Fighting in a fleet is a lot of fun, and it is, in many ways, the classic EVE experience. However fighting solo, or in a small group of 2 or 3 people can be just as fun, much easier to get set up, and importantly, is one of the best ways to develop your all-round PvP skills. Skills such as scouting, target calling and overall FC’ing are all very transferable from solo or small groups, right up to huge fleets. In EVE, many of the best FCs started out in solo or small gang situations, and many of them still roam solo when not leading fleets.
- 1 Security status
- 2 Where to fight?
- 3 D-Scanning for fights
- 4 Solo/Gang PvP Ships
- 4.1 T1 Frigates
- 4.2 Faction / Pirate Frigates
- 4.3 T1 Destroyers
- 4.4 T1 Cruisers
- 4.5 T2 Assault Frigates
- 4.6 T3 Destroyers
- 4.7 Basic Ship Meta
- 4.8 Key Concepts
- 4.9 Finding a Fight in Null Sec
- 4.10 In-depth look at the Ship Meta
- 4.10.1 Slow brawler vs fast scram-kiter
- 4.10.2 Fast brawler versus slow scram kiter
- 4.10.3 Slow Brawler vs Slow Scram-kiter / Fast Brawler vs Fast scram-kiter
- 4.10.4 Brawlers VS Brawlers / Scram-kiters vs Scram-kiters
- 4.10.5 Meta-breaking fits in scram-range
- 4.11 Solo PvP Beyond Frigates
In low- and high-security space, taking hostile action against a pilot not flagged as a criminal, a war target or a suspect will result in a loss of your own security status. Therefore, engaging in regular PvP as described in this guide will inevitably reduce your security status. This is why Low Sec is often described as pirate space. Low security status can cause you to be attacked by faction police when entering High Security space.
If you continue to live in lowsec or nullsec, having a low security status is unlikely to affect you as you can simply use a hauler alt, or a hauling corporation to get ships and other supplies from Highsec to where you live.
Should you wish to retain the ability to travel back into High Security space at any time without restriction, you can always take actions to recover your security status, either by killing NPC rats, or by redeeming Clone Soldier Tags.
Where to fight?
While fighting in Null-Sec, Wormhole, or even High Sec space is perfectly possible, the majority of small scale PvP is done in Low Security space. Specifically, those areas of Low Sec designated as “Faction Warfare Space”
For EVE University members, our Low Sec Campus is located on the edge of Faction Warfare Space, and the primary activity of this campus is PvP in the surrounding region. This guide is designed in part as a primer for life in this campus, however is applicable to any pilot looking for solo and gang PvP content.
Faction Warfare mechanics includes many features which are specific to corporations and individuals who elect to align themselves to one faction, as described in more detail in the Faction Warfare Wiki page. For the purposes of this guide however, we will only be considering those aspects which relate to all players, regardless of affiliation.
Faction Warfare Arenas: Plex
Faction Warfare space contains Factional Warfare Complexes (commonly known as "Plexes", not to be confused with PLEX) which are effectively PvP arenas. These appear on your overview and probe scanner window as beacons which all players can warp to with names such as “Gallente Novice Outpost” or “Caldari Large Installation”
The key factor to note is the “size” of the plex, as denoted by the middle word in the description. This indicates the size of ships which are able to enter the arena for fights
- Novice: Frigates only
- Small: Frigates & Destroyers
- Medium: Frigates, Destroyers, Cruisers
- Large: Any ship
When you initially warp to any plex other than the large sized variant, you will encounter an acceleration gate. Only the appropriate sized ship will be able to activate the gate and enter the plex itself. Large plex have no gate and allow any ship to enter.
The reason these arenas are so important for PvP is that:
- They provide a fixed point in deadspace for people to fight at
- The size limitations mean that you can, to a limited extent, control the fights you take, and ensure that when looking for a fight in, say, a frigate, you are not immediately jumped on by a T2 Cruiser for instance. This is a key reason why most Low Sec PvP is done in frigates which can fit into any plex.
NOTE: The gate limits ship sizes, however it does NOT limit the number of ships entering the plex. You can still be overpowered by a gang or fleet of ships if you are not aware and careful.
When you initially activate an acceleration gate and “slide” into the plex, you will arrive within around 2.5km of a “beacon” in space. This beacon should be visible on your overview as you land. If not, adjust your overview settings to display all brackets (items in space), as the location of the beacon is a key factor in plex combat.
Any ship entering the plex will also next to this beacon – there is no way to warp in at range. The exception is large-sized plex, which have no acceleration gate, and therefore can be warped to at range as with any normal cosmic object
The beacon is key to fighting in a plex, as it means that when inside a plex, you know almost exactly where an enemy ship will enter. Likewise, when entering a plex where an opponent is already within, they will have positioned themselves knowing where you will appear. This always gives a slight advantage when fighting to the ship which is already inside the plex, and a large part of the various strategies for frighting in a plex is based around this mechanic.
The other thing to note is that you cannot warp within a plex. While normally if an object is 150km away from you, but still on grid you can warp to it, within a plex you will get an error message. If your scout, or fast tackler chases a fast ship 150km away from you within the plex, there is no way to catch up to him without following him with sub-warp engines.
This makes sniping, and kiting ships very effective at defending plex, although they are also much less effective when attacking a plex.
D-Scanning for fights
Much of PvP is about picking your fights, and having a clear strategy in place before you engage. For this, you need intel.
The most basic form of intel you will need is to determine if a plex contains a ship already, and if so, what kind of ship. Or if you are already inside a plex, what ships are coming your way, and might try to enter your plex to attack you. The tool for this will be your Directional Scanner, or D-Scan.
The Wiki Directional Scanner Guide is already an excellent and detailed resource on using this tool and should be read in detail, however the following is a brief overview of the important aspects for plex scanning:
- When scanning plex, keep your D-Scan set at a 5 degree angle, and max range, and hold down your D-Scan hotkey (by default “V”) then click on the plex within your overview to quickly and efficiently scan each plex
- Note that the D-Scan will not tell you if a ship is actually inside a plex, or outside, next to the acceleration gate. If you see a ship on D-Scan which is too large for the plex you are scanning, they are likely sat on the acceleration gate outside, and may be trying to catch ships entering
- When inside a plex, set your D-Scan to 360 degrees, and 1AU range, and ensure you are scanning regularly to detect anyone landing on the acceleration gate who may be about to enter. You may want to occasionally switch to a longer range as well just to check what is happening elsewhere in the system.
Solo/Gang PvP Ships
Solo T1 frigates have become rarer sights in FW space, and many that are seen are either "farmers" (players capturing Complexes for FW points who will run away from any combat), or part of a small gang rather than truly solo. For this reason, any player flying T1 frigates in Low Sec should not expect to get many fights against similar fitted players, and should expect to also take challenging fights against Faction Frigates or T1 Destroyers, and prepare accordingly. T1 fits which work effectively tend to be "surprising" fits designed to out-wit more expensive ships, such as a dual web Merlin or kiting Punisher.
Faction / Pirate Frigates
These are also very common sights in Low Sec due to their power advantage versus T1 frigates while still being able to enter Novice plexes.
Faction frigates are a slightly more expensive, but still affordable step up from T1 frigates. While powerful, they can still be killed by a skilled T1 pilot, and should be seen as an extension of the frigate meta game when devising tactics. The Federation Navy Comet is arguably the most popular frigate in Low Sec space, due to its excellent balance of low cost (and SP requirement) against high combat effectiveness. Other ships such as the Caldari Navy Hookbill and Imperial Navy Slicer are also effective at fighting a wide range of opponents.
Pirate frigates are substantially more expensive, but also have subtantial advantages versus almost all other frigate variants, and are some of the toughest opponents in PvP. Many, such as the Succubus or Daredevil are deliberately designed to "break" the typical rules of the solo PvP meta in some way, making them hard to counter with tactics alone. These are quite advanced ships, and new pilots should probably not be flying nor fighting them without backup.
These can be thought of as larger frigates with poor range control due to their speed, but great DPS/EHP ratio to make up for it. They can be kited (or occasionally scram-kited) by a skilled T1 frigate pilot but they are also able to tear their way through almost any frigate (including Pirate or Faction) if it's caught within their optimal range for long. They can be excellent choices for newer pilots, as they are both cheap and able to engage a much wider range of opponent than T1 Frigates. Excellent choices include the Algos or Coercer due to their flexibility in range.
Relatively rare sights in Low Sec plexes (at least alone), and a magnet for other cruisers, or advanced ships such as pirate frigates and T3 destroyers looking for an expensive killmail. The few cruisers you do see flying solo are often fitted specifically to kill adventurous or foolish frigate pilots, and new pilots should avoid engaging them. In particular anti-frigate cruisers such as the Vexor and Stabber should be avoided.
T2 Assault Frigates
Assault Frigates (AFs) have become a more popular choice for Solo PvP after the 2017 patch to AFs which improved speed, fitting space, and added the Assault Damage Control modules. AFs are arguably now the dominant force in FW space. They can enter small plexes, and combine the agility of a frigate with the tank of a Cruiser when the Assault Damage Control module is active. They are an extremely difficult fight for any other frigate or T1 destroyer. Common solo AFs include the Hawk (with an extremely strong MASB shield tank), or the Retribution (often flown as a kiting ship, similar to a much tankier version of the Imperial Navy Slicer).
Prior to the patch to Assault Frigates, T3 Destroyers were the dominant ship in low Sec, and remain a very challenging fight for most ships. While they can only enter Medium Plexes, they are only marginally slower than most frigates (and often faster with their propulsion mode active), while also retaining the unmatched damage and good tank of a destroyer hull. They make for great Brawlers and Kiters alike and are virtually impossible to counter in a T1 frig if flown well. Pirate and Assault Frigates may stand a chance, however only in skilled hands and with good tactics. Less experienced pilots should simply avoid these ships without substantial support.
Basic Ship Meta
Ships for PvP in general are grouped primarily by their optimal range. All other things being equal, winning a PvP fight, whether solo, or when leading a huge fleet, usually means ensuring that you are in your optimal range, and your opponent is not.
- 0-5 km Optimal Range - Brawlers
- 5-10 km Optimal Range - Scram Kiters
- 10-20km Optimal Range - Kiters
- 20km+ Optimal Range – Snipers
In Low Sec PvP, as most fighting is in plexes where much of the engagement takes place around the fixed point of the beacon, it’s important to note that Micro-Warp Drives (MWDs) are generally not preferred, as they can be immediately de-activated by a warp scrambler, rendering you at an immediate speed disadvantage. While MWDs can be useful for Kiters, and some more unusual fits, the predominant propulsion module used is the afterburner. It should be noted though that in Null Sec PvP, without Plex mechanics, MWD fitted ships are the dominant force.
Brawlers use high damage, close range weapons, such as blasters or pulse lasers. Because of this, they rely on quickly getting into close range, and preventing opponents from pulling away.
When attacking a plex, they will need to try and swiftly close the range between them and the defending ship to get into their optimal range.
Due to range being key, fast brawlers like the Atron or Federation Navy Comet are very useful here due to their raw speed, as well as the damage boosts to brawling weapons. An alternative is a ship which carries dual stasis webs, such as the dual-web armor Kestrel or the Caldari Navy Hookbill. These are relatively slow ships in general terms, however the double web effect applied to your opponent will remove the speed advantage of almost any other ship, and allow you to dictate range despite being the slower ship on paper.
An effective defence against a brawler is to fight from outside their optimal range, but still within warp scrambler and web range, normally between 7–9km. This is called "Scram Kiting". At this point, brawling damage will be minimal, however mid-range weapons such as beam lasers, railguns or rockets can still hit an opponent for substantial damage.
Once again, this tactic relies on relative speed to maintain range. When defending a plex you will likely orbit the beacon at your optimal range, however a brawler could quickly close range if they have a notable speed advantage.
Likewise, when attacking a plex, if a brawler is waiting at the beacon you will need to pull range before you take too much damage, which requires your ship to be faster overall than the brawler, as well as being tanky enough to survive the initial damage long enough to pull out of range.
For this reason, scram-kite ships often still fit speed modules and rigs to try and maintain speed advantage. Common scram-kiters include Breacher, Tormentor and Incursus. The Dual-Web Kestrel and Caldari Navy Hookbill noted earlier can also be equally effective as a scram-kiter as rockets can deal effective damage up to 9km, while the dual webs maintain your speed advantage.
The other key factor in the meta are long range kiting ships. These will equip a warp disrupter to tackle at 20km+ ranges, and use long range weapons to fight well beyond the range of other ships. They are generally glass cannons, maximized for speed and damage. As they will not be able to apply a stasis web to their opponent at such long ranges, they usually rely on Micro-Warp Drives to maintain a speed advantage. However as a MWD can be switched off by a warp scrambler, if they can be closed down and tackled they will usually die quickly.
A good Kiting ship who is already inside a plex is very difficult to kill, as they will orbit the beacon well outside of scram range, and closing them down is very challenging. A ship such as a Tormentor with beam lasers can switch to long range ammo to damage the kiting ship at range, but without the ability to close range and get tackle, the Kiter is likely to simply warp away if they take too much damage. The primary disadvantage of a kiting ship is that they are very poor at attacking a plex, as any defending ship is likely to immediately scram and web them on the beacon and prevent them pulling range.
While very uncommon, snipers aim to sit at extreme ranges, with very high alpha damage weapons, and deal huge damage at long ranges as soon as an opponent lands on grid. They are extremely rare in the current meta in Low Sec, however they are more common in Null Sec, particularly in gate camps, and it is important to be aware of the possibility. They usually trade considerable tank and maneuverability for their high damage output, and as with kiters, if they can be closed down they will die rapidly.
Range and Speed
As should be clear from the above, controlling range is the single most important factor in PvP. Being able to impose your range on a fight will allow even a T1 fitted frigate to kill much more expensive fits. Overheating your afterburner gives you a huge 50% extra speed boost, and should always be done at the start of a fight.
This emphasis on speed and range impacts on all aspects of Low Sec PvP. For instance, buffer armor tank fits with armor plates are very rare due to the speed penalty incurred, with most armor ships favoring active armor repairers which do not harm your speed or acceleration. Likewise, ships which cannot fit a stasis web alongside their scram and afterburner, such as the Punisher, are very rare as they are completely unable to dictate range versus any ship carrying at least one stasis web.
An additional consideration when trying to minimize damage, is tracking. Longer range weapons such as beam lasers and railguns have very poor tracking, and will miss a lot of shots against a ship in a fast orbit. Orbiting your opponent while using these weapons is therefore not the optimal method of engagement, instead use the “keep at range” command to minimize the transversal velocity.
Conversely, when attacking ships with these poor tracking weapons, advanced pilots will “spiral” into close range, using a high transversal velocity to minimize damage taken as they close to close range. This is a good way for fast brawling ships to get within range of scram kiters without dying before they can close the range.
Ships using blasters, drones or rockets also suffer much less from tracking issues, and a fast orbit in these ships can minimize incoming damage from poor tracking weapons while ensuring good damage application for your own weapons
All of the above means that knowing the fit of your opponent before you engage in combat gives you a huge advantage over rushing in blindly. With good intel, you can avoid fights which obviously don’t favor you, and devise tactics to win fights which would otherwise be equal engagements.
Often, just knowing the type of ship via D-Scan gives you some indication of the fight you can expect. For instance, a Condor is almost always kiting fit, Atrons are usually brawling fit, Breachers are most commonly scram-kiters.
If there are relatively few people in local, or if you already know the identity of the pilot you will face, you may want to research them on ZKill, to see their most commonly used fits and help you guess at what you will be facing. For this reason as well, never name your ship anything which includes your character’s name. This just makes it easy for an opponent to research you and devise a counter for your ship.
This idea of anticipating your opponent can also be used against an experienced pilot to surprise them with an unusual fit, or a ship you rarely fly.
The king of this approach is the Tristan. The Tristan can be fitted very effectively in numerous ways; the standard kiting Tristan, a brawler blaster Tristan, a scram-kite rail Tristan, or a Neut Tristan relying on close range Energy Neutralisers to drain an opponent’s capacitor and shut down their ship while your drones slowly kill them. As there are so many viable fits for the Tristan, it is almost impossible for an opponent to know beforehand what they will be facing and devise a counter-strategy in advance. This makes the Tristan very powerful in the meta game, and can get you a good number of surprise wins as a new player.
Similar ideas can also apply to more unusual fits such as a kiting Rifter, a neut Slasher, or a dual web Merlin. A surprise ECM module such as a tracking disrupter or damp can also turn an otherwise unpromising fight in your favor.
Finding a Fight in Null Sec
Low Sec PvP is by far the most common arena for solo players and small gangs of 2-3 players. Null Sec solo/gang PvP is absolutely possible, however it is much harder to find fights, let alone get kills without having a substantial fleet jump in on top of you.
In order to find fights in Null you’ll need to head towards the active SOV of another alliance, there are several tools on the map that will help you do that, checking the “active pilots in space during the last X minutes” box for example. Once you are headed towards a populated part of Nullsec there are several ways to find a fight. The ideal thing would be to find a ship of your size actively trying to solo too and proceed with a honorable 1v1, but that’s not going to happen a lot.
A more reliable way to find fights is simply to annoy residents enough and provoke them into fighting you. Killing their ratters, killing their miners or simply taunting them in local might do the trick. Once they’re annoyed they are likely to send a gang, what you are going to need is to try to split this gang using advanced tactics such as gates, bubble and aggression mechanics, or simply splitting them on grid. If a player is 100km away from his mates, he’s effectively alone for a while as you can only warp to fleet mates further than 150km. Suitonia’s youtube channel Eveiseasy is full of him doing that and you should probably head towards there for practical advice.
Another thing you can do in Nullsec is to bring a few warp disruption bubbles and set traps next to system gates.
The Null-Sec Meta
The key difference between Null-Sec and Low-Sec meta comes down primarily to propulsion modules. In Null-Sec, MWDs are far more common compared to the predominately Afterburner meta of low-sec, which has a substantial impact on tactics.
There are several reasons why Microwarpdrives are so common in nullsec. The first one is that an AB ship is helpless against a gang, you will not be fast enough to separate several people on grid and you will not be fast enough to reapproach gates and separate your foes using gates and aggression mechanics.
The other main reason is warp disruption bubbles: Nullsec is full of bubbles (both deployable and interdictor made) and speed is critical for both escaping them and taking advantage of them. For this, the substantial speed boost of the MWD is invaluable. An Afterburner can still be a good idea to bring in nullsec as long as you have an MWD too. This fit is called a dualprop ship and is great for soloing as in this case the MWD allows you to escape bubbles and close range rapidly to an opponent, while the afterburner lets you also retain a speed advantage once in scram range (where both of your MWDs will likely be deactivated by your respective warp scramblers)
MWD brawlers and MWD scram-kiters basically function the same as AB ships except they are faster initially while moving around on the grid and then considerably slower during a fight once they have been tackled and their MWD deactivated by a scram. This means the initial engagement range is going to be extremely critical and the most decisive factor: the actual speed difference between a fast and a slow ship are going to be a lot less important. For example, the difference in speed between a webbed MWD Atron and a webbed MWD Merlin is only 50m/s (the difference with Afterburners is around 150m/s). For this reason, slower ships such as the Harpy which are rarely seen in Low Sec 1v1 PvP are much more viable in Null Sec
This massive reduction in speed has many other collateral effects. For example, it makes rocket ships drastically better. Since fights happen at a slower velocity, rocket ships are able to use rage rockets and apply their full damage with a single web (as long as the enemy isn’t dual propped)
The fact that almost all ships will be MWD fitted by default also means that kiting becomes more challenging. Kiting ships which are viable in Low Sec such as the Tristan no longer have a speed advantage in Null Sec where your opponent will also be MWD fit. Instead, kiting relies on ships with natural speed bonuses which allow them to outpace even other MWD fits. Examples include the Garmur or combat interceptors such as the Raptor
Another big change with MWDs is that you get a strong capacitor penalty simply for fitting one, and on top of that using the MWD in itself uses a lot of capacitor. What this means is that both MWD ships get a lot less capacitor to work with at the beginning of an engagement in scram range. This is a huge drawback to capacitor intensive ships that use hybrid and lasers and like to work with a small ancillary armor repairer at the same time: the Tormentor and Incursus which are very effective ships in AB engagements become a lot less potent in this meta, while shield tanked rocket and projectile ships such as the Talwar or the Jaguar get a notable advantage due to their lower capacitor needs
In-depth look at the Ship Meta
In order to look in more depth at the ship meta, and how different ships, tactics and strategies match up in space, the below describes some example ship fits seen in Low Sec PvP. These fits assume fairluy optimal skills, and Tech 2 fits. Other fits may vary, however the broad themes of meta-match ups described below remain the same:
|Meta-Type||Example Ship||DPS||Optimal Range||Buffer EHP||Active EHP||Approx Speed (Heated)||Approx Speed (Heated and Webbed)|
|Fast Brawler||Atron||220||1km||2.6k||2.9k at 100 HP/s||1800m/s||810m/s|
|Slow Scram-Kiter||Incursus||160||7km||3.6k||5k at 166 HP/s||1450m/s||652m/s|
|Fast Scram-Kiter||Executioner||175||12km||2.5k||3.2k at 100 HP/s||1700m/s||765m/s|
The following will examine the use of the ships described above in various 1v1 scenarios.
Slow brawler vs fast scram-kiter
Even if the fight starts at 0,1km which would be the best for the Merlin, he would have to apply his full DPS for 20 seconds to break the active tank of the Executioner. Since the Executioner is moving 150m/s faster than the Merlin it would only take him 6,6 seconds to get out of the Merlin’s optimal range, past that point it becomes easier and easier to active tank as seconds into fall-off pass. The Merlin has the choice to switch to Null ammo (which takes 5 seconds) but even then, the fight is going to be a struggle and the Merlin will probably lose.
Now this was assuming the best possible engagement range for the Merlin, if the fight starts anywhere between 4km and 7.5km, the Merlin cannot theoretically win. This remains only theoretically however, as if either pilot makes a mistake, if for instance the Executioner forgets to apply his web or forgets to overheat his AB for a few seconds, the true result may not match the theoretical calculations here.
Fast brawler versus slow scram kiter
You might think this is opposite of what we just saw, the fast brawler will catch the slow scram-kiter and kill it. However in reality the calculation is more complex. Let’s take the blaster Atron vs rail Incursus match-up for example: if the fight starts close, then the webbed AB Atron is 150m/s faster than the webbed AB Incursus, this means he wil be able apply the entirety of his theoretical DPS by always staying at his optimal range. But a 150m/s different is not nearly enough to orbit at 0 and create big enough transversal velocity to outtrack the Incursus, this means that if the Incursus burns away from you, he will be able to apply his full theoretical DPS to you as well.
In this case, even though the Atron does more damage, the Incursus is much tankier than the Atron. It takes theoretically 34 seconds for the Incursus to kill the Atron while it takes 38 seconds for the Atron to kill the Incursus, which means the Incursus theoretically wins. Now as the initial engagement range increases, the match-up gets tougher and tougher for the Atron because he first has to catch-up before being able to apply his whole DPS. Even if the fights starts at 4km which is moderately close, the Atron will need to catch up 3km at 150 m/s before applying his full DPS which means he’s going to lose even harder. N
Now once again this is entirely theoretical, if the Incursus forgets to overload his prop, he’ll get caught a lot faster, if he forgets to overload his guns or his tank, if he forgets to launch his small drone he might very well lose the DPS race. If neither mess-up but if the Atron has considerably superior turret and tanking skills, he may still win the DPS race too.
Slow Brawler vs Slow Scram-kiter / Fast Brawler vs Fast scram-kiter
In these match-ups, both ships’ tank are going to be pretty much the same and they’ll fly at pretty much the same speed, so these match-ups are usually purely decided by the initial engagement range: If the brawler manages to be right on-top (0 to 1,5km) of the scram-kiter when they both apply scram and web he’ll probably win. If the Scram kiter manages to engage outside 4km he’ll probably win. The player who messes up and forgets to overload the AB or applies his web late is going to lose almost automatically.
Brawlers VS Brawlers / Scram-kiters vs Scram-kiters
These are the only match ups where speed will not be as relevant to actually win the fight, although the fastest ship may still be able to disengage and run away if he realizes he’s losing. In this case the pure damage*EHP ratio will generally win fights. Therefore the most important thing will be to have a good fit, the second most important thing will be to overheat your modules, and the third most important thing will be damage and tanking skills.
Meta-breaking fits in scram-range
There are a few fits that are not going to fit into the calculations above, these can be considered as “meta-breakers".
Dual Web Ships
They will be able to completely control range. A dual-web brawler will catch-up to its target quickly and a dual web scram-kiter will be able to exit the range of a brawler in seconds; this makes the initial engagement range largely irrelevant and is great to invade a plex for example.
The drawback is that you are using one of your mid slots for range control instead of using it for Tanking, which means you are going to be better at countering other types of fits but will struggle more when engaging the same type of ships. A dual web Artillery firetail for example might very well lose to a beam tormentor or a rail incursus in a pure DPS race. Viable dual web turret based frigs include the Firetail, the Merlin and the Slasher.
Dual web rocket ships are a special case, the dual web Hookbill is very popular but the dual Breacher and Kestrel are also viable dual web frigates. Rockets do not need to track which means you can play as both a scram-kiter and a brawler. You’ll be able fight brawlers by keeping them at the edge of the scram range and you’ll be able to fight scram-kiters by orbiting them at 0 and mitigate some of their DPS.
This module has two uses: the first, is to decrease your enemy’s optimal and falloff range by half which allows you to basically scram-kite other scram-kiter. The crucifier navy issue is designed around this idea. This might also allow the autocannon TD Slasher which is theoretically a Brawler to scram kite other brawlers. The second use of the TD is to reduce your opponent’s tracking; this is mostly useful against bad brawlers who do not have a web, or generally people with less range control modules than you. The hookbill for example may fit two webs on top of a TD which allows him to get under the guns of other scram kiters by orbiting them at 0.
Having a neut or several neuts on a brawler may completely break the DPS race mechanics by turning the opponent’s guns off. This allows the Slasher or the neut Tristan to beat ships that rely heavily on capacitor for their damage and their tank, SAAR hybrid and SAAR laser ships are very popular in the current lowsec meta which makes neuts very powerful.
Dual Repair Modules ("Dual Rep")
These are pretty popular ships that rely on a simple gimmick: sacrificing all range control in order to have as big of a tank as possible and win thanks to pure DPS/EHP ratio, this is basically the opposite to a dual web ship. The big difference is that you can’t run away from a dual web ship that counters you, but you can always run away from a dual rep frigate that counters you. Dual rep ships therefore often rely on opponents not attempting to escape until it is too late.
The Dual Rep Incursus is the most popular fit of this type but the dual MASB Breacher exists too. In order to effectively engage these gimmicky ships you need to stay out of their range and poke them until your opponent runs out of cap booster charges and is unable to maintain its repar modules. If you don’t have the means to poke it without getting hit then you should simply leave and go somewhere else.
Solo PvP Beyond Frigates
Now that you understand how solo mechanics work for small ships, it is relatively straightforward to apply this to larger ships as well.
First of all there’s no “scram kiting” a cruiser. The short range variations of medium and heavy guns always hit far enough to work anywhere inside scram-range. Therefore there are only Brawlers and Kiters. A second thing when considering soloing as a cruiser and above is that you must always be able to fight smaller stuff than you. If frigates can easily get under your guns, you are going to get killed repeatedly. This is a huge constraint and it dramatically restrains the range of fits you can use solo as there aren’t that many tools for fighting small ships as a big ship
There are very few ships that apply well to frigates outside of scram range and Rapid light missile launchers ships are the undisputed king. The Orthrus is the best at it, but the other RLML cruisers are viable solo ships too: Caracal, Scythe Fleet Issue, Osprey Navy Issue. These are all fast ships that can find good success kiting Frigates and Cruisers alike. Other very specific ships like the scorch Omen Navy Issue or the Phantasm might also be successful as solo kiting ships as their bonuses allow them to apply their damage to small ships relatively well.
It is always an option to brawl as a Cruiser vs frigates, destroyers and even T3 destroyers. You’ll mainly rely on Medium Neuts and Webs to fight smaller stuff in scram range but always be careful, as a brawling cruiser you’re an ideal target for kiting ships.
A duel between two brawling Cruisers will usually be decided by pure DPS/TANK ratio. Fights might last a while so killing enemy drones and managing capacitor can be critical. Big active tanks will only be good as long as they are not overly capacitor intensive.
Contrarily to solo kiting, solo Brawling is viable with big ships too, in this case you’ll probably only get to fight several people at once, the general philosophy behind it is that if you can Perma-Tank entire gangs of enemy with a huge active tank and annihilate everything that gets into your scram range, then you’ll be free to MJD away whenever you wish to disengage. The few critical modules to do that are armor repairers/shield boosters and drugs for active tanking.
For offense you’ll often want to use Neuts (a medium Neut can instantly empty the cap of a frig from 10km away, a heavy neut from 30km away), Webs, and Target Painters. You’ll generally want the highest tracking guns as possible. Afterburners and oversized afterburners are good things to have if you can as they’ll help with the tracking too.