Monday, March 17, 2014

The New Rifter

With Rubicon 1.3, the Rifter's tracking bonus was replaced with a falloff bonus.  This is widely regarded as a needed buff to this hull.  I have Minmatar Frigate V trained, but I've never flown a Rifter before; there's really been no reason to when there were other hulls that were clearly superior.  The old Rifter suffered from a few major problems:

1. Bad slot layout (3/3/3 + 1 utility high slot)
2. Low DPS
3. Good, but not "great" speed

In comparison, the Slasher has a great slot layout (4 mid slots!) and outstanding speed.  This means people mostly saw the Rifter as a worse version of a Slasher, and for the most part they were right.  Is that still true?  Is the Rifter relevant now?  Let's look at a standard cookie-cutter Rifter fit:

[Rifter, Rifter 1]
Damage Control II
Gyrostabilizer II
Small Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste

1MN Afterburner II
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator

200mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP S
200mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP S
200mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP S
5W Infectious Power System Malfunction

Small Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Small Projectile Burst Aerator I
Small Anti-Explosive Pump I

Deals 141 DPS cold at a range of 0.8+9 km
Speed is 1134 m/s (cold)

Let's compare this to the rail Incursus that I like so much:

[Incursus, Rail incursus (speed)]
Small Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
'Refuge' Adaptive Nano Plating I
Damage Control II

1MN Afterburner II
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator

125mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
125mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
125mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S

Small Hybrid Burst Aerator I
Small Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I

Hobgoblin II x1

This gives 144 DPS, and 1191 m/s speed, both cold.  It's slightly faster than the Rifter, mainly because the Rifter has an armor resistance rig and the Incursus has its speed enhanced with a polycarbon rig.  Otherwise, the Rifter is a naturally faster hull, but not by much.  And therein lies the problem with the slot layout.  The extra low slot on the Incursus means I can partially plug resistance holes with a nano plating, and instead devote the rig slot to improving my speed.  The Rifter has no such option, and must devote rig slots towards improving resistances.

The Rail Incursus is a pure scram-kiting fit.  It's been suggested that the Rifter can now perform this role thanks to the new falloff bonus.  Lets look at an EFT comparison of the rail Incursus, compared with the Rifter.  I've included two curves on the Rifter here, one with short-range faction ammo loaded, and the other with Barrage:


At 7.5km, the Incursus smokes the Rifter in terms of DPS, and it has a better tank thanks to its armor rep bonus.  Hello loss-mail for the Rifter.  On the other hand, if the Rifter is able to start the fight at brawling range, it has a great chance of winning the fight due to its neutralizer and its ability to match the speed of the Incursus.  This capability is nothing new though, and the Slasher is still flat out better at executing this.

It's also been suggested that Artillery fits on the new Rifter have become more viable, thanks to the falloff bonus.  Here's an Arty fit I came up with:

[Rifter, Rifter 2]
Pseudoelectron Containment Field I
Small Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste
Gyrostabilizer II

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

250mm Light Artillery Cannon II, Republic Fleet EMP S
250mm Light Artillery Cannon II, Republic Fleet EMP S
250mm Light Artillery Cannon II, Republic Fleet EMP S
[empty high slot]

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

Below is the DPS chart from EFT, with the Arty Rifter shown in green (The AC rifter with barrage loaded remains in blue for reference):


It turns out that DPS for both artillery and autocannons is roughly identical at the edge of scram range!  The key advantage of artillery is that it can hit out to the edge of point range, giving it a fighting chance against long-range MWD kiting ships, and allowing it to kite outside of overheated web range.  The rail Incursus also has this capability, and it actually beats the arty Rifter fit at point range in DPS if it switches to iridium ammo.  The advantage STILL lies with the Incursus.

My current favorite point+web kiting fit is currently the Atron, which I wrote about in an earlier blog post.  Below is a comparison between the Atron and the Artillery Rifter fit.  Considering that the Atron's speed is 1382 m/s and the Rifter's is 1259 m/s, and that both ships have the same signature radius, and I'll stick with the Atron.



My conclusion: I'd rather be flying a rail Atron or a rail Incursus than any Rifter fit.  However, I would probably now favor the AC Rifter over blaster ships, simply because it now has the option of scram-kiting certain ships that it can't outbrawl (even if it isn't very good at scram-kiting, it has better projection than blasters with null ammo).  The Rifter is also still a useful fleet tackler thanks to its small signature radius.  In terms of the rankings I did earlier this month, I would now rank the Rifter as slightly better than the Merlin.  This is a mild buff, but that's about it.


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