Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Thundercats are go!

A few days ago on the 20th, apparently mostly through luck, a Maelstrom fleet made up mostly of Mostly Harmless captured the Holy Grail.

They got their asses kicked doing it, but they did it.

As I mentioned, the DRF has again hired Pandemic Legion to attack the NC in Geminate.  The NC fleets were all set to see a brand new set of Hellcat fleets and afterburner Zealots.  But no, apparently while they've been down south in Delve, PL has come up with something new: a Tengu fit that they've christened the Thundercat.  Now I was under the impression that PL had nothing but disdain for missile ships.

Yeah, they've gotten over that.

NC fleets had been seeing fleets of Tengus, supported by insane numbers of Scimitars, with Claymore and Vulture command ships in close support.  The combination of the Claymore speed and sig radius links combined with the Vulture shield resist and shield rep links, were making these Tengus all but un-killable.  The NC fleets could see they were operating on AB rather than MWD, but that and the fact that they were firing missiles appeared to be these Tengu's only weaknesses.  Their resists and EHP were insanely high.  And because the NC couldn't kill one, they couldn't take it apart and see how the fitting worked.

Well, this MH Maelstrom fleet managed to kill not one, but three of them, and in so doing, captured the Holy Grail.  Two of the Tengus were basic fits.  One was... and this is the only word that fits... elite.  Here's the basic fit: 

[Tengu, Thundercat Basic]
Damage Control II
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II

Large F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction
10MN Afterburner II
Explosion Dampening Field II
Photon Scattering Field II
Photon Scattering Field II
Invulnerability Field II

Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile

Medium Core Defence Field Extender I
Medium Core Defence Field Extender I
Medium Core Defence Field Extender I

Tengu Defensive - Supplemental Screening
Tengu Electronics - Dissolution Sequencer
Tengu Engineering - Augmented Capacitor Reservoir
Tengu Offensive - Accelerated Ejection Bay
Tengu Propulsion - Fuel Catalyst


Here's the elite fit:

[Tengu, Thundercat Elite]
Damage Control II
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II

Republic Fleet Large Shield Extender
Shadow Serpentis 10MN Afterburner
Dread Guristas Explosion Dampening Field
Photon Scattering Field II
Photon Scattering Field II
Invulnerability Field II

Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile

Medium Core Defence Field Extender II
Medium Core Defence Field Extender II
Medium Core Defence Field Extender II

Tengu Defensive - Supplemental Screening
Tengu Electronics - Dissolution Sequencer
Tengu Engineering - Augmented Capacitor Reservoir
Tengu Offensive - Accelerated Ejection Bay
Tengu Propulsion - Fuel Catalyst


Don't even bother trying to get into the Elite fit unless you either have a PG implant in slot six, or you have Level V skill pretty much every support skill, including Shield Upgrades.  With the fittings captured, theory-crafting around the Thundercat could begin, and has been a source of a lot of analysis from everyone in the NC that has the slightest interest in ship fittings.

Those that have been reading for more than a week know that includes me.  ;-)

I am completely in awe of these fits.  They have no holes, no exploitable weaknesses... nothing.  The only real downside to them other than their relatively slow speed is the insane number of skill points you need to fly them.  But of course, PL doesn't have this problem, do they?  Nor do they have problems producing as many perfectly-skilled Claymore and Vulture command ship pilots as are needed.  Nor do they have problems producing as many perfectly-skilled Scimitar logistics pilots as are needed.  Nor do they have problems coming up with the 550 to 800 million ISK that each ship costs.  Other corps... other alliances have these problems.  Not Pandemic Legion.

With both of those command ships in place, the Thundercat does 550 kinetic DPS, moves at 700m/s without overheating, has a sig radius of 150m, is cap-stable, and has 84%+ resists right across the board.  The Elite version has 23,000+ shield HP.  The Basic version has 19,000.  All of this is ignoring any implants or boosters that might be used.  And PL is clearly using Scimitar watch-lists and having their Scimitars lock up every Tengu on those watch lists before they even get into a fight.  No need for attacked pilots to broadcast for reps; the Scimis just wait for something on their watch list to start flashing red and immediately apply their four reppers to it.

I'm completely in love with these fits.  A fleet of children... a fleet of complete PvP noobs... could get into this ship and win battles, as long as those child noobs had 50 million SP each and could follow an FC's orders.

So this presents a major problem: how in the name of Heaven do you kill them in large numbers?

29 comments:

  1. Given CCP's response to the early success of the Drake against Zealot fleets, there can be only one response:

    NERF THE TENGU!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. PL had already started sorting these fleets back in February, if the NC hasn't been theorycrafting since the PL forums were leaked.....then yea that's pretty much fail.

    The fact no counter has been brought up to them unless the hellcats being called for can stand up to them is even more fail as they literally had months to prepare.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Uh huh. 'cause the NC spent two months from February to April worried about what *PL* was doing. Yup.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Those fits have been up on the Pandemic Legion forum mirror for weeks. I'm really not sure what the big deal is. PL tactical doctrines were also on those forums, and in general they are not anything terribly special, aside from the fact that PL can actually make use of those doctrines, instead of having to worry about idiots who can't be trusted to shoot the primary, much less orbit the anchor or maintain alignment.

    I wouldn't say that the ship involved is all that big of a deal. Pandemic Legion has sustained equally low losses and inflicted considerable damage against the NC using Abaddons. Granted, a properly fit fleet Abaddon still requires T2 guns and tank, which require several months of training -- which is not that much less training time than would be required to fly a properly-fit Tengu.

    The real difference between PL and the rank and file NC and DRF, is that (1) PL pilots bring the proper ships with the proper fittings, and (2) PL pilots know how to use their ships. Note that PL doesn't use kitchen sink fleets consisting of whatever hulls its pilots can fly at a given time. Similarly, flying a Tengu properly requires more than simply locking the broadcasted target and hitting F1 -- a Tengu's tank requires high transversal and velocity to minimize damage, since 23k shield hitpoints will melt quite quickly against a sizeable enemy fleet.

    So the comment that 'children' can get the same results out of a Thundercat fleet is quite silly.

    As far as there not being a counter to Thundercat fleets, that's also a rather silly notion. There is a counter for everything in EVE. That the NC high command hasn't been able to come up a tactic suitable for NC pilots is a different matter entirely.

    ReplyDelete
  5. they'll throw billions into a fight and assure victory. Yet there's the hated NC still standing, bloodied every day, its moons in a sick game of swap-a-mole and people still showing up to fight after the most one-sided floggings in the history of the game. I'd love to say the fight's at a stalemate, but I'm not sure its even a fight. It feels like a grinder where ISK go in at an ever increasing pace for no specific gain.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm sure there's a way to break that fleet. I'm trying to think if there's anything in the game that can still be nanoed to the point where those heavy missiles are ineffective, while still able to deliver sufficient pain in return. Find that, and bring a ton of it.

    Trouble is, breaking that fleet will take more than ships; it will take sound doctrine, well-executed. That's easy to say, and very very hard to do, day in and day out, the way PL does.

    ReplyDelete
  7. So the russians are making a move against the NC and the NC takes no notice of new tactics/fleet compositions from the russians' favourite pet? Particularly when the pimary ship in the fleet has equivalent tank to a hictor, the DPS of a HAC with better speed and sig radius than a drake.

    Come on man that's just daft to say the least, the fits posted there are virtually identical to the ones in the PL forum mirror.

    Right now the NC are throwing out shield alpha fleets and Armour BS/HAC fleets which are exactly the type of fleets these tengus counter.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Would autocannon fitted hurricanes be of any use?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hey! They're using my mission-running fit! Simple counter is lots of TP, and a fleet of T2 sentry snipers. I am sure there us a ship out there which is relatively cheap and has the ability to target at extreme range, while fitting at least one TP and dual propulsion. Sentries assist the painter, TP is simply used as a counter for speed/sig radius. 20k EHP will need about 40 sentry drone sniper Domis with Gal BS V.

    For laughs, fit the Domis with SBs to counter missile spam, move away from sentries to provide a shield for the drones. Treat the drones as expendable.

    ReplyDelete
  10. They'll win any fleet fight that you put them in, at least for the foreseeable future. problem being of course the fact that Sov warfare reovlves around POS/TCU bashing, and these fit's don't pump out the required DPS numbers for that...
    Tengu has always needed nerfing. but it won't be nerfed. one rule of eve is the more people fly an OP ship, the less likely it is to be nerfed. especially if it's used in missioning.
    See the drake for an example.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The Tengu fleet as PL uses them is a space superiority fleet to clear the road of subcap fleets. The weakness here is twofold. As Marlenus points out, the Tengu's heavy missiles are hobbled in dealing with small, fast ships. Then there's the cost/replacement factor. Somebody have a price tag on these lovelies, cause between the ship and the implants (if the pilot's podded) it's a fair piece of change when one's lost.

    The Zealot lost the Drake/Zealot flee match ups not because the Drake was a better ship. As I recall, Drakes tended to lose 2-3 to 1. However, the Drake was easy to fly and cheap to replace. In the war of attrition that followed, the Zealot lost.

    By the same token, the Thundercat fleets may be vulnerable to a properly fit Zealot fleet; the t2 Zealot being a commonly trained and produced ship among nullsec fleets, cheaper to own and operate than the t3 Tengu and easier to replace.

    Just a thought.

    ReplyDelete
  12. If the NC leadership don't spend their time looking at what the pioneering alliances are doing they will ALWAYS be playing catch up. It doesn't matter that for a while PL were not a clear and present danger, even those of us who don't lead nullsec alliances saw them using this extension of the Drake/AHAC philosophy and knew it was good. Lets face it, it was a pretty damn logical place for them to end up.

    As far as the skill points requirement goes you're also way off. It would take me 262 days to train a vanilla alt from scratch to all level 5 fitting skills, all level 5 t3 ship command skills, t2 shield tank (inc rigs) and level 4 missile skills.

    As far as the "only PL have this kind of ISK" line goes, well, members of the Northern Coalition are hardly short on ISK. A ship like this flown in a gang is a far better ISK investment than the fully-faction fit frigates I've seen flying around.

    Is it so very bad that quality is winning over quantity? Well, if you're in the NC I guess it is.

    ReplyDelete
  13. @Mord No, the Drake won because of its speed and range. With a decent FC behind the Drakes, an armour HAC gang can only touch them on warp in. Missiles don't care about transversal either so can still hit armour HACs that are right on top of them. Admittedly, the cost-effectiveness of the Drake was one of the reasons that it grew in popularity with the southern alliances but it is also a better fleet doctrine.

    ReplyDelete
  14. @Wensley If the stats look good it'll be worth a try. As I said - it's a thought. I'll need to run the numbers.

    Trouble with Tengu fleets, that many together is an almighty lot of money flying around. Things go south for you, they'll go south ugly.

    Still, way fun to fly while they last.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Well, you could always blob supers on this kind of fleet... although it'd be extreme (and funny as hell) to doomsday subcaps like scimis, for the sake of breaking a Thundercats fleet.

    ReplyDelete
  16. @Mara: I've been wondering for months why the NC doesn't use RR/neut Domis with drones assisted to the FC. The tactic seems a perfect fit for how the NC operates.

    @Wensley: I'm curious where this assumption that all NC members are rich comes from. I'm in an NC alliance. I'm not rich. Am I the only exception?

    @Planetary: Yeah, I can see that happening pretty easily at some point: 30 or 40 Avatars, each DDing a Tengu.

    For those with "NC should have seen this coming" comments: a) In the NC, I'm a nobody. Less than a nobody, with access to no particular forums or dicussion areas of note. It's entirely possible that there were tons of people in the NC that did see this coming. b) Even if the NC was aware of this fit, I was being snarky. From February to April, the NC at large was a lot more interested in Russian fleets and ship fittings than PL ones.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Well, okay, average NC members individually are not necessarily "rich" (although, compared to my wallet...) but they are more than capable of buying and T2 fitting a Tengu. On top of that the actual alliances themselves do have the wealth to fund this sort of fleet.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I know who is rich in the NC. Vuk lau. Keep filling that bank account buddy because judgement day is fast upon your empire and it comes on the wings of indestructible Tungus flown by by invincible pilots.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Yeah, pretty much... Vuk lau has taken the avg. grunt in NC for a ride well filling his wallet, selling SC to PL, which are now being used on these same grunt that are tossing BS, after BS into the ginder. It's funny, if any alliance had the isk to field Tungu's, and replace them it's NC, but a few fatcats just got rich instead. I have already moved my assets, and am looking for a new home, not b/c the russians or PL are better, but b/c a few MM fatcats are so greedy and have screwed the common member for personal gains.

    The fact that nobody in HC seen it coming(Thundercat fleet), or anyone in the coalition for that matter is irrelevant.

    ReplyDelete
  20. You ever wonder why Vuk is never on when we fighting PL? He is fighting on their side. Taking the moon goo with his hands while his big hard cock is fuck us in the anus will the rest of those PL baddies.

    ReplyDelete
  21. maybe a munin gang can counter the Thundercats....
    http://www.black-legion.org/index.php?a=kill_related&kll_id=22782

    ReplyDelete
  22. I feel most commentators is too occupied with fleet composition. The Tengu fleet is a tool, effective in certain scenarios and aganist some (but not all opponents). Effective tools are important, but this is just a fraction of the whole picture. The basis of Pandemic Legion combat effectivness is:
    1) Player skill - both in the form of SP and actual pilot skill. PL can thus swap out fleets composition and tactics in minutes, which enables them to bring the right fleet every time in terms of rock-paper-scissors.
    2) FCs. PL has more experienced FCs available than any other alliance in the game, and in any engagement they employ at least 3 (support, logistic, capital).
    3) Superior intelligence. The PL spy network is not dead, far from it. They have people in the alliances they face, listening in on their comms, reading their forums and alliance mails. And they employ effective counter-intelligence measures to prevent enemy spies from getting too much valuable info.
    4) Tactics. PL FCs and pilots fight all the time. They have developed an acute sense of reading a tactical situation and adapt to it rapidly, pressing any advantage or disengaging in time to prevent whelps.
    5) Fleet doctrine. PL fleets are consistent. They spend lots and lots of energy theory-crafting fleet concepts, sometimes using SISI to try stuff out, then trying them out in combat, refining, iterating and enforcing compliance among members. Therefore they know what they can kill and what they cant kill with concept A, B, C and D.

    In sum, this is what enables PL to win consistently. Any group which just copies fittings without realizing how things are interconnected in the bigger picture will fail at achiveing the same.

    ReplyDelete
  23. @Kamp: Yep. All absolutely true. Stuff like this is why I say EVE is unlike any other computer game in the known universe. It gets easier the longer you play it.

    ReplyDelete
  24. You know, I just thought of something. wanna counter a Thundercats fleet?

    Blob Falcons. Have an entire wing of Falcons with RR support. Set 2 or so squads dedicated solely to jamming the fuck out of the Scimitars (i.e. LADAR jammers all the way), the rest of the fleet pack Gravimetric jammers and attempt to lock down as many Tengus as possible. It'll require a LOT of discipline and communication to make sure you don't all jam the same target(which is why it won't work), but I suppose another PL-esque entity could pull it off...

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm in PL, I fly a thundercat.

    1) They can be beaten, but only one alliance has worked out how (14 losses in one fleet), and now we've seen their counter we'll adapt
    2) Expensive isn't an issue if you never loose your ship. Decent Hellcat fit cost maybe half a Thundercat, any the loss rate is way way way less than half. We loose them to disconnects, people being twats.
    3) Contrary to popular belief, the merc contract fees doesn't buy all us PL members shiny ships, we buy our own, like pretty much any alliance. Reimbursement in PL is a lot less than in other alliances. You are expected to be able to handle losing a faction fitted mach, tengu, hellcat etc and replace it yourself. If you can't, your in the wrong alliance. The balancing factor for this is that you will rarely lose a ship, because your alliance mates are equally committed, skilled and equipped.
    4) NC don't have the fleet discipline to beat TCats. Run through a battle report and look at the kitchen sink fits they bring. T1 guns, no rigs, logi's with whore guns, etc, etc. As posters have said above, discipline and commitment are required that are long gone from the NC.

    ReplyDelete
  26. i know how to counter them.
    throw in lots and lots of rapiers/webbing lokis hyena's with tp's and close range mwd fit canes/sleipnir fleet + command loki/claymore and command tengu/vulture and you got the bastards

    ReplyDelete
  27. that tengu fit is exactly like all the other "cheap" tengu mission runners, like me, fit their lowsec tengus :) .. i personally have the worst experience against NEUTs .. and hello guys, BOMBER-Wings!
    I remember that legendary funny fleetkill as i died in one second with my hole fleet, as the FC ordered us top advance the dronerus gate from 100km afar by foot ;) all 130 drakes died at once :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Void bombs en masse, followed by either em bombs en masse and a supported BS fleet to clean up?

    ReplyDelete
  29. Huginns. TP drakes. Maelstroms.

    Dead Tengus.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.