Welcome to the latest edition of The Drafting Table. This time a scrappy Amarr brawler takes center stage. With a name like Punisher, it has to be good.
There is not much of a backstory unfortunately. I was playing around in PYFA and was looking at various Amarr Frigates. The Punisher looked a little better than its reputation hinted at, so I decided it was worth a field test, or five.
The Punisher is a T1 Amarr Frigate with bonuses designed to keep it in the fight. The Punisher gets a 10% reduction to Small Energy Turret activation costs and a 4% bonus to all armor resistances per level of the Amarr Frigate skill. Combined these allow the Punisher to take a punch and keep on dishing it out with far less stress on her capacitor. The activation bonus is more important than it seems because of the Punisher’s slot layout.
High Slots (4, Four Turret Hardpoints): The Punisher is a straight up gunboat with no utility highs. I chose to ship four Small Focused Pulse Laser IIs, which provide fantastic damage output at the cost of some range.
Mid Slots (2): Nope, that is not a typo, the Punisher has only two mids. Since I was going soloing, I fit a Warp Scrambler II in the first mid. Because mobility would be necessary, I fit a 1MN Afterburner II in the second. Given I didn’t have the ability to fit any sort of cap-support mid, I didn’t want to fit an MWD as capping myself out would be an instant death.
Low Slots (5): Here it is time to take advantage of the Punisher’s amazing resistance bonus. Building the resist profile beings with the ubiquitous Damage Control II. Supplementing that is two Adaptive Nano Membrane IIs. Together these give the Punisher a rather flat resist profile. Next, some additional raw hitpoints are added with a 400mm Rolled Tungsten Compact Plate. Combined with the rigs, this pushes the EHP of this fit to over 9.5k, which is a lot to chew through. The last slot is filled with an Extruded Compact Heat Sink, to increase the DPS of the lasers.
Rigs (3): All three of the rig slots are filled with Small Trimark Armor Pump Is. These provide additional raw hitpoints that when combined with the resists give the Punisher massive staying power.
Bling and Implants: Given the inherent cheapness of this fit, I would not recommend buying any implants or faction/deadspace modules for this fit.
Use Case and Testing
Given that I didn’t really have an inspiration for a specific purpose for this fit, I decided to play it as a close range brawler. All of my testing happened in Faction Warfare space in Novice complexes. I felt attempting engagements in this environment would help mitigate the mobility disadvantages of being an afterburning buffer armor ship. The planned engagement would look something like the following: Land in the Novice complex and immediately approach the target ship with afterburner on. On locking, scram the target and orbit at 2.5-5km. Using Multifrequency crystals, burn the target down while using the afterburner to keep transversal up. Keep pounding til someone blows up.
I got off to a promising start, getting two kills against the same guy flying a Tristan. The first serious engagement I had was with a small GalMil gang in a Novice complex. I engaged and destroyed a Incursus. He was sitting at zero on the Novice warp-in, and started to burn away as I landed. I got tackle on him and he quickly returned the favor. Major difference was that he had a web, so my Punisher slowed to a crawl just inside the range of his blasters. I slowly clawed some range as lasers and antimatter filled the space between us. The fight went smoothly once I got into a stable orbit. With his blasters outraged, I made quick work of him. Then his friends started showing up, first one Atron followed quickly by another. I had already aligned out from the site and waited to see what the pair would do. The closed the range quickly and tackled me. At this point I started burning down one Atron, but stayed aligned. A couple more ships arrived on grid as the first Atron exploded and I began working on the second. It was at this point my staying aligned doomed me, as the lack of transversal had whittled my HP down to low and I exploded as the second Atron hit hull.
The second hull had a little more luck. I somehow won a solo engagement with a Caldari Navy Hookbill. After this, I was unable to find anything to engage, and spend lots of time messing around with a stabbed farmer. Once he grew tired of my interruptions and docked, I succeeded in finding an Incursus. Unfortunately the range was a little off and I was unable to engage in Multifrequency range. After switching to Scorch, the fight was close but the Incursus prevailed with a corp mate in a Dramiel stealing the final blow. The third quickly met its end against a Hookbill and Slasher. I tried again to kill the Hookbill after roaming in the fourth hull for a while, and died again when he was able to pull range. The fifth hull also met its end by Rocket Hookbill with some assistance from a Succubus.
Overall, the fit did ok at times I was able to keep the range where I wanted it. In situations which I lost range control, which was easy for hostiles to do thanks to the lack of a web, I typically died. This fit did not do especially well against the typical dual-web rocket Caldari Navy Hookbill, but under perfect conditions is capable of offing one.
Changes After Testing
The most obvious change I would like to make to the Punisher is adding a third mid slot. Having a web would greatly benefit a drawing setup like this. But seeing as I don’t know anyone at CCP who would do that, something else will need to be done. While in most cases Pulse lasers are the go-to Energy turret for PvP, after testing I’m not sure that’s the best move here. What the Punisher lacks in ability to control range directly for with a web, we can try and make up for better damage projection. While it is a very powerful ammo, Scorch was just not cutting it at range. By switching to Small Focused Beam Lasers, a couple things change. First, intermediate range crystals such as Standard become more viable, allowing for better selection of optimal. Second, the maximum possible engagement range is massively improved. This is hot-swappable with the Small Focused Pulse Laser II without any changes to the fit. Without a third mid slot, this route would be my next shot of providing some range “control”.
I hope you enjoyed my attempt at making the Punisher work in a Novice Complex. It’s a fun little laser-spewing brick and was a nice break from larger ships. Have some experience with the Punisher? Got a favorite ship of your own for Novice Complexes? Give me a shout in the comments. Until next time, fly messy.