Know Your Enemy: The Federation Navy Comet

The navy edition frigates are fearsome foes for any small scale engagement. Their high speed, high agility flight-style combined with their versatility means any pilot worth his salt does serious damage in one of these things. Not surprisingly, among the most popular frigates for the Gallente Federation is the Federation Navy Comet. This thing is a complete wrecking ball with neutralisers, a decent drone bay and a huge turret damage bonuses of up to 100% at level V. It’s versatility means it’s a true danger to any pilot, and much like the Atron it boasts the ability to both scram-kite and brawl with huge efficiency. So, that’s enough about how strong it is, let’s have a look at some of its weaknesses.

Brawler Fit
Highs: Light Neutron Blaster II x2
Mids: Scram, Web, MWD of your choice
Lows: Small Ancillary Armor Repairer, Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane, 200mm Steel Plates II, Damage Control Unit II
Rigs: Small Trimark Armor Pump, Small Anti Explosive Pump, Small Nanobot Accelerator

Here’s the scenario – you’re inside a plex and a Comet has just punched in to fight you 1v1. The precious few seconds of invuln are vitally important to both of you here – it will let you get into optimal range while checking how the Comet is fit.

Suppose it’s a brawler fit with Neutron blasters and a neut that will suck you dry faster than Asa Akira – it is essential that you keep this thing at range. It’s damage bonuses will wipe the floor with most regular frigates and the neut will have a serious impact, especially in any Amarr frigate. Generally, one on one against a well-skilled, well-flown Comet you don’t really stand a chance in a Tech 1 frigate that doesn’t react perfectly. Your best approach is to try and minimize the damage at all costs through superior range dictation, even if it means sacrificing some of your own. If you happen to be kite fit you stand a fair chance, but there is absolutely no margin for error – if you slip up, get slingshotted, lose tackle, lose web, let him get too close, anything – you’re pretty much fucked.

The biggest advantage over the Comet you have is its weak cap – most often between 50 and 90 seconds. Frig fights are fast but that’s not a lot of time to work with, so they won’t have everything running all the time. This gives you a window to create some favorable conditions for yourself. You have to keep pushing the range limits of the Brawler hard while burning through the armour tank as much as possible. This may force them into running every module they have and stress their cap, then you can slip away or finish them off.

So, to summarise – keep them at their limits of the range, minimize the insane DPS, stay away from the neuts.

Scram-Kite Fit
Highs: 150mm Railgun II x2, 5W Infectious Power System Malfunction
Mids: Scram, Web, AB of your choosing
Lows: Magnetic Field Stabilizer II x2, Damage Control Unit II, Small Ancillary Armor Repper II
Rigs: Small Transversal Bulkhead x2, Small Hybrid Collision Aerator

Although capable of less DPS this one is just as deadly. If it’s flown well the railguns will punch you down slowly but surely and the range dictation will be the end of you. Underestimating a Comet, even when it’s outnumbered 4 to 1, is a seriously bad move if you can’t keep it locked down on the beacon. Without speedy tackle to help, quick long-range Comets can pick off small gangs easily.

The Comet’s drones are not to be underestimated either, and they will quickly burn through any force amplifiers on the field like logi or ECM. Being harassed by a good Comet pilot is a nightmare for any small gang FC and will quickly push you and your team off-grid if you’re not careful. Even worse is a 1v1 situation – if you get locked down in by this nasty little frig then speed and decisiveness is of the essence. It can mean the difference between your death or your survival.

So, how do you combat this crafty little piece of ship?

Well, the main power from the Comet comes from its straight up ungodly DPS, so it’s your job to mitigate this damage as much as possible. This comes in more or less three categories – tank, kite, and utility.

Tank is the most obvious. If your wee frigate happens to be on the tankier side then you’ll be in a good position provided your support skills are good and you dictate your range to the best of your ability. Remember, the Comet only has 3 mid slots so that means there will be no nasty surprises – prop mod, point, web. This is useful because it means that all you have to do is check the guns (rail or blaster) and the velocity (1.5k or 3k) to know the fit. That also means that if his shield is going down slowly, you’re probably screwed since 99.9% of the time the ship will be armor tanked and your DPS is just low or not applying well. You should be comparing the way your tank is holding to the way his tank is holding. Take into account the fact that an armor repper holds eight charges of Nanite Paste – if you think your tank will hold for eight reps, go hard. It’s a difficult thing to judge at first but it’s a learning process (and hopefully learning is what you’re fighting for).

Now it comes to kiting. Kiting is a concept most pilots should be pretty familiar with, and it has a couple of key components that will really help you out in a kiting ship against a Comet. First off is range dictation – it’s the most basic but the most important. Keeping your opponent in your optimal while making sure he doesn’t reach his is an essential part of kiting – in fact it’s literally what kiting is. This is done by you being faster than him through any means necessary (controlling his speed or just having more raw MWD power than him). Secondly comes transversal control – Chessur just released a fantastic video explaining transversal but basically it means never running straight at or straight away from your opponent – it’ll make you an easier target to hit and you’ll be pandering towards the Comet’s insane DPS.

Finally we have utility. Utility mods are modules that will help you out in one way or another while not directly affecting your DPS or your tank. Examples are cap boosters, neutralisers, webs, points, and things like that. Well, the best tool at your disposal in this category is ECM – now I know it’s not normal to fly around solo in an ECM ship, but having an ECM buddy is perhaps the safest way to take down a Comet. (Although, I doubt a Comet will take a fight with a Griffin on grid.) Second to ECM comes Neuts – as a Gallente ship, it’s tendency to use Hybrid turrets means the ship needs capacitor to fire. If you put pressure on the Comet’s cap and if you can tank long enough you may be able to slip away or finish off the Comet if it momentarily loses function of its tackling/DPS modules.

Make no mistake: A Comet is a very dangerous ship and in a T1 frigate, your chances simply aren’t good. Most of the time, you can just hope to slip away. However, under the right circumstances, flown by the right pilot, any ship can be taken down: just remember to keep a cool head, fly to the best of your ability and learn from the mistakes you make. You might surprise yourself.

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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4 comments

  1. The scram/kite version is a bit questionable. First off, it doesn’t actually fit! With all skills at 5 and using the lowest CPU options for each of the mids you still need a 3% CPU implant. This also involves sacrificing about 7-8% of your speed by dropping the T2 AB. Putting the damage rig in gives you an extra 8 DPS but the cost of not fitting a 3rd Transversal Bulkhead is a loss of 700EHP, so more than 10% of your EHP for 3.5% or so extra damage. That seems like a poor swap to me. The neut is also of questionable value, especially since you have to downgrade the mids to get it but to use it you would have to come in much closer than optimal. It’s not a bad extra defensive tool if you do end up being closed on but by dropping it you could upgrade two of your three mids AND bring the CPU back into no-implants-needed territory.

    My preferred version is this:

    [Federation Navy Comet, Current Comet]
    Damage Control II
    200mm Steel Plates II
    Small Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste
    Magnetic Field Stabilizer II

    1MN Afterburner II
    Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
    Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I

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

    Small Transverse Bulkhead I
    Small Transverse Bulkhead I
    Small Transverse Bulkhead I

    Hobgoblin II x3
    Spike S x1000
    Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S x1000
    Nanite Repair Paste x25

    The plate adds a whopping 1300 EHP and while it drops the speed this is balanced out by the T2 AB, making the speed equal to your fit. With the extra hull rig the EHP is 8000 vs your 6000, so a 33% increase. The web and scram both have slightly more range as well. The DPS is 187 to your 220, having dropped the second Mag Stab and the damage rig, so yours is about 18% higher but I think the swap with the EHP is well worth it. And if you want higher speed you can swap out the Steel Plates for an Adaptive Plate II, getting back the 5% lost speed and giving space to put the neut or a nos on for the cost of a little under 1000 EHP.

  2. Would have liked to see a discussion on drones. I think the Comet offers a more interesting choice for drones than most people realize, with its 30 m3 drone bay and 15 mbit of bandwidth. Far as I see it, any other dps drones than 3 hobs are of very limited use. Anything you have scrammed and webbed is slow enough to be hit by the hobs just fine. Anything that somehow got out to point-kite range, well, 3 fast drones aren’t enough for you to win unless you catch him. Which leaves 15 m3 of bay for bringing all kinds of other drones, you can even bring weird drones that allow situational gimmicks, since having them doesn’t detract in any way from using the 3 hobs you’d use in most situations.

    I’ve won a number of comet duels by putting out a medium web drone for extra 10% web strength and range control, loaded null, and proceeded to either scramkite his blasters or speedtank his railguns.

  3. I can attest to it being a disturbingly powerful ship though. I just had a look at my own killboard. A very significant number of my comet losses have been to other comets, I seem able to handle pretty much anything else, except obviously pirate frigs and blobs. How does one kill the damn thing in anything else than a comet? Good luck speedtanking a blaster comet with a hull bonus to tracking on top of already using the best-tracking weapon system in the game. Scramkite a blaster comet? Might work unless he sees what you’re trying to do and switches to null, which has respectable reach, along with drones that work equally well all the way out to scram range. If he’s rail fit you might have more luck speedtanking his guns, but for that, you need quite a bit of a speed advantage, or an enemy who doesn’t know what transverse negation is.

  4. Faruzen en Divalone

    That armor rigged brawler fit is a classic, but if you really want a beast, use hull tanking in combination with armor repair. This is my favourite and most sucessful ship I use in FW:

    [Federation Navy Comet, Cometis Mk.IV]

    Damage Control II
    Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
    Small Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste
    Magnetic Field Stabilizer II

    1MN Afterburner II
    Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
    Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I

    Light Neutron Blaster II, Void S
    Light Neutron Blaster II, Void S
    Small Nosferatu II

    Small Transverse Bulkhead II
    Small Transverse Bulkhead II
    Small Transverse Bulkhead II

    Warrior II x3
    Warrior II x3

    Pros: This is cap stable with all skills at 5 with 260 dps, 1831 hull hp and 1276 m/s speed !!! Armor repair is not so strong as yous, but the bonus hull makes MUCH more effective hp and doesnt affect your speed. Its a good ship for 1 v 1 for the reason of enemy thinking they got you with your armor down, only to find a super strong hull buffer, which surprises them and they will die trying to “finish you off”.

    Cons: Price tag of 40 mil ISK, and +4 CPU implant needed with all skills at 5 (Possible to negate -> Use one more Magnetic Field Stabilizer II, or a Meta Energized Membrane instead of Energized Membrane II, you only need +1 CPU implant then.

    Sometimes I fly with dual web to catch scram kiters like other Comets, Slashers or Kestrels. They are usually VERY surprised.

    I am currently testing if its better to use Void or Navy Antimatter ammo. I usually use “Keep at Range” with void, but I am testing orbiting with Navy Antimatter. Lower DPS but hopefully some speed tanking dpg negation for the enemy, gotta test yourself.

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