The basics of Tackling
Successfully tackling an opponent prevents them from escaping combat and is vitally important to almost every PVP engagement. This guide covers the basic mechanics of tackling, the modules and methods used to tackle and to escape from being tackled, and how to use tackle when flying a damage dealing role within a gang.
The 2 basic modules used for preventing opponents warping away
- Warp Disruptor - Point
- Warp Scrambler - Scram
Warp Disruptors, commonly called Point
The warp disruptor does what its name says: it makes the opponent's ship unable to warp away in most circumstances. Once you get a lock on the opponent you can activate the warp disruptor and it will disrupt the warp core of the opponent's ship by 1 point of warp core strength and hopefully prevent them from warping away. It is the longest range tackle module and on an unbonused ship the meta varieties have a range of 20km, the tech 2 has a range of 24km and expensive faction modules have a range of up to 30km. This relative long range provides a pilot with numerous advantages:
- It gives a much better chance of tackling targets as they decloak on gates.
- It allows orbiting faster and further from a target, which can help to mitigate damage received, and stay out of range of the enemy ships defences.
- The additional range allows you to tackle targets that you are having to chase sooner as you have less distance to close to target.
There are three ways of increasing the range of all tackle modules and when these are used in conjuction with each other some very extreme ranges can be obtained: 1. Overheating. If you have trained the skill "Thermodynamics" you can overheat modules to make them perform better but it runs the risk of potentially burning out the module and making it unusable. A 20% increase is gained to the range of warp disruptors by Overheating so a standard T1 Warp Disruptor's rang will increase from 20km to 24km. 2. Use a ship that has bonuses to tackle modules. Fleet interceptors, The Gallente force recon, the Arazu, the Gallente combat Recons, the Lachesis, The Gallente Electronic attack frigate, the Keres the gallente T3 cruiser fitted with the appropriate subsytem, the Proteus, and some pirate faction ships like the Garmur and Orthrus all have bonuses to warp Disruption and Warp Scrambler range. 3. The use of a link ship, fitted with the skirmish warfare link:Interdiction maneuvers in your gang provides a significant boost to tackle range.
It is not uncommon to see ranges of 70km and above for Warp Disruptors when all these methods of increasing tackle range are utilised.
Using a Warp Disruptor
Below are three of the most common scenarios for using a warp disruptor; tackling a ship that has just jumped into your system while you are waiting on a gate, chasing a target down in free space and keeping a target tackled while kiting away from an opponent. Below is a very basic guide on what to do in these scenarios:
Warp disruptor on a gate:
- Get to as close to the center of the gate as is possible.
- Activate your warp disruptor and if you have the thermodynamics skill trained, overheat, which will increase the range of your warp disruptor. The module will not cycle until you lock a target so it will not build up any heat damage.
- If you are waiting for a target to break gate cloak and you know there is no risk of an inadvertent target that you would not wish to lock coming through the gate you can lock the overview by holding the Ctrl button down and spam left click just below the bottom item on your overview. When he breaks gate cloak he will appear in the blank space where you are clicking and you will target him and then the warp disruptor will activate. This is the fastest method.
- If there is a risk that a ship may come through that you do not wish to target and point then wait until it appears on the overview then double click it.
- Depending on how the target reacts you may need to fly after the target or settle into the safest orbit around it, be ready.
- Call tackle in voice comms.
Warp disruptor while chasing down a target:
- Decide on how you will approach the target. Against missile ships it is best to burn towards the target as quickly as possible, against sentry drone or turret ships then you should spiral in and not fly directly towards your target to mitigate incoming damage. For our PVP-U basic and intermediate classes a comprehensive understanding of Spiraling and weapon system tracking is not required but for a good explanation of the mechanics then see this video.
- If you have Thermodynamics trained then you can overheat your MWD to gain extra speed and your warp disruptor to gain extra range, this is best done in the most dangerous part of the approach which is normally between 60-30km. Be very careful as it is very easy to burn out your mwd. I would suggest practicing overheating repeatedly before trying it out in a combat situation.
- Once you have warp disrupted the target call tackle in voice comms.
- Settle into a safe orbit around the target. In most cases this will be near the limit of your Warp Disruption range. There are two ways to achieve this; You can change your default orbit distance to a distance below your maximum warp disruption range to ensure that you do not drift out of range because of the way in which the orbiting mechanic in Eve works. If you do stray out of range you can briefly overheat to reacquire point OR you can manually fly by repeatedly double clicking in space to one side of your ship to create an orbit. This type of manually flying requires a LOT of practice to avoid flying out of range or too close to your target but it does allow you to select an orbit that avoids flying into the path of other enemy ships. To begin with I would suggest using the first method but be aware of the second method and if you intend to use it, practice HARD with friends until you are completely comfortable.
- In PVP Basic and Intermediate classes and roams you are unlikely to have to do this yourself but the Agony Supporting Skirmish pilots will be doing so and this knowledge may help you to appreciate the job they do.
Kiting Away from an opponent:
- Kiting is flying away from an opponent while keeping your own damage and tackle applied while attempting to keep out of the range of the opponents tackle and mitigate some of the damage from their weapons.
- Kiting is best done against a target that you have a range, speed and agility advantage against.
- The most simple way of kiting is to pick a point to Align to fly off in that direction and try and stay at the range you desire, you will potentially need to adjust your speed by pulsing your prop mod, feathering your speed by increasing and decreasing it as needed or changing your direction by manual flying. The most obliging Target will click the approach button and keep flying directly towards you at a constant speed.
- As with the other methods of tackling using a brief cycle of Overheat to extend the range of your Warp Disruptor can help you keep tackle applied or a quick Overheat on your propulsion module togive you a brief speed boost if you are in danger of becoming too close.
- This needs practice but when done correctly it can stretch out an opposing gang so they become seperated as they chase you and you can kill them off one at a time.
- Kiting is unlikely to be used during our basic and intermediate PVP-U classes but we may well see targets try and use this tactic against us.
A very important note Warp disruptors have no other effect than to prevent a target from warping. They do not slow down an opponent or stop any modules from cycling on an opponents ship. They simply disable 1 point of warp core strength on a target (more on warp core strength later)
Warp Scrambler (Scram) The warp scrambler, or scram as it is commonly called, works on the same principle as the warp disruptor and disrupts the warp core of the opponents ship but it also disables an opponents Micro warp drive (MWD), micro jump drive and micro jump field generator (more on these modules later). As most PVP fit ships in null sec use an MWD for the high speed it provides disabling this slows them down significantly and stops them from flying away from you. A warp scrambler will disable the warp core of the opponent by 2 points of warp core strength (faction warp scramblers disable 3 points of warp core). The warp scrambler is a very potent module but the range on a warp scrambler is very short ranging between 7.5km and 9km for meta versions, 9km for tech 2 versions and 10km for faction. As with warp disruptors there are ships that get bonuses to warp scrambler range and in the case of the Maulus Navy issue, Warp scrambler strength too.
Using a warp scrambler
Unlike the relatively long range of warp disruptors, warp scramblers have a much shorter range which changes the way you tackle with them. I'll cover the same situations that we looked at with warp disruptors:
Warp Scrambling while on a gate:
- Unlike a warp disruptor, sitting on the centre of the gate is actually the worst spot if you do not have a ship with a warp disruptor with you, as ships decloak 12km from the edge of the gate model they are already likely to be out of the range of your warp scrambler which means you have to close the distance before they can align and warp away. If you are in a group you may decide to orbit the gate to increase your chances of being closer to the target when he decloaks but this carries the risk that you may be flying away from the target ship when it decloaks. Scram tackle on gates is not a good form of primary tackle however it is needed to try and prevent a target from escaping by crashing the gate or trying to escape when you have a ship with a warp disruptor as primary tackle.
Warp Scrambling chasing down a target:
- Warp scramblers have a much shorter range than warp disruptors so a ship with a warp scrambler fitted has to get much closer to the target and stay within the range of their warp scrambler. A common mistake for ships with MWD and scram fitted is to overshoot their target and fly past, this is exacerbated by. It takes some practice to control your speed on approach to avoid overshooting
- Decide on how you will approach your target as you would for a warp disruptor. (missile ships burn direct, sentry drone and long range turret ships spiral unless directed otherwise by your FC as it may be more important to gain tackle quickly and accept some attrition during the approach)
- Overheat MWD for the dangerous section of the approach but be very wary of heat damage.
- Avoid overshooting by deactivating or feathering your MWD on the final part of the approach
- Overheat your scram in preparation
- If possible manual fly to slot in to a good orbit (see Chessurs top gun You tube videos for an in depth explanation of this)
- Once in a tight Orbit and scram is applied deactivate your mwd and turn of the overheat on your scram (unless you need speed to mitigate damage)
- Call Tackle
To do this well you will need to practice as the last part of the approach is busy and complex.
Fly by scramming is another tactic you may find useful. A fly by scram is similar to the method for chasing down a target except instead of slowing down and settling into an orbit you get close enough to apply the scram temporarily and then fly away to safety. This is useful in the following circumstances:
- You need to temporarily shut off an opponents MWD. This could be useful for slowing down a target that is attempting to tackle one of your gang or a target that is kiting away from your gang but is very dangerous to your ship. It is surprising how long it takes a pilot to notice that their MWD has been shut down and to reactivate it, some never even realise. This can buy your gang some valuable time or improve your gangs tactical situation on grid.
- To stop an opponent ship completing a micro jump drive module or micro jump field generator cycle. Battleships, Battlecruisers and some industrial ships can be fitted with micro jump drives. These modules allow them to travel 100km in the direction they are aligned at the end of the modules cycle and are often used to escape tackle from warp disruptors. They are commonly found on PVE Ratting ships but they can be used on PVP ships too! When a ship activates a micro jump drive it has an obvious visual effect and "blinks" when it jumps. If a warp scrambler is applied to the the target before the MJD cycle is complete it shuts down the module and prevents the blink. The micro jump field generator is found on command destroyers and it works in a similar fashion to the micro jump drive but it is area of effect based and takes any ship in its radius along with it. Again it is disrupted by a warp scrambler.
Stasis webifiers and Stasis grapplers are not tackle!
Stasis webifiers and stasis grapplers are modules that significantly reduce the speed of an opponent ship but they do not disrupt the ships warp core so do not prevent a ship from warping away. In fact, a ship with webs applied but no warp disruption applied will actually warp off quicker! (a tactic used by freighter pilots to get into warp quicker). You should always make sure the target is warp disrupted before applying webs if you do not want to increase the likelihood your target will escape. They are important as significantly slowing a ship down can prevent it from escaping through a gate or allow the rest of your gang to catch up. They can also be used to increase damage application by slowing a ship down to make it easier for turrets to hit and missiles to apply their damage better. The range of webs is marginally higher than that of warp scramblers. Tech 1 and 2 webs both web out to 10km but the tech 2 variety slows down a target more. As with warp disruptor and scramblers there are ships that get bonuses to web range and strength and these coupled with warfare links can become very long range with 50-60km being common. The Stasis Grappler is a Battleship size module and is exceptionally powerful and dangerous to small ships that are trying to mitigate damage by flying in very tight orbits to the battleship.
Breaking tackle(escaping from tackle)
There are various methods of breaking tackle of which you need to be aware of as a tackler:
- Warp core strength. Most ships in Eve have a native warp core strength of 1. You may remember that we discussed earlier that Points are called Points because they disable 1 point of warp core strength. In other words a warp disruptor applied to a ship with a warp core strength of 1 will negate that point of warp core strength leaving the target unable to warp (1-1=0). Some mining and industrial hulls have a higher than 1 warp core strength to do a specific job and there is also a module called a warp core stabilizer, often refered to as "stabs" that can be fitted to increase warp core strength. Stabs are generally not fitted to combat ships as they reduce a ships targeting range and targeting speed severely but you do find them fit on ships that don't want to get caught. For example, a ship with a native warp core strength of 1 with 3 stabs fitted will require 4 points of warp disruption to prevent it from warping away. Scrams have a warp core disabling strength of 2 (3 for faction) so for our example you would need 2 scrams (4-2-2=0) or any combination of scrams and points that matches or exceeds the warp core strength of the target. When you tackle a ship with stabs fitted it appears that you have it tackled, your tackle module is running and everything looks great then it just warps off! This is annoying. It is important to note that warp core strength has no effect on the ability of a scram to shut down an MWD/MJD/MJFG, a scram will always shut down those modules regardless of warp core strength.
- Flying out of tackle range. It is possible for the target to fly out of your tackle range. The target ship may simply be faster or it may attempt to "sling shot" your orbit. Sling shotting is a method of manual flying used against an orbiting opponent by rapidly changing direction so the tackler overshoots on their orbit allowing an escape.
- Capacitor Warfare. Ships with energy neutralizers can drain the tacklers capacitor so that tackle modules switch off. This can be countered by either staying out of the neut range or by fitting an energy vampire to steal some cap back or a cap booster to inject cap back immediately after an energy neut cycle.
- EWAR Damps and ECM. Remote Sensor dampeners can reduce the tacklers locking range enough so that it loses lock on the target. ECM can break the tacklers lock and prevent the tackler from relocking the target.
- Blinking away. MJD and MJFD both allow a warp disrupted target to move 100km away in the direction it is aligned. The Target can then warp away in the time it takes the tackler to travel the distance required to regain tackle.
- Kill the tackle. This sounds obvious because it is. There are many gang compositions designed to purely kill tackle very quickly!