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I focus almost exclusively on PvP, whether solo, small gang, or large bloc warfare. In the past, I've been a miner, mission runner, and faction warfare jockey. I'm particularly interested in helping high-sec players get into 0.0 combat.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lessons: Stealing From Your Opponents

It was a good vacation, and it provided me with exactly the relaxation we all need from time to time.  While I was gone, I missed several Razor victories in the Alliance Tournament, though I did get to see the last victory, a couple hours before they were knocked out.  I give all the team members a tremendous amount of credit.  It’s a hard task to put together a solid team, and they managed to win several victories, which is no small feat.

My Internet connection was very weak at the hotel, so I wasn’t able to commit to any strenuous PvP activities, but I did manage a few solo roams between bouts of weekend visitors during the week.  In so doing, I realized an important lesson about improving your flying.

I’ve written before about how you need to surprise your opponents in battle.  But what about when you happen to be the one surprised?

Last week, I was flying my standard blaster-fit Tristan through FW space.  It had an afterburner and is meant to be flown by getting in close, applying a web, and hammering away at an opponent.  Kiting ships are a problem, but the Tristan can launch 5 light drones to catch up to lightly tanked kiters.  Missile ships tend to stay within point range, but well outside of web range, so the solution to facing them is simply to avoid combat.  There are downsides to this style of combat, of course.  Namely, the moderately or well-tanked kiter.  If the enemy can stay out of web range, he’ll also be outside null-blaster range as well.  Usually, you can identify how pilots are going to fly based on their ship type.


In my first engagement after leaving Nourvukaiken, I landed on a novice site with a Tristan inside.  I felt pretty good about this fight; Talvorian’s skills are nearly maxed for both tank and gank, and I assumed the other Tristan would be fairly similarly fit as me.  That ended up not being the case.  Part-way through the fight I started killing his drones, but the Tristan bay can hold 8 drones, giving him back-ups that kept the dps coming.

The worst part was that this kill got that damned Waffles song back in my head again.  “Waffles, waffles, waffles…”

After the fight, I investigated the pilot and found the fit he used, a drone-maximized setup fit with an MWD meant to keep it out of web range for the entire fight.  Essentially, this fit kept my guns out of the fight entirely, and reduced it to his dual-amplified drones vs. my normal drones.  The result was devastating, offering about 150 dps at any range – higher than that of kiting missile ships.

We often hear how every loss is a lesson waiting to be learned, but folks tend to be somewhat quieter on exactly what those lessons can teach us.  I’ve mentioned before how recording your fights can help – I reviewed one particular fight against a gang of 13 recently to see how I could have taken more down before I died – but another way of learning from your fights is to consider your opponent’s fits.  When they work better than yours, steal them.

And that’s exactly what I did, fitting up eight of them and taking them out for a few test runs.  I found out very quickly that railgun- and artillery-fit opponents are trouble, but it worked extremely well against any close-range fit, even when I jump into them and have to burn range quickly.

More importantly, by flying that setup, I now understand the limitations and weaknesses of it much better.  The next time I run into that pilot in a Tristan, I’ll know to swap out my AB for an MWD to close to web/scram range.

Learn about the weaknesses of your own fits by watching how your opponent fights you, but don’t forget to steal their fits, too, and learn about what it is they fear.  If you do that, each subsequent fight will be that much more successful.

P.S. Thanks to Rachel en Welle for the good post-fight conversation; as she said, “Waffles ate me for breakfast.”


  1. The Tristan is literally the most versatile frigate you can fly- never assume you know how it will be fit.