EVE Evolved: Fitting Amarr cruisers for PvP in Retribution

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EVE Online's recent Retribution expansion overhauled many of the game's old PvP mechanics and rebalanced all of the tech 1 frigates and cruisers. These are the first ships new players get into when they start playing, and many found they just couldn't compete with more expensive ships in combat. In Retribution, the basic tech 1 cruisers have been buffed beyond all recognition and now stand a serious chance against battlecruisers and tech 2 ships. New players and veterans alike have found the updated tech 1 cruisers to be a lot more fun to fly and more effective in solo PvP and small fleet warfare.

Two weeks ago, I started a new series of ship fitting guides with effective PvP setups for each of the four Gallente tech 1 cruisers. In between hilarious sessions of baiting gankers with my ECM Vexor, I've recently been been getting to grips with the updated Amarr cruisers. The Omen is now a fast tackler that can project damage over 25km, the Maller is a fantastic support DPS platform for fleet warfare, and the Arbitrator has become a great anti-frigate platform. Even the humble Augoror should now be a welcome sight in PvP fleets, repairing almost as much as a Guardian at only a fraction of the cost.

In this week's EVE Evolved, I give new PvP ship setups for EVE's recently buffed Amarr tech 1 cruisers.

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The updated tech 1 cruisers have been rebalanced based in part on the original Minmatar cruiser roles, so now every race has a tanky DPS cruiser like the Rupture and a fast tackler like the Stabber. The Amarr's fast tackler is the Omen, which you'll be delighted to know can now actually fit both a tank and medium guns without filling the low slots with reactor controllers. You still need some power grid rigs if you want to fit Heavy Pulse Laser IIs instead of Focused Medium Pulse Laser IIs without dropping the plate, but I think it's worth it.

The setup above is a high-damage tackler for solo or fleet combat, able to hit a maximum of 662 DPS with the guns overloaded and slightly more if you use thermal drones. I suggest using explosive drones because they add a third damage type and because thermal drones are so slow that you'll actually overtake them. Use close-range Conflagration M or Imperial Navy Multifrequency crystals for solo and small group PvP and long-range Scorch M ammo for fleet combat. Using Scorch will drop your DPS to about 504, but it will let you easily attack the fleet's called primary target while tackling a different target. You might also find it handy to drop the combat drones for ECM drones to provide more survivability as you won't last too long under focused fire with only 16.5k effective hitpoints.

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If survivability is what you're after, look no further than the Maller! It's always been the most heavily tanked cruiser in the game and was almost exclusively used for baiting larger ships, but Retribution has given it some serious teeth. You can still fit a massive buffer tank with a 1600mm plate and can now also add a full rack of Heavy Pulse Laser IIs, but a well-tanked Maller isn't much of a solo PvP ship. It's far too slow to reliably tackle and hold down enemy ships, but in a group with fast tacklers, it will serve as an extremely tanky damage-dealing platform.

The setup above has a ridiculous 44k effective hitpoints and can get an optimal range of up to 23km with Scorch M ammo, making it the perfect support DPS ship for fleet combat. With 350 DPs from turrets and around 59 more from the three light drones, the new Maller could go head-to-head with many battlecruisers and win. The Target Painter II will make enemies easier for your entire fleet to hit, but if you're flying solo, then a Tracking Computer II may work out better. If you're anticipating heavy electronic warfare from the enemy, you might find it handy to instead swap this for a Sensor Booster II to help resist sensor dampeners or an ECCM Radar II to protect against ECM jammers.

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The Arbitrator has always had a very limited role in EVE as a brawler that preys on frigates, destroyers, and larger turret-based ships. Retribution has kept it in this role but buffed it with a bigger bonus to tracking disruptors, an extra low slot, and more CPU and powergrid. The new Drone Damage Amplifier II module squeezes the most DPS out of that extra low slot, but the ship's split weapon systems and relatively low powergrid capacity make fitting medium weapons a bit of a waste of time. The weapons of choice are definitely still drones and energy neutralisers.

The setup above is optimised for taking down small enemy tacklers while still being able to hold its own against turret-based Cruisers and Battlecruisers. The light missiles and Warrior II drones will make short work of small frigates and destroyers, and the two medium neutralisers will shut down small ships that get close enough to warp scramble or web you. Some people prefer a tankier setup with a 1600mm plate and four Small Energy Neutralizer IIs, but a good tackler will never get close enough to let you use small neuts.

Thanks to the Arbitrator's newly upgraded bonus, a single Tracking Disruptor II can reduce one enemy's optimal range or tracking speed by over 65%. This can completely nullify the turret damage from most larger ships, and the ship has enough effective hitpoints to absorb some errant damage from drones. Missile ships and dedicated drone ships will still tear you to pieces, however, so pick your fights carefully in this ship.

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The tech 1 remote repair cruisers have always been a bit useless, but CCP may have gone seriously overboard with buffing them in Retribution! The newly revamped Augoror now performs almost as well as its expensive tech 2 counterpart for a fraction of its cost. The ship's bonuses buff medium energy transfers and remote armour repairers up to around the same stats as the large versions would have on tech 2 logistics ships. A new player in an entry-level remote repair cruiser with cheap tech 1 modules can now make a serious difference in small fleet and gang warfare.

The setup above is designed to be used in a fleet with at least one other Augoror or Guardian. The two players will have to transfer capacitor to each other, which will generate enough energy out of thin air to run all four remote repairers indefinitely. Ships using this setup must be paired together, as they don't generate enough capacitor on their own to sustain more than one repairer. A lucky ECM jam against either ship will break the capacitor link, so I recommend fitting two ECCM modules as above or one ECCM module and a Sensor Booster II.

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The setups above are intended for intermediate players with good fitting skills and will require at most a cheap 3% powergrid implant to fit. As happened with the new Gallente cruisers, the revamped Amarr ships are now serious contenders for battlecruisers and small tech 2 ships. I'm overjoyed that the Omen can finally fit a full rack of guns and has the speed to reliably tackle enemy ships, but my favourite updated ship has to be the tanky Maller with Scorch M ammo.

My only gripe with the Amarr cruisers is that they still need powergrid rigs to fit a decent buffer tank and a full set of Heavy Pulse Laser IIs, and downgrading a few of them to Focused Medium Pulse Laser IIs drops the DPS by far too much to be a realistic option. While these ships have lower raw damage output than the Gallente cruisers, the ability to instantly swap between short and long range ammo makes it much easier for the Amarr ships to apply their full damage throughout a fight.

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.

This article was originally published on Massively.