Know Your Enemy by Azual Skoll, The Altruist
Where the other tier 3 battlecruisers generally excel at range, the talos is built to fight up close and personal. Like the oracle it is low slot heavy, with an 8/4/5 layout all told - enough to tank in either armour or shield with reasonable effectiveness. In addition to its 8 turrets, the talos is the only tier 3 battlecruiser to field any drones, with a small allocation of 25m3 bay and bandwidth. The talos draws its bonuses from the king of blaster boats, the megathron - 5% to hybrid turret damage, and 7.5% to tracking. That second bonus is crucial, as we'll discuss in a moment.
As you'd expect from a blaster boat, the damage output of the talos is exceptional, putting out over 1000dps with a standard fit. It may not have the range of the previous two ships, but with large turrets blaster range is noticeably less restricting than it is with medium (4.5+13km with antimatter, or 13+18km with null). A shield fit can hit out even further (5.8+20 and 16+29 respectively, with two tracking enhancers). In addition to this, the talos is one of the faster tier 3s; with an armour tank it's still capable of around 1.3km/s, while with a shield tank it can almost match the tornado at 1.6km/s (or faster if it fits a speed mod). The combination of high speed and reasonably good range actually removes from the talos one of the main limitations associated with alternatives such as the brutix, in the latter ship's difficulty closing to blaster range.
Regardless of tanking methodology, the defences of the talos are fairly middle of the road for a tier 3 battlecruiser - something in the region of 30k EHP with a typical fit. The armour variant is usually slightly tougher (or at least has the potential to be), but the difference is small. The main factor which separates the two fits is what you do with the rest of the slots; a shield talos will naturally buff its damage output, range, and potentially speed (as well as being naturally faster on account of its lack of an armour tank). This makes the shield talos excellent for closing range and performing the same kind of hit and run warfare that the other tier 3 battlecruisers excel at, as well as (usually for a blaster ship) making it a proficient kiter. While it lacks the range of the oracle and tornado, the shield talos offers good speed and can deal strong damage anywhere inside point range, which is nothing to scoff at.
The armour talos doesn't get quite the same range, speed, or damage output (although the latter tends not to be too far off), however the mid slots that it gains are incredibly valuable. While there are many options, the obvious choice is dual webs (at least one is almost guaranteed). Combined with the talos' strong tracking, this makes the armour talos particularly good at engaging targets at close range - something with the other tier 3 battlecruiser are unusually weak at. Not only does this allow the talos to slow its opponents to a point where it can hit them easily, it also allows the talos pilot excellent range control, keeping opponents from getting too close or too far away.
With rails, the talos is really outperformed by the naga and so tends to be fairly uncommon; it offers the same damage output as the naga (excluding its drones, which it's generally unable to use at sniping ranges) but without the naga's impressive range (a typical sniper talos hits out to 168+49km with two tracking enhancers, compared to 224+39km on the naga with one TC). While the talos' tracking bonus remains useful, being an additional 60km away (as the naga would be able to) would have a similar effect, with the added bonus of additional safety. The talos does however remain a strong choice as a mid range sniper (i.e. anywhere inside the 150km warp range barrier) or for operating in a gang with arty tornados and tach oracles (both of which operate at similar ranges), in which case the talos' tracking bonus will give it a better chance of landing solid hits (it's worth noting that while the talos has significantly better tracking than the arty tornado, the tracking on beam lasers is already strong making its lead over the oracle much smaller). In all, the rail talos doesn't appear to be popular and when you do encounter one, you can afford to treat it in the same way as you would any of the other sniping tier 3s; it may be slightly harder to evade its tracking on the approach and it will have a flight of drones to contend with, but otherwise there's little change.
Regardless of fit, the blaster talos is the least vulnerable of the tier 3 battlecruisers when it comes to close range combat and as a result it's probably the most viable of the tier 3 BCs for solo PVP (and the most dangerous should you encounter one solo). Blasters already have the strongest tracking of any close range weapon system, and with the talos' tracking bonus that advantage is compounded (to put this into perspective, a neutron blaster talos has almost twice the tracking speed of an 800mm AC tornado). In addition to this, the talos' single flight of light drones (which could be either damage or ECM) gives it a realistic chance of escaping from a lone tackler which has got under its guns - something which is almost impossible for any of the other ships in this tier. Add to this the web(s) of the armour talos, and it's almost worthy of being called versatile!
While the talos may have handily evaded one of the main weaknesses of the other tier 3s (vulnerability to tacklers) as well as the key limitations of other blaster boats (range and speed), it still has its own achilles heel to contend with - while this ship may have the damage output of a megathron, it still only has the tank of a thorax. It's an incredible ship for finishing a fight quickly (one way or the other), but any opponent that it is able to hit is usually also able to return fire, and it doesn't have the tank to stand up to much punishment. Even the shield talos, while able to kite to an extent, does not enjoy the same ability to engage from a safe distance that the oracle and tornado do.
Given the above, your best choice of tactics when fighting a talos is probably going to depend quite heavily on the fit. Against a shield talos, you can afford to treat it in a similar way to the other tier 3 BCs - get a scram on it, and then try to get as close as possible to minimise its damage output (unless of course you're also fielding large guns, in which case you should keep angular velocity as low as possible since the talos will likely out-track you). Against an armour fit, things are likely to be more challenging - inside web range even a small ship is likely to be hit easily if the talos is wielding dual webs, unless you're afterburner fit and are able to get to point blank relatively quickly. Your best bet for avoiding its damage output is probably to maximise angular velocity while staying outside of web range, although how successful this will be is probably going to depend on a lot of factors and it is far from a flawless strategy.
Trying to out-range either talos fit as you would a conventional blaster ship probably isn't going to be an effective avoidance strategy unless you're able to fight (and keep tackle) from outside of conventional point range - even out at 24km the talos is able to deal over half of its maximum damage output. While pulling range outside 10km or so will likely force the talos pilot to switch to null (which means a small dps drop), you should also remember that the futher out you are, the easier time they will have tracking you. Tracking disruptors, if you have them, are likely to come in very useful.
In the end, the best way to deal with a talos might just be to go head to head with it using a superior tank and gank ship; while the talos' damage output is excellent, its relatively weak tank means that it's possible for a tougher ship to simply come out ahead in a dps race. Ideally you'll want something with flexible range and tracking to ensure that you're able to hit the talos consistently in any situation where it can do the same to you, and having the right damage types will help - neither talos fit has enough slots for its tank to really stay from the very basics, meaning thermal followed by EM for shield tankers and explosive followed by kinetic for the armour version. Aside from the drones (which will usually be explosive or thermal if they are damage drones at all), all of the talos' damage output will be thermal and kinetic (with more kinetic at close range, and more thermal at long range).
The Talos was created for the Design a Starship contest held on the popular artists' site DeviantArt in October of 2010. Original submission. Designed by DeviantArt user lobaud, it was originally called the ORE Seraphim. The original concept was for it to be,
CCP felt that it made more sense to introduce an extra tier of battlecruiser instead and the Talos design was adapted for the Gallente. It was then implemented by CCP in the Crucible expansion of Winter 2011 as a tier 3 Gallente battlecruiser.
Top Contributors For This Page