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Since I have had a few requests regarding how I personally would fit the Rapier, I have decided to put together a few suggestions, as well as some fits that have seen combat.  For any that don’t know, the Rapier is the Minmatar’s Force Recon Cruiser and it is certain a very popular and successful ship.  It combines Minmatar’s signature’s speed with cloaking capability and slot versatility.  It’s certainly not a combat ship by most standards (a standard Rapier only mounts three guns), but it is a ship that is common to large fleet actions as well as Black Ops incursions.  The Rapier is derived from the T1 Bellicose hull and so receives both a Rate of Fire (RoF) bonus and a Target Painter (TP) bonus.  It also gets a 60% bonus to web range along with the standard CPU decrease for Covert Ops cloaks.

99% of the Rapiers you will encounter will probably not carry the TP, and mainly are fitted similar to its brother the Huginn in that regard with a strong passive shield fit with dual Webifiers and a mix of some Power Diagnostic Units, Gyrostabilizers, and a Damage Control in the lows.  Its a fairly effective, general setup and is easy to fit since while the Rapier can only mount three guns, it has the same CPU and Powergrid as the Huginn which tries to mount six weapon systems.  Personally, I suggest not even trying to get into the Rapier until you have at least Recon IV, because the Cov Ops Cloak uses a ton of necessary CPU until that level.

The Typical Rapier will be configured with one of two goals in mind: 

  • As a Heavy Tackler – The Rapier is most often used in the configuration.  Able to sneak up on enemies and handle them until a support fleet arrives, the Rapier is a strong contender for this role particularly if the intended target is a bit more skiddish.
  • As a Fleet Support Recon – In this configuration, it is usually as a Cyno operator, sometimes for the covert abilities.

I think however, there are actually three configurations that will be useful to a typical 0.0 alliance.

[Rapier, Web Tackle]
Damage Control II
800mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II

Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution
10MN MicroWarpdrive II
Warp Disruptor II
Stasis Webifier II
Stasis Webifier II
Stasis Webifier II

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
650mm Artillery Cannon II, EMP M
650mm Artillery Cannon II, EMP M
650mm Artillery Cannon II, EMP M

Medium Ancillary Current Router I
Medium Targeting System Subcontroller I

Valkyrie II x3
Warrior II x2

You’ll notice a few things about this configuration that are not standard.  The first is that it is armor tanked.  As I mentioned with the Huginn, it just makes more sense to armor tank the Rapier, even though it will make it harder to manuver and accelerate.  This configuration actually sports a better tank than what can be had by the Huginn.  You’ll also notice that I mount three webs on my ship.  I did this because it gives you more options.  Suppose you went with a dual web, scram, and TP configuration?  Sure, your target can’t move quickly, but the TP isn’t going to make that much of a sig boost on a smaller ship.. at least not compared to a MWD.  A MWD boosts the signature radius 500% whereas a bonused TP is considerably less.  This takes advantage of the knee-jerk reaction he is going to have when you pop up.  If you have the extra implant space, you can replace that Medium Ancillary Current Router I with another Scan Resolution Rig, but that does require you use a 3% powergrid implant.  (Additional Note:  As mentioned in the comments by X1376, reaching Recon V also gives you valuable option of using an Expanded Probe Launcher because at Recon V, a Covert Ops cloak has a CPU value of zero.  While I didn’t put up a variant containing one, X1376 placed a suggested one in his comment below.)

My vision for a Fleet support Rapier, particularly on Covert Ops missions, is considerably different than standard.

[Rapier, Fleet Assist – Black Ops]
Damage Control II
800mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II

Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution
Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution
Target Painter II
Target Painter II
Target Painter II
10MN MicroWarpdrive II

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Covert Cynosural Field Generator I
720mm Howitzer Artillery II, Tremor M
720mm Howitzer Artillery II, Tremor M

Medium Targeting System Subcontroller I
Medium Targeting System Subcontroller I
Valkyrie II x3
Warrior II x2

Again, I kept the armor tank so as to maximize the E-war abilities.  Here, since a BS will probably be used only as a tool to warp bombers in.. in practice a squad of bombers can make a run on .. say, a gatecamp.  The Rapier can uncloak 10 to 15 seconds before the bomb hit, light up three targets at a 100+ km range, then either cloak or warp off while the bombers set themselves up for another run.  This could also be useful in situations where the bombers have chosen to engage at torpedo range, allowing for maximum damage to various targets.  If necessary, you can change out one of the EANMs for a Signal Amplifer I, then take out one of the Medium Targeting System Subcontroller I and replace it with a Medium Particle Dispersion Projector I to get better Target Painting optimal range without sacrificing much Scan Resolution.

A third variant actually comes by way of Butterdog of Ursha’Khan fame.  During our defense of a Cold Steel POS in low-sec, Butterdog dropped right next to the POS shield and lit off a cyno.  Was a rather an impressive tank, and it was not something that could be duplicated by anything except maybe the Falcon.

[Rapier, UK Setup]
Power Diagnostic System II
Power Diagnostic System II
Power Diagnostic System II
Damage Control II

Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
10MN MicroWarpdrive II
Invulnerability Field II
Invulnerability Field II

720mm Howitzer Artillery II, Tremor M
720mm Howitzer Artillery II, Tremor M
Cynosural Field Generator I
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Medium Core Defence Field Extender I
Medium Core Defence Field Extender I

 This is a great setup if you need to drop a cyno and you need it to stay up long enough for your caps to get there.  This ship sports an EFT rated tank of 76k (All level V), so it can take a beating for a little bit before its done.  The downside to this configuration is that its signature was quite huge at 227m, about the size of a battlecruiser, so it takes more damage than a typical ship of that size.  Edit:  X1376 also pointed out indirectly, that I didn’t get the whole story in regards to this situation and truth be told it very well could be that I was so enamoured about how sneaky it was that I thought it was a wonderful setup.  This particular configuration, however, did allow for the UK rapier to sneak up right next to the POS to drop a cyno.  UK had managed to get the password to the POS at that time (though we didn’t know it), but even if they didn’t have the correct one, UK had thought that our being distracted by another fleet 150km off of the POS would allow the Rapier to come in and drop the cyno at close range to our sniper BSes.  Fortunately, we were on the ball and we were able to take out the Rapier but, I still think it was a worthy and daring tactic because if we had one maybe two battleships less, he would have been successful.

Overall, the Rapier is a very impressive ship and can be used in a variety of ways, and its reputation is definately worth looking into.  This is certainly a ship once can get familiar with and effective with at Recon IV.  Again, if you have any questions regarding my fits, let me know.  So, have fun and keep your guns loaded!

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