Friday, January 10, 2014

Enter the Atron

The frigates I tend to fly are pretty one-dimensional.  They nearly all fit an afterburner, scrambler, web, and small railguns, and are fit with the intention of scram-kiting.  This is starting to make me very predictable to anyone who is sharp enough to look up my killboard, and lately I've felt a need to mix things up.

The Atron is a ship that I've been trying to like for a while, but I haven't had as much success with it as the other Gallente frigate hulls.  As a scram kiter, it doesn't gain much from its speed, agility, or falloff bonus and overall it performs worse than an Incursus because of its low EHP.  It can be a pretty good brawler because it can have surprisingly high DPS with Neutron blasters, it has the speed to get close to scram kiting ships, and the falloff bonus to the hull gives it decent range with Null ammo loaded.

Instead, I've been trying something different.  Here is the fit:

[Atron, Skirmish]
Pseudoelectron Containment Field I
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Small Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste

1MN Afterburner II
Faint Warp Disruptor I
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator

150mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Plutonium Charge S
150mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Plutonium Charge S
150mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Plutonium Charge S
[empty high slot]

Small Ancillary Current Router I
Small Hybrid Locus Coordinator I
Small Hybrid Collision Accelerator I

DPS = 119 (140 overheated)
Range = 13 km + 11 km
Speed = 1382 m/s (1811 m/s overheated)
EHP = 2459 + 76 ehp/sec

The objective is to kite targets at a range of about 14km, and to use an over-heated web to help dictate range against anything which tries to get close.  Loading Plutonium ammo helps to push the optimal range of the guns to this range.  This is a very tight fit, and there really isn't much cpu or power grid to spare here (Advanced Weapon Upgrades V is required).  Past experience has shown me that the 150mm railguns are really essential for this ship, so there isn't much of a way to make the fitting simpler, aside from using implants.

Let's look at the pros and cons of this fit vs. a generic scram kiter:
Pro: Capable of kiting at longer range.  There are several ships which can project DPS out to the edge of scram range, but are helpless against targets that are 14km away.
Con: Optimizing the fit for improved optimal range and speed means that you have to make significant sacrifices to tank and dps
Con: The warp disruptor does not shut off the target's MWD, leaving it very vulnerable to brawlers which fit an MWD and a web.

Against specific targets, this Atron can really shine.  Small pulse lasers with Scorch crystals cannot hit beyond ~12 km (exception: Retribution & Coercer).  As another example, Catalysts & Enyos can deal solid DPS out to the edge of scram range with Null ammo, which causes problems for scram kiting frigates.  They cannot reach out to 14km, leaving them relatively helpless against the Atron.  This ship annihilates just about any brawler that is fit with an afterburner.  Unfortunately, it is extremely vulnerable against other targets.  A brawler fit with both an MWD and a web is capable of closing in and keeping range.  Even destroyers with an MWD and a web are faster, such as an armor Thrasher with autocannons.  Also, any other ship which can project damage out to 15km can make pretty quick work of this ship.  While a blaster Catalyst is an easy target, a rail Catalyst can blast this out of the sky in a few volleys.

Ultimately, I think the cons out-weigh the pros on this ship. Compared to an Incursus, engagement profile is much more limited, and I've found that I'm losing much more often when I fly these.  However this ship is just plain fun to fly, and Atrons don't look too scary to most people, so I'm going to keep a few of them in my hangar in case the right target appears near my home system.

One thing that's important to note: the vulnerability to MWD-fit brawlers can be eliminated if you can fit a second web.  This is why the Firetail can be so effective, and why I'm going to cross-train into Minmatar frigates next:

[Republic Fleet Firetail, Dual Web Kite]
Small Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste
Damage Control II
Gyrostabilizer II

1MN Afterburner II
Warp Disruptor II
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator

280mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP S
280mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP S
[empty high slot]

Small Projectile Burst Aerator I
Small Projectile Ambit Extension I
Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I

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