Revisiting Polarized WeaponsGorski Car
Hello friends! Today I wanted to talk to you about a set of weapons added with the Phoebe release that have either gone unnoticed or are being infrequently used. Polarized weapons, quite simply, provide higher DPS at the cost of zeroing all your resistances.
Because of these negative effects popular usage seems limited to bombers using polarized torpedoes launchers as, let’s be honest, if they are getting shot at and tracked, they will die regardless of resistances. In this article I am going to explore some other uses, go through some fits using these, and provide some additional scenarios these weapons can be used in. Let’s begin.
First off, let’s start with some stats and a comparison between polarized weapons and their T2 variants:
As you can see, they provide higher rate of fire, higher ammo capacity and better fittings than their T2 variants. The downsides are a lower overall range and the massive negation of all resistances.
Some interesting things to note here is that missile launchers do not have a range penalty due to missile range being derived from ammunition values. This means that polarized missile launchers have the same range as T2 missile launchers. This is balanced by the fact that polarized missile launchers do not get an application bonus like guns do.
It’s also worth noting that polarized weapons can use T2 ammo.
Overcoming the downsides
Because of how the polarized weapons work you will have to have some way to mitigate damage; with no resistances you will not survive a brawl. The main ways to do this are to out-range your opponent or to make sure that you can’t be hit in any other way.
Because of the range limitation there are a couple of polarized weapons that sadly will not see much use in genuinely competitive fits. Polarized torpedo launchers are the most used because of how bombers work with their high speed, low sig, and that they are rarely willingly in a situation where the enemies can shoot back. Polarised Mega Pulse Lasers also get use because of how scorch gives you a ton of range.
But there are other ways than straight up out-ranging your opponent to make sure you do not take damage. Things such as EWAR or having fleet members tank also works. In some rare cases it’s even possible to tank with zero resistances.
Another great way to use them is if you team up with a friend, having one of you be a stronger tanked ship that goes in first and draws aggro, allowing you to come in and deal the DPS. This works versus many opponents in EVE because of how people tend to tunnel vision and go for the primary guy first, ignoring you. This works especially well if you and your friend are flying the same ship, but with different fits, making it hard for the enemy to know that you are the damage dealer and he is the tank.
There are some fits that use these weapons effectively and are quite fun to use. The extreme DPS means that fights are over quickly and who doesn’t love blaping stuff fast?
For small sizes I really only think that rocket launchers, neutron blasters, and pulse lasers are viable. Polarized autocannons do not really cut it, sadly.
For polarized rocket launchers a standard dual-web Hookbill is a very viable ship for these weapons. Because of the extreme range control and addition of a tracking disruptor to further help mitigate incoming DPS, this fit works.
It’s important to note here that fitting any kind of resistances, even a damage control, is pointless because of the polarized weapons. Resistances are zeroed, period, while a polarized weapon is equipped.
For polarized light neutron blasters there are two good fits at the moment. The first is a very all-in Hecate capable of dealing over 1000 DPS, gambling on breaking the enemy before they kill you. It is not a personal favourite of mine because of the big weaknesses the Hecate has with being controlled. I much prefer using these on one of the newer additions to EVE ship lineup: the Griffin Navy Issue!
Let’s start with the fit and I will explain the finer tricks and optimizations that I have done after.
The low slots are quite standard with two magnetic field stabilizers to further enhance your insane DPS. What’s interesting comes in the mid slots. This ship is using ECM entirely to tank while dishing out over 400 DPS heated. Now you might say “Hey, those are Minmatar-only racial jammers they don’t work vs other races!” The trick here is to use a mobile depot and carry all types of racial jammers, making sure you have the optimal ones fitted for each fight. Don’t use multi-racial jammers, they’re awful in comparison.
The weapons are polarized blasters and a non-bonused polarized rocket launcher providing that little bit of extra DPS. The rigs are a bit special. Due to the penalty to ECM range on the Griffin Navy Issue, you run into the risk of being scram-kited without additional ECM range. These rigs solve that problem.
It is very important here that you fly this ship calm. Do not use your ECM until they are in optimal range and do not blow all jammers on a single target in case you need to jam any of their friends. Try to fight on your depot if possible to allow a combat refit into the best jammers if the situation changes.
I struggle to find uses for this class of polarized weapons. You might be able to use the polarized pulse lasers on a ship like the Omen Navy Issue but even ships at this size have the ability to project damage far enough that you will still take damage. The blasters and autocannons simply have too short a range to really work in PvP.
What does work are the heavy assault missile launchers. I have seen them used successfully on ships like the Rook using the same principle as the Griffin Navy Issue in regards to using ECM to tank and also on straight-up tanky Tengus.
Let’s start with the Tengu since that is the most interesting fit here.
By stacking shield extenders with the Supplemental Screening subsystem you are actually able to get a respectable number of hitpoints despite 0% resistances. The additional range from the accelerated ejection subsystem also allows your HAMs to hit out to around 30 km dealing 750 DPS with CN Scourge and 870 DPS with Rage.
As for the Rook, it is a pretty standard fit like the Griffin Navy, but with a web as well. Remember to bring all types of jammers and a depot on every ECM ship because refitting to the correct jammers is going to win you so many fights.
Something similar to this will work and is really fun to fly (for you, not your opponent)
This is where polarized weapons start being interesting again. You have the torpedo launchers that shine on bombers and are really popular, but all the other types, apart from maybe blasters, work in some setups. The attack battlecruisers are excellent users of these weapons, utilizing their good mobility and projection with these weapons. Polarized Mega Pulses are a viable option on the Oracle, for example
This is a fairly standard fit, capable of heating up to almost 1,000 dps at around 58 km. A great DPS ship in any small gang situation.
For the autocannons the Tornado works ok-ish, but we can put a bit more ISK into it going with a polarized Machariel. There are two main ways to go with the Machariel: armor or shield tanked. The shield tanked version has more DPS and speed, while the armored version has more HP, utility, and projection. I would go with the shield version most of the time due to the nature of the fleets I am usually in. A shield-tanked polarized Machariel gets around 40k EHP. Here are a couple of sample fits:
Remember that the Machariel is a very versatile ship; if you are at the point where you fly them you should be pretty experienced in PvP and the aspects surrounding it. There are a ton of small modifications you can make to these fits in order to further suit your playstyle.
One big downside of these guns that I haven’t really touched on is the price and availability. It isn’t that big of a problem these days as it was when they first came out, but you should still expect to pay between 4m and 15m per gun and over 40m per polarized torpedo launcher.
The polarized weapons have huge penalties and are often inferior to T2 versions in most cases. But they should not be dismissed entirely based on that. They are very much niche weapons with very specific uses but at least they are useful in those ways. They are also a fun way to add an extra layer when designing super small fleet comps or even just duo roams.
P.S. try that Griffin Navy Issue fit in FW space, it’s hilarious!
Thanks go to light blade for the inspiration for this article