Tools Of The Trade: The Slippery Pete

2014-12-01

Special thanks to Kcolor for the interview on how the Slippery Pete is used.

The Slippery Pete Tengu is one of the most effective high-skill PvP platforms in Eve. The fitting and its use were pioneered by Elo Knight and Black Legion, although Elo Knight declined to be interviewed for this article beyond confirming its origins. The name obviously implies that the Slippery Pete is hard to catch, but the specific inspiration for the name is even harder to pin down than the ship.

At a glance the fitting appears quite odd when compared to more traditional combat setups. It lacks a microwarpdrive or afterburner and therefore can only go 206 m/s, has a measly 23,000 hitpoints, and appears to be fit largely to be impossible to jam (Larger version of EFT Block).

However, a deeper look at how combat mechanics play out in practice reveals the genius of the fit. First, the interdiction nullifier makes the ship immune to bubbles, so the lack of a propulsion module is far less crippling that it would be on a non-nullified ship. Most ships rely on the increased speed from a propmod to burn out of bubbles and maneuver in combat; the Slippery Pete just ignores them entirely.

Second, the fit is capable of applying damage over a huge variety of ranges. As seen in the EFT block above it can deal a respectable 330 DPS out to its maximum lock range of 187km, well beyond the range that most other ships can lock at all. Add in fleet bonuses, which it would almost always have, and it can hit out to 207km; so far away that most missiles couldn’t even reach it. With short range Javelin loaded it can do almost 600 DPS at 25km. Through the use of faction ammo it is effective at any range between those two numbers. Because the Pete fits medium guns this damage is dealt with cruiser tracking, making the hull far more effective against frigates than a battleship would be.

Third, and most important, the Slippery Pete is almost impossible to probe down. Combat Probing enables a fleet to land on top of their enemies at a range of their choice; it us the main reason that the once ubiquitous sniper battleship is no longer seen in Eve as a fleet doctrine. Being able to hit at five times the range of your opponent is little use when they can just warp on top of you at will.

How difficult a ship is to probe out is calculated using (signature radius / sensor strength). That means that any module which makes you harder to jam also makes you harder to probe; tiny ships have an inherently tiny sig radius even without help, but a battleship can be made to look like a shuttle to a prober if the pilot is willing to fit the ECCM modules required. A much more detailed explanation of how this mechanic works can be found here.

Because it takes a pilot with max skills and a full set of probing “virtue” implants to scan down a Slippery Pete they can snipe almost at will. According to Kcolor, a CFC Fleet Commander who has fought Slippery Petes, they will typically warp in at around 130km from their target, fire a few volleys, and then warp off again. If fast tacklers try to burn to get a point they will get obliterated by the medium railguns long before they close the range, so the only option is to warp a fleet in.

Even if the attacking feet gets a good warpin, it needs to point down each individual Tengu to hold them; interdictors are useless because of the Pete’s bubble immunity. Unless a massive number of tackle can be placed right on top of the Petes, the damage from the enemy getting a warpin is limited to what they have the points to hold. Seen in this light the paper-thin EHP of the Slippery Pete is unimportant; If the enemy can’t land a hit the ability to take damage is irrelevant.

In battle the Slippery Pete flits around the edges of the fight, picking off enemy ships and then repositioning as soon as the enemy starts to react. In practice it looks something like this, or if you prefer actual in-game footage this. By using this ship well a fleet of Black Legion pilots can punch far above their weight, making life hellish for fleets many times their size. Even if they can’t break the enemy logistics they can pick off stragglers, snipe any ship separated from the main fleet, and generally make anything their opponents try to do much harder. Needless to say a fleet of Slippery Petes can drive their enemies insane with rage; taking hits without being able to fight back is nobody’s definition of a good time.

There is no easy in-game counter to the Slippery Pete if it is utilized properly. Without some outside help the only way to catch it involves some luck, a lot of skill, a maxed prober, and a lot of expendable tackle. When asked how the CFC fought Slippery Petes Kcolor replied, “Usually we have 2-3 spies turn off their ECCM so we can probe them down and warp on them.” The fact that the go-to solution to the Pete is literally “the metagame” is a testament to the mastery of game mechanics shown by its inventors.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was written by FearlessLittleToaster, and originally appeared on TheMittani.com under his byline.)

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