Rattling a 'snake

26th July 2013 – 5.13 pm

Penny, bane of planet-gooers, is coming for your hauler. Resolving our static wormhole and jumping through finds a rather better target visible, though. My directional scanner is showing me a Rattlesnake faction battleship and drones, with no sign of a tower in range. I don't see any wrecks, which isn't great, but checking the anomalies using d-scan shows that the Rattlesnake is in one of them, and warping in sees why there are no wrecks: the site has only recently been entered, as the first-wave Sleeper battleship is being engaged.

Not only is the Rattlesnake apparently by itself, but it is sitting on the cosmic signature of the anomaly and isn't moving. That gives me a solid beacon to warp directly to the battleship, if I decide to ambush it. And why wouldn't I? For a start, I don't know if there are any other pilots in the system, so let's take a quick look around. The anomaly won't be cleared in the time it takes to check for towers.

Unsurprisingly, a tower sits around a distant planet, and a couple of other ships are visible on d-scan with it. The Rorqual capital industrial ship is hardly a threat itself, and I don't suppose the Thanatos carrier will be brought out in support, but the Myrmidon battlecruiser could present a problem, simply by adding some firepower to the Rattlesnake's. But this only matters if it is piloted, and I can't quite tell when I locate and warp to the tower.

The capital ships aren't piloted, so their threat level is reduced to zero, but the Myrmidon isn't at the tower. I don't know where he is, at least for a few seconds, after which the battlecruiser warps in to the force field from... somewhere. He doesn't stay for long, warping out again, again to a destination unknown to me. It's certainly not to join the Rattlesnake in the anomaly, so the pilot isn't an immediate threat to an ambush, but he definitely needs to be taken in to account.

My notes from my last visit are a slight concern too. Although we ambushed a gas-harvesting Myrmidon the last time I was in the system, I was then counter-ambushed by a couple of ships that blew the crap out of my Loki strategic cruiser. Then again, I remember that incident, and the countering ships weren't local to the system, so it would be bad luck for the same to happen today. My only other concern is whether I can actually break the Rattlesnake. I hear they are pretty tough. But it probably doesn't have a warp disruptor fitted, which would let me flee, and the best way to find out if I can successfully engage one is to do it.

The Myrmidon isn't with the Rattlesnake. The Rattlesnake continues to sit motionless on the cosmic signature, now battling the cruisers of the anomaly's second wave. As long as he doesn't spot my transitions on the wormhole I may stand a chance. I warp back to the K162, jump home, and swap my Loki at our tower for our ship-killing Legion strategic cruiser. I figure its energy neutralisers give me the my best chance against the battleship, although now would be a great time for some help to come on-line. No? Okay.

I take time during the warp back to our static wormhole to check the database on the Rattlesnake. Its shields are most vulnerable to EM damage, its armour explosive. I can do that. Jumping back to C3a has the Rattlesnake still on d-scan, drones out, so I take a deep breath and command my Legion to warp in to the anomaly. And I drop right on top of my unwitting target. I gain a positive target lock, disrupt its warp engines, and start shooting as I get the energy neutralisers busy draining the Rattlesnake's capacitor juice.

Getting the drop on a Rattlesnake engaging Sleepers

The battleship looks to bug out, but being webbed and pointed makes that rather difficult, so instead decides to fight back. He relaunches a flight of drones and sends them my way, but my Legion is in a fast, tight orbit around the Rattlesnake and, amusingly, the drones can't keep up with me. The energy vampire has no problems tracking my ship, though, which could be a problem. It may not be able to completely drain my capacitor, but the heavy neutralisers that I am running are already doing a good job of that, and I can't afford to stop them running. The Rattlesnake's shields are holding well against my missiles, so I really have to shut down his capacitor if I am to stand a chance of winning.

Trying to wear down the 'snake with my heavy neutralisers

Shoot, neut, d-scan. Still the shields hold and my capacitor is almost dry. I disengage the web, not really needing it against the fat target, but it's not enough. The reheat is next to be dropped, but that's not much of a drain in the first place. The point and neuts need to stay on the Rattlesnake, but the neuts' heavy demand is taking its toll on my capacitor. One drops, the other is barely able to complete a couple of sequential cycles, and I have to reactivate the dropped point a couple of times. My missiles keep spewing from their launchers, but to little effect. I don't know how much juice the Rattlesnake has left, but at the moment it seems like enough.

Rattlesnake fights back

I prioritise maintaining the point on the Rattlesnake, at least keeping it from getting clear, and cycle the neutralisers when my capacitor regenerates enough to power them, but I fear this fight is lost. And however close the Rattlesnake is to finally being overwhelmed, it no longer matters. I've stayed aware of the Myrmidon's presence and have been updating d-scan almost constantly looking for it, and now it's coming, no doubt fitted with a warp disruptor to stop my ailing Legion from fleeing. Okay, not today, Rattlesnake. I align away from the site and towards the wormhole, entering warp as the Myrmidon drops in to the anomaly.

Bugging out of the engagement before it is too late

I get clear and jump home without trouble, returning to our tower to repair my armour and the heat damage to my modules. That was a good fight, even if it was one I really shouldn't have got. I would be interested to know just how much I threatened the Rattlesnake, as I don't know if I was close to breaking it or if I was the one in peril. A wingman would have tipped the balance in my favour considerably, but that's the story of my life. And at least I took the ship on, not knowing how it would turn out. It was an experience.

  1. 7 Responses to “Rattling a 'snake”

  2. Rattlesnakes are among the most effective PvP ships in the game. You were lucky he didn't have a point; don't try to kill one of these alone in any T3.

    By Max on Jul 26, 2013

  3. You're not the boss of me.

    But that's probably good advice.

    By pjharvey on Jul 26, 2013

  4. While I always enjoy reading about the adventures of "Penny, bane of planet-gooers", I always like it when the opposing ship shoots back and see how you handle the situation. You make it sound so calm and coordinated, currently when I get in a fight I'm of the approach of "MASH ALL BUTTONS!!". Too bad you couldn't break his tank.

    By Draiv Solregard on Jul 26, 2013

  5. Thanks, Draiv. In this case, scouting showed me what I needed to know, so as long as what I got was what I saw I was prepared and in control. Had something unexpected happened, that's when my calm would have been tested.

    By the way, you can tell when I feel in control because I take images. If there is a lack of images then I am in 'MASH ALL BUTTONS!' mode.

    By pjharvey on Jul 28, 2013

  6. Rattlesnakes are often passive tanked and use ML/Drones.
    Even if this one seems to rely on cap (why a vampire else ?), using heavy neut was probably not the best choice ;).

    By Ryanis on Jul 30, 2013

  7. How do you fit heavy neuts on a Legion?

    By donk on Aug 2, 2013

  8. Mostly by mistaking medium neuts for heavies.

    Fitting ships is not my bag.

    By pjharvey on Aug 2, 2013

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed.