Those pesky gnats!

Let me ask a simple question:

How do I kill fighters without overspending*?

*defined as: I do not want to spend more resources on AA than the fighters themselves cost. Sure, I can deploy seven cruisers with 4 tractor beams plus 4 pulse lasers each that sport 12+ armour (I am already not building anything with less than that) and have an armour repair module, but then I just spent 8k to get rid of 6k (assuming three squadrons of expensive fighters).

I find it quite vexing that fighters are the worst choice against fighters, since they cannot hope to hit anything that is faster than speed 4.0

You’re best off using armored frigates, not cruisers. Have the frigates escort and follow behind your cruisers. Heavy armor, a tractor beam, and anti-fighter missiles make short work of fighters. The armor should allow them to survive long enough to get the job done. Alternatively, order some fighters to escort your own cruisers. Just make them ultra fast, dirt cheap rocket fighters. Then put 1 tractor beam on each cruiser. The cruiser will use the tractor beam on the enemy fighter, and then your fighters will vaporize that stationary enemy fighter with a hail of rockets. Don’t even need laser painting to hit a stationary target.

I have an Anti-Fighter Frigate with an armor of 12, 3 Anti-Fighter Missiles and and 2 Plasma Launchers on it. A group of these can make short work of fighters combined with my own Fighter Fleet (I play Rebel)

Once the Fighters are gone, the frigates become long range Frigate support. It, however, tends to take a backseat to my anti-Cruiser Frigates which I spam more and have horrible lasting power against Fighters.

my opinion?

As a close combat proponent there are 2 alternatives, for me:

  • Ignore them, in certain maps is possible for fast ships to close in and destroy enemy big ships before the fighters hit critical mass.
  • ion + antifighter missile amoured frigates combined with cruiser tractor beams and cruiser pulse lasers

The chance of hitting a stationary 12m target is roughly 52%, regardless of the tracking on the weapon. Things only get worse if the target is moving, which is what tracking mitigates.

Target painters circumvent misses due to size, so yeah, they’re important to keep frigate AA missiles optimal.

“Overspending” is fine, provided you find ways to turn your AA solutions into other useful defenses or offenses. Painters can be used against everything. Frigate AA missiles do semidecent damage vs unprotected targets. Armor has uses as well. Tractors and CDL’s… not so much.

That’s not to say tractors aren’t useful, you just have to be careful with them because they generally don’t give any return besides antifighter applications.

Fighter defense is part offense and part defense. Have impenetrable armor (or shields, if they’re rocket fighters) and fighters don’t matter. Kill them fast enough and you won’t need nearly as much defense.

If you’re going for the latter route, consider frigates. They’re really the premier antiaircraft platform as far as sheer volume goes - they get both the 12.5 tracking missiles and a tractor beam that costs near a third of the cruiser variants. They are easy to armor and their small bubbles make them a completely unreasonable target for laser fighters.

This is offset by the increased risk of assassination by other craft, which is the real difference between a coherent fighter rush and mere fighter spam.

If you want to ignore them you can just build cruisers that have armor and a repair module. Give over 12 armor on the cruiser and back it with a repair module to fix it up against crits and fighters will not be able to damage your ships until the repair modules run out of supplies but by the time that happens the cruisers will have already decided the battle.

The drawback to relying on this defense is that if your shields fail, the armor goes soon after. Cruiser weapons carve up an armor rating of 12 within seconds. Your now unarmored cruisers will then be vaporized nearly instantly under that hail of fighter lasers.

The issue I have was that my frigates died way too fast to rocket fighters. They can shoot inside the bubble and even 12 armor will go down after a few lucky hits. And if 45+ fighters charge at your ship, then those lucky hits will pile up very quickly. After armor drops below critical, the frigate dies instantly.

Then get some Laser Fighters in. Rocket Fighters don’t hit other fighters very well and tend to get tied up. If that doesn’t work, lower your Frigate count and more Laser Fighters.

countering rocket fighters with laser fighters sounds stupid

It works for me.

If you deploy frigates in the expectation of not losing them, you need to adjust that. A heavily armored frigate can’t absorb rockets for anything like forever…but it can absorb rockets for long enough to earn its keep.

Make sure to leave some extra armor beyond the minimum to deflect rockets, so the first critical doesn’t knock you below threshold.

If it works, it’s your opponent’s fault more than your credit.

Laser fighters can beat rocket fighters without painters, I’m pretty sure…but not at all quickly. Unpainted rocket fighters should be targeting your frigates at much higher priority than your fighters, and just fly past and blow the frigates away before you can stop them. Afterwards, your fighters will beat theirs, but their fighters have already done their job (unless there are painters at the party, in which case you’ve got a fight on your hands).

It does, of course, work if you just keep shifting until you have no frigates and thus can’t really be harmed by unpainted rockets, but at that point you might as well not bother to deal with their fighters.

Hee hee.

I just played someone yesterday who had Rocket Fighters going after Frigates and I have a good deal of them (40 frigates). They tore through my Loki Frigates but got hung up on my Tyr Frigates (armored Anti-Fighter) and were shot down with help of my Laser Fighters. A good deal of Rogue Frigates survived and easily overwhelmed cruisers.