Monday, February 2, 2015

Svipul, eh? S'il vous plait!

So, I’ve mentioned before how excited I am about the tactical destroyers.  I also appreciate cheeky devs.  And I’m a huge fan of Minmatar ships (Jaguar, Rapier, Sleipnir, SFI, Sabre).  So, naturally, I hate the Svipul.

Naw, I’m just messing with you.  Of course I’m excited.  And naturally the first thing I did was go on Sisi and play around with the Svipul.

For those of you who haven’t been on the Singularity server before, it’s a strange mix between the past and the future.  While CCP does load new features on Sisi first so they and players can try them and identify any bugs and usability issues, Sisi synchronizes each player’s skills, wallet, and assets with Tranquility only every so often.  It’s maddening to see my wallet from a month ago, before I purchased a bunch of T3 cruisers and plexed my accounts for three months each.

I suspect that my first impression of the ship was the same as yours… “My god, it’s ugly.”  It honestly looks like one of those coal barges floating down the river.  But it does fit with the Minmatar “thrown together” look.  Very cunning of the art department at CCP creating a race with ugly ships… Friday afternoons have to be useful for something!

Of course, none of that matters because… vertical, baby!  Let the horizontal ship-lovers have their propulsion mode.  When the ship gets down to business, it goes the way of the Naglfar, and that’s awesome.

That business, by the way, is fantastic.  With a defensive bonus for both shield and armor resistances, it allows a Minmatar flexibility (stabbers, hurricanes, and ruptures, oh my!).  And, in fact, both armor and shield setups are perfectly viable.  The other modes are pretty much mirror copies of the Confessor.  That’s good, since you’ll likely be flying the ship in a similar way.

Exemplifying these new tactical destroyers, the Svipul has more ehp and is faster than the Confessor in a shield fit, but loses the ewar capability.  An armor fit, on the other hand, allows you to incorporate all the mid-slot tricks at once, but you pay for it with speed.  Choices.


Before I go into the specific fits I tested, I want to say a word about the T3 modes.  Both the Confessor and Svipul seem to follow the same philosophy, so I think it’s safe to say that’s “the way” CCP intends tactical destroyers to function.  You want to travel around in propulsion mode, since it allows you to both burn back to gate or warp off the fastest.  Once you’re in warp to a target, you have some flexibility.  Of course, you can stay in propulsion until you land and assess the situation on the field.  But propulsion mode offers no advantage in warp, and you’re able to swap modes while warping.

If you expect to fight, switching to sharpshooter while in warp gives you a huge advantage.  You’ll land with a 937 mm scan resolution and no 10-second mode delay.  You can then use that scan resolution to get a rapid initial target lock, then immediately swap back to propulsion mode to close range quickly.  By the point you close, you can settle in to doing full damage at close range in defensive mode.

A word about orbiting, dps, and the various modes.  While no one should ever rely on orbiting when kiting, brawling while trying to mitigate dps is a different story.  With the Svipul, you have to be careful with your orbiting range and the mode you’re in.  To do maximum damage, you’ll want to be in defensive or sharpshooter mode.  The tracking speed bonus of sharpshooter isn’t necessary given the naturally high tracking speed of small autocannons, so feel free to take that enemy dps in defensive mode… you’re not losing anything and are gaining about 4-5k ehp.  Once you’re in the dps race, defensive is the way to go.

Sharpshooter mode looks to be – at least for the Svipul – for gaining that initial lock as quickly as possible.  I don’t believe artillery fits are viable (more on that in the summary), but it’s highly effective for serving as a fast locker for gatecamps, particularly if someone can remote sensor boost you.  Just be sure to switch to defensive mode once gate guns start hitting.  You can take cruiser-sized punishment, so you need not worry about fleeing too quickly.

You do not want to fight in propulsion mode.  At first glance, it may seem as if it would help with kiting, but the increase in speed cases some of your shots to miss at any range, which means your opponent will be hanging around longer than you’d prefer.  I tested out combat on a couple fighters, and dps was decidedly better in defensive and sharpshooter, though both of those modes were equal.  Propulsion is for closing and escaping, not for combat.

The fits I tested below aren't visionary, but their ordinariness should give you a comparative sense of how the Svipul stacks up against other options out there.

Shield Fit

Of all the fits I tested on Sisi, this shield fit offered the best speed, damage, and tank.

       6x 200mm AutoCannon II
       1x Expanded Probe Launcher I

       2x Medium Shield Extender II
       1x Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
       1x Warp Disruptor II

       2x Gyrostabilizer II
       1x Damage Control II
       1x Nanofiber Internal Structure II

       3x Small Core Defense Field Extender I

This is very standard fit, but because it’s so general, it makes it easy to see how effective this hull is.  This workhorse is great for small-gang work, or for hunting down a variety of larger targets solo.  It deals 378 dps at Minmatar Tactical Destroyer IV.  In Sharpshooter and Propulsion mode, you’re looking at 13k ehp, and that number balloons to almost 19k in defensive mode.

This fit’s mwd speed is 1,947 before heat, and in propulsion mode, it inflates to a whopping 3,200 (with heat, it’s at 4,537, fast enough to catch any target except well-fit Dramiels and interceptors) and can overheat the mwd for 6 cycles before burning out.  Under propulsion mode, the base speed is 661 m/s… faster than a Tengu with an AB, meaning it can engage and escape even when scrammed.

This fit can put up enough dps and take enough punishment to give cruisers a run for their money – particularly if it can slip under the cruiser’s guns – and can survive long enough to kill a whole flight of any drone-based ship.  But, this fit does have trade-offs.  It has no ewar capability, so what you see is pretty much what you get.

But the best part of tactical destroyers is their ability to fit an expanded probe launcher for a mere 8 CPU.  There’s no faster ship out there that can fit its own probe launcher, making the Svipul a better option for probing and warping down a target than the Confessor.

Armor Fit

Now, of course, having a couple tricks up your sleeve is always a good idea.  All things being equal, an enemy will base his engagement decisions on what a dps-fit ship would do to him, so a lot of people are going to simply avoid fighting you Svipul 1v1.  That is, of course, unless you choose to fight something stronger than you.

Typically, to do this, you need ewar – perhaps a target disruptor to reduce incoming dps or a web to maintain range.  The Svipul can do both at the same time.

       6x 200mm AutoCannon II
       1x Expanded Probe Launcher I

       1x Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
       1x Warp Disruptor II
       1x Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I
       1x Balmer Series Tracking Disruptor I

       1x Gyrostabilizer II
       1x Damage Control II
       1x Armor Explosive Hardener II
       1x 400mm Reinforced Steel Plates II

       1x Small Anti-Kinetic Pump I
       1x Small Projectile Collision Accelerator I
       1x Small Processor Overclocking Unit I

I keep two Jaguars in my hangar at all times, one with a web to fight other frigates and one with a tracking disruptor to fight larger ships.  With the Svipul, though, you don’t need to choose between the two of them – a rare thing on a ship class seemingly designed to require you to.    This armor fit allows you to use all the tricks at once.

You’ll want to shoot Hail and kill the enemy’s drones at extreme web range while your TD reduces the enemy’s optimal and falloff range.  Once that’s done, move in tight and use the TD’s 40% tracking speed bonus (swapping out the scripts) to make it easier to slip under their guns.  Always use a Balmer Series over a T2 tracking disruptor because of the better overheating. 

It won’t even matter if the enemy puts a web on you too… just swap to propulsion mode.  Even under a 60% web, you’ll still be going 230 m/s… in a 500 m orbit, you’ll still be safe due to your tracking disruptor.

You can take cruisers with this ship, provided that they aren’t bonused for tracking speed.  Armor tanks with few low slots (like Amarr ships) and Minmatar ships are good targets.  Unlike many ships that try to tracking disrupt, you can tank a full flight of drones long enough to kill them.  Orbit your target tightly in sharpshooter mode while you do so.

This fit is significantly thinner than the shield fit – only 12.5k ehp in defensive and a mere 9k ehp in the other modes.  But the ewar can effectively reduce that dps to nothing.  And that’s your key to victory.


I’ll admit, it’s not that innovative to say a new Minmatar ship does well with a heavy-shield, fast setup or with an ewar armor tank.  These are pretty standard fits.  But I’m trying to give a sense of the comparative value of the Svipul, and these standard fits are much more informative than an oddball one.

I wasn’t able to make an artillery fit work with the Svipul’s powergrid and CPU (even with my CPU 603 implant and maxed skills) without making serious trade-offs that made me uncomfortable.  No matter how I fit it, an artillery fit couldn’t get better than .04 rad tracking speed, and this wasn’t enough for flying either at the edge of web range (and having your webs lock down your target) or beyond web range without the ability to slow your target down.

Likewise , I don’t see much value in a full-nano fit, since applying damage with the CPU/PG issues and tracking speed issue would be problematic at any sort of range you might need to maintain your speed tank or kiting range.  Plus, there are other ships that do it better, and the Svipul simply isn’t an effective kiter compared to those options.

As far as initial tackle, fitting the Svipul to maximize its speed gives it a 794 m/s base speed, up to about 3,850 before heat.  With an oversized AB, you can get nearly the same speed while staying cap stable.  That’s nearly as fast as an interceptor with much better dps and tank.  For novice and middling tackle pilots, you’d be more likely to survive long enough for the fleet to arrive in a Svipul than an interceptor, which is incredibly squishy.

All in all, the Svipul is an impressively tanky, fast T3 destroyer that seems to take what’s best about the tactical destroyers – making choices – and raising it up a notch.  A shield Svipul is a straightforward beast, with the ability to disengage at will, while an armor Svipul can fight both smaller and larger targets, but you face more risk and have to commit more completely.

Each particular mode and fit has its own weaknesses and limitations, which is as it should be.  I predict the Svipul is going to be a new staple ship for my hangar.


  1. Why not a scram on the shield one? You're not going to have the range to kite, even with barrage, so you might as well be able to hang on to any nano ships you do catch.

    1. I'm always a bit iffy about scrams. I tend to have a larger problem getting within range to scram than I do staying with a ship I catch, and that doubled range vs. a scram makes a huge difference to me.

      You have know idea how of I've solo hunted someone only for them to warp off as I burn to within 14-15 of them. Very frustrating.