Fat Man Runnin’

Faction Warfare, especially in plex combat, places a premium on mobility and versatility. In the first installment of a new column covering interesting fits and doctrines from around the warzones, Jericho explains why that means you’ve probably been flying one frigate, sometimes known as the fat man, all wrong.


If you’ve spent much time in the Amarr/Minmatar warzone, you know that 90% of PvP around here takes place in frigates and destroyers. You also know that the constant close proximity to reinforcements and reshipping, as well as the eagerness of all sides to engage in small bait-and-counter-bait escalations, lends to combat in the ‘zone a quicksilver nature that greatly increases the value of ships and fits that are useful in a variety of situations and against a variety of enemies.

Ask most veteran faction warfare pilots what ship they consider the most versatile, and they’ll most likely say the Dramiel, or the Thrasher, or the Condor, or one of a handful of others. One ship they’ll almost certainly overlook: the humble Tristan. I contend, however, that this chubby Gallente drone boat is, when properly fit, the most versatile small ship of all.

At the moment, almost all Tristans you see in the warzone are armor brawlers with drones. Thanks to the Tristan’s abysmal fitting resources, however, this setup performs worse than an Incursus on both tank and DPS, without much to compensate. There is, however, a much better way.

The Fit:

[Tristan, Kite] Damage Control II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Medium Azeotropic Ward Salubrity I
Warp Disruptor II
125mm Gatling Autocannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma S
125mm Gatling Autocannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma S
[empty high slot]

Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Small Core Defense Field Extender I
Small Core Defense Field Extender I

Warrior II x5
Hobgoblin II x3

Pros

– Can apply damage from damn near anywhere.
– Can out brawl any kiter (6100 ehp, 166 dps [110 from drones]).
– Can out kite any brawler (4700m/s o/h).
– Doesn’t need links/implants to perform.
– Relatively cheap.

Cons

– Drones have a max speed.
– Drones can die.
– No room for a neut.

How to Fly It

In most solo situations, the kite tristan flies like a Slicer or an arty-fit Wolf. Point the target, orbit, apply drones, and wait for it to die. Of course, there’s a bit more management to do because you need to individually recall any drone that your foe starts shooting and replace it from your bay, thereby preserving your dps. Generally, you’ll kill anything short of a Hawk or dual-rep Incursus before they can kill enough drones.

I’m sure you’re wondering why on earth you’d put autocannons in the highs of a kitey ship with no range bonus. The short answer is that the Tristan’s fitting resources suck. The longer answer is that the guns do work for shooting drones and serve as weapons of last resort. If your enemy’s in structure when her friends start showing up on dscan, consider approaching, overheating your guns, and praying that she goes down before the cavalry arrives. That extra 55 DPS has gotten me more last-minute kills than I can count.

Those same guns, combined with this fit’s high EHP for a ship of its speed, also allow you to prey on other kiters. Although your drones will often not apply damage to them, if you’re faster (and you often will be), simply approaching and burning them down with guns can work.
In a small gang, the Kite Tristan’s strengths shine even more brightly. First and foremost, it can apply damage from anywhere on grid, so long as the initial order to engage took place within ~50km of the enemy. As a result, pairs or trios of Tristans can zip in and out of point range of an enemy group, trading off holding point on the primary depending on capacitor, remaining shields, and how close the enemy gets, while each Tristan continues to deal full drone damage. Additionally, drone ships in general serve as great counters to e-war of all sorts because they can continue dealing damage after losing lock.

On balance, for an average night roaming the warzone where you might find yourself fighting solo one minute and in a gang the next, or against a dual-sensor-damp Condor one minute and an AB/scram/web Slasher the next, there’s no better ship than a Kite Tristan.

How to Kill It

The easiest way to kill the Kite Tristan is with a rail-Cormorant or arty-Thrasher, either of which will swat it right out of the sky. Otherwise, MWD Atrons and RFFs, as well as especially fast Condors, have a good chance of taking down a Kite Tristan. AB/Scram/Web frigates also have a chance if they catch the Tristan on the warp-in. If you find yourself tackled by one and unable to hit back, your best bet is to start scram/webbing and killing the drones while yelling on the batphone.

Sample Solo Kills (No Links, No Pirate Implants)

Incursus
Republic Fleet Firetail
Tormentor
Merlin
Executioner
Breacher

 

About Jericho Willis

EFT warrior, inveterate soloist, and sometime FC with In Exile. of the Amarr Militia.

Check Also

GPD

Cop Killer

You know what’s frustrating? Patrolling for Crusaders, but finding only Tribal Liberation Forces saturating the ...

2 comments

  1. Drop a field extender for a poly, drop the DC2 for another DDA, skip the guns, you won’t need em. Manage your cap.

  2. I honestly think doing that sacrifices most of the versatility a minor increase in long range DPS and speed. Respectfully, I’d stick with my fit.

Leave a Reply