The Breacher is a fast and tanky, low-DPS, high-micromanagement frigate that is mostly flown in faction warfare with a dual rep setup. This would include both a Medium Ancillary Shield Booster (MASB) and a Small Ancillary Armor Repper (SAAR). Together with the Tormentor and the Tristan, the Breacher is one of the three strongest Tech 1 frigates.
In general, the Breacher needs to manage its active tank correctly and use its speed to set itself up in a defensive orbit where its rockets will apply. This can minimize incoming damage (at least against turret ships), making sure that drones are on-target and ready to pull whenever needed. Drones make up around 30% of the Breacher’s already low DPS, and there is no drone bay space for spares. Generally, this means you will have to orbit out the opponent at scram range between 7 and 8 KM for a brawling ship, and a tight 500 meter orbit against a scram/kiting turret ship. The high tank, high mitigation, low-DPS setup makes the breacher suboptimal for situations where you need to burn someone down and leave before their friends arrive.
[Breacher, Dual Rep FW Breacher] Crosslink Compact Ballistic Control System IFFA Compact Damage Control Small Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste 1MN Afterburner II X5 Enduring Stasis Webifier Warp Scrambler II Medium Ancillary Shield Booster, Navy Cap Booster 50 Rocket Launcher II, Caldari Navy Nova Rocket Rocket Launcher II, Caldari Navy Nova Rocket Rocket Launcher II, Caldari Navy Nova Rocket Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I Small Bay Loading Accelerator I Hobgoblin II x2
You can swap around the rigs if you wish, although in general some mix of tank, DPS and speed is preferable. You could also swap the AB for an enduring one, which would allow you to overheat for a longer period of time. If you are willing to use a CPU implant, you could upgrade either the web, DCU, or BCS (I would probably do web).
Regarding the tank, in general beginners are told to not mix tank, and to choose either armor or shield or hull, and in general this is correct. The dual rep breacher works out for a couple of reasons, the first is that even with no bonuses or other defense mods, a SAAR provides a lot of EHP. The second is that the Breacher has a lot of cap it’s not doing anything with (given its capless weapons and the MASB). The third is that once you fit every other mod in this fit on the Breacher save for the SAAR, you have one low slot, 7 CPU and 8 PG, and nothing provides as much benefit in a low slot with 7 CPU and 8 PG as an SAAR.
Just like every other armor or shield rep in the game, the MASB provides its rep at the start of its cycle, and the SAAR provides its rep at the end of the cycle. The MASB uses no cap for the first 9 cycles (consuming one Navy Cap Booster 50 per cycle) and then consumes 198 cap for each cycle thereafter. With 375 cap total it’s obvious you don’t want to fire very many non-charge reps. The SAAR consumes one nanite paste per rep, and costs 40 capacitor per rep, with the pasted reps doing 3x of the repair of the non-pasted reps.
The SAAR should be set to non-auto reload, and in general the plan will be to let your opponent burn through shield, and then tank them in armor to the greatest extent possible. Any time the armor rep will not be enough to stop you bleeding through into hull, you pulse a shield rep, and attempt to squeeze as much out of the SAAR as possible (all of the pasted reps, and then as many non-pasted reps as possible). If you use the MASB first, in general you will tank fine until you are out of charges, then the SAAR won’t be able to keep up with the damage and you will die with a bunch of charges left. The Breacher has very little buffer, and so failing to tank for a moment or two against a high DPS or high alpha opponent can get you killed. Against high-DPS or high-alpha opponents, you may be running both mod simultaneously for most of the fight, essentially tanking in both armor and shield to keep up. Also keep in mind that peak capacitor recharge occurs around 1/3 total capacitor, and that it’s valuable to maximize capacitor, but also that it’s silly to die holding reps while trying to maximize capacitor recharge.
For the preloaded ammo, I am a big fan of Nova. Fighting in Novice plexes only T1 frigates can get into, the vast majority of them are armor tanked because of the strength of the SAAR and the need for mid slots for range control. The armor fits are generally more dangerous, due to the strength of range control. Nova hits into the armor explosive resist hole that every T1 hull has. For drones, I like Hobgoblins because of the damage they do, and while they are slower than Warriors/Acolytes, that won’t matter with an opponent scram/webbed, and if you are fighting a kiter that is outside of scram range, by and large you will either slingshot them or die trying.
The matchups described below are for FW AB web fits. In all cases, if you end up fighting an MWD long point fit and they get out of scram range, it won’t be a good fight, as always you must slingshot them into scram range, or out of disruptor range, or lose the Breacher. It used to be the case that Condors were almost always MWD/long point fit in FW space, but now I just don’t see them at all. As an additional note, you should be just a touch suspicious if someone in a bad matchup is eagerly pursuing a fight with you. It’s possible they are new and don’t know what is going on, but they may also be bait/tackle for a gang so keep refreshing D-Scan.
While I am a big fan of the attack frigates in general (the Atron, Condor, Slasher, and Executioner), by and large, they are not a threat to the Breacher. They are faster, with a base speed of 390-430 compared to the Breachers base speed of 365, and so, in general, will have range control, but the DPS/EHP ratio is in most cases just not enough to have a serious chance to kill the Breacher.
It’s not a great matchup for the Atron, but it will have range control, and it does do fantastic damage. Mistakes while tanking will be a big problem. Because we cannot kite out to scram range, I would orbit at 500 or use manual piloting to keep up traversal, and plan to tank them in both Armor and Shield (both of the mods will be running much of the time to keep up with their DPS). The preload of Nova is fine.
Web-Kite Atron or Executioner
Low DPS and fragile, these AB/Web/Warp Disruptor fits are designed to pull out to 10KM to 15KM and wear you down where you can’t damage them. If they entered your plex and have to burn out to range you might kill them before they get there. If you entered on them and they are already setup it’s obviously much worse for you. In either case, a matchup like this is a great reason to carry Javelin rockets.
In general, I am willing to fight all of the combat frigates, they are not guaranteed wins or anything like that, but the Breacher is in the fight with a real chance to win against all of them.
This is the mirror matchup, in general the fight will get settled by whoever tanks best. As this will be a kind of long and slugging match, and because the Breacher has no spare drone bay, it’s not crazy to consider going after your opponent’s drones. I would reload from Nova to Inferno before the fight because you will be tanked in both shield and armor. While the actual flying will matter surprisingly little in this matchup (normally it matters a great deal), I would orbit at the edge of scram range if I am worried about my opponent getting help, and would orbit at 500 if I am worried about my opponent trying to get away when things go south.
The Incursus has a nice tank and good damage, but at a base speed of 340 it is slower than the Breacher, and blasters with no falloff bonus project very poorly. If you orbit at the edge of scram range, very little damage will apply, and you should be able to wear the Incursus down. They may choose to attack your drones and you will want to pull them, and you may choose to kill the Incursus’ single drone. If you are scrammed and not webbed, they are like the cap booster double rep fit that can tank for days, you can try to kill them until your tank runs low, then leave. Nova preload is fine.
This will be a show-off with the other rocket-based Combat frigate. In general, the Breacher has the edge in this fight by merit of just having more tank (assuming you manage the tank properly). There are two major Kestrel fits, MSE shield tank, and 2x web armor tank. The Breacher is faster at 365 v 325, but of course, the 2x web Kestrel will have range control. I would preload Nova to fight the 2x web flavor, and then switch immediately to Mjolnir if I am fighting the 1x web MSE flavor.
The Merlin is the slowest Combat frigate at a base speed of 310 M/S. It generally comes in two fits, AB/Scram/Web with a MSE shield tank, and AB/Scram/2x Web with SAAR tank. The MSE tanked fit is not much of a threat (again, short range blasters, no falloff bonus, no range control), while the 2x web fit potentially is very threatening (big damage at point blank range, plenty of range control). I would load Nova, try to move out to 7.5 KM or so. If I find I can, I would switch to Mjolnir, and if I cannot, I would orbit at 500 to get what transversal I can and just try to tank as well as possible.
Punishers are essentially always bait. When you fight one, ultimately they will have backup that shows up. It might be cloaked in plex, or warp in, but it’s very rare that they don’t have backup of some kind. You can shake the tree and see what falls out, I would be at the edge of scram range ready to bail once their reinforcements arrive. Sometimes you can kill the reinforcements. If you are looking for 1v1s you can just avoid these guys.
The Rifter has the same base speed as the Breacher, but a worse layout, set of hull bonuses, and primary weapon system. It’s very common for them to fit a plate, which will give you range control. If they have ACs (most common), then pull out to scram range and orbit between 7 and 8 KM. If they have arty close and orbit at 500. If they have ACs and for whatever reason they are able to stay on top of you, orbit at 500. Nova preload is fine.
The Tormentor is generally fit as a scram kiter, it’s slower than the Breacher (335 v 365), but it has fantastic DPS. It’s possible to get gunned down if you start at range, but if you can close to a tight orbit, the Beams will track very poorly. Once you are on top of them you will want to orbit at 500, if you are not on top of them, you will need to decide if you can approach or if you will need to come at them at an angle to keep up transversal. Nova preload is fine. You may have to tank them in both armor and shield if you are not on top of them, and while it’s great to not waste charges, don’t die trying to be too conservative.
The Tristan has a lot of different potential fits, the most common probably being the 3x neut fit, followed by the MWD/Long point kite fit, flowed by various blaster or ac brawl fits, followed by rail scram kite fits. The Breacher is faster than the Tristan (of course barring things like Snakes, etc.) Against the Neut fit, you want to orbit at 8 KM. Against the kite fit, you need to catch them with a scram before they get out of range (if you don’t, and if you can’t slingshot them, you can try to kill all their drones which you may be able to do before they chew through your tank). Against a brawl, fit pull out to scram kite range. If you can’t pull range because they have snakes, quafe, and overclocker, then orbit at 500. Against a rail scram kite fit, orbit at 500. Nova preload is fine. Keep in mind they have spare drones and an HP bonus so only go for the drones if you have no other choice.
Most of the faction frigates will be at least a little uphill, and some of them will be very uphill. I won’t enumerate them all, often a successful strategy will be based on something like figuring out who is flying around in the faction frigate and checking their zKill to figure out what sort of fit they like, etc. To talk about just one:
Republic Fleet Firetail
For a ship that depends on range control, and has a thin buffer, it seems funny to suggest fighting the ship with maybe the best range control in FW space (the RFF is a VERY fast hull, and the most common fit is the 2x web 280 fit). That said, the ability to run both the reps at the same time lets you recover from the alpha pretty fast, even double webbed you can keep up a little traversal (make sure you keep up as much as possible, if it falls to 0 it’s not good) and the rockets and drones apply as long as the RFF is in scram range of you. I actually really like Breacher v RFF from both sides, I think it’s a fun fight and both pilots have a chance at winning.
Like the faction frigates, the wins are going to depend a lot on specifics. If you are new you can safely just avoid these. I feel like I can often get a good fight out of a Garmur, and the Cruor can be fun to fight in T1 stuff. The Daredevil and the Worm are basically always an avoid.
The Breacher can use its speed and tank to give a pretty wide range of T1 frigates a good fight. Because of its strength, it’s one of the better combat frigates to try to use to fight up and take on a pirate or faction frigate. It depends heavily on the ability to manage an active tank, predict incoming damage, fly defensively, and micromanage effectively, and is a good platform to train these skills from. If you have yet to develop these skills, however, don’t expect great results until you become more experienced.
Featured image credit: Razorien