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. This reading material will be relevant to PVP-Intermediate classes and above and covers topics more in depth than will be covered in the class. If you are attending a class please try and read this in advance although you will not be expected to be able to perform some of the more advanced manually flying mentioned in some of the sections.
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 propulsion module(MWD) slowing an MWD fitted opponent to a crawl. and also disables Micro Jump Drives and Micro Jump Field Generators (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 target by 2 points and faction warp scramblers disable 3 points of warp core(More on Warp core strength coming later). 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.
The short range of Warp Scramblers have some drawbacks to consider:
- To be in range to scram an opponent you are also in the Target's Scram range. Fighting in Scram range means you are quite likely to be tackled back and have your MWD disabled too!
- You are now much more likely to be in the range of any high damage close range weapon systems an opponent may have fitted.
- It is very easy to Overshoot and fly out of scram range as you have a much small sphere of space around your Target to fly in and as you shut down your Targets MWD (if he has one) his speed reduces significantly while your speed remains the same.
- Fighting in Scram range puts you in range of some of the Defensive modules a target may have fitted, like Capacitor Warfare or ECM Burst modules.
- You are committed to the engagement and you have far fewer means of escape available.
Using a warp scrambler
To give you an idea of the relative weaknesses of Warp Scarmblers let's look at how they fair in 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 does decloak, especially if he is looking out for it. 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:
- 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(unless you need speed to mitigate damage) and turn of the overheat on your scram.
- Call that you have the target Scrammed in Comms.
Warp Scramblers on Kiting Ships:
- Some Kiting ships have Warp Scramblers fitted as a defence against faster chasing MWD fit ships.
- By using the Scrambler Overheated as a chasing ship gets close before they use it on you it slows them down and hopefully your ships momentum carries you out of their Scram Range.
- This Defensive Scram is particularly effective when fitted on ships with a High Base Speed, Ships fitted with afterburners (especially those that get a bonus to afterburner speed boost or can fit an Oversized Afterburner) and those with a bonus to Scram range(as you can scram the target chasing you before he can scram you)
- Warp Scramblers are not normally used as the primary form of tackle on Kiting ships.
Special Tactics for Warp Scrambler fit ships:
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 (Webs) and Stasis Grapplers are modules that significantly reduce the speed of an opponent ship. Slowing down a ship has many uses; It enables you to control an opponents movement, apply damage better, stop targets from crashing gates, control range so you can avoid damage, help slower fleetmates catch up to the target quicker and more I have not listed. The important thing to remember is that 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 because of how warp mechanics work). For this reason Stasis Webifiers are not tackle as a ship that is only webbed can simply warp off.
All T1, Meta and T2 webs have a range of 10km, Faction webs web out further. They slow down ships between 50-60% depending on the module used. As with Warp Disruptors there are ships that get bonuses to range and strength and are mainly Minmatar or pirate faction ships that require a Minmatar racial skill. Just like Warp disruptors the web range can be extended by Overheating, having a ship with the Skirmish warfare link:Interdiction maneuvers in a boosting position in fleet and by using a ship with a bonus. The Huginn and Rapier Minmatar recon ships are very noteworthy as they can end up with some extreme web ranges of nearly 90km with links, faction webs and overheat and are exceptionally dangerous so become a high priority for your gang to counter.
You should always try to make sure the target is warp disrupted before applying webs if you do not want to increase the likelihood your target will escape, If the target is attempting to warp out and you web it he will be able to warp off quicker. To enter warp a ship has to reach 75% of its maximum full speed, if you apply a web then this drops according to the strength of the web used. A web has no effect on a ships acceleration so it will reach 75% of maximum speed quicker so warp quicker or if it was already travelling at a velocity of 75% of its new maximum speed with the web applied then it will warp immediately. The range of webs is marginally higher than that of warp scramblers and sometimes it is judicious to wait to apply the Web until you the Scram applied. Webs can also be used on kiting ships and gangs as a defensive measure to prevent Scram fit tackle from getting too close. A pilot doing this will keep his web overheated and apply it to chasing tackle before they can apply their Scram module and disable the kiting ships MWD. In this scenario the chasing tackle is best to apply his web before his Scram to negate this tactic.
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!
Reporting Tackle over voice comms and spreading tackle in a fight
In a gang or fleet it is very important that the FC is aware of what ships are tackled and what are not. In Gangs, the normal convention is for the first pilot to acquire tackle on a target to report this over voice comms and for the second pilot to acquire tackle to call secondary tackle. This is important so that the primary tackler can disengage if need be. If a target has primary and secondary tackle applied to it there is no need for other pilots to report it tackled as this clogs up voice comms with chatter when the FC is likely to need to give orders. If the primary or secondary tackler lose tackle they should call this so a new secondary tackler will need to call backup tackle so the FC knows the target is well tackled. Below is an example of how we call tackle in Agony, we feed in location information if important but if the FC is on grid then there is no need to as he knows this:
Primary Tackler: "Rev (In this case, my name) has point on I.T.K (we use the first 3 letters of the pilots name to avoid confusion and help target calling for the FC) in a Caracal (giving the ship type aids the gang to see what target is tackled, in some situations this may not be necessary)"
At this point the FC and gang know that I have a warp disruptor applied to the Caracal of the pilot whose first three letters are ITK. The fleet may need to warp to, or burn to Rev to get into a position where they can get secondary tackle applied. Since Rev has only got a warp disruptor applied the Caracal is still able to travel on grid at full speed so hopefully someone will hopefully gain secondary tackle, preferably with a Scram.
Secondary Tackler: "Silas has back up point on I.T.K."
Secondary tackle is called but it is another warp disruptor so if the FC requires the target to be slowed down he may call for Scram tackle specifically.
FC: "I need I.T.K. scrammed"
Tertiary Tackler: "Scram I.T.K"
Reporting in this way helps to ensure that the FC knows exactly what is and is not tackled. If reporting of tackle fails it can have big ramifications for the gang; the gangs responses slow down and targets may escape and potential kills lost.
The spread tackle command
Spreading tackle is an order given by the FC requesting the gang to tackle as many targets as possible and is normally given when the FC feels that they are winning the engagement and wants to stop as many ships warping off as possible and maximise the gangs victory. It works in the following way:
FC: "Spread Tackle"
Everyone with a tackle module should attempt to tackle a different untackled target. Since at this stage you are typically trying to catch as many targets as possible no one should be secondary tackling or calling this on voice comms until all the primary targets are tackled. reporting tackle is now limited to the first three letters of the pilots name to keep comms as clear as possible.
1st Tackler: Scram web A.B.O.
Everyone now knows this pilot is tackled so should now be attempting to tackle other targets
2nd Tackler: Point A.C.K. 3rd Tackler: Scram F.I.S.
This should continue until there are no more targets to tackle, and then secondary tackle can be called but do not talk other the FC if he is speaking. If done correctly the tackle of your gang should be spread evenly across the opposing gang, hence the command "Spread Tackle"
Tackling is one of the most rewarding and challenging things to do correctly in PvP in EVE, without succesful tackling it is very hard to initiate engagements or ensure kills. If you can tackle proficiently you'll be welcome in almost any gang and it will open up lots of opportunities for solo and small scale PvP.