As a young pilot bent on piracy, I determined to specialize in Gallente technology. I started at the bottom by learning to fit, fly, and win battles in the Incursus-class frigate. Back in the day, I did a lot of research, trying to decide how best to configure my ship, which targets I should attack and which I should avoid, etc. This guide is the culmination of that early research and my months of experience in fighting from the helm of an Incursus. It is intended for pilots inexperienced in combat and relatively unskilled in starship systems.
The Incursus is not nearly as notorious as the Minmatar Rifter when it comes to solo frigate piracy--but this can actually be a plus; some pilots who would flee a Rifter take their chances with an Incursus. Many pilots have looked at the statistics on the Gallente Tristan, and deemed it better than the Incursus; I'll just say that I've never been beaten by a Tristan in actual combat.
Fitting Your First Incursus
If you can't fit these modules yet, stay out of the Incursus (or stay out of lowsec) while you skill up. Now would be a good time to run missions or hunt rats, earning money to blow on PvP. Eventually you'll want the appropriate skills all to at least level 4. Before you move on to another PvP ship, you'll want to be using T2 blasters and ammo and a T2 drone as well, again with high skills.
This setup has no armor repairer. Get over it. PvP is hard and fast; it is often foolish to rely on an armor repairer that may have just one or two cycles to repair before you or your target is dead. Instead, many PvP ships depend upon a hit-point buffer, provided here by the 200mm armor plating. An HP buffer translates into more time...more time to throw damage at your target, more time to run away, more time to win the fight.
The "holy trinity" of PvP combat consists of (1) a microwarpdrive, (2) a stasis webifier, and (3) a warp disruptor or warp scrambler. The Incursus fits 'em all. The microwarpdrive and web allow you to dictate range against most of your targets; you want to end up where your blasters do their most damage (less than 2.8 km) and your speed makes it difficult for your target to track you; secondarily, you want to stay away from your target's corresponding sweet-spot (this is, of course, not possible in cases such as attacking a similarly-fitted ship). The warp scrambler prevents your target from simply warping away; as compared with a warp disruptor, a scrambler uses less power, has an extra tackling point (useful if your target as a single warp core stabilizer fitted), and has shorter range.
Light Ion Blasters are the most powerful guns that can be fit on an Incursus meant for combat against other pilots. Likewise, Hobgoblin drones dish out the most damage per second (DPS) of any light combat drone. DPS is key to winning fights from the helm of an Incursus, so these are the modules we use.
An Incursus really doesn't have the energy grid to fit all this. We adapt in two ways. (1) Use a named stasis webifier and a named warp scrambler, so less power is demanded; and (2) Fit a Micro Auxillary Power Core, so more power is made available.
The tactics for flying an Incursus are determined by the limitations of our modules. The blasters have an optimal range of just 750-937.5 meters, plus a falloff distance of 2,000-3,750m, depending on skills. The web has a range of 10km; this module slows our target down, making him easier for our blasters to track, and making it harder for him to slip out of range. The scram has a range of 9km. At any given speed, the closer we orbit our target, the higher our angular velocity, and the harder we are for his turrets to track.
Taking all this into account, we want to orbit our target at 750-3,750m for maximum effect, in order to deal maximum DPS. I recommend setting your default orbit to 500m; without using your microwarpdrive, your inertia will leave you orbiting your target at something like 1,000m, just where you want to be.
We want to get within 9,000m as quickly as possible, to prevent our target from escaping. As you warp in on your target, get ready to engage your microwarpdrive for a furious sprint to tackle range before your target escapes--but don't forget to turn it off as you close range. Leaving your microwarpdrive on during the fight does several bad things: (1) It sucks energy, leaving you less time to fight before running out of power for your blasters and scram; (2) It pushes you into a wider and more erratic orbit--perhaps out of blaster or even scram range; (3) It lights you up as a target, making it easier for your opponent to track you and do more damage to you.
Your drone has a much longer range, so launch that baby right away and sic it on your target as soon as the tackle is assured. One thing we Incursus pilots seem to beat ourselves up for all the time is forgetting to launch our drone--but that drone adds significantly to our DPS.
To summarize tactics:
- Use one or two pulses of MWD to close range
- Engage web and scram to tackle target
- Launch drone and command it to engage target (do this earlier or later depending on initial range)
- Orbit at around 1,000m (set default orbit to 500m)
- Engage blasters at 2-3.5km
Sometimes your target has drones, and the question arises as to whether one should kill the target directly or take the time to kill his drones first. As a general rule, I go for the target directly; however, there are times when it is best to go for the drones. For example, if you're attacking a mining ship, it may be advisable to take out his drones, as they may be his only weapons; without drones, he is helpless, and you can demand a lucrative ransom. It may also be worthwhile killing the drones of ships that don't have bigger drone bays, that don't have backups, especially if they don't have turrets or are unlikely to track you well with their turrets.
In general, an Incursus fares well against any T1 frigate, most T1 cruisers, and even many T1 battlecruisers, if the target's pilot is very inexperienced. We have to watch out for missiles being launched from outside our own optimal range, and we are particularly vulnerable to drones.
I can't stress enough how valuable it can be to know that a ship is commanded by a pilot with very little experience. "Show information" on pilots in local, and look for those with 1-2 months experience, and chances are you can kill them no matter what they're flying.
Attack any T1 frigate with a measure of confidence. You'll win more than you'll lose, and even if you do lose, you'll probably learn something valuable. If you can dictate range, you can beat even [Rifters], though if you have to close range from too far [Rifters] can be more of a problem. You may struggle to break a [Punisher's] tank, fighting it successfully for several minutes before having to leave due to cap issues. Just remember that you usually can disengage from a fight with a Punisher--they only have two midslots, so will either go without a scram (you simply warp away), without a web (you can mwd out of tackle range and warp away), or without a microwarpdrive (you can mwd out of web and scram range and warp away).
But in actual practice, attack any T1 destroyer with confidence. Chances are he's fit for salvaging. At any rate, he has no real tank to speak of. I've never lost an Incursus against a destroyer--never.
You'll probably surprise yourself at how many T1 cruisers you'll kill with little difficulty. We do well against cruisers for several reasons: (1) An inexperienced pilot may not feel a T1 frigate is a threat; (2) Many cruisers fit medium turrets, which have difficulty tracking a smaller vessel orbiting at close range; (3) As usual, all too many pilots in lowsec are completely inexperienced when it comes to PvP. There are some cruisers, however, with which to be very careful, unless their pilots are complete noobs:
- Arbitrator - Lots of drones, often uses energy neuts. Very dangerous.
- Caracal - Generally an easy kill, but if it sports precision light missiles, watch out.
- Maller - Tough to kill, lasers track better than they used to.
- Rupture - Uses drones, and may do well against you with turrets.
- Stabber - I've had very good luck against Stabbers I can tackle--but they have a reputation as frig-killers, so be alert.
- Thorax - Uses drones, and often sports 5 small blasters that will eat you alive.
- Vexor - Lots of drones, often uses energy neuts. Very dangerous. But if he's fit for mining, go for it.
You want to stay away from battlecruisers in general, unless the pilot is super-new. However, if you see a Brutix or a Prophecy at an asteroid belt, keep in mind that these ships are sometimes fit for mining; they could be worth a try. Mining and Industrial ships
Attack any mining or T1 industrial ship with confidence. Some mining barges will deploy a full flight of 5 drones against you; if they do, keep the ship itself tackled while you web and destroy the drones as fast as possible. Few mining ships put up much of a fight. If there's a combat vessel along for security, you may want to tackle the mining ship while you fight his wingman; the alternative is to let the mining ship get away while you fight his mate.
Industrials make rare appearances at asteroid belts, usually to pick up ore from jettisoned cargo containers. When they are at a belt, they are often completely defenseless.
You'll probably want to ransom any mining ship you tackle, as they almost always have expensive modules such as strip miners. Still, if you don't have time to ransom, or if they refuse to pay, chances are you'll get some very nice loot out of them. Industrials are generally not worth ransoming if you're in an Incursus; you won't be catching them at gates (you can't stand sentry gun fire), and industrial ships elsewhere rarely have much of real value beyond perhaps a T2 cargo expander.
I hope this guide proves itself valuable to you. I have found the Incursus reliable and deadly, and I still keep one or two in my hangar, and I still take them out now and then to execute my deadly business. In an Incursus have a kill-loss record against other low-tech frigates of 70-4. I'm 10-0 against rookie ships and shuttles, 28-0 vs. destroyers, 10-1 vs. mining and industrial ships, and 22-12 against low-tech cruisers. Ships I've not fared so well against include battlecruisers (2-4), an interceptor (0-1), stealth bombers (0-3), and battleships (0-2). Overall I'm 142-27 in an Incursus; 87 of those kills I followed up by also killing the poor pilot's capsule.
Article originally posted by Ka Jolo