When one thinks of Minmatar HACs, the common response is: “Vagabond, and that other one.” The Vagabond, by and far, is the most popular Minmatar HAC, if not the most popular HAC period. The reasons are rather obvious: It’s relatively easy to fit. It’s OMGWTF fast (though not as fast as it used to be) and manuverable. It is somewhat effective solo, but is very effective in packs. The standard tactics using the typical Vagabond fit mimic that of the interceptor, so training for one is comparatively easy.
But what of his brother, the Muninn. Well, the Muninn suffered from several problems right from the very beginning. For starters, all the HACs were classified into two categories: Close-Range and Sniper. Since the Vagabond had gained popularity by being a close range gunboat, the naturally left the Muninn to be designated the Sniper. However, Minmatar Artillery in general just wasn’t on par with any of the other weapon systems, so its damage was very lackluster. In addition, the slot fitting arrangement are just..well, strange. While it has seven high slots, it can only fit 5 with turrets.. and lacks the powergrid to fit most support high slot weaponry. The midslots are another enigma as the resists clearly show that it should be shield tanked, having only three midslots makes for a fairly weak tank considering that one of the midslots is dedicated to a MWD.
So, is the Muninn a lost cause? Well, simply, no. The Muninn has started coming into its own with the ammo and weapon changes brought about by the Dominion expansion and has started to carve out its own little niche in roaming gangs. But, it is still hamstrung by the belief that it is a “Sniper” HAC. Remember, the Muninn gets many of its benefits from the legendary Rupture hull, which is still seen often in PVP, and usually is in a close range PVP setup. So, let’s look at it’s strengths:
- Seven High Slots (5 turrets/2 missile) versus the Rupture’s Six High Slots (4 turrets/2 missile)
- (edit: Removed because of memory error – both the Muninn and the Vaga have five low slots)
- Balanced Shield resists
- 30% increased Base armor over shield and 30% more than the Rupture’s armor.
- 25% Bonus to Medium Projectile Turret RoF (5% per level)
- 25% Bonus to Medium Projectile Turret Damage (5% per level)
- 50% Bonus to Medium Projectile Optimal Range (10% per level)
- 37.5% Bonus to Medium Projectile Tracking Speed (7.5% per level)
So, what does this mean to the person trying to decide what to do with his Muninn, which is gracefully spinning at the station? It means that you have choices. While the Optimal Range bonus tends to benefit Arties over ACs, it’s certainly not a down side to ACs to have better optimal range. Even though fighting in Falloff is supposedly the Minmatar trade mark, anything you can do to raise your optimal is a good thing. Both Arties and ACs benefit greatly from improved tracking, rate of fire, and damage. So really, the choice comes down to what you plan on doing:
HAC Roaming Ranged Variant – The following configuration is one I think would be effective in conjuction with Vagabonds and Scimitars. While not able to have tackle, it certainly can help fend off ranged attacks, or add some serious ranged damage to “retreating” of “kiting” tactics. The downsides are the relatively low ROF and the loss of use of two High slots. These two high slots can be used for things like Cloaking devices, Drone modules, or small remote reppers depending on tactical need. The only thing I would suggest would be that your drones be using only in defense, or in assistance to other ships like interceptors. This configuration can be adjusted pretty liberally depending. Replacing the T2 Invulnerability field for a Sensor Booster, for example, would help in raising the targetting range to be more useful with Tremor.
- High Slots: 5x 720mm T2 Howitzers (Tremor M for Range, Fusion M or EMP M for close range work against larger targets, Titanium Sabot M for dealing with faster targets)
- Mid Slots: 1x MWD, 1x T2 Invulnerability Field, 1x T2 Large Shield Extender
- Low Slots: 2x T2 Gyros, 1x T2 Damage Control, 1x Signal Amplifier, 1x Reactor Control Unit
- 5x Warrior IIs
- Rigs to suit taste
HAC Roaming Strike Variant – This configuration is primarily to act as a more robust version of the Rupture. Not generally accepted by many FCs, usually because of the aforementioned belief that the Muninn is only capable of being a sniper fit. This variant works better armor tanked and I was able to get an effective (EFT numbers) EHP of 33,000+, without impacting the signature radius. The downside is that speed and agility do take a hit. I tend to use Heavy Missile Launchers over Heavy Assault Missile Launchers for a couple of reasons, the first is that faction ammo is much easier to find for Heavy Missiles and at my skill level for missiles, the Heavy Missile’s ability to do damage outside of my AC range is a nice addition. Alternately, if you plan to be operating far from home, replacing one of the missile launchers with a small or medium remote armor rep would be a good idea.
- High Slots: 5x 220mm T2 Vulcan ACs, 2x “Arlesbest” Missile Launchers
- 1x T2 MWD, 1x Web (or TP), 1x 24km Distruptor
- 2x T2 Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane, 1x T2 Gyrostabilizer, 1x T2 Damage Control, 1x 1600mm Rolled Tungsten Armor Plate
- 5x Warrior IIs
- Rigs to taste, but preferably either Explosive and Kinetic Armor Pumps, or Trimarks, or Projectile Aeroator rigs (in general, ROF rigs give more DPS than damage rigs do)
It should be noted however, that as a close range platform, it is hard to see the difference of using the Muninn over the classic 1600mm plate fit Rupture. It is a good argument and it has merit. The Muninn is better in that it can have the 1600mm plate, more and better guns (Quadrupale bonused guns…) and missile systems, without sacrificing the tank. But, is it 100mil isk better? That is completely up to you.