I for one welcome our new VNI overlords. The tears of krabs who think nullsec PvE should be like mining are hilarious and these changes are certainly a net positive change for the game. The Ishtar still exists anyway so why not just go use that instead if you want the same old “playstyle”.
What I want to talk about today is what you can do with the new Vexor Navy Issue. I used to be a fan of my 100mn XLASB fit, but with the removal of heavy drones that’s less useful; an armour ancil is better now anyway. The first step of that process is having a look at what the new stats are and identifying the key themes to fit for.
From what I can see here we can do the following with ease by working towards bonuses. I won’t cover every single one in this article, but you can get a flavour of what’s possible.
- Dual/Triple rep tank, bait or not bait – (From rep bonus)
- Blaster + drone brawler or mini Brutix Navy – (Hybrid bonus added, 3 turret hardpoints)
- Anti-tackle support ship – (Better drone and hybrid tracking)
- 100MN of all sorts – (Increased fitting, despite turret reliance)
- Abyssal PvE for cheap – (Rep bonus, cheap hull)
The Anti-Tackle VNI
Starting off with what is my personal favourite use of this revamp, we have the frigate-murdering drone setup. Despite medium drones only reaching about 300 DPS I can guarantee you that interceptors (and Kikimoras) won’t like it when you actually apply to their face thanks to that tracking bonus. In fact, my proposed fit should hit for an alpha strike of around 1,000 after allowing for tracking and skills. That’s enough to eat up about 1/3 of the shields on a Stiletto and induce the panic that we all know too well.
Note that my particular fit is missing a mid slot. This is intentional and can be filled with any of the following to great effect:
- Second drone nav comp – For 10km/s drones and help catching ‘ceptors.
- Omnidirectional Tracking Link or painter – To help track frigs even better.
- Warp Disruptor II– For even smaller gangs if you need another point.
- Defensive scram/web – If you’re worried about being caught.
- Burst Jammer II – To remove hostile drone locks or ‘ceptors in a pinch
- Remote Sensor Dampener – Because literally anything fits and is useful
[Vexor Navy Issue, 2019 Anti Tackle] Signal Amplifier II Medium Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste Overdrive Injector System II Damage Control II Drone Damage Amplifier II Drone Damage Amplifier II Medium Capacitor Booster II, Navy Cap Booster 800 Drone Navigation Computer II [Empty Med slot] 50MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive Drone Link Augmentor II 250mm Railgun II, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge M 250mm Railgun II, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge M 250mm Railgun II, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge M Medium Low Friction Nozzle Joints II Medium Transverse Bulkhead II Medium Transverse Bulkhead II Hobgoblin II x5 Infiltrator II x5 Valkyrie II x5 Vespa II x5 Warrior II x5
The other key to this fit is the combination of a Drone Link Augmentor and a Signal Amplifier. This brings your total lock and drone control range to about 84km, creating a massive sphere in which interceptors simply can’t exist. Of course, ramjags don’t care at all about your pesky drones, but very little is stopping them anyway (I suggest neuts).
That same lock range is also just about as far as your rails can reach with Spike which is pretty convenient. Spike tracks poorly so you won’t be doing anything amazing with it, but it does at least mean that your VNI can reliably put out 400 DPS from very safe ranges. That’s enough to at least help your fleet finish someone off if they burn too far away. Drone choice to deliver said damage is personal so give it a go and see what works for you.
Combining all that together with a sub-four second align, low signature, and respectable tank makes for a nice little null roaming package for cheap. I wouldn’t necessarily suggest roaming solo with this fit, though. If you want to go down that route then take a look at this next one.
The Brawling VNI
Dual rep fits are viable, but my favourite setup is to go for a single ancil instead. The rep bonus and natural Gallente hull mean you shouldn’t have trouble tanking, and you save a good amount on fitting space compared to a plate. In fact, it should hold for the full set of charges so long as your opponent is doing less than about 830 DPS. Theoretically against such an opponent you then have 61 seconds to apply your damage. In that time you can deal about 39,000 total damage yourself. Real world scenarios don’t always live up to the maths, though, so just give the fit a go and see how it fares.
[Vexor Navy Issue, 2019 Single Ancil Brawl] Medium Ancillary Armor Repairer Damage Control II Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II Magnetic Field Stabilizer II Magnetic Field Stabilizer II Medium F-RX Compact Capacitor Booster 50MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive Warp Scrambler II Stasis Webifier II Heavy Ion Blaster II Heavy Ion Blaster II Heavy Ion Blaster II Medium Energy Neutralizer II Medium Auxiliary Nano Pump I Medium Polycarbon Engine Housing II Medium Polycarbon Engine Housing II Acolyte II x5 Hammerhead II x5 Hobgoblin II x5 Hornet EC-300 x5 Infiltrator II x5 Warrior II x5 Standard Exile Booster Agency 'Hardshell' TB5 Dose II Null M x1750 Void M x1750 Navy Cap Booster 800 x15 Federation Navy Antimatter Charge M x1750 Nanite Repair Paste x150
Of course that isn’t the only way to go about your Gallentean murder spree. I often favour speed and damage over slow bricks that soak up damage. Usually, that means trying out a polarised version of a fit. Unfortunately for the VNI that doesn’t go down so well. A reliance on drones for part of the DPS and the limited turrets does make things a bit lacklustre compared to a non-polarised variant as above. Your stats end up like this on the right, plus a 9.5k EHP ancil.
The flipside here is to actually go with a brick and pray that your opponents actually want to be caught. The fit looks like this and I’m not a fan of it outside of the occasional bait setup. 50mn is possible with a T2 ancillary rig and meta cap booster but it’s still only as good as the Maller.
Whichever way you go about it, brawling is scary these days and you either need to have friends or you have to get in and out fast. Keep it cheap and don’t pretend you can tank the world because you certainly can’t handle the measured response that is six Nids and an Apostle…
The Repping VNI (and everything else)
Originally the plan was to separate this into a PvE section and something about all the wonders of PvP with reps. I, however, am not massively into running Abyssal sites. I can give you a fit that works and you can expand to see an image of it here. I’m just not guaranteeing that it’s the best option. Cheap and functional? Probably. Tested and optimal? Nope.
Purely out of curiosity I wanted to see just how both dual and triple rep setups work. Dual rep ends up looking like a formidable brawler if it can get on top of something and a Myrmidon-esque setup is just silly. Both of course are making good use of drugs to enhance their tank, but are without Asklepions. Check out these fits:
Dual Rep VNI
[Vexor Navy Issue, 2019 Dual Rep VNI] Medium Armor Repairer II Medium Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste Corelum C-Type Energized Explosive Membrane Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II Damage Control II Drone Damage Amplifier II Medium F-RX Compact Capacitor Booster 50MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive Stasis Webifier II Warp Scrambler II Heavy Neutron Blaster II, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge M Heavy Neutron Blaster II, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge M Heavy Neutron Blaster II, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge M Small Knave Scoped Energy Nosferatu Medium Anti-Thermal Pump I Medium Anti-Kinetic Pump I Medium Polycarbon Engine Housing II Hammerhead II x5 Standard Exile Booster Agency 'Hardshell' TB5 Dose II
Triple Rep VNI
[Vexor Navy Issue, 2019 Triple Rep VNI] Medium Armor Repairer II Medium Armor Repairer II Medium Ancillary Armor Repairer Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II Damage Control II Medium Capacitor Booster II Medium Capacitor Booster II 10MN Afterburner II Warp Scrambler II Heavy Electron Blaster II Heavy Electron Blaster II Heavy Electron Blaster II Small Knave Scoped Energy Nosferatu Medium Auxiliary Nano Pump I Medium Anti-Explosive Pump I Medium Polycarbon Engine Housing II Hammerhead II x5 Standard Exile Booster Agency 'Hardshell' TB5 Dose II Navy Cap Booster 400 x36
Yeah, the triple rep setup is strange. It lasts about 4-5 minutes depending how hard you chug cap boosters and what’s trying to kill you. The saving grace is that, all things considered, a 1k+ tank afterburner setup is hella strong 1v1. I could see it being used as more of a bait ship autopiloting around pretending to be mostly AFK with the real fleet on standby. Actually flying solo with just afterburner and scram is just begging to be kited to death.
It’s the same sort of deal when going with a dual-rep setup since 1.9km/s is on the slow side these days. Fortunately, having more of a DPS focus on the drone damage may help this VNI scare off interceptors before a real fleet lands. Most other kiting ships might shy away from the tank, too, so that’s nice. The real selling point, however, is the fact that each of these costs just 100m ISK at current market prices. For that price there isn’t a huge variety that’s vastly better at this exact job.
Outside of rep fits there are so many more ways to fit this ship that I had some real trouble structuring the article. I didn’t exactly want to write a whole load of commentary saying that a dozen different variations were all just “ok”. The main objective was to showcase that the new VNI certainly has a lot of potential and I think I’ve achieved that. To really show it off I have two more fits that aren’t worth talking about, but are interesting in their own right. That’s a total of eight ways to run a Vexor Navy Issue in 2019. Some ok and some are pretty damn good. The ship is cheap as anything so go fly it and have fun in the blackout!