If I recall correctly, it goes like this:
1) Lots of Logi
2) Gang links for speed, sig radius, and shield resistance
3) Lots of Afterburner-Tengus with heavy missiles and 80% resists across the board with a nice buffer
4) Fleet warps in, fleet maintains traversal. Enemy fleet smashed.
Synopsis of Thundercat Strategy:
Groundbreaking, in that no one has done exactly this before. It's basically high DPS with uber tank, and super expensive to boot. I don't feel it's a massive innovation, but given the slow progress of fleet tactics, I guess it's pretty damn good in that regards in being such a huge success.
The strong points of this strategy are high damage, high tank, and extreme repair ability.
The downsides of this strategy are the necessity of many logistics and many Tengus, not to mention cost. Also, in an effort to reduce damage, the Tengus have given up a very important weapon, that being speed, and as such have fitted Afterburners instead of Microwarpdrives.
Plan of Attack:
While it is true that the Tengu is mighty and powerful, I feel it can be beaten by simply out performing it. The Tengu, in this fleet, is trying to do everything. It tries to be small, yet super difficult to kill, yet super offensive, and to a degree it does succeed. It has, as mentioned before, mitigated speed, thus tank, in an effort to be smaller, thus harder to hit (as opposed to impossible to hit, a grave miscalculation I believe).
While the Thundercat strategy relies on Shield Logistics and Tengus and transversal speed, I have an idea to overcome it. Simply put, cripple the speed, and out-DPS the opposing fleet. To do this, I call upon the other 3 tech 3 ships: The Legion, The Proteus, and the Loki.
In the following picture is a tech 2 fit of an Afterburner fit Legion. As you can see, the Legion, even only tech 2 fit, can boast a pretty decent tank, decent speed, MORE DPS than the Tengu (I believe at 550), but more importantly, 3 stasis webifers. The webifiers are crucial for negating speed, and it isn't easy by any means to mix ewar with Shield tanking.
What happens if you drop the AB for an MWD? Really, just a sacrifice in tank, no doubt worth it to make sure you land the webs on the enemy Tengus.
You might be thinking to yourself, "I suppose the Proteus is the scrambler?" You'd be quite correct. The Proteus does have a subsystem that increases Scrambler range, useful in any circumstance except when unable to land the Scrambler. The following picture displays the statistics for the Proteus fit.
But wait, it does more damage than the Legion, so why do we have it? The answer is somewhat simple, somewhat complicated. I've decided that the Legion would be better served to land webs and Proteus to land scrams. The Legion does also have that benefit of a long optimal range, well inside scram and web range, but the Proteus can't make use of that range by itself, as it only has 3 midslots and needs all the power it can get for tank and gank. I feel the Legion is more a heavy tackler in this sense, only slightly weaker in tank and gank than the Proteus, but making up for it in allowing the Proteus to do any damage.
At this point, you've probably figured out the role of the Loki. You might be arguing with me about why I chose the Legion instead of the Loki, and the answer is simply because the Legion isn't used much, and I'd like it to see action. More relevant however, an armor Loki is going to do roughly half the DPS I've come out with for the Legion, and in order to match an armor tank like the Legion's, it needs to use Armor Hardeners instead of Energized Plating. While I will agree that the Loki could actually have a great tank, and use 4 or so webbers to slow opponents, it will do zero damage relatively speaking. I feel the Legion can fill this role as heavy tackler better than the Loki in this case, as the Legion can deal great damage, have a great tank, and use up 3 webbers (9+ minutes of capacitor, it really is cap-stable for all intents and purposes).
Getting back to it, if the Loki is not a Heavy Tackler, and not a DPS support ship, then it can only be a gang-link ship. The following shows the stats.
The gang-links it sports are Rapid Deployment, Passive Defense, and Evasive Maneuvers, basically everything a buffered armor fleet should have. All of the fits posted, except the MWD Legion, are shown benefitting from the gang-linked Loki. Speed has increased, resistance has increased, and sig radius has been reduced, pretty much optimal for an AHAC fleet.
Since the Loki is unprobable, only 1 is needed per fleet, as long as it set the fleet booster. A few others can easily be used for probing, and providing cloaked warp in points. The Legion - Proteus army can clean up shop, as long as they have the following support:
1) Probers, in case of evasive enemies (at least 1)
2) Interdictors (to prevent warp outs, as the enemy fleet will not be prepped for interdiction nullification, although if they were, this is what the Proteus's are for)
3) Armor Logistics. I hear the Guardian is better, I don't really know. Either way, this will need Logistics.
If Armor Loki's were used instead of Legions, the following would be best:
As you can see, it has a much stronger tank than any of the others, however, a vastly reduced firepower. Granted, that is regular Phased Plasma, but you can't realistically expect the Faction ammo to even play a role in a case such as this.
I would like to note that all the above figures were level 5 skills. No implants were used to affect those figures however, but could easily be added in to do so. It should also be noted that the ships' tank and speed will increase with faction fittings and tech 2 rigs. The gank can increase somewhat as well, by roughly 70-80 points for a reasonable yet not super expensive amount.
This fleet is not set in stone. Obviously, command ship can be used in place of the Loki, at the expense of a few percentage points of bonuses and various other perks while gaining extremely in tank and gank, neither of which should be used given that the command ship should provide bonuses, not risk itself in combat.
You could replace the Lokis with Huginns, but you then have to consider their usefulness given the Legions already webbing down the enemy. You could also use Arazus for warp disruption, but again, to what end with a dictor and the Proteus around?
Yes it is true that the Proteus and Legion give up some tank to accommodate greater firepower. That said, they are putting out much greater firepower than the Tengus, and in equal numbers, the Legion - Proteus army should win simply on the basis of more damage. Even if the Tengu horde does have all those logistics, any Tengu caught in 3 or more webs is not moving, and easy prey for the full fury of lasers and blasters. Any shield logistics caught by those webs is in a worse situation as it has far less survivability.
On the other side, the armor fleet can see the missiles coming, and anyone feeling they've been shot at by the horde can warp out, or worst case, tank the damage. The guardians will fix him up. The armor fleet in this way, gets an edge unheard of: by watching the missile fire, they can tell who gets hit, lock him up and repair him before the next wave hits even as he is being hit.
Next time I'll talk about a less pricey, if still effective, plan for dealing with Thundercats.