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, September 7, 2011

Fit of the Week: Double-bubble Flycatcher

[Flycatcher, Suicide Squeeze]
Co-Processor II

1MN MicroWarpdrive II
V-M15 Braced Multispectral Shield Matrix
Eutectic I Capacitor Charge Array
Viscoelastic EM Ward Salubrity I
Medium Shield Extender II

Interdiction Sphere Launcher I, Warp Disrupt Probe
Interdiction Sphere Launcher I, Warp Disrupt Probe
Prototype Cloaking Device I
125mm Railgun II, Spike S
[empty high slot]
[empty high slot]
[empty high slot]
[empty high slot]

Small Core Defence Field Extender I
Small Core Defence Field Extender I

This ship is the companion to the Sabre fit I posted last week.  The two are intended to work in tandem on null-sec small-gang roams.  When I would FC these gangs, I considered the ideal gang size to be about 15-18 ships: 12 DPS, these two dictors, a couple of Scimitars, a scout or two, and one special teams ship: a Rook or an Arazu, preferably.  It was a small enough gang that it was quite agile and wouldn't intimidate too many people (so we could get fights), but big enough that I could get even a few timid new PvPers to join it.  ;-)

Between the two dictors, the Flycatcher had the more difficult but somewhat less dangerous job: preemptive tackle.  "Double-bubble cloaky" dictors are probably becoming a lost art in today's EVE, but I found it an invaluable role.  There were three primary tactics where this ship would be used.

First and easiest to understand, in a situation where the fleet is being chased by a superior enemy fleet, a double-bubble dictor can jump into a new system with the rest of the fleet.  The FC will call for the fleet to align to either the out-gate or another convenient celestial.  The Flycatcher then launches its first bubble.  The fleet will then burn toward the out-gate at best speed.  As the Flycatcher approaches the edge of their first bubble, they drop a second bubble.  This creates a linear path along the fleet's advance where enemy ships jumping in after your fleet cannot warp away or escape without disengaging entirely.  The fleet can then continue to burn toward the out-gate, wait for the opposing fleet to enter the system, and then attack that fleet's tacklers and special teams ships as they cross the two bubbles.  Once tacklers become an immediate threat, the fleet can then warp to the out-gate and repeat the procedure in the next system.  In this way, a smaller fleet can hold off a larger, better-equipped fleet and yet still get some kills.

Second, in a more neutral scenario where smaller groups of ships are expected or are approaching the fleet's location, a single bubble can be dropped at range from a gate on the enemy's path of advance.  These pull bubbles can then be used to make killing the approaching ships easier.  The Flycatcher can then jump into the next system on the enemy's path of advance and bubble that gate as well.  That way, even if the ship somehow manages to slip the net and escape into the next system, they cannot immediately warp away.  The Flycatcher can either remain in the second system, cloaked, or can drop the bubble as it burns back to the gate to rejoin the rest of the fleet, depending on the FC's needs.  Alternately, if the Flycatcher remains unaggressed in the first system and the target does make it to the gate, the Flycatcher can jump with that target and ensure it doesn't escape on the other side.

Third and most aggressively, a double-bubble dictor can create a catch or pull bubble to effectively block a gate, then use its second bubble to ensure anything trapped stays trapped.  This would normally be the companion Sabre's job but since the Flycatcher will often be cloaked inside or near its initial bubble, it is often already in position to create the insurance bubble.  Even more aggressive than that, such a Flycatcher can be positioned ahead of the fleet's intended path of advance near the fleet's scout.  The fleet can then hound solitary targets or small groups of targets into the Flycatcher's location, allowing the dictor to get its bubble up before the intended targets get into warp.

I find that catching someone in such a trap is often demoralizing to the target or targets, putting them "on the back foot" before the fight begins, or sapping their will to fight altogether.  ;-)

If the FC has to sacrifice one of his dictors to save the bulk of the fleet, however, it will be the Flycatcher pressed into that role.  The ship is regarded by the EVE community as not particularly effective... and is therefore very cheap.  The fitting is equally cheap.  The twin bubble launchers and cloak take up the bulk of the ship's CPU.  A decent cheap defense is provided by meta shield mods.  What little CPU is left can be given to a kill-mail whoring gun of some type chosen by the pilot.  The type is not particularly important.  Flycatchers aren't there to provide DPS.  ;-)

Normally, such an inexpensive ship would be a great training tool for newer dictor pilots.  Unfortunately, since the exact times the Flycatcher should be dropping bubbles is tougher to judge, this role is better performed by a more veteran pilot.  Happily, this has the advantage that the veteran dictor pilot will be less squeamish about sacrificing his ship should it become necessary for him to do so.  Many alliances reimburse dictor pilots because the job is so dangerous, and this also draws experienced pilots to the role.  Much like the Sabre from last week, you should not attempt to fly this ship until you learn what your FC expects of you in the role.

Bubble up!

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