Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Jaguar

Greetings all! I hope that the Fates have been kind to you, as they have been to me. Before I start on my new examinations of the Jaguar, I wanted to say thanks to all of you who follow the blog, comment, help me out with advice and gifts, and who in general enable me to do this stuff. I mean it, thanks. Every piece of advice on a fit, every isk, every ship, is something I use, something which hopefully will help me improve. I really appreciate it.

And without further delay, lets take a look at the ship which will always hold a special attachment for me, the Jaguar. Back when I was a new pilot, I yearned for the day that I could fly it, and I spent much of my first year in this ship, running agent missions and making timid forays into lowsec for a bit of exploration. When I decided to take up frigate combat versus other capsuleers, it was the Jaguar, not the Wolf, which I first moved on to after the Rifter, and I had some very encouraging early successes with it.

And, even then, before the current incarnation of AFs, a few pretty discouraging failures, due to limitations of the ship itself.

The plus side of the Jaguar is its speed and slot layout; it is the fastest AF in the skies, and it has a rather delightful 4/4/4 slot layout, with plenty of CPU to make use of it, unlike the Wolf, who's CPU makes me scream. Seriously, does Boundless Creation put a pocket calculator processor in those things? The Jaguar has a nice tracking speed bonus and like its sister ship, the Wolf, two damage bonuses. Its Optimal Range bonus, however, is fairly useless with standard autocannon fits, as their optimals are so short to begin with, adding 10% per level to nothing, is still nothing.

So... why fit them with autocannons?

Lets first look at what the Jaguar does WELL. It is, bar none, an outstanding heavy tackler for a gang. Working in tandem with an Interceptor, you can take over holding something down (and often with a scram, where an inty may have only a point) and be very difficult to scrape off. The problem arises in the current environment of Tier 3 Battlecruisers, who may kill our Jaguar in a single volley, so it, much like Interceptors, must be watchful for this. I enjoy dual prop fits with an MSE and scram when I am in a gang, scouting and tackling, as it gives me the best balance of survivability and speed. I wont share a fit here, theyre pretty easy to work up, you guys can figure it out!

However, if we want to go out solo roaming in our Jaguar... things are not as clear-cut. The old standard for many years was 150s, a neut, MSE/AB/scram/web, and DCU/gyro/TE, with rigs to personal taste. It had a hard time vs. Hawks, but theyve always been nasty, other than that, was on par with, or better than, most other AFs and frigates out there. Now, however, this fit dies, often, to just about every other AF? What has changed?

For starters, the AF updates have REALLY turned the table upside down. Most AF's tanks improved markedly, where the Jaguar's did not, and most also now have expanded fitting and/or slots to control range better, tank better, and apply their DPS better. The jaguar got a tracking bonus (Tracking speed was never an issue for it in the first place) and one sort of "meh" lowslot; this dosent offset the ships who recieved extra mids, tank bonuses, or range/damage bonuses.

Basically, all the other AFs, excepting maybe the Wolf and Ishkur, got markedly better. The Jaguar stayed right where it was, with one extra low slot. It has very, very poor gun range with ACs (in general) and spends much of the fight in this configuration trying to burn into gun range (or away, if fighting an enyo, for example) and not doing anything but taking damage. Every other AF, excepting possibly the Enyo, can apply DPS adequately from the instant it enters scram range, and the Enyo has roughly twice the Jaguar's damage output, offsetting the lack of time it does damage by sheer volume of damage it applies once in range. So, what can we do? We try to find a way to apply meaninful DPS from the instant we enter scram range ourselves, and play to that speed advantage, right? Let's see:

[Jaguar, Shaguar]
Gyrostabilizer II
Tracking Enhancer II
Tracking Enhancer II
Damage Control II

J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
Coreli C-Type 1MN Afterburner
Medium Shield Extender II

150mm Light AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP S
150mm Light AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP S
150mm Light AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP S
5W Infectious Power System Malfunction

Small Core Defense Field Extender I
Small Anti-Explosive Screen Reinforcer I

Numbers? Well... discouraging. 154 dps at 1.3 + 9k is nothing to write home about, and we had to use two TEs both because we lack the CPU for 2 gyros, and because we need that gun range to begin applying said DPS. It is somewhat vulnerable to kiters (yay) and almost all AFs, especially since the introduction of ASB modules, can easily tank its mediocre damage. You can also get a 200 fit with 2 gyros and a nano, which will get us into range faster and does much better damage, but that time we're creeping into gun range, which can take 20-30 seconds against anything which can web us back, is time we're taking damage and they simply arent. I love Autocannons, I truly do... but I think theyre a poor choice on a solo Jaguar in the current environment.

So, lets see what we can do with Artillery guns! Since i lost one today, and people can look it up, no harm in sharing it now:

[Jaguar, Arty]
Internal Force Field Array I
Fourier Transform Tracking Program
Gyrostabilizer II
Micro Auxiliary Power Core I

Coreli C-Type 1MN Afterburner
Medium Ancillary Shield Booster, Cap Booster 50
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
Faint Warp Disruptor I

280mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP S
280mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP S
280mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP S
Salvager I

Small Processor Overclocking Unit I
Small Projectile Collision Accelerator I

Numbers... well, 1119 base speed, same as above, but we have 136 DPS (( Volley damage is what matters for arty fits, in this case, 940 )) applied at a 13+14 range with standard high-damage ammo; basically, if we can point it, we can shoot it. Our tank is meh, as the ASB has only 10 cycles available before its 60 second load, but reps us a huge chunk per cycle. This fit will work with a T2 AB and a Pseudo Damage control if you're budget minded (My loss was, still getting used to it) but a C type will work, and gets 70 more msec; probably not worth the 20m cost for the AB + DCU. Fitting a Gistii B requires a meta MAPC.

How do we fly it? Well... carefully. I managed to derp up and lose mine to a dual ASB hawk by getting too close, and then was unable to burn back out of his range before I went down. I was, however, punching right through his shield into armor on most shots, and he had emptied both ASBs when the fight ended. One more volley (ie, not derping as SOON as I did) would have won the fight. To be fair, it may have been a bit easier in my Wolf, but I have a feeling the Wolf wouldnt be able to break it in time. The idea is to stay at 15-16k range, and heat your web to "keepaway" if they get too close. You have 10 cycles of that booster, and that is IT. If it runs out and youre still taking heavy damage, well... get ready to warp that pod out. Even inside this range, had it been anything other than a dual asb hawk, it would have died, as it simply couldnt have repped the volleys fast enough. A Vengeance perhaps... but we'd have had a much easier time burning back away from it. It has a Succubus that was also dual ASB fit (( CCP, mental note... when EVERYONE is fitting 2 of these,  might be a sign to re-examine them )) a Dramiel (Which was pretty horribly fit) and an Ishkur to its credit so far, and the loss was my fault entirely for being, as I have said before, rather bad at kiting. I cannot get a T2 point on this thing; wish I could, that 4k range makes a HUGE difference.

Hopefully, I get better at it sooner rather than later.



  1. Here's an easy method that I use in an MWD ship vs, well just about any similar size ship in a 1v1. Orbit set to 150km and Keep at Range set to 18km (or 20km if I have a T2 point).

    If the opposing frigate is afterburner fit, I manually pilot to around 25km, shut off the MWD and hit the Orbit 150km button, then it's simply pulsing the MWD to keep beyond 13km. If the pilot turns away either to escape or slingshot attempt, depending on range, either use the keep at range to bring myself closer or manually aiming around 45 degrees towards him to limit closing speed.

    Versus an MWD brawling ship, it's the same technique, it just happens at faster speeds and I pay closer attention to the opponents ship speed.

    Re: the much as I wanted to love the ship as a souped up Rifter, it's (even moreso post AF-buff) rather lackluster. The Wolf does the long range artillery fit much, much better than the Jaguar (out to 40km at that).

    I'd be more than happy to duel you on Sisi (60m/hull experimenting adds up quick -_-).


  2. The Wolf is a good artillery platform, but I simply dislike it in that configuration. It is so, so flimsy that anything which gets a few hits in, carries drones, or has any sort of real gun range will simply drive it off or kill it, and anything faster than it (Which is lots of things) can tackle and kill it (provided they live of course. Lotta bad dramiel pilots!). Its a great ship with Artillery, and i know some like it that way; I just am not one of them.

    The artillery jag is working well. Ive scored a few more kills in mine and havent lost it again, so one of us, me or the Jaguar, is doing something right!

    Sure, I'd be down to pew on SiSi.

  3. Nice article, I look forward to more of the same. For someone considering T2 minmatar frigs I think it made me reconsider and look back to Cruisers/BCs not that that's a criticism, very useful. Thanks.

  4. o/

    Classes kicked off for me which coincided with the Sisi dust/eve integration downtime, so I'm pretty much limited to active playtime on the weekends.

    The offer's still on the table.