The Asklepian Set: A PrimerMr Hyde113
The Asklepian line of implants was introduced as part of the 118.6 release at the end of June 2016. Although naming the implant set after the mythological Rod of Asclepius (a commonly used symbol of medicine) is a nod to the Serpentis theme of the release, “Asklepians” just doesn’t roll off the tongue like “Snakes”, “Slaves”, or “Crystals”. So until someone comes up with something clever to refer to them as, I’m just going to continue calling them Armor Crystals.
The Armor Crystals fill a gap that has existed in pirate implants for as long as I can remember
Armor Crystals, like other pirate implants, best operate as a “set”, since each individual implant provides a set bonus to others from the same set, compounding their otherwise miniscule individual bonuses. The Armor Crystals fill a gap that has existed in pirate implants for as long as I can remember, by providing an armor repair amount bonus counterpart to that of the shield boost bonused Crystal set. A set occupies implant slots 1-6, providing skill training attributes in slots 1-5. The pricey Omega implant of the set occupies slot 6, providing no bonuses of its own except that of enhancing the strength of other implants in the set. Armor Crystals come in three tiers or strength levels: Low-Grade, Mid-Grade, and High-Grade, each possessing stronger bonuses and attribute modifiers than the one below it, as well as an increasing price tag to match. It is important to note that these implants, like Crystals, only affect subcapital local reps, and will have no effect on your capital or remote repair modules.
|Tier||Full set (1-6) strength||Attribute bonuses||Set price (approx.)|
|Low-grade||20.03% to armor repair amount||+2||~135 Mil|
|Mid-grade||33.83% to armor repair amount||+3||~550 Mil|
|High-grade||53.63% to armor repair amount||+4||~1.9 Bil|
The bonuses follow the exact number model of the Crystal set, providing roughly 20%, 33%, and 53% for Low, Mid, and High-Grade respectively. The only other major difference looking at the numbers is price, with the Armor Crystals putting a smaller dent in your wallet than Crystals at all three levels. With the Low-Grade set running only ~135mil as of the time of writing this article, compared to ~750mil for Low-Grade Crystals (MG Crystals are interestingly only ~786mil), the Armor crystals are actually quite cost-effective for what they provide. The prices may soon fluctuate, however, as the source for these implants shifts from Shadow of the Serpent event rewards to the Serpentis LP store and NPC drops (which also are the sources of the Snake-set ‘speed’ implants). Regardless, I would highly recommend grabbing at the very least a low-grade set of these (or several sets) while the prices last.
Now, enough about the stats. What implications does this have for our spaceboats?
the long-existing gap between active shield and armor tanks has been shrunk significantly
First, and most obvious, is that the long-existing gap between active shield and armor tanks has been shrunk significantly. In the past, due to their being no armor equivalent to Crystals (apart from the RS-600 and RP-900 series of hardwirings, discussed below), a shield-tanked boat could almost always field a stronger max local tank than its armor counterpart, or alternatively, use the implants to substitute for tank mods, preserving the max tank while freeing up valuable slots and fitting. Due to their nature, shield boats will still be able to fit stronger max burst tanks, since shield boosters (especially the deadspace Pith variety) tend to rep more raw hp/sec, albeit at a very high capacitor cost. Regardless, the gap has shrunk and more options opened for armor boats in this regard.
Prior to Armor Crystals, when I wanted implants for an armor boat, I would usually use a combination of the Genolution 1-4 set (all-round bonuses to a number of stats, and fitting) and hardwirings such as the RS-600 and RP-900 implants, which provide small 1-6% bonuses to armor repairer cycle time and repair amount. It is important to note that the RS-900 occupies slot 9, and thus can still be combined with the Armor Crystals for even more rep amount on top without stacking. Now, the Armor Crystals will be my go-to implant set for my active armor boats, and will make classic solo active armor ships such as the Hyperion, Kronos, Myrmidon, Prophecy, Brutix, Demios, and Sacrilege even stronger. Additionally, non-tank-bonused ships like the Vigilant, Vindicator, Bhaalgorn, Ashimmu, etc., which often struggled to fit strong local armor tanks without links and heavy pimp, are much less delicate with these implants in tow. The Armor Crystals also synergize well with the Ancillary Armor Repairer + T2 Repper combo, as well as Exile Booster, which when paired with rep bonused hulls like the Hyperion, can lead to some staggering rep amounts.
To my fellow solo pilots, a few tips in closing:
- The Armor Crystals are just as useful for maintaining current tank levels while freeing up lows/rigs for things like damage mods as they are for boosting max tank. Many times, the freed up slots are just as important to a well rounded fit as increasing the max tank of an existing fit.
- Read up on your augmented raw rep amounts per cycle to avoid overrepping. Some low armor HP ships may find themselves repping upwards of half their armor HP with overheated pasted cycles, especially when combined with exile, aux nano pumps, and a possible armor hp penalty from drugs.
- The Mid-Grade set IMO is the best bang for your buck if you are decently good at not getting yourself podded in low-sec. Low-grades are cheap enough atm to be semi-disposable if you happen to want to roam to nullsec with them.
- These will NOT work on your capitals, so your elite-solo Vehement noscope montage will have to do without Armor Crystals.
- Take into account, especially in FW lowsec, that a lot of people will be running these on their armor boats, shaking up otherwise normal matchups. Neuts are still a great way to put pressure on active armor tanks that you couldn’t otherwise break with dps alone.