AHACs: A Guide

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Nice analyses :D.
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so by definition, are all buffer armor cruisers "AHAC"'s? What separates "true AHACs" from other ships like non traditional ships like Ishtar, armor Munnins, and such, or is there no such cut and dried separation?You mentioned that AHAC's are designed to counter large gun ships and missile set ups with small sig, but what are their weaknesses? things they can't do so well?
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Finger Fucking Bang
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Greatest weakness is nanofleets: particularly with T3 bcs, they can easily bounce primaries and apply serious DPS without allowing the AHACs to get into proper range. I've seen a couple AHAC fleets be absolutely trounced by this approach.
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It isn't a weakness as such, but there are better fleet doctrines available. For example: slowcats/foxcats.
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Muninns don't perform well as AHACs because they only have five lowslots, and aside from that, Autocannons don't make good use of the optimal range bonus. It's a hull that is only fully realized with artillery, which doesn't leave enough PG for a 1600mm plate. Ishtars likewise have only five lowslots, which is great for a shield setup (for a Damage Control + 2x Magstab + 2x Drone Damage Amp) but underwhelming for an armor buffer. I'm not saying that they can't perform as AHACs, but they won't perform as well as a Zealot, Sacrilege or Deimos. That sixth lowslot makes all the difference (Muninn gets 60k EHP, Ishtar 62k EHP with a 3 armor/2 damage mod setup, even the Deimos gets 81k EHP).AHACs don't perform well at range (for Zealots, this is >40km) and can't dictate range on MWD BC like Drakes, Nagas, Oracles or Tornadoes. Against targets like these, it's up to the FC to provide a close warp-in and then for the fleet to spread scrams/webs. And because armor cruisers are so slow to align (one of the things that will change somewhat with the upcoming armor buffs), they're slow to get off the field or burn out of bubbles when things go tits-up. Aside from that, they're high SP and expensive, which is probably the #1 reason why the CFC/HBC don't field them very often, if ever.
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" the only true counter for an experienced T3 AHAC fleet is another T3 AHAC fleet." Unless you're the CFC in which case you just throw 2 or 3 Alpha fleets and a drake fleet for good measure at the enemy, and eventually they're persuaded to leave. Hell, as long as DBRB isn't the FC, you might even survive.
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the maller fit you posted do you really need a pg rig? my fleet maller is almost identical but mids without pg rig can be fitted with an mwd and 3 trimarks in rig slots. huge buffer and survivability when in flert with a fee augs.
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Because the post didn’t cover it, here is a list of most things that people make into AHACs effectively.T1 CruiserMaller - Accept no substitutions. This is the only T1 cruiser worth using as an AHAC. It is the only T1 cruiser with a resistance bonus. Pulse lasers with scorch have halfway decent range even on a T1 Hull. Obviously you use these when you want the cheap cost of a T1 cruiser. They’re good for learning, and no shits are given when they die.Stabber Fleet Issue - This is the middle ground in cost between a T2 cruiser and a T1. You can dual prop these giving them excellent mobility. The Stabber Fleet Issue is often used as heavy tackle ship in an AHAC fleet when Lokis are too expensive. If you want to try to combine ‘fast roaming gang’ with ‘AHAC’ this is your ship.Zealot - This is the AHAC fleet workhorse. If you’re serious about AHACs you’re using these. They have an ideal performance to cost ratio. The slot layout is good. The ships bonuses are good. The native T2 resists are good. The weapon system is very good. The only thing missing is a resist bonus.Sacrilege - While the Muninn, and Diemost don’t make decent AHACs you can use the Sacrilege. Its slot layout is less than ideal but it has two things going for it. It has a resist bonus and it has a weapon system that can hit out to 30KM. That said, the Sacrilege is far inferior to the Zealot. It just has too many mid and utility highslots for an armor tanking fleet ship desperate for lows to put tank and damage mods in. More damningly HAMs track much worse than Pulse lasers.Muninn/Diemost - Both of these ships are basically unworkable as AHACs. You can fit guns, an AB, and a 1600mm plate to both. The problems are as follows. Neither has a resist bonus. Neither has enough grid to fit a decent weapon system. You end up being thin and having a hard time projecting damage.Ishtar - Lets pretend for a moment that we don’t know the Gila is a far superior droneboat. The Ishtar is a workable AHAC because its weapon system is very powerful. On the other hand its weapon system is the most finicky one in the game. Sentry’s can be destroyed. You have to go pick your drones up if you don’t want to lose them when you warp. If you’re willing to put up with sentry drones, you can do decently with these.Legion - The Legion is the Zealot on steroids. It does everything better. On the other hand the hull costs 2.5 times as much as a Zealot’s when fitted last I checked. You don’t use these then unless you’re rolling in money, your FC is very experienced, or you’re fighting for a vital objective you cannot afford to bring your second best game to. T3s have massive hitpoints, great speeds, and forgiving powergrids. The Legion would be a pinnacle of the AHAC fleet if it were not for the Loki.Loki - The Loki serves two purposes in an AHAC fleet. It is a heavy tackler which can lock someone down with 2 webs and a point within 50KM if faction fit, or it is an Artillery Death Machine. The Loki is nearly as tough as a Legion. Unlike the Muninn it can fit a full set of well supported 720mm artillery. The weakest point of an AHAC fleet is its damage output. You expect about 400DPS out of an AHAC, but a Tier 3 Battlecruiser or a battleship can spit out 600 or 700 at a respectable range. By comparison an AHAC fleet has anemic damage. The Loki fixes this despite doing less damage than a Zealot. Artillery has very high alpa strike. If you don’t understand alpha strike, the idea is to one shot the enemy before repairs can land. A logistics cruiser with 60K EHP will instantly die to 30 people shooting it if they can each deliver 2K damage on the hit. The Loki comes in around 4K alpha. People mass these into big groups of 50 or 100 Lokis and 1 shot most subcapitals.This article also did not mention the fact that AHACs cannot easily run away. You’re slower than almost any other fleet in the game. The FC has to be careful about choosing his fights, because when you go in, you’re not coming out until the enemy is dead. This makes most AHACs poor ships for roaming deep into enemy territory. I know the article said you can take on 3:1 odds. That’s only true if the bad guys haven’t brought any of the equipment they need to beat AHACs or if there is a huge disparity in fleet quality like Lokis VS Drakes. Don’t expect to just roll out and beat 3 to 1 odds. Roll out with the idea that you can beat larger fleets if: #1 They don’t have a lot of webs and target painters. #2 They have weapon systems with terrible tracking, such as large artillery.You must bring a prober. Your effective combat range is more than likely going to peter out at 50KM. Anyone who wants to kite you will have an easy time. The best you can hope to do is land directly on them, bubble them, and tackle as many as possible. Kill your victims while the fleet burns away, then ping out. Rinse and repeat.
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Omen Navy Issue is also pretty decent in a T1 gang.
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Don't forget the Rapier as a lower cost alternative to the Loki for tackle. Lots of mids for point, webs, and painters, as well as enough lows to fit a tank (DC2, Exp hardener, Kin hardener, plate) which is made possible by the lack of needing to worry about DPS.
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Legions have smaller sig radius than Zealots?If you have good fitting skills you can plug in a cheap EG-603 implant and go double trimark on the zealot for beast tank. You can also mix up the resist mods into hardeners which is especially good if you know what you're fighting.
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Author has maybe some basic idea how ahacs work. However the post is full of mistakes. First of all the counters for ahacs are numerous, starting from any competently fced kiting setup to short range BS fleets supplemented by painters and webs. The only reason ahacs can routinely beat Drakes is by getting a) good warp ins and b) because firewalling an ahac fleet is pretty easy cause its so bunched up. It also helps that its almost impossible to outrange zealots with drakes unless they chase into the missile swarm. Also obviously if you get under the guns of railrokhs/maels you're golden. But thats about it.The reason T3s are so popular in W space is simply the need to free as much mass as possible for fleetsize, supporting caps and key ships like Bhaals/Vindis while offering a lot of bang for the buck masswise. Also most T3s with the exception of the Proteus would be AB fit for sig tanking.Neuting is also pretty deadly against any cruiser sized gang that doesn't run injectors. Also if you think that a fleet whose dps is coming from medium pulse lasers banks on having a high alpha then maybe you want to reconsider your comprehension of what alpha setups constitute. Hint: there is almost no viable fleet comp that has less alpha than a zealot gang.tldr: the only reason ahacs are doing pretty well atm is the general shift in the BS meta to longer range guns and plattforms. Any
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Drakes could (still can?) do very well against an AHAC fleet that didn't firewall effectively or where there are enough drakes they can fit webs or painters in their "utility" mid slots, go close range and start going through zealots. Someone (BL?) did this very effectively against xxdeath a while back.
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You sure showed your new leadership by posting here, that's for damn sure
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HILMAR_KELLER is letarally the worst mitni poster on this site
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I think that honor actually belongs to you, mr. low content badposter.
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The Badhacs (beam fitted zealots) of nulli secunda and the typical Muninn setup from Black Legion are more sniperhac than the traditional ahac gang.
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Are you looking at the stats while you run your mouth?
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AHACs were invented to kill the old school sniper battleships and fell out of favor as drakes came into heavy use. The guardians were just too weak to survive the fire from a large drake fleet at which point the zealots could be easily mopped up. The comeback of AHACs is the result of the oneiros being fixed such that it's actually a usable ship. The huge built in kinetic resists changed everything.The rise of firewalls sealed the fate of drakefleets, but it was the fix to the oneiros that really brought them back.
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u forgot EVE News 24 man lol
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Time to buy carriers :)
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The armor changes are actually pretty damn paltry for anything that uses 1600mm plates. Like 17m/s speed increase and .4s align with boosts and all v's level of paltry. The "buffs" to armor can be considered in no way a "generous increase in mobility".
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Excuse me, that's Mr. NO content badposter.
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What the hell are you talking about
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You're using armor links, so don't fit your T2/T3 with 2 adaptive resist mods as they become triple stacked with the resistance link. You will gain much better all around tank by replacing the ANP on the Zealot and the second EANM on the legion with a EM plating and a thermal hardener, respectively. Also, Using a Tactical Targeting subsystem instead of the Dissolution Sequencer lets you double-up as anti-tackle as you'll easily reach ~550mm scanres and Heavy Pulses with Scorch loaded carve up bombers, dictors and other small stuff incredibly well.

I recently got into a short-lived and somewhat pointless argument over Stabber Fleet Issues, or SFIs. A couple days ago, PIZZA with a FISTN FC fought multiple engagements with TRIBE, SQUEE and others in armor SFIs. I called them SFI AHACs and was corrected - those aren't AHACs. Why not? Because they're not Heavy Assault Cruisers, and therefore they cannot be AHACs.

Well, here's a shocker: Zealots aren't HACs either. They're Heavy Assault Ships. HAS doesn't sound cool, so most people just call them HACs. But our SFIs had all the qualities of AHACs without sharing the T2 cruiser class of Zealots. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck.. you know the rest. Truth be told, any Cruiser can be an AHAC, but some do it better than others.

So. What qualities do all AHACs share?

  • Armor tank. This keeps the signature radius low at the expense of speed.
  • Afterburner. This allows the ship to maintain velocity without increasing sig radius.
  • E-war in mid slots. Admittedly, many choose to fly Zealot AHACs with Tracking Computers instead of webs, scrams, damps, disruptors or ECM. But if the situation merits, AHACs can be outfitted with whatever they need in terms of E-war rather than rely on Recons.

As a doctrine, AHACs are intended to counter fleets which use large guns or heavy missiles to apply DPS. They hit at close range and 'sig tank' meaning the majority of incoming damage is reduced or not applied at all due to their relatively tiny signature. This is made easier with Skirmish Warfare Links, which reduce a fleet's signature radius, increase max velocity and improve the range of scrams and webs. Armored Warfare Links also help tremendously to tank incoming fire.

Before I get yelled at in the comments: All of the following fits have a scram and web for the sake of showcasing the natural optimal/falloff of the fits. Yes, I know you can/should fit Tracking Computers in certain cases, or double web or other E-war. Relax.

T1 AHACs

The cheapest example of an AHAC would be a Maller. Combining an excellent tank, small signature radius and utility midslots, it has all the qualities of an AHAC. Compared to others, though, it has poor damage projection and low DPS combined with terrible speed. The Stabber Fleet Issue is a step up, as it can fit a MWD in order to quickly close range on a distant target before switching to AB for a smaller sig radius, and the 40m3 drone bay is not insignificant for killing off tackle.

T2 AHACs

The classic AHAC is the Zealot, which has excellent damage projection and tank while keeping its signature microscopic. The Deimos has also been used as an AHAC, but the relatively poor damage projection of medium blasters combined with the troublesome fitting specs on the Deimos itself has kept it relatively obscure. Since the HAM buff, the Sacrilege has seen the light of day in rare instances as an AHAC, but beware - missiles have difficulties of their own, notably a weakness against smartbombing and a delay of alpha which enables targets to catch reps.

T3 AHACs

Beyond the Zealot, one encounters T3 Armor Cruisers, primarily flown by groups like Verge of Collapse, Black Legion and Aperture Harmonics. T3s offer a lot of benefits, like vastly superior EHP, smaller signature radius, better sensor strength to counter ECM, higher DPS and better velocity. They also have excellent base resists which have a compounding effect with the smaller signature radius and better AB velocity. The Loki, Legion and Proteus are all viable Armor T3s - in fact, after the HAM buff, the Legion can be double plated for around 220k EHP while delivering over 600 DPS, but it suffers the same delayed damage woes of the Sacrilege.

At this stage, the AHAC doctrine allows small fleets to engage much larger fleets designed to apply massive alpha to BC-sized targets. With proper logistics support, 3:1 or worse numerical inferiority means little; it requires a concerted effort with webs, painters and DPS to break a T3 AHAC tank. One notable counter in W-space involves the use of sieged Moroses with web and painter support, but this is only made possible by environmental effects; in K-space, the only true counter for an experienced T3 AHAC fleet is another T3 AHAC fleet.

With upcoming buffs to armor, specifically removing or decreasing velocity and mass penalties of plates, AHACs will be given a generous increase in mobility. It is unclear how Fozzie plans to change Faction and T2 Cruisers, but the future of the AHAC is looking bright.

The blackest member of Kugutsumen.com.