Fleets 321: Hydra Frigate Fleets

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  • Concepts of Hydra Fleets
  • Fitting a ship for a Hydra Fleet
  • Fleet Structure
  • Practical Exercise

Teaching Guide


For almost every situation you can create an almost infinite number of possible tactics and strategies. Some tactics will work better than others in a given situation, and worse in another. As with most things in Eve, there is rarely a definitive 'best'. There are however some concepts that if executed properly, work will in many different situations. It is being observed that with sufficient numbers you can engage even capitals with Hydra Frigate Fleets.

Class Information

General Information

  • Duration: 1 hour theory and an additional 2 hours of Roam
  • Location: First Part; Docked up safely in a station and second part roaming in Low-sec or Null-sec

Student requirements:

  • Mumble registration and access - make sure you have Mumble sorted out and operational well before the class begins. Use this guide for set-up: http://wiki.eveuniversity.org/Mumble
  • Access to the Class.E-UNI in-game chat channel
  • A suitable ship, of the Tech 1 Frigate type and fitted for Hydra Concept, for the Roam
  • Previous attend or listen or else study on Tackling 101, E-War 101, Fleet 101 and fitting 101
  • Previous involved at least three fleets before in E-uni

Reminder: this is an advance strategy and requires a base level of experience to properly execute the tactics so those basic knowledge and experience is very important during the class.

This strategy and execution of the tactic requires significant amount of input from each and every fleet member. Indifferently from general fleets, Hydra Frigate member should take care of their self in a more detailed level because it’s a fast moving multiple target engaging fleet. Objectives;

1 - Introduction of Hydra Principle

2 - Revive of the Frigates; Strength & Weaknesses

3 - Proper execution of Hydra Principle

4 - Showing responsibilities of individual pilots in Hydra Fleet

5 - Creating common fleet and pilot situational awareness

6 - Teaching students to be self-sufficient and oriented in high speed fast moving fleets

Teaching Notes

Teacher Requirements

Required materials:

  • Class channel on Mumble
  • Class channel in-game (CLASS.E-UNI for in-corp teachers, LECTURE.E-UNI for out-of-corp teachers)
  • Member of EVE University Corporation. Alternatively, teachers outside corp can use a proxy FC from inside uni as they may not fleet with the uni class.
  • Fitting samples, class wiki is available in Hydra Principle in EVE-UNI Wiki

Concept of Hydra Principle

"Strength of Many ... Power of One" is where effectiveness of the Hydra principle lies. The Hydra name came from the mythical beast of ancient times. The Hydra was assumed to be a reptilian creature with multiple heads, each with different properties. Legend also states that if you chop off one of its head than two heads will grow back in its place, which means cutting one offensive part, rather than limiting its offensive power, increases it. Hydra Frigate fleets work in a similar way - by never resting any one aspect of the fleet on a single ship, any 'head' which is cut off always has two more to replace it.

Tip for the Teacher: Try to show the difference between a normal fleet losing a key element such as logistic ship or ECM support or heavy tackle and lose its combat capability but in Hydra losing one third of the fleet will not cripple the combat capability and fleet could keep engaging the opposing force.

Although this principle is legitimate for other ship types, it works especially well with frigates due to their innate strengths and weaknesses.

Assessment of Frigates in PvP and Hydra Principle

Frigates, especially Tech 1 frigates, are extremely cost effective, easy to fit with low skill levels, and extremely effective if used in a proper organization and structure. There are very strong properties; with that many weaknesses come with the frigates. The Hydra Principle is used to utilize their collective power while overcoming their weakness.

Tip for the Teacher: Give examples from T2 Frigate hull requirements such as cov-op and interceptors to show how difficult to study those then just explain that skill levels at 3 or 4 for relevant skills are all sufficient to effectively fly a tech 1 frigate because hydra setups prefer tech 1 meta 1 or 2 items.

Strengths of Frigates
  • Are fast and agile
  • Are cheap
  • Are easy to fly and fit with low skills
  • Have small signature radius
  • Have short lock time
  • Could fit multiple E-war modules easily

Their ratios of offensive strength to their price and skill requirements, with support of e-war, is much better than many of ship types in Eve.

Tip for the Teacher: Small signature radius property and fast lock capability could be explained with more details and examples. One of the best examples for signature radius and damage correlation is to describe damage from a shotgun shell. Pellets shot from a shotgun barrel will be disbursed before impact. If your target size is smaller less pellets will hit but if you are firing a big board, all pellets will hit the board surface.

Weaknesses of Frigates
  • Have almost no HP
  • Are weak against smart bombs
  • Have limited amount of DPS

Despite their offensive strengths, they are extremely lacking in defense and could not stand a chance alone in extended fights against bigger ship types.Utilizing Frigates for Execution of Hydra Principle

Utilizing Frigates for Execution of Hydra Principle

The concept is to overwhelm with numbers to increase total offensive power, while making up for the lack of defense with speed, agility, low signature radius and e-war support, even from the combat boats. Speed and agility keeps you mobile and makes various maneuvers easier. Fast moving fleets are not so easily ambushed while on a gate or another tactical location. Additional fast frigates can utilize their speed to tank the incoming fire.

E-war support even from the combat DPS boats will create an edge to avoid enemy fire. Reduction of optimal range or disruption of tracking will make many enemy pilots go crazy over their helpless situation. The numbers of ships both make it possible to deal with multiple targets and to distribute the chance of being targeted by enemy. In a hydra fleet, if you are being targeted and taking serious damage, it is expected that you can disengage and bounce to combat field. Be advised that, your low signature radius and heavy e-war support, including your 10-12 km range, after the initial encounter following the maintaining the control of the engagement (?), will reduce the risk to minimum, even almost zero.

The one of the most important weaknesses, DPS will be solved with the number of ships and focus fire. Assuming average frigates DPS is around 50, times 20 frigates, equals’ 1000 DPS, which is almost sufficient to take on most of the average sub-cap ships. When the number of frigates goes up, the offensive and defensive power will increase exponentially. Although the method may seem like blobbing, the whole group consists of well-organized and fitted frigates. The self-awareness of each pilot and proper execution of their role and the tactic in structure will bring tremendous results.

Tip for the Teacher: It’s time to start implementing student the important of getting oriented in fleet while following these tactics execution and while doing this being self-sufficient and define the best course of action for themselves during engagement while doing their role in the fleet.

How to fit your frigates for Hydra Fleets

Fits for Hydra fleets depends on some basic rules and fleet structure. There are some absolute things that you shouldn’t fit and others that you should fit. Here is the list:

Tip for the Teacher: Students attending this class should have the basic knowledge on Tackling, E-war and fitting ships, so remember not to dig in details of the modules but stick with why we use and don’t use these modules.

Avoid fitting:

  • Armor tanks because they will slow you down and will only keep you alive for few more seconds but you lose the most important thing, namely your speed.
  • Shield tanks because their protection will only keep you alive for few more second. If you use e-war module rather than shield tank modules, your collective fleet e-war strength will paralyze almost all of your enemies. Utilizing e-war in mid slots will provide a fleet wide defense and your collective e-war power is much better than your personal shield tanks.
  • Microwarp drive (unless you fit warp scrambler) because frigates are fast enough with their own speed, and after burners can provide necessary boost while keeping your signature radius sane and cap stable. Microwarp drives will increase your signature rate, which means that the enemy could lock you faster and can do more damage as a result of the sig-radius increase. The only exception is for interceptors and fast close range tacklers with Warp scrambler.
  • Sensor boosters, because your locking duration is already sufficient enough to lock the enemy first. Considering the fact that most of the targets will be ships with bigger size and signature radius, utilization of sensor booster is not necessary. Additionally, sensor boosters boost levels are much smaller then Remote sensor booster. If sensor boosting is required, remote sensor boosters are almost three times more effective then local boosters.

While avoid using above mentioned modules, you fit should be in accordance with the rules written below;

Things to fit:

  • Long range weapons are required for Hydra Frigates fleets because the Smart bombs you face are devastating at close range, and so you may keep attacking while avoiding smart bomb risk.

Defense properties of e-war support will reduce and cripple your targets optimal, tracking speed and targeting range. As a result of this, the risk of receiving damage reduces substantially.

  • E-war modules user in almost all frigates because activating multiple Tracking disruptors and Sensor dampeners will cripple your enemy’s sensory systems and make its offensive power useless. As an example, average drakes targeting range is around 75 km. If you activate 6 Sensor Dampeners with scripts on them (tech 1 – meta 0) you can disable the drakes offensive power while you are at your own effective range. The new targeting range of the drake will be 13 km with the cumulative effects.

As another example, if you activate three TD on a Hurricane, you make it impossible for the Hurricane to track you with its guns. Consider the same situation with optimal scripts on an Amarr or Gallente gun boat. Only 3 Tracking Disruptors will reduce the tracking speed down to 27% of the original amount.

  • After burners should be used as speed boosting modules. Frigates are already fast enough and if additional boost is required. Afterburners are sufficient and more cap friendly.
  • Damage control units are your best friend in Hydra fleet. That chunk of additional structural HP and resistance ensure that you survive a bomb run or a single smart bomb from close range. Also provides you with an edge to disengage and bounce when targeted.
  • Internal Nano structure is a perfect module for your low slots which both increase your speed and agility while taking no power or CPU grids.

Also micro auxiliary core” and co-Processors make is possible for your to support your high and mid slots.

Generally all Hydra Fleet members have additional modules for e-war in case it is required to change for adapting a situation and balancing the fleet structure.

Tip for the Teacher: Remind students to never fit restricted modules. Those modules won’t keep them alive or give any advantage but broke the harmony of the fleet. Also explain the concept of fitting as cheap and as effective possible. Give advises on moving smaller gun barrels sometime make the fitting more proper.

Structure of the Hydra Fleet

Hydra principle requires a well structured fleet for proper execution. E-war should be distributed evenly with multiple execution groups. Each group will be assigned to another target during engagement and each member should act quickly to engage its given target. Because the offensive power depends upon the unity of the fist, each pilot should be aware of his position, target and total fleet condition. These are the most important points of a Hydra fleet separating it from a standard Blob. Aside from short range tacklers (warp scramblers with webifiers), all fleet members should fit one E-war module and kept other in its cargo hold. During the fleet assembly, e-war strength, DPS and tackle is assessed by the FC and members structure into sub groups to act on specific targets. The proper structure will increase the offensive power and optimize the defensive strength to cover more targets during engagements. Different groups may engage different ships with their e-war modules but usually all fleet DPS will focus on one target. While holding other target by e-war, one by one, the fleet takes down the enemy. There could be losses but numbers keep the effectiveness on track during the engagements. Beside the frigates losses with little cost, many expensive targets could be eliminated with such as simple force.

Tip for the Teacher: Remind students to never fit same kind of e-war module because they will be penalized and lower general E-War strength. Try emphasis the importance of using different e-war modules to get the maximum efficiency.


Execution of Hydra tactics with frigates requires specific preparation and high level self-awareness. The top levels of these fleets are executed with Assault frigates and interceptors but even the tech 1 frigates with sufficient numbers are sufficient enough to get solid results.

Hydra principle indifferently giving single orders for fleet uni-body, defines objectives for group of fleet members and expect them to properly execute its power for that objective. That is why it pushes members to think as a collective group but act impartially during engagements.

Considering these points, Hydra principle requires advanced PVP experience and creates personal challenges to each member more frequently than standard fleets.

Class Roam Content

Structuring Fleet

Hydra fleet requires special structuring. Tail up the fleet by following these rules;

1 - Call for leadership roles and assign squad commanders. Pick the people with previous experience primarily and ask them to remove and tackle modules from the squad commanders

2 - Assign squad commander as backup FCs in a line. Explain them to take command incase FC goes down and keep commanding as long as at least the half of the fleet is up and running.

3 - Griffins and distribute them evenly to squads.

4 - Call for tacklers and assign them to each squad. One long range with point and one short range with scram and web (and MWD for short range tacklers)

5 - Call for ships fitted with both Tracking distribute and Remote sensor dampeners and distribute them evenly.

6 - Call for the TD and RSDs separately and distribute them evenly.

Target calling

Hydra fleets have multiple target calls for each squad or e-war group. Fleet should have only one primary for DPS and each squad and group will have an additional E-war target.

Tip for the teacher: If a squad member’s e-war is not effective against the assigned target, that pilot should switch to closest target that can be affected with the pilot’s module.

Self-sufficiency and situational awareness

Each pilot is responsible to take care of themselves. Such cases are;

  • Getting damage; pilot should warp off
  • Target is immune to e-war; switch to closest effected one
  • Lost Ship; should travel to safe location, even travel back to an hub (if in low-sec), re-ship and join fleet.
  • Lost Pod; should upgrade close, reship and join the fleet if possible.
  • Lost, dis-oriented, disconnected or left behind; pilot is in a fast frigate, could ask the fleet location and should have the experience to travel back to fleet with a fast frigate.

Targets to engage and dis-engage

All gang type bigger then cruiser size hull type, including capitals are valid target though watch these points then engaging;

  • Smart Bombs
  • Warp disruption bubbles in null-sec
  • Drone agro
  • Sniper fit ships.

Tech 2 cruiser hulls should be approached carefully. Especially high speed long range

Tech 2 frigate gangs should be strictly avoided because e-war effect will be significantly reduced in execution against those fleets. In a head to head brawl, tech 2 frigate types such as Assault frigates, combat interceptors and Electronic attack frigates will have an upper hand and will probably overcome the e-war and speed defense.

AAR over Mumble

After roam completed it’s a good idea to make a spoken AAR, explain the engagements. Advantages and disadvantages should be shown. Why the gang came out successful and failure from an engagement, should be discussed on the way back to HQ.

Final Q&A session

A final Q&A session should be made to cover any lose point after the roam.

See Also

'The Hydra Principle - Frigate Fleet Tactics' by Azual Skoll/The Altruist (director of Agony Unleashed's PVP-University)

Hydra Roam Topic from previous event for fitting discussion and examples

Class Name: Frigates and Hydra Principle Instructor: Longshot Diddy, Record Date: 2011.04.15

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