Friday, 2 May 2014

War Record: Rifter vs. Everyone

I dislike the notion of usurping one of my favourite bloggers, but Jack Dancer, fellow Rifter Pilot, has fallen silent over the past few months. Whilst he rests, I'm more than happy to wave the Rifter banner, high and proud.

I love the Rifter.

It's not my most efficient frigate - by far, that honour goes to the Breacher, which I simply cannot find fault with. Great damage projection, and a secondary drone weapon set extending to any range gives it punch against kiters and brawlers alike. It's also faster than a Rifter, and with an ancillary shield booster can completely cancel another frigates damage for a good while.

But despite all these virtues, I still come back to the Rifter. That flawed, mess of a ship, which is designed to be so adaptable it's near unfocused. Call it romantic notions against my better judgement, but I'd rather ride a Rifter into a fireball than any other ship to an assured victory.

Ahem. Poetry aside...

The Rifter, as I've discussed before, is an ambush ship. This is largely the same for most Matari vessels. Unlike Amarr ships, which are spear and shield disciplined-yet-unimaginative warriors, or Gallente ships, which are all about the romantic notion of weathering fire to come to a dramatic and decisive point-blank axe-blow, Minmatar vessels are about hurting your opponent from a position where they cannot hurt you.

Well, I thought I was done with poetry...

The Rifter, as it is now, is a warp scramble range kiter. For preference, your warp scrambler should be overheated, and you should be engaging blaster-fit opponents at about 9km, perhaps closing for a kill once you're sure their active tank has been exhausted, or the guns burnt out.

However, as discussed previously, you're better off engaging laser fit frigates and point blank range, where your superior tracking can carry the day. A Rifter in a fast, tight orbit and avoid much of the damage. This is most clearly exemplified in the following battle.

I caught a Punisher on D-scan. He had allies in system, but he was isolated in a novice plex, whilst the majority were engaged in capturing a medium plex.

A Punisher is designed to withstand damage. I noted this rather useful tactic on the part of the opposing gang leader. He had his higher damage, but less tough ships grouped together, with two fairly tough Punishers capturing other plexes. If the main group was caught, their combined firepower would be enough to dispatch the aggressor. If the Punishers were caught, they could withstand the attacker until help arrived.

Very clever.

My curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to see this trap in action. As Jack says, I turned up all modules to 11 (i.e. overheated them), and jumped to the gate. I loaded up Rep Fusion rounds, as per my suggestions against Amarr ships.

Just as I was warping off the acceleration gate, a pirate Slicer warped in right on top of me.

In retrospect I should have cancelled the warp. The Slicer, whilst being quite tough, is still a kiting ship and he had landed in scram range. Its MWD would have been useless. Would have been a nice kill for my Rifter, but oh well.

I got into the plex, and locked up the Punisher. I went point blank, and started unloading round after rocket after round into him. The Slicer came in, and began adding his own fire.

Needless to say, it was destroyed.

Immediately, the Slicer and I went at it. Temporary allies against the Punisher, now mortal enemies, we managed a few volleys at each other before the Punisher's friends arrived - a trio of blaster boats.

Needless to say, I was destroyed.

The Slicer escaped destruction for  while, but was too, destroyed.


Whilst the Punisher clearly had the Slicer locked down with a scrambler, as seen on the kill mail, there was a good twenty or so seconds before it arrived where it simply couldn't hit my more nimble Rifter in close orbit. A few reasons for this:

  • Pulse lasers have poor tracking
  • He fit Scorch, further exacerbating the tracking issue.
  • The low quality fitting of the Punisher hints at a low-trained pilot.

So yes, the Rifter should get into close range of laser fit ships.At the very least you buy yourself a few seconds of no fire as the opposing pilot switches crystals. It might be worth considering leaping out beyond 5km at that point, forcing them to switch crystals again. Watch for the change in beam colour.

  • Purple = fly closer
  • White = fly out

The trap was well executed by the opposing gang. However, I think the Punisher would have gone down even without the Slicer's help before the cavalry arrived. I would have had time to escape if I didn't spend time fighting with the Slicer. It comes down to a philosophical choice: which is more important to you, curiosity or safety.

Overall, I was pleased with the Rifter's performance in this fight. I look forward to more in the future!

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