Spider Shield Fleets in a C2 or C3: How not to suck.

EDIT: In a future post, I’ll talk about how fun it is taking down Sleeper sites in PvP-fit armor-tanking fleets with webbers, afterburners, and other alternative tactics.  It can be done — and it’s a lot of fun! — but doesn’t fit with the tone of this post: trying to get our rookie pilots to equip the bare minimum required for a small gang to effectively survive while running C3 Sleeper sites in wormholes.  I’m also not going to address the whole “Tengu is king of C4 sites” thing 🙂

Over the past week, our fledgling fleets have struggled a bit fighting Sleepers due to insufficient tank, damage, and/or range.  Remote repairing is a vital part of our strategy in Broken Wheel, as it keeps a lot of aggro off our drones due to remote repairs having a high threat level against Sleepers, plus frees us from having to equip local repairers to put additional tank or damage modules in.  And it’s great training for the spider-tanking fleets we use in C4 and C5 anomalies.

Up until now, by and large Broken Wheel has expected recruits to train into a Drake. However, given the racial Battlecruisers change coming June 4, 2013, that expectation will almost certainly have to change.  We’re going to see increased specialization to avoid lengthy cross-trains, and requiring Caldari specialization just to “fit in” will be quite a high bar to clear.  Therefore, I drew up a few non-cross-training fits based upon fits I see working fine in our regular fleets that have similar performance characteristics, and meet a few basic minimum requirements:

  • Have a hit point buffer of about 50,000 EHP or more so that fleet-mates have time to target and repair.
  • Aim for 70% resists across the board.  This is negotiable with low shield skills, but is a good baseline for an effective build that doesn’t die too quickly.  It’s also considered a baseline for most incursion fleets.
  • Follow the fleet doctrine, whatever it is; flying an armor-tanked ship in a shield-repair fleet (or vice-versa) is suicide in a C3 or C4.  That said, you can sometimes get away with mixed-up tanking doctrines in a C2, particularly at home in Fred with a Cataclysmic variable and plenty of remote reps.
  • Have a shield or armor remote repair unit in one high slot, depending on the doctrine in use.  Wolf Rayet systems pretty much demand an armor fleet, for instance, while otherwise we tend to use shield as the passive regen helps offset some spider-tanking demands.  I won’t be talking about armor spider tanking fleets in this post, though.
  • Weapons+drones together should do more than 200 dps damage at greater than 50km.  If you can push that out to about 60km, even better; if you must choose between damage and range in order to operate effectively at 50-60km, choose range.
  • With a single remote-repairing buddy, be able to tank more than 200dps damage to your ship.  For those interested in “solo” builds, this applies to passive tanked ships too. About 200dps of tank & gank works well in a C2; you need a bit more for C3 anoms, and a LOT more for c3 mag & radar sites.  In a remote-repair gang, this implies a minimum level of resistances for a single repairer to meet the effective target.
  • Have some means of dealing with close-range, fast frigates in addition to the ranged battleships.  This usually means “light drones”.  But good tracking on guns or frigate-focused ammunition can do the trick, too.
  • Sustain your remote shield or armor repair for at least 4-5 minutes without toggling a hardener.  It’s easy to check this in-game or in EFT/pyfa. With hardeners off, each build should be cap-stable even with “can barely fly a battlecruiser” low skills.
  • Sustain at least 160m/s speed so you can keep up with the fleet.
  • Keep the bar pretty low on skills. Pilots should be able to get by in the fit with Electronics IV, Engineering IV, etc. Basically no skills trained to V.

Here are a few proven fits for up to C3 mag/radar sites that allow you to hit hard at good range, have sufficient tank, and be a solid contributor to fleet operations without frustrating your squad-mates due to short range or terrible shield repping.  These avoid unnecessary meta gear so that they can be produced in the wormhole.  C4 fits have higher fitting requirements and damage output; the below fits are designed with low-skill, low-budget rookies doing C2/C3 work in mind.  It’s expected that all of us in the training corp in the  are training toward Strategic Cruisers for running wormhole sites and anomalies, and each fit is a stepping-stone toward a Legion, Proteus, Tengu, or Loki.  Given that after June 4 cross-training all racial battlecruisers will become much more time-consuming, I expect that the days of “DrakeFleet” are numbered, and kitchen-sink shield fleets composed of examples like those below will become far more common.

C3 SpiderDrake summary: Easily the “tankiest” of all the fits, this Spider Drake boasts at least 58K EHP with modest skills. However, it’s not quite your typical brick; it’s designed to have just enough EHP for the job.  It has nice resists even in low-skilled hands — 81/71/78/82 is a reasonable minimum expectation — around 200DPS between missiles and drones, can rep for 4:30 with all hardeners on, and is cap-stable if you toggle off two hardeners.  Better skills reduce the need for capacitor substantially and eliminate the need for rigs to hit at range so the rig slots can be used to enhance other aspects of the Drake. Passive shield tank with purgers is a common choice, reducing one’s dependency on the spider-tank of the fleet.  Drakes are commonly used to solo C2 sites due to this kind of tank, and can — very slowly — solo C3 anomalies also, so purgers are a decent choice for a Drake intended both to solo and fleet… if your support skills suffice to hit the range and damage targets otherwise.

If you’re not sure what to fly, fly this. The skills transfer well to the Tengu later on, and you fit right in even if you just barely can shoot heavy missiles and fit shields.  The Tengu is our primary C4 boat.

[Drake, C3 SpiderDrake]

Ballistic Control System II
Capacitor Power Relay II
Capacitor Power Relay II
Damage Control II

Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
EM Ward Field II
Large Shield Extender II
Cap Recharger II
Target Painter II

‘Malkuth’ Heavy Missile Launcher I, Scourge Heavy Missile
‘Malkuth’ Heavy Missile Launcher I, Scourge Heavy Missile
‘Malkuth’ Heavy Missile Launcher I, Scourge Heavy Missile
‘Malkuth’ Heavy Missile Launcher I, Scourge Heavy Missile
‘Malkuth’ Heavy Missile Launcher I, Scourge Heavy Missile
‘Malkuth’ Heavy Missile Launcher I, Scourge Heavy Missile
Medium S95a Partial Shield Transporter

Medium Hydraulic Bay Thrusters I
Medium Hydraulic Bay Thrusters I
Medium Warhead Calefaction Catalyst I

Hobgoblin II x5

C3 SpiderHarb summary: A Harbinger in a Drake fleet is like a Legion in a Tengu fleet. It’s a bit of a fish out of water shooting lasers and releasing multiple flights of drones amidst a sea of taco-shaped ships with missile launchers, but helps shore up the Drake’s inherent weakness to frigates and other fast-moving targets with a small signature radius.  Resists 76/70/73/78, about 50,000 EHP, 94dps guns @51km (225dps @ 16km), 100dps drones, 55EHP native shield regen, 148EHP with a remote rep, 173m/s speed, and quite decent .04rad/sec tracking.  With good tracking and solid damage at medium range, the Harbinger is a solid choice in a Spider Shield fleet and speeds up running sites — particularly due to its ability to run a full flight of medium drones — but is eclipsed at long range by the Ferox, Brutix, and Hurricane shield builds below.

Notice that the Harbinger resist pattern is pretty typical for the other shield-tanked builds on non-shield-bonused ships in this post.

You gain a small improvement to tracking and considerably easier fitting using Focused Modulated instead of Heavy Modulated lasers, but the range of Heavy helps a lot with kiting battleships often found in C3 Radar sites.  Use Radio crystals at ranges around 50km (Battleships), Standard around 30km (Cruisers), and Multifrequency below 20km (Frigates).

This is mostly for people with existing laser skills that want to fit in with the spider fleets; the skill training fits in well with those training toward a Legion.

[Harbinger, C3 SpiderHarb]

Damage Control II
Heat Sink II
Tracking Enhancer II
Capacitor Power Relay II
Capacitor Power Relay II
Capacitor Power Relay II

Large Azeotropic Ward Salubrity I
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
EM Ward Field II

Heavy Modulated Energy Beam I, Multifrequency M
Heavy Modulated Energy Beam I, Multifrequency M
Heavy Modulated Energy Beam I, Multifrequency M
Heavy Modulated Energy Beam I, Multifrequency M
Heavy Modulated Energy Beam I, Multifrequency M
Heavy Modulated Energy Beam I, Multifrequency M
Medium S95a Partial Shield Transporter

Medium Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
Medium Energy Collision Accelerator I

Hobgoblin II x5
Hammerhead II x5

C3 SpiderFerox Notes: A rail-equipped Ferox can hammer through 60km+ kiting battleships like no other.  With terrible skills you can get 140dps at 50km with this fit just with guns, plus another 60dps or so from drones inside of 45km; with excellent skills, you can swap to higher-damage ammo to push past 200dps at obscene ranges, and drop a capacitor control circuit rig for a damage rig to enhance it further if desired. The main weakness of the fit is to close-kiting frigates due to very poor tracking on the 250mm railguns.  The drone bay helps out here, but like the drake, losing one drone really cuts into your ability to quickly destroy frigates.  But for cruisers up through Battleships, the Ferox can do some fearsome damage at unparalleled range, with Drake-equivalent tank and a pretty loose, easy fit.

This is mostly for people with existing Hybrid Turret skills that want to fit in with the shield spider fleet.  Training-wise, you have some interesting choices to make as to what tech3 cruiser you want to equip and how you want to fly it. Not sure where this fits in with that training plan, but it’s a decent boat in its own right!

[Ferox, C3 SpiderFerox]

Damage Control II
Power Diagnostic System II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II

Large Shield Extender II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
EM Ward Field II
Cap Recharger II
Tracking Computer II

250mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Thorium Charge M
250mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Thorium Charge M
250mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Thorium Charge M
250mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Thorium Charge M
250mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Thorium Charge M
250mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Thorium Charge M
250mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Thorium Charge M
Medium S95a Partial Shield Transporter

Medium Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I

Hobgoblin II x5

In case you don’t want the Caldari cross-train to take time away from your Gallente skill plan, here’s a similarly-fit Brutix with sufficient range but a weaker shield tank.  In tank, in fact, it’s quite similar to the Harbinger or Hurricane, but like the Ferox struggles with frigates due to tracking.  I recommend two flights of light drones rather than one flight of mediums due to this vulnerability, but in a gang with decent anti-frigate support you may want a single flight of mediums for the 30% drone damage improvement versus cruiser & battleship-size targets.  Ultimately, the Ferox is a better railgun platform at the common ranges involved in Sleeper sites, but if given a choice of training Caldari Battlecruiser to IV (along with all its Caldari prerequisites) or Gallente Battlecruiser to V, the specialization into a level V skill will serve you better.  While the Brutix works fine with a shield tank, I don’t recommend a Shield Spider Myrmidon; its inherently weak shield resists make for a very weak tank without excessive mid-slot and rig allocation.  The Myrmidon is an awesome boat in many other fleets and solo.

If you’re training toward a Proteus, this may be a good fleet fit while doing so.

[Brutix, C3 SpiderBrutix]

Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Tracking Enhancer II
Tracking Enhancer II
Capacitor Power Relay II
Power Diagnostic System II
Damage Control II

Large Shield Extender II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
EM Ward Field II

250mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Iridium Charge M
250mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Iridium Charge M
250mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Iridium Charge M
250mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Iridium Charge M
250mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Iridium Charge M
250mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Iridium Charge M
Medium S95a Partial Shield Transporter

Medium Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I

Hobgoblin II x5
Hobgoblin II x5

C3 Spidercane notes: Like the Harbinger, the Spider Hurricane has a weaker tank than the Ferox or Drake.  However, the Hurricane has a really nice base speed (190m/s with my skills) that eclipses the Drake, Ferox, and Harbinger like no other, allowing some “speed-tanking” flexibility in the mid-slot fit.  Like the rest of the fits here today, it’s cap-stable running a repper with hardeners off even with low skills so that it fits in with the fleet and boasts right around 50,000 EHP with at least 70% resists all around.  Like the Ferox, it excels at demolishing sleepers at extreme range. Also like the Ferox, though, it has some challenges at very close range; an extra tracking enhancer brings it right to par with the Harbinger’s close-range tracking ability, and weapons which don’t depend at all on capacitor allow the Hurricane to keep firing while the Ferox or Harbinger pilot might have to stop to catch their breath. A small but usable drone bay and bandwidth allows the Hurricane to field 1 medium drone amidst 4 light drones, or keep one light drone spare in case it’s destroyed by Sleepers.  This fit has quite loose fitting requirements with the 650 cannons. Those with better skills can easily fit 720mm cannons for greater range and damage at the expense of tracking.  With low skills a Spider Hurricane pilot can hit 20km to 50km+ without changing ammo and 123 dps from guns, 68dps from drones; with better skills, the same fit produces over 300 dps out to 60km.

This fit is for those who bring Projectile Turret skills to the wormhole but want to be effective in spider tanking shield fleets.  If you’re training toward a Loki, this may be right up your alley.

[Hurricane, C3 SpiderCane]

Damage Control II
Capacitor Power Relay II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Tracking Enhancer II
Tracking Enhancer II

Large Shield Extender II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
EM Ward Field II

650mm Medium ‘Scout’ Artillery I, Titanium Sabot M
650mm Medium ‘Scout’ Artillery I, Titanium Sabot M
650mm Medium ‘Scout’ Artillery I, Titanium Sabot M
650mm Medium ‘Scout’ Artillery I, Titanium Sabot M
650mm Medium ‘Scout’ Artillery I, Titanium Sabot M
650mm Medium ‘Scout’ Artillery I, Titanium Sabot M
Medium S95a Partial Shield Transporter

Medium Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I

Hobgoblin II x4
Hammerhead II x1

I hope this helps a bit. We have a diverse group of guys in our wormhole training corp, and as long as we ensure our fits meet some reasonable standards we can have a great time stomping C2, C3, and — with a few fleet composition adjustments — C4 sites.

Regards,
TXG SYNC

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One response to “Spider Shield Fleets in a C2 or C3: How not to suck.

  1. I received several comments on the “private” version of this post (for alliance only) reflecting the fact that the Tengu truly is the king of wormholes. And the training time to get into a Drake — even AFTER the Battlecruisers change — is less than five days to get to racial-specific Battlecruisers III even as a totally unskilled player.

    So ultimately, guys, the point to the fits above is to capitalize on your current experience with a useful battlecruiser fit immediately for running C2/C3 anomalies, while training toward a Tengu for utility in C4 space. These fits may therefore end up applying to your first month or so in the training corp; thereafter, they might be the ships you refit for PvP or use until destroyed.

    Because, as Epi says, you will eventually lose EVERY ship you ever bring into the wormhole. It’s just a question of when and how.

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