Post 2019.09.17 17:21

[Abyssal] Solo Worm-Calm Exotic Filament (V 1.1)

Greetings Pilots!
After a long testing period I have come up with a Worm fit that can solo Calm Exotic Filaments.
This fit aims to be cheap, safe and require the least amount of SP, while being a good starting point for higher tiers.
I will try to split this post 50/50 between a fitting exercise and an abyssal guide.

Q: Why go into the Abyss?
A: Abyssal Deadspace is bite-sized PvE content that is very challenging, while still remaining very accessible if you don't have much time on your hands. If you are looking at the economic side, after my test runs on SISI, I kept track of the time and loot from a 30 site run on Tranquility: 248 million ISK in loot-17 million for filaments / for 436 minutes to complete the sites netted me 31.8 mill ISK/hr. This does not include the blueprints, but none of them were extraordinarily profitable.

Q: Why the Worm?
A: I personally believe that in a solo PvE setting, no ship can match the combination of DPS, range and tank the Worm provides.

Q: Why the Exotic Filament?
A: The Worm has a bonus to thermal and kinetic missiles, and I wanted to take full advantage of that. It's true that drones are the biggest source of DPS, but the missile bonus is too hefty to be neglected. Both Hobgoblins and Hornets are the drones that deal most damage and our choice from the start is biased towards two filaments: Firestorm and Exotic. It's important to notice that filament bonuses stay the same, while penalties are lower in the Calm filaments, as explained in this wiki article.

Calm Firestorm Filament:
The bonus to armor HP is bigger than the thermal penalty, giving us a small edge in terms of DPS, while giving better tank to our armor tanked Triglavian foes. Since Precursor ships also deal thermal damage, our thermal resist hole will be huge, and we are shield tanked, so the armor bonus is lost on us. Lastly, Hobgoblins are a bit slow and have tracking issues against fast frigates, which are numerous in the Calm Filaments, and their armor tank does not regenerate over time.

Calm Exotic Filament:
The bonus to scan resolution seems useless, until you consider the fact that the Worm has a measly 38km locking range. By being able to instalock almost everything in the pocket, you gain some time to start applying DPS. The penalty to kinetic resists is not so bad for us, since it's our second strongest resist, but it's also bad for our foes, since our missiles are bonused for it. Also, Hornets have the second best DPS among all four factions, while having no tracking issues against frigates, and their shield tank regenerates itself over time.

After these considerations, it seems the Exotic filament hits a very sweet spot between tank&gank for us, while giving no advantage to our enemies.
With this in mind, let's look at the fit:

SPOILER WARNING!
[Worm, Solo-Calm Exotic Filament]

Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II

1MN Afterburner II
Small Capacitor Booster II, Navy Cap Booster 200
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Small Shield Booster II

Arbalest Compact Light Missile Launcher, Caldari Navy Scourge Light Missile
Arbalest Compact Light Missile Launcher, Caldari Navy Scourge Light Missile
Arbalest Compact Light Missile Launcher, Caldari Navy Scourge Light Missile

Small Anti-Kinetic Screen Reinforcer II
Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer II
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer II


Caldari Navy Hornet x2
Hornet II x3


Navy Cap Booster 200 x16
Caldari Navy Scourge Light Missile x1200
Nanite Repair Paste x50



Rigs:
    We are trying to plug our EM and Thermal resist hole, and since the Exotic Filaments give a penalty to Kinetic resist, we will improve that too.

High Slots:

    There is an argument to be made for the TII launcher with Fury Scourge Missiles, but the CPU gained from the Arbalest Compact Light Missile Launcher and the range and application of the Caldari Navy Scourge Light Missiles, in my opinion, more than make up for the slightly smaller DPS. Since this fit is well suited to kiting, the extra range always helps.

Mid Slots:

    1MN Afterburner II-I prefer a kiting approach to abyssal fights, especially for BC-sized foes and below, and don't really like the MTU strategy for pulling wrecks, since some of them will turn to be empty anyway. Also, you can get into targeting range, set your drones against a target and kite out of drone control range, as your drones will keep fighting the target until it's dead. Meanwhile, you can make best speed toward the Extraction Nodes and Subnodes, shoot them with your missiles and loot them if they aren't empty. The range of the light missiles will save you some 20/30 km if the wrecks turn out to be empty. Speed will be your best ally in the abyss, which is why I suggest not to meta down the AB, keep it always on, kite and keep your transversal speed up, and beware of the pocket boundaries (RED WALL of DEATH). Since there are not many cheap upgrades, the TII is the best bang for your buck.

    Small Capacitor Booster II, Navy Cap Booster 200-For me this is the safest choice to keep both your AB and shield rep on all the time, when the situation calls for it, and will also provide a neut defense in the rare case you will face a Starving Damavik. The Navy Cap Booster 200 hits the sweet spot of not requiring a lot of cargo space while also providing all the cap you will ever need in a Calm Filament. It will also help you improve your skills at balancing shield rep cycles and cap boosting, which will be vital to have if you ever want to go to higher tiers. If you have enough SP, experience with the abyss, wanna save a couple of ISK on cap boosters and don't want to click too much, you can use a Republic Fleet Small Cap Battery, which will not make you cap stable, but will provide you with a decent amount to keep the shield reps going if you make any blunder. The cap booster is my definite choice for beginners though. The best upgrade would be a Dark Blood Small Capacitor Booster, which can overheat for longer and gives a smidge more cap, but it's not really needed.

    Adaptive Invulnerability Field II-Beside providing more tank than the Limited version (lower meta) it also consumes less cap, making it the perfect choice if you can afford the CPU.(the second flex spot for CPU is the second Drone Damage Amplifier, which can be meta-ed down to a compact, and is my preferred choice, if you really have to). You can turn if off after engagements, but remember to put it on after jumping gates. The slight increase in resists granted by the TII might save your life if you mistakenly rushed a BS with no transversal or clipped somewhere and can't move. Those wrecking shots will be the end of you!

    Small Shield Booster II-I approached this fit with an active tank in mind, (which is what you will use in higher tiers, so maybe get some good habits early on) because it allows me to have more options and more control over what I can do. The Ancillary version offers better "burst" repair, theoretically replacing the need for a cap booster, but in practice you will need reps for much longer than this mod can offer, and the reload time is atrocious. Also, the cap booster can be used to fuel the AB too, so this configuration looks to be optimal. As I mentioned before, you will rarely have to keep the rep always on during engagements (beside the Striking Damavik Trio spawn or Drifter Cruiser Trio room). What you can do is overheat it in the rare cases when you will be facing extraordinary peak damage (which a passive fit would not be able to do). Case in point, the situation where you approached an Extraction Subnode with a BS still on grid, turned the Afterburner off and decided to loot it, but clipped on the texture. In this situation, you will have zero transversal, and the BS will land some hefty blows which might end up killing you. So OH the repper, turn the Cap Booster ON, AB ON and get out of there, preferably NOT STRAIGHT AT THE BS! Sorry, I'm trying to cover all scenarios here...The active rep will also save you if you go into the BLUE CLOUD of DEATH with BS still on grid, or if you crossed into the RED WALL of DEATH while kiting. The abyss is so hardcore, everything is a-something of-death...If you wanna upgrade, the Dread Guristas Small Shield Booster is affordable and a bit better, as it reacts better to overheating, but again, is not really needed.

Low Slots:
    Drone Damage Amplifier II-If you really want to meta down something, the second DDA being a compact is the best choice, because the stacking penalties make it so that the difference is almost negligible. Also, if CPU is still tight, you can go for two compact DDA-s, but beware, if you enter the Abyss with less than 200 DPS you will have a bad time.

Drones:
    The TII Hornets, in my personal opinion, beside being the best in terms of price, also are the best performers in terms of DPS, since their damage is purely kinetic, while the "Augmented" version has a thermal secondary type, which does not benefit from the abyssal weather. I reccomend using the TII also as a SP check, because if you can't fly them, you probably aren't ready for the abyss.
    After careful consideration I decided to add two Caldari Navy Hornets in the drone bay: with perfect skills they deal 19 DPS less than the TII, but have twice the Shield and Armor HP compared to them, making the Navy version preferable for the Rogue Drone BC fight (see below for more details). For all other situations the TII will be the drones of choice.


ABYSSAL GUIDE TAILORED TO THIS FIT


A good fit will take you only so far if you approach the abyssal challenges carelessly: knowledge is going to be your best weapon and paying attention will be the key to staying alive. I hope you read the wiki page and took some notes, because I'm going to explain some common strategies best used with this fit:


The Environment and the Interface:


If you have Calm Exotic Filament x3 in your cargohold and are in a fleet, you can right click the stack and "Activate for Fleet". The Abyssal gate will manifest itself and you can enter it even in a solo frigate. Before you do that, in whatever tab you chose to use in your overview, make sure to go to the Overview "hamburger" Menu (4 horizontal bars), go to Overview settings, in the Tab Presets go to the Types tab and in the search bar type "Precursor" and "Abyssal" and tick all the boxes that contain one of these keywords. Do this for all tabs you want to use while dealing with Triglavians.
Keep your drones in folders, so as to know which pair is damaged and move them accordingly, and set them "Agressive" and "Focus fire" in your Drone tab hamburger menu (right click it).
The pocket itself has a radius of 60/70 km, the enemies and the Biocombinative Cache will spawn near the gate, so you have to kill all hostile rats to leave the pocket. If the gate is named "Transfer Conduit", it leads to another room, the "Origin Conduit" lets you out of the whole instance. The limits of the pocket are marked by the RED WALL of DEATH, which will deal a lot of damage to your ship if you cross it, so if that happens correct your course, always Afterburner ON and pray your Shield Booster can hold long enough for you to get back into the pocket.
The best loot will be in the Biocombinative cache, but if you want to gather some more you can check the Extraction Nodes and Subnodes, but shoot them from afar, because they turn out to be empty sometimes. Depending on the type of "terrain" you will face, these nodes can sometimes be orbited at close range while you deal with rats, but be careful not to clip or bump into them, as you will stall and lose your speed tank. The "rocky" wall formation is the worst offender in this category. Be careful, as the nodes spawn close to the boundaries most of the time, so if you were orbiting them and accidentally shoot them, you might slingshot out to your death.
If you checked the wiki page, there is not one single beneficial effect from clouds or structures inside the abyss that will help this Worm fit, so AVOID all of them if possible. The Orange Cloud will gimp your Shield Booster, but you can survive that. The Deviant Automata suppressors will deal serious damage to your drones, but you can keep an eye and recall them if needed. The BLUE CLOUD of DEATH will increase your signature so much that even BS will be able to hit you for devastating damage, so stay out of it no matter what.



Hostiles and how to deal with them


This page has all the nitty-gritty about what Triglavians you will face in the abyss, this one has the Rogue Drones, but most of them will not appear in the Calm Filaments. I made a priority list that you might want to pin to your screen from the in-game notepad:

Nullcharge Dissipator Firewatcher Sentinel Starving (Scylla Tyrannos, but never met in the Calm): are all neuting rats and your priority kills. If your cap dies, your reps and afterburner will die, and you will shortly follow. I have rarely met anything more dangerous than a Starving Damavik in the Calm tier, but better to get in the habit of killing cap neutralizers quickly.

Snarecaster Entanglement Entangler Warden Upholder Tangling: are all webifier rats, and are your second priority if no neuting rats appear. You should be able to kite and kill most of them even before they slow you down.

Striking: rats that deal more damage than others, and your priority if none of the two classes above show up.

Vila: these are the droneboats of the pocket, and you should focus on them, while leaving their drones alone. Once the Frigates are dead, the drones will turn inactive.

Spark-EM; Strike-Kinetic; Ember-Thermal; Blast-Explosive; these are names for the type of damage the Rogue Drones deal, sorted by priority. Your ship is omni-resist tanked and can deal with them, but your drones aren't. If you lose all your drones, your DPS won't be enough to leave the pocket and you will die, so kill whatever has a bonus against them.

The wiki page has also a full list of all rats, but you won't meet most of them in the Calm, or their effects won't be so negative for your ship (Nullwarps scram and Spotlighters paint, for example, but their E-War has no bearing on your Afterburner fit, small frigate). After a while you will get to know them all.


Specific strategies:


Generally, the first thing you will do inside the pocket is to assess the situation and the geography. Take 10 seconds to do that, because reading the room and deciding on a good strategy is the best edge you can give to yourself, and rats will be at a distance that allows you to make some decisions. A brief checklist consists of 1)turning the Invulnerability Field ON and 2)letting your drones out, and then 3)turning the Afterburner ON.
Personally I try to establish if one of the subnodes is a valid direction I can use for kiting while maintaining a good transversal speed (and bonus points if I can orbit it). On some situations I wait until the rats are 38km (locking range of the Worm) from me, before I start shooting them and only then I turn the Afterburner ON. This keeps them quite far and still within range of missiles and drones.

The actions from above hold true for most of the cruiser-size or below rats, but battleships are another deal entirely, as the aim is to "get under their guns". With BS on grid, NEVER ENTER the BLUE CLOUD of DEATH, or think about stopping to loot subnodes: your signature will bloom in the first case, your speed will fall in the second, and in both cases you will die. Instead, turn the Afterburner ON, and "spiral" towards them, by moving close to a 45┬░angle from the imaginary line that connects you both, until you are close enough that you can orbit them around 1000m. Also, if you need to kite further, drones need to have their target into your locking range only once, after they start attacking they won't stop until it's dead, while you can gain further distance. NEVER approach a BS in a straight line, as they are the biggest damage dealers you will face, and that will allow them to apply all of their DPS to your ship.


THE BOSSFIGHT:


If you can kite and rep against the small ships and get under the guns of battleships, there is a specific enemy that will give you the hardest time inside the Calm Filament abyss, so you need to be on top of your game to deal with it: the Rogue Drone BC, especially the Sparkgrip, Strikegrip and Embergrip variations.

It has extremely good tracking, very high DPS, respectable speed (800m/s) but a short range (below 8km). If you face it at point blank range it will melt your face, despite your formidable omni-tank, so kiting it is the only solution you have. The problem is that your drones will need to get into its optimal range to deal their damage, and they are your main source of DPS. All types beside the Blastgrip will two or at most 3-shot your drones, and if they kill all of the 5 you can carry in your drone bay, most likely you will not be able to complete the pocket, let alone a full instance.

The best way I have found to deal with them is the following: orbit them at 20km with the Afterburner ON, as it will give you enough buffer to correct any navigational mistake (like bumping on debris, or approaching the boundaries of the pocket). Shoot them for a few cycles only with your launchers, and keep your drones in bay until you are into the 20km orbit. Launch two drones, have them attack and keep you finger ready on the "Recall to Drone bay" option. Your main attention should be on the box around the BC icon: as soon as it goes yellow click to recall your drones immediately. The yellowbox means it has turned its attention to your drones, since they look to be the biggest threat. By a timely recall, both your drones will survive, and you will launch a second pair from the other drone folder. Iterate until the rat is dead, always paying attention to the box, NOT your drone health bar: the box turning yellow means the BC has started shooting them, the drone health bar shows you the shot has landed, and the delay between the two will mean your drone will get wiped out most of the time. Still, losing one drone to them is perfectly acceptable, the more you lose, the less chances you have to get out of there alive.
After careful consideration I have decided to add two Caldari Navy Hornets to the fit, to deal with this specific situation: they have lower DPS, but twice the Shield and Armor HP of the TII Hornets, making them more likely to survive the onslaught. I think it's better to have this extra layer of protection, instead of relying only on high APM to successfully execute this strategy. Keep using the TII drones for all other situations.

Your last straw, if the worst has come to pass and you lost all your drones, is the situation where the BC has spawned into the last pocket, you have some time to spare and there is a Deviant Automata Supressor in the room. Since the BC is still a Drone, try to orbit the Supressor very close and hope the BC gets inside its range and yet more than 10km from you. Your piloting skills will be your last chance to squeeze some dps from the tower and finish the rat off with your missiles.

***


Changelog:
V 1.1: Correction of typos, some eye-candy and the addition of two Navy Hornets to better deal with the Rogue Drone BC.

Many thanks to all those that made it this far! I tried to cover almost all the bases with this guide, but I understand that's impossible. Be diligent with your homework, stay alert and fly fun! I hope this will help you in your future abyssal challenges, if you have any suggestions or tips, please comment or shoot me a message in game.

Yto Itinen
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