Monday, 23 January 2017

Astero v Coercer & Coercer

It'd been a week of working late, so despite having moved into Vanaheim, I'd not had an opportunity to take advantage of the low sec static.

This made Saturday especially disappointing. The static was deep in the middle of Gallente faction warfare, and the systems were crawling with hostiles. I did go for a roam, but my main achievement was not dying. While my Astero has many strengths, dps is not one of them, and it was not well suited to the kind of kill-it-quick-and-get-out fighting such an environment demands.

Instead, I had to make do with camping relic sites in some connecting wormholes.

Sunday was much better, though. I found myself in a familiar part of the low sec chain, only about a dozen jumps from Hevrice. It was a beautiful balance of busy enough to find targets, but quiet enough to get a decent fight. I went on a long roam through the chain, looking for targets.

In one of these systems, I spotted two Coercers in a belt. Eve being Eve, I assumed this was a fight, and I warped in under cloak to see if I could pick off the winner. Instead, I found the two destroyers were ratting together. Interesting.

Normally, I would say that going up against a destroyer in a frigate - even a faction frigate - is a losing fight. Going up against two is generally suicide. But here, I fancied my odds.

Because they were ratting, they were almost certainly beam fit; your ISK/hour suffers if you have to maneuver much to get the rats into range. And while the Coercer has a tracking bonus, I was pretty sure that I could mitigate much of the damage if I could start the fight up close. And because they were right next to each other, there was a real chance that both of them would have trouble hitting me.

So I started drifting towards them, and was just about in position when one of them warped out. The battleship rat was still in play, so I assume that he wanted to drop aggro. Whatever the reason, this was my chance, and I uncloaked and tackled the remaining Coercer.

I set my orbit to 2000km, which is where I've found my GLP II is happiest (I'll have a post up about my fit later this week), and I set my drones to work. As I thought, he was having trouble applying damage to me at that range, and my repairer was able to keep up nicely.

He was much more heavily tanked than I thought he would be, but then I've not fought many destroyers before. I was keeping an eye on the short range D-scan, because I knew his friend would be coming back. In fact, he landed just around the same time that my target exploded.

He'd played it smart, and come back at range. He was about 30 km away, and would have no trouble applying full dps. I needed to make a snap decision, and I had no interest in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. I warped out.

I immediately warped back, of course. Under cloak I hoped I could get close enough to ambush the second Coercer, but he stayed only long enough to grab his friend's loot before he warped away.

Gfs were exchanged by all.


Looking at the killmail, I suspect I could have tanked the Coercer long enough to either cover the distance or (more likely) force him to warp off. They were fit completely for tank, with no damage mods at all, and even dropping two turrets to fit more tank.

Unfortunately, I had to make that call before the killmail arrived. Still, attacking two destroyers in a frigate was a bold move, and managing to kill even one of them while surviving was quite an achievement. I'm pleased with how that went.

I'm loving the Astero, of course. I've mentioned before that I'm a more cautious pilot than some of my corp-mates, and flying a cloaky ship suits me. A non-cloaky announces it's presence on D-scan, so you need to move quickly to land tackle before your target warps away. Flying under a cloak relieves some of that time pressure, allowing me to assess the situation more fully before committing.

Combined with a mobile depot, it's an incredibly flexible ship. While waiting out my aggression timer from the above fight, for example, I saw a Venture undock. Refitting into double scrams, I was able to get him, too.

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