Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Value Fleet

Value Fleet is a fleet doctrine concept aimed at getting high combat effectiveness out of fairly cheap ships. It combines high damage brawling with damps. If they come close we win because they're brawling with web scram blaster boats if they stay far they're taken out of the fight by damps.

I have some organisational constraints to work within. One is a "budget" of 10 million isk maximum srp for self-invented doctrines that our new FC programme allows to FCs of my rank within Brave Collective.

I'm taking liberties with the budget by deliberately going over it and expecting line members to pay the difference. Not everyone will so the doctrine also allows cheap disposable mauluses.

The cruisers I have listed cost about 26 million fitted at Jita which after import costs will mean they cost about 35 million at our new home in Fountain. However offset against that is the 10 million isk of alliance money that I can authorise and approx 7 million isk gained from platinum insurance. So it costs a line fleet member about 18 million each time they lose one.

Is that good value?

Well first point I don't think we'll lose them all that often, as long as we pick our engagements with care. We may also get a chance to kill very shiny ships. Most people will cheerfully exchange 18 million in game isk for a billion isk orthrus adorning their killboard. The doctrine, FCed correctly is highly disengageable - so you're either killing stuff or you can warp most of the fleet out.

Next is that these are potentially amazing. If we can apply damage on our terms we do the very high close range damage in a game meta where most people rely on anaemic long range weapons. For instance our standard Moa fit does a little over 200 dps at its most comfortable engagement range. The Value Vexor, fully skilled, does over 600. Nor do we depend on point blank range - without the guns the fit still does 373 dps out to 30 km.

Next once an opponent engages with us it's likely we will have considerable control over the terms of disengagement. If they rely on an handful of long range tackle and kite us we burn away, damp the lachesis and keres and warp off. If they rely on interceptors and frigates then to disengage we web and kill those. To get away from us on the other hand an opponent would have to kill every vexor that has a scram on something.

Value Fleet is a shield doctrine, privately composed by a Junior FC for the use of the Brave Collective. And of course any of my readers who would like to try it.

This is the fleet composition in order of priority:

Booster ship(s). Skirmish links utterly transform this ship from something moderately dangerous to a full on catastrophe for enemies. MWD speed bonus is the most useful link. Then tackle range. Shield links are also a strong force multiplier.

1-2 Dictors (if fighting in nullsec)

3-5 Value Celestis. (This ship does a very important job dictating the range of the fight but we don't need too many).

20% Standard Brave Scythe afterburner logi. Eg a fleet of 50 needs 10 Scythes.

1-2 scouts. Frigates, interceptors, cov ops are all good choices.

as many Value Vexors as possible. The heart of value fleet is a swarm of Vexors doing very high dps.

any newbros/broke people in tackle frigates or mauluses. Any fit is fine.

Fleet roles:

Value Celestis: 

Your job is to pull the enemy in to us. Use both damps with targeting scripts on the same target so that he loses about 70% of his locking range. Unless otherwise instructed pick your first target by sorting by range and damping someone far away. Coordinate with the other dampers so you don't damp the same person. You need to assess the fight for high value damp targets. In priority order high value damp targets are:

1) Bluemajere or Makalu Zarya.
2) enemy FC
3) enemy logi if the logi is more than 20km away from what it will need to rep.

If the enemy chooses to fight us point blank and their logi are in close switch to scan res damps on the logi.

Unless it's a huge laggy fight Show All Brackets, zoom out, turn your Tactical Overlay on and assess the fight to figure out how you can be most effective. You can coordinate with other damp boats by using a subchannel on Mumble and using your Whisper keys to talk to each other.

Your light missiles should be used against interceptors and tackle frigates as they apply dps very well to these small fast targets. Usually the effect will be not to kill them but to force them to burn away from you which is great because with just the most casual effort from your tertiary weapon system you're chasing an opponent out of the fight. You can call missile primaries in your subchannel if you like.

Your drones are for the main primary, they do a significant amount of dps. If we're expecting a very frigate heavy engagement use 2 flights of Warriors instead.


You are the squishy underbelly of our fleet but so long as you survive you make us incredibly powerful. There are a few aspects working in your favour.

1) The Vexors will be chasing the enemy. Most FCs primary things that are close. That means they'll usually shoot the Vexors.

2) It's really important to have a logi anchor and logi channel in game and in mumble. If no one else is willing to step up please consider doing so. A good logi anchor who pulls you back to distance makes a massive distance in the effectiveness of this doctrine and it keeps you from being blown up. To anchor is pretty simply - you just tell the others to orbit you and drive back away from the enemy so you're about 50km from our guys at the front. Normally 50km from the FC - and you should always have the FC locked - is fine. (There are refinements - like manual piloting and maintaining traversal velocity to the enemy but that can all come later - the key thing is to step up and do it).

3) Logi in this doctrine should move independently for engagements. For example we jump into a gate camp. Vexors break cloak and burn to get tackles. Logi count to 5 then all burn straight down to get away from the fight, then anchor up. Example 2 we are warping in at zero to bad guys. All logi mash control space. FC fleet warps to zero and logi all cancel the warp. Then when the FC lands you can all warp at 50km and anchor up.

The takeaway is that it's ok to delay putting reps on for a few seconds if it means logi are better positioned.


You have 2 jobs.

1) Don't die.

2) Assess quickly and give verbal reports using this structure: [what] [where] [what are they doing]
Eg 4 svipuls and a sabre in YZ- on the 75F gate sitting still 10km off the gate.

If you get blown up or called away by real life tell the FC and make sure he's heard you then reship and come back soon as you can.

Flying down to whore on kills is really really bad scouting. If you can see that we've won the fight you should first assess where other threats might come from. If we're fighting on a gate what's on the other side of that gate? If you're sure that something isn't going to suddenly develop then ok sure, warp down at the end of the fight and point something.

Value Vexors.

 OK you get to have a super fun role. Burn right at the bad guys, drop sentries, web, scram, turn mwd off, orbit 1000 and turn guns on. Overheat everything for the first 20 seconds of a fight.Melt things. See people whine when they can't get away. You're faster than a sniper mode mwd svipul even without overheat and you'll surprise a lot of people by how quickly you catch them. You follow primaries as follows:

1) if you have something webbed and scrammed that is your focus. Hold it there, keep killing it, broadcast for reps as needed and don't let go until either it's dead or you're dead. You're a bulldog. Your Gardes however should be shooting the dps primary.

"Web scram tree, FC."

2) after the initial burst out to grab tackles some people will have stuff tackled and held in place and probably some of the enemy fleet will have burned off to range to snipe at us. At this point the FC should reign you in and tell you to work through the tackled targets. Please don't just latch on to the nearest target, you're very quick, if you're free burn to the correct target and help kill it. Always be alert for potential tackle targets though, if some straggler warps into the fight at zero grab him and hold him.

There's one finesse aspect to this rather brutal role - when you drop your Gardes. Now one of the strengths of this particular doctrine is that we create a zone of death with our Gardes that is very hard for the FCs to allow for correctly. What you should do is drop the Gardes about 5-10km from where we decloak/warp in. This creates a zone with Gardes a little spread out over it so they're hard to smartbomb. It's also hard for a FC to assess. You see with a big pile of enemy drones the FC knows that's where the damage is coming from but when there's just drones randomly all over he'll find it hard to position his fleet away from them. So even if he likes to fight at 60km, well outside Garde range if I move my fleet 40km behind the Circle of Death, he'll come closer to me to be 60km away which is a convenient 20km away from where you dropped your Gardes.

Value Fleet shoots things that fight at long range by looping round behind its Gardes.

The Circle of Death is also pretty brutal for small fast ships like interceptors if they go through it because they will have very low transversal velocity to some of the Gardes at certain times.

So this is a web scram blaster boat with a secret long range tactical element. Pretty nifty, eh?


Join the damps subchannel in mumble, anchor on the logi, never be still, align to a celestial once your logi anchor pulls you out to a decent range and warp off and back if you get shot at.

Tackle frigs. 

If you have a point change your fit. Your one job is to chase something too fast for a vexor to catch and scram/web it so a vexor can get secondary tackle then escape before you die. So chase a fast thing like a svipul by clicking space a little to the side of it until you can get close enough to web/scram him then orbit him 500 and switch to your friendlies overview sorted by range. When there's a vexor within 5km of you warp off then back to the fight and look for another target that you can hold for a vexor.

The fits:

[Vexor, Value Vexor]

Overdrive Injector System II
Damage Control II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II

Experimental 10MN Microwarpdrive I
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
Large Shield Extender II
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I

Modal Neutron Particle Accelerator I, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Modal Neutron Particle Accelerator I, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Modal Neutron Particle Accelerator I, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Modal Neutron Particle Accelerator I, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M

Medium Auxiliary Thrusters I
Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I

Garde II x3
Warrior II x5
Hobgoblin II x5

Cargo: 1000 CN Medium Antimatter
(if requested) 10000 regular Antimatter
add Paste only for long roams with no chance to dock. Where we live and where many fights are likely to happen we can just dock up and repair in stations.

[Celestis, Value Celestis]

Damage Control II
Power Diagnostic System II
Power Diagnostic System II
Power Diagnostic System II
Power Diagnostic System II

Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Large Shield Extender II
Remote Sensor Dampener II, Targeting Range Dampening Script
Large Shield Extender II
Remote Sensor Dampener II, Targeting Range Dampening Script

Rapid Light Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Inferno Light Missile
Rapid Light Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Inferno Light Missile
Rapid Light Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Inferno Light Missile

Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I

Hammerhead II x5

Cargo: 1000 CN Inferno Light Missiles
600 CN Mjolnir Light Missiles
600 CN Nova Light Missiles
2 Scan Resolution Dampening scripts

Our Fountain Core enemies love to fly svipuls and sabres which are weakest against thermal damage so normally Inferno missiles will be the best to load

Other fits: 

Standard doctrine fits as per our wiki.

FCing Value Fleet.

The trick is to get close to them, especially if what you're fighting is faster. Jumping into gate camps is pretty effective, station games are pretty effective, sending a couple of Vexors in as bait can work.

Always have your Value Vexors preheat mwd scram and web. Give 2 cycles of overheated mwd then tell them to turn heat off. What you've caught in those 20 seconds is what you probably will be killing, consider the rest of it to have effectively escaped. Kill what you have tackled then get out.

To spread tackle have your Vexors pick on someone near their name alphabetically. So if Brian, Susan and Thomas jump in and have 3 targets: Clarice, Marcel and Xavier Brian will get Clarice, Susan will get Marcel and Thomas will get Xavier.

The 30 seconds after you have tackled your targets are critical. Are you breaking them?

The problem is that with, say, 10 targets tackled and 30 Value Vexors you could have 3 Vexors on each tacklee which would make killing rather slow.

If they are dying then every time one of them dies more of your Value Vexors are free to concentrate on so your dps gets more focused and each successive target will get easier to kill.

If they're not dying then tell people to drop tackle and focus on one high value target. These Vexors are so cheap that if we lose 10 of them but kill a battleship we've probably won on isk value.

You have to balance greed for kills against focusing fires.

It's really important to be able to rapidly assess which enemy is in the most trouble and primary those off first. Eg kill the guy tackled by 5 Vexors before you kill the guy tackled by one Vexor.

You'll need to protect your logi and ewar. Do this by showing the enemy the Vexors first. Eg if you decloak in a gate camp tell the logi to stay cloaked for 5 seconds longer. If you undock into an enemy have your logi wait 5 seconds. If you warp to zero on a strong force have your logi spam control-space then warp to you at 50 after you land.

Value fleet works with small numbers. In fact it's fine even with 1 fleet member - it's a decent solo build although not quite as strong for soloing as a well designed actively tanked build.

They're vulnerable to bombs. A good bombing run of 8 bombs is enough to kill anything in value fleet. Don't be afraid to tell them to put mwd on and burn out of the bomb blast radius as if they don't use the mwd they're dead anyway.

Never sit in place against people shooting you from range unless you are actively killing things. When you run out of things to kill either perch or get safe.

You can have the Vexors drop a gun and add a medium neut against capacitor sensitive targets like capitals.

Tactical roles:

- roaming

- station games. Send out one Vexor to get some fool to agress, then undock all the others when he does.

- busting up gate camps.

- structure shooting. This is a point blank doctrine so you can't kill any structure with a force field. They're great though for shooting pocos, sbus, etc.

- ratting. Pretty decent ratting fleet. Forsaken Hubs are primary.

- soloing.

- home defence fleet. High damage and tackle utility make these ships very useful in our kitchen sink defence fleets.


  1. We have our Vexor doctrine at the moment, though it is for structure shoots so it uses lasers to avoid worry about carrying ammo or cycling guns. You can set it, and its drones, on a target then tab out or walk away until you head somebody scream on coms that you need to do something. Nice cheap little cruiser.

    1. I thought about lasers but at heart blasters are my favourite weapon. There's something about having someone webbed and scrammed that's just fun.

  2. This blog is turning into an absolutely must read. Awesome stuff :)

  3. Very nice read! How could one adapt it slightly in order to shoot force field structures whilst mostly maintaing its general purpose?

    1. I would simply keep the fleet as is if expecting a fight. Drop Gardes which have a range of 30km and shoot the tower.

      T1 cruisers are a little weak against guns, particularly if actively manned and it could be possible for a defender at an armed pos to alpha your ships. If this happens give up and come back in something sturdier like Ishtars.