Why oh why would you fly a combat interceptor in 2019? They aren’t immune to bubbles, they don’t do a whole lot of damage, and their tank leaves a lot to be desired. Well fortunately for the masochists out there (or unfortunately?) they were buffed..a bit! Damage was increased across the board by roughly 25% with some minor CPU adjustments to the Taranis and Crusader.
It isn’t exactly the most meaningful of updates in all honesty. Damage is nice to have, but perhaps isn’t the best solution to their lacklustre performance. But hey, for a fortnightly update you can’t complain; dev time vs potential impact is definitely an important metric. On with the show, though, we have interceptors to fit!
I’ve got about 21 different Claw fits sitting my Pyfa. From speed tests, to Fozzieclaws, to the trash that I used to fly back when I first tried out nullsec hunting. Despite this, there really isn’t much in the way of variation with any combat interceptor. The 15% reduction in Microwarpdrive signature radius penalty is just begging to be utilised and both Crusader and Claw are limited to two mids.
The way I see it anyway you have two main options for a combat Claw. There’s the typical scram, MWD, and pray that you sig tank, or there’s the exact same thing with an afterburner instead. Artillery options went out the window a while ago and if you try you’re just going to get a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Slicer. I don’t recommend it, even though Zkill is full of people trying to make it happen.
As for the ‘standard’ fit, I would propose something a little like the one below. It has just enough EHP squeezed on without buggering up damage, agility, or cap. But like I said before, this is definitely going to be a case of getting into orbit and praying that they don’t have scram/web.
[Claw, An OK Claw] 200mm Rolled Tungsten Compact Plates Gyrostabilizer II IFFA Compact Damage Control Small Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste 5MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive Faint Epsilon Scoped Warp Scrambler Small Energy Nosferatu II 200mm AutoCannon II, Hail S 200mm AutoCannon II, Hail S 200mm AutoCannon II, Hail S Small Auxiliary Nano Pump I Small Projectile Burst Aerator II Barrage S x2000 Hail S x2000 Nanite Repair Paste x60 Republic Fleet EMP S x2000 Republic Fleet Phased Plasma S x2360
I’m sure my readers can envisage the use of an AB on this sort of fit, too. A simple prop swap gives speeds approaching 2km/s hot and the supreme luxury of a T2 Damage Control. It’s another very-ok way of doing things and really serves to be the poor man’s nullsec Dramiel. Take a hit of X-instinct if you try that out.
Of course, there’s always the weird, or at least very niche fits floating about. Like what I can only assume is a pure pod killing fit. I also managed a terrible polarised fit with about the same DPS as a Taranis. Sounds like fun until that 2.25k EHP runs out. There honestly isn’t much room for experimentation here and that makes me sad. There have been way too many times where I’ve sat in Jita deciding on a ship to fly home in. The Claw disappoints in this department every time. Just buy a Dramiel.
Moving onto ships with more potential, we have the aforementioned Taranis. The tracking bonus is as expected and it puts out an impressive amount of damage. The only major worry is that Void brings your range down to roughly 1.5km before things get bad. Stick to Antimatter or Null to keep damage up while in orbit. That said, nobody expects cruiser DPS from the frigate sitting on their face so sitting still might just work 😀
My favourite way to fit this particular combat interceptor is to go all-in with damage, ram faces and kill stuff faster than you have any right to. A polarised fit can burn down almost anything else in-class in less than 15 seconds. I think I still prefer the Hecate for instawarp and price point, but half of EVE PvP is about throwing your opponent off; don’t do what they expect.
Here’s how yo do that with a Taranis. The fit on the left is a polarised 512 DPS fit for about 100m ISK, and the one on the left does about one hundred less for only 28m ISK! The only major gripe is that neither fit utilises the utility high and both a bit light on tank when compared to the beefy Raptor.
[Taranis, Polarised] Magnetic Field Stabilizer II Magnetic Field Stabilizer II Navy Micro Auxiliary Power Core Republic Fleet Medium Shield Extender 5MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive Faint Epsilon Scoped Warp Scrambler Polarized Light Neutron Blaster Polarized Light Neutron Blaster Polarized Light Neutron Blaster [Empty High slot] Small Core Defense Field Extender II Small Core Defense Field Extender II Hobgoblin II x2
Cheap and Cheerful
[Taranis, 2poor4u] Magnetic Field Stabilizer II Magnetic Field Stabilizer II Micro Auxiliary Power Core II Medium Shield Extender II 5MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive Warp Scrambler II Light Ion Blaster II Light Ion Blaster II Light Ion Blaster II [Empty High slot] Small Core Defense Field Extender I Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I Hobgoblin II x2
Moving back to more conventional fits, you’ll find that the Taranis is quite versatile. You can run with a tanky-ish setup, something with rails as below, or even dual prop thanks to all those mids. I would personally shy away from small ancil rep versions, though. The high cap usage of scram, web, prop, and guns leave little to run a tank. Having a single small neut ruin your day is just no fun at all.
A quick word on this railgun fit. It uses faction guns which are in short supply just to get the fitting. My usual fits try not to go down that route to prevent pricing from being volatile, but this one works pretty well. The sensor booster fixes the lock range issue while giving instalock potential. Damage is decent and range is ok. Don’t expect to win any awards for performance, but the longevity should be better than that of a Slicer if you have somewhere to rep back the hull buffer.
[Taranis, Caladri Navy Kiter] Vortex Compact Magnetic Field Stabilizer Fourier Compact Tracking Enhancer Damage Control II 5MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive Faint Scoped Warp Disruptor F-90 Compact Sensor Booster Caldari Navy 150mm Railgun, Federation Navy Thorium Charge S Caldari Navy 150mm Railgun, Federation Navy Thorium Charge S Caldari Navy 150mm Railgun, Federation Navy Thorium Charge S Auto Targeting System I Small Hybrid Collision Accelerator II Small Transverse Bulkhead II Hobgoblin II x2
And back to the two-slot trashpile, the Crusader rears its weird little head. Greybill said she’s looking forward to seeing my fit and I don’t want to disappoint, but… Well, this ship doesn’t have the best bonuses. Being an Amarr ship it has a typically low damage bonus and an energy weapon cap-use bonus. Not good.
I’d love to say that having six effective turrets (4 hardpoints * 1.5 damage bonus) is a good thing, but it isn’t. Even a test setup of pure DPS can only reach 397DPS before things get unrealistic. In reality, all of this just means that the Crusader drinks cap faster than kids with White Lightning on a Tuesday night.
I do have some fits, though. The first one is simply a Slicer in all but range bonus. It honestly isn’t terrible, but if you’ve ever flown a slicer and wished “I wish I could be CLOSER to my target” then this is the fit for you. I feel like this Slicer reference keeps coming up again and again. Either something needs a nerf or something else needs a buff.
[Crusader, Perky Little Pornstar] Heat Sink II Tracking Enhancer II Damage Control II Imperial Navy 200mm Steel Plates 5MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive Warp Disruptor II Dual Light Pulse Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency S Dual Light Pulse Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency S Dual Light Pulse Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency S Dual Light Pulse Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency S Small Energy Locus Coordinator II Small Energy Locus Coordinator II
I had initially planned on showcasing some sort of weird tanky setup here but it just does not work. The fitting is fine, the damage is ok. Everything about it is kind of ‘yeah that might work.’ I even took the liberty of testing out a Slicer with a similar idea and it ended up with almost the same stats and 30m ISK less on the price tag. So yeah, I’m gonna link the Slicer instead. if you want to do this to a Crusader then use your imagination.
My final idea was to give up on MWD Crusaders entirely. There’s a decent fit on Zkill here, but I can’t really improve it and I’m not much of a fan either. I’m also of the opinion the nobody really sticks around to say they’ll fight an interceptor. Engageability isn’t as much of a benefit as it would be if you roamed around in Bellicose for example; people can at least tackle that. Instead, here’s a concept for what is really just a high DPS Succubus. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I think I would have liked to see a complete rework of the Crusader in all honesty and I can think of two ways to do that. Similar slot layout with missiles would be fun, but too similar to the Malediction. The easier method would be a slot swap. Drop a high and give it five lows and a slight damage buff to 15% rather than 10% per level. This would drop a decent fit from 382 to 334 DPS while giving more options between being tanky or not. It also frees up that high slot fitting and means you aren’t using four lasers worth of capacitor!
[Imperial Navy Slicer, Not a Crusader] 400mm Crystalline Carbonide Restrained Plates IFFA Compact Damage Control Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II Heat Sink II Type-D Restrained Nanofiber Structure 5MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive Initiated Compact Warp Scrambler Dual Light Pulse Laser II Dual Light Pulse Laser II [Empty High slot] Small Trimark Armor Pump I Small Trimark Armor Pump I Small Processor Overclocking Unit II
[Crusader, 1MN Interceptor hmm] Nanofiber Internal Structure II Small Ancillary Armor Repairer Heat Sink II Heat Sink II Coreli A-Type 1MN Afterburner Warp Scrambler II Small Focused Pulse Laser II Small Focused Pulse Laser II Small Focused Pulse Laser II Small Focused Pulse Laser II Small Auxiliary Nano Pump I Small Energy Collision Accelerator II
To finish things off we have the Caldari attempt at a combat interceptor. If you consider the whole Caldari vs Gallente war it makes sense to be so similar to the Taranis. Instead of pure damage, though, you get an extra 20% shield resists and 50% more range, not bad!
The shield bonus naturally means we probably shouldn’t go for a polarised fit here like the Taranis. It’s not terrible, but it just doesn’t feel great to completely disregard a bonus on a ship, let alone eliminate it. Instead, the
Merlin Raptor does well as a tanky Medium Shield Extender based ship.
I’ve two versions of this inty to show off below. Suitonia’s own “Merlin 2.0”, and a similar concept aiming for tank over DPS, but losing the web. Both are viable and I think I prefer DPS and extra tackle in general, but it is always going to depend on the situation and your role in the fleet. The dual MSE version can also be bastardised into some sort of weird purger passive tank which holds against 114 DPS if you embrace the magic of the Small Shield Extender.
[Raptor, Merlin 2.0] Vigor Compact Micro Auxiliary Power Core Magnetic Field Stabilizer II IFFA Compact Damage Control 5MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive Caldari Navy Medium Shield Extender Fleeting Compact Stasis Webifier Faint Epsilon Scoped Warp Scrambler Light Neutron Blaster II Light Neutron Blaster II Light Neutron Blaster II Small Ancillary Current Router I Small Hybrid Burst Aerator II Null S x3000 Void S x3000 Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S x3000 Nanite Repair Paste x100
[Raptor, Dual MSE] Power Diagnostic System II Navy Micro Auxiliary Power Core Damage Control II 5MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive Warp Scrambler II Republic Fleet Medium Shield Extender Republic Fleet Medium Shield Extender Light Electron Blaster II Light Electron Blaster II Light Electron Blaster II Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer II Small Hybrid Burst Aerator II Null S x3000 Void S x3000 Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S x3000 Nanite Repair Paste x100
Of course, things wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t at least try something special with that range bonus. What immediately comes to mind is obviously a railgun setup like the one below. It’s a bit anaemic on DPS, but has decent tank for a kiting ship and has the speed to position itself where it wants to be.
[Raptor, Railguns] Magnetic Field Stabilizer II Micro Auxiliary Power Core II Nanofiber Internal Structure II 5MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive Caldari Navy Medium Shield Extender Optical Compact Tracking Computer Faint Scoped Warp Disruptor 125mm Railgun II, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge S 125mm Railgun II, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge S 125mm Railgun II, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge S Small Hybrid Collision Accelerator II Small Hybrid Locus Coordinator I
I think that’s everything, though. Unless we start playing with armour Raptors and shield booster claws, I’ve covered most of the standard fits. I wouldn’t say that combat interceptors are in a particularly good place since the patch, but at least the DPS gives them some bite. Historically these “combat” ships were always wet noodles until someone invented Fozzieclaws and CCP had to slap them out of existence by removing bubble immunity. Upping the damage hasn’t really filled that gap.
More thorough changes would be great to see to breathe life into hulls like the Crusader, but I can see why it really isn’t a top priority for Rise’s Team Talos. Let’s give it six months and see what players do. Maybe I’ve missed out the next big thing and everyone is going to be flying blaster crusaders or something. Looking forward to the next lot of changes, though. Theorycrafting is always a lot of fun.