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, July 11, 2012

Fit of the Week: Tornado escort Zealot

It's funny how ship fittings change over the years in EVE.  Eighteen months ago, AB-based HACs -- Zealots most of all -- were still one of the most popular mid-size fleet metas.  With the advent of tier 3 BCs, though, a lot of the old roles for HACs are being supplanted in mid-size fleets.  Nagas are taking the place of sniper HACs, Taloses and auto-cannon Tornados are taking the place of Vagabonds, and Oracles and 1400-fit Tornados are creating a new niche for themselves as skirmishers.

As the HACs get pushed out of their traditional roles, some are stepping into new roles in support of the tier 3s.  For instance, it's quite common now to see Vagabonds among Talos fleets acting as shepherds against the newly-buffed Assault Ships.  The new Tornado skirmish fleet meta also has a similar shepherd, a pulse-fit Zealot:

[Zealot, Tornado escort]
Damage Control II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Heat Sink II
Heat Sink II
Tracking Enhancer II
Tracking Enhancer II

Experimental 10MN MicroWarpdrive I
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II

Heavy Pulse Laser II, Scorch M
Heavy Pulse Laser II, Scorch M
Heavy Pulse Laser II, Scorch M
Heavy Pulse Laser II, Scorch M
Heavy Pulse Laser II, Scorch M

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


Artillery-fit Tornados and Mega Pulse-fit Oracles have taken over the traditional skirmishing range of 50-70 kilometers.  A dozen or so Tornados is sufficient to volley almost anything below a battleship off the field, with the Oracles adding a bit of supplemental DPS in case the volley isn't quite sufficient.  Such a fleet operates at about 1650 meters per second or so, aligned toward a celestial.  As they open range, they'll volley anything that tries to chase them.  It's the same sort of meta previously occupied by Drakes and 720mm Artillery fit Hurricanes, now simply escalated a notch.  It's tough to counter with anything heavy because the very act of chasing this sort of fleet tends to lower your transversal to its fire.

The one thing that can counter the Tornado meta, though, is groups of Interceptors or Assault Ships spiraling in from the flanks.  In particular, if two Tornado fleets get into an artillery duel, or if a tougher Maelstrom fleet warps in, and that fleet is supported by Inties and AFs, how do they keep some of the fleet from being tackled?  That's where this new Zealot fitting comes into play.

Normally, you might call upon Vagabonds to act as frigate-hunters, but the relatively short range of their weapons makes this dangerous duty when operating in an environment of dueling artillery.  Zealots fit in similar fashion to the Vagabonds, though, can operate at longer ranges thanks to Scorch ammo.  This particular fit can easily strike frigates at range of about 50km with 400 DPS.  Since most frigate hulls are thin-skinned against EM and Thermal damage, the lasers have a tendency to cut right through them.  Two to three Zealots fit in this fashion can go a long way toward keeping the Tornados untackled as they work or until they can warp off.

Even better, if even longer ranges are desirable, it's an easy matter to convert this Zealot to Heavy Beam Lasers with only the replacement of a Power Diagnostic System for a Nanofiber, and perhaps a Sensor Booster or Signal Amplifier to increase targeting range.

Keep in mind the tank of this ship is no thicker than that of a Vagabond.  The two ships have similar EHP when fit in this fashion.  Ironically, it is most vulnerable to laser fire itself, so sniper fleets with heavy concentrations of Oracles should probably be avoided.  Still, if a Scimitar is available, this Zealot will hold up relatively well as it does its work, particularly if it keeps ahead of the skirmishing fleet's main body.  Since the ship is quicker than both the Tornados and Oracles it will be escorting, this should be pretty easy.  Continue to maintain transversal as you work by "zig-zagging" back and forth across the skirmish fleet's path of advance.  That said, don't jeopardize your own ability to warp off if the FC calls for it!

Good situational awareness is needed to fly this ship well; it's a very good idea to sort your Overview by range.  Zoom your display way out and keep an eye out for ships that are moving significantly faster than your fleet's main targets.  That will allow you to spot the frigs even before they move to the top of your Overview.  Since you're hunting these smaller targets, an implant to improve tracking speed (the MR-7 series) is advised, as is Drop booster of some type.  In longer battles, Synth Mindflood might not be a bad idea, either.

No doubt about it: this is a niche ship, with a specialty role.  But it's an important role.  Skirmishing fleets operate on the principle of being able to run away when seriously threatened.  If several of your Tornados or Oracles are tackled by Interceptors, that can turn a guerrilla battle you're fighting from a winner to a loser pretty quickly.  Your fleet-mates are counting on you!


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.

7 comments:

  1. "It's the same sort of meta previously occupied by Drakes and 720mm Artillery fit Tornados" I think you meant Hurricanes on that last one ;-)

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    Replies
    1. Tornado's operating at about 1650 meters per second or so won't be able to track anything smaller then a BS.

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    2. That depends entirely on relative transversal. A running Tornado fleet being chased will have no problems scoring hits. I should know: I'm usually the one flying one of the Tornados. ;-)

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  2. "feel free to...[use] meta 3 guns and "best named" defenses and e-war."
    FOVRA 2012

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  3. Jester i am gonna buy me some zealots this weekend. Nice fit I like it. I always enjoy reading your well written articles.

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  4. Nulli sometimes uses practically the exact same fit, to support our Naga fleets. Except when we run our Naga/Proteus fleet. Then the Proteus' are antitackle support.

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