Arbitrator is an incredibly versatile and cheap Amarr cruiser for gang warfare. While experienced pilots can fly the ship solo and have incredibly taken down battleships, command ships, and other expensive toys, the setup above is low-cost and designed to be used in a group. It won't be doing much damage by itself, but once it gets within 5km of the target the energy neutralisers can really turn a fight around. If you manage to empty the enemy's capacitor, his tank, guns and afterburner will all shut off and he'll be a very easy kill.
Energy neutralisers consume a lot of your own capacitor, so you'll need to use your Medium Capacitor Booster I whenever you run dry. It can hold a single Cap Booster 800 charge, and when activated, will then dump that 800 capacitor directly into your ship. It then has a 15 second cooldown period and a 10 second reload time before it can be used again. Fill your cargo hold with as many Cap Booster 800 charges as you can fit to maximise the length of time you'll be able to keep running the energy neutralisers.
If your group is light on tacklers, it's possible to swap a tracking disruptor for a warp disruptor. With Engineering V, it's also possible to swap the afterburner for a microwarpdrive to help you get in range of the target faster. The traditional tech 2 version of this fit uses Egress Port Maximiser I rigs to reduce the capacitor usage of the four energy neutralisers, but they're much too expensive for a disposable tech 1 fit at over a million ISK per rig. Instead, I'd recommend using drone rigs as they're extremely cheap and this setup has enough CPU left over to fit three of them. I suggest speed augmentors to help your Warrior Is catch fast frigates, but other drone rigs may work just as well.
Omen is a cheap and survivable damage-dealer with only one trick up its sleeve -- pew pew lasers. It will never match the raw damage output of the Gallente Thorax at point blank range but comes with a lower price tag and has a comparable tank. The Focused Medium Pulse Laser Is also have a comfortable optimal range of around 5km, so unlike blasters they'll be able to hit targets all the way out to web range and will be fully effective against targets up to 5km away.
This setup needs to be within 8km to get to work but the lack of a microwarpdrive can make getting into range of a moving target difficult. It would be best paired with a ship that has a long-range Warp Disruptor I and a microwarpdrive to get the initial tackle, such as a tackler frigate or Thorax. If going up against a Gallente turret ship that you know has blasters fitted, try to hover between 5km and 8km to stay outside his effective range but still within your own.
The biggest drawback of the Omen for new players is the massive capacitor usage of lasers. Be sure to have Controlled Bursts trained to at least level III to reduce capacitor usage and train Energy Management and Energy Systems Operation to level III or IV to increase capacitor generation. As the Omen gets a reduction in energy turret capacitor use with each level of the Amarr Cruiser skill, it's also prudent to train it to at least level III.
Keeping the costs down
While a fully fit frigate can cost as little as 50k to replace, each cruiser death will hit your wallet for a net loss of between one and two million ISK after accounting for insurance and module costs. Insurance for a cruiser costs between one and two million ISK and covers the ship for 12 weeks, paying out roughly the ship's purchase price on death. If you PvP regularly, you should find your ship exploding in glorious battle long before its insurance expires.
The cost of losing a cruiser can be reduced by securing a cheaper supply from a manufacturer or setting up a market buy order for the ship. If you set up a buy order, be sure you're the highest price offer on the market or sales will be automatically granted to someone else. Using cheaper modules will also reduce the cost of the loss. Due to their abundance in loot and poor refine rates, meta level 1 named modules are actually usually cheaper than standard tech 1 modules despite having slightly better stats. Don't be tempted to upgrade the ship beyond this, investing ISK in better modules will raise the cost of death significantly but won't provide much benefit.
only a few weeks of skill training. Cruisers are even more versatile than frigates, and they're definitely the most fun ships I've ever flown in a gang. Amarr and Gallente cruisers are built to absorb damage and dish it out in equal measure, and both the Arbitrator and the Vexor can be easily fit for energy disruption support. As before, these ships are best used in a group rather than going solo, especially for new players with limited skills.
Remember that PvP in EVE is more about strategy and tactics than piloting, that the circumstances of how you got into a fight will determine the outcome more than the actual combat itself. Designing a solid gang of ships is important, but it's vital to stay aware of potential enemy reinforcements and learn to trick enemies into putting themselves at risk. It's often prudent to hold a few ships back behind the main group to let the enemy think he has the upper hand and then drop your full force on him.
The setups posted above are all most effective at close range, and setting up the range of a fight is key. A useful trick is to send a tackler in first but have the rest of the gang hang back a few hundred thousand kilometers away at a nearby celestial object or safe spot. If your tackler gets a target pinned down and is more than 150km away from the main gang, your gang can warp to him and land right on top of the enemy. In next week's EVE Evolved, I'll take a look at the Caldari and Minmatar cruisers, including the speed-fit Stabber and a low-skillpoint electronic warfare Blackbird that will make your enemies cry.
Brendan "Nyphur" Drain is an early veteran of EVE Online and writer of the weekly EVE Evolved column here at Massively. The column covers anything and everything relating to EVE Online, from in-depth guides to speculative opinion pieces. If you have an idea for a column or guide, or you just want to message him, send an email to email@example.com.