|This article has been nominated for deletion. If you do not wish the page to be deleted please make your opinion known to the administrators.|
- 1 General Strategy
- 2 Analysis - compared to Hydra
- 3 Fleet setup
Use of range/speed
There are many ways to stay alive in EVE. The most common is just setting up to tank as much as you can, then hoping you survive any attack. Another, most commonly used by Agony is to rely on ewar to diminish your opponent's firepower, allowing you to survive the fight. Both of these strategies can work well, depending on the situation; however, they share a common weakness. As your number of opponents grow your ability to survive drops to zero. If you're fighting 20 ships with your 10 then your tank won't be able to hold, and you won't have enough ewar to diminish their firepower. The end result more often than not is that you lose.
The goal of the HSLR gang strategy is similar to that of a dual Basilisk setup, to allow you to do more with less, taking on superior numbers with a modest force. This is accomplished by relying on speed, range, and specialized ships such as recn ships and interdictors to eliminate your enemies while staying safe yourself. The majority of ships used in everyday PvP are fairly slow, and are almost always fitted for short range. Due to the limited range of warp disruptors and stasis webifiers, this strategy often works out to be the best one; however, if you were to utilize a combination of interdictors along with Minmatar and Gallente recon ships, you could trap an enemy fleet while not getting into range of their tackling and guns. This core group of ranged tacklers when combined with a second group specializing in ranged dps(40-100km) forms a skeleton of a very effective fighting force. Not only do you avoid most of their firepower by engaging at long range rather than short range, but you also give all your ships the chance to warp away if needed, reducing the number of losses even more.
The HSLR gang strategy works for the same reason that a Vagabond is an effective ship. By setting up to stay outside of disruptor/web/neutralizer range you keep yourself nearly completely safe, while maintaining your ability to destroy your enemy. Now, this strategy can theoretically work with any ships, as long as you're setting up in one location and not moving because even slow ships can set up at range and be ready to go. The problem with this though, is if you're roaming you need to be able to react quickly, and don't often have the opportunity to warp to range off of fleets. The solution to this is to have your entire gang be setup for high speed, being able to go through a gate into an enemy fleet and MWD away without being caught. The speed needed to function in an HSLR gang isn't too exact, but 1.5 km/s is a good minimum, with higher being much better. The net effect is that you combine the flexibility and elusiveness of a nano-gang with the safety and effectiveness of a sniping fleet.
Now, by this point you're probably thinking, "well that sounds great and all, but what if they're not all sitting in close range battleships?" Most fleets have at least a few fast tacklers in them, and even a few can cause your fleet serious problems. The solution to this is to use an align point. Whenever a HSLR gang goes through a gate to engage an enemy fleet, the fleet commander should call out an align point before anyone decloaks. Most often this align point will be the sun, unless there's a good reason to use another celestial object. As soon as the decloak command is given the entire fleet decloaks and begins burning at full speed towards the align point. The reason for this is two-fold, firstly just like with any other align command, it gives you the option of warping out instantly if needed. Should you start taking heavy fire you can simply warp away to an object near the sun and be safe (note: do NOT actually warp to the sun, in case the enemy tries putting tacklers there to catch warp-offs). The other, and in this case more important, effect of everyone aligning to a single point is that it draws out their fleet. As you burn away from their fleet, they'll most likely burn after you. Most of their gang will be significantly slower than you and be at range down on the gate; however their fast tacklers, the very ships you're most worried about will be flying straight after you, away from all their support, and right into your own anti-frig support. Even if their tacklers manage to web down a few of your ships, they'll die very quickly to your own tacklers. Once this initial tackler killing is done, you're left with a fleet full of slow, short range ships stuck on a gate, with your speed gang free to pick them off while staying at range.
So, you've got your enemies stuck on the gate without any speedy ships left to tackle you down, but what do you do about their ships that can still hit you? One option is simply to have people warp out as they take damage, but this tactic can quickly shrink your numbers, and limit your effectiveness. The better option is to have a strong ewar element as part of your fleet. Ships such as Arazus, Lachesises, and Falcons can eliminate most if not all of your enemy's ranged damage output. Tossing in additional damping power from your ranged damage ships and you can handle much larger fleets much easier. Keep in mind though, the usage of ewar in a HSLR gang gang is quite different than in a normal Hydra gang. You do NOT want to have balanced ewar. Tackling modules like warp disruptors and stasis webifiers should ONLY be on your specialized tackling ships, and your damping/ecm should ONLY be on specialized ewar ships and ranged damage ships. While Hydra gangs focus on redundancy, HSLR gang gangs focus on specialization. If it's not clear what sort of ewar you should be fitting on your ship, then chances are that ship isn't suited for a HSLR gang. Also, when calling damp groups, the EWO should keep in mind that his priorities are not the same as in a normal gang. In most gangs you put ewar on ships that put out large amounts of damage. In a HSLR gang most of these targets are already neutered by your range and speed, and so your ewar should be focused on enemy ewar ships and on enemy ships that can hit at range effectively. Additionally having damps and ecm is very useful when you encounter spider-tanking carriers.
Analysis - compared to Hydra
Ewar works great against single targets and small gangs, when you can use your ewar to pretty much completely incapacitate an enemy ship. The downside of ewar though is that when you're going up against even or worse odds then you can no longer incapacitate enough of your enemy's capability and quickly begin losing ships. Even worse is that when you do start losing ships your effectiveness drops off very quickly, since each of your ships is not only adding to your effectiveness, but also limiting your enemy's effectiveness. For example lets assume you have 5 ships, each capable of damping down one ship to a point where it's not at all effective and you're fighting an enemy 10 man fleet. Now each of your 5 ships damps down an enemy ship, effectively turning it into a 5v5 fight. The problem is that each ship you kill is a 1 ship swing (like from 5v5 to 5v4) but every ship you lose is a 2 ship swing (from 5v5 to 4v6) due to the loss of damps. So all in all ewar doesn't scale well against larger odds, both because you can only change the odds by a set amount depending on how large your fleet is, and because losing ships hurts you more than it hurts your opponent.
The HSLR gang strategy on the other hand at least partially eliminates both of these scaling problems. Your strategy for staying safe is largely independent of the number of ships your opponent has, as long as your pilots are good at maintaining range and warping out. Whether you're fighting 1 blaster Megathron or 20 of them, the net result is the same, whereas you would need a massive increase in strength for an ewar gang to go from fighting 1 to 20. Also, each ship you lose doesn't hurt you as badly as with an ewar gang, because you don't necessarily lose ewar which is protecting you. Through both of these effects, a HSLR gang is more versatile and effective against larger gangs than an ewar gang, and can do more with much fewer numbers, although a HSLR gang is more sensitive to fleet compositions, having trouble against longer range ships.
Ah, one of the biggest downsides of a HSLR gang, skills. Because of the need for both specialized ships and high speed/damage, HSLR gangs tend to require higher skilled pilots. While the biggest strength of a Hydra gang is that it works even with 900k SP, a HSLR gang require a good deal of medium to high SP characters to be effective, but newer players can still get into an interceptor and be effective in a HSLR gang fairly quickly.
Right along with the need for higher character skills is the need for superior piloting skills. There is a lot more going on in a typical HSLR gang than in a Hydra gang and it puts more of a strain on each individual pilot. Participating in a Hydra gang is often as simple as getting into optimal range of the primary and slapping on any ewar you have(or on a different target with differential ewar). This makes Hydra gangs a great way to start learning how to pvp by reducing the number of skills you need to be developed, however it can also limit your tactics and strategies. A HSLR gang requires much more of its pilots, but in the end the payoff is well worth it. To participate in a HSLR gang each individual pilot should be well versed in speed ships such as interceptors, interdictors, and vagas/stabbers as well as manual flying. You should be fully comfortable with staying at range and staying safe, even against a 20+ man fleet, and should be able to do so without any input from the gang leader. It is up to each individual pilot to know his or her role, and fulfill it without dying. Specific ship types and strategies are covered below, but in the general need for quick thinking and independence on the part of every pilot in the gang makes the HSLR gang a strategy for a gang of experience players, not for players new to pvp.
Gang size is highly variable with a HSLR gang, you can be effective with only a few choice ships, or can go with a full-blown setup of 30+. The main limiting factor though is related to lag. The larger you get and the larger fleets you take on the more lag your members have, and your chances for losing larger numbers of ships goes up drastically. For this reason it tends to be best to limit to <30 ships and not take on more than 50-60.
Pros and cons
All in all by going from a Hydra gang to a HSLR gang you're sacrificing accessibility and cheapness for increased effectiveness and scalability. This makes HSLR gang best suited to being one of multiple strategies in a corporation, and makes it more suited to corporations with more experienced players and pvpers.
Overall the role of this group is twofold. First of all is to hold enemy fleets through the use of interceptors, interdictors, and recon ships. In addition to this it's key that this group is very adept at killing enemy tacklers, keeping your damage-dealers free to power out to range and stay safe. Being a tackler is probably the most challenging job in a HSLR gang and you need to be good at what you do. In general you should rely on Rapiers and Huginns to web targets down, only going into web range against lone light ships, when not taking fire. Remember, a HSLR gang is not cheap, and a dead tackler is a useless tackler, so #1 priority is to stay safe. That being said, do everything within your power if one of the larger ships in the gang gets webbed down so that they can escape. It's much better to lose an interceptor or two than to lose a command ship.
While many consider tacklers to merely be "support", tacklers make up the heart and soul of a HSLR gang. None of the other strategies work without a good experienced set of interdictor and force recon pilots. By safely and effectively taking care of tackling they open up all these other strategies, making them possible. Because of this whenever forming a HSLR gang you should always make sure these slots are filled first. Having an Astarte along is nice and all, but if you're short on force recons have that pilot fly an Arazu instead. In a HSLR gang you can deal MUCH better with a lack of damage output than you can deal with a lack of effective and safe tackling. Essentially with less damage output you'll kill less, but with less tackling you'll die more.
All tacklers should be well versed in target selection since they typically will not just shoot at the called primary and instead focus on the enemy tacklers flying up towards the main fleet.
Flying an interdictor in a HSLR gang isn't much different from being in a normal gang, except that it becomes much more key that you get your bubble on the enemy gang ASAP. With fewer tacklers in the gang each individual one becomes more important, so get that bubble down and get it down fast. Once your payload is deployed and you've escaped certain death, your secondary role is to slaughter any frigate-sized tacklers chasing after your gangmates.
Tacklers are great and all, but they don't tend to put out much damage. Damage in a HSLR gang comes from mostly HACs and command ships setup for long range and speed. In order to be an effective damage dealer you should be able to hit at least 60 km and go at least 2.5 km/s. These are bare minimum numbers and you should aim for as much range and speed as possible (shorter range ships should have more speed, longer range ships can get by with less). As a damage dealer you ALWAYS want to be aligned towards the align point. If you don't want to go farther then you can slow down or stop, but always keep pointed towards the align point so you can warp fairly quickly if you need to. Keep burning away until you're at a safe range and then hold range and focus fire on the primary target. Sometimes you might need to burn back towards an enemy fleet to get back in range, but always be careful and re-establish alignment as quickly as possible.
A well-skilled Claymore pilot with a mindlink implant will make a HUGE difference to your gang. Not only does the gang speed bonus make all your ships that much more effective and hard to catch, but the bonus to propulsion jamming mods works like a charm with the HSLR gang strategy. By having a mindlinked Claymore in your gang, you allow all your tacklers to warp disrupt targets out to around 30km, getting them out of heavy neutralizer range, and basically making them impossible to kill other than by a Rapier/Huginn or due to pilot error. Not to mention you get some serious extra breathing room for your Arazus and Rapiers. On top of the extra range you make all your ships significantly faster(44% with mindlink) which will give you a major tactical advantage. In addition this extra speed allows you to bring along ships which otherwise wouldn't be fast enough such as rigged tempests. It's also plenty fast to keep up with a HSLR gang, should die rarely, and turns a good gang into a great gang, or a great gang into an amazing one. It does take a lot of training to be able to fly a Claymore with a mindlink implant, but it is the crowning jewel for any HSLR gang.