Anatomy of Incursions
Scope of this article
This article is not intended to be a step-by-step manual on how to lead an incursion fleet, but rather an article bringing up all the various aspects of running a site. To make sure you are aware of all the choices you'll need to be making and how they are influenced by what site you're doing, how your fleet members have fitted their ships, the skills they have and to what level of autonomy you can rely on them to perform without specific orders.
While primarily for people looking to step up and lead fleets, this article also serves as good read for players who wish to understand why things are done in a certain way, which helps them become more autonomous. Having pilots in the fleet who are able to adapt on the fly, knowing what works and what doesn't, is a tremendous asset to the fleet commander and greatly improved not only efficiency but also fleet safety. Just remember that while you're often given a certain amount of freedom, if the fleet commander gives you a specific order, follow it.
In short, this article is focused on making you aware of all the related things so that you have a proper foundation on which to improve your own performance or build your personal fleet commanding style tailored to the kind of fleets you'll run.
The Incursion fitting principles page is a great complement to this page, going through the various fitting choices.
Commanding a fleet
Remember that EVE is a game where "It depends!" is the single most important thing to remember. Don't blindly follow set tactics or kill-orders you've read here or somewhere else. Put things into perspective and adjust to what's happening in every site, where the enemies spawn as well as your current fleet composition. This is a good example of where the "why" (ability to put things into context) is more important than the "how" or "what" (rigid kill-order lists etc.), as knowing the "why" allows you to tackle anything the game throws at you, whereas only knowing the "how" or "what" will catch you off-guard whenever something out of order happens.
Do not underestimate the dangers of inflexibility or lack of knowledge surrounding the "why". A fleet led by someone who is flexible and adjusts to the actual situation and fleet composition can easily avoid disasters that would cause immediate losses for a fleet led by someone following a standard kill-order list without taking into consideration the fleet composition. Additionally, having the knowledge of "why" will allow you to foresee problems before they happen and act proactively instead of reactively.
Secure your fleet
When it comes to having enough logistics in the fleet, one of the key aspects you need to consider is how fast your logistics will cycle their repairs (which indirectly also controls how fast they can switch targets) and how vulnerable they are if they receive aggro. The fewer logistics you have in the fleet, the more vulnerable they will be if they themselves get aggro.
If you have four logistics, you’ll be able to repair a fellow logistics at 75% strength (the other three logistics will be able to rep you). When you drop to just two logistics, your efficiency drops to 50% repping power. You’re losing half your repping power at that point, while simultaneously forcing your remaining logistics pilot to commit more reppers at any given point (adding to the time it takes to switch reps from one target to another). Just turn it around and imagine taking half the tank off from a ship in the fleet, nobody would ever suggest that. To mitigate this problem in vanguards, where more than two logistics is overkill if you have offgrid boosts, we utilize secondary repping from remote shield boosters and shield maintenance bots on regular damage dealers (to be used in case of an emergency).
To be safe, an incursion fleet should be able to warp into a site, have one of their logistics take full aggro and still be able to keep that logistics alive indefinitely. Other communities might go with a more practical solution of having just enough logistics and focus more on your offensive capabilities. Similar to how mission runners can go for more gank over tank and survive, you can do the same in incursions. However, our community focuses on the safety of its members over site completion times.
Know your fleet
It is also important to be aware of your fleet composition and what your strengths and weaknesses are. Remember that your fleet composition is constantly changing as people drop and others replace them. Mentally reassess your fleet strengths and weaknesses based on what kind of ship and utility is leaving and what’s replacing it.
How many webs do you have and at what range can they be applied? How far can your damage dealers shoot and still do damage? Do you have an overall high damage or low damage fleet? How fast are most of them locking up targets? What kind of offgrid boosts are you getting? Do you have enough emergency capacitor transmitters (formerly energy transfers), remote shield boosters (formerly shield transporters) and backup maintenance bots? How responsive is your fleet, will a fast pace be efficient or just confusing and downright dangerous?
Without knowing these things you can't really make a good decision on how to tackle a site, because you'll need to put that into the context of the site you're doing and the challenges in it. The differences in spawns can make certain tactics very viable, or next to useless.
Ensure that you have enough webs
There are a lot of factors to consider, but before that, see this table:
|Type of ship||Type of web||Effectiveness of the web||Effective speed of your target|
| Vindicator 
| Federation Navy
| True Sansha
| Other ships
| Federation Navy
| True Sansha
- ^ Other Serpentis ships have bonuses to web strength (+10% per level up to +50% stronger). The same goes for the Daredevil, the Vigilant, the Vehement and the Vanquisher, but they are not commonly seen in incursions.
As you can see, a single bonused web from a Vindicator is worth more than four normal webs and it's simply impossible to reach the effect of two bonused webs with normal webs due to stacking penalties.
For vanguards, with lots of small frigates, you'll need plenty of webs. Ideally you'll want at least four webs each on primary, secondary and tertiary targets. Due to their orbit and the fact that fleet members are spread out around the beacon, you can't rely on everyone being able to apply their webs to every single target. To be safe, you might want a few more webs just in case. So a kitchen sink fleet might need something like one or two webs on each damage dealers, while a more doctrine-like fleet could make do with just one vindicator running three webs, or two vindicators sporting two webs each.
For assaults the need for webs are almost confined to making sure the dronebunny has one or two and that you have a couple more webs for slowing down Romis.
For headquarters, especially for fleets using webbing tactics to hold down ships where they spawn, it all boils down to having enough webs to get the job done. Depending on how their ships are fit, they usually have room for one or two webs. Obviously, the more webs per brawler the better, but you'd want at least 15 vindicator webs to ensure that you can web the spawns down into a convenient kill box.
In vanguards there will be a lot of small ships that orbit close, with only a few larger ships and they all spawn well within 70 - 75 km. The major engagement ranges for these kind of sites are of the 15 - 25 km range and the odd 60 - 65 km range for the Mara Paleo. For assaults and headquarters there will be fewer small ships and more large ships that initially spawn much further out. The engagement range for these sites vary a bit more, with brawlers engaging anywhere from 0 - 15 km and the rest at 20 - 25 km, 35 - 45km and 60+ km.
Short and long range weaponry
Regardless of what type of site you'll be running, you'll need to ensure that you can handle both ships that orbit close and ships that orbit further out. In vanguards the emphasis is much higher on tracking and webs to deal with the myriad of small agile frigates, whereas for assaults and headquarters the emphasis is on projection.
In general you get the best performance by carefully balancing your short and long range capabilities, tailored to the type of sites you use. That way you can ensure that your entire fleet is more or less constantly applying good damage throughout the entire site, improving your overall fleet performance.
Since all the warp disruption capable ships orbit close, and usually frigate-sized, coupled with the fact that we cater to low-skilled pilots in cost-efficient ships during wartime, we focus on short range weapons and lots of webs in vanguards. That way we can always ensure that we can kill anything that warp disrupts or does high damage, if we need to facilitate a controlled warp-out. It also allows us to be a lot more inclusive, since we wouldn't have to worry about replacing specific ships when people drop, but can take anyone from the waitlist regardless which ship they fly and what skills they have (provided the fleet has enough logistics ships).
For assault and headquarter sites the focus changes from close orbiting frigates to larger ships and range projection. With far fewer frigates and more battlecruiser- and battleship-sized ships that orbit up to 60 km away (and spawn considerably farther away), long ranged weapons are required. Those fleets need a good balance of brawlers and snipers to function, as lacking one or the other will drastically impact fleet performance.
Not only do ships align faster or slower depending on their hulls and the skills of the pilot, they also accelerate into and warp faster or slower based on their hulls. This is important to be aware of when you're using acceleration gates as logistics enter the site much faster than the slower battleships.
On top of that, some of our pilots fly with communities who use ascendancy implants and hyperspatial rigs increasing their warp speeds above and beyond the speed of logistics. Keep that in mind and have logistics align with the rest of the fleet if that is the case, so they don't arrive too late on grid.
|Ship class||Warp speed (including align time)|
25s (7-16s align)
25s (7-16s align)
|Command Ships|| |
19s (9-11s align)
17s (6-7s align)
16s (6-7s align)
7s (4-6s align)
Legend: █ Warp speed █ Fast align (max skill, agile hulls) █ Slow align (low skills, less agile hulls)
A simple way to alleviate this issue when taking acceleration gates is to simply have the battleships pre-align down the gate, while logistics and strategic cruisers sit still, unaligned at 0 m/s. Once the battleships start warping into the site and disappearing from the grid (which takes a handful of seconds), the smaller ships can then take the gate and arrive only a couple of seconds after the battleships.
Similarly, if you're using a hacking frigate for sites like the Override Transfer Array, the frigate would in turn take the gate from a stand-still as the logistics disappear off grid. Then they'd land inside the pocket after most of the Eysturs have already spawned.
Remote shield boost capabilities
It's important to know how much of your repair capabilities are tied up into each ship. That way you'll be able to quickly gauge whether you have enough support left to handle the incoming damage if one of your logistics disconnects.
In assault and headquarter sites (or even mothership sites) the loss of one logistics pilot isn't usually too much of a concern unless you're running really low on logistics to begin with. In vanguard sites however, the loss of one logistics pilot is anything but trivial, but you can utilize remote shield boosters and shield maintenance bots on regular damage dealers to mitigate that problem. Rokhs have room for small bots, Maelstroms and Nightmares can field medium bots and Hyperions, Vindicators and Machariels can field heavy bots. The Nightmare, Hyperion and Machariel can also field remote shield boosters in their spare utility highslot(s).
Below is a table comparing the various means of repairing other ships, to give you a general idea of their potency. As you can see, the difference between various flights of drones can be quite big, which is why being aware of the fleet composition is so important.
|Modules and drones||Amount repaired in hp / seconds|
|Large Remote Shield Booster II|| |
85,0 - 108,4 hp/s
|Large S95a Remote Shield Booster|| |
75 - 95,6 hp/s
|5 x Heavy Shield Maintenance Bot II|| |
|5 x Heavy Shield Maintenance Bot I|| |
|4 x Heavy Shield Maintenance Bot II || |
|4 x Heavy Shield Maintenance Bot I|| |
|5 x Medium Shield Maintenance Bot II|| |
|4 x Medium + 1 x Light Shield Maintenance Bot II || |
32,4 - 64,8 hp/s
|5 x Medium Shield Maintenance Bot I|| |
|5 x Light Shield Maintenance Bot II || |
17,5 - 35 hp/s
|5 x Light Shield Maintenance Bot I|| |
Legend: █ Base repair amount █ Ship bonuses █ Shield Command Burst bonus
- ^ Standard setup for a Vindicator in the EVE University Incursion Community is to use 5 light damage drones 4 heavy shield maintenance bots.
- ^ Standard setup for a Scimitar in the EVE University Incursion Community is to use 4 medium and 1 light shield maintenance bot and they get a bonus to drone repair amount.
- ^ Standard setup for a Basilisk in the EVE University Incursion Community is to use 5 light shield maintenance bot and they get a bonus to drone repair amount.
Using ongrid boosters is pretty much a given in any community that run incursions. A vanguard fleet with 2 logistics and an ongrid booster performs much better than a fleet with 3 logistics and no booster, simply from a defensive standpoint. Add to that the secondary benefits from skirmish and possibly even information links.
In the EVE University Incursion Community we set the bar fairly high for ongrid boosters, requiring them to have the following links and implant:
|Minimum links and implant||Secondary booster (optional)|
| Shield Command Burst II (Active Shielding Charges)
Shield Command Burst II (Shield Harmonizing Charges)
Skirmish Command Burst II (Evasive Maneuvers Charges)
Skirmish Command Burst II (Interdiction Maneuvers Charges)
Republic Fleet Command Mindlink
| Shield Command Burst II (Shield Extension Charges)|
Information Command Burst II (Sensor Optimization Charges)
Caldari Navy Command Mindlink
Below are some practical effects of having a maxed booster with the appropriate mindlink implant:
|Defensive bonuses||Other bonuses||Optional bonuses|
+32,34% web range
+21,56% shield hit points
- ^ While the shield command burst has a max value of +21,56% and is a set value, the practical effect normally varies depending on how many modules the recipient of the link has that effects resists (like hardeners, amplifiers and resist rigs). See stacking penalties for more information
- ^ The 21,56% reduction to cycle time translated into a +27,49% increase in practical repping power.
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
These bonuses might not seem that impressive if you're looking at them one by one, but they are very powerful when combined.
Take the defensive bonuses for example. The 21,56% cycle time of remote shield boosters translates into +27,49% higher repair amounts over time. Combined with the increased resists it'll turn into an actual bonus of at least +40% stronger reps on most ships with several hardeners and rigs and even more on ships that have the least amount of stacking penalties. On top of that you'll also take less damage due to having a smaller signature.
When it comes to the web range bonus the end result is so much more than merely a +32,34% range bonus. This bonus literally makes or breaks the effective use of webs as many of the Sansha ships orbit just outside the range of unboosted webs.
Apart from the very tangible increase of repping powers and web range, the other bonuses all help to improve your "quality of life" making site running both safer and faster.
Running without ongrid boosts
If you choose to run vanguard sites without boosts, you'll need to keep in mind and compensate for not having the boosts listed above. Practically this means that you need to adjust your approach to site running.
- Use three logistics pilots and remember that they will be much slower to shift their reps over due to much longer cycles.
- Tell people to refit appropriately, keep their resists up as there's no room to drop tank in favour of gank when you run without boosts.
- Revise the number of webs and target painters in the fleet. You can't drop webs in favour of tracking computers to the same extent when you run without boosts, as where you land around the beacon will have a huge effect on whether you'll be within web range or not without boosts. You might even need more painters for things that consistently stay out of web range.
- The long web range of the Loki is very useful for a fleet without boosts.
While it's doable to run vanguards without boosts, there's no point entertaining the thought of doing the same with any of the larger sites. Given the higher alpha in those sites it would be a fool's errand to try those without the extra buffer a booster provides.
It doesn't matter if you're calling target, calling for aligns or something else entirely; Always issue commands with a clear voice and repeat the command if it is really important. If possible, have keywords like "Fleet" (everyone), "Battleships" (mostly for align or warp purposes), "DD" (usually non-snipers excluding the dronebunny), "Snipers", "Logistics", "Dronebunny" or something similar, then follow up with the actual command. For example, "Battleships ... align down the gate", "Logistics ... L up", a series of "Snipers ... Anthem Neos are primary", "DD ... Augas are primary, then Deltole" and "Dronebunny ... go for the Tamas" or "Fleet ... align to broadcast, drones in.".
The use of keywords will make it clear that you're issuing an order and to whom. This helps people realize a command is about to be given, especially if you have open comms allowing people to talk and ask questions while you're running sites. Use existing "Break, break!" or "Check, check!" keywords to get people to stop talking if you need to. If possible put yourself as prioritized speaker just in case someone doesn't stop talking. When you give orders to sub-groups of your fleet, have them confirm orders if need be, even if it's just a simple "Ok", "Copy" or "Roger".
In the example above, calling "DD ... Augas are primary, then Deltole" that would let the tagger know what to tag and all the damage dealers know what to lock up while waiting for tags. This is especially helpful if you're commanding a fleet as a logistics pilot and someone else tags, or when doing larger sites where tagging is delegated to each group's commander.
Give people enough commands to know what to do and hit the ground running when they land on grid, but avoid overdoing it. No need to add commands for the entire wave right away, get people started, then amend target calls with secondary or tertiary targets once people have started shooting. The key is to give them enough targets to fill up their pre-locks, so they have secondary targets locked already when the primary goes down.
People who get nervous or worked up tend to miss details or end up with butterfingers doing what they shouldn't be doing. This is true for everyone and the fleet commander sets the tone for most of this. Don't make rash, split-second decisions. Instead, take that extra second or two and consider your options, in the end that will serve you better. It is important to make a decision that you believe is best for the safety and well being of the fleet, don't worry about maybes or what-ifs, use the information available to you to act and give commands to the best of your abilities that you think will keep the fleet safe. The longer you wait, the higher the chance someone will panic and do something stupid, potentially risking the entire fleet.
Be in control
Keep things under control in your fleet. Make sure people know what they are supposed to do, don't hesitate to repeat important orders just in case. It's better some people get annoyed by the repetitiveness than for some people to sit around wondering what to do. Don't be afraid to call people out and ask them direct questions. Fleet security takes priority over stepping on people's toes.
Control and structure doesn't necessarily mean you have to run the fleet as a ruthless slaver cracking your whip all the time, nor does it mean you can't be in control of a relaxed fleet. It's all about the members of your fleet. Some will be able to work autonomously without being reminded what to do while others will slack off and pay less attention unless you keep reminding them. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security when running with "experienced players" ... they can grow complacent and trivialize responsibility thinking someone else will do this or keep an eye on that.
Being in control also means you need to realize how much you can do and limit yourself to that, while delegating the rest to others. While it's admirable to take on many things at once, even grateful when it means the fleet takes off because of it, doing so is more harmful than helpful in the long run. Almost all non-essential tasks can be delegated to other people, even fairly new incursion runners, so there's absolutely no reason for you to be saddled with doing everything. Also, just because you can do all these things on your own, doesn't mean you should. Every extra thing you take upon yourself pulls attention from everything else you're doing, adding unnecessary risk to fleet safety.
Keep your fleet engaged
People easily lose focus when Mumble gets too quiet and all they do is running through the motions. If they do, start asking questions, change the kill order to make sure people are paying attention. Do something to make them snap out of the ensuring apathy.
If you don't, you'll end up with a fleet where things quickly degrade; People forgetting to broadcast, lock up new targets, reapply their guns after reloading, not responding fast enough to sudden commands etc. In such situations things spiral out of control really fast.
The simplest and most effective way of keeping things under control; your fleet safe and engaged, is to take control over fleet warps, aligning, entering sites, new waves and leaving sites.
Below are standard tactics which apply for most incursion fleets, with focus on removing threats and overcome any shortcomings given the fleet composition.
The following ships have target jamming capabilities:
|Enemy||Description (see Sansha's Manual for more details)|
|Niarja Myelen||A weak frigate with low signature and no offensive capabilities (also neuts).|
|Orkashu Myelen||A weak frigate with low signature and no offensive capabilities (also neuts).|
|Arnon Epithalamus||A sturdy cruiser with minor medium range damage capabilities.|
Removing these ships are almost always your top priority, as any jams they land can potentially knock out key people in your fleet, such as logistics, endangering the entire fleet. Even in the best of scenarios, where non-critical fleet members are affected, your efficiency will drop as a result of the jams until they are taken care of.
It is usually safer to commit the entire fleet to taking care of jammers, one by one in order, to minimize the time any of your fleet members are jammed. Sometimes it is necessary due to repairs, like in Override Transfer Arrays when the logistics tower isn't hacked. Other times, like in assault sites where you have more people in your fleet, you can send the dronebunny alone to take care of the Niarjas, while the rest of the fleet focuses on the larger Arnons. If you do decide to split your fleet's damage like that and have only a single person like the dronebunny go after one of the jammers, be prepared to change plans if he or she ends up being jammed. A common strategy is to have secondary "dronebunny", without any assisted drones, that will target the jamming ships but only engage them if the primary dronebunny is jammed.
Handling neuting threats
Below are the ships capable of neuting:
|Enemy||Description (see Sansha's Manual for more details)|
|Niarja Myelen||A weak frigate with low signature and no offensive capabilities (also jams).|
|Orkashu Myelen||A weak frigate with low signature and no offensive capabilities (also jams).|
|Outuni Mesen||A sturdy battleship with medium range damage capabilities (also warp disrupts and webs).|
|Deltole Tegmentum||A sturdy torpedo battleship with high damage but poor damage application (also warp disrupts and target paints).|
Both the Niarja and the Orkashu Myelen shouldn't live long enough to get within range of neuting you because they are also target jammers. But it is important to know that if you can't remove them quickly enough, they will start neuting in addition to jamming, which is bad.
One or two Deltoles shouldn't be much of a problem, but ships who aren't cap stable can sometimes find themselves too drained if they end up being the focus of the Deltole for an extended period of time. There are also some sites (assaults and headquarters) where there are enough Deltoles ongrid to pose a serious threat. As such, the Deltole is sometimes skipped in favour of other ships, due to the low neuting impact and the fact it takes a considerable effort to take it down.
Nothing comes close to the Outuni however, which is the equivalent of a Bhaalgorn in terms of neuting power. It will drain most sub-capital ships in three cycles or less, which not only stops cap-using guns, but more importantly turns off hardeners. Because of the neuting power of the Outuni, it is usually a high priority target once the jammers are removed.
It is important to remember that the above mentioned ships need to be able to get within neuting range (approximately 25km), before they pose an actual threat. Depending on where the ships spawn, what else spawns with them and how far they close in on your position, neuting boats might not be an immediate concern. Just don't let too many of them live long enough to close the distance and start neuting.
Managing the incoming damage
The following ships make up for the majority of the damage:
|Enemy||Description (see Sansha's Manual for more details)|
|Citizen / Slave ||A sturdy torpedo battleship with high damage but poor damage application to non-battleships (also warp disrupts, neuts and target paints).|
|Lirsautton Parichaya ||A strong fighter bomber with high damage and perfect application  to all ships.|
|Sansha's Nation Commander ||A torpedo frigate with low signature and very high damage but poor application to non-battleships (also warp disrupts).|
|Auga Hypophysis||A close orbiting cruiser with short range and excellent damage application (also warp disrupts and webs).|
|Tama Cerebellum||A torpedo frigate with low signature and decent damage but poor application to non-battleships (also warp disrupts).|
|Deltole Tegmentum||A sturdy torpedo battleship with high damage but poor application to non-battleships (also warp disrupts, neuts and target paints).|
|Ostingele Tectum||A sturdy battleship with good range that stays at mid-range.|
|Romi Thalamus||A sturdy cruiser with medium range and excellent damage application.|
The following would apply to sniper targets:
|Yulai Crus Cerebi||A battleship with long range and high damage but poor tracking.|
|Antem Neo||A sturdy cruisers with long range and moderate damage but relatively poor tracking.|
- ^ Citizen Astur, Slave 32152, Slave Endoma01, Slave Heavenbound02 or Slave Tama01 only spawns in the last wave of Nation Commander Stronghold sites. Killing it will end the site, no further priorities are needed.
- ^ The Lirsautton Parichaya spawns in groups of ten in the Uroborus and The Kundalini Manifest mothership sites, while a single Lirsautton isn't as dangerous as a Sansha's Nation Commander, they pose a much larger threat due to spawning in a group. They also spawn in smaller groups of one to three in scout sites, where they are less of a threat.
- ^ The Lirsautton Parichaya has bonuses that removes any reduction from explosive radius and explosive velcoity, meaning resists are the only thing mitigating damage from them.
- ^ The Sansha's Nation Commander is a special commander unit that only spawns in the Nation Commander Outpost site.
How much damage a certain ship puts out in comparison to their resists and buffer as well as how easy they are to hit, is what matters if your goal is to reduce the incoming damage as fast as possible. Ships with a high amount of damage but weak tanks are commonly referred to as "glass cannons"' in EVE and for minimum effort you remove a lot of damage from the grid by focusing on them first.
Remember that not all ships can reliably hit the smaller targets, like frigates, with their high speed and small signature, so some flexibility needs to be applied here. Snipers usually can't hit smaller targets either and non-snipers cannot engage sniper-targets out at 100km+ either. Also remember that their engagement range should be considered as well. Not only because it's easier to shoot frigates at range compared to when they are orbiting close, but also because some ships won't be able to apply their damage until they get closer.
The same goes for the Sansha's missiles and torpedoes. Tamas, Deltoles, Sansha's Nation Commander etc use Banshee Torpedoes (450m explosive radius), Arnons use Ghost Heavy Missiles (125m explosive radius) and Intakis use Haunter Cruise Missiles (247.5m explosive radius thanks to its bonuses to explosive radius). So while the Arnons have little issue applying damage, the Intakis have reduced damage due to signature and the rest using torpedoes have a hard time applying damage to small logistics and might even have issues with battleships if the fleet is running skirmish links pushing their signatures below the 450m threshold. The only exception to this are the Lirsauttons that have bonuses to their Compact Shade Torpedoes that allows them to apply perfectly (explosive velocity and radius is simply ignored). The only way to mitigate the damage from the Lirsauttons are resists, or simply warp out before the torpedoes hit you.
While focused fire from the entire fleet on targets one by one can be highly effective at quickly dropping the incoming damage, you sometimes run into diminishing return issues due to some ships being unable to apply their damage to all targets. People waste time trying to lock up things that die before they can shoot, or waste a full cycle and most of the damage potential of their guns just to pick off a tiny portion of the damage left. In those cases it can sometimes be more beneficial to assign targets to people in the fleet based on what they can most effectively hit. That way it might take longer to drop the initial damage, but the overall site completion times improve.
So be sure to take your fleet composition into consideration and utilize your fleet's offensive capabilities intelligently. A mix of both those tactics are usually warranted, focus fire on the truly dangerous enemies first, then fall back to a more adaptive focus based on application.
Overcoming enemy logistics support
The following ships have fleet supporting capabilities:
|Enemy||Description (see Sansha's Manual for more details)|
|Intaki Colliculus||A sturdy battleship logistics with decent damage capabilities and minor reps.|
|Mara Paleo||A logistics cruiser with low signature and no damage capabilities but with strong reps.|
|Kundalini / Uroborus||The Sansha flagship, spawns in the Uroborus and The Kundalini Manifest mothership sites (also neuts and ECM bursts).|
|Vylade Dien||A sturdy command ship with no damage capabilities.|
Whether you go for the logistics support before or after you deal with the immediate threat of jammers, neuters and high damage dealers is one of many things that is answered with the classical "It depends!".
Is your fleet strong enough to simply power through the repairs in a timely fashion? If so, killing the logistics is of lesser concern. In the case where the repairs are strong enough to seriously slow you down, suddenly it becomes a high priority right after jammers.
In general, the increased efficiency of their repairs and lower overall tank makes the Mara Paleo a higher priority than the Intaki Colliculus for all ships able to apply damage to the much smaller Mara. While substantial, the repairs from the flagship doesn't really influence the target order for the mothership sites, since it is the main objective for the site and takes quite a while to kill.
In addition to remote repairs, some Sansha ships like the Vylade Dien have fleet boosting capabilities, giving everyone increases shield resistances. Whether they should be a high priority to kill depends a little on the size of the wave and your long range capabilities. If you have a large wave to deal with, it becomes a higher priority as the resist bonus makes it take longer to kill off the wave. The smaller the waves, the smaller the incentive is to focus on the Vylade initially, as it has a substantial amount of effective hit points. Keep in mind that this ship has a preferred orbit of 60 km, so if this causes issues with your fleet's damage projection capabilities, you might consider making it a priority.
Removing webbers to allow rapid movement or speed tanks
Depending on the fleet composition and fitting doctrine, sometimes removing webbers can be a high priority. The ships that web are:
|Enemy||Description (see Sansha's Manual for more details)|
|Auga Hypophysis||A close orbiting cruiser with short range and excellent damage application (also warp disrupts).|
|Schmaeel Medulla||A sturdy frigate with high speed and low signature that is very hard to hit due (also warp disrupts).|
|Renyn Meten||A sturdy frigate with low signature that is hard to hit.|
|Youl Meten||A weak frigate that is otherwise similar to the Renyns.|
|Outuni Mesen||A sturdy battleship with medium range damage capabilities (also warp disrupts and neuts).|
The Schmaeels and Renyns have a webbing range of 15km while the others frigates have a standard range of 10km. The Outuni has a webbing range of 20km but is often killed long before that due to its longer neut range.
Removing webbers from the field can be a high priority if your fleet is required to, for example, fly fast with propulsion modules to reach the next gate (common in higher sites even for shield fleets), if ships rely on their afterburners to speed tank etc.
Facilitating a controlled warp-out
Sometimes things go wrong, like a logistics ship disconnecting, and you get overwhelmed on a site and need to get the fleet out. In order to safely warp a fleet out of a site you need everyone pre-aligned and all warp disrupting capable ships on grid destroyed. The ships capable of warp disrupting are:
|Enemy||Description (see Sansha's Manual for more details)|
|Citizen / Slave ||A sturdy torpedo battleship with high damage but poor damage application (also neuts and target paints).|
|Sansha's Nation Commander ||A torpedo frigate with low signature and very high damage but poor damage application|
|Schmaeel Medulla||A sturdy frigate with high speed and low signature that is very hard to hit due (also webs).|
|Tama Cerebellum||A torpedo frigate with low signature and decent damage but poor damage application|
|Auga Hypophysis||A close orbiting cruiser with short range and excellent damage application (also webs).|
|Deltole Tegmentum||A sturdy torpedo battleship with high damage but poor damage application (also neuts and target paints).|
|Outuni Mesen||A sturdy battleship with medium range damage capabilities (also neuts and webs).|
- ^ Citizen Astur, Slave 32152, Slave Endoma01, Slave Heavenbound02 or Slave Tama01 only spawns in the last wave of Nation Commander Stronghold sites. Killing it will end the site, no further priorities are needed.
- ^ The Sansha's Nation Commander is a special commander unit that spawns in the Nation Commander Outpost site.
It is important to take your fleet composition into consideration when a logistics pilot disconnects or they all get jammed and you're left with no remote repairs. Most fleets with a proper setup including emergency capacitor transmitters (formerly energy transfers), remote shield boosters (formerly shield transporters), shield maintenance bots and calm pilots can usually remove enough damage from the field to hold down the fort until the logistics pilot reconnects. Starting to align can in fact be a bad choice in some circumstances (since it reduces your tracking), so take a second to get confirmation on warp disrupts (who's warp disrupted and by whom) while making a judgement call if you can handle the incoming damage or not. If you do start aligning, remind the logistics to turn their afterburners off so they don't run out of range and keep an eye on the fleet if you end up staying aligned for longer periods of time.
Remember that you always have the option to keep one ship alive in order to avoid spawning the next wave. It doesn't take much to handle the incoming damage of a single ship, so if you have time to trim down the wave to the point where it's just one ship left, that's also an option. Keep in mind that this requires the fleet to be strong enough to quickly drop the incoming damage, competent enough to stop shooting and for people to pull in their damage dealing drones. Otherwise the last enemy will die and a new wave will spawn making things worse. Tagging the NPC you don't want killed with a J (juliet) and reminding people on mumble usually does the trick though.
If things get completely out of hand and you know for a fact that you won't be able to save everyone, as a last resort you could kill off as many warp disrupt capable ships as you can (leaving as few behind as possible) and take as many people in the fleet out as you can to prevent further losses. For example, in an Override Transfer Array site you got a lot of warp disrupt capable ships, like Tamas, Augas and a Deltole each wave. Killing the Tamas (usually a handful) first would get rid of the most warp disruptors the fastest. Second would be Augas (usually two) as they are much easier to kill then the Deltole (just one). That way you might be able to get rid of 7 out of 8 warp disrupt capable ships and even if you don't have time to kill the Deltole, you've reduced the potential losses down to just one single ship, the one pointed by the Deltole. Remember your priority is the majority of the fleet, not the individual members.
Drones can be a tremendous asset on the field, with a damage potential anywhere from 500 up to 900+ dps from light combat drones alone in vanguards. But you need to use them wisely or end up wasting their potential.
In a less skilled fleet consisting of regular tech one ships the frigates present a noticeable problem. To remedy the problem we utilize the dronebunny to effectively handle the fast, small signature, tight orbiting frigates. Drones can even dispose of unwebbed frigates, although they should always be complemented with a web or two to speed things up.
One thing to remember about drones is that they have very short optimals and you also need to factor in travel time. You want them to spend more time shooting and less time moving. As such, there's no one way to use drones, but instead highly situational. See bonused webs under Advanced tactics below for more information.
The first thing to remember is that the dronebunny is first and foremost a damage dealer, dronebunny second. You should never compromise your primary function of dealing damage in an attempt to be a better dronebunny. You select a dronebunny from the fleet members based on who could direct the drones with the least amount of interference or hindrance, while simultaneously making the most use of the drones.
As for who the dronebunny should be, there are a variety of things to consider. It is often easier to think of what ships in the fleet shouldn't be the dronebunny.
- A sniper or someone with the range to hit the elusive targets out at 50-60km (usually outside drone control range) is not a good candidate unless they are assigned sentry drones from people with excessive drone control range.
- A ship with bonused webs like a Vindicator that shoots frigates is also a poor choice, since they never stay on a single target for very long. On the other hand, if they take on the role of the brawler anchor in a larger fleet, then they can sometimes be a good option for controlling heavy drones.
- Your tagger is usually a poor choice because his focus will be on tagging.
- Any ship with multiple utility midslots that you want spread across primary and secondary targets would also be a poor choice, as the drones would get confused with webs and target painters being spread on multiple targets. A dronebunny should focus his attention to one ship at a time.
- In short, never hamper or limit the potential of any ship in your fleet by making them the dronebunny.
Once you've eliminated the bad choices, take a look at the ships that remain. Ideal candidates would be ships with a good scan resolution for fast locks, at least one web to improve the efficiency of the drones (if they are short range targets) and a reasonable cycle time on their weapons (or the ability to conveniently group them) so they can engage the next target in a timely fashion.
In larger sites, assaults and headquarters, you'll quickly break the limit of a maximum of 50 assigned drones. When you have more than that, it not only becomes necessary to have multiple dronebunnies but it also means that you should take great care in who assigned what drones to whom. If you have a mix of light, medium and heavy drones, or even sentry drones, they usually benefit from being split up and utilized in a practical manner.
- Assign light drones to one dronebunny, to help them take care of smaller targets like frigates. Light drones will easily fly back and forth on the battlefield due to their high speeds.
- Assign medium drones another dronebunny, to help them take care of close by cruisers. Due to damage application and their innate slower speed, care needs to be taken so as not to spread these out. Romi Thalamus is often a good choice for this dronebunny, as they are a low priority and come in fairly close so the drones will stay on target for quite a while.
- (optional) Assign heavy drones to a brawler anchor, if you use one, to both keep them where the brawlers are as well as help them kill their targets.
- (optional) Assign sentry drones to another dronebuny, to help them take care of battleships. Since they cannot more from where they are deployed  and will have limited range and tracking issues, care needs to be taken to direct them to suitable targets. Deltole Tegmentum could be a good choice for short range gardes while Ostingele Tectum would perhaps be better for curators. Since they aren't moving they suffer less from diminishing returns when rapidly swapping targets.
Of course there are exceptions to the rule. Putting drones on a high priority target might be overkill sometimes, but it would get rid of the target that much faster which can sometimes be prudent. You can also have people control their own drones if there's a need for it, for example if there's no real homogeneity among the drones (like a mix of gardes and curators) or if some people have perfect drone control range and can utilize it. The most important thing is that you make sure your dronebunny knows what to shoot, so he can effectively direct the drones.
- ^ Technically sentry drones move about a meter per second, but for the sake of argument let's assume they are stationary.
Spreading webs and target painters
Try to make the most out of your webs and target painters in the fleet. See the bonused webs and stacking section above for more information.
First of all, remember that not everyone will be able to web everything. When you enter a vanguard site for example, you'll all land anywhere within a radius of roughly 4,000 meters from the beacon. This means that you can be up to 8,000 meters away from some of your fleet members. If a Sansha orbits someone that far out, they'll be +/- 8km away, potentially orbiting in and out of web range depending on their preferred orbit distance. This is why we focus so heavily on webs for vanguards, to ensure that we have enough webs available for any given target.
Second, consider stacking penalties and spread your webs out among primary, secondary and drone targets. Experienced pilots will do this automatically, but it doesn't hurt to remind them to keep an eye on the velocity of their targets and spread webs if your primary target is already sufficiently webbed down. Remind people that they should always use their webs. If they can't web their primary or secondary targets, just web something else.
If you have long-webbed Lokis and Bhaalgorns, make sure they aren't webbing things too far out. Always adjust the range of which you web things down to your fleet's damage projection capabilities. There's no point webbing things at 40km if more than half your fleet is unable to hit things for any kind of damage at that range.
The same goes for target painters, although they are harder to manage as you wouldn't immediately be able to tell how many painters are on your target, like you do with webs and velocity. Normally you don't have too many target painters for that to be a problem and a good mix of both webs and target painters often gives you better applied damage than simply piling on more and more webs.
Making the most out of remote tracking computers and remote sensor boosters
Remote tracking computers and remote sensor boosters can help ships push critical boundaries, overcome ship-design flaws or just plain improve the overall efficiency of the fleet. Because they are so much stronger than local variants of these modules, they can even be effective despite heavy stacking penalties due to the fact that they end up on top of the hierarchy. It's often worth spreading these modules around as opposed to doubling up on fewer people, but if you do, especially with the remote tracking computer, it's often more beneficial to script them differently in order to avoid too much stacking.
Choosing who benefits the most from a remote tracking computer is all about overall applied damage output and to some degree stacking penalties. Boosting a ship with few other bonuses being stacking penalized, will yield a better result compared to boosting a ship with more modules stacking (assuming they are of similar prowess in terms of applied damage). At the same time, there is great synergy for boosting ships who already have strong base values due to ship bonuses or simply due to their fit. A smaller percentage boost on a higher value compared to a higher percentage boost on a lower value will at some point favour boosting the ship with the highest value instead of looking at who benefits the most percentage wise.
On a more basic level, ships who have the needed range benefit more from improved tracking than they do from getting more range. Similarly a ship with mediocre or only decent range, but with good tracking already, will benefit the most from tracking speed. A good rule of thumb can be to give optimal range to ships fitted with blasters (and in some cases autocannons if their range is too low) while most other ships benefit more from tracking speed.
For vanguards it's almost always more useful to put remote tracking computers on your logistics, including the basilisk, because the need for increased locking speed is often outweighed by the overall improved dps that comes from the remote tracking computers. In assaults and headquarters however, the fleet can often benefit from a few remote sensor boosters from their basilisks. When it comes to using remote sensor boosters, it is often better to boost the worst scan resolution than it is to try and top off an already decent scan resolution. If people learn to pre-lock as many targets as possible, the first lock is the most critical one. Getting that slow-locking battleship to 8 seconds instead of 16 seconds is a huge boost for the fleet, as it means that ship will apply damage much, much faster. Certainly better than boosting the dronebunny from 5 seconds to 2,5 second locking time in most scenarios.
Naturally there could be situations where it might pay off to top off an already decent scan res. For example if you were to rely on a single ship to quickly kill something as it spawns before it can be a threat. An example of that would be a ship tailored to insta-pop any Niarja that spawns, before it even has a chance to jam someone, which means less jams that the fleet has to worry about.
Overheating defensive modules and remote shield boosters
In case of an emergency or whenever the incoming damage becomes too much to handle, the combined effect of overheating can often save your ship.
Overheating an Invulnerability Field II module will increase its efficiency by 20% allowing you to push your resists up by a few percent, easily giving you a 10% reduction to incoming damage. An overheated Large Remote Shield Booster II module will lower the duration of the module by 15% giving them more than 17% more effective repairs. The combined effect of the two will usually buy you enough time to resolve the situation and get things under control again. This can be an even more effective strategy when a capsuleer is using a Strategic Cruiser as they are bonused to reduce module heat damage taken, with high enough skills you can overheat a module for prolonged periods without causing too much damage.
See the Overheating page for more information.
Once you have the basics of Incursion running down, consider further refining your tactics, or even fitting principles, to improve your fleet's performance. You might want to further increase your safety margin, or maximise your income by completing sites faster and/or winning competitions.
The fits we have on the wiki are specifically tailored to suit our normal kitchen sink fleets, so that we don't have to cherry-pick ships to get a functioning fleet. For example that's why all battleships have a sensor booster and at least one web for vanguards, why we ensure that people have a solid tank and range projection in assaults sites. Naturally there is room for improvement here, based on the fleet composition.
An offensively strong vanguard fleet could drop the damage control or invulnerability field in favour of a tracking enhancer or a tracking computer. If the fleet has lots of Vindicators with bonused webs you could perhaps have some of the other ships refit to target painters, double sensor boosters or more tracking computers, perhaps even long ranged turrets like Tachyons and Artillery. Just make sure that you have enough webs to cover all primary targets, that you don't compromise the tank too much and remember to adjust back if your fleet composition changes.
In assaults you can allow experienced pilots the freedom to fit for short range and a microwarpdrive, allowing them to roam about and web things down. This of course assumes that utility cap is available or that the pilot is skilled enough to be able to keep himself from capping out. You can also allow for high skilled players to take off their large shield extenders in favour of a tracking computer, if their resists are high enough and their base shield hit points are within acceptable limits.
For the majority of our fleets there's little need to go this far. Our kitchen sink fleets, with people coming in and out, are often ill suited for this level of micromanaging. That doesn't mean that it can't be a great tool when you end up getting lots of high skilled players in pirate faction battleships.
Bonused webs and flexible dronebunny
Webs from Vindicators are incredibly powerful (up to 90% velocity reduction instead of 60%) and takes angular velocity out of the equation most of the time, especially in combination with the good base tracking of blasters. This allows them to become excellent frigate-killers, as soon as the target comes within webbing range. Given the right circumstances (enough bonused webs, good offgrid bonuses extending the range of webs) you can completely turn the tables and have the damage dealers with bonused webs take care of the frigates, leaving the dronebunny to follow the regular targets (like cruisers and battleships).
Theoretically this would also work with long webs, from Bhaalgorns and Lokis. If you have enough webs to slow down all frigates at range, like between 30-50km, it would allow the entire fleet to pop frigates left and right on approach ... assuming your damage dealers have the range needed. However, if anything slips through your web and gets into orbit, you're back to square one.
Webbing stuff at range is often a detriment, as it often leads to range issues and lower applied damage from your fleet. But if the fleet has the range, webbing things at a distance would help tracking and potentially reduce damage for some enemies (as they too would be stuck in falloff or even out of range completely).
Autonomous fleet members
Sometimes you can afford to give certain members free reigns in what they shoot, if they are knowledgeable about incursions or fly a specific ship that doesn't quite fit your pre-determined roles. More experienced players for example could determine on their own if there's room for taking a few shots at an incoming frigate before moving on to the cruisers. Some pilots could be entrusted to direct their own drones instead of assigning them to the dronebunny, if for example they have the range and ability to use them to shoot ships that spawn outside normal drone control range. This would of course require that the pilots are well accustomed to the needs of the fleet commander and knows the limits of their ship, so as not to waste their potential.
In certain fleets it might even be worth it to simply call "New wave!" instead of actually calling specific targets, leaving comms open for more important information or simply to allow for more conversation. This of course assumes you're running with experienced players who know what to shoot already. Be mindful of new people joining the fleet, so you adjust accordingly.
Just be careful giving people this freedom, because unless they know your style and can anticipate when to stop going off on their own and fall back on your orders you can quickly end up with an unruly fleet with no direction.
Situational target calling
While there are some standard target orders and priorities, there's often room for improvement based on a number of variables.
The individual skills of the pilots in your fleet can range from low skilled to high skilled, their ships from tech one to pirate faction battleships, their modules from meta 4 to tech 2, faction, deadspace or even officer modules. Ships can fit for short or long range, people can be more or less experienced and more or less attentive to your sudden commands etc.
All these things make for very different fleets and you'll need to factor that into how you run your fleet. A very high skilled and blinged out fleet can easily neutralize threats whenever you tell them to, allowing you to leave potentially dangerous targets for later, in favour of removing damage from the field. The same couldn't be done in a fleet where the damage application is low or when people aren't reacting fast enough to new target calls.
This also means that a good balance of short and long ranged ships is necessary to achieve optimal performance.
With poor range projection it can sometimes be more beneficial to have some of your short range ships shoot the enemies that are close, even though they are of lower priority simply because they don't have the range to shoot anything else. Just remember to make a second call for them to swap back to their primary target once they get into range.
The other ships, capable of ranged projection, could then be directed to targets further out that the short ranged fleet members cannot reach. While this might lead to higher overall incoming damage early on (since the high priority targets won't die as fast) it would lead to faster overall completion times because each ship in the fleet will be able to utilize their damage capabilities better.
Similar to range projection, some ships will have an easier time applying their damage to certain sized ships or speeds due to tracking.
Large guns have an easier time hitting battlecruisers and battleships than they have hitting close orbiting frigates and cruisers. While webs often cancel this effect, there's still room for micromanaging your fleet to keep people shooting targets they can apply the most damage to. The need for this increases with the number of ships in your fleet, so as not to waste damage potential.
Whenever targets spawn at range, there's a window of opportunity for any fleet with ships able to lock fast and shoot at a distance. While on approach, enemies come in at a low angular velocity with their microwarpdrive turned on and thus much easier to hit compared to when they slow down and start orbiting under your guns. Given enough scan resolution, good enough range and tracking, even battleships can pick off smaller ships as they come rushing towards you. Most tech one battleships have no real means of doing this, but faction battleships and strategic cruisers are usually more than capable of finishing off a few frigates before they even get close.
Some sites will have targets that you don't necessarily need to kill to finish the site. Sometimes they can be ignored completely, like in the case of the Eystur Rhomben in Override Transfer Array sites and the Antem Neo in Overwhelmed Civilian Facility sites.
In other sites, like the True Creations Research Center and The Kundalini Manifest, you trim down the waves to a point where your logistics can handle the incoming damage, after which you ignore most of them (except a handful of respawns) in favour of finishing the main objective.
If you sit still in a site, you're limited to the pre-set engagement range of the site based on where enemies spawn and how fast they fly towards your position. The benefit of sitting still is that you don't add to your tracking issues by moving and inflating the angular velocity.
The goal of a moving fleet is to close the distance between the fleet and the spawn-point where enemies appear. The downside of this tactic is that while moving, your tracking is severely reduced, but the benefit once you've reached your position is that you suddenly have everything spawning right on top of you, well within webbing range as well as optimal damage range. The faster you get all damage dealers on top of the spawn-point, the better.
When enemies spawn right on top of you, they'll burn straight away from you until they reach their preferred orbit. Just like when they burn straight towards you, you'd benefit from a very low angular velocity when they try to fly away from you. Since they start well within your optimal range and try to get out of it, instead of into it, high scan resolution for fast locks and high damage output is more important than range for the moving fleets.
This tactic is most suited for armour fleets, that generally has more utility midslots and often has less range compared to shield fleets. By fitting microwarpdrives and burning towards spawnpoints they capitalize on their utility midslots as well as compensate for their shorter damage projection capabilities.
Naturally this tactic is also more useful in sites where the waves all spawn at the same spot (so you only need to move once), while less useful where the waves spawn far from each other (and you have to constantly move between spawns). It also matters what kind of enemies you are facing, as moving in sites where you face mostly battleships is less of an issue than moving in sites where you're trying to shoot frigates and cruisers with your large turrets.
You also need to keep in mind that you should still keep your fleet together. Mixing afterburners and microwarpdrives or have some ships without any kind of propulsion module would lead to your fleet being split up with some ships constantly moving (and potentially completely useless due to reduced tracking). You also run the risk of enemies being pulled out of optimal range from the main bulk of the fleet if they go for the ship that isn't with the rest of the fleet.
So a moving fleet can be extremely efficient, but requires more coordination and homogeneous fitting requirements in order to be pulled off successfully.
Some communities specialize in just Vanguard or just Headquarter sites, perhaps even focusing on specific type of sites as well for increased efficiency. Some even build fleets for the sole purpose of competing against other fleets.
Such specialized fleets can be extremely powerful if used right, but since they require specific fits and the fact that they often sacrifice efficiency in some areas in favour of others, they are usually somewhat limited and less flexible. They also require strict fleet compositions in order to function, specific roles would need to be filled and not just anyone could replace people when they drop.
One examples of specializing vanguard fleets would be to have all long range, alpha focused ships that fit tracking computers and target painters, with just one or two ships like Vindicators with webs to handle the few ships that slip past. Some drop down to one single logistics ship in vanguards in favour of having another damage dealer on grid, relying on skilled pilots and well-fitted ships to simply reduce the incoming damage to a manageable level before the Sansha are able to apply it. For competition fleets it's not unusual to run a little heavy with 12 members on grid instead of the usual 10 or 11, to ensure that they win every competition or at least gain a favourable edge over other fleets.
Another example would be fleets that focus on increasing warp speeds as a means to both allow them to quickly move to another site to compete, but also to simply reduce the time between sites. While it might seem weird, there's a certain point where improving your ongrid performance further isn't effective anymore due to diminishing returns. With ascendancy implants and warp speed rigs and modules you can sacrifice some of your damage application in favour of greatly reducing the time it takes you to warp, ending up gaining giving you overall faster completion times when factoring in moving.
When your site is taken and they have just begun, or when another fleet comes into the site you just started, then you need to consider your options as far as competing goes.
First of all, once committed to a site, or at least a wave, you should finish it. Only leave a site in a controlled fashion, making sure none of your fleet members are warp disrupted or otherwise disposed and unable to warp away with the rest of the fleet.
Second, competition is all about beating your opponent. In order to do that you need simply be better than them, in everything (lock faster, shoot further, do more damage etc.) … or you need to play at your strengths and their weaknesses. In order to do that, you naturally have to know not only your own fleet, but theirs as well, and quickly be able to judge them.
Third, it is a widely held belief that competitions are measured in raw damage done to the Sansha. This means that hitting the armour and hull (which have little to no resists) earns you more points compared to hitting the shield (which has high resists). As such, trying to prioritize making hits to armour and hull is a common strategy to gain an edge, because if you can alpha away the armour and hull on a ship, you "win" that ship even if someone else chipped away the entire shield. Given how a cruiser like the Auga Hypophysis has 31,185 raw hit points, compared to a frigate like the Tama Cerebellum with its 5,390 raw hit points, you can clearly see the value in focusing on the Auga to make sure you get the most points from that, even if it means completely ignoring the 3-4 Tamas on grid.
Things to consider, but not be limited to:
- Shifting priorities
- Priorities change when you're running in competition mode, so don't be afraid to deviate from your normal kill orders. Ships like Niarja Myelen and Arnon Epithalamus who are usually prioritized targets because they jam, might end up being key pieces in your struggle for dominance. If any of your fleet members are jammed, they remain high priority targets, but if they jam any of the members of the competing fleet, you'd want them alive for as long as possible. Have fleet members call out if they get jammed during competitions, so you can make the right call.
- Tactical overheat
- Calling for the fleet to overheat is not just something you do in an emergency to squeeze out more resists or faster remote shield boosting. It can also be used with great effect to increase your offensive capabilities to give you that edge you need to win a contest.
- Suitable engagement range?
- Can you outrange them or perform better at short range because they are range-fit? This is highly situational based on what site you’re running. The enemies would need to spawn out of their range for you to outrange them. Similarly they’d need to all spawn within your range if you planned to outperform them at close range.
- Is your fleet simply better?
- Can you simply overpower them with your fleet composition? If so, by all means do it.
- Do you even have to compete?
- If there are plenty of sites around, then there’s no shame in not competing at all. Just don’t be bullied by another fleet if you think you can take them. If they are better, accept your fate and plan accordingly.
- Should you cut your losses?
- Sometimes you're forced to compete against your will, or bite off more than you can swallow. If the site allows it, make a graceful but controlled exit and go to another site. Sites with very few warp disrupt capable ships are ideal for such "strategic retreats". For sites with too many ships capable of warp disrupting you're pretty much committed however, as the window without warp disrupts can be a very short and dangerous one.
- Will boosters help?
- Consumables like boosters may become worth considering if you compete a lot, to give you another edge. The Synth variety of drugs while weaker than the rest of the available choices do have a major advantage: they have no chance of side effects. This makes them a decent choice for long-term consistent use in high-sec incursions. See Combat Booster for more information on effects of boosters in EVE.
Just remember that hesitation is often viewed as a sign of weakness in the eyes of the other fleet commander, so delaying on a gate increases the risk of being contested. Aggressive aligning and going into the site quickly is often viewed as confidence, which will give the other fleet commander pause even if he has a better fleet.
Whatever you decide to do, remember to do it in a controlled manner. Don't throw caution to the wind just because you have another fleet at the gate.