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The Blackbird is a small high-tech cruiser newly employed by the Caldari Navy. Commonly seen in fleet battles or acting as wingman, it is not intended for head-on slugfests, but rather delicate tactical situations.
Caldari Cruiser bonuses (per skill level):
The Blackbird is the Caldari EWAR cruiser, and is bonused for ECM. The blackbird has hull bonuses to jammer range as well as strength, allowing it to fight from much further out than a Griffin, which is great for an EWAR ship. The Blackbird also has the mid slots to support a rainbow fit of 4 racial jammers with 2 mids and 3 lows to spare, allowing the flexibility of a propulsion module and a shield or armor tank module.
There are several skills which will improve your abilities as an ECM pilot:
Caldari Cruiser - Skills for the specific types of ship you are flying will give you the greatest improvement in ECM effectiveness. 15% bonus to ECM Target Jammer strength per level. +12.5% bonus to ECM Target Jammer optimal range and falloff per level. Requires Spaceship Command III and Caldari Destroyer III.
Signal Dispersion - Increases your jam strength by 5% per level. This skill requires CPU Management V and Electronic Warfare IV. If you have decided that you really enjoy being an EWAR pilot this is a great skill to work towards, but it certainly isn't required to have fun flying ECM in fleets.
Source: ECM Guide
The following refers specifically to flying a Blackbird:
A ship's fit supports the pilot and allows the pilot to utilize certain piloting techniques and abilities. So a specialized or ultra specialized fit could only be good for a certain kind of high ace pilot or only in a certain situation.
For ECM, there are various considerations which some prioritize over others but generally fits seek to accomplish as many of them as they can so that the pilot can make use of such benefits.
This has the least to do with the fit, but the most to do with the pilot's abilities. Having tactical on grid and off grid bookmarks to use to manoeuvre around the battle, instead of using your MWD all the time (which you won't find of much use brawling on gates often compared to another jammer). Just imagine the battle area in your mind and choose the appropriate bookmark to get the job done. Drop a BM as you warp off a gate/celestial or as you land on grid to one. Then warp back to it and name it "nearest object distance". If it is towards the sun, away from, westward from sun or eastward from sun, up or down, you can put that in too if you use more than 1 tactical near an object. This is also a lot safer than warping to optimals on people where you don't know what is going on.
This is one of the most important aspects, as Blackbirds utilize a range bonus to become similar to sniper damage dealers in the sense that they don't have enough tank and can't do much brawling without dying. Since most Battlecruiser short weapons have a max range of 20-25 km, simply being outside that range gives the ECM blackbird a certain degree of safety. Without tacticals, you will find it difficult to impossible to control range against frigates, and it doesn't matter if you try to use a MWD either. Tacklers are faster and won't run out of cap using them for most tackler builds. Because people can warp to fleet mates, having enemies close to you is a sign somebody is going to come and kill you soon. Pay attention to the range of ships and their negative radial velocity on the overview.
Since the Caldari cruiser isn't very nimble, it is vital to be aligned to a tactical bookmark or celestial before you start engaging in jamming or DPS. Thus a Blackbird pilot should pre align before he activates offensive modules. This allows withdrawal from the battlefield or a bounce literally at the speed of the pilot's own reflexes. The moment you know you are in danger and want to get out, you can warp out, rather than having to wait 6 or more seconds to align out, which is plenty of time for frigates and destroyers to lock you. It's better to bounce to a close tactical (e.g. 1000-5000km), since it takes a long time to travel 14AU and back again and the battle will probably be over by the time you get back.
This is something many consider less important but for newer pilots, they will need to prioritize it a bit higher. The more battle experience a new pilot gets, the more effective they become at the job, but that doesn't work out too well when you die in the first salvo before you can even align.
When roaming around certain low sec regions, pirates sometimes use ships with high alpha damage potential such as the Tornado, so having a tank that can survive 1 or 2 alpha strikes could mean the difference between a pilot being left in a capsule or rookie ship gaining no ECM experience and being in an ECM boat roaming with the fleet gaining valuable experience. Without a buffer to increase your time on grid before in pod, you will never get the time to practise any of your piloting techniques.
Having smaller guns or launchers to deal with drone aggro or ECM drones can help a lot. Many ships may not have the range to hit your cruiser if it is at more than 20-50km from them, but their drones are a different matter.
Jam Strength and Number of Jammers
This is most reliant on the fit and the SP of the pilot. If your skills are low, use range and a buffer tank to stay alive until you can figure out how to stay alive with just range and jams power. If you try to use Meta 1 jammers and then put all kinds of jam plus rigs and lows in, sacrificing tank, you won't last long enough to jam anything more than once. A Celestis can get those 20 seconds with just a few sensor damps, resolution scripted.
Normally, Blackbirds using 6 full mid slots for jammers, a 1600mm plate, and ionic projection rigs will be looking to stay at the furthest engagement envelope feasible. Armor plates slow down a ship's align time, but pilots can mitigate this by making sure that they fight while aligned to a warp-out point.
Blackbirds that expect to be undocking from a station and fighting on grid all the time without range control might want to fit a shield tank + small blasters to deal with drones. Armor works as well if you have the skills. Having enough EHP (20-30k) will allow you to easily jam smaller ships and warp off or dock back up if something is trying to alpha snipe you from the undock. More tank is desired if your reflexes, skills, and abilities are still low. Those with more skills multiply their jamming strength with more jammers, and have a naturally higher EHP and can fit more tank to begin with. A more experienced pilot might be able to jam out 3-6 ships and maintain it through the battle. A less experienced pilot may wish to focus on jamming only 1 or 2 ships.
Blackbirds can be used to solo and bait as well, by fitting a 3 slot tackler build with some tank. In high sec, MWD is often used to kite or keep up with a kiting fleet. Try sitting at tacticals 170km away from your tacklers so you can pre align and warp to them to get jams on the target rather than trying to keep up with the tacklers via MWD. In low sec, having 15k+ EHP to survive small gang Tornado alpha will be much more useful.
When creating your own fits, jamming percent is important and optimal range on the jammers should more or less match the locking range of your Blackbird, with DPS being the last consideration. Autocannons are useful because they do a lot of damage against drones that orbit close, have naturally high tracking to compensate for lower skills of new pilots and don't use cap, but a pilot can use their own preferred weapon system if they can fit it.
You can write additional notes for Blackbird here.
|A long, long time ago...|
October 2019 Release - 2019-10-15.1
Every Cruiser, Battlecruiser and Battleship now warps faster than before.