Relying on a large personal tank in typical pvp engagements is often a losing proposition. Using speed, range, or electronic warfare scales better against larger forces.
Giving up on tanking completely though is a mistake. While a personal tank works well in small gangs and fails in large ones, remote repairing is actually the opposite.
The more ships you have the more effective remote repairing becomes.
The target gang size for a remote repairing is typically about 10-30. Once fleet size gets above a certain point ships being killed before they can be repaired becomes more and more of a problem.
Battleship Spider Tanking
Battleship spider tanking gangs can be some of the most effective fleets in EVE.
With a decently sized group you can take on large amounts of firepower while losing few if any ships.
Even if a battleship spider fleet gets wiped out, it is fairly cheap to replace due to the insurance payouts.
Especially when compared to other advanced tactics such as HSLR which rely on T2 ships, battleship spider fleets are light on the wallet for how effective they can be.
Outlined below are the recommended skills for remote repping battleships for anyone wishing to train for or improve skills in this area.
- Racial Battleship lvl4+ (Amarr, Gallente or Minmatar)
- Hull Upgrades lvl5
- Armor Compensation skills lvl4+ (EM, Thermal, Kinetic and Explosive)
- Targeting lvl5 & Multitasking lvl1 (allows locking 7 targets which is a battleships maximum)
- Large Weapon skill lvl5 & Large Weapon Specialisation lvl 3+ (skill dependant on which race of battleship, not needed for Dominix pilots)
- Remote Armor Repair Systems lvl4+
- Signature Analysis lvl4+
- Heavy & Sentry drone skill lvl1 (Prefered lvl5 and Minmatar Drone Specialisation lvl4 for Tech II drones)
When fitting a battleship for a spider gang the key attributes are armor amount, armor resistances, lock time, sensor strength, and capacitor.
The starting point for any fitting should be the tank, as a minimum we advise you use 4 1600mm armor plates, 2 energized adaptive nano mebranes/Adaptive Nano Plating, a damage control and 1 or more large remote armor repairers.
Additional tanking modules and rigs are very beneficial as well, we recommened all BS should fit 3 Trimark armor pump rig's.
After this a sensor booster with a scan resolution script will bring down your lock time to a sufficient level, allowing you to quickly start remote repairing gangmates.
Once you have your lock it's important to keep it, so at least 1 ECCM is recommended but in some cases not essential. Keeping someone locked is worthless if you run out of capacitor, so a heavy capacitor booster is required as well.
Notable modules that are not needed on a spider tanking battleship are non-remote repairers (you rely on your gangmates to tank you, slots should be used for hp and resistances instead) and any shield tanking modules (it's key for everyone to have the same tank).
We recommend all Spider BS to have the following:
- 40,000+ armor HP
- Resists over 60% or as close to 60 as possible
- EHP 150,000+
- Weapon range of upto 20km
We recommened the following four battleships be used in the Spider gang:
- Armageddon, The main dps ship of the Spider gang.
- Dominix, The Medic boat with the largest repping power of the four and also has the ability to snipe upto 90km with sentry drones.
- Megathron, Primarily a dps ship like the Armageddon
- Typhoon, The Balanced boat, good dps and good repping, can never have too many Typhoons in the gang.
Another battleship that can be used is the Abaddon, not as a repair ship but more as a tough boat for the FC should he be unable to fly a command ship.
Many battleships have been left out mainly because they cannot perform as well as the recommended four, for example the Apocalypse also fills the role of anti support with pulse lasers but the Dominix can do the same job with drones and can field alot of repping power.
Unfortunatly Caldari Battleships do not have enough low slots to fit the minimum tank required for a strong remote repair tank. In addition fitting an armor tank to for example a Raven would not leave enough grid to use Siege Launchers and it would be forced to using Cruise Missiles giving it the same dps as an Assualt Frigate.
Caldari pilots wishing to fly there battleships should look for Dual Basilisk Gang, should you wish to fly a Spider tanked BS tho it is recommended to cross train for another race.
Flying Caldari only will not exclude you from the Spider gang, the Battleships will require support in the form of Ewar (Caldari ECM boats especially), tacklers and Interdictors.
Flying a Spider Battleship
Before your RR BS gang starts you may be asked to add important members of your squad to the watchlist and a pilot (often the FC) will be set as 'anchor' or 'approach'. At minimum your watchlist should consist of the anchor pilot so that you can easily stay close to them by selecting 'approach' or 'keep at range (500m)'. Take the time to familiarise yourself with the watchlist, broadcast buttons and broadcast history and be sure that your broadcast recipients box is set to 'Everyone'.
When in combat your number one concern should always be the group tank. Other priorities such as assigning EWAR, drones and turrets, while obviously important, should be carried out after assigning remote reps to the friendlies that require them. For group tank to work you need to be watching broadcasts for repair and make sure you are approaching or keeping the anchor point at close range as directed.
When a friendly is taking damage they will use the 'Need Armor' broadcast. Right click their broadcast and select 'Lock Target' and assign remote repairers once locked. Remember to keep an eye on your watchlist so you can lock friendlies that are taking damage even before they broadcast themselves.
As with any logistics you need to use some judgement with how many repairers and when to switch them to another friendly to be effective. Some fights can require intense micromanagement, so keep in mind that you will have friendlies and hostiles locked so care is needed not to start repping hostiles and shooting gangmates.
Take note if the enemy gang locks you and be prepared to click the 'Need Armor' broadcast yourself if you start taking damage. A common mistake is to wait until you hit armour before broadcasting, but remember that your gangmates will take time to lock and get a full repair cycle on you so the earlier you broadcast the better. Relying on remote repair can be a strange experience at first, just try not to panic, make sure your hardeners are active and to keep DPS and EWAR where they are needed.
Uses for Spider Gangs
The Spider battleship gang will have one or more of four basic uses:
- Roaming, Like any other normal roaming gang except the fleet with have very slow align times making it very hard to respond quickly to enemy movements. The roaming Spider gang should also fit Micro Warp Drives to help power out of Bubbles, reapproach gates and upon jumping into an enemy gang to get everone within remote repair range as fast as possible.
- POS Bashing, A mainly static fleet intended to sit 35km+ from a control tower and shoot it until it enters reinforced mode or is destroyed. Some ships may need to change to longer range weapon systems like for example the Typhoon.
- Anti Capital, The fleets primary purpose will be to provide enough dps to destroy capital ships while being able to tank fighters and enemy support. Other specialised support Battleships may be required and some Spider BS may need to swap a few high slots for Energy Neutralizers.
- Bait, Sole purpose of the gang will be to attract an enemy gang into an engagement it thinks it can win but instead they become caught in a trap. Examples would be to have another force nearby not yet spotted by enemy scouts to assist the Spider once it has been engaged. Baiting can also be combined with some of the above uses to simply attract the enemy into a fight he might otherwise turn down.
All four of the Spider Battleships have large done bays and bandwidth allowing the use of 5 Heavy or Sentry drones, this means the Spider gang can choose drones depending on which of the above uses it is intended for.
Heavy combat drones are great for the roaming gang that needs to move around and offer the highest dps of all drones. But are not so good against capitals who will have smart bombs and are useless against Control towers which need a 30km+ range to hit.
Sentry drones are great for shooting capitals as they do not have to risk smartbomb range and also have enough range to hit POS control towers. However they cannot move so if the gang is required to move for any reason it risks losing all its sentries.
Armor Maintenance bots are perfect for bait gangs where dps is not an issue and simply surviving is, 5 Heavy Armor bots repair more than a Remote Armor Repairer II greatly increasing the fleets total repping power and allowing them to survive until the cavalry arrives.
Flying support for Spider Battleships
Although Battleships alone are very strong they can become even more powerful by using proper support. Most or all of the Battleships mid slots are used up for various other modules giving them a shortage of Ewar, Support is required to fill this hole in the form of Damps, Tracks, Paints and ECM.
Battleships are also very slow to lock and are unable to chase enemy ships around to keep them tackled as they need to stay close together for remote repairing, so Interdictors, Interceptors and Heavy tacklers are required to Keep the enemy in place for the Battleships to fire upon.
Flying support in a Spider fleet has it down sides tho, the BS will be unable to provide remote repair to support ships because lock times and limited range make it impracticle. Tacklers will need to use speed to tank against enemy ships and Ewar should use a small buffer and range, all support pilots will be required to operate independant of the FC and not be afraid to warp away should they risk destruction.