Leshak Logistics—Stacking Up Against The Nestor

Bill McDonough 2018-06-04

With the release of Into the Abyss on May 29, CCP has introduced three new hulls to the game. They are the Triglavian ships: the Damavik frigate, Vedmak cruiser, and Leshak battleship. They’re interesting ships. They look different, and they play differently from anything previously in the game.

Exactly how each of the hulls will be used is likely going to depend a lot on how creative players can get with fits, and how much money they’re willing to spend. Today, we’ll be taking a look at a purpose-built Leshak, and how it stacks up to the only other battleship that can do what it does.

What’s Different About Triglavian Ships?

Each of these ships mounts only a single weapon hardpoint. However, that weapon is the Entropic Disintegrator, an energy weapon that increases its damage output as it maintains continuous firing. The rest of the high slots on these ships have been described by CCP as expressly ‘utility highs.’ The Damavik has three high slots in total, the Vedmak four, and the Leshak five.

Even with the skill-based bonuses on each hull, the Disintegrators are (relatively) short range weapons. The cruiser-sized Heavy Entropic Disintegrator II has a base range of 17.4km, with no falloff cushion. A fully-skilled T2 Supratidal (Battleship-size) version can get out to just over 100km, compared to the 300km (max subcapital targeting range) reachable by snipers like the Rokh. But the ships also carry very interesting Role Bonuses:

  • 100% Remote Armor Repairer range
  • 50% reduced Energy Neutralizer capacitor need
  • 50% reduced Remote Armor Repairer capacitor need
  • 50% reduced Smart Bomb capacitor need

Those bonuses are identical for all three sizes of ship. Over the coming months, we expect to see a number of interesting applications for these ships, including potential anti-support and drone-sweeping roles in fleet warfare, and neuting platforms with a building damage curve for hunting Force Auxiliaries and other heavily-tanked capitals like Rorquals.

My focus, however, is on the two bonuses for Remote Armor Repairers. For those who are not familiar with my work in-game, I am predominantly a Logistics pilot. I’ve flown as a space-priest in engagements from small wormhole and high-sec engagements to B-R5RB, in hulls ranging from T1 frigates like the Burst and Navitas, up through Force Auxiliaries.

That list includes the Nestor. Until now, the Nestor has been the only battleship in the game with bonuses for remote repair capabilities. But with the addition of the Leshak, two battleships fit that role. Eventually, someone was bound to compare them, so why wait?

Leshak v Nestor

The two ships are similar in a lot of ways. They’re both armor-tanked battleships that use energy weapons and drones. Both have a lower mass than most battleships, and they both have a very distinctive look to them. But don’t let those similarities fool you. Even in their similarities, the two ships can diverge greatly.

We’ll be looking at two different Nestor fits pulled from Zkill, and a Leshak designed from the ground up to fill the role.

The Fits—AB Nestor

The Afterburner fit isn’t bad. In fact, it’s pretty close to what I’d build as an optimized logistics platform. It delivers 400 hp/s at a range of 23.6 km, with the reps dropping to roughly 80hp/s at 30.35 km. There’s an interesting quirk with deadspace medium armor reps, though: they keep going. Live testing shows that at 40 km, there are still reps going out. It’s also got a solid tank, with decent resists across the board, and good capacitor life—largely because of the combination of cap booster and cap transfers from other Nestors.

At the same time, it’s far from good, simply by virtue of what it is.

It’s an Afterburner Nestor. That means it’s slow. Before the prop mod, the Nestor clocks in at a blistering 80m/s. I say ‘blistering’ because you’re going to get blisters from getting out to push. Even with the AB running, because of the way AB mechanics work, it only gets up to 336 m/s. With its prop going, this ship is about the same speed as an unpropped cruiser. While that’s not terrible in a fleet full of AB battleships, fleets full of AB battleships tend to be Machariels, and an AB Machariel moves almost twice that speed. Most other battleship fleets are MWD, and use their props only for repositioning and getting out of bubbles. This Nestor, especially with the horrible time it takes an AB Nestor to accelerate, really can’t do that.

MWD Nestor

The MWD fit, on the other hand, has the mobility it needs. With the prop mod on, it moves 1075 m/s. That’s more than enough to keep up with the rest of the fleet’s battleships when they reposition. What it lacks, though, it really lacks. Specifically, survivability. Both the tank and the capacitor life are sub-par, with less than three minutes of capacitor life even with the prop off, and the cap booster and cap chain running. At the same time, the Reactive Armor Hardener tries to make up for the loss of two rig slots, but that will only shorten the effective capacitor life even further. As a result, trying to squeeze too much out of the hull means getting less.

Optimized Nestor

But, just to complete the comparison, I worked up an optimized Nestor. After all, pulling Nestors from Zkill means you’re almost always looking at ships meant to be used as spider-tanking, cap-chaining drone boats. The Warp Disruptor in the MWD example makes that extremely clear. So did all the ones I found with no prop mods at all—ratting/missioning fits, I suspect. So what does the ship look like when it’s built for Logi work?

Well, it looks more or less like this fit, assembled using the best parts of the other two. Using the Centum C-Types, it has the same rep profile as the AB version, and mostly the same tank. The using the MWD gives it less capacitor life, but therein lies the secret of Logi Cap: the numbers lie. Because you never run your reps 100% of the time, your capacitor lasts a lot longer than the fitting estimates indicate. Most logistics are effectively cap-stable if they have 3 minutes of capacitor, even in heavy fighting. The big change here is the speed: it’s not sitting dead in the water the way the AB Nestor was. So this is what we’re going to compare the Leshak against.

Full disclosure though, if I were building a Nestor for my own use, every single part on there would be upgraded but the RAH and MJD, ‘cuz they can’t be. It would also cost two billion ISK before the pod.

The Leshak

In order to keep everything as balanced as possible for comparison, I’m using the same reppers, and a purely T2 tank. Odds are, if you’re encountering a Leshak any time soon, it’s going to be a lot beefier than this, though; it’s just too expensive a hull to cheap out on the mods.

As we can see, the Leshak is robust. It sports a solid tank, and delivers good reps out to a decent range. It’s also reasonably fast, for a battleship. While 1120m/s pre-boosts isn’t the 1300m/s+ a MWD Machariel gets, it’s still respectable.

So what’s going on here?

Tank

As I said, both ships use an armor tank. Of course, exactly why the Nestor, designed by the Wormhole-living Sisters of EVE for us in Wormholes, uses a defensive method that relies on the additional mass of armor plates is beyond me. But then, it is what it is. Maybe eventually a shield battleship will get similar bonuses. Then again, the long-promised shield-slave implants still haven’t arrived after more years than I’d like to count, so I’m not getting my hopes up.

The first point of divergence in the tank these two ships can fit comes from the number of low slots they have. The Nestor, despite using the Amarr Battleships and Gallente Battleships skills, has only six lows. It’s surprising, really, considering the only battleship fielded by either of those races with only six low slots is the Sin, a black ops battleship.

It’s also likely done to balance the ‘Amarr Battleship’ bonuses, which include the 4% Armor Resistances per level that ships like the Maller and Abaddon enjoy. On the Abaddon, with its seven lows, it makes for a truly tremendous tank. On the Nestor, though, max skills barely bring you back to parity with cheaper DPS hulls like the Megathron.

The Leshak gets the full complement of eight, perfect for fitting a massive tank. What it doesn’t have, though, is those Amarr bonuses. As a result, even dedicating all those low slots to the tank, it only pulls ahead by a small amount. But it does pull ahead, and in a fleet situation, with full boosts, it retains that advantage, coming in at 294 EHP  to the Nestor’s 278. Advantage: Leshak, albeit only slightly.

Reps

Both ships have a bonus to the range of Remote Armor Repairers. However, the Leshak appears to only get a bonus to the base range of the module. The Nestor, on the other hand, doubles the falloff range as well. While that might seem like a significant advantage, Remote Armor Repairers and Remote Shield Boosters work differently, with Armor having a greater base range, and Shield having a longer falloff. As a result, for a T2 Large Remote Armor Repairer, the Nestor is only getting an additional 4.2 km of falloff.

But that’s where those pesky boosts come in again. The Nestor gets the full suite of Remote Repair boosts: 50% bonus to Remote Armor Repair amount. So the five C-Types on our optimized Nestor deliver 400 hp/s, where the Leshak is only able to provide 267 hp/s. Reducing the reps from a single ship, like a logi anchor, isn’t a huge problem. Doing it for a significant number of your logistics, though, could be. Advantage: Nestor, and it’s a significant one.

Mass and Speed

Both of these ships are lightweights in the Large hull size. The Leshak comes in at only 63,000,000kg, just two-thirds the mass of most battleships. The Nestor, though, is even lighter: 20,000,000kg. It’s the size of a cruiser, just perfect for moving through low-end wormholes. That’s what it’s for (my snarky comment about armor tanks notwithstanding), but it’s slow. Even with a MWD, it can’t run away quickly. Then again, these are battleships we’re talking about. If anyone’s placing a premium on speed, these are not the hulls to be using in the first place. That low mass, though, gives the Nestor an edge: it can accompany cruiser fleets into wormholes the Leshak just can’t take, and it’s a lot more forgiving on bigger wormholes that might not have a lot of mass left.

Capacitor Life

This should be a no-brainer. One of these ships cap chains, the other doesn’t. Cap-chaining ships have plenty of capacitor, because their bonuses literally conjure extra energy out of the vacuum in direct violation of both the laws of Thermodynamics, and the skill description of Thermodynamics. Get two cap buddies, and you’re golden. Laugh at neuts and nos’. Giggle at void bombs. Just don’t get jammed.

See what I mean? The cap chain should make everyone frown in annoyance, because it blatantly is a perpetual motion machine.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. To get a Nestor to behave like literally ever other cap-chaining ship in EVE, you need to give it at least three incoming cap transfers. Which means each of them needs to fit three cap transfers. And keep three cap buddies locked up. And that means the seven-targets-maximum ship can only lock up four targets to rep. Three if you’re keeping the FC permalocked. I feel like I’m juggling chainsaws when I have 11 people locked up and need to quickly unlock to lock more. I don’t want to go back to Exequror-levels of target-juggling.

The Nestor, especially if you ditch the MJD that you’ll almost never use in a fleet, can be reasonably long-lived as a cap-chaining logi, but it won’t be solid. It won’t run the way a cap chain’s supposed to work. As a result, the Leshak winds up getting the edge in capacitor life.  It’s robust, has good endurance and regen, and it won’t lull you into a false sense of security that has a cascading collapse run through the cap chain the moment somebody screws up under a bit of neut pressure. The Nestor should be the clear winner on this one, but it’s just too much of a ticking time bomb.

Price Point (Or Un-Bang For Your Buck)

Over the course of the week, the Leshak’s price has dropped from well over four billion ISK down to two. It will likely continue to move lower, but how just how much remains to be seen. The Nestor started out similarly, worth about a billion ISK when it first entered the game. Now, it’s available for under 400 million ISK. Obviously, the Nestor gets the edge on price.

Summation

All things taken together, the Leshak isn’t the battleship logistics platform of the future. The ship’s ability to fit Remote Armor Repairers is widely known. Most of the attention given focuses on the potential for spider-tanking groups involved in capital-hunting or structure-bashing. But if EVE has taught us anything over the last fifteen years, it’s that fortune favors those who are capable of seeing how to turn the expected into the unexpected, and come up with new and interesting uses for things.

That doesn’t mean the Logistics Leshak is anything you should expect to see in the large-scale fleet battles of nullsec, of course. Unfortunately, the amount of remote assistance it delivers just doesn’t compare to the Nestor for short-range, high-EHP logistics options. Still, it’s an interesting twist, and at the very least, it gives another option for logi pilots who like larger hulls, especially in small gangs.

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Comments

  • Arrendis

    Actually, the reason cruiser logi spreads the chain out (and Nestors should spread the chain out) has nothing to do with neuts. It has to do with explosions. If you have 1 cap buddy and he blows up, you don’t have cap. If you have 2up, 1d, and the guy below you blows up (the guy giving you 2) you don’t have enough cap.

    And yes, even battleships can be snuffed out in the blink of an eye, if the fight is big enough, or if dreads get dropped.

    June 12, 2018 at 4:47 pm