2012/02/06

Punisher vs Firetail - I hate those webs

My fitting:

Standard learning fit.

3x Dual Light Pulse Laser II
1x 5W Infectious Power System Malfunction

1x 1MN Afterburner II
1x J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I

1x Damage Control II
1x Adaptive Nano Plating II
1x Heat Sink II
1x 200mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plating I

1x Small Energy Burst Aerator I
1x Small Energy Collision Accelerator I

The situation:

I have settled into a sort of routine in regards to my roaming routes. Starting in Amarr I enter lowsec in Naguton and make my way up to Amamake at which point I turn around and travel back.

Today was not different. Jumping from system to system I identified quite a number of possible targets on my d-scan, however nothing that I could engage realisticly. While I am certainly not afraid to begin a fight as an underdog, I am trying to avoid engagments that are just too ... one-sided. Right now this means that I am focussing on other T1 frigates, destroyers and cruisers as well as T2 interceptors knowing full well that those fights would heavily rely on my opponents getting overconfident so that I could land an overheated scram.

But I digress.

After passing by several assault frigates, HACs and faction cruisers on my way I arrived in Amamake. As most of you know this system is known for being a regular hotspot in the Amarr-Minmatar faction war, and as such provides many opportunities to get into a fight. Not necessarily an even-sided one, but a fight nonetheless.

A quick glance at local shows twelve pilots in the system, and d-scan shows nothing except two NPC wrecks in the immediate vicinity of the gate.

I warped to my first scan spot in the system and deployed the d-scanner again. This time, something interesting showed up. A Trasher and a Republic Fleet Firetail were sitting at an asteroid belt.



Several possibilities went through my mind, two of them more plausible then the others. Both pilots could be working together - in that case they'd just be waiting for somebody to take the bait. Alternatively, one of them had been ratting in the belt while the other one hunted the first one down.

The correct approach - based on my limited experience - would have been to warp to 50-70km and further assess the situation. In case of a trap, this would have increased my chances of escaping. In case of an ongoing fight I could realign back to my safe, warp out and back in at a more suitable distance to engage.

However, due to a sudden onset of stupidity I chose to think about all of that after telling my ship to warp to zero. I was lucky - both ships were more than 100km away, the Trasher about 120km, the Firetail about 170km. And right next to me a lone cargo container floated in space.

Despite my already mentioned limited experience, I am not a total idiot. Almost instantly I realized that I was actually in a very precarious situation. The container would allow the Firetail to warp down on top of me whenever he chose to.

It took him about as long to align up to the container as it took me to align to the nearest celestial I could find. For a split second I thought he would catch me, but exactly at the moment he dropped out of warp next to me I took of towards the K3 star of the Amamake system. And in the glaring bright light of the sun, we repeated that last dance - he warped in on me at the same moment I warped out, this time to a safe spot.

Well, I thought, at least I successfully scannend down a target and did manage to get out after making the mistake of warping to zero. Good enough, that Firetail would have been a tough nut to crack anyway. Let's move on and .. oh, a conversation request.

It was the Firetail pilot, asking for a 1vs1. And while I was still pretty sure that I would not stand a chance against him, I concluded that to get better at all this I would have to see how exactly he would beat me. Putting together a very basic plan - burn towards him after landing, disable his MWD and keep a close orbit with activated AB while overheating my guns and my neut - I aligned back to the sun and told him to wait for me there.

As expected, it was over pretty soon. He had fitted an AB himself, meaning my scram did not slow him down at all. In itself, this would have been bad enough, but of course there was also a web to deal with. Being slowed down to a crawl myself and not being able to do anything about his speed, he was able to dictate range and stay away from my pulse lasers.

I tried to get closer by pulsing the overheat on my AB and by somehow use his fast orbiting speed against him, but to no avail. If I remember correctly there is a maneuver called slingshot that can be used in this kind of situation, but I have to read into that in more detail. Also, I guess it won't do much when you are being trapped in a web.



Lessons learned:

* always fly aligned unless there is a very specific reason not to
* don't automatically warp to zero into a belt, especially when you expect a trap
* avoid engagements against ships that are a) faster then you and that b) have enough midslots to fit a web next to a prop module and a point

And on that final note, I'll have to rethink my fitting in the near future, or at least pay close attention to its limitations (read: no web, kind of slow) and how I can avoid them. I slowly get the feeling that this flying brick of a Punisher does not really suit me very well. But I'll fly (and lose) of few more of them before making any real chances.

Cheers,

Vhala

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