Solo C3 Strategic Cruisers

I’ve been watching with great interest a number of threads in the Eve-O forums lately, and decided it was time to get active pushing my point of view on the blog again.  Ultimately, I’m really disappointed at the quality of fits and advice given on the Eve Online wormholes forum. It’s almost as if — GASP! — the long-time wormholers that participate in that forum DON’T WANT newbies to understand what it takes to survive in a wormhole!

Naw, couldn’t be. Everybody in Eve Online is helpful, friendly, and courteous.

That said, here’s my advice about Soloing a Class 3 Anomaly in a Legion. There’s a little bit of math, but it shouldn’t be too hairy.

My first piece of advice is “don’t”. If you have corp-mates online, go in a group. Your chances of survival and profit are best if you finish sites devastatingly quickly. My corp has a doctrine specifically for the goal of cheap ships and epic fast completion times.  It works, but it’s not what I describe here.

This is a basic, safe, competent Legion fit. If you cannot fit it as below due to insufficient skills, you really need to skill up a bit before you try to tackle Class 3 anomalies.  That said, this will competently handle all but the data & relic sites in a C3 with aplomb, plenty of capacitor, and a fairly easy and pilot-friendly experience.  You’ll want to double-check your DPS and self-rep statistics before jumping into the site; if you can’t burst-tank at least 600DPS and put out at least 400DPS at close range, you really want to skill up a bit before attempting to tackle C3 anomalies. Stick to C2 until you’re ready.

The first thing I do when jumping into a new C3 is to scout the system out.  I want to answer a few questions for myself before I’m willing to engage in any PvE… because although I love PvP, un-planned PvP usually does not end well for me.  This kind of checklist is also only when I solo; when we run our OMGWTFBBQ fleet, we’ll be in and out so fast and with so much firepower than I really don’t care much about hostiles.

  • Are there any wrecks and ships on d-scan? If so, go re-ship to PvP and blow them up.
  • Are there any locals present and online? I’ll usually look up the local corporation on EveWho, add all their members to my watch list, and if any are online, I’ll be even more cautious than usual.  If the corporation(s) is/are too large to add them all to my watchlist… I’ll probably give that hole a “no thanks” and move on.  If it looks like the locals are manageably small and/or timid, I might continue running sites.  If it looks like they might be interested in a fight or be willing to run sites so that I can gank them, then re-ship to PvP.
  • Where are the local POSs? Are they active? Anyone sitting there? Do I have an alt or a corp-mate willing to keep an eye on the starbase for any suspicious activity?
  • What do the neighboring wormholes look like?  Is there a busy/active PvP corp?  If so, give it a pass.
  • How many inbound wormholes are there? Dead-end systems or those with EOL holes are good; “zipped-up” wormholes are best, where all signatures are known and you can be positive nobody has warped to the static connection(s) yet.  C3s with six inbound wormholes from lowsec, hisec, nullsec, and a hostile PvP C5 would not be a good place to PvE… though it offers some FANTASTIC opportunities for pew. Ship into a stealth bomber and see if you can blow up a hauler or a Venture or something.
  • What does wormnav say about recent activity in the hole?  If there are PvP kills accompanied with PvE kills recently, that suggests presence of an active hunter or PvP fleet in or near the system, looking to take out people running sites.  I may give it a few more hours to watch for additional activity, but even a recent kill or two may not deter me if the other signs look good.

After checking all the “bear sign” to determine whether I want to “bear it up” and run sites or re-ship to PvP, let’s assume that everything looks fairly safe for running the sites. Here’s a sample of the type of fit I started with. Upgrade with faction and deadspace gear as your finances allow. It’s easy to build a 2Bn Legion from this basic 450Mn fit.  A few inexpensive implants will enhance your craft’s capabilities a great deal; I’ve included a suggestion with the fit, which should run you far less than 200M ISK for the complete set.  You absolutely have to be cap-stable running the first repairer. Cap stability running the second one is not required; you just need the burst tank for while you burn into orbital range of battleships, and in truth you’ll run it only rarely at the start of particularly-difficult waves.

The assumption here is that you can fit all the modules without downgrading to meta or faction gear, and that you have all your subsystem skills to 4 or better.  Otherwise, this fit just isn’t going to work for you.

[Legion, C3]

Armor Thermic Hardener II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Medium Armor Repairer II
Medium Armor Repairer II
Heat Sink II
Heat Sink II

Large Capacitor Battery II
Cap Recharger II
10MN Afterburner II

Heavy Pulse Laser II, Conflagration M
Heavy Pulse Laser II, Conflagration M
Heavy Pulse Laser II, Conflagration M
Heavy Pulse Laser II, Conflagration M
Heavy Pulse Laser II, Conflagration M
Sisters Expanded Probe Launcher, Sisters Combat Scanner Probe

Medium Auxiliary Nano Pump II
Medium Auxiliary Nano Pump II
Medium Anti-EM Pump II

Legion Defensive – Nanobot Injector
Legion Offensive – Liquid Crystal Magnifiers
Legion Electronics – Emergent Locus Analyzer
Legion Propulsion – Fuel Catalyst
Legion Engineering – Capacitor Regeneration Matrix

Genolution Core Augmentation CA-1
Genolution Core Augmentation CA-2
Inherent Implants ‘Squire’ Engineering EG-603
Eifyr and Co. ‘Gunslinger’ Motion Prediction MR-703
Inherent Implants ‘Lancer’ Medium Energy Turret ME-803
Eifyr and Co. ‘Gunslinger’ Surgical Strike SS-903
Inherent Implants ‘Noble’ Hull Upgrades HG-1003

A Medium Ancillary Armor Repairer powered by nanite repair paste is a valid option for the second repper. It reps as much as a T2 over time, but gives back armor much faster up-front, with a sixty-second recharge time.  Upgrading to faction or deadspace tank modules can allow you to drop one slot from your tank for an extra heat sink, improving site completion times.

All this for less than 500M ISK for the ship, and 150M or so for the implants. In a C3, you’ll typically score about 50M to 70M ISK per site.  With a competent pilot at the helm, you should finish a Fortification Frontier Stronghold in about 15 or 20 minutes.  That puts you about 3 or 4 hours away from paying for the ship just from the loot.

What about tactics? Well, once you’ve verified the (relative) safety of the system you’re running, the basic tactic is pretty straightforward:

  1. Drop your Combat Probes and spread them out to cover the entire system. Rule out the known signatures, and scan regularly so you’re aware the moment an enemy fleet or soloist enters the system.  Most lone cloaky ships are really of very little risk to you; it’s the hero tackle you have to watch out for.  D-scan is also useful if you’re close enough to inbound wormholes to see things before they cloak up.
  2. Drop your Mobile Tractor Unit and Mobile Depot 6000 meters or so from one another. Since the site takes a while to solo, the MTU will have no trouble keeping up.  It’s a decent idea to anchor the MTU near the beacon; the extra wrecks stand a good chance of decloaking any scouts that warp to the site at 0.
  3. You have enough tank to not really need to worry about transversal, but it’s still good practice to keep your speed up, manage your triggers, and take out any Sleeper turrets early on so you don’t have to deal with their DPS for the whole site.
  4. Once the site’s complete, fly back to your mobile depot & fit some Salvagers.
  5. Salvage the wrecks and scoop your MTU.
  6. Scoop your Mobile Depot and GTFO to the next site.

Now, if at any point you detect enemies inbound, scoop your MTU and Mobile Depot and get gone.  It can be helpful to carry a cloak in your cargo hold so you can hide from the PvP for which you are unprepared.

I hope this basic guide to soloing a C3 in a legion is helpful for my fellow low-skilled pilots!

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12 responses to “Solo C3 Strategic Cruisers

  1. How dare you be nice and give away the secrets of w-space! The secrets are safe with those of us who are former w-space dwellers, but now here you are spilling the beans. You know what happens to guys like you in prison, right? ;-p

    But seriously, w-space is a few years old, and still the last great frontier of Eve. So much fun, profit, loss, dying and paranoia to be had. Thank you for the honest perspective of w-space from a great pilot in a great Corp.

  2. Always nice to have some support for my posts!

    I feel the need to clarify a couple of things; upon re-reading, I realized there was some ambiguous advice there.

    Regarding MTU & MD placement: there are arguments for and against dropping either one near the beacon. Most smart scouts won’t warp to sites at 0, and with no acceleration gate on Sleeper sites, there’s nothing keeping them from showing up at some random location within 100km of the beacon. What to do?

    The truth is, a dedicated gank squad scout — like the amazing scouts we have in my corp — probably has you. That’s the risk you run as a solo site runner. It’s why I don’t advocate blinging out your site-running T3 too much; we’ve killed a LOT of 2Bn+ Tengus doing exactly this kind of work. You’re absolutely going to lose your T3 eventually to someone smart enough and fast enough to stalk you while you think you’re safe. If you keep the cost down and follow the guidelines above, you reduce the risk, but you can’t eliminate it.

    So you keep a scout on every wormhole in the system — preferably on the OTHER side of the wormhole, not on your site-running side — and run expanded probes on your site-running T3. This way you can usually see the fleet coming into the neighboring system, and you have another chance to catch them through a new ship or wormhole signature appearing in your probe scan.

    But you can’t eliminate the risk. It’s par for the course. It’s why my first recommendation regarding soloing a wormhole is “don’t”. Bring a fleet. Nobody — yet — has tried to gank our C3 blitz fleets, because it takes time to assemble a fleet capable of taking it out without dying in a fire. To take out the Legion above, you just need something capable of tackling and doing more than 1000DPS. Or neuting out 4Gj in an alpha strike and maintaining it. Or sensor-damping the Legion and kiting at 20km. Or alphaing it off the field with a few attack battlecruisers. Or… You see what I mean. Lots of creative ways to kill you. Not a lot of creative ways to avoid dying.

    So stack the deck in your favor. MTU and Mobile Depot placement is actually pretty irrelevant; if they have you dead to rights, they have you. Good scouting and ongoing intel is your main tool to avoid the ganks. That expanded probe launcher has saved my butt twice when my scout didn’t see the new ship in system, but it’s really the last stage of the intel chain. Try to have as much and as good intel as possible, and if possible run the site in a fleet. A pair of Legions fit this way will require substantial firepower or neuting power to take them down without losses; one of my goals providing the straight T2 fit above is to de-mystify the fitting requirements of running C3 anomalies, and make the inevitable losses much less painful than those of people who watch some blinged-out Legion on Youtube and think they need the same expensive fit to do the same job.

  3. Great post – shame I can’t fly a Legion :) Any chance this can be done with a Tengu or a Proteus?

    A couple of additional points:
    1. Stay aligned if at all possible to something to warp out to. Never warp to a planet or the sun or your own WH home. Basically, make safe spots before starting.
    2. Take every new ship or signature as seriously as if an armada is spotted. A single T1 scanning frigate on D-scan can absolutely be the hero tackle, don’t ignore it as harmless.
    3. When (not if) you get jumped, don’t panic, your boat is likely lost, the pod may or may not be. Its pretty common to bring bubbles for a gank but not always. If you get jumped and you can trigger another wave of sleepers, make that trigger priority, rather than shooting any opponent. You are likely dead anyway, so adding DPS to the fight can only help – especially if it is a light team (bombers, cruisers, EWAR) that jumps you. If you are _really_ luck, the opposing team doesn’t even have sleepers on their PvP overview (and yes, I made that mistake once).

    • Epi,

      Thanks for the advice; I often forget the “fight aligned” tip while burning around blowing up Sleepers, and had not thought about focusing on triggering the next wave of Sleepers to give you a better fighting chance if you get ganked. Great tips.

      I’ve posted a follow-up to this blog entry detailing the other common sorts of T2 Strategic Cruiser fits I’ve seen, flown, or flown with in W-Space, at http://splatus.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/more-solo-c3-strategic-cruisers/. It bothers me that there’s this kind of mystique around what to fly and how to fit ships to solo sites in wormholes. While I understand it’s not as well-understood as, say, Level 4 missions, in my opinion a newbie should have an easy plan to get their character ready — with a few months of skills — to tackle the Class 3 solo endgame in wormholes, the Class 4 fleeted endgame, or the Class 5+ capital endgame.

      In that vein, I intend to post known, working solo and fleet doctrines for a while — all or mostly T2 if possible, to avoid the “bling” requirements that so many fasten onto Wormhole fits — until I feel like I’ve sufficiently de-mystified it enough to just tell Newbies: “Go, read this blog, fit your ship, and have fun.”

      • Yes, I really like the approach you are taken. I rarely solo PvE content but having repository of fits and approaches sounds very useful.

  4. Pingback: Blog posts you might have missed | Pilgrim in Exile

  5. Thanks for this post! Following this build myself to start doing wormholes. Just wanted to add a note for anyone trying to fit this an coming up short on CPU.. Depending on your skills a good place to squeeze out some extra CPU is replacing the t2 battery with a meta 4. With my skills, I’m still cap stable but you get 20 cpu back (which I needed for the sisters probe launcher)

    • If you fit the Emergent Locus subsystem, the cost of a Sisters Expanded launcher is only 2CPU. Did you accidentally fit a Dissolution Sequencer or something?

  6. Really love this article. I had one question though….I just stopped by a random combat site as I was bumping around looking for a good hole. 1 scram/web frigate was enough to absolutely put the brakes on me for upwards of 30 minutes. I had to fly another pilot of mine like 25 jumps in a ceptor to get the frigate off of me. How do you manage frigates? I just couldn’t track the thing that all and I tried all the tricks I know of. Carry a web/neut along? Are there just no frigates in C3 combat sites? My cargo is almost completely full with just a depot and the tertiary stuff I need so Im curious if you need a 2nd logistical pilot to make any extended C3 stay possible in this setup.

    Thanks again for the info!

    • hey there, thanks for the comment! TXG Sync (author of this post) has moved his blog – http://txgsync.wordpress.com/ . You may catch him there or in our public channel IOS Recruitment.

      I honestly can’t answer your question – don’t run C3 sites solo especially now after Hyperon turned our space into Swiss Cheese. Its just too damn risky to run the C3s with anything but a sizable fleet. But keep running them, maybe we see each other :)

    • This was a pretty dated post, really. The game has changed due to the abundance of frigate holes. I’ll plan a revisit soon, but there are several typical methods for dealing with frigates:
      1. Skills your capacitor and gunnery skills a little better, fit a web of your own to replace the cap recharger, and blap the frigate when his transversal drops as you manually-pilot and slingshot him.
      2. Instead of the Sisters Expanded launcher in the highs, fit a medium faction smartbomb. Most frigates will orbit closer than 6.5km and will take damage; they have to be pretty good to stay at the perfect range to keep you both scrambled and webbed.
      3. Fit a medium neut; this is even more effective if you go for the neuting subsystem. You’ll drain him dry (most frigates can’t fit a prop mod, scram, web, and a cap booster) then you can either blap him or fly away; your choice.
      4. Bring a mobile depot. Drop it. Refit for PvP. A frigate is not going to do enough damage to reinforce a mobile depot before you can use it.

      I’m experimenting on Sisi with a radically different approach myself: bait-fitting certain battleships and marauders in hopes that someone will try to tackle me. Marauders, in particular, are extremely hard targets to take down when fit correctly. They are mostly vulnerable to neuts, so I’m experimenting with having neuts on my marauder hulls myself to counter them.

      And what Epi said remains true: a fleet — even of just two guys — makes you much safer from those kinds of annoying threats the larger it is.

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