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Assault Frigates in the Current Meta

May 28, 2015

You know them, you love them, but are Assault Frigates really any good with Tech 3 Destroyers’ being in the game? Before T3D’s were released, Assault Frigates were some of the strongest non faction sub-Cruiser ships, being able to rep or have a strong buffer and put out a large amount of DPS, all on a cheap affordable platform. They were amazing solo and small gang ships because of this, and even as fleet ships. Harpy and Hawk fleets are relatively common, with most alliances in the game using them.

With the release of the T3D’s though, Assault Frigates have been pushed aside, since the T3D’s can now claim that they are the stronger sub-Cruiser platforms, and rightfully so. While they aren’t as popular for fleet comps, they are extremely strong solo and in small gangs, being able to bring large amount of DPS to the field and strong local reps or strong buffer. The first T3D released was the Confessor, which is an extremely flexible ship, being able to be beam or pulse fit, dual rep or single rep fit, and almost always able to fit a 10mn AB.

The Confessor Bonuses:

Amarr Tactical Destroyer bonuses (per skill level):
10% bonus to Small Energy Turret damage
10% reduction in Small Energy Turret activation cost
5% reduction in module heat damage amount taken
Misc bonus:
+50% Small Energy Turret Damage
95% reduction in Scan Probe Launcher CPU requirements
• Additional bonuses are available while one of three Tactical Destroyer Modes are active. Modes may be switched no more than once every 10 seconds.
• Defense Mode 33.3% bonus to all armor resistances while Defense Mode is enabled
33.3% reduction in ship signature radius while Defense Mode is enabled
• Propulsion Mode 66.6% bonus to maximum velocity while Propulsion Mode is enabled
33.3% bonus to ship inertia modifier while Propulsion Mode is enabled
• Sharpshooter Mode 66.6% bonus to Small Energy Turret optimal range while Sharpshooter Mode is enabled
100% bonus to sensor strength, targeting range and scan resolution while Sharpshooter Mode is enabled

Looking at these bonus’s you can see just how flexible the ship is, and how it is easily able to out perform any Assault Frigate in a 1v1.

Taking a look at the Amarr Assualt Frigates, the ships are much more underwhelming. The two Amarrian Assault Frigs, the Retribution and the Vengeance are both very different from each other, but still lack luster compared to the Confessor.

The Retribution Bonuses:

Amarr Frigate bonuses (per skill level):
10% reduction in Small Energy Turret activation cost
7.5% bonus to Small Energy Turret tracking speed
Assault Frigates bonuses (per skill level):
10% bonus to Small Energy Turret optimal range
5% bonus to Small Energy Turret damage
Role Bonus:
50% reduction in Microwarpdrive signature radius penalty

Looking at these bonuses the Retribution seems like it could be at least decent, but it simply isn’t. Retribution is a terrible solo ship mostly because of capacitor issues and the fact it only has two mid slots, meaning it can’t range control because it has to have a scram. The Retribution can make a fun, and surprisingly decent fleet composition, but even there it doesn’t excel because a Confessor fleet would cost around the same and would vastly outperform it DPS and tank wise. While neither fleet compositions are very popular, they are ran by certain groups, for instance Confederation of xXPIZZAXx [PIZZA].

The Vengeance Bonuses:

Amarr Frigate bonuses (per skill level):
5% bonus to Rocket damage
5% bonus to Light Missile and Rocket Launcher rate of fire
Assault Frigates bonuses (per skill level):
4% bonus to all armor resistances
5% bonus to ship capacitor recharge rate
Role Bonus:
50% reduction in Microwarpdrive signature radius penalty

Now the Vengeance is, in my opinion, a much stronger Assault Frigate compared to the Retribution because of a third mid slot and no capacitor issues. Even though this is the case, it is still out performed by the Confessor, able to hit farther and harder, and still fit a stronger tank.

The second T3D that was released is the Svipul, and at the time, and even now, is still widely considered a very overpowered ship. Able to fit a 10mn AB, a Medium Shield Booster and 200mm ACs its extremely powerful, much stronger than any Minmatar Assault Frigate.

The Svipul Bonuses:

Minmatar Tactical Destroyer Bonuses (per skill level):
10% bonus to Small Projectile Turret damage
10% bonus to Small Projectile Turret optimal range
5% reduction in heat damage generated by modules
Misc Bonus:
+50% Small Projectile Turret Damage
95% reduction in Scan Probe Launcher CPU requirements
Additional bonuses are available when one of three Tactical Destroyer Modes are active. Modes may be changed no more than once every 10 seconds.
Defense Mode:
33.3% bonus to all shield and armor resistances while Defense Mode is active
66.6% reduction in Microwarpdrive signature radius penalty while Defense Mode is active
Propulsion Mode:
66.6% bonus to maximum velocity while Propulsion Mode is active
33.3% bonus to ship inertia modifier while Propulsion Mode is active
Sharpshooter Mode:
33.3% bonus to Small Projectile Turret tracking while Sharpshooter Mode is active
100% bonus to sensor strength, scan resolution and targeting range while Sharpshooter Mode is active

These bonuses are clearly outstanding and it is blatantly obvious that it can outperform any destroyer or frigate and can even take down Cruisers with relative ease.

The Minmatar Assault Frigates are extremely lack luster and considered the worst Assault Frigates out of all the four races.

The Wolf Bonuses:

Minmatar Frigate bonuses (per skill level):
5% bonus to Small Projectile Turret damage
7.5% bonus to Small Projectile Turret tracking speed
Assault Frigates bonuses (per skill level):
10% bonus to Small Projectile Turret falloff
5% bonus to Small Projectile Turret damage
Role Bonus:
50% reduction in Microwarpdrive signature radius penalty

The Wolf has decent bonuses and with the falloff bonus and tracking bonus makes it a strong artillery platform, but it still suffers from the same issue the Retribution does, which is range control.

The Jaguar Bonuses:

Minmatar Frigate bonuses (per skill level):
5% bonus to Small Projectile Turret damage
7.5% bonus to Small Projectile Turret tracking speed
Assault Frigates bonuses (per skill level):
10% bonus to Small Projectile Turret optimal range
5% bonus to Small Projectile Turret damage
Role Bonus:
50% reduction in Microwarpdrive signature radius penalty

The Jaguar has decent bonuses and has the luxury of being able to fit a decent tank and, with the large amount of mid slots compared to the Wolf, is able to actually dictate range because it is able to fit a web and scram.

The next T3D that is going to be released is the Jackdaw, a Caldari missile ship with a large amount of mid slots and some very unique bonuses. The release date set is June 2nd with the Carnyx patch.

Pre-Release Jackdaw Bonuses:

Caldari Tactical Destroyer Bonuses (per skill level):
5% bonus to Rocket and Light Missile Launcher rate of fire
15% reduction in Missile Launcher reload time
5% reduction in heat damage generated by modules
Role Bonus:
50% bonus to Rocket and Light Missile damage
95% reduction in Scan Probe Launcher CPU requirements
Additional bonuses are available when one of three Tactical Destroyer Modes are active. Modes may be changed no more than once every 10 seconds.
Defense Mode:
33.3% bonus to all shield resistances while Defense Mode is active
33.3% reduction in ship signature radius while Defense Mode is active
Propulsion Mode:
33.3% bonus to max velocity while Propulsion Mode is active
66.6% bonus to ship inertia modifier while Propulsion Mode is active
Sharpshooter Mode:
66.6% bonus to Rocket and Light Missile velocity while Sharpshooter Mode is active
100% bonus to sensor strength, scan resolution and targeting range while Sharpshooter Mode is active

Looking at these bonuses and having played around in Pyfa with it, it is extremely clear that this will be a very, very strong ship in solo and small gang PvP and will push the Hawk into a state of irrelevance. Without much of an issue it is able to do over 200 DPS while still sporting over 450hp/s rep wise.

The Hawk Bonuses:

Caldari Frigate bonuses (per skill level):
10% bonus to kinetic Light Missile and Rocket damage
5% bonus to Light Missile and Rocket Launcher rate of fire
Assault Frigates bonuses (per skill level):
10% bonus to Light Missile and Rocket max velocity
7.5% bonus to Shield Booster amount
Role Bonus:
50% reduction in Microwarpdrive signature radius penalty

Now the Hawk is in my opinion, one of the strongest Assault Frigate for solo. Even occasionally as a fleet comp. But when the Jackdaw is released it is just going to become a disused ship.

The Hectate, which is the fourth and final T3D to be released, will more than likely be just as strong as the others and will probably push the Gallente Assault Frigates to the side and could potentially outshine the Harpy as a fleet ship when rail fitted. But this is mostly speculation on my part because we don’t have the stats for it yet.

Overall, the T3D’s are just too strong. They are able to fit amazing tank, are extremely flexible with many different fits available and are very cheap. Right now a Confessor costs 35 mill and a Retribution costs 18 mill, while the Confessor is double the cost, it outperforms the Retribution so much it is obvious which one is better. As a change for Assault Frigates possibly give them a certain niche role they may have, as their current one of being the heavy DPS/Tackle just isn’t working.

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