After a week of flying the "Rat's Revenge" - a fast, high damage destroyer well-suited to catching miners, frigates, destroyers and even the occasional T5 cruiser, I decided that it was time for something a little more... menacing. As handy as the Talwar is, I kept running into more and more cruisers as I roamed through anomalies, most of them Caracals (which, with the price of shield modules and missiles are lucrative targets). I found that, unless the pilot was fit very suboptimally, the "Rat's Revenge" simply didn't have the dps to break their tank before their barrage of missiles forced me to withdraw.
And so, I began to test out the various T5 cruisers and see how each of the fared in PvP. I will eventually post builds for all of them, but I wanted to start with my favorite, and the only one still in my hanger - the Omen.
THE TARGET: LOWSEC RATTERS
As always, before we choose a ship we need to consider the target. Similarly to the previous build, we will be targeting ratters - but now we are particularly focusing on cruisers, since they tend to drop better, more expensive loot. These ships tend to be slow (boasting an afterburner at most), but can be pretty tanky, especially once you get into the higher T5 & T6 anomalies. Additionally, these ships can put out a fair bit of damage, so something with higher HP is likely advisable. These fights will last a bit longer, so staying power is important.
Finally, since most of our targets will be Caldari, a damage type effective against shield tankers would be a plus.
HIGHS: Medium "Joust" Pulse Lasers
MIDS: Mk3 Warp Disruptor
LOWS: 2x 800mm Steel Plate, Damage Control, Medium Microwarp Drive
THE SHIP: T5 OMEN
The Omen has a number of advantages which have made it my favorite of the T5 cruisers so far:
- CHEAP - The most common criticism of my Talwar build was "you can't build cheap if disruptors cost 10mil!" And that is true to a point - these aren't your 5 mil isk T1 cruisers from EVE Online. However, the Omen is quite cheap for its class. Currently, drones, missiles and shield modules cost a fortune. Armor plate and pulse lasers, however, run for a tenth of the cost of equivalent fittings for a Caracal. That makes the Omen a comparative bargain.
- DAMAGE - Fitted with faction "Joust" pulse lasers (only cost a few hundred thousand for a set!), the Omen is easily able to break 200dps with decent skills, and can reach 20km range without much difficulty. That is a considerable improvement over, say, the Stabber, which struggles to get over 150 on paper DPS, reduced further by its abysmal optimal range. As a bonus, the EM/Thermal damage from lasers cuts through shields effortlessly - and remember, the most common ratting builds are shield tankers...
- TANK - The Omen is the second toughest of the T5 cruisers - just behind the Thorax Prototype. Additionally, it is much easier to fit it out with the best 800mm plate (even faction is reasonably inexpensive). This makes the Omen a tough nut to crack - particularly since only the suboptimal autocannons specialize in explosive damage.
- CAPACITOR - An often overlooked attribute on the fitting screen, the Omen has considerably more capacitor capacity than any of the other T5 cruisers - beating out the Caracal and Stabber by nearly 50%. While this was likely to outset the capacity needs of lasers, in reality the pulse lasers require very little energy. Instead, this allows us to run our disruptor, microwarp drive and stasis webs much longer than other ships in the class.
However, we do have to keep a few disadvantages in mind as we build and fly our Omen:
- SPEED - The Omen is slow for its size (hence "Flying Brick"). Even with a microwarp drive, it struggles to get above 1300m/s (compared with the Stabber, which can top 1800m/s). This is still plenty to catch any pilot not sporting a MWD, but we will need to watch out for other dedicated PvP ships, since we will struggle to escape them if caught. Also, the Omen is slow to turn, which will factor into our strategies below.
- POOR DAMAGE AGAINST ARMOR - Lasers melt shields, but struggle to cut through other armor-tanked ships. While facing Amarr and Gallente ships, know that your effective damage is reduced by about 30%. (I was able to destroy a T6 Moa, but couldn't break the tank of a well-fit Thorax Prototype).
- NO REGEN - Unlike shield tanked PvP ships that naturally repair their main bank of hitpoints over time, once your armor is damaged you need a station. This is a minor irritation, but I often found myself impatiently tapping my foot waiting for my criminal timer to decrease so I could warp to station and get back to hunting.
STRATEGY - FLYING THE BRICK
Unlike the Talwar, which can effectively turn on its microwarp drive and orbit the target for the entirety of combat, the Omen will have to be flown a bit more intentionally. In general, the Omen has two strategies, depending on how big the target is:
- Stuff smaller than the Omen - If you are facing a smaller, faster target then your best bet is to charge into short range and web the target as fast as possible. Virtually any ship smaller than a cruiser (as well as an T5 "trainer" cruisers) will quickly melt under the fire of its lasers, as long as it doesn't get away. Toss the brick right at that frigate's smug face and lay on the hurt.
- Stuff as big/bigger as the Omen - Here you will need to exercise some caution. While MOST of the T5-6 cruisers you will find in anomalies are harmless, delicious ratters there is a chance you'll run into a ship fit for PvP (which can end your day in a hurry). When I encounter T5 or T6 cruisers, I use the microwarp drive to get into disruptor range, and then maintain a distance of 15-16km (using my web if the opponent tries to get close). Against shield-tanked opponents, you should be able to kill them before they return the favor. Against armor-tanked opponents (like a Thorax) your superior range should allow you either to kill or escape provided you don't let them web you.
...and it turns out there is a limit to how long you can dodge gate guns. Learn from my mistake! Wait out your criminal timer and don't get impatient.
But as soon as I recovered, I made sure to buy another one - "The Flying Brick" had earned its place in the hanger...
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