Rock, Paper, Scissors?

o7 Pilots!

I’m relatively new to Eve, about 3.5 months, and about 10.5 mill skill points… i have hit the thresh hold where my skills have opened up a huge new area of eve.

At first my corp had me focusing on making ISK, i chose ratting as my main income. Thus i had also chosen the VNI and drones as my primary skills to focus on. Now that i can make 30 mill ticks im quite happy with my decisions.

However war has ensued! and i decided to spend about 3 bill on skill injectors so i could help defend the territory and not be so much of a care bare. im now fitting mid grade doctrines and i couldn’t be happier. I just wish it was a bit easier to make ISK during war times.

Any way, my question is this…
During low times when no fleets are active, i want to go solo PVP to become a more agile pilot and get used to picking my battles wisely. in this ive noticed a sort of trend… Similar to rock paper scissors. Some ships are deadly to others, (IE: a group of small fast frigates can take out supers due to frigates being inside the supers attack range )
How deep does this rock paper scissor go? is there a knowledge base? when i’m out finding a victim lets say in a pvp fitted ferrox, What would be my prime targets? and what should i stay clear of? if i want to go kill a ratting rattlesnake at site, what would be the best to take it out? I realize most of this will come with experience and it isnt a question that can be easily answered. but im sure there’s a baseline.

Thanks and fly safe!

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As always… the answer is: It depends. :smiley:

This because target selection comes more down to weapons and tactics rather than simply ship type.

For example:

  • Your PvP-fit Ferox… is it blaster or railgun fit? Is it fast, more equipped with more “utility” / E-war, or is it a “brick?” Does it have a Microjumpdrive? etc.
    If you were to fly a blaster-fit Ferox with a brick tank… you could pretty much brawl down most cruisers and battlecruisers that do not have an active tank. However you would probably not have the speed or utility to catch smaller ships.
    If you were to fly a blaster-fit Ferox that is fit for speed and utility… you will have some issues brawling down tougher cruisers, but you may also have an easier time dealing with smaller craft.
    If you were to fly a railgun-fit Ferox you will want to fit for speed and utility. And you will also want to avoid anything coming closer than 30-40km from you as your guns won’t be able to keep up with any ship at that close of range.

edit: Here is an example of an active-tanked, blaster Ferox (with a lot of implants and boosters) taking on a couple of cruisers.
It survives… but only because the surviving cruisers bug out rather than try to finish the job… which they could have.

For fighting Rattlesnakes…

  • they use missiles and drones as their means of fighting.
  • missiles apply damage by looking at a target’s signature radius (see: sensor footprint) and speed. The smaller the signature and the higher the speed, the less damage the missile will do.
  • drones can be targeted and shot down. One can also apply E-war on them.
  • the Rattler has an enormous drone bay. So unless you have a lot of time to kill and/or can expect that the Rattler pilot will NOT get backup, killing the drones is not viable.
  • both drones and missiles do not require capacitor power to function
  • a Rattlesnake, when properly fitted, can tank a metric fuckton of damage.
  • Rattlesnakes are slow ships

With all this in mind come the questions:

  • How is the Rattlesnake fitted? Active tank? Passive tank (see: regen tank)? Brick tanked?
    – Each tank type means that the ship needs to be approached in a different way.
  • What kind of missiles is it using?
    – Rapid Light Launchers hurt frigates
    – Rapid Heavy Launchers hurt Cruisers.
    – Torpedoes and Cruise missiles hurt large ships but are pretty useless against smaller ships.
  • What is the pilot’s kill record like?
  • What hours does he/she operate in?
  • Does the pilot operate mostly solo or is he/she the harbinger of a larger force?

So what options are there?

  • Depending on the tank,
    – against an active tank I would fit a ship that can drain or neutralize the Rattlesnake’s capacitor.
    – against a passive tank… well… there is actually very little you can do against a passive tank besides apply neutralizers and HOPE that the shield hardeners are active and that you have enough damage to overcome the shield regeneration rate
    – against a brick tank… it all comes down to how long can you last versus them. Fitting an active tank yourself may help give you the endurance you need… then again… the Rattlesnake can fit an energy neutralizer of their own to zap your capacitor and leave you with even less tank than before.
  • You will need some kind of ship with enough toughness and point defense to overcome the drones. A Rattler can launch 2 heavy drones, each with the hitpoints of a lightly tanked cruiser.
  • Depending on the missiles used, you may want to opt for a smaller or larger vessel.
  • Wanting to use range or straight brawling will also depend on whether the Rattler pilot likes to operate solo or not.

Not really any solid answer for this. The rock, paper, scissors concept, doesn’t really apply that easily to anything. You can beat pretty much anything, with pretty much anything else if you use it in the correct way. An example being the confessor, if you AB fit it with a small armor buffer and beams, not much bling needed you can get around 20k EHP with I think around 300DPS (Maybe more). Granted this fessor is not OP, however due to the way that it’s fit, it’s a very effective small fleet doctrine that can project effectively out to around 20-30km, and thanks to the AB it sig tanks like a boss, the only weaknesses being, webs and frigate logi being limited to 3 reppers each with limited cap stability. This exact comp is currently a bread and butter doctrine for most small to medium sized alliances, most major alliances had it at one stage however when you can blob 100 claws… well why not just blob 100 claws… That aside, this comp is very effective against pretty much anything that it can get on top of, coupled with a few kidnappers for some spearfishing and this comp can go toe to toe with most anything.

The key to my point is that fittings and comps rely on a concept, and it’s the pilots that bring that concept to life. So the concept rides on the backs of the pilots, and like most other aspects of PVP in EVE, it’s a matter of imagination.

Many alliances aiming to make an effective comp, will practice with it on the test server, making sure that fleet members understand their role and their function, repeating actions over and over until the concept works. Spearfishing is a good example, and compliments any fleet that it supports. However it is hard to find pilots that can pull it off reliably. Spearfishing being, using for example 2 magus’ to double jumps, starting 100km away from intended target, away from their main fleet. They may not kill the fleet or the target, but they can target logi wings fairly easily and leave a fleet without logi.

In a solo PVP setting, it is also the same, though something not in a blob do not have the same level of effectiveness. Larger ships with no prop mods or tackle to make tracking smaller targets easier, will have a very hard time applying to smaller targets. While smaller targets with little DPS, may be able to track 100% of the time, however they may only do 50 damage per cycle, which would take forever. There is also cap stability to consider. Many fits will have a cap life, of around 5 minutes, give or take a few minutes, however every now and again some cheeky bastard will figure out a way to rep around 1000DPS say while still being cap stable, meaning they can fight forever, identifying the difference is important, and hard to do.

In the case of a ferox for example, it depends how you fit it. An AB ferox, which sounds kinda odd, perhaps with rails, would be able to track fairly well, however it’s all too easy to get under the guns and orbit, so a web would be a good idea in addition to the usual tackle. The better option I would think would be to go MWD with blasters scram and web possibly a rep tank, either stranded or ancil. Mediums blasters are nice, in that you can engage most things fairly reliably, so long as you can get into your gun range, otherwise you’ll obviously be wasting your time.

This though can come down to practice a lot, I personally learnt the basics through gate camping, before moving onto lowsec brawling. Which is another thing to factor in, game mechanics, since in lowsec gate guns can also be turned to your advantage if you bait your target into aggroing you first. Though I guess this could also fall into the realms of imagination aswell.

I hope this was useful in some way, if you would like to ask me any further quetions, fell free to join my discord below and hit me up, i’d have no issue going over fits with you, just make sure to get a third party fitting tool to help you learn.


You’ve stumbled upon the core of what PVP is: the knowledge of what ships do, of what the rocks, the papers, and the scissors are, and being able to recognize a target’s capabilities from just the ship they are flying. Of course there isn’t a guide / knowledge base; you build this knowledge by participating in PVP, get a feel for it yourself (or with friends). That’s why you’re getting the long answers; you’ve just asked “what is PVP”.

There are SOME basic categories, like “ewar is the nemesis of logistics” (because logistics ships need to target all their friends to be able to repair them, and if the targeting is jammed, they’re screwed), “energy neutralizers are the nemeses of interceptors” (because an interceptor with a dry capacitor cannot keep its MWD (and thus its speed) going", and so on, you can probably find some of these in some of the basic EVE PVP guides on the internet.

But a lot of the ships are versatile, with enough options in how to fit their slots with weapons, jammers, etc., that it’s difficult to tell just from the ship name. You just need to know to approach these ships with care, until you can figure out how they’re fitted.

Otherwise, how to fit ships, how to counter ships, fleet composition, fleet tactics, that’s what the game is all about, and you could spend YEARS and still not be an expert at everything. EVE is a strategy game, like chess, but oh so much more complex. You learn by doing.

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