The Minmatar Cyclone is a ship rarely seen on the battlefields of today. More often, the familiar style is seen in the Commandship variants, the Sleipnir and the Claymore. Nearly all of the PVP duties that the Cyclone engaged in have been taken over by the much feared and respected Hurricane. As much as I would like to say “Here’s a way to make it AWESOME!”, the simple fact of the matter is that due to its bonuses and due to the fact that its an active shield tanker.. there is simply no realistic comparision that we can do between the Hurricane and the Cyclone. The Hurricane can passively tank better, do far more damage both long and short range, using any type of AC or Arty and doesn’t require you to be reasonably skilled in two weapon systems. So, never get a Cyclone, right?
Well, besides being one of the best looking battlecruisers in the game (its got that steampunk/japanese pagoda/locomotive look going on..), it does have two advantages over the much praised Hurricane. Its cheaper and, in very short spurts, can take much more damage if setup correctly. This advantages are complimented by a slightly larger drone bay (40 m3) and that it is quite inexpensive to fit, and a decent PVP fit can be had with T1 equipment (which is nice when you are just starting to try out Battlecruiser PVP). Now, lets go into the bonuses that the Cyclone features:
- 7.5% Shield Boosting Bonus per level
- 5% Rate of Fire on Medium Projectile Turrets
The Cyclone itself features a eight High Slots (5 Turret/3 Launcher configuration), five Mid slots, and four Low slots and can be made using approximately 70% of the materials used in a Hurricane. The Cyclone also grabs an extra 25 CPU, but at a cost of 140 MW. Overall, the prices generally range about 8 to 10mil isk less than the Hurricane.
Setting up a PVP fitting for the Cyclone generally requires that you shield tank it. There are not enough low slots, nor are the bonuses good enough on their own to warrant trying to tank the ship with armor. Because of this, you are stuck with effectively three options: Active Tank/Close Range, Passive Tank/Close Range, Passive Tank/Long Range.
When putting together the Active Tank/Close Range variety of Cyclone for PVP, it is essential that you work your fit around an X-Large Shield Booster. While a T2 X-Large Booster would be nice, you’ll find that for all intents and purposes, best named will be a better option, both because of the CPU requirements, and surprisingly the cost as well aren’t that prohibitive. After you put on your X-Large Booster, you will then have three extra midslots (not counting the one for the MWD). The best combat option I have found is that you should have a medium capacitor booster (preferably T2, but T1 will work as well with 800 cap charges), with an Invulnerability Field T2, and a boost amplifier. With Battlecruiser V and Shield Compensation V, you will be recharging nearly 1000 shield points every few seconds. For example:
Cyclone (Close Range – Active Tank)
- High Slots: 5x 220mm Vulcan AC T2, 3x Assault Missile Launchers
- Medium Slots: 1x ‘Named’ X-Large Shield Booster, 1x Shield Boost Amp T1, 1x Invulnerability Field T2, 1x 10MN MWD T2, 1x Medium Cap Booster T2
- Low Slots: 1x PDU T2 or RCU T1, 1x Gyro T2, 1x Co-Processor T2, 1x Damage Control T2
As you’ll notice, there is no tackle. You could modifiy the fitting by replacing the Shield Boost Amp with a 24km Disruptor, but prepared for the 30% loss of shield repping. The one thing I do really like about this Cyclone fit is that if perhaps you are a newer character, but still want to help with PVP in small groups, this ship will definately give you its money’s worth. Many of the modules are or can be replaced with their T1 named counterparts with little to none performance reduction, and adding rigs, while beneficial, are not a critical need so you can save some isk in that regard as well. If you review the Minmatar battleship lineup, you’ll find that the Cyclone has the exact same Shield Rep bonus as the Maelstrom Battleship, so in effect, you are tanking as a battleship. Once you get the timing down for Boost times and when to turn on the cap booster, you should be a formitable opponent in small and solo PVP engagements. If your missile skills are stronger than mine, then you can switch out the 220mm Vulcans with Dual 180s and the Assault Missile Launchers with Heavy Assault Missile Launchers if you plan on hitting heavier targets like cruisers on up to battleships. Another option you might want to try is sort of a “Bleed Dry” variant. You should be able to replace all three missiles with two medium Vamps.. and combined with the medium cap booster, just wear down your enemy’s defenses.
For a Passive version of the Close Range Cyclone, you should merely change a couple modules. For example:
Cyclone (Close Range – Passive Tank)
- High Slots: 5x 220mm Vulcan ACs, 3x Assault Missile Launchers (or Two Neuts/Vamps)
- Medium Slots: 1x MWD, 2x Large Shield Extenders T2, 1x Invulnerability Field T2, 1x Warp Disruptor (20km/24km)
- Low Slots: 1x DC, 2x Gyrostabilizers, 1x Tracking Enhancer
This Cyclone fit can be modified further by removing the Assault missile launchers and replace some with Medium Neutralizers or Vamps.. though any more than two is overkill. Personally, I don’t fit Neuts if I can’t also fit a Cap Booster, or a Vamp if I don’t have some sort of massive power drain like an active repair unit or if I am fairly confident the enemy will be effectively using Neuts.
Now a long range setup for the Cyclone is possible.. but the Hurricane easily supplants the Cyclone in this role. It supplants it so well, that honestly, it is a waste of time to use a Cyclone for long range work in a PVP context. The difference is obvious: Six double damage bonused guns versus Five single damage bonused guns. The difference translates to an almost 50% damage increase. At close range, the damage variance can be compensated somewhat by the three missile systems available on the Cyclone.. but at range, missile systems tend to take too long to reach their target to be effective more than a few rounds.
All in all, while I throughly enjoy the look of the Cyclone, it lacks many of the strengths that makes the Hurricane feared. Nevertheless, the Cyclone can still be used as an inexpensive “training ship” for newer Minmatar pilots who want to try their hand at PVP, or it can do a reasonable job as a Point Defense ship for fleet assets. Enjoy your Cyclone fits, feel free to e-mail/comment below, and keep shooting!