Double-laser fighters tear up cruisers/frigates from beneath their shields 2x as fast. If they’ve no armor, then that isn’t very long (in fact, it’s humorously short).
HOWEVER! Should you set an AA frigate consisting of mostly tractor beams on the front line and escort it with 2 squadrons of double-laser fighters, the opponent’s fighters won’t stand much of a chance. (Heavy armor is best against fighters, shields are nearly worthless.)
I posted the challenge on 1/31/10
I use two different fighters, both based on the Federation Leopard Hull. About 1/3 of the fighters have one Engine II and one target painter giving 3.40 speed with a cost of 105. The other 2/3 of the fighters have one Engine II and one rocket giving 4.23 speed for a cost of 66. This seems to do quite well against fighters and frigates, but quite poorly against cruisers. It’s the same idea as a rocket-painter fighter, but by splitting them up they are significantly faster (at the cost of some inefficiency in targeting and increased cost in pilots). This might do even better with a Rebel Achilles hull, but I mostly use Federation.
In pure fighter vs fighter, i have usually found that to be the best , I use 1 part painters to 3 parts rockets. But i have seen other good designs, mrblitz had a very good swarm on one of his cruisers.
And rebels would crush other fighters, really. Speed is key, and 14% is one hell of a nice bonus.
Attempting to compile the top tier fighters. I only have rocket painter tag team builds at the moment. Alliance Fighters
This could theoretically be used as a decoy, but in practice that wouldn’t work because you can just change the behavior to retaliatory.
Or would that make your fighters ignore the slower painter fighters?
I think the best way to use a decoy fighter is to put one or two in distant corners (with high range in the orders. i.e. engage cruisers at range 2000) and hope they attract a significant number of enemy fighters for a while. The best way to counteract that is to put your own fighters on escort. Even if they are released from the escort, they will probably have closer targets when they are released. mrblitz had a recent challenge where he put a frigate in the far corner and had a decoy fighter escorting it.