Friday, January 14, 2011

Guardians: Lifeblood of the Fleet

With armor tanking being so prevalent in PVP and some people beginning to see the advantages in PVE, it has never been a better time to fly Amarr. What with the excellent weapon systems, the massive tank, small signature radius and stupidly good T2 lineup, Amarr ships are almost on another level for fleet warfare.

And while each of those is their own powerful reason to fly Amarr, its the true workhorse of the Amarr fleet that rarely sees any attention that makes it so powerful: The Guardian.

There are four logistic ships in the game, one for each race. These are then split by what type of tank they project. Amarr and Gallente repair armor, while the Caldari and Minmatar repair shields. Of the four, only the Amarr and Caldari get two very important bonuses. While all Logistic ships get a 15% reduction in cap use for their reps, Amarr and Caldari get a reduction in energy transfers cap use as well. Because of this, Guardians and Basilisks are intended to work in pairs for maximum efficiency.

I set out to build a Guardian the other day and wanted to make one as cheap as possible without skimping on the power. Generally the reason is opposing FC's don't really like when the fleet they are fighting has logistics, and therefore logistics pilots have a tendency to get primaried a lot. Being primaried usually ends up in spinning in a pod and heading off to buy a new ship.

First of all, the fit:

Guardian Angel

4x Large Remote Armor Repairer II
2x Large 'Regard' I Power Projector

2x Conjunctive Radar ECCM Scanning Array I

Damage Control II
2x Adaptive Nano Plating II
Energized Thermic Membrane II
800mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates

Medium Anti-EM Pump I
Medium Ancillary Current Router I

5x Light Armor Repair Bot

Remember, these are intended to work in pairs, so easy rule of thumb to remain cap stable is 2 Large energy transfers out, 2 large energy transfers in. I've seen some fits that instead of running 2 large energy transfers will run 1 large and 1 medium. Make sure that guy isn't your partner. This setup will run you dry in a matter of minutes as his one large and one medium can't keep up with the energy hungry T2 reps.

Those of you who have flown logistics before are probably asking why I'm not using the meta 4 version of the armor repair, Large 'Solace' I Remote Bulwark Reconstruction. Indeed, the meta 4 version is extremely prevalent on Logistic ships due to the easier fitting costs and the fact they consume less cap. My reason is quite simple really. A T2 remote armor rep repairs the same amount of armor as the meta 4 version, but at literally a fraction of the cost. How much are we talking about here? The T2 version averages around 1.5 million isk. The meta 4 version? 7.5 to 8 mil. Since you need 4 its a difference of 6 million vs 31ish million. Since I was going for effective and still affordable, T2 was the winner here.

Granted, the meta 4 version won't cap you as fast but the difference is only a few seconds if you don't have any energy transfers coming in. Pilots may have to go with the meta 4 if their fitting skills aren't up to par or they don't care about the extra cash. Me, I'd rather take that 25 mil in savings and buy myself another fully fitted assault frigate or splurge on some other mod.

Which brings me to the mid slots. ECCM? Shadai, sleepers don't jam.

Right you are.

However, other pilots do. My general rule when fitting PVE in wormhole space is fit for PVE first, and PVP when you can. Could I put on a sensor booster for fast lock times? Sure. Some sort of assist mod? Definitely. However since none of that is really necessary, I'm going with ECCM.

Why? Cause opposing PVP fleets like to jam Logistics. And if you have any experience in a wormhole, you know that a PVE op can suddenly turn into a PVP one. I'd rather not have to go back to the POS and refit. The twin ECCM bring the guardian's sensor strength to an astounding 68.


  • 68 Sensor strength with a mere 70 signature radius makes it impossible for someone to scan you down.
  • With a fully skilled character in a Scorpion, they only have an 11% chance to jam with one ECM – White Noise Generator II.
  • What about overloading the mod? Overloading will only increase jam strength by 20% so that 11% jumps to 13.8%.
  • That same character using 2 such jamming mods only increases the jam percentage to 21%.
  • Using 3? Well I doubt someone would have three White Noise on that ship but if they were well prepared it would jump to only 30%.

Remember, those numbers are based on someone with perfect skills (all level 5) in a Scorpion. Those percentages to jam will come about every 20 seconds as that is the cycle time of the mod. Overheating does not make it move faster. I'm not really a betting man, but a 1 out of 10 chance every 20 seconds will have me picking the field every time.

Jams are the weak point of any Logistics. Not only do you have to spend time re-locking, but the opposing fleet is free to take pot shots at anyone when neither you or your partner can effectively rep (you can target and rep, and your partner can't rep long without your energy transfers). So ECCM is a big strength here for PVP operations.

But why not an Afterburner? Isn't the idea to move fast? While moving faster may help you negate some damage, in reality it will be the very small signature radius that reduces the majority of damage. The Guardian packs a low, low signature radius of 70. To put that in perspective, consider most frigates have half that and standard T1 cruisers are about double. Medium weapons have a signature of 125, which means even medium missiles and medium turrets aren't going to hit the guardian for full damage. Can you reduce damage even more with an afterburner? Sure, but when your webbed its not going to make that much of a difference from a damage standpoint. And I would rather not be probed out for insta-warp or get jammed in the heat of battle.

The lows are pretty much the standard tank. Good armor tanking skills will have this guardian with over 5k armor, and 77% EM, 78% Kin, 76% Therm and 88% Exp. Notice the lack of active mods like hardeners. This is on purpose as the second weakness to Logistic isn't something you can readily cure with a mod like ECCM – Neuts. Energy Neutralizers will make your job as a Logistics pilot a very frustrating lesson in helplessness. But with passive tank mods you can ensure your tank holds even if you can no longer rep. Which is helpful when you are packing more then 2 guardians, because they can rep you while you just enjoy the ride.

The rigs are to round out the ship. Anti Em pump helps set the excellent resist tank and the Current Router is there for extra power needed for the T2 reppers. If you decide to splurge on the meta 4 reppers, you can drop that rig for something else, my suggestion would be a trimark to push the ships total armor over 6k.

The Drones are pretty much flavor for taste. If you want to whore in on some killmails, switch the rep drones out for some warriors or hobbies. I prefer the armor repair drones to help give me a bit of a buffer and time to switch reps. They won't repair a lot, but every little bit does have a tendency to help. Generally I will carry a flight of armor rep and a flight of lights and switch them when the situation calls if I have the time in a place I can do it.

Other then that its pretty much basic triage. Be sure to have the fleet on your watchlist so you can tell who needs reps. Remember remote armor reps repair the ship at the end of the cycle, not at the beginning. Make sure you train Targeting to 5 and Multitasking to 3 so you can lock the maximum amount of targets the ship lets you lock. And finally, know your ranges. Be sure you are flying within range of your partner for energy transfers and let your fleet know your rep distance so they don't get too far from you.

Being able to fly one makes your fleet that much more powerful. And you as a pilot become more valuable to the corp you are in.


  1. Very nice look at an oft-times overlooked ship class. I've been wanting to train towards logistics for a while now but have always been told to just do it in a battleship. Thanks for presenting the logistics ship as they were meant to be.

  2. More protips:
    In medium groups, either work in pairs, or one big circle, where you cap transfer to one person above you and one below you in your guardian overview.

    Afterburners cut down sleeper missile dps a good bit.

    In big fleet battles, where lag is a killer, cap stability is more important, so switch to a cap stable ship (scimtar, oneros), or reduce the number of reps you are sending out.

    In WH space, Legions generally have a spare mid slot or two. Remote ECCM and remote sensor boosters for the guardians are suggested.

    Let your fellow pilots know your max range. Make sure to tell them when they are out of it. Don't apologize when they die because they left it.

  3. Actually to clarify on something Arggam said; Afterburners cut down on sleeper missile dps a bit.

    That is true when you are not webbed.

    In C5 and C6 sites all the sleepers web, so multiple webs on you will render the AB useless. Sleeper missile explosion velocity is 170/81/69 respectively from frigate to battleship class. Even against battleship class missiles multiple webs will not see a huge decrease in damage.

    The majority of your tank will continue to rely on the small signature radius.

    I run C5 sites and because of this generally consider an AB to be a waste. Personally I like running twin ECCM as it denies a hostile fleet the ability to probe me down and warp right on top of me, along with making it really hard to jam.

    The great thing about armor tanking is you get to use your mids for utility, so in the end you fit whatever you are comfortable with.

  4. Ah, it's so nice to see a post that isn't about a Tengu or a Drake. Great post mate!

    Long live the empire.