Rifter Fleet Issue

Last post I promised a few more after action reports, where I was flying my most recent Jaguar setup. While the Harbinger was great to test out how far the fitting could go, I didn't mind stumbling upon two frigate sized targets shortly thereafter.

The first one was a Federation Navy Comet flown by X Gallentius. I know from previous engagements that he is a capable combat pilot. The Comet being a great and very versatile ship is no secret either. Nevertheless, I was confident that there wouldn't be much risk in fighting him. Neither blasters nor railguns pose a serious threat when you are messing them up with a tracking disruptor.

Making myself comfortable on a quiet gate, X's Comet didn't take long to show up. I was a bit surprised after all, as he accelerated way beyond afterburner speed and proceeded to shoot me from more than 15km out. I tried to catch up to him with some twists and turns, running my overheated afterburner. As it turned out, there was no way I would be able to force him into web range.

Luckily, a tracking disruptor has an optimal range of over 40km. As soon as I loaded a range disrupting script, all I had to deal with were three small drones buzzing around me. Webbing them one by one, a few volleys of Barrage took good care of each. Soon X ran out of drones, but he didn't decide to close in in order to have his guns hit me again. Acknowledging the stalemate, his Comet warped off and we exchanged GFs.

Pleased with how my Jaguar would dominate more or less any Comet out there, I was on my way to dig up some more fights. A while later, an Ishkur showed itself not far from Hevrice. Another perfect test for the Rifter Fleet Issue.

Jaguars focussing on shield defences can have serious trouble with well equipped Ishkurs. Their superior speed can avoid a good chunk of an Ishkur's gunfire, but a fleet of five drones and a sturdy tank may still be enough to drive off a Jaguar.

Assuming a webifier on the Ishkur, I stayed with the range disrupting script and would make sure to keep a range of at least 5km. The Ishkur was waiting for me at a belt. Luckily, I didn't land right on top of it, but a good 10km off as intended. I also didn't mind to be greeted by Hobgoblin drones at all; the explosive damage dealt by Warriors would've hit right into my weakest armor resistances.

The fight commenced as planned, with me shooting the Ishkur from 5 or 6km, the Ishkur effectively shooting blanks and five Hobgoblins dishing out considerably more hurt. Despite my tracking disruptor, this was still not quite a cakewalk.

Since we kept stealing each other's capacitor energy, soon both of us were taking turns at patching ourselves up the tiniest bit. Then of all the modules that could have shut down, my webifier decided it was time to take a nap.

For a good five seconds I was dipping into a range where the Ishkur was glad to finally cause some damage of its own. By switching on my webifier again and praying that my already smoldering afterburner would hold up for just one more overheated cycle, I managed to pull some vital range again. Nevertheless, the ensueing race through hull had now turned way too close for comfort.

And let me tell you once more: Gallente hulls are tough. I wasn't entirely sure whether I would come up ahead or had been defeated. All that was left was staying on course, letting the guns do their business and maybe getting off one more repair cycle.

And apparently it did the trick. Whew.

Warrior drones would have definitely hosed me. Even if I hadn't made the mistake that briefly cost me my web, I'm not sure if I could win against the same Ishkur with Warriors.

That's okay, though. I know the Rifter Fleet Issue maybe isn't the pinacle of assault frigatery. But it's still awesome.



I love the Jaguar. You can probably tell by the fact that it adorns my banner (it's nuhda Riftah!).

But it's not just the looks - it's pretty much the most efficient ship I fly. Right now my Jaguars have killed 77 ships (including some pods), while only two of them have been shot down. They have never lost a single duel against another lone assault ship; granted, on rare occassions I had to flee the scene, but being able to do that is just one more reason to hop into a Jaguar.

It's not even like Thukker's finest frigate has a narrow set of what it can pull off. Currently I have four Jaguars in my hangar, each of them set up completely differently.

There is of course the rather standard fitting with one medium shield extender, an afterburner and full tackle (i.e. warp scrambler & stasis webifier). Unmatched speed in its class, respectable buffer, packs a punch from more or less anywhere within scram range and a cap neutralizer to top off things (and more importantly throw off active tanking frigates). All in all a well rounded setup that neatly falls in line with the Jaguar's design.

My second Jag has two shield extenders - endless buffer for a frigate sized ship, ludicrous passive shield recharge. Still fast, however it lacks the ability to web targets. I consider its target range not as wide, but it utterly dominates targets which can be a bit of a problem for the more standard setup. Bottom line, it may be a bit gimmicky, but not the kind of gimmicky that leaves huge holes in the fitting. After all, you have an eternity to disengage.

Another setup dedicates all midslots to holding down the target, sporting two webifiers. Its tank consists of a 400mm armor plate. Of course the plate makes it considerably more sluggish than the shield setups, but stuff in web range stays in web range. Outstanding range dictation, awesome resists against pesky laser kiters (i.e. once again plenty of time to squirm out of disruptor range or deagress).

The most recent fitting I came up with is an extension of my favourite Rifter setup: 200mm plate supported by a repair module, plus a nosferatu to keep the juice coming. On top of this, the Jaguar can add 200mm autocannons and a tracking disruptor, the latter of which is my new most favourite thing in the world right after small neutron blasters. Any sort of turret boat may find itself not even scratching it; medium guns sure don't.

Don't get me wrong; this "Super Rifter" doesn't dominate on all fronts. After all, there are still drones and missile boats out there. Nevertheless, it's a joy to fly and as flexible as a frigate can be. The three good fights I've had so far flying it back that up pretty firmly.

The first one was a Harbinger I picked up hanging out at a planet in Adirain. After a bit of gathering intel, it became apparent that the pilot was quite old but seemed inexperienced in combat. I decided to give it a shot and warped to the planet. The Harbinger sat about 100km off and warped to a dense cluster upon my arrival. I suspected that another planet was his destination once more - for some reason I can't remember I also knew he would warp there at 50km.

Giving chase, I landed right on top of him. Thus I settled into an orbit suited for the Barrage ammunition I had loaded and switched the script of my tracking disruptor to exclusively mess up the heavy pulse lasers' tracking.

As expected, the Harbinger put a neutralizer on me; I was hoping my nosferatu would allow me to maintain speed and tackle for the time being. Oddly enough but fortunately nonetheless, not a single drone came out to put any pressure on my tank.

Despite the nos, my Jaguar was eventually running out of capacitor energy. Crossing my fingers, I switched off the tracking disruptor and promptly received a few hurtful volleys. Nothing too serious, but still good reason to orbit more closely. I felt like Fusion was the ammo of choice anyways due to the Harbinger's big buffer.

Even webbed and without any tracking disruption, I was pleased to notice that the lasers kept missing every shot again. My cap still kept crumbling as well however. Inevitably, modules started shutting down at random, so I had to manually reactivate them one by one. My guns made it to the battlecruiser's hull, but I was doing pathetic damage from there on. This would take a while - a while of stressful monitoring and powering up essential modules.

In the end I made the mistake to reactivate my web before my scrambler again, effectively helping my aligned target into warp. At least the fellow acknowledged my display of awesomeness sufficiently (no really, go ask him, it was super awesome). Also, he admitted to have lost his drones during a prior gank to sentry guns.

I'm going to save the other two engagements for another post. Also very fun and intense stuff. I'll make sure to put it up soon.