I have spent some time in the past few weeks messing with PyFA. I'm happily skilling away in Itamo, so this is how I've been playing EvE. It would be fun to actually fly around on TQ, but our space is too risky to explo or rat in right now, and the PvP is all large-gang stuff.
One kind of fit I've been having fun with is the perennial "surprise". Fitting ships that should never intentionally see combat to intentionally see combat is pretty interesting, and surprisingly good results can be obtained.
First though, I'll lay out some principles: What makes a good surprise fit?
It subverts a narrative. The ideal surprise fit plausibly supports a story the victim wants to believe about what's up. When the truth slowly or suddenly comes out, the victim may continue to fool themself long after the truth should be obvious.
It sows confusion. The next time the victim of a surprise fit encounters a similar situation, they will hopefully be on their guard. The range of perceived risk has been expanded.
It's reasonably priced. One anticipates losing surprise-fit ships, so no blue or purple gear, please. Also, who is surprised by any use of a T3 or capital hull?
It's fun. If you are chuckling to yourself as you build and use the fit, that's a good surprise fit.
I'll share a few of the fits I have so far in order of increasing ridiculousness.
Nereus: The Mighty Industrial
The Nereus is among the cheapest Industrials you can buy. It's basically a beginner Industrial. So if you wander around acting stupid in one, there's an obvious conclusion to draw.
There's several plays that can be made here. I'll present a couple, one demonstrated good by something I saw on Reddit, the other inspired by it.
The Nereus hull tanks real nice, and this gives a nice element of surprise. By the time an attacker finds out the ship is tanked at all, they're pretty well committed, and they'll probably assume the tank is pretty fragile. After all, surely the lows and rigs are full of alignment and cargo mods, right? Mount a little pew rail and you can set it off when the bad, bad men attack you without hurting them too much.
Now if you add scram, web, MWD and a couple of sebos in the mids, and put decent drones in the hold, things get interesting. The sebos give a reasonable lock time, so that those trying to run away will be forced to reconsider. The other mids enforce the decision to stay around once lock is achieved. Once you turn any of those on, though, the jig is up: you might as well launch the drones that will do most of your damage. A NOS will keep you running if you get small-NEUTTed, but neither the tank nor the DPS depend on cap, so you should be good in any case. Adding another rail instead wouldn't be crazy.
At almost 30K EHP of hull tank and 100DPS, you should be a match for most frigate-class ships, and for badly-fit destroyers and cruisers. If not, we're talking about 11M ISK for ship and accoutrements: meh.
[Nereus, Solo Nereus] Reinforced Bulkheads II Reinforced Bulkheads II Reinforced Bulkheads II Damage Control II Drone Damage Amplifier II 'Langour' Drive Disruptor I 50MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive Alumel-Wired Sensor Augmentation, Scan Resolution Script Alumel-Wired Sensor Augmentation, Scan Resolution Script J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I Small Ghoul Compact Energy Nosferatu Dual 150mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M Medium Transverse Bulkhead I Medium Transverse Bulkhead I Medium Transverse Bulkhead I Hobgoblin II x3 Hobgoblin II x3 Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M x840
Somebody pointed out to me the other day that Shield Power Relays don't have a stacking penalty. This seems like a crucial mistake by CCP, and we should punish our enemies for it.
This fit should confuse the crap out of your victim: it can shield tank 475DPS into the EM hole and 750DPS omni. You are essentially invulnerable against solo shooters, and as long as you can keep them in range, you can just keep applying your 90 DPS until they melt or get away. It's a little more expensive at 18M and the surprise springs a little quicker at 1/3 shields, but it's another way to make the Nereus interesting.
[Nereus, Solo Shield Nereus] Shield Power Relay II Shield Power Relay II Shield Power Relay II Shield Power Relay II Shield Power Relay II Adaptive Invulnerability Field II Large F-S9 Regolith Compact Shield Extender Large F-S9 Regolith Compact Shield Extender Shield Recharger II Warp Scrambler II Light Neutron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S Small Energy Nosferatu II Medium Core Defense Field Purger I Medium Core Defense Field Purger I Medium Core Defense Field Purger I Acolyte II x3 Hobgoblin II x3
For 2M ISK net, you can replace one of the Purgers with an Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer II giving 550DPS shield and 580DPS uniform. I prefer this option, actually, although the original author of this strategy does not. You may want to replace the Shield Recharger with a web, giving 470DPS shield and 500DPS uniform with the Anti-EM fit, but allowing you a slightly better chance of keeping up with your victim when they burn away.
Sadly, you don't quite have enough grid to run a useful prop mod without breaking the fit completely. Substituting a Reactor Control Module II in low substantially breaks the tank.
If money is no object, you can replace the Purgers with T2 for a mere 74M ISK net, achieving 580DPS of EM tank and 800 omni, or you can use two T2 purgers and an Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer II for 54M ISK net giving 670 uniform and 629 EM.
The Fightin' Helios
How often have you had somebody solo gank your explo ship on site? Well, maybe this will be the last time. It's damn tricky to get a combat fit onto a Helios, but enough MAPCs will fix anything. Tanks 150HP/s into the shield hole and 180HP/s omni while putting out 130DPS that no one ever, ever saw coming. Better stay close, though: those Light Neutron Blasters don't have any kind of range at all.
[Helios, Surprise!] Magnetic Field Stabilizer II Micro Auxiliary Power Core II Micro Auxiliary Power Core II Medium Ancillary Shield Booster, Navy Cap Booster 50 Medium Ancillary Shield Booster, Navy Cap Booster 50 1MN Y-S8 Compact Afterburner Patterned Stasis Web I Fleeting Progressive Warp Scrambler I Light Neutron Blaster II, Void S Light Neutron Blaster II, Void S Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer II Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer II Hobgoblin II x1
The Better-Than-You'd-Think Velator
Yes, you can fit a Velator. Let's look at a couple of options.
Velator a la Scrappy
OK, you're not likely to get a lot of kills with this one. But with no blue/purple mods, the ability to put out 90DPS with 1.4K of armor omni EHP is pretty dank. You'll mostly be speed tanking and keeping up close and personal with the AB, so get ready for a wild ride. Maybe you could kill something?
Oh, and did I mention: 250K ISK fitted, of which 50K is the list price of the free ship. So you can lose a lot and still break even with this one. Better yet, get a couple of buddies. You can upgrade the drones, AB or even guns to T2 if you want to put those "expensive" fittings on a free ship. I wouldn't bother.
[Velator, Armor Brawl] 200mm Crystalline Carbonide Restrained Plates Adaptive Nano Plating I Fleeting Progressive Warp Scrambler I 1MN Y-S8 Compact Afterburner Regulated Light Electron Phase Cannon I, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S Regulated Light Electron Phase Cannon I, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S Hobgoblin I x2
Yeah, this probably won't work. But I'm really dying to try it with some friends. 1.6K omni shield EHP, 60DPS. The shield repper can be used to repair your drones as well as your friends — sort of — and it's cap stable at 9% with the booster running. It's scary out there, do not fly this alone.
[Velator, Noobfleet Spider Tank] Drone Damage Amplifier I Micro Auxiliary Power Core I Medium Shield Extender I Small Capacitor Booster I, Navy Cap Booster 400 Small Remote Shield Booster I 150mm Railgun I, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S Hornet I x2
What Have We Learned?
Almost anything can be combat fit.
The best surprise is an explodey surprise.
It's all good cheap fun.
Have fun, and send me your surprise fits too.