilots that destroy capital ships on a regular basis. I'm fairly certain that this was actually the first time I'd ever been on grid with a super-capital before. I had no idea what to expect.

So when the FC told everyone except the Sabres to get of the field, some of us were a little slow to respond. That Slepnir was melting, I was pre-aligned, and I'd not even started to take damage yet. A few more seconds wouldn't hurt, right?


That was the sound of my pod activating as I got one-shot by a super-capital.


I'm one of three Tusker pilots who now know better than to stay on the field with a super-carrier.

While we can't take on a super ourselves, as a corporation we have good relationships with a number of groups that can. We attempted to keep the Hel on the field long enough for our friends to arrive, but ultimately we ran out of Sabres before our support could get there. Probably warned by intel, the Hel jumped out, deescalating the fight.

While I reshipped into a Malediction, the FC pulled the fight back one jump towards our wormhole to improve our reinforcement time. I tackled a Mirmadon who did not last long, and then turned my attention to a Bhaalgorn that had landed on the field.

Now, when you see a Bhaalgorn, you know there will be neuts. A T2 Heavy Neutralizer has a 20km optimal range with a 10km falloff. A Malediction has 30km point range, going out to 36km with overheat. The rest of the fleet was reforming to try and hit the Bhaalgorn beyond neut range, and eventually we would get a Sabre on him. Until then, though, I wanted to keep him on the field.

Overheating my point, I tackled the battleship, and worked on keeping my orbit around 33 km. I didn't dare get close enough to land a scram, so if he had an mjd he could still escape. There was only so much I could do, though.

Despite the range, however, he was able to reach out and neut me hard. He caught me mid cycle, so I immediately turned and burned away from him, using the rest of my mwd cycle to pull range out to about 40km. Nevertheless, he was still neuting me, even at that range, so I could not reactivate my mwd. My engine dead, his support jumped my helpless interceptor. Boom.

Reshipping again, I jumped into my Purifier. Not ideal, I know, but I was running out of ships. There is a resupply run in my future, I think.

I got back to find the Bhaalgorn still on the field, tackled by some of our heavier ships. I guess my interceptor bought us the time we needed to lock him down.

I then started to play my own personal game of cat-and-mouse. The Bhaalgorn couldn't reach me, but his support ships could. So I kept warping around the field (corp-mates, wrecks, ad-hoc bookmarks, etc) and making judicious use of my cloak to stay on the field and apply as much dps as I could in my Purifier.

By using my long engagement range, and watching the vector arrows of my opponent's ships, I had a pretty good idea at any given time who was coming for me. Then I'd cloak (if I could) or warp to the other side of the grid. This was made even more interesting by the bubble in the center of the battlefield, which meant direct warps were not possible.

So. Much. Fun.

Faced with an assortment of fast and evasive ships, the Bhaalgorn's support was ultimately ineffective, and we in the end, we got him.

And I got some answers. Corpus X-type Heavy Energy Nosferatu (which are effectively neuts on a Bhaalgorn) have a 32 km optimal and 16 km falloff. They're relatively cheap, too, so I shall have to remember them the next time I see a Bhaalgorn.

No comments:

Post a Comment