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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Monday, October 29, 2012

Best in class 2012

A year ago in October, I wrote a little post in which I listed what I thought were the "best in class" ships in each ship class.  With Retribution coming up and a lot of ship changes in store for us at the T1 frigate and cruiser level, I thought it would be fun to update that post for the new year.  This isn't anything I'll be doing often, but "once a year" feels about right for this kind of post.

Last year, I excluded faction ships of all kinds from the list.  This year, I'm going to include them in their own categories.  But I'll still be excluding tournament ships this year.  Without further ado...
  • Assault Ship: Last year, I tentatively picked the Enyo.  This year, I would be tempted to drop the "tentatively".  The thing has just become a monster thanks to the hybrid buff.  That said, the Caldari/Hawk has become unbeatable in a 1v1 thanks to ASBs.  So if you want a fleet of AFs, Enyos.  But if you're gonna bomb around low-sec looking for targets, the Hawk.
  • Battle Cruiser: Last year, I chose the Hurricane but this year, it's not even in the top three.  The new tier 3 BCs are so much better than the previously existing types.  Which one of the four is the best is a topic for lots of argument, but for my money, the best of them is the Gallente/Talos.  It's just so versatile and hard-hitting.
  • Battleship: Last year, I chose the Tempest for versatility.  With the changes to hybrid damage though, I'm gonna go with the Rokh this year.  Its range, tank, and punch in the right fleet doctrines is tough to beat.  It's also become much more viable in PvE, displacing the Raven in a lot of applications.
  • Black Ops: No change.  Amarr/Redeemer, for the DPS.  They all still stink, though.
  • Carrier: The Amarr/Archon has supplanted the Thanny for this position with the increasing importance of triage and pantheon carrier tactics.
  • Command Ship: Still a tough category.  It's definitely still an Amarr or Minmatar entry.  Last year, I chose Minmatar/Sleipnir and it's hard to change my mind about it this year.  It's a nasty little boat.
  • Covert Ops: Remains Caldari/Buzzard for versatility.  No change.
  • Cruiser: Until December 4, Minmatar/Rupture holds this title.  After December 4, I suspect it won't even be in the top five, but which ones will supplant it remain to be seen.  If I had to guess, I'd say the Thorax will be the best one.
  • Destroyer: Again, Minmatar/Thrasher holds this position until December 4.  It's too early to say what it will be after, though.
  • Dreadnought: Gallente/Moros.  It isn't even a contest.
  • EAF: I continue to admire the Amarr/Sentinel quite a lot.  It proved its worth during Alliance Tournament X.
  • Frigate: With the hybrid weapon changes and its awesome versatility, the Gallente/Incursus wrested this position from the Rifter.  It might not hold it long after December 4, though.  We'll see.
  • HAC: This class of ship has been absolutely destroyed this year, so any choice I make is kind of irrelevant.  Still, I think the Gallente/Ishtar has taken over this position thanks to the new Drone Damage mod.
  • HIC: The Onyx won last year for versatility, but armor fleets have been so important this year that the Amarr/Devoter has slipped into the top spot.
  • Interceptor: Most of them are damn good, but I remain a big fan of the Gallente/Taranis.  The hybrid buff only made it better.
  • Interdictor: The Minmatar/Sabre still holds this position, and by a wide margin.
  • Logistics: All four ships in this class are now quite good, until they get supplanted in one way or another on December 4.  Until then, the Minmatar/Scimitar remains the best of them.
  • Marauder: With the introduction of XLASB tactics, the Minmatar/Vargur wrested this slot from the Amarr and doesn't show any signs of giving it up any time soon, even with the gentle nerf that's coming.
  • Recon: This is always going to be the toughest choice for me.  They're almost all great ships in their own ways.  Still, the Caldari/Falcon remains the best of the eight in my opinion.
  • Rookie Ship: This was the Gallente/Velator before that ship got some nice buffs.  Still, the Caldari/Ibis is now a close second thanks to its "LOL ewar noobfleet" upgrade.
  • Stealth Bomber: Still a close call between the Caldari/Manticore and the Minmatar/Hound.  I continue to favor the Manti for versatility.  That extra mid-slot is so useful.
  • Strat Cruiser: Again, this remains the Caldari/Tengu for versatility.  The HML nerf isn't going to hit them particularly hard, so it will probably keep the title after December 4.
  • Super Carrier: I didn't choose a winner of this category last year.  This year, I'm going with the Amarr/Aeon.  It loses a slight bit of versatility and DPS compared to the Nyx but that's made up for by its enormous tank and supercap fleet role.
  • Titan: I picked the Gallente/Erebus last year and I see no particular reason to change that opinion.

For faction ships:
  • Faction Battleship: There are 13 faction battleships, and it's hard to pick a bad one.  Every single one of them has a lot of fans.  For my money though, the best in class is the Serpentis/Vindicator.  There are few roles it can't be applied to, and it excels in most of them.
  • Faction Cruiser: Last year, had I chosen one, I would have gone with the Angel/Cynabal.  On reflection, I still think it's the best of them, though the Blood/Ashimmu and the Minmatar/Stabber Fleet Issue are both tied for a close second.  The latter two ships do damn good jobs of supplanting a Recon and a HAC, respectively, for a fraction of the cost.
  • Faction Frigate: Again, there's lots of good choices in this category, but the only one of them that actively scares me is the Serpentis/Daredevil.  The hybrid buffs really helped this ship and the massive nerf the Dramiel got finished the job of putting the "devil" on top.

For non-combatants:
  • Exhumer: No contest: the ORE/Mackinaw easily wrested this title from the Hulk this year.
  • Freighter: Last year, I chose the Charon.  This year though, the Fenrir gets the nod thanks to the increasing importance of Nomad implants.
  • Industrial: Gallente/Iteron Mark V.  No change.  More space = better, or if you don't need the space, you can make the flying stick align and warp like a blockade runner.
  • Transport: Gallente/Viator.  Again, no change from last year.  It holds up to 10000m3, aligns just as quick as the competition, and looks great.  I understand the argument for the Prowler thanks to its class-leading second high slot.  If you live in a wormhole, it's the best in class for your use.  But if you don't, how often do you actually need that high?

Those are my choices for this year, though of course the frigate, destroyer, and cruiser categories are subject to change in about five weeks.  But that'll be in next year's update.  Most improved in 2012?  Definitely the Gallente.  That hybrid buff allowed them to take over three very competitive categories.

Dissenting opinions?


  1. Now that the frigates are split up into two different combat roles (t1 inty and "everything else") it would be interesting to pick a best in class for both. For my money you can't beat the atron thanks to hybrid damage and enough mids to speed/asb tank for solo or sebo for fleet work.

    Would have picked the Hawk over Enyo but maybe that's my 1v1 tendencies showing :-)

    Not really convinced by the Vindi as best faction BS. Does anyone outside a WH use it for pvp? I would pick the napoc because of its incredible versatility discovered this year. Of course you have to at least mention the Mach, though I don't think it's #1.

    1. I did pick the Hawk over the Enyo, though only just. ;-)

  2. Non-combatants is a relative term.

    An Iteron V can fit three medium ASBs, which can be run sequentially to maintain a continuous active tank, or in parallel when more incoming damage needs to be shrugged off. With its cargohold, running out of cap boosters is never an issue. This baby can also fit the usual scram/web, plus a medium AC and a small neut. All this and remain cap stable, as well.

    And, as you noted in an earlier post, the Skiff also makes for a great combat/bait boat, with its BC class tank and ability to field two flights of light drones.

    Go 1-on-1 with either of these ships in a frig, and you'll find yourself on the embarrassing end of a KM.

  3. What did you mean by "the increasing importance of Nomads" in relation to the Fenrir?

    While not often spoken of, the second high slot on the Prowler makes it great for WHs, but it also has a secret power in null sec. Once you're in a system, you can scan down exit gates for camps and other things out of dscan range.

    1. Nomad implants. A Fenrir with a properly comped pilot aligns and warps in 14-15 seconds.

    2. I knew that, but I guess i was wondering what "increasing importance" meant. I used them with my JF in Black Frog for a long time, so they've been used for quite a while. I thought maybe something new was happening.

  4. CCP Ytterbium is looking to buff the Drone Damage Amplifier II's damage bonus from 19% to 23%.


    This may allow the Ishkur to bump the Enyo for the top AF position, since the Ishkur also benefits from the hybrid buff.

    You should also take a second look at the Domi, fit with DDA IIs. It might just change your mind about the Rokh.

  5. Maybe Gallente has improved, but they are still useless. At least in Nullsec warfare. I don't know anyone who has a Gallente subcap fleet doctrine (main fleet ships).
    And the reason is quite simple:
    - Blasters still lack damage projection
    - Railguns have no dps and no alphastrike. They are only usefull on Caldari ships, because those are shieldtanked and can stack damage mods in the lows.
    Gallente interceptos are useful, Oneiros too and then the capitals. That's it.

    1. This is probably the funniest post on here. "Gallente are useless wah wah wah."

      "Gallente interceptos are useful, Oneiros too and then the capitals."

    2. You do have a point - it's absolutely true there are no Gallente subcap fleet doctine main fleet ships and that's an issue. Rails/blasters still have issues even after the buff obviously.

      That being said some of the ships Jester lists are indeed fun outside a fleet doctrine. Enyos, Ishtars, Incursus are indeed worthy of respect.

      We do like our Proteus is WH land. Blasters plus cloak or even tackle only Proteus with no blasters are a joy to pilot (except against a Tengu). Gallente still does have a nice place in small gang land.

      That being said there really is no excuse for where Gallente is on the top 20 killboard (just about nowhere to be seen, and the fact they don't make it into fleet doctrine).

  6. Flying a Fenrir makes sense if you rarely fill your Freighter completely anyway because its faster and aligns fast.
    But what have nomad implants to do with that? If anything they reduce the difference between the freighters when using them so that the versions with larger cargo get better in comparison.

    Coming from WH-Space I would have ranked a few others different too but that is just because of the environment we operate in.

    What do you think about T3 Cruisers? You didn't mention them at all.

    1. T3 cruisers are properly known as Strategic Cruisers, which Jester shortened to Strat Cruisers

    2. He said Tengu even after the nerf and I'd have to agree.

      That being said since you are from WH land you know what a nice killer the Proteus can be there.. where a cloak makes up for it's short range shortcomings nicely. ;)

  7. Thank you! Every posting here helps me to understand New Eden a little better. First stop for high quality EvE-News imo.

  8. I think that the Catalyst has supplanted the Thrasher as the dessie of choice, particularly for ganking.

  9. Buzzard?! Five midslots are a waste, four is plenty, and a third low allows for another nano or a MAPC. Given the Amarr capacitor, Anathema wins for me.

    Slots should also switch your HIC choice IMO, another mid on the Phobos allows for a cap booster, prop, web, and your choice of sebo or second web.

  10. I would be interested to see you further defend your choice of the Ishtar over the Zealot/Munin/Vagabond.

    1. If I were going to go with another HAC, it'd be a Zealot, and amusingly it's for a reason you don't mention: Zealots are taking over the Vagabond's role as the anti-tackle HAC. Still, Zealots are only useful in a fairly circumscribed role (fast-moving 0.0 ABHAC fleets). Ishtars are useful for a lot of different roles (the same fleets, plus ratting, plus missions, plus soloing).

      That's why I picked the Ishtar. The Vaga and Munin don't even make the top three IMO, even though I love the Vaga.

  11. Top 20 killboard disagrees with almost all your Gallente picks. Yes I know you love small gangs and sometimes blasters/rails do ok with the proper gang support to overcome the problems. however that is too small a slice of the game to be meaningful as the all around choice.

    Also as much as I love my Incursus, and I do, I really really do, there is no more fun frigate to fly than the little tank that could, however once the incursus gets out of a short range brawl it is quickly outdone by the Merlin in the T1 category as the best all around Frigate (gotta love those midslots, tank and range) and the Punisher is surprisingly not far behind. The Atron can be a nasty speedly fragile little sniper and is unfortunately of the galente ships of more everyday fighting use.

    The Rifter is now completely outclassed in the Frigate category by all the other T1's. How do I know? Well my alt is in RvB and that's the best T1 testing ground there is. CPP over-corrected and made the Rifter a non-player now. No-one who knows what they are doing brings a rifter anymore.


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