EVE Evolved title image
Among the hundreds of changes brought by EVE Online's recent Crucible expansion, the new tier 3 battlecruisers certainly rank as player favourites. Rather than giving each race a bigger, tougher battlecruiser, CCP gave the new ships the ability to fit battleship-class weapons but heavily limited their defensive capabilities. All four tier 3 battlecruisers are turret-based, letting them output massive damage with close-range guns or hit for solid damage at battleship sniping distances.

As with all new ships, it can be difficult to figure out how to fit the new tier 3 battlecruisers to make full use of their unique combination of high damage output and high mobility. Last week I looked at three viable setups for the Caldari Naga, which proved to be an absolute monster with 1,000-1500 DPS when using close-range blaster setups and a terrifying 650 DPS when sniping at 100km-130km. This week I take a similar look at the Gallente Talos, a ship designed specifically for close-range combat. I explore a traditional armour-tanked blaster fitting with dual webs, a shield-based variant that packs a huge 1,500 DPS punch, and two long-range blaster fits that give the Naga a run for its money.

In this week's EVE Evolved, I explore four solid PvP fittings for the Talos, with both shield and armour setups.

Talos fitting: Armour gank
The setup above is a standard armoured blaster setup that takes advantage of the Talos' high available powergrid to fit a 1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I and a full rack of Neutron Blaster Cannon IIs. The ability to fit a 1600mm plate lets you fit a lot more buffer tank into fewer slots than a shield-based setup can manage, opening extra low slots to be used for damage modules. It manages to reach just over 37k effective hitpoints using just three low slots, which may prove to be essential as the ship always operates at close range and so needs all the buffer it can get. Switching one of the two Magnetic Field Stabilizer IIs for an additional Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane I increases the tank to 44.5k and will make you easier for logistics ships to repair, but this comes at a substantial DPS loss.

The Talos has three open mid slots to work with once you've added the mandatory microwarpdrive. For solo or small gang PvP, the setup above with a short range warp scrambler and dual webs will work wonders. As you're using battleship-sized guns, getting two stasis webs on targets smaller than battleships will be the only way to reliably hit them. The setup above deals 1281 DPS with its guns overloaded, and it tracks best between 3km and 8km from the target. Resist the urge to get close enough to scrape the paint of your enemy's hull, and if in doubt, hover around 7.5km from him for optimum DPS. Drone choices are Warrior IIs to take down frigates and add another 80 DPS or Hornet EC-300 ECM drones if you're insane and plan to roam solo in this glass cannon of a ship.

Talos fitting: Shield gank
Although Gallente ships typically armour tank, most can also be effectively shield-tanked. The above setup is a shield-based blaster fit that takes full advantage of the low slots freed up by switching from armour to shield. The additional damage mod and Tracking Enhancer II will increase the ship's damage output to a frightening 1521 DPS with Void L ammo and Warrior II drones. It beats an equivalent Naga hands down, with much better tracking of targets below 10km. You can expect to deal over 1400 DPS to enemies between 4km and 10km away, with the sweet spot being at around 8km.

Unfortunately, this damage comes at the cost of having absolutely no tackle; while a shield-tanked blaster Naga can at least afford to fit a warp disruptor, the Talos lacks the spare mid slots to do so. It's a tight fit and has just over 32k effective hitpoints, but its incredible damage output against any target within 15km and increased speed over armour tanked variants makes this a great setup to use in a highly mobile fleet that already has dedicated tacklers.

Talos fitting: Shield 20km+ long range blaster
In last week's EVE Evolved, I said the Naga was uniquely qualified to dictate the range of engagement by fighting outside web and warp scrambler range. I detailed a long-range blaster setup that achieved this, using Null L ammo and the high optimal range of Neutron Blaster Cannon IIs to fight between 15 and 25km. The setup above is a direct port of that fitting to the Talos, and it performs even better in this role than the Naga. While the Naga had trouble tracking targets if it ever mistakenly found itself in web range, the Talos' tracking speed bonus and the two Tracking Enhancer IIs in this setup make it able to track targets extremely well down to around 5km.

The tech 2 rig only costs around 20 million ISK, and due to the way in which staking penalties are applied to modules, it provides almost double the DPS increase that a tech 1 version will. With the addition of light combat drones such as Warrior IIs or Hobgoblin IIs, this fitting deals over 1000 DPS between 15km and 20km. Unfortunately, that performance comes at the price of having to choose between tank and tackle. Dropping a large shield extender or invulnerability field for a warp disruptor will cost you between 5k and 8.5k effective hitpoints. With its top speed of over 2,000m/s using an overloaded microwarpdrive and its ability to deal effective damage to anything within 40km, this setup would make a fantastic addition to any highly mobile damage fleet with its own tacklers.

Talos fitting: Armour , 20km+ long range blaster
This armoured variant of the long-range Null blaster setup sacrifices mobility, a little tank, and some damage for the ability to tackle targets. The long-range warp disruptor can catch targets as far as 28.8km away when overheated, and the tracking computers with optimal range scripts ensure the ship can deal around 750 DPS at that range. A tracking computer can be swapped for a sensor booster if you will need to quickly catch smaller targets like cruisers and battlecruisers, but this will cut over 100 DPS off the setup against foes at the extremes of warp disruptor range. This setup deals most of its DPS when it's between 15km and 20km from a moving target, but it will rarely break the 950 DPS mark. If you're ever caught below 15km, switch the scripts in your tracking computers from optimal range to tracking speed and you shouldn't have a problem hitting targets as close as 5km.

Final thoughts title image
The Talos is a highly versatile blaster ship, but unfortunately I couldn't coax a good sniping setup out of it. It needs two tracking enhancers and several rigs or tracking computers to barely reach the Naga's base optimal range, so it can't be set up to deal good damage at ranges of 100km-150km. The Talos is currently the only tier 3 battlecruiser that isn't taken seriously in sniping gangs, making it a one-trick ship fated to forever fly with blasters attached. While it does make very good use of blasters, the Talos is not much better than the Caldari Naga and suffers from a serious lack of CPU that makes it difficult to fit.

As with the Naga, blaster Talos setups are extremely expensive due to the massive cost of eight Neutron Blaster Cannon IIs. Named guns can be used to reduce the cost of any setup above considerably, but this will remove your ability to use tech 2 ammo. Blaster setups will have their damage outputs cut by up to 22%, making the much cheaper tier 1 Brutix a competitive ship choice. The Brutix can field a bigger buffer tank while dealing just over 1,100 DPS, will track moving targets a lot better than the Talos, will have less trouble hitting small ships, and can still fit a scrambler and dual webs. Unfortunately, it's next to useless when it's over 7km from a target and has a much lower top speed, making it much more difficult to get in range and start dealing damage. This factor alone may make a Talos with only named guns preferable to a fully tech 2 fitted Brutix.

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 brendan@massively.com. Merry Christmas! :D

This article was originally published on Massively.