The nano-fit Vagabond was once the unrivaled number one ship for lone pirates, able to speed-tank anything larger than a frigate and still deal over 500 DPS. It engaged safely from outside web range, moved too fast for turrets to track, and absorbed any attacks that did hit with its sizable buffer tank. When CCP made warp scramblers knock out microwarpdrives, Vagabond pilots adapted with dual propulsion module fits that use a microwarpdrive to approach the target and an afterburner to orbit. Unfortunately, the Vagabond didn't fare well in the Odyssey 1.1 patch and players aren't sure if they can adapt this time.
In this week's EVE Evolved, I put together PvP setups for the at the Zealot, Sacrilege, Muninn, and Vagabond Heavy Assault Cruisers.
Blue Pill combat boosters are essential, as they increase the amount of shield boosted and stack with the ship bonus.
The ship reaches a total of only 32.5k effective hitpoints after accounting for nine boosts from the shield booster, and after that you're dead in the water. Active tanking also requires the resistances from the invulnerability field, so you can't fit an afterburner and will lose your speed advantage if your microwarpdrive is shut off by a tackler with a short range warp scrambler. It's possible to just about squeeze an X-Large Ancillary Shield Booster onto this fit with fitting implants and rigs. This will increase its effective hitpoints over the duration of a fight to over 60k or 77k with Strong Blue Pill, but it won't really help when you can be instantly popped by focused alpha from a couple of ships.
to fit the Muninn as a close-range brawler with 425mm Autocannon IIs and a 1600mm plate, but the result is barely better than a Rupture and is about 10 times the price. With only one spare high slot for a utility module or missile launcher, Odyssey 1.1 has solidified the Muninn's role as a mid-range sniper. The setup above can snipe at 90-120km with Tremor M but deals only 257 DPS with a 1.9k alpha strike. That's about half the DPS of the Tornado and a quarter of its alpha strike. What makes the Muninn stand out is that it can track small ships like assault frigates. It's about as good at tracking frigates as the Eagle, but with over double the alpha strike it's actually useful in an anti-frigate capacity.
Using Depleted Uranium or Titanium Sabot ammo will drop the ship's effective range to 50-80km but increase its alpha strike to 2.2k and make it much easier to hit speeding frigates. If you need to snipe frigates at ranges beyond 70km, using Tremor M will significantly reduce your hit chance, and Carbonized Lead will kill your alpha strike. The best choice might be to load Tremor M but use your microwarpdrive to align yourself with the direction the enemy ship is moving, reducing its transverse velocity and increasing your chance to hit. Launching the drones and setting them to aggressive will make them automatically attack any tacklers or enemy drones that engage you and provide a measure of protection. The cloaking device is obviously optional but can be handy for setting up a trap for unsuspecting frigate gangs.
There are a few variations on this setup going around, including some using Focused Medium Pulse Laser IIs to save on power grid. I prefer Heavy Beam Laser IIs as the smaller variant reaches only about 80km with Aurora M, and its additional tracking speed isn't significant, but they are definitely harder to fit. The tracking computer can be switched for a Sensor Booster II to provide some measure of protection against sensor dampening or for a Small Capacitor Booster II if you find yourself having capacitor trouble.
a pretty standard dual repairer fit that deals 571 DPS with Hammerhead IIs and rage missiles in overloaded launchers, but its big trick is that it can tank over 830 DPS or 1,000 with the repairers overloaded. The ancillary repairer runs out of Nanite Repair Paste after one minute of flat-out activity; when this happens, your tank will drop to just 384 DPS for 60 seconds while the module reloads, leaving you extremely vulnerable.
Try to tank on your normal repairer for as long as you can and activate the ancillary repairer only when it's absolutely necessary. Swapping the ancillary repairer for a second standard tech II repairer gives a sustainable 618 DPS tank or 768 with the repairers overloaded. A Nosferatu II in the spare high slot would help conserve cap booster charges, but the Sacrilege can actually carry enough capacitor injectors to keep the tank and an energy neutraliser going for about 10 minutes. The energy neutraliser will help to break active tanks and provides a measure of defense against tacklers.
The Ishtar has become a formidable sniper that can place its turrets around the battlefield, and the Cerberus is now an absolute frigate-killing god, but both the Eagle and Vagabond are outclassed by other ships in the same role.
At this point, the Eagle is obsolete, and it's hard for Vagabond pilots to justify not just shelling out a few extra million to upgrade to a Cynabal. The Sacrilege and Deimos have both also become powerful active tanked brawlers for small-scale gang warfare, but neither appears to have been designed with fleet roles in mind. While I'm sure the ships all now look balanced on paper, I get the feeling that CCP hasn't fully investigated the roles it wants each ship to be in and that another round of balance changes may be needed.
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.