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Ensign
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 15
# 647 anti-escort
03-10-2013, 08:13 PM
I've been thinking about this for a while now:

Since escorts are so flavor-of-the-month(s) right now, and especially for people who can't always have an organized PvP team but are occasionally thrown into PUGs - or even choose to play random - what would be the optimal build for taking down escorts?

Goals:
  1. negate the escort's biggest advantage - its speed and turning (which also provide much of its defense/survivability)
  2. capitalize on the escort's biggest weakness - its squishiness
  3. be able to withstand high alpha strikes

Regarding #1, the best strategy I've come up with is a variety of power drains; tractor beams, chronitons, and various other debuff-snares can be cleared with APO or PH but as someone pointed out earlier in the thread, all that free movement doesn't matter if you've got low engine power or engines offline. Thus, Polarons seem like the logical weapon choice, along with things like Leach, Tyken's, Energy Siphon, the Breen set, etc.

Regarding #2, with comparably fewer shields to chew through than other ships, but a moderate amount of hull, it seems Kinetic damage is called for. Obviously you need some energy damage to punch through the shields initially, but once they're gone the aforementioned power drains should prevent them from regenerating too quickly and, since most escorts prefer powering engines & weapons over shields & auxiliary, even shield-healing science abilities won't be as much of a concern.

Regarding #3, it's gotta have the same basic staples of any ship these days: RSP and TT at least. Other options for reducing spike damage would be things like the Borg 3pc, placate procs, Honor Guard shields, and defense bonuses (Aegis 2pc?). To avoid being pinned and losing all that defense, Polarize Hull or APO are needed too.

Additionally, carriers are a nice way to harass an escort, as most escorts will have a difficult time killing multiple enemies at once if they are't in a cone for CSV. Recall doffs also provide bonus defense when needed (i.e. during alphas).

TL;DR - looks like a Vesta with Polarons, some torps/mines & high aux

All that having been said, so far in my tinkerings there are a few persistent walls I keep running into.

Problems:
  1. The initial snare: Keeping an escort snared is easy; getting it snared in the first place can be tough, as it needs to be in range and likely in a weapon or ability firing arc of some variety (depending on which snare/drain we're using). There's always tractor beam, but they'll just APO out of it. Timeships are another option, but pricey. Catching an escort is an even bigger problem if not flying something with a high turn rate of its own, so cruisers seem off the table. And of course, even in an escort with a purple Mk XII turn console, I get flown around in circles by JHASs.
  2. Cloak: Problematic for its defensive potential here (obviously the offensive use informs Goal #3 above) - a Klingscort can battle cloak away on the verge of death and return with full health & shields, unsnared and ready to alpha you again. Charged Particle Burst is an option, but it competes with all our power draining abilities for precious boff slots; the Grappler console is another, but it has a very long cooldown. Buffing the daylights out of Sensors skill is a third, but I've never tried this myself and anecdotally I hear it's dicey, although we'd be running plenty of aux power for abilities already anyway. A smart opponent will use temporary stealth buffs like the Honor Guard 3pc to thwart this however.
  3. Offense vs. Defense: Even if I manage to slow an escort, generally this just means I can actually hit it for once but not necessarily do much damage. With chaining TT and all the passive heals in the game currently, even a snared/drained escort can be remarkably durable. It's difficult to have both enough defense to survive alphas while simultaneously being able to do enough damage to kill a smart escort. It seems like the right answer is to have just barely enough defense to survive the game's nastiest alpha and then dump as much else into offense as possible, but I'm still trying to find that point.

Anybody else have thoughts/suggestions?