Tuesday, November 16, 2010

shield cane

As Battleclinic would tell you, a lot of my more casual small gang and solo PvP of late has been from a shield tanked gank cane. The primary reason for the fitting is that I'm able to get away with it as a ratting fit, though its PvP qualities are unparalleled in its class, for several reasons.


The Hurricane and Cyclone are the fastest, most agile battlecruisers in the game. Employing a shield tank ensures that these properties are retained, which means the Hurricane is able to typically speed past similar sized competition, and attempt to match smaller cruiser sized vessels.

Many pilots opt for some speed fittings, whether they be rigs or lowslot modules, however given the typical lack of significant camps or gangs with EWAR support in my area, I'm able to get away with a full gank fitting. Additionally, the gank fitting allows me to maul those BC variants that sacrifice for speed, provided they don't have support to back them up. It's a big assumption to make, but with good experience of your roam area and a scout, it's not much of an issue.


The gank cane is nigh unparalleled in range and damage output, as the double damage bonus, triple gyrostab and double tracking enhancers enable the ship to hit hard well outside of scrambler and webifier ranges. This is important, as while the fitting isn't exactly a glass cannon, it's very easy for armor tanked BC variants or your typical drake to have tens of thousands of greater effective hit points (EHP, Eve Fitting Tool [EFT] jargon). If possible to have a scout, always have a gang going to eek out as many EHP from gang bonuses as possible.


Sporting two spare highslots for a variety of modules, the cane is able to dial its fitting to better adapt to the pilot's environment. Missiles can be fit to enhance the damage output, which is critical for dealing with big tank targets such as Drakes or ratting BS. Twin medium energy neutralizers are great for dealing with frigates: two cycles is enough to clean most frigates of capacitor, enabling escape or a critical cycle of MWD to pull range and improve tracking. If gang skills are trained, a ganglink can be fit without the usual fitting hassle other battlecruisers have. I tend to favor the Interdiction ganglink, as 32km/37km overheated disruptor range is an amazing thing for a battlecruiser that's able to strike ably at those ranges.


While I occasionally take this fitting into lowsec, I tend to favor nullsec, as the lack of sentries and increased population of tackling frigates means my typical dual neut fit is able to compete in an environment where it excels. I do however have competing goals when I enter 0.0, as I'm usually there to grind security status, and gank ratters/engage PvPers second. Thus the drain on my shield buffer is a constant issue when targets arise, though one I can work with.

Typical targets when solo are other battlecruisers and smaller. This includes virtually all variants of BCs, for several reasons. The maneuverability of the basic hull means most other battlecruiser hulls, T2 and T1, will not be able to match the speed of the Hurricane. Those that can tend to have markedly reduced tank and/or gank to the shield gank cane, and are thereby vulnerable. This means the cane is able to kite shorter ranged, slower hulls, or outrun BCs with similar gank/tank capacity and retreat.

Drakes are where this equation falls apart, as both HML and HAM fits tear the shield cane apart, due to the ridiculous level of buffer and recharge Drakes are blessed with. Heavy Missiles drakes are perhaps even more deadly than HAM fits, as even if you're able to burn away several tens of kilometers away from a gang, the Drake will be doing the same damage, all the way out to 80km. By then, the shield cane's buffer is dangerously depleted, and not much can be accomplished before destruction.

My approach to all similar sized or larger targets is to hold 18-22km from target, and give the target time to react to my presence. When a ship tries to close range, I can gauge from its acceleration and velocity whether its an armor rigged and plated variant, and hold my range. If I think it will be a speed fit or more agile ship, I'll watch my foe's velocity like a hawk to make sure it can't speed away without me applying some overheat to my MWD and warp disruptor to keep up. The golden rule with this ship, and most other lightly tanked gank vessels is to work the range advantage until victory is assured.

I carry Barrage, EMP and Fusion, with a fair bit more Barrage as I tend to employ my range advantage frequently rather than burn into web range for the kill. Warriors are used to help deal with frigates.

victory examples

Virtually all my ship victories that didn't end with a loss involve me keeping a cool head, holding range and testing my opponent's reaction to gauge its fitting, whether it has backup and opponent skill. This does result in losing a few ship kills due to targets breaking tackle range and running, however it's the correct way to go about flying the ship.

My three latest skirmishes with Extreme Predujdice. in BRT- have been fine examples of me instigating locals, pulling them to a celestial of my choosing, dragging out their gang and taking them apart piecemeal.

This 1v1 in B-VIP is a good example of holding range and working my greater range and speed against a slower, tankier armor tanked ship. I didn't rush into range, and the closest to the target I managed was about 17km. There were a few spots where the enemy cane pulled out of normal point range, but good heat management meant I was able to keep on top of him until he went down.

While more of an instance of good anti-piracy tactics, this engagement with INSURGENCY. is also a good example of the psychology of PvP and gauging whether your opponents want to fight. I had just cross jumped this cane and an additional Drake, and decided to reapproach gate, jump and see how they'd react. Upon jumping, the pair of BC had returned to the gate. I took this as a cue they wished to fight, and upon decloaking aligned my ship away, using a burst of MWD to gain some distance from the pair. The Hurricane GCCed and gave chase, and I eventually led him some 40km from the gate.

Pulling the Cane off the gate was a damned good thing, as an Absolution jumped through several seconds after I did, and I was only just able to kill the cane as the abso came within 20km of my ship. While I wasn't able to really dent the Absolution's tank before it was able to burn back to gate and jump, it goes to show that playing an engagement out by following a plan allowed me to survive, kill an opponent and turn the tables back on the pirate gang by forcing them to deaggress and jump.

This Drake kill is just an example of how close this match up is. Coffee managed to probe down and tackle this guy, and held point long enough for me to warp in and land a point myself. Then the typical exercise of fighting a drake took place: Drake realizes its in danger, and begins burning away. Without a scrambler, I'm forced to chase and apply neuts until the Drake loses the capacitor to run its MWD. During this chase, my bloated signature radius means I take painful volleys, while the Drake takes a little less damage due to the 7-10km range it typically holds from me. Once the Drake's MWD is conquered, I have to try to overheat and bash my way through its tank, making sure I time my overheat to defeat its peak recharge period. With everything going right, AND 10% more shield/armor HP from gang bonuses, I finished this fight with roughly 50% hull remaining. If the Drake had ECM drones rather than Hobgoblins, its very possible it would have killed me outright, such as in this engagement: The Hurricane needs all of its damage output applied continuously to kill a decently skilled and fit Drake.

For reference, I've flown the cane a hell of a lot more than this, but I can't recall past engagements well enough to relate here, and not to mention perhaps half of my PvP isn't even recorded: many times targets or myself are forced to flee for any number of reasons, resulting in no killmail/lossmails.

defeat examples

When flying the shield gank cane, I can't stress enough to always begin a fight with a skirmishing mindset. When flying small gang and solo, there is little margin for error. If you get tackled by a ship with superior tank, or the reinforcements arrive, no one is there to bail you out. Unless you manage something incredibly lucky, you're dead. Disregarding the strategy means you leave yourself vulnerable to repeat failure.

In this case, I had scouted the Thorax and Cyclone, and had decided to warp to their pull bubble, with the goal of ganking the Cyclone with EMP while neuting down the Thorax. What I didn't account for is both targets using ECM drones, which meant I was permanently jammed for the duration of the fight. Had I eased into the engagement and maintained range to start with, I either would have been able to kill off the drones, or at least draw out the fight long enough to realize the potency of 10 ECM drones and flee.

This engagement like so many other shield cane losses is an example of both Vasavia and myself not watching our range well enough, getting caught and dying miserably. The engagement should have been a textbook case of autocannons trumping blasters, and instead was a good example of how not to fly a skirmish gang.

Always know your limits: if a target tends to fit heavy neuts, has the midslots for plenty of tackle and EWAR, and has good range, avoid it. You can't rely on other pilots being idiots, or at least you should ease into the engagement to test whether or not that Tempest you scanned down has a good fit or not.

I can't find the other engagement where this pair of canes ripped me to shreds, but its a good example of gauging your opponents: if they seem eager to fight, assume they're not alone and react appropriately. I should have just fled.

One final engagement to show what happens to a nanoless gank fitting when caught in a good camp: they die. I should have tried to burn back to the gate, as I didn't realize how poor their DPS output was, however any half decent nullsec gatecamp with EWAR, fast tackle and DPS will put this shield gank fitting down without much effort. Don't expect to fly one of these into a properly patrolled region of nullsec and live.


  1. Eventually I will fly a Cane . . . I love this guide. I think 2-3 months and I'll be in one.


  2. Canes are lots of fun. I've been out with Sard a few times in them, and they're great. I've been recently flying the arty cane, though. It's a little dfferent (I wouldn't solo in it) but it's fun.

    Very informative guide. 5/5

  3. Great Write-up! I agree the Cane is an awesome ship to fly. I have not really done much solo work (currently I am working on the rupture) but plan to use the cane solo (and Typhoon eventually) once I get a bit more confidence.

  4. great guide sard!

    Love the shield gank cane even if I have the worst luck flying canes of any ship, ever!

  5. I totally agree with your conclusions Sard, thankfully the projectile and tracking enhancer changes greatly improved my favourite ship, what I'd give for another midslot though.

    Last night I lost a gank shield fit to a thorax, ishkur, enyo, harpy and cormorant gang that engaged me (as bait) 30km off gate.

    The thorax landed within scram range and the frigates piled in. Had I managed my neut cycles better I think I could have gotten out to the 18-22km sweet spot, bad piloting on my part meant I didn't survive long enough for our gang to cross the 57 AU warp, the thorax did die.


  6. You're an inspiration to those of us who love the small gang, solo part of eve.

  7. Canes are amazing really. I do normally nano mine, but that's mostly a mental thing; It's faster than most ships even without nanos. Also projectile weapons are possibly the most awesomely overpowered weapon type in the game right now. Goddamn I love the cane.