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The Merlin is the most powerful combat frigate of the Caldari. Its role has evolved through the years, and while its defenses have always remained exceptionally strong for a Caldari vessel, its offensive capabilities have evolved from versatile, jack-of-all-trades attack patterns into focused and deadly gunfire tactics. The Merlin's primary aim is to have its turrets punch holes in opponents' hulls.
Caldari Frigate bonuses (per skill level):
The Merlin is a Caldari Combat Frigate. It is the slowest of all Tech I frigates, but also one of the toughest, in terms of both tank and damage output. As a result, the Merlin is a very popular damage dealer in small-ship fleet compositions. The ship can also be used as a “second tackle” frigate in mixed fleets, following up the initial tackler by applying a warp scrambler (“scram”) and stasis webifier (“web”) to targets. The Merlin is an outstanding PvE frigate for Level 1 missions and for the Sisters of EVE epic arc. Given its versatility, the Merlin is an excellent first ship for new Caldari pilots.
You may fit this ship to fulfil almost any need, whether it be a swift shield tanked tackler, a very tough shield tank, or an above-average damage dealer. The Merlin has a bonus to shield resistances, and so the ship is frequently fit with a passive shield tank (including extenders and/or additional resistance modules). Maybe more than any other Tech I frigate, the Merlin’s passive tank bonuses pair well with shield logistics fleetmates (like the Bantam). The Merlin is also typically fit with small blasters to take advantage of its bonuses to hybrid turret damage. In solo PvP, the Merlin works best as a short-range brawler, fighting at very close range while trying to hold tackle on targets. Unfortunately, because the Merlin is so slow, opponents can usually dictate the engagement range and keep the Merlin pilot at a distance. New Caldari pilots interested in solo frigate PvP might be better served flying the speedier Kestrel instead. By contrast, in fleet PvP the Merlin does much better by warping to another first tackler.
Further information about additional or recommended skills to pilot Merlin for a specific or it's common role(s) can be written here.
The Merlin is a powerful frigate in that it can be fit for either DPS or tackle, whilst maintaining a respectable tank for a T1 frigate (thanks to its shield resist bonus). A Merlin fit for DPS with Tech 2 Neutron Blasters firing Void can reach around 160 dps. Even with Ion Blasters and a fit more geared to tackling in a fleet, the Merlin can put out over 100 DPS with ease.
When flying a blaster Merlin, get in close. Your minuscule optimal ranges means you basically have to face hug your enemies. This can cause serious problems when fighting Kitey frigates or cruisers, especially since the Merlin isn't the fastest frigate out there. In these cases it's best to either run from the fight, or wait until an ally can web/scram down the enemy allowing you to catch up/warp to them. Another option would be replacing an Ion Blaster with a railgun instead, letting you deal some damage at a longer range.
Because Merlins are slow but tough, tackle Merlins usually serve as second tackle, applying a scram and web to hold a target still after faster frigates secure the initial point. Their significant DPS is a bonus in this role.
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