Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Baiting the trap

Saturday had been a disappointment. We had no high sec connection, and our C5 chain was a dead end. Our null sec exit was either completely dead, or far too hot for us to handle - who undocks two carriers and a host of support ships to chase a single cruiser around? And then camps the hole so we can't roll it? They must have been even more bored than we were.

So when Sunday brought us a high sec connection through a C2, there was a rush to move loot out and ships in.

I was shifting some PI product when I saw a Proteus on the high sec hole. I don't think he had jumped in; I think I accidentally de-cloaked him when I landed on grid. He was no threat to me on the way out, but some Tuskers were already heading back, so I reported the Proteus on our intel channels.

Tuskers being Tuskers, this immediately sparked a conversation about finding and ganking him. Looking at the wormhole's killboard, we could see that this guy specialized in blapping noobs who came through the high sec entrance. And with a cloaky fit, we needed to convince him to come to us.

So a tackle DST was prepared. These ships are amazing bait because they can absorb so much punishment when fit for tank and tackle, but still look like they are hauling a treasure trove of ships or loot. The DST jumped in from high sec, and started drifting towards the next wormhole in the chain, as if someone had hit 'align' instead of 'warp' and then wandered off for a sandwich.

At first there was no response. In fact, I passed out DST as I made my way back from the markets to Chaos. After 5 min or so, I felt that the trap had failed - at this point nobody could be so foolish as to think the DST was not bait. Right?

I was assured that this was not the case; this guy ganked noobs for sport; he expected his victims to do stupid things. And, as if on queue, the Proteus jumped in.

There was a problem, though. Rather than coming alone, the Proteus had brought a friend in a Hyperion. Either he suspected a trap or, more likely, he wanted help breaking the DST's tank.

As I had passed the Tuskers waiting in the next system, I knew that we had an ONI, a Slepnir, and a Stratios for DPS. More than enough to deal with the Proteus, but was it enough to take on the Hyperion as well? Grabbing my Manticore, I went to join the fight.

The Occator had pointed the Proteus about 40km off the hole. As soon as we jumped in, the Hyperion started burning for high sec. We threw a point on him and started taking down the Proteus, who went down agonizingly slowly. But he did go down, in the end, and thanks to a Sabre bubble we got his pod as well.

Turning our attention to the Hyperion, we knew it would be a close thing. My torpedoes, not terribly effective against the Proteus, were paying dividends now. Sadly, it was not enough - his friend had bought him the time he needed to reach the high sec wormhole and jump to safety.

Then, bizarrely, a completely unrelated Blackbird lands in the Sabre bubble. We race to land point, but we are so far out of position from chasing Hyperion that we don't quite catch it. Ce la vie.


I can't believe that worked. But I'm glad it did.

Obviously, I wish we had managed to catch one or both of the battleships that were blundering around, but it's important to recognize that we set a trap to catch a cloaky Proteus, and that's exactly what we achieved.

One of the things I like about the Manticore for w-space work, though, is the extra midslot. While the damage that I was applying to the Proteus was anemic, I was able to hit him with a target painter that almost certainly boosted the damage of the Slepnir, and possibly the ONI as well. And while I do need to improve my TP skills (so many skills to train...), it's not something that my Purifier could have done without dropping the Warp Disruptor.

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