Tooth and Claw

29Aug08

After days of staring at it across my hangar I was finally able to get into my new toys. Before me sat a Claw and Stiletto. Both representing the Minmatars’ foray into the realm of interceptor frigates. Because of its relatively high firepower – you have to love that Thukker design – the Claw appealed to me most and I was itching to take her out for a test.

I’d spent the last couple of days browsing the various networks from inside the station and after a brief consultation with my ground crew I settled on a fit that had a good amount of speed and artillery so that I could attack from range and use my speed to run away if I took on more than I could handle. High tech ships like these are almost impossible to insure and I didn’t want to take any unneccessary risks right off the bat. Because the Thukkers don’t really pay much attention to their ships’ electronic systems I had to fit a Signal Amplifier II to boost my targetting range so I could make the most of my long range weaponry and tackling systems.

With just rudimentary certification in the piloting of such speedy ships I set out into the world to see what my new toy could do. Amamake was bustling and the local comms channels were full of chatter from engaged militia fleets. I didn’t think this was the best environment for a maiden voyage so instead I set course for the legendary system of Old Man Star in Gallente-controlled space. My first impressions of the Claw was its sheer speed. I don’t mean in a straight line, although that is impressive too, but the way in which it aligns and warps so fast that you can travel across entire solar systems in the blink of an eye.

My journey was uneventful and I arrived in Old Man Star with no stories to tell but in awe of my new vessel. A quick system scan revealed a Rifter in a military complex. Without a second thought I engaged my warp engines and leapt in. I dropped out of warp close to my target and quickly settled into a comfortable orbit at a range that would keep me out of danger from any webs that he might be carrying. I opened fire and my first volley hit home taking 3/4 of his shields in a single blast. However, after that I just couldn’t hit him. Artillery cannons aren’t designed to hit targets with a high transversal and my skills at flying interceptors weren’t good enough yet for me to compensate. With training I’ll get better and its probably best to let my skills improve. Much to his relief, I am sure, I released the Rifter from my tackle systems and headed into a station to settle down and study for more advanced interceptor skills.

Armed with improved skills and a bit of local knowledge courtesy of the Tuskers I undocked again and headed out into the black. I’d been pointed in the direction of a ratting Catalyst. I’d swapped out my Signal Amplifier II for a Tracking Enhancer II to sacrafice a bit of range for some damage. This time it did the job and I slowly but surely pounded the destroyer into pieces. I then embarked upon a long, roaming tour of Gallente low sec, during which I found precisely zero valid targets. Frustrated, I punched some familiar co-ordinates into the navigation terminal and set course for home.

Amamake was, if nothing, even hotter, with 80 pilots in local and a large battle taking place somewhere near Amamake V. Nostalgic for my early low sec training grounds I headed up towards Evati and Eifer. On the way I came across an Incursus which I locked, orbited, and slowly blew to smithereens. I’d returned to my original fit with the Signal Amplifier II reinstated now my skills had improved. I could hit frigate-sized targets happily now I’d trained a bit more so I wasn’t worried about tracking so much. Looking at the CONCORD kill report I noticed that the frigate was fitted with 80 million ISK worth of rigs. What?! I left my corp to debate the flaws in the fit and carried on my journey.

Eifer was dead except for an Ares and I’m not yet keen to take on another inty in a duel so I headed back home for the final time. In Evati I tracked down an Arbitrator and engaged the Amarr drone cruiser. It was going slowly but well when a Vagabond turned up and I managed to bail out before I ended up in serious trouble. Back home in Amamake I found a Caracal in the top belt seemingly doing nothing. I cautiously checked him out and probed his capabilities. The first time I engaged a Kestrel that had been hovering nearby warped in so I left. On my return the Caracal was still there so I re-engaged. He was fitted with damps and quickly reduced my already limited range. Still, I could orbit outside of web range and hold my point so I carried on the engagement. When he was at half shields a destroyer turned up and I ran.

This was my last action of the evening and looking back I should have taken all the chances that I was offered. I could happily have dealt with both the Kestrel and destroyer before turning my attentions back to the Caracal who seemed to have no intention of running so was probably playing bait. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll get braver as I get more used to this ship. I’ve got a long weekend of training ahead and then I’ll be certified to level IV as an interceptor pilot. I’m definitely falling in love with the Claw and I haven’t even tried a close-range fit. Watch out, New Eden!

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2 Responses to “Tooth and Claw”

  1. That Incursus fit is absolutely bizarre. Perhaps an ISK buyer? Don’t even know. You probably should have tried to engage that Ares even with your lesser skills. They are pretty awful DPS and you can always just warp away if things aren’t going well. One thing I’ve learned is that a ranged inti vs ranged inti fight will always end in a draw when one pilot disengages because there is no way to keep two ships moving that fast within scram range (even with the scram range bonus ship bonus).

    I’m glad you like the Claw so far. Interceptor’s are incredibly fun to fly solo or in a gang. Come hit me up one of these days and I’ll take the Railranis or Crusader out with you.

  2. Sounds like a fun evening! Interceptors are on my acquisition list now, too…and this makes me want to get one ASAP.


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