F*ck Ishtars Vol. IApothne
Over the past few years in EVE, everyone has come to respect the power of the doctrine. From Hellcats and Drake Fleet to Slowcats and Ishtars, a well-thought-out engagement plan with a ships designed to execute it is far superior to the kitchen sink approach. Unfortunately, this can lead to a small part of the community coming up with the “best” doctrine, everyone else seeing its strength, and then parroting it. This may be because that doctrine is indeed somewhat overpowered in the meta of the game, or just because it does everything well enough for alliances to be able to use it for most tasks. Either way, it results in a less varied, less dynamic meta.
This brings us to the Ishtar: fantastic tracking, great projection, “relatively” cheap, selectable damage types, excellent resists to railguns, the list of benefits goes on and on. From ratting to small gang roams to huge fleet fights, we remain in the age of Ishtars Online (for those who can’t/won’t fork out for Tengu fleets.) Ishtars (unless you are Elise Randolph) are great at many jobs, but have a fatal flaw.
They are SO. FUCKING. BORING.
Everyone knows what Ishtar fleets look like, how they function, how they fight. There are very few surprises to be pulled or never-seen-before moves to make. There’s no excitement any more. I love EVE for it’s massive variety in playstyles and situational problem-solving. Everyone flying the same hull with the same fit just ruins that; to the point that unless there’s a strategic objective in play, or I have a murderboner for something shiny, I much prefer to roam around in a fleet comp that objectively may not be as strong as the current king of my ship class, but is far more interesting and fun to fly. Hence, I would like to share a few lesser used (or just ones I’ve come up with and like) fleet comps and/or fits for your consideration.
Once upon a time, there was a young FC in Waffles who saw Ishtar fleets rising to popularity and thought “Hey, I’d quite like to learn how to FC these.” Alas, he had neither the SP nor the ISK to run proper Ishtars, so Vexors would have to do. A few fit iterations and swapping from sentries to movement drones, a beautiful, cost-efficient little nano fleet was born. The doctrine works like any other kiting fleet: kill the tackle (with your light drones), then the bigger stuff (with your medium drones). If you fancy blinging out, switching up to VNIs brings improved speed for your drones and allow you to field full flight of heavies (my recommendation is Praetors).
(Yeah, links are pretty cool)
There are so many things I love about this ship. Running just a small number of them with Hyena & Keres tackle makes for a great small gang where you’re only looking at 30m/ship. They’re also a great way for newbros to try out this style of flying (especially without being dependant on T2 modules) and for old bros to do so without worrying about losing hundreds of millions of ISK when they get caught. If you want, you can easily swap out the points for a T2 invuln as your fleet numbers grow in null; add on some dictors and you’ve got a maneuverable, versatile fleet that can take lots of different engagements. Drone choice is personal and highly situational; if you’re fighting something inherently slow or have 2+ Hyenas for webs, you can totally switch to the slower, but much greater thermal damage hammerheads. With no need for a cap booster,, it’s also very easy to carry a depot and spare drones, giving you some flexibility in drone choice even after you leave your home system.
Not an idea for a fleet comp in and of itself, but the Augoror is a great little logi ship. Ideally you want a 1600 plate on it, but having two medium cap transfers as per standard cap chaining cruiser logic makes that very difficult without having a lot of fitting mods. A “standard” Augoror fit may look something like this:
Thankfully however, the Aug has a bonus to all sizes of cap transfers, meaning this great little fit just barely comes together.
So a few subtle things to notice here: You have a hardener for each damage type, meaning you only need to activate and overheat for incoming damage. For example, if you have hybrids attacking you, you can just turn on the kinetic and thermal hardeners. What’s more, by placing the plate in your middle low, then pairing kinetic & em hardeners on one side, then the thermal and explosive on the other, you’re almost never going to have to overheat adjacent modules, meaning you can spread out that heat damage, overheating for longer. It’s 20s at Thermo V which is a significant chunk of time in an extended brawl.
Another minor bonus is that even though you’re controversially using two ACRs, you incur much less of a velocity penalty than you’d suffer using armor rigs. This nets you a humble ~30m/s, meaning your transversal can be just that little bit higher, and you can move about the field that little bit quicker.
The obvious benefit is that of tank. A nominal 1.5k EHP gain without overheating, but a whopping 5k with heat. If you add Legion links the effects become even more pronounced: a 3k gain before, and a massive 8.5k after. On a cruiser with normally only 30-40k EHP that is a gigantic difference.
The main downside to this fit is the extra cost, but for a much greater tank (even greater with links), T2 reppers bring both more HP/s and a faster cycle time. That means reps land faster in the first place. This is a cracking little fit for some T1 armour brawling, as is beloved in FW space, and lowsec in general.
If you have any fits/fleet concepts you think deserve attention in this series, feel free to tweet them to me @CallMeApoth and you might just see them in an upcoming post!