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, February 1, 2012

FOTW: Tournament Rook

This is one of my favorite ships, though I don't get to fly it nearly as often as I like to:

[Rook, Gonna Get Me An Ear]
Damage Control II
'Hypnos' Signal Distortion Amplifier I
Power Diagnostic System II

Experimental 10MN MicroWarpdrive
Enfeebling Phase Inversion ECM I
Enfeebling Phase Inversion ECM I
BZ-5 Neutralizing Spatial Destabilizer ECM
'Umbra' White Noise ECM
Invulnerability Field II
Large Shield Extender II

Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Inferno Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Inferno Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Inferno Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Inferno Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Inferno Heavy Missile

Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer II
Medium Core Defence Field Extender I

Hornet EC-300 x5

Welcome to my first FOTW using the new version of EFT, 2.14.3.  You'll have to convert all the FOTWs before this one to the new format.  All FOTWs starting this week will no longer work in versions 2.14 or earlier.  (And no doubt, as other module name changes happen in 2012, we'll have to convert several more times.)

As I've said many times, I love Recons.  They're incredibly versatile and fun to fly.  Certainly, they're a bit more expensive than other ships, but they make up for it with a lot of survivability and a lot of options.  One thing they aren't is dull, particularly once combat starts!  ;-)

This is my favorite Rook fit.  Variations on this fit have been around for years and indeed, this fit is often referred to as the "Tournament" Rook because it's quite commonly used in the annual EVE Alliance Tournament.  E-war ships are force multiplier ships, and are more effective when your fleet is fighting out-numbered, or "fighting above its weight class", to put it in the EVE parlance.  Get into a large fleet battle with 50 ships per side and a dozen Logistics per side and an e-war platform is going to have an extremely difficult time making an impression.  In a large fleet battle, an e-war platform is just an expensive target, really (unless used en masse).  And this is particularly true for jamming ships, and doubly so for Rooks, which don't even have the Falcon's ability to warp cloaked or their tendency to be at ultra-long range.  Rooks tend to be a bit more up-close-and-personal than Falcons (which often operate at ranges of 100km or more).  Since they'll tend to be closer-in, they're particularly susceptible to being called primary early in a big fleet battle and just getting themselves killed for no good purpose.

You'll hopefully have inferred from this by now that the Rook is not a go-to ship; it's a ship that you should only undock in in specific circumstances.  Those circumstances are "in support of the smallest possible small gang looking for enemy fleets of six or eight ships at most."

In short, the circumstances where undocking in a Rook is the right thing to do are being hunted to extinction in EVE Online.

The ideal fleet for a Rook to join is a fleet of about four to five total ships, where the bulk of the remainder of the fleet are DPS killers able to take care of themselves.  Vagabonds, Cynabals, double- and triple-rep Myrms, assault ships, inexpensive T3s, and the like are the best companions for such a Rook.  The role of the Rook is to negate the need for Logistics in this small hunter-killer group.  Such a group will be looking for enemy fleets of up to about double size to engage and pick off some number of targets from.  As the fleet engages, the Rook comes in and isolates three to four DPS targets from the enemy gang and attempts to jam them.  In this way, a four or five ship fleet can successfully engage eight or so enemy ships because three or four of the enemy are jammed, evening the odds.  Blackbirds can also be used for this role, but the Rook is superior for three reasons:
  • it's a hell of a lot tougher than a Blackbird;
  • a Rook actually brings a measurable amount of DPS; and,
  • a Rook demonstrates the commitment of you to your gang, and of your gang to the fight, whereas Blackbirds tend to be LOL-throw-away ships.
That last point is rather key: if you're escorting Cynabals and Vagabonds, the pilots of those somewhat expensive ships are going to want to know that your commitment in ISK matches theirs.  ;-)

Once in such a hunter-killer gang, how you fly a Rook doesn't vary too much from flying any other Recon.  Try to come into the fight a couple of seconds after your fleet-mates.  Once you're in the fight, open range and work well outside point range.  50km or so is ideal, if you have the skills to operate your jammers at full strength from that range.  You can also warp in at that range if you have that option.  With decent skills, your jam strength will be something over 12, which is good enough for a 65-80% jamming chance against the sorts of things you're likely to be engaging.  You'll generally want to go ahead and carry jamming drones as well, which you should immediately assign to go after enemy tacklers.

DPS is provided by Heavy Missile Launchers which operate out to 100km or more; unfortunately HAMs do not work well on Rooks as they have only a 30km or so range and you don't want to be that close.  Similarly, Rage missiles are a mistake for most cruiser platforms because of the secondary effect Rage missiles have on your sig radius.  Therefore, faction missiles are the way to go, which means you'll be providing 185 or so DPS.  The Rook does not receive a bonus to any particular type of missile.  You can go with the traditional kinetic missiles if you like, or even carry a small stockpile of all four types, but I just carry thermal missiles in my missile-firing Recons.  The Caldari Navy Infernos tend to be the cheapest faction missiles, most ships have at least somewhat of a thermal hole, and your fleet-mates should not be relying on the Recon for major DPS in any case.

The weakness of the Rook is ever and always going to be the tank, particularly its enormous EM hole.  Some guys mess around with ECM-enhancing rigs or even take the Damage Control off their Rooks, but I think this is a mistake.  In these ultra-small gangs, the enemy fleets are going to tend toward Minmatar ships and those Minmatar ships are going to be firing faction EM ammo at you, which will go right through the Rook's EM hole if you miss a couple of critical jams.  While you can and should try to work at 50km, you don't always have this luxury, so unlike some Recons, you can't just ignore your tank.

"Two red, one blue, one yellow" is the traditional jammer load-out for Rooks, though this is changing slowly thanks to the recent blaster buff.  Still, for ultra-small gang versus ultra-small gang, this is probably still the right way to go.  Minmatar ships are your biggest worry thanks to their DPS, but in these smaller gangs, you'll often encounter enemy Curses, Rooks, or Blackbirds, trying to do to you what you are trying to do to them.  Over time, though, I suspect "two red, one blue, one yellow" will become "two red, one blue, one green" or perhaps even "three red, one green".

In a gang of five ships, it's important that you're justifying your presence.  If everyone else is in Vagabonds, if you're going to be a Rook, you have to be able to demonstrate that you bring value to the fleet that compensates for the extra 300 or so DPS that you're not bringing.  As a result, while you should try to be the last one to join a fight, if the fight goes badly, you should also try to be the last one to leave.  If four Vagabonds and a Rook take on eight ships and it starts to go badly, the Vagas will pull range and warp off.  Try to be the last one on the field, jamming enemy tacklers, so that they can do so.  Off-racial jammers will do just fine jamming enemy assault frigs, interceptors, and the like.  Only when the rest of your fleet is off the field should you warp off yourself.

If the fight is going well, moderate your use of jamming to try to encourage enemy ships to stay on the field.  I tend to be truly evil in this regard: even when out-numbered, I'll hold one or two of my jammers in reserve, applying them only periodically and only after I'm sure that the enemy ship has his choice of targets locked up and has started firing.  Then I'll jam that target once and after a successful jam, I'll leave that target unjammed for 10 or even 15 seconds so that he can get back into his groove before I disrupt it again.  This keeps the enemy fleet aggressed and interested because the fail Rook pilot can't keep jams up.  Keeping the fight feeling even will keep the enemy gang on the field, though of course you should not risk losing friendlies to do so.  And the closer your gang size is to the enemy gang size, the fewer of your jammers you should be using.  But if enemy DPS is clearly out-matching the ability of your fleet-mates to compensate, you should get those reserve jammers into action.  Jamming any enemy Recons is particularly important.  After that, learn which ships are the most effective at applying DPS to friendlies and concentrate your jamming there.

Rooks are enormously fun to fly when flown well, but the frequency that you should undock in your Rook is not very high.  In larger fleet battles, a Falcon is a much better choice because of the longer ranges at which they tend to operate.  This leaves only a limited number of situations where you can use your Rook, but be content knowing that if you are able to undock in it and use it properly, you'll get a lot of satisfaction out of the times when you can use it.

Finally, one procedural note: if there are any CCP employees reading this, please -- for the love of God -- give the Rook more power grid.  Speaking on behalf of my fellow Rook pilots, I can say with a great deal of surety that we will happily trade 100 CPU for as much grid as you feel comfortable giving us.  150 more grid would be ideal.  Even for a Caldari ship, the amount of CPU the Rook has is wildly ridiculous: it's more CPU than can possibly be used except for the silliest possible fits (Expanded Probe Launcher Rook, anyone?).  Meanwhile, the criminal lack of grid means that there are only a few ways to correctly fit a Rook, and no good armor Rook options at all.  Please fix this.

Fly annoying!  :-)

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.


  1. Nice fit for normal small gang fighting, but if anyone flies a shield rook in the tournament without 2 BCUs they're doing it wrong. :)

  2. hmm, better ecm ships is the last thing we need. they are more than good enough as it is. ECM is the strongest recon abilety by far. so giving the ship more tank would be the wrong way to go.

    1. I never get why people think ECM is overpowered.... Maybe it's the proliferation of Minmatar ships (and their generally weak sensor strength, being more easily effective) or because it's the most annoying ability of EWAR. I don't seem to struggle flying Amarr or Gallente

      There are plenty of counters you can use, ECM flown right is instrumental it's true, but no more so then any of the other Recons, ok, except maybe the poor Pilgrim.

      For instance, so you can jam him with your falcon and he can't hit you.... he just runs away, without the Arazu, that becomes a real concern, or you have to get in within normal point range and tackle. So you have him pointed and jammed, but he can still MWD back to the gate, unless you can apply webs to slow him down, which you can't do without the Rapier or bonussed ship, or without getting in close again...

      Point is horses for courses, and the recon's work best together.

      Reason the Falcon is seen to be the most powerful of the recon's is because, most normal ships fit tackle and webs, where as only specialised ships can fit ECM well.

      Hell while we're at it, the Arazu is in my opinion the most dangerous recon, because not only can it point you at 102km with factions and mindlink bonusses, but it can also sensor damp you so you can't shoot it too.

  3. My friend and I were having a discussion about the phrase 'force multiplier'. He seemed to think that 'force negator' was more appropriate as it removes the enemy fleet's numbers by way of DPS, tackle and point.

    Sure it's a force multiplier for your fleet, but isn't it a more direct force remover from your opponent's fleet?

  4. Hey. Can you do a follow-up, but a FOTW for the Falcon ???? Really having trouble with that ship......


  5. Rook and Falcon have same jammer range as far as EFT shows.

    Used to be Falcon was good to 150 but that was years ago.

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