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.
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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

FOTW: Alpha Tornado

It was tempting to do something a little one-off this week, but no, I'm going to go very straight-forward.  Here's what's emerging as the optimal alpha version of the Tornado:

[Tornado, 1400s RCU]
Reactor Control Unit II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Tracking Enhancer II

Experimental 10MN MicroWarpdrive
Invulnerability Field II
Tracking Computer II, Tracking Speed
Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution
Large Shield Extender II

1400mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L
1400mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L
1400mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L
1400mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L
1400mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L
1400mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L
1400mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L
1400mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L

Medium Ancillary Current Router I
Medium Core Defence Field Extender I
Medium Core Defence Field Extender I


This is the ship that I mentioned a week or so ago when I was talking about tracking on larger ships against smaller ships (though for the actions in that post, I modified this fit a fair bit).  As I said in that post, the last thing this ship is about is finesse.  Put a flock of these 40 to 50 kilometers off targets, and -- particularly if either the target or the Tornado is stationary -- those targets will die in short order.  Seven of these ships will do about 70,000 alpha.  Adjusted for sig radius, that's enough to kill virtually any battle-cruiser in one cycle.  Twelve or so will be needed to alpha a well-fit, well-flown Guardian.  The numbers go up from there.

Let's talk about the fit first, then talk tactics.

The cornerstone of an alpha ship, whether Tornado, Maelstrom, or Machariel or anything else, is a full rack of Tech2 1400mm Howitzers supported by two Gyrostabs.  With the correct faction ammo loaded, this gives you 10,000 alpha, which is what your FC is probably going to calculate based on.  Thanks to boosters, faction mods, skill variation, and the like, some ships will be able to produce more than 10,000, but that's the average that's used.  Anything that reduces your alpha below that magical 10k number is therefore a bad thing.  This is usually due to Tech1 guns, bad ammo choices, or only fitting a single gyro.  To those mods, you add a single Tracking Enhancer and a single Tracking Computer.  These have two practical effects:
  • they increase the range of your alpha with the highest damage ammo; and,
  • they effectively decrease the signature of the ship that you can alpha.
If significant portions of your gang can't hit the 10k alpha number, you'll have to increase the number of Tornadoes you bring to compensate.  It's also not a bad idea to have a Target Painter or two among your fleet somewhere to light up the primary.  On the Rapier or Huginn is a good place to put it, or they can be elsewhere in your support fleet.

The guns, gyros, and tracking mods are the most important parts of the fit.  Everything else is rather secondary, or goes toward making it possible to fit those 12 mods.  This particular fit requires Advanced Weapon Upgrades V and Energy Grid Upgrades V.  A variant of this fit replaces the RCU2 with a PDS2, then replaces one of the Core Defence Field Extender rigs with a second Ancillary Current Router.  That version of the fit has an easier time with cap management while skirmishing but the tank is a bit thinner.  Still, if you frequently skirmish with Tornadoes, that fit might work better for you; if you're caught in a Tornado, a few more thousand EHP is not going to make a lick of difference.  Still, no sense making it easier for assault frigs and destroyers (the two most frequent banes of tier3s), so the rest of the mods comprise a little bit of tank.

I've covered skirmishing tactics before, but they're doubly important in this ship.  Overheated without links, a Tornado goes 2400m/s, which is sufficient to outrun almost anything that's a serious threat.  As a result, when skirmishing, trade out the Tracking Computer script for a range variant and try to stay 40 to 50 kilometers away from what you're shooting at, opening range as needed to avoid getting tackled.  If your FC is smart, the entire Tornado gang will be aligned to a celestial or bookmark as they open range.  If you notice yourself becoming the primary of the enemy gang, warp off.  You don't have the tank to take any kind of real punishment, and lacking drones, you have no other GTFO options.

Tornadoes are horribly vulnerable to small tackle as I mentioned, so the support fleet for a alpha Tornado gang is just as important as the alpha.  You're going to need a small contingent of anti-frig cruisers of your choice.  Since the Tornadoes also lack tackle, it will also be quite helpful to have a Lachesis and a Huginn/Rapier along.  Skirmish Tornado gangs should also bring skirmish links, notably the Rapid Deployment link.

One tricky part of flying Tornadoes is not to outrun your guns.  Linked, overheated Tornadoes burning off a gate are so fast -- speeds above 3000m/s are fairly easy to achieve -- that it's only going to take you 20 seconds or so to burn outside the effective range of your guns.  In a lot of cases, your FC will remind you how many times to cycle your MWD, but a lot of FCs forget.  If you're not paying attention, you could find yourself far out in front of your fleet, cycling your guns uselessly for a miss or much reduced damage and having to take 15 seconds to reset your ship's position before the next volley.  Even worse in this situation, it is even easier to over-compensate, burn toward your targets to get back into range and due to pilot error, end up getting tackled and killed.  So try to be really precise when flying this ship.  It's not very forgiving of mistakes.

Happy alpha!


All Fits of the Week are intended as general guidelines only.  You may not have the skills needed for this exact fit.  If you do not, feel free to adjust the fit to suit to meet your skills, including using meta 3 guns and "best named" defenses and e-war.  Ships can also be adjusted to use faction or dead-space modules depending on the budget of the pilot flying it.  Each FOTW is intended as a general guide to introduce you to concepts that will help you fit and to fly that particular type of ship more aggressively and well.

9 comments:

  1. What do you think of the CFC switching over to Maelstroms with 1200mms, rather than 14s?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suspect this has almost nothing to do with alpha and almost everything to do with cycle time.

      If you have hundreds of Maelstroms, you don't really need more alpha. ;-) But 100 Maelstroms waiting 17.7 seconds or so for their next volley is probably extremely painful. So the loss of some alpha for 11.5 second cycle times is probably worth it. This would only apply to alpha fleets that can put hundreds of such ships on the field.

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    2. Yup, CFC has the numbers. 120 Maelstroms * 8000 = 960,000

      Even factoring in an aggressive 60% resist against the ammo-type being used, that's still a volley of 384,000.

      The Time Dilation Mechanic has significantly benefited Alpha Doctrines, because it slows things down and makes retarded pilots (which we know CFC has a lot of) better able to have their guns loaded and ready to cycle on the FC's command.

      As an FC myself, I'd rather Alpha a BS every 8.5 seconds than every 16 seconds.

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    3. Yeah, good point. Add some TiDi and that 17.7 second cycle time probably starts to feel like a lunch hour.

      Delete
    4. On an unrelated note, I think the best thing that can be done to Counter the Over-powered nature of Supercarriers and Titans would be to give a significant EHP boost (somewhere between 100% and 200%) to Carriers and Dreadnaughts. That and they need to take away ewar immunity, from all ships. Everything should be vunerable to all forms of ewar. No exceptions.

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    5. I agree, swarms of newbro's should be able to tackle your titan in a swarm of rifters, just like they can swarm a carrier or a dreadnought. Sadly, those titan guns will still catch the unfortunate newbie tackling a different titan with little transversal to the first, so v0v

      Delete
    6. 19.73 seconds. It's 19.73, infidel. Yes, I fly Maelstroms with rapid firing IV and Minm Battleship III. Does you soul die a bit inside when you read this?

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    7. No. It dies inside a lot. ;-)

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