This is from a casual player running the tau dewa daily...
I bought a b'rel and built it as a torp boat. I tried laying tricobalt mines with dispersal patter beta 3, but when I do that I end up getting caught by my own plasma and tricobalt bursts and getting badly damaged, or I lay the mines too far away to do any good. Furthermore, the mines rarely do much, as they take so long to arm the enemy usually moves away or destroys them.
How do you guys lay mines effectively?
I'll add this - my natural inclination with the boat is to stay completely out of knife-fighting range. I arm it with torps front and back, and try to stay at 5+ range. That seems to work out very well for me.
You'll find the torp boat set-up doesn't do all that well in PvE. It's better as a PvP build.
I normally use the transphasic cluster torpedo, it deploys right near the enemy giving them little time to kill the mines. Sometimes they do take out the torpedo which is a pain in the backside. But this rarely happens in PvE.
Another option is to swap out the mines for something less deadly, photon mines for example. I Normally use transphasic mines as they have the 20% shield penetration.
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It's funny you should say all that. I took my lessons learned and turned my defiant retrofit into a torp boat. 2 breen clusters up front, 4 rapid-fires, and a transphasic mine in the back. The 16 transphasic mines are a thing of beauty, the shields help with the spillover damage, and moving all the time I fire front and back quickly and am able to drop the cooldown on the clusters enough to fire them pretty often.
I really like that boat. It's more maneuverable than a mirror-qin I tried to setup in a similar way.
Back on topic, now that I've setup my B'rel my way (no mines, torps in the rear), I'm doing much better. Yes, it's slower than cannons, but there are some really big booms. :-) More importantly, I can do a gravity well and a spread along with the breen mine and clear a few ships at a time with a bit of luck.