Prior to the fighter changes the Archon was the go-to carrier of any serious capital engagement. They were both the Triage backbone and a respectable damage platform. Thannys were begrudgingly accepted on fleets, Niddys had their smaller fleet roles and somewhere in all of that there were also lolChimeras. Since thing things have gotten shuffled around a bit. Carriers no longer Triage and instead we have FAXes and bonuses and roles have been somewhat reworked. Chimeras still are generally meh…Niddys are great for smaller gang roles even more so with its fighter speed and damage bonuses. Thannys have become much more popular since its fighters have a damage and hitpoint bonus. But what of the Archon? It has an armor bonus to the hull itself…and a neut range bonus to its ewar fighters. Pretty underwhelming no? Well that depends. If you try to fit it out like a Thanny you get some success considering the Archon has an extra lowslot for another DDA closing the Gallente Carrier’s natural bonuses to its fighters somewhat. However rather than fly the Archon doing a worse job than what a Thanatos can do, why not give the Archon another role?
The Archon (like all Amarr ships) has the best capacitor relative to its peers as well as the most powergrid. It has the highest resists making the hull the best rep receiver as well. The Archon seems perfectly suited to be an anti-cap neuting platform. Fit the low slots purely with tanking modules. Even if you’re only using T2 plates/resists for a cheaper fit you’re hitting well over 2 million EHP. Mid slots can go as needed depending on the situation with modules to help with capacitor, ewar, whatever the situation calls for. Lastly, the highslots are a full rack of capital neuts. One criticism of this fit is the long capital neut cycles. You use all your neuts on a target and by the time you cycle for the next go, your enemy has already injected negating your impact. Fortunately this scenario can be avoided through skillful capacitor warfare. Don’t rush to place all your neuts on your targets but instead work to spread them out and have a continuous effect on the enemy target. If necessary downgrade some of the neuts to heavies which have a higher cycle. Better yet make use of your Cenobite neuting fighters.
It’s important to note that this kind of ship is not meant to be flown alone but as a support wing of a larger fleet. I have in mind a medium large to larger fleet engagement from 100 to 300 people involved depending on the ship types. The neuting Archon is most effective over prolonged engagements where capacitor endurance is really tested. The Archon would be supported by a continuous stream of FAX reps and if needed capacitor relays. Your primary focus will of course be the enemy capitals particular FAXes, Dreads and even Titans. If the enemy shoots at you, your high resists will ensure the FAX reps keep you alive. In the process the enemy is wasting much of their DPS on you while your own DPS platforms rain hell down on your enemies. If the enemy instead focuses on the FAXes, that simply gives you more time to neut the enemy out. In the early phases of the engagement your fleet may not be doing that much damage. However as the battle goes on, your enemy dreads will start noticing they are unable to maintain their local reps/resists. Revs and Moros will no longer be a DPS threat to your own side. Enemy FAX reps will be irregular or turned off. Even enemy Titans will start having to decide if they want to keep their guns going (For Avatars and Buses) or try to manage their hardeners/tank. They’re stuck in a scenario where either choice is bad:
1. Shoot the neuting Archons possibly killing some but taking a long time due to its high resists. This results in your own DPS being left to do damage. Even if they do kill the Archons, the fitting is cheap for its effectiveness.
2. Shoot the FAXes/DPS instead. The enemy will have higher raw DPS initially destroying some of your other ships. But as the battle goes on your own DPS/tank is actually bettered by the enemy’s cap based guns being turned off or their hardeners failing.
As with all things, success still depends on the skill of the fleet commander, positioning, numbers, preparedness and so on and so forth. However this doctrine seems to be largely untapped in the Eve fleet composition meta. A skilled commander could take advantage and strike a surprising hit on their opponent.