Archive for the Fleet Tactics Category

Agony Crushes Razor Armor Hacs Disco-Style

Posted in Fleet Tactics on August 1, 2010 by Easley Thames

I’ve discussed counters to close-range armor-hac gangs before, but I never seriously contemplated using smart-bombs in an IT gang because I thought it would be too hard to pull off. There are also significant risks related to such a bold move.

If you fail to wipe the enemy out, your ships are poorly equipped to fight the enemy at mid-range. Positioning would be difficult – if not impossible – if the enemy warped in out of range, and your damage will drop rapidly if they can spread your BS out or force them to burn into them. Cap is also an issue after a couple minutes of fighting.

However, Agony recently pulled it off in a grand fashion against Razor. I recommend everyone check out the video.

You can also view the battle report here.

I don’t expect to see this tactic used too commonly or as the standard counter-composition for armor HACs, but it may put another option on the table now for some FCs now that it has been proved to be workable by Agony.

For those who don’t know about Agony, they not only offer PvP classes, but they’re known to employ unconventional tactics in actual combat that others write-off.

Most notably, roaming Agony gangs often tell the majority of their pilots to fit spare-mids with ecm, damps or TD’s instead of tackle – leaving that important role to a few specilized ships. This is in stark contrast to most “wolf packs” who fit tackle on everythign with spare room and leave other forms of e-war to specilized hulls only.

I look forward to seeing how other groups adapt to the challenge posed by the strong and proven fleet composition that armor HACs represent. For most groups, the answer has simply been to fly the same setups.

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Fighting “The Fist”

Posted in Fleet Tactics on June 15, 2010 by Easley Thames

In their “Delve Contract” PL used armor hacs with guardian support to crush a variety of fleets arrayed against them. The plated heavy-cruisers were instructed to orbit a damnation and move together.

This formation, when held together, was difficult to break and could cause serious damage at close range. For these reasons, the nickname of “the fist” caught on quickly.These fights are recounted in the video “Mercenary Theory,” which can be found on Eve-O or SHC in the appropriate video sub-forum. In my opinion, it’s one of the best videos of the year thus-far.

With their great success, came quick imitation from admirers in the NC. The northerners are calling their version the “Bro Fist” (a reference to their unity as a coalition) and they’ve had success against drone-region alliances in fairly large fights. The fitting discipline and execution has been somewhat weaker from the NC, but I’m very impressed that they are willing to try something new and skill-intensive.

Though Cry Havoc released footage of this tactic years ago, including the S3verence titan kill and other mid-size engagements, PL clearly deserves credit for driving yet another evolution of in-game tactics.

For those who haven’t studied “the fist” concept, here is a short summary of how the fleet is organized —

Composition Breaks Down Into:

60% Armor hac (usually zealots and ishtars)
20% Guardians
10% Bomber/recon/light dic (these will operate independently from the fist)
5% Damnation (armor bonuses)
5% HIC (plated and cycling bubbles on/off to allow repping)

Their Roles Are:

>> Pulse zealots and sentry ishtars are used for pure dps. A plated muninn is also acceptable in NC gangs but PL do not seem to bring them.

>> The fleet is supported by 10+ guardians, and they tend to be experienced at the role. With command ship bonuses, t2 resists, a small signature and afterburner-enhanced transversal speeds it is possible to rep HACs even under heavy fire from a fleet of snipe BS.

>> The HAC fleet typically orbits a single command ship who is used as an “anchor” that determines overall fleet movement. All cruisers have an afterburner (not mwd) to improve transversal while orbiting.

>> Cloaking ships operate autonomously while the hacs and logistics maintain the orbit, which frees them to focus solely on the task of shooting hostiles or repping friendlies. Bombers in particular play a key role in causing harm to the enemy.

>> Ships with free mids are often instructed to fit an anti-caldari ECM racial jammers or remote ECCM module to counter any kind of caldari voodoo put on the field to prevent the guardians from repping.

So, how do you win against this? First, some general counters.

1-     Lots of ECM, lots. Plus  a solid fleet that can exploit holes in repair coverage.

2-     Significant Numerical Superiority (can use close-range BCs or BS snipers to overwhelm).

If those are not an option, I think there are 3 fleet styles that stand a chance with similar numbers being fielded by both sides.

1-     RRBS With Support (guardians & plated recons for webs & target painting)

2-     Copy The Tactic (bring the same ships)

3-     Drakes & Scimitars

The key is to winning without massive ECM or numerical superiority is to beat them up-close. Deal more damage while tanking more. So, how would these setups do against a fist formation?

Mirror Match – This would come down to the involved pilots (both FCs and their general pilots). If one side is inexperienced, particularly the guardians, they are going to get swept.

Scimi/Drake – BC hulls are more vulnerable to bombs than armor hacs, but also far more mobile if MWD-fit. A Scim/Drake gang might be able to missile-spam heavies from range (escaping bubbles) but probably have less efficient repairing due to T1 resists. Also, using heavy missiles against AB-fit cruisers will result in up to 50% dps loss while sentries and pulses will hit for full if in range.

RRBS + Logis + Web/Painting Recons – This is a great counter, but still one that has its flaws. The RRBS bring additional reps to aid the guardians. The recons (with web and painters) will keep primaries slowed and sig-bloated. The BS deal good damage on well-tackled targets and have much larger buffers. On the down-side, bombs are highly-effective and T1 resists will make repair less efficient. Mobility could become a major issue as well.