The Ashimmu, the unique Blood Raider Cruiser that combines the both the support capabilities of the Amarrs’ Neutralizers and the Minmatars’ Web technology to produce an impressive ship the fits well into the lore of the Blood Raiders (Kirith Kodachi has a full write-up here, though some of the technical information is no longer applicable: http://www.eve-tribune.com/index.php?no=4_28&page=4). Recent changes to all the Faction ships changed the Ashimmu from a lackluster (even pointless) ship well into competition with T2 Recons and HACs. The price for these ranges in around 120 mil isk (as per July 2010 prices), so the cost is on par with typical T2 ship prices.
So, is this ship worth flying? Well, let’s start off with its strengths and weaknesses.
The Ashimmu Ship Strengths consist of:
- 100% Damage bonus to Energy Turrets
- Amarr Cruiser Skill Bonus: 15% increase of Drain amount, per level, for Energy Nosferatus and Energy Neutralizers
- Minmatar Cruiser Skill Bonus: 10% bonus to velocity factor of Statis Webifiers, per level.
- 10m3 Drone Bay
The ship high slot configuration allows for three turrets to be mounted, so the Special Base 100% Damage bonus greatly improves its damage capability, though not to the level of say the Thorax or the Rupture. Damage aside, its true ability lies in the combination of Neutralizers and Webifier bonuses. With the Neutralizer/Nosferatu bonus, two medium sized modules are more effective than one large Neut/Nos, and three of the medium modules have the power of two large Neuts/Nos (at level V Amarr Cruiser skill). On the other side, the Minmatar web bonus makes the T2 Statis Web modules are boosted enough to force your target to lose 90% of their speed at Minmatar Cruiser V. Add to that enough powergrid and CPU that you can mount a fairly effective active or passive tank. In the end, this thing is a beast!
However, I found that the Ashimmu does have one flaw. And its not an obvious flaw initially, and especially if all you are doing is EFT warrioring. The flaw is.. Range. With all these powerful tools, the combat radius is stuck at a maximum of 1o to 12km from the ship (barring Faction mods). This severely limits its usefulness in most gang situations. The range problem is especially aggrevated by passively armor tanked configurations, which made it very difficult for me to move off of the gate to catch gate crashing ships. Often, even when I was ideally placed at the gate, the enemy ship was able to get in range of the gate before my neuts and webs had any meaningful effect.
I also tried an Armor Hac AB fit (listed below) that compares favorably next to a Zealot in EFT. However, in actual practice, I found that either plate fitting just could not keep up with 0.0 roams very well. The Zealot, while having a slightly smaller mass, has a much better align speed and a higher Warp speed. So, in comparision, a 1600mm plated Zealot aligns 2.3 seconds faster than a comparibly equiped Ashimmu. Add the higher mass and slower initial speed and you are always going to be dragging. I was usually bringing up the rear of the fleet even after just three jumps.
Skillwise, ideally you should have both Minmatar and Amarr Cruiser trained to V, as well as Energy Emission trained up to at least IV. You could run a passable Ashimmu though, with both Minmatar and Amarr Cruiser skills at IV. Other than that, a typical combat skillset is necessary (web skills, MWD skills, T2 Energy Turret skills, etc.) and I would also suggest not to use this in PVP until you have spent some time messing around in a Huginn or Rapier.
So, how should the Ashimmu be used?
To me, the mix of strengths and flaws clearly put the Ashimmu as an ideal first strike ship, when you know you can get into range within a short length of time. It also is useful in supporting the Huginn and Rapier series Minmatar Recons. It also has a reasonably effective active tank setup, and so can be useful in smaller gangs and solo operations. What it should not be used for is as a replacement for either the Huginn/Rapier or Curse/Pilgrim. The Ashimmu does not have the range that make these ships more effective, nor does it have the direct offense necessary to match their Empire T2 counterparts.
Here are a couple of configurations that I have used thus far in 0.0 combat:
MWD Passive Tanked Version:
Highslots (6) : 3x T2 Heavy Pulse Lasers, 3x T2 Medium Neutralizers
Midslots (4): 1x 10MN T2 MWD, 1x Medium Cap Booster “Named” (w/800 cap charges), 1x T2 Webifier, 1x T2 24km Warp Disruptor
Lowslots (5): 1x T2 Damage Control, 1x 800mm Plate, 1x T2 Heat Sink, 2x T2 Energized Adaptive Nano Membranes
Rigs to taste
AB Passive Tanked Version:
Highslots (6): 3x T2 Heavy Pulse Lasers, 2x T2 Medium Neuts, 1x T1 Medium Neut
Midslots(4): 1x 10MN AB, 1x Named Medium Cap Booster (w/800 Cap charges), 1x T2 Webifier, 1x T2 25km Warp Disruptor
Lowslots (5): 1x T2 Damage Control, 1x 1600mm Plate, 1x T2 Heat Sink, 2x Energized Adaptive Nano Membranes
The first is the 800mm passively tanked version, which I downgraded from a 1600mm plated configuration. The 1600mm plate was simply just to ungainly to operate in a typical roaming fleet or gate camp. The reduction to the 800mm plate, allowed me to upgrade the Lasers from Medium Focused to Heavy adding an additional 50 dps, and freeing up one rig slot. However, this reduced the tank by a fair percentage so you won’t be able to tank as well. The second was an adaption for AB HAC gangs, but as noted above.. it just could not keep up to be effective.
Active Tanked Version:
Highslots (6): 3x T2 Heavy Pulse Lasers, 3x “Named” Nosferatus
Midslots (4): 1x 10MN T2 MWD, 2x T2 Webifier, 1x 24km T2 Warp Disruptor
Lowslots (5): 1x T2 Damage Control, 2x Medium Armor Reppers, 1x Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane, 1x T2 Heatsink
While I have not been able to use this yet in combat, this configuration is certainly one to be checked out. Remember that Nosferatus (or Vamps) won’t work unless your percentage of capacitor is below the target’s. This requires that you do a bit of backwards cap management. The above configuration allows you can run both reppers so long as you have all three vamps running, and locking down your target for good. It also has the bonus of not having to deal with any mass issues as it doesn’t use plates.
Now, since this faction ship is so particular in the types of fleets it can be effective in, I would welcome any comments regarding its use, any experiences using one, or any problems you also encountered while in combat. And as always, keep your guns loaded and your enemies running. C’ya around.