The quintessential cloaky cruiser, the Wingspan poster child, and the other ship that many people bling too much. The Stratios is a very popular and relatively versatile Covert Ops ship well known for running neuts and drones to ruin the day of anyone with an active tank who strays too close. I’ve seen far too many bad Stratios fits that I needed to take the time to sit down and flesh out what is truly possible for this ship and what you should be flying. With that said, here are the stats:
Amarr Cruiser bonuses (per skill level):
4% bonus to all armor resistances
Gallente Cruiser bonuses (per skill level):
10% bonus to Drone hitpoints and damage
50% bonus to Medium Energy Turret optimal range
37.5% bonus to Core and Combat Scanner Probe strength
10+ bonus to Relic and Data Analyzer virus strength
Can fit Covert Ops Cloaking Device
Cloak reactivation delay reduced to 15 seconds
Some of you might look at that little Energy Turret bonus right there and start thinking this is a laser ship. No. No, it isn’t. The base DPS of Heavy Pulses with Scorch is 133! That’s a little bit more than a flight of light drones at the cost of 65% of your PG fitting, 10.6GJ/s of capacitor, and most of your high slots. I’ve got one okay fit in this article which uses them, but even then it isn’t something I could really recommend for much else other than kiting or perhaps hisec PvE.
As I’ve already said, the Stratios is very well known as a neuting boat despite having no bonus to neuts. This works so well because it has plenty of powergrid, the slots to spare for cap regen, and no other damage bonus than drones. On top of this, you can get right up on your target and well within the optimal range of neuts before engaging. It’s simple and proven to be effective.
As I often do, I’m going to be providing two options below. The first of these is what I consider to be the best. It’s a plain and simple buffer neut setup. This gets around the issue of running out of cap while still providing plenty of EHP, much-needed drone tracking, and 48 GJ/s of neut potential. There’s no probe launcher on this fit since the extra small neut just offers so damn much. If you really need to then this can be swapped out, but I recommend going all-in on the neuts. Having an Omnidirectional Tracking Link also makes sentries a more attractive idea should the situation arise.
The other option is as you’d expect, a repping Stratios. It’s the kind that everyone and their mother wants to buy because they saw Chance Ravinne burn away from a fleet in a straight line. What I’ve done here is to play less on the concept of pure neuting and to make it more of a ship that can escape if necessary with a 100MN AB. Because of that, you could also fly this ship in a bit of a slow kiting style and use the scram and neuts defensively.
You might also notice the lack of bling on the ship. It costs 472m ISK instead of the usual 1b ISK+ Strats that I so often see. Doing it this way makes it easier to uncloak and pounce on a target without panicking that you’re going to lose your bling. It’s also relatively easy to upgrade to A-types if you want to do that simply by adjusting for the increased powergrid requirements of those expensive modules. My recommendation would be to use a Legion if you’re going to do that, though.
Armour Buffer Neuting Stratios
[Stratios, 2020 Armour Buffer Strat] Damage Control II 1600mm Steel Plates II Drone Damage Amplifier II Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II Corelum C-Type Energized Explosive Membrane 50MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive Warp Scrambler II Stasis Webifier II Omnidirectional Tracking Link II Medium F-RX Compact Capacitor Booster Medium Energy Neutralizer II Medium Energy Neutralizer II Small Energy Neutralizer II Small Energy Neutralizer II Covert Ops Cloaking Device II Medium Trimark Armor Pump II Medium Trimark Armor Pump II Medium Ancillary Current Router I Acolyte II x5 Infiltrator II x5 Ogre II x4 Republic Fleet Bouncer x4 Valkyrie II x5 Vespa EC-600 x5 Warrior II x5
100MN Armour Rep Stratios
[Stratios, 2020 Armour Rep Strat] 'Meditation' Medium Armor Repairer I Reactive Armor Hardener Drone Damage Amplifier II Dark Blood Reactor Control Unit Shadow Serpentis Medium Armor Repairer Shadow Serpentis 100MN Afterburner Warp Scrambler II Warp Disruptor II Thukker Large Cap Battery Medium F-RX Compact Capacitor Booster Small Energy Nosferatu II Small Energy Neutralizer II Small Energy Neutralizer II Sisters Core Probe Launcher Covert Ops Cloaking Device II Medium Auxiliary Nano Pump II Medium Explosive Armor Reinforcer I Medium Nanobot Accelerator II Acolyte II x5 Infiltrator II x5 Ogre II x4 Republic Fleet Bouncer x4 Valkyrie II x5 Vespa EC-600 x5 Warrior II x5 Standard Exile Booster Agency 'Hardshell' TB5 Dose II
High Damage Strats
The more astute of you might have noticed that 4-500 DPS from a cruiser isn’t really that much. It’s actually quite easy to get plenty more from a Stratios if you simply use those four high slots for turrets instead. It’s not a lot on its own, but if you use both weapon systems then you can really push those damage numbers up.
My favourite Stratios in this format is the one below and it’s an armour blaster Stratios with 840 DPS hot. That isn’t an overwhelming amount, but it brings a hell of a lot of control while still retaining 46k EHP. I would hate to be a Sabre being target painted, shot with blasters, and hit with tracking-boosted drones while scram webbed. The shield version of this setup swaps control for pure DPS and hits nearly 1,000. I used ABs on both as a matter of taste. Either prop mod is acceptable since you can pick your target. I recommend flying one of the fits here and seeing what sort of situations you get into before tweaking for AB or MWD.
The other version I (kind of) like is the only laser Stratios on this list. It’s a bit slow for a kiting ship and the DPS isn’t as good as blasters or autocannons, but if you can stay at around 25km and use Ogres then you should be good. Expect to heat for about 750 DPS at that range. Honestly, it’s kind of like flying a cloaky beam Legion or Oracle in style. Just stay back and put damage on target while your buddies prevent your 28k tank from being cracked at close range. If you start to find that drone speed is an issue then try swapping the point for a Drone Navigation Computer and downgrading the cap booster to compact. Starting to see how versatile this ship is yet?
Buffer Blaster Stratios
[Stratios, 2020 Armour Blasters] Imperial Navy 1600mm Steel Plates Damage Control II Drone Damage Amplifier II Drone Damage Amplifier II Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II 10MN Afterburner II Stasis Webifier II Target Painter II Warp Scrambler II AML Compact Omnidirectional Tracking Link Heavy Neutron Blaster II Heavy Neutron Blaster II Heavy Neutron Blaster II Heavy Neutron Blaster II Covert Ops Cloaking Device II Medium Ancillary Current Router II Medium Explosive Armor Reinforcer I Medium Trimark Armor Pump II Garde II x4 Hammerhead II x5 Ogre II x4
Beam DPS Stratios
[Stratios, 2020 Kiting Lasers] Drone Damage Amplifier II Drone Damage Amplifier II Nanofiber Internal Structure II Nanofiber Internal Structure II Damage Control II 50MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive Republic Fleet Large Shield Extender Multispectrum Shield Hardener II Caldari Navy Warp Disruptor Small Capacitor Booster II Heavy Beam Laser II Heavy Beam Laser II Heavy Beam Laser II Heavy Beam Laser II Covert Ops Cloaking Device II Medium Core Defense Field Extender II Medium EM Shield Reinforcer II Medium Drone Speed Augmentor II Berserker II x4 Infiltrator II x5 Ogre II x4 Praetor II x4
Weird and Situational Fits
So like I said, the Stratios is versatile and can perform well in more roles than cloaky ganking. One such role would be as a C5 data site runner. It’s quite possible to use this ship to hack all of the cans in an Unsecured Frontier Server Bank and then leave without ever pushing the first wave. The idea is that you use your drones to kill four of the neuting cruisers and all of the frigates while hacking. Once you’re down to one Sleeper left you should be able to finish the cans and warp out of site thanks to the warp core stab. The only things to be concerned about might be the initial DPS and enduring. This is resolved by the time 1-2 cruisers are dead, though.
Second up in weird fits is one that I’ve already discussed in the Needlejack article. If you’re a fan of nullsec gatecamps then you might enjoy using a cloaky long-range sentry boat. The idea is that you can abandon drones on a gate and sit cloaked up to about 140km away quite safely. They do about 500 DPS each and can uncloak and have a target locked within about 5 seconds. Combined with a tackle ceptor on the gate you can safely catch a lot of ships warping into your bubble in absolute safety. It may be a giveaway to have abandoned drones on a gate, but once they’re in your trap it’s too late.
To wrap things up, I put together a combat probing Stratios for once with the idea of going all-in on tank and tackle. It’s not quite as good as a dedicated T3C, but a triple armour rep Stratios can make for solid tackle to set up a gank for your fleet. It even has a small niche of being able to use several flights of defensive ECM or sensor damping drones (yes SD-900’s are actually good!). This is particularly unique since the Stratios (like the Pacifier and Astero) often does not have the CPU to fit an expanded probe launcher without significant sacrifices in other areas.
As for fits that didn’t make the cut, I’ve heard of Stratioses being used very effectively in hisec PvE and DEDs. Feels a bit overkill to me, though, and it encourages players to use them in low-class wormholes which isn’t really effective since the damage is much higher. There are also the weird hybrid exploration+PvP fits which might shrug off another “exploring PvPer” but are generally terrible. I do like the Stratios, it just needs to be done right and with so much freedom I often see it done so wrong.
Server Bank Runner
[Stratios, 2020 C5 Server Bank] Damage Control II Warp Core Stabilizer II Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II Medium Armor Repairer II Medium I-a Enduring Armor Repairer Large Compact Pb-Acid Cap Battery Large Compact Pb-Acid Cap Battery Cap Recharger II Data Analyzer II 10MN Afterburner II Medium Ghoul Compact Energy Nosferatu Small Tractor Beam II Salvager II Covert Ops Cloaking Device II Sisters Core Probe Launcher Medium Auxiliary Nano Pump II Medium Kinetic Armor Reinforcer II Medium Explosive Armor Reinforcer II Hammerhead II x5 Hornet EC-300 x5 Hornet EC-300 x5 Hornet EC-300 x5 Infiltrator II x5 Vespa EC-600 x5 Vespa II x5 Warrior II x5 Wasp II x4 Nanite Repair Paste x100 Sisters Core Scanner Probe x8 Agency 'Hardshell' TB5 Dose II x1 Standard Exile Booster x1 Relic Analyzer II x1 Drone Damage Amplifier II x2 Warp Core Stabilizer I x4
Cloaky Sentry Camp
[Stratios, Sentry Strat with scripts] Drone Damage Amplifier II Drone Damage Amplifier II Drone Damage Amplifier II Omnidirectional Tracking Enhancer II Co-Processor II Sensor Booster II Sensor Booster II Sensor Booster II Omnidirectional Tracking Link II 50MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive Covert Ops Cloaking Device II Drone Link Augmentor I Drone Link Augmentor I Drone Link Augmentor I Drone Link Augmentor I Medium Targeting Systems Stabilizer II Medium Targeting Systems Stabilizer II Medium Ionic Field Projector I Curator II x4 Garde II x4 Hornet EC-300 x5 Infiltrator II x5 Warden II x4 Warrior II x5 Nanite Repair Paste x100 Sisters Combat Scanner Probe x8 Sisters Core Scanner Probe x8 ECCM Script x3 Scan Resolution Script x3 Targeting Range Script x3 Optimal Range Script x1 Tracking Speed Script x1 Mobile Medium Warp Disruptor I x2 Medium Ancillary Armor Repairer x1 Expanded Probe Launcher I x1
Combat Probe Tackler
[Stratios, 2020 pure tackle] Medium Armor Repairer II Dread Guristas Co-Processor Medium Armor Repairer II Reactive Armor Hardener Medium Ancillary Armor Repairer Medium F-RX Compact Capacitor Booster Republic Fleet Large Cap Battery Caldari Navy Warp Scrambler Caldari Navy Stasis Webifier 10MN Afterburner II Covert Ops Cloaking Device II Sisters Expanded Probe Launcher Auto Targeting System I Small Energy Nosferatu II Medium Energy Nosferatu II Medium Thermal Armor Reinforcer II Medium Kinetic Armor Reinforcer II Medium Explosive Armor Reinforcer II Hornet EC-300 x5 Hornet EC-300 x5 Hornet II x5 Infiltrator II x5 Ogre II x4 Ogre SD-900 x4 Vespa EC-600 x5 Warrior II x5 Standard Exile Booster Agency 'Hardshell' TB5 Dose II
Sorry that this article took a few days longer than usual. It’s sometimes difficult to juggle all the different things I have going on in life at once, even in this lockdown situation. I’ll be looking to publish something new next week regarding the abyssal PvP arenas. If you haven’t tried them out on SISI then you’re missing out.