Fit for Purpose – Day in a Brawling Slasher

The Slasher is a fast attack frigate that struggles to get solid DPS and tank. According to T Sky’s excellent frigate guide, the Slasher is the 10th most popular of the 12 attack & combat frigates, with the 11th worst 1v1 win rate against other t1 frigates of 40%. It has a 4/4/3 slot layout, and it’s hull bonuses are a 5% damage bonus coupled with a  7.5% tracking bonus per level of Minmatar frigate. One of the reasons that I think the Slasher underperforms, is that one of its most popular fits, I think, is very limited. It’s fairly common to see a fit like this:

[Slasher, TD Slasher]

Damage Control II
Small Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste

1MN Y-S8 Compact Afterburner
Fleeting Compact Stasis Webifier
Initiated Compact Warp Scrambler
Baker Nunn Enduring Tracking Disruptor I, Optimal Range Disruption Script

Small Energy Neutralizer II
200mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Fusion S
200mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Fusion S
200mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Fusion S

Small Projectile Burst Aerator I
Small Transverse Bulkhead II
Small Transverse Bulkhead II

This very common fit has some downsides such as low DPS, very little EHP, and big cap problems from having both an SAAR tank, a neut, and four active mid modules. While in theory the TD can do a lot to mitigate damage, if you get the wrong script loaded, or you have a moment where you are out of position, or traversal drops, it’s very easy to get burned down with the tiny HP pool. I do not find it all that fun to fly.

I have been playing with a variety of different Slasher fits, and while I do not feel that I have the perfect answer, I have found a couple of fits that seem to perform better, and are more fun to fly than the TD fit (At least for me). The two fits I fly in this video are:

[Slasher, 125 mm Double Gyro Neut]

Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II

1MN Afterburner II
Initiated Compact Warp Scrambler
Republic Fleet Medium Shield Extender
Stasis Webifier II

Small Gremlin Compact Energy Neutralizer
125mm Gatling AutoCannon II, Hail S
125mm Gatling AutoCannon II, Hail S
125mm Gatling AutoCannon II, Hail S

Small Core Defense Field Extender I
Small Core Defense Field Extender I
Small Projectile Burst Aerator II
[Slasher, 200 mm Double Gyro Max Gank]

Counterbalanced Compact Gyrostabilizer
Gyrostabilizer II

1MN Monopropellant Enduring Afterburner
Initiated Compact Warp Scrambler
Republic Fleet Medium Shield Extender
Stasis Webifier II

200mm AutoCannon II, Hail S
200mm AutoCannon II, Hail S
200mm AutoCannon II, Hail S
[Empty High slot]

Small Core Defense Field Extender I
Small Core Defense Field Extender I
Small Projectile Burst Aerator II

The fits have 192/208 heated DPS at 0 meters with Hail loaded before any drugs or implants. Giving up a damage control costs a fair amount of EHP, but the RF MSE and 2x small core field extender get the fit to 4.65k EHP, and the intent is to try to fly them against active tanked armor ships, and use the combination of high DPS, explosive damage, and all tank being in buffer to burn down the target before they are able to get very many reps.

While the strategy mostly seems to work, it does so by a pretty thin margin, and I think if I did not have good SP, and was not willing to fly with drugs and implants, I would fly something else. In general this fit will lose to most MSE fits with a DCU because they will have a favorable DPS/EHP ratio, the reason being if you are shooting the max damage AC ammo (Hail) you will be doing explosive damage, and so shooting into their worst resist, and because their EHP is all buffer, not active tank, and so regardless of how fast you do DPS, they will still be able to enjoy the benifitt of their full tank.

One nice thing about the Slasher is that the hull is so fast you will have range control on almost everything that is not 2x web fit.

UALX-3 Aftermath

Matchups
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 quickly. 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.

Attack Frigates
The four attack frigates (the Atron, Condor, Slasher, and Executioner) are very fast, but apart from that have pretty significant differences. Of them, the Atron is the king. Clearly the strongest and most versatile, with very big damage and very strong hull bonuses (The falloff bonus creates a very strong kite-the-brawlers option for the Atron if it loads Null). It’s by far the most common one you run into.

Blaster Atron
The 200 mm fit wins at zero against a standard FW blaster Atron with no traversal, and the 125 fit wins via the neut if you keep traversal up (and may win straight brawls too, I have not done enough iterations to be confident). This fit will lose to a scram kititng Atron with Null loaded if they can setup at 6 KM + and you have Hail loaded. Obviously who warps into who and what happens in the opening seconds matters a lot.

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 you react well, you will almost definitely burn them down before they can go anywhere. If you entered on them and they are already setup you are probably getting dunked.

Combat Frigates
In general, I am willing to fight all of the combat frigates, save for the Breacher, and potentially the Rifter.

Breacher
The Breacher has too much EHP that you have to chew through, and it’s ability to run two rep units at the same time (SAAR and MASB) makes it very hard to burn down. While hail hits the SAAR in a good resist, it hits the MASB in a terrible resist. I do not see what can be done to improve this matchup with this fit.

Incursus
A standard Incursus fit is a relatively easy win in the 125 mm Neut fit, as it’s easy to get traversal up enough mitigate damage until the neut can do it’s work. I have had success zero traversal brawling with the 200 mm fit, but it has been close enough that I am not sure how much of that is the strength of the fit, and how much is simply surprise. More testing is required, but for now I am happy to engage these.

Kestrel
The Kestel comes in two main flavors, the 2x web SAAR fit and the 1x web MSE fit. The two 2x web fit has been more common in FW space of late. Starting at zero I think both Slasher fits will win against the 2x web fit before it can pull range (It will have a speed advantage with the 2x webs, but because it is such a slow hull the speed advantage will be fairly modest and it will take a lot of time to build distance). The 2x web fit will win if it starts out at scram range. The MSE fit if well put together and flown should be favored to win, but because of the speed difference if they engage and you see they are 1x web MSE you can simply align out, overheat AB and disengage. Against the 2x web, MSE, no point fit, simply align out and warp off.

Merlin
The Merlin is a lot like the Kestrel, in that we can outbrawl the 2x web SAAR fit, and disengage from the 1x web MSE fit. We should warp off against the 2x web, MSE, no point fit (check out the stats in PYFA, we are not winning that one).

Punisher
As always, punishers are probably bait. You can fight them, but be ready to bail when the backup shows up. I mostly try, but be really prepared to get out of dodge.

Rifter
In general I feel like the Rifter struggles in the meta, but in this matchup the plate that it generally fits gives it a nice buffer advantage that helps it to get in more reps. Additionally if the slasher is neut fit, once neuted out the guns continue to fire. Because of the falloff bonus, if you get in trouble and need to burn away, you will be in range of the guns longer than you would like. You can try to fight these guys, but be aware that it might be uphill.

Tormentor
The Tormentor is a very strong frigate with an excellent 1v1 win rate. Most are beam fit, and in general I think will fair poorly in this matchup. Of the 8 combat frigates, this is the one that I would orbit rather than do something to minimize traversal, even with the 200 fit. While the EM/Therm damage is great against a raw no resist mod t1 shield tank, if you can get a tight orbit established with a reasonable amount of EHP left, you should be good to go.

Tristan
While their are a number of different Tristan fits, and I would in general NOT engage them with a Slasher, I have been having good luck thus far with these Slasher fits, particular the 200s. The kite fit is fine if you scram them, and obviously not if they get out to point range. This fit is one of the few brawling setups that can fight the Neut tristan, since the guns continue to fire and the tank works fine if you are neuted out. Brawl Tristans may have enough DPS to get you down before you can burn them down, depending on the details. An AB/Scram/Web brawl tristan likely loses to the 125 mm Neut flavor if you get the orbit early enough. I don’t fell like I have enough experience with this matchup to speak conclusively, but I have definitely gone from avoiding all Tristan’s like I would with a more normal Slasher fit, to happily engaging them to see what happens.

Faction Frigates
I do not believe these fits can be used to consistently fight Faction Frigates to good results. Either the 2x web and speed (plus tank) of something like an RFF or CNH would allow it to get out to scram range where it can murder you, or the raw tank and damage of something like an FNC will make the strategy this frigate is running a losing proposition. In a handful of cases I can imagine trying to fight certain fits, but I think I would do so sparingly in this hull.

Summary
The double gyro max DPS Slasher is a meta play, designed to combat the large number of SAAR active armor tanked frigates in the FW meta. It’s high speed and DPS make it a lot of fun to fly, although I would recommend against doing so without good SP. At least at the time of writing this, it’s rare enough that you can surprise some opponents, and I found it a lot of fun to fly.