Friday, November 7, 2014

Mastodon for Fire Support

In this article, I'm going to compare some possible Mastodon builds for use as fire support ships, to take advantage of the Remote Targeting capability.  For this build, I'm going to build them like artillery pieces... no defense but plenty of punch.  

Spotter Ship:
To decide how much weight I can use for the ship, I'm first going to design a spotter.  To use Remote Targeting, another ship in the fleet has to be in weapons range of the target.  I considered three possible ships for this job.  For these Spotters, I didn't build them to do any damage, just to have the best weapons range possible, while being able to take some weapons fire.

Max Range Possible (100):  Interceptor with SFB3 and Deluge Missile 1 Cutlass 1. It's a long build, but dropping the Radioactive Coat to GS3, Dropping the Phalanx to Level 2, and dropping the D5E to D3E would shorten it from 18 days to 9.5 days.  If you want something really quick, you might have a Mercury hull laying around to refit a Deluge & SFB.

UPDATE - a Kixeye mod (BAM) suggested the Deluge doesn't work for spotting (even on a Interceptor or Mercury) because it is an underwater weapon... If not, you could use a Cutlass 1, which drops your range to 96.2.

Slightly more reasonable with long range (97): Lightning Carrier with Hornet

Can take the most pounding with less range (91): Juggernaut X with D92U

Link to the ships above (plus the lightened Interceptor & Mercury):!70M601R1R1R1R1S17685H204Q1B1B4Q4Q1B1B06051R1R5H5P681S4Q4Q1B1O1B4Q4Q0II51R1R1R1R1R1R1R1R5H681S1B4Q1B4Q4P04C50V0V0V1S170C204Q4Q4Q1B1B0M600V0V0V0V1S170C5H204Q1A1A4Q4Q1A1AdB

If I had to compare these three, the JugX with its extremely high evade and resistances will last the longest.  The Interceptor with its high speed & longer range might be able to duck in and out of trouble if well driven.  The Carrier has better build time, although its stats are inferior to the Interceptor.  The next raid prize is rumored to be a flagship Interceptor, so stay tuned to see if that will enhance the Mastodon's punch when put together.

So with the heaviest spotter ship weighing 7605 tons, that leaves 24,151 tons in my Dock 11 fleet.  I can add 3 Mastodons to the fleet with weighing up to 8,050 tons each.

The other weight to think about is 4,208 tons, which is the weight difference between Dock 10 and Dock 11.  With a Mastodon of that weight, it can be added to any four ship fleet built for Dock 10, and give it a bit of extra firepower.

The Mastodons:
Each build will start with the same specials and armor:

Speed System 3 - I still want an engine upgrade so it can get into range and have a shot at staying out of harm's way.  Strike System would give more accuracy, but I want to maximize my range with...
Solid Fuel Booster 3 - Maximize my weapon range
Laser Targeting 3 - The Mastodon doesn't come with built in retargeting, so LT gives that capability, and the extra accuracy will help against high-evade targets.
Enhanced Warhead 3 - This ship's purpose is to do damage... EW helps.

No armor.  If this ship gets shot at, you're doing it wrong.

The weapon choices are:
Siege Missile Z:  Great punch and great build time.  
Strike Missile L: Tiny but mighty for the weight
Achilles Missile B: These suck, and this article will show you how much
Strike Missile B: Does the 20% bypass and extra range help?
Torrent Missile 3: Lower range, greater punch
Cutlass 4: Will these creaky old missiles do anything?

The Builds:
I'll show pictures of the first few, and just describe the rest... they won't look that different.

The first build I would try is one with 5 Siege Missile Z and 3 Strike L.  This ship looks like:

At 7,972 tons, this one comes in under our weight target and gives 15 Siege Missile Z and 9 Strike Missile L across three ships.

An Achilles-focused build would look like:

Achilles weigh less than Siege Missile Z, so this fleet will have 18 Achilles and 6 Strike Missile B.

For Torrents we end up with:

This again hits our weight at 7,950 tons with 27 Torrent Missile 3 across the fleet.  The DPS/ton of Achilles is fairly flat across the versions, so I didn't try to use up the extra weapon slot with lighter ones.

And for completeness, I'll show a Cutlass build.

15 Cutlass 4 and 15 Cutlass 3 can be fit across the three Mastodons here.  Smaller versions of the Cutlass are considerably more efficient so I used them where I could.  (if you really end up going this way, you might want to think about 7 Cut 4 & 1 Cut 3.  The Resistance + Plate makes Cut 3 nearly useless.)

All the versions are at:!70II51R1R1R1R1R1R1R1R5H681S1B4Q1B4Q4P0MC000000000000R171S0L3E3E00004U4U4U4U4U3E0MC000000000000R171S0L4V4V0000ADADADADADAD0MC000000000000R171S0LAAAAAA00AAAAAAAAAAAA0MC000000000000R171S0L0N0N0N0N0O0O0O0O0N0OdB

I'll compare these builds for Max Range, DPS, and build time.  For the DPS, I used a basic building (no resistance), a basic fleet (no evade or resistance), and the Interceptor and Kodiak examples from the last raid (see previous article for the stats).

Edit for more info: (DPS was calculated with a 45% rank bonus & the 60% damage reduction from Remote Targeting.  I also used 1% as the minimum floor for damage with plate reduction.  Apparently that is incorrect (see the comments on that link), but when your damage is that low, it won't affect these DPS numbers much)

Statistic (per ship)Siege Missile Z / Strike Missile LAchilles Missile / Strike Missile BTorrent 3Cutlass 3 / 4
Build Time (w officer)10d 1h 34m19d 11h 44m13d 14h 39m11d 18h
Ship Armor6,5526,5523,5523,552
Remote Targeting Range154.7163.8141.1168.4
Building DPS4,964.11,661.92,205.11001.8
Basic Fleet DPS2,718.4822.62,205.1872.2
Raid Interceptor DPS620.4161.9208.7106.9
Raid Kodiak DPS693.7191.5384.652.0

Against the high penetrative resist Kodiak Target, the Siege Missile Z bonus Radioactive damage was doing more DPS than the basic Penetrative damage, even though it is only 1/3 as large to start with, and the Strike Missiles do negligible damage.  

Still the Siege Z Bonus damage by itself is greater than the Achilles damage ... even with the 30% armor bypass applied to both the percentage resistance and the plate damage subtraction.  

The Torrent Missiles' penetrative damage is also nearly completely negated by the raid targets, so they are carried by their Bonus Radioactive damage as well.  Also note that the Torrent DPS also falls behind the Siege Missile Z against basic targets.  This is because the high salvo of the Torrent Missiles results in them being helped by the reload bonuses much less than the Siege Missile with 1 shot per salvo. 

Although the Cutlass DPS is better than the Achilles against the basic fleet target, the raid targets' resistance negates the Cutlass 3 damage (and doesn't do too bad against the Cutlass 4 either), resulting in some dismal DPS numbers, especially against the high resistance Kodiak. 

Overall, the Siege Missile Z build has the largest DPS and the lowest build time of any of the missile options.  It's really not even a close decision.  Achilles can be used for greater range, but the DPS difference is more than a factor of three.  Having the bonus Radioactive damage on the Siege Missile Z is more effective against high resistance targets than the 30% armor bypass on the Achilles.

So using what I learned (plate resistance negates strike missiles), and wanting to preserve a ship that can make a Dock 10 fleet into a Dock 11 fleet, I found the best I could do is to build a ship with 2 Siege Missile Z and 6 Strike Missile L (3 Siege Z were too heavy).  This just wasn't worth it.  So the other option to consider is to just build 2 heavy Mastodons... 8 Siege Missile Z on the fire support Mastodon build results in a ship weight of 11,899 tons.  Two of those paired with the Juggernaut X leaves a Dock 11 fleet with 353 tons to spare. Each of those Mastodons takes 11 days 16 hours to build which is not too much longer than the 10 day 1.5 hours for each of the ships in the three ship fleet.  Building 2 hulls instead of 3 results in a nice time savings.

For now, this is the one that I'm planning for my shipyard (just under 47 days for the fleet):!70II51R1R1R1R1R1R1R1R5H681S1B4Q1B4Q4P0MC000000000000R171S0L4U4U00004U4U4U4U4U4U0MC000000000000R171S0L4U4U00004U4U4U4U4U4U0ZZ0ZZdB

However, I'll be looking for that Interceptor flag, and may change my plans.

With Raid info starting to come out, my next articles will probably be my usual raid cycle.  Stay tuned.  For now here's a few links with info:

Robot's Tips and Tricks Thread:

Some Unofficial Info: