Occasionally, you come across one of those real-life examples of a thought exercise. Teamspeak servers across New Eden are filled with people discussing fictional fights, the tactics each side should use, what would be an equal fight for each ship type. How many and what type of ships would a Sleipnir have to face for the victorious pilot to have bragging rights?
When you have the opportunity to experience one of those theoretical fights in real life, it’s something special.
I had that experience once before, when I learned that my Rapier could, in fact, kill three assault frigates, but would die to four. I remember that fight very well, every step of the way, from when I overheated my guns to how I put one web each on my current target and my secondary target, so his speed would already be low when I applied damage (incidentally, getting that first ship down was the hardest).
I had a similar experience Saturday night (US TZ), when my blaster Harpy went up against two Incursuses. I was fit with dual-ASBs, so my strategy was simple… get in close and hammer away at the target. I had always wondered how much abuse my blarpy could take, and how long I could stay in a fight. Could I fight outnumbered and come out on top, particularly after the buffs to T1 ships?
After our Friday night roam (not terribly eventful, though, so no “lessons” post about it this week), I stayed behind near Hek to do some roaming. In Egmar, I found two Incursuses at a FW site and began to engage.
I was feeling pretty good as the first frigate’s shields started going down and he went into armor. His first repair cycle hit, and then another very quickly; he was easily pacing my damage. I EFT’d his fit, and it looked like he was tanking about 175 dps. I was putting out 187.
The second Incursus was still hitting me, too, but a full cycle of my first ASB had my shields fully repaired. I started sipping my second ASB, but with a 60-second reload cycle, it’s always a little hard to understand exactly how much longer you have to go before the reload completes. I didn’t want to burn through that second booster too soon.
I was slowly making progress, and began to overload when he was at around 50% shields. His armor cycle hit a maddening seven times before I had his armor completely gone. Once that happened, I had to endure one more repair cycle before his structure bled out and he popped.
The second Incursus stayed around until he realized my first ASB reload had completed. I was in high armor by that point, and when he saw my shields began to boost again, he pulled range and escaped. He was going about 800 m/s, so he was obviously AB-fit. It was a smart fitting choice, one that let him survive.
By the end of the fight, my blasters had 74% heat damage and I had a bit of armor bleed, but I had won. It was a surprisingly close fight. But, more importantly, it showed me what my Harpy could do. Previously, I taken it either into fights where I completely wrecked my opponent (versus, say, a Tornado) or ones in which I was dropped by overwhelming force (Vexor and Rapier, for instance). In this case, it was close. 2 T1s versus a T2 frig could have gone either way. It’s the kind of close match-up you rarely get in Eve these days.
But it also showed the importance of fitting to counter your opponent. FW pilots are well-known for fitting afterburners, and I used my typical mwd-fit I’d use for null-sec fighting. That was a critical error, since it let that second Incursus dictate range and escape. All other things being equal, fitting an AB instead might have made the fight a little easier… better transversal might have mitigated some of the damage I was taking. With an AB, could I have taken three Incursuses?
Maybe that’ll be my next fight.
P.S. Please tell me there’s a better plural for Incursus… Incursii? Incursuses sounds like banana… you never know when to stop when spelling it: banananana.