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...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fit of the Week: Dramiel-killing Celestis

[Celestis, Dodge This]
Damage Control II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I

10MN Afterburner II
Warp Scrambler II
Stasis Webifier II
Stasis Webifier II
Stasis Webifier II

Light Neutron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
Light Neutron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
Light Neutron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
Assault Missile Launcher II, Sabretooth Fury Light Missile

Medium Anti-Explosive Pump I
Medium Anti-Explosive Pump I
Medium Hybrid Burst Aerator I

Hobgoblin II x5
Hobgoblin II x3

The secret of this ship is definitely out.

But for a long while there, this unassuming little cruiser was the best Dramiel killer in EVE Online.  The Celestis is so rare that a lot of EVE players have to look it up.  It's the Gallente version of the Blackbird EWAR cruiser, except that since it's Gallente, it gets bonuses to Remote Sensor Dampeners.  Only now is it being considered for that particular bonus.  But for a long time, its primary benefit was its very unusual combination of five mid slots, three low slots, and a predilection toward armor tanking.

That was a symptom, though.  The cause was trying to slow down deadspace-fit Dramiels, where using Rapiers or Huginns to scram and double-web them... wasn't enough.  Even scrammed and double-webbed, a deadspace-fitted Dram will definitely be faster than 500m/s and might even be faster than that if the pilot is speed-boosted, or using speed implants or Snakes (and given that it's a Dram, they might very well be doing all three).  That sent people looking for a ship that could fit a propulsion mod, a scram, and three webs... so only five mid slots would do.

Even if you catch it, though, a Dram is still a pretty dangerous little frigate.  Killing cruisers is what it does second-best.  So, not only would the Dram-killing cruiser need five mid slots, it would need enough of a tank to not die to its prey.  And if those two requirements weren't enough, it also needed to be able to do enough damage to actually kill the Dram.  That led a lot of people to the Celestis.  With its ability to armor tank and its enormously large (for a T1 cruiser) drone bay, it's a perfect fit.

So, the mid slots are chosen for you: afterburner, scram, three webs.  This allows you to pull a non-bonused Dram down around 350m/s.  The Celestis fitted out this way can exceed 550m/s overheated.  This will allow you to close range to the point where blasters or auto-cannons can start taking the Dram apart.  You see the Celestis fit either way; this fit just happens to be the blaster version.  The blaster version does more raw damage; the auto-cannon version can use EMP ammo, which exploits a typical Dram's EM shield hole.  Either way, with your drones, you'll be doing more than 200 DPS overheated, so it'll take you about 35 seconds to kill a typical Dram fitting.

The Dram, meanwhile, will either (if he's smart) start shooting down your drones or (if he's desperate) start shooting at you.  If he chooses the former, you've got a few spare damage drones ready to launch.  If he does the latter, your tank will be more than sufficient to hold him off for his remaining life.  He'll likely correctly assume you're armor tanking; the rigs you're fitting will make it much harder for the Hail or Fusion ammo he'll be shooting at you.  In short, if you catch an unsupported Dramiel with this ship, he's doomed.

But the trick to using this ship is to be the one that gets tackled.  In an afterburner-fit cruiser, you're not going to catch any frigates, the Dramiel least of all.  You have to get them to tackle you.  Let them get nice and close before you spring the trap.  I found that playing dumb helped, particularly burning 50km or so off gates.  And of course, this ship and its tactics will work on any other frigate just as well as it will the Dramiel.

For quite a while, Celestis kills on Dramiels became common, but not quite common enough for the Dram pilots to hear about the tactic.  Those that knew about the tactic kept it quiet, and as a result, a lot of Drams died to this little cruiser before the Dram pilots started to twig to what was going on.  These days, though, Dram pilots know to stay far away from ships with lots of mid slots, so you don't see very many of this kind of kill any more.

So it's probably safe enough to share it.  ;-)

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