Hammerheads' Guide to Afterburner Taranis
This is Hammarheads' guide to pvp in Taranis. Original discussion thread can be found here: Link
[Taranis, Drury lane 4evah!] Magnetic Field Stabilizer II Small 'Accommodation' Vestment Reconstructer I Damage Control II 1MN Afterburner II Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I Light Ion Blaster II, Antimatter Charge S Light Ion Blaster II, Antimatter Charge S Light Ion Blaster II, Antimatter Charge S Small 'Knave' I Energy Drain Small Ancillary Current Router I Small Hybrid Collision Accelerator I Hobgoblin II x2
The setup as you can see is pretty slow for an intercepter. But if you compare it to anything other than intys in terms of AB speed then it is fairly decent. What your after is a large speed advantage within web/scram range, since if you're not within scram/web range - you're not fighting the target. This speed/agility means you have a lot of choice in what you engage. You use this to your advantage by denying engagements until it is on favourable terms. This concept isn't cut and dry, I don't mean to imply that if your outside of web scram range that you do not engage ever. With most targets you can utilise your atributes to get into close range and take the dmg hit in doing that. Once you're there your advantages come into play: your high dps, agility, nos, and repper will bring you out on top of most feasable engagments. Always use your better judgement. Don't go for a vagabond when he's 22km away, because you'll die, but if he is at 8km then it is worth a poke.
Knowing thy enemy is literally the most useful tool when flying the Taranis you could ever have. This is due in part because if you screw up you tend to get a speedy trip home. There are loads of ships/setups in eve, and as such i won't go through them one by one and how i fight them in a taranis, but i will it do by request if you post in this thread and are curious.
There are many ways to utilise the Taranis in solo pvp. Some of the tactics you may be familiar with from fishing ships etc, but when you're flying a taranis you are deemed by most as a dangerous opponent. Your easy kills won't want to be anywhere near you, so you need to force them to engage through several methods.
Firstly is the simple and boring anchorable bubble. This is a simple method to catch targets and is especialy useful at catching and killing larger targets. This is because if they're running medium neuts they can often take a long time to kill, so having them 70km off gate is extreemly useful. This is also the best way to catch people who don't use bookmarks, cloakers, and haulers. Covops are nice way to get faction loot as well, so basically quite easy.
Second is one I personally quite enjoy, and occasionally this leads to high profile kills. It is, however, high risk, much more than the instance with the bubble camp. This is effectivly skirmishing. In essence you're an intercepter so skirmishing is one of the things you can do, all be it not as well as a skirmishing interceptor but its still fairly effective. This includes all the ways skirmishers get tackles on their own, ie directional scanner, utilizing faster warp speed etc. chasing targets through gates to tackle off gate far side and ofc ratting in belts. Its not my favorite method but its a good laugh when you kill something juicy.
Asymmetric psychological warfare
This tactic is my favorite. It is akin to fishing in many ways. You try to elicit some sense of security in your enemy and then strike at them. In order to do this you need them to feel secure. To do this they need to outnumber you by stupid to one (i.e. find a gang). DO NOT DO THIS IF THERE IS A DICTOR. By warping through gates into camps you give the enemy the idea that you are on the defensive and are purely trying to escape. Because of their numbers they are convinced that they are immune to your attacks. This is the feeling that you play on. You then select an obvious planet that stands out, such that there is no mistake on where your warping to. Also pick a planet that is as far as possible from their location. If they have several intys, a 100au warp will do you a solid. You warp to this planet at 0m and often they will follow for a tackle to same planet. Enemy interceptors will land just after you and right next to you. Scram overloaded guns and pop them by the tens. Then try to quickly escape when they're all dead to avoid the rest of their gang ganking you when it lands. This may seem risky, and it is. However the time you have to kill intys is more than enough. I've killed 3 in a 60au warp before the cruisers started showing up in the past. its all about timing and getting them to land on you at 0. This tactic illustrated a way to seperate intys from their gangs, but this is not the only way. Burning off gate, even in an AB ranis can work inty gets a point slingshot, kill inty, laugh at the tengu firing heavy missiles at you and warp off.
Killing big stuff
Killing cruisers and bigger ships is something which requires intimate knowledge of your enemy ship capabilities and all possible loadouts, and the most likly loadout on ship you're going to fight. From the posible enemy loadouts you have rattling round in your head there is always a few key things which will give away select loadouts: enemy ship speed, distance he is trying to keep at, visual on number of guns, is your cap gone? means he has neuts =S HAM drakes for example should be avoided, however, HML can be engaged. From there you can make a calculated decision to go for it. With bigger ships the first secconds of the engagement are crucial. It is in these first few seconds that you will probably become certain of your enemy's loadout and see if you have potentially underestimated it. Then you have to make a quick decision to stick or leave. Typically your tactic for cruisers and larger will be orbit at 500m if you expect a poor tank and they have no neuts and blow them to pieces. However neuts and strong tank means you must take the long term approach of poping all the drones using bursts of cap you have spare from your scram/nos being in time (hit nos, hit scram, nos cycle finishes, wait hit nos, scram cycles, repeat to ensure scram NEVER falls off. Don't neglect to do this against dual neut harbi's when they're in deep structure and your already celebrating. Once all the drones are dead, the ship itself provides little threat to you. No cruiser sized ship guns can track a taranis in orbit. Assault missiles aren't a massive issue as long as you utilise your advantages (this is assuming target is running a gun/missile setup eg mimatar. AML caracals avoid at all costs. Turn on your AB when you have spare cap and this will drasticaly reduce incoming damage from the standards. HML precissions will all kill you quickly, so just leave.
Basics of Slingshot
Clarification of term 'slingshot' since i get asked this a lot: slingshotting is a term i use to describe using your enemies momentum against him or her. This is used ordinarily to either bring target into range or web/scram, or to get yourself out of their range. It can also sometimes be used to drag enemy intys into range of friendly forces etc, but once you're familiar with the basics the rest follows natuaraly. You can effectivly tug enemies arround as long as they want to keep you tackled. The way to go about this is to first decide what exactly you are aiming to do.
Principles of keep at range/orbit - for the purpose of this will be referanced as korbit. Korbit works on a reactionary principle. It percieves the action and takes action to maintain the distance it has been set to. This creates a massive flaw as it doesn't predict the moves in advance which cause you to be able to trick it into flying right at you when it should be flying away. The reactionary principle is helped further by the fact that in keep at range there is a buffer of a few KM where the keep at range aproaches to the target distance slowly so it doesn't overshoot. this works fantasticaly because it basicaly means it reacts even slower.
Slingshot in practice
How to do this. If you want to gain distance on a target that is tackling you and keeping you at range, first you fly the opposite way to the target. This causes the "keep at range" automatic command the target has set to your maneuver to react and compensate. The enemy ship's speed will then try to match your own, so overall distance is maintained. Overloaded your AB for a cycle. Once ready, turn off the AB and hit aproach on the enemy, then and overload and turn on the AB. This will then cause you to dramatically slow down due to the offlined propulsion module and do a U turn. If all this time, the enemy ship is still flying towards you, so for the next 1-2 seconds you are both flying straight at each other. You are speeding up while he is slowing down and turning around. This in effect give you 4 seconds of distance + the speed he was aproaching you at x 2.5 secconds. So for my taranis that is something like 5km from the enemy inty, assuming 2km a sec to keep me at range. and from my taranis effectivly 6km. - 11km total. That is a very rough estimate. In practice you actualy get a lot more than that sometimes, i'm being conservative here. So assuming that the enemy is within 24km (point range ftw) he will be within overloaded web range, and most likly scram. In practice you will almost always have an option between slingshoting into range, or out of range because they can't maintain far enough distance from both cut off points, 30km for a fleet inty 36km overloaded. But what works nicely is you can fiddle arround with it and try to slingshot them out of range. If they have a speed advantage when they're trying to get back to their designated range they'll be moving at top speed. 5km/sec roughly. so you then just hit aproach, as they power towards you both at full speed you plop them into scram range. Basics of the concept are: the korbit has a delayed reaction, so by flying away you cause it to change, then turn arround there is a period of time you both fly at each other, works in reverse aswel. More advanced aplications are just extensions on this theory to move them arround as you want them. Power off to the left and they'll start following you to maintain distance and so on.
T1 frigs are often used as fishing ships. I wouldn't worry about these in the slightest as an AB ranis since they wont be able to dictate range. Therefore you can get close and blow them up. The only one worth mentioning is the Rifter. Should not be much issue in my opinion, just make sure you're liberal with overloading, as with every fight in the Taranis.
Dramiel: The dramiel is extreemly fast, and this causes a few issues for the AB ranis, because you are not. However they ordinarily engage in scram range like you, and within scram range you will have a speed advantage and therefore can dictate range pull him in close, and relieve him of his faction ship and mods. Overall I'd say this wont pose too many issues, however, make sure you do not aggress until you have him web/scramed. Try to have the engagement on a gate, because if he happens to have a point and arties he might get lucky. Slingshoting should solve this issue if you end up in it off gate etc though. Dramiel can carry 3 drones so be on the lookout for ECM ones.
Daredevil: Daredevil has more EHP, roughly the same dmg, if not more. Within web/scram range he will have a slight speed advantage over you, even if you overload the AB due to the 90% web. And you both run active tanks. So basicaly you can go for him if your feeling lucky, however i'd expect Dramiel to win such an engagement. In terms of how to engage the daredevil I'd suggest making sure that you don't start at 0, try and tackle at maximum distance and fly away from him, this may seem silly but his speed advantage is about 30m/s. Sso the time it takes to get into blaster range will be significant, in this time your drones can work out his shield buffer and your blasters fit with null can outrange him and chip away at that armor without reply if he doesn't have null fit (which I'll hazard most of them won't due to the massive webs). Just be careful to not let your drones die. Swap back to navy antimatter before you get into their range due to the reload time. Then pray.
Succubus: The succubus isn't going to be a massive issue to your taranis as long as you're in your close range orbit. Simple word of advice on this one would be to be cautious and only aggress if you've get that scram. This thing pumps out a fair bit of pewpew if you're not careful.
Worm: The worm can be kind of thought of as a shield tanking ishkur and for a frigate. It gets a fair passive shield regen. My eft numbers on the fit i have created are arround 60dps tank on the shields at peak recharge. I am yet to fight on of these in game however the danger of these exists in their drones, the actual missile launchers on Worm do very little dps. The damage is all centered in the drones. The ship has an impressive ammount of hit points (13800 on my fit.) That is similar to a cruiser, so going at this ship straight up may result in a victory, but a much safer way would be to destroy the two flights of drones as a priority, then the enemy ship is effectivly defenceless against you because your repper can cover the 2 standard missile launchers dps comfortably. Be aware if the enemy Worm has a small neut fit you may be in for more than you bargained for and should consider bugging out. Also, 10 light drones means he could potentialy have ECM Drones.
Cruor: This is a sentinel with 90% webs. It can basically can really screw you up if you're not careful. However you're unlikely to find one of these roaming arround solo as they are pretty fragile and do 100dps copared to your 250DPS. Expect to be shut down by small neuts that drain as much cap as mediums and brought to a standstill. The ranis setup has a nos, so you may be able to pulse your guns if you manage to worm your way into range. Overall I suggest you don't fight this, unless it lands right on top of you. Then just overload from the start and trying to blow him up before he gets enough distance on you that you can no longer hit him. Drones are your friends here. Overall, avoid, this thing is the ultimate ranispopper.
Amarr Navy Slicer: Crusader with less tracking. Get in close and kill it. Not a lot more to say on this. Average dps, less than you, range varies between setups but in terms of faction frigs go this is a mediocre one.
Caldari Navy Hookbill: Missile based ship kind of similar to assault frigates in design. It is usually heavily tanked with setups hitting over 10k ehp and could feasably fish you with dual web scram AB setup in the mids. However i wouldn't worry overly much. Dps from the missiles is arround 80-100 with all level 5's which isn't that great. The tank is similar in ability to the worm. Sugestions for this one if you run into it would be unload on it and trying to break that shield tank asap. If it looks like its not going your way, disengage. If he's a fishing fit then try to slingshot out of his webs. You're reduced velocity will make this very hard but rest assured, if he's that setup he'll have a poor tank so you might be able to wrestle him either close enough for blasters or far enough to disengage. Just play around for a bit. You should have a bit of time with your repper going to move him arround before you cap out and die.
Republic fleet firetail: Another one I've not had the pleasure of meeting. However, from its fittings and bonuses I estimate that its unlikly to pose a threat to the Taranis. Just stick to your universal law or don't engage if you can't get scram, and you'll be fine.
Federation navy comet: This has been likened to an expensive afterburner taranis for particular fits. In general, I would avoid them. They have a larger buffer and slightly more dps than a Taranis with all the little extras you have. So you're very unlikly to be able to effectivly engage one of these. Of course different fits are out there, and you will retain a slight speed advantage against a fed navy comet. Feel free to test the waters and disengage but be advised your disengage speed isn't going to be fantastic while web/scramed.