Welcome back to another issue of The Drafting Table. This time we continue looking at Minmatar battlecruisers as the Cyclone storms onto the stage.
After the lackluster performance of the Hurricane, I still wanted to take advantage of my freshly trained Minmatar Battlecruiser V skill. The Cyclone presented itself as an interesting choice due to both its use of missiles and the clear shift to active shield tanking. After hitting on a fit that I liked, I figured it was time to try it out.
The Cyclone is a Minmatar battlecruiser geared to using missiles. As a hull bonus, the Cyclone gets 5% to rate of fire for Heavy Missile and Heavy Assault Missile launchers. This is coupled with a role bonus of a 25% increase to Missile velocity. Combined these turn the Cyclone into a fast firing and far reaching missile platform. The second hull bonus for the Cyclone is a 7.5% improvement to the hit points restored by Shield Boosters. This bonus makes active shield tanking very potent. Like other battlecruisers, the Cyclone also has a role bonus to the equipping and function of command bursts.
High Slots: (7, Five Launcher Hardpoints, Two Turret Hardpoints): The Cyclone’s high slots allow for a good mix of damage output and utility. First up are five Prototype ‘Arbalest’ Heavy Assault Missile Launchers. These are used both due to fitting requirements and a lack of T2 skills on my end. The remaining high slots are filled with a pair of Medium Gremlin Compact Energy Neutralizers to provide capacitor warfare capabilities.
Mid Slots (5): With mid slots at a premium, we start with a very space efficient module, the Extra-Large Ancillary Shield Booster. The XLASB is a fueled repper, much like the Ancillary Armor Repairers you see on armor fit ships. Unlike their low-slot cousins, Ancillary Shield Boosters gain the benefit of a 100% reduction in capacitor use as long as they have Cap Booster Charges loaded. When unloaded, they consume huge amounts of cap, making prolonged use impractical when coupled with the 60 second reload time. Using the XLASB here takes the place of running both a shield booster and a capacitor booster. Rounding out the tank slots is an Adaptive Invulnerability Field II, to provide resists. Tackle needs are filled by the ubiquitous Warp Scrambler II, along with an X5 Enduring Stasis Webifier. The last mid slot is occupied by a 10MN Y-S8 Compact Afterburner to improve mobility.
Low Slots (5): Starting off the low slots is the almost ever present Damage Control II, to provide a boost in the resist profile. Next, comes a pair of Ballistic Control System IIs to improve the raw damage output of the Heavy Assault Missile launchers. Filling the last two slots are a pair of Missile Guidance Enhancer IIs, to improve both the range of the missiles and how well they apply damage to smaller targets.
Rigs (3): Two rig slots are devoted to improving the capabilities of the tank and one to the damage application. Providing additional cover to the resist holes innate to shield tanks, both an Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I and an Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I are used. The last slot holds a Warhead Rigor Catalyst I which improves the ability of missiles to apply damage.
Drones (50m3, 50 Mbit/s Bandwidth): I filled the Drone Bay with a full flight of Medium Dones. Depending on your goal, you can either match the damage type of your missiles or choose a secondary type to deal.
Bling: This fit is very tight, and would benefit from using some faction modules to loosen the requirements on both CPU and Powergrid. This is of course if you have the money to throw at it. The fit is quite cheap, coming in at about 50 million ISK at the time of writing. Personally, the cost efficiency is more important than any benefit derived from faction mods. If you do want to spend additional money, look at mods that either greatly reduces the CPU or Powergrid draw, or provide better stats for the same draw.
Implants & Boosters: If you have an existing Crystal set, this would be a great place to use it. Other implants that help improve the capabilities of shield boosters will also help. As with the bling, this fit is very cost efficient already and I would not go buy a new set just for this. Using boosters, on the other hand, is a very good idea and the Blue Pill is great for the job. With an increase to the HP restored by shield boosters, it can take an XLASB and crank it up to eleven.
I envisioned this fit flying like a fun brawler. With the AB to keep some measure of maneuverability under a scram, and the XLASB to keep the ship alive, the HAMs would be free to demolish pinned down targets. While it would be slower due to the AB, it would also ideally invite a commitment from a hostile that could be exploited.
For testing this fit, I was able to find some willing combatants from Iron Armada. These guys were great hosts and I really enjoyed paying them a visit. However, the first time I tried to make it up to their space I ran into some Russians. It was shaping up to be a good fight, with my Cyclone up against a Hurricane and a Saber. Then the Falcon decloaked and I could do nothing aside from just sitting there while getting plinked to death. The second run was more successful, and after some talking in local an IA champion emerged to fight me. It was a mirror matchup, Cyclone on Cyclone and I was able to hang on and win. I found out after the fact that burned out missile launchers were the cause of my victory. Next came something much bigger, a Typhoon. The fight was fun but eventually, I ran out of capacitor, cap boosters in my XLASB, and hit points shortly before the Typhoon would have burned out his launchers. I made one more trip up where I took on a Gnosis and an Augoror Navy Issue. I died after attempting to give the Gnosis all I had and coming up a little short.
Changes After Testing
I would give the low slots and rigs a couple small tweeks if I take this fit out again. I think I went a little too hard on application, so I would back off a little bit to improve raw damage and the resist profile. First to go is the Rigor Catalyst, replaced by a second Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer. This brings the resists to an almost uniform level, which is nice to have. In the lows, I would swap one of the Guidance Enhancers for a third Ballistic Control System. To get the CPU to make this work, the remaining Enhancer needs to be changed to the Pro-Nav Compact Missile Guidance Enhancer along with the Damage Control II becoming an IFFA Compact Damage Control.
I hope you enjoyed reading my misadventures with the Cyclone. Again, a huge shout out to the Iron Amada guys for letting me come up and test without blobbing me to death. Did I inspire you to try out this Minmatar missile slinger? Have a ship you would like my take on? Let me know in the comments, and I will see you next time.