Know Your Enemy – The Atron

One of Sun Tzu’s most famous teachings is “If you know your enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” The knowing yourself part will come later because for now I’d like to speak a little about knowing how the frog (Gallente Militia) flies. The current FW meta game circles round high speed kiting ships that can safely hammer away at your tank from a distance using superior range dictation, but there are some differences in ships and fittings between different factions, and as a glorious champion of the great Caldari State that means you’ll (hopefully) be seeing a whole lot of what the Gallente Federation fly. By knowing and understanding what those ships are, how they are commonly fit, how the operate, and how they can be beaten you will have a significantly higher chance of winning your fight. Knowledge is particularly useful when it comes to new characters because of skill times: a well skilled but stupid pilot will often lose a fight to a lower SP capsuleer who knows how to counter his enemy, and this can help to lower the divide between younger pilots and veterans.

Hull Tanked Brawl Atron

Damage Control II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II

Limited 1MN Afterburner I
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator

Light Neutron Blaster II, Void S
Light Neutron Blaster II, Void S
Light Neutron Blaster II, Void S
[empty high slot]

Small Transverse Bulkhead I
Small Transverse Bulkhead I
Small Processor Overclocking Unit I

The Atron is the Gallente’s primary cost efficient brawler – much like the Caldari Merlin, the Atron isn’t very advanced and can be flown by even the youngest of pilots, though it operates at a much higher standard in fleets. The Atron is somewhat a kamikaze ship, the main tactic being “MWD towards the enemy, pin them down, pray you win the fight”, and commonly operates on a very low optimal range due to the nature of Hybrid Blasters. A light ion blaster wants to be at a range of less than 1km to put out an optimal DPS and neutron blasters want to be less than 2km, so it is absolutely in your best interest to hold the Atron at arm’s length by shutting it’s MWD off before it has the momentum necessary to get in close and pin you down.

In this instance you will have a much easier time being AB fit so you can gain some distance if they do manage to get you scrammed – whatever happens, you don’t want to be a sitting duck. The sheer damage output of the Atron will hit you like a truck (fit-depending well over 200dps with max skills and overheat) and while the passive tank will not hold forever, the idea is that it holds long enough to kill you. As such, reducing the oncoming DPS of the Atron is your primary objective when it comes to fighting – this means keep moving fast, hold it at range, and keep your angular velocity high which can be done by flying parallel to the ship instead of directly away. If you also happen to be in a brawler like the Merlin, there really isn’t all that much to be done since these ships are flown very similarly and you’re left to simply do as much damage as you can and hope that they die before you do.

Rail Atron

Pseudoelectron Containment Field I
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Small Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste

1MN Afterburner II
Faint Warp Disruptor I
Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I

150mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Plutonium Charge S
150mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Plutonium Charge S
150mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Plutonium Charge S
[empty high slot]

Small Ancillary Current Router I
Small Hybrid Locus Coordinator I
Small Hybrid Collision Accelerator I

Alternatively, the Atron can be fit with railguns for longer range damage application and as such will try to kite you at Scram/web range (10km~). If this is the situation you find yourself in then it depends on your ship. If you are in a brawler, you have a few options. Number one is to lock the Atron down on the beacon as fast as possible – if you manage to get into optimal and keep them webbed, stopping them from dictating range, the fight will most likely be won then.

If they do manage to get into kite range and are outpacing you with their AB, you can attempt a slingshot manoeuvre to break tackle and warp off or pull them into your range and lock them down. This is done by burning directly away while they orbit, and directly towards them once you have pulled some range – it’ll propel the orbit past lock range allowing you to make a hasty retreat. However, this may be difficult with an MWD as their scrams will shut you down, so if you find yourself pinned and far out of optimal you’ll most likely need to call for backup or be ready to get out with your pod intact. The easiest and safest option is to lock them down on beacon and don’t let them get to their optimal range.

If you find yourself in a kiter and not a brawler, then it’s more or less business as usual – it’ll just be a straight slugfest to see if you can kill them before they can kill you. If it looks like you might lose you can again make an attempt to slingshot them away, break range and warp off, but this takes practice.

Fleet Tactics

So let’s up the scale a bit: suppose you are the FC of your small gang and you see an equal sized group of Atrons from a rival Corp hit the button. First things first, get your men on their optimal ranges at the beacon and call a primary ASAP. It is essential that you are consistent with your calls, lock down a primary and queue up a secondary – when the primary starts to get low, call for someone to tackle the secondary, and continue to leap frog through the targets ensuring none survive. Atrons scale up very well in numbers and a fleet of Atrons are significantly stronger than a single Atron. If you are in a kiting-based fleet you’ll want to consider setting an anchor, a friendly pilot that the rest of the fleet stick to so that one person can focus on dictating range instead of everyone. Keep a close eye on the enemy positions by zooming out and opening up your tactical view with Ctrl-D – this will allow you to make sure no ships stray too close and you can consistently keep kiting those sneaky little frogs.

Finally, a few things: Remember that Hybrid turrets are locked to Thermal and Kinetic damage, but their high damage output can give you a pretty significant advantage if you are Shield-tanked. A slugfest will often come down to a rock paper scissors style battle where every slight advantage helps significantly to give you a small edge over your opponent that will win you the fight. You have to min/max to the max if it’s brawler vs. brawler, so overheat as much as possible without burning out your modules, and make sure you stay mobile and no silly mistakes like running out of ammo. Hybrid turrets have a decent reload speed but have to be reloaded somewhat frequently, so if your battle happens to drag on for a long time (which is certainly rare in frigates), you may just have the advantage. The fits listed above are not set in stone – you will encounter variations, some weaker, some stronger, but the general tactics remain the same all round.

You’re far more likely to encounter a blaster Atron than you are a railtron, so your best bet is to assume they are blaster fit when on short scan and fight accordingly. The second you identify railguns you will have to think on your feet and switch up the tactic accordingly.

That’s all for now – and the next time the Gallente pile Atrons into your plex remember that defeating them is only a matter of tactics and execution!

About Jax Tayler

Small time Caldari State FW pilot flying under the glorious banner of Operation Meatshield, trying to find as much content as fast possible which usually ends up in a lot of painful deaths and the occasional laugh. The war is out there folks, so get up and fight.

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3 comments

  1. Huh, no glorious neutron+null+falloff Atron fit?

    • We don’t run into those as often. They tend to be a soloist little surprise for you when you go in trying to scramkite his Atron. I know I was shocked when I ran into my first Atron fit like that!

  2. This is so biased that my pc literally started to smell like calamari

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