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.
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.
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.