Coevolution: Skynet Gila

Attempts at making the the PvE powerhouse of eve also useful in my playstyle.

Somehow the Gila blows everything out of the water in PvE but isn’t seen all that much in PvP. There is a lot of DPS Platforms for smallgang PvP, and the Skynet Gila is certainly not the most ISK effective one, nor the one with the most DPS, but I wanted to fly one anyway. At the start this was just “I want to fly Gila” and over time it found its own niche in my playstyle. The fit so to say co-evoluted with the requirements for it, and now, finally, I am pretty certain when I bring this ship out, and how exactly the fit should look like. Here are roughly the steps that I took along the way.

Initial Theorycrafting

Starting Points

Typically for me, when I start thinking about a ship, I look around what other people are flying, and how it works for them. This time I was looking at Ashy in Space’s Gila Article, as well as some ESS Gilas by Grunt Kado. But it doesn’t quite suit what I want to do with it, but it is a good starting point to then think about what else you can do. As with most kitey ships you are supposed to keep range control and getaway if you need to, so going either Buffer or XLASB were the options without breaking the bank.

Highslots

The Gilas all use Drones and some kind of shield tank (who would have thought). The biggest differences materialize themselves in the Highslots. Here there are quite a few options:

  • Neuts
  • Drone Link Augmentors
  • Rapid Light Missile Launchers
  • Light Missile Launchers (get like half the DPS of RLML, for a lot less PG)

As I definitely didn’t want to stay within Neut range, Neuts were out as an offensive tool pretty quickly (Defensive ones were still an option) and I kind of didn’t like the prospect of using a third of all the available Power Grid to get 150 extra DPS (100 factoring in reload) from Rapid Lights.

Tank

I tinkered around sometimes with the “holy grail” of cheap shield kitey cruisers that is LSE + XLASB but couldn’t really make a fit that still has meaningful DPS and speed, as these two modules alone are pretty costly in fitting, taking up 645 PG (77%) and 240 CPU (50%). If you want to use all your slots, then you will almost always use fitting modules, and with only 3 low slots and 3 rigs, you are always going to lose either speed or DPS.

I then looked at the derivative of it that is found in one of Ashy’s fits: XLASB + Multispectrum, a combination that is often seen on Stabbers. But only having 17.5k EHP after a clip of XLASB didn’t really appeal to me. There is no way you can get everything apparently.

And with my playstyle not only being kitey, but also multiboxing at the same time, I finally decided that I would like to take the decrease in tank, and get more range instead, so that I can focus more on flying tackle while my Gila is doing decent DPS from far away. For this kind of play the lower speed of the Gila also seemed pretty ok, and I finally found my Gilas role, doing DPS at standoff ranges, a role often referred to as a Skynet GIla.

Defensive Tool and Utility

As it is typical for such a fit I elected not to fit any tackle – I shouldn’t really be in that range anyway, but as it is always good to have some defensive option I fitted two defensive medium neuts – the power grid is there anyway and using 30 CPU to potentially survive seemed like a good deal.

Skynet Gila Version 1

[Gila, Skynet 50mn LSE V1]

Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Corelum C-Type 50MN Microwarpdrive
Republic Fleet Large Shield Extender
Republic Fleet Large Shield Extender
Sensor Booster II, Targeting Range Script
AML Compact Omnidirectional Tracking Link, Tracking Speed Script
Drone Navigation Computer I

Drone Link Augmentor I
Drone Link Augmentor II
Drone Link Augmentor II
Medium Energy Neutralizer II
Medium Energy Neutralizer II

Medium Core Defense Field Extender II
Medium EM Shield Reinforcer II
Medium Polycarbon Engine Housing II

First Iteration

Field Feedback

I flew this fit for some time and it felt pretty good. There are however a few things that still needed some iteration.

  • I never even used the neuts in all my fights. Thinking back, I always had the time to align and warp out if I needed to.
  • The Gila just doesn’t do enough DPS for being a pure DPS ship. Most notably I got out DPSd by two guys flying tackle Lokis and dualboxing utility alts, while I was just sitting at range with my Gila (Battle Report). Both of the other guys are excellent pilots – a lot better than I am – and had pretty blinged-out Lokis, but still, I should do at least as much DPS as them.

Improvement Ideas

To mitigate those Issues I had a few did try to create the same stats with a different module combination.
I immediately realized that I would just need a third DDA as this ship has one role, and that is DPS.
I had also neglected found the extra 20% MWD/AB speed bonus that a Drone Speed Augmentor II gives, which seems to be pretty much exactly what this Gila needs, so I really wanted to fit one of those (Spoiler, this extra stat is only listed in the item description and doesn’t actually do anything).

Another question I was asking myself was if I should fit another drone navigation computer, or an omnidirectional tracking link. One makes the drones reach the target faster, while the other one makes them apply better. I thought about how to compare the 2 and decided to go about it in a way where I would try to simulate the time it takes until they deal the same amount of DPS, and created a little spreadsheet (With Valkyrie IIs):

Base
(OTL)
Hit Chance
DPS
with
OTL
DPS
with
DNC
Time until OTL
outdamages
DNC at
50 km

Time until OTL
outdamages
DNC at
100 km
Time until OTL
outdamages
DNC at
150km
1,0497497
0,9427394234669
0,8361306122537
0,730023291827
0,624417271522
0,519312461219
0,41478561117
0,31065651015
0,2703451015
0,1381951015


For me, the drone speed augmentor seemed like the better option, as the distance I am expecting to fly at is 75 to 150 km. I did not simulate that the target would also be burning around, increasing the actual distance the drones have to travel. Combined with the fact that I expect to see the Gila track most stuff pretty decently anyway I thought the drone navigation computer is the better option here

Metaing around

I had decided to bling the drone speed augmentors as they would give me an extra 30 CPU to work with for about 100m ISK. And in the end, I thought that my lock range should be at least a few kilometers longer than my targeting range, as you would want that buffer to lock a target while you are burning in, so I saved up 15 CPU and put a neut on there anyway. In hindsight this is probably the worst iteration, so don’t fly this one, please.

Skynet Gila Version 2

[Gila, Skynet 50mn LSE V2]

Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II

Sensor Booster II, Targeting Range Script
Sensor Booster II, Targeting Range Script
Republic Fleet Large Shield Extender
Drone Navigation Computer II
Sentient Drone Navigation Computer
Gistum B-Type 50MN Microwarpdrive

Drone Link Augmentor II
Drone Link Augmentor II
Drone Link Augmentor II
Drone Link Augmentor I
[Empty High slot]

Medium Processor Overclocking Unit I
Medium Polycarbon Engine Housing I
Medium Drone Speed Augmentor II

Second Iteration

Field Feedback

After taking it for a spin again I still felt like there were some things lacking in this fit:

  • The speed just felt too slow now, a lot of things could now burn at you and get you
  • The locking range felt a little short as well. I had a fight in a magnetar wormhole (Battle Report) and realized that this ship is a great ship for that effect, as people just have to run for their lives against the DPS and can’t punch you back. A little more range would make it perfect.
  • The cap stability was lacking pretty badly, and I often had to coast around with no MWD. This isn’t that useful if you want to dualbox this ship.

What does this actually do ?!?

Independently of all this, I had done some testing on Singularity to see how exactly the extra bonus on the Drone Speed Augmentor II works. And I soon realized that it actually doesn’t do anything at all, it’s just a line of text to confuse theorycrafters like me. After some further digging, I found a guy that had the same problem in 2015 and claimed to have written a bug report. I guess he didn’t actually write one, or CCP missed his report, as the bug is still in the game. So I decided to write one myself and see what could be done: EBR-220715 if anyone sees this.

Without this 2nd bonus the rig isn’t actually that usefull, it takes up 75 calibration and around 25 CPU for a measly 15% increased drone speed. A Drone Navigation Computer II on the other hand gets you 30% increased drone speed for 35 CPU (And a faction one 32% drone speed for 20 CPU!)

General Neuting Thoughts

After testing a Ramjag against an Ashimmu that neuts on every single game tick, I can now confidently say that having medium neuts doesn’t do a thing against people with small nosses:
If the enemy fits two small nosses and you time your neut just right, then there is still a 2/3 chance that their scram stays on, as the order in which the neuts / noses get applied in a single tick is random, and there is a 4/6 chance that a nos comes after your neut, so they scram just keeps going. (1/2 chance with a single nos). This is only if you hit the exact same tick that the enemy is using the nosses, if you hit any other tick then the scram stays on anyway. So if you align and neut someones Ramjag, then there is a 40% chance you hit him at the right time, and then another 33% chance that it actually does anything. So in total you have a 13.3% chance that their scram drops and you can warp away! A boosh is probably going to give you better odds.
With that in mind, I decided that I won’t fit any neuts at all.

Final Goals

At this point, my flying style and Gila fit have continuously evolved, and I finally know what exactly I want out of my Skynet Gila:

  • 20k EHP to get away if plinked at
  • more than 2000 m/s speed
  • 150 km drone range (further away and people might just combat scan and warp over)
  • Cap stability
  • As much lock range as possible (for magnetars and such)
  • As fast drones as possible
  • 3 DDAs

Fitting thoughts

It is already clear how the fit is going to look like for the most part. Drone link augmentors in the highs, MWD and LSE in the mids, DDAs in the lows, and at least a polycarb in the rigs. Although that seems pretty straightforward, there were still quite some options with the remaining slots. Two drone speed augmentors or two ionic field projectors could replace one drone navigation computer or sensor booster, which would then allow for a small cap booster to reach cap stability. The drone speed augmentors aren’t enough CPU efficient, but the Ionic Field Projectors are definitely a valid option and make for a great cheap fit (with a 350m Hull lol). I however found another cool way to make it capstable: With a dynamic fuel valve (a rig that decreases your microwarpdrive’s cap consumption), just the right MWD and Sensor boosters. This costs more, but only takes up a single rig slot. It also doesn’t take any extra APM that I might use otherwise while multiboxing.

Drone Selection

This is a thing that I usually don’t spend to much time on, but as these are vital for the fit, I might as well do it once. Here is a spreadsheet of the Drones in question, on the Gila with level 5 skills:

DPSTotal Omni HPSpeedTrackingPrice
Infiltrator II527532057410,960960’900 ISK
Vespa II565527247180,7801’066’000 ISK
Hammerhead II603417441940,696908’300 ISK
Valkyrie II490421362411,044998’700 ISK
IN Infiltrator480855057411,0561’844’000 ISK
CN Vespa514870447180,8582’559’000 ISK
FN Hammer.548590741940,7661’800’000 ISK
RF Valkyrie445683462411,1482’398’000 ISK
Aug. Infiltrator580855763160,96037’900’000 ISK
Aug. Vespa539845151900,78020’780’000 ISK
Aug. Hammer.663627046140,69610’710’000 ISK
Aug. Valkyrie622632068651,04411’980’000 ISK

Most of this is pretty common knowledge. Vespas are the tankiest, Hammerheads are the slowest and have the most DPS, Valkyries are the fastest, Infiltrators are the most well-rounded ones. With Skynet Gilas, you tend to spend more time flying your drones to the target and back so switching damage type is not as easy as with closer-range drone platforms. So I would choose drones for their ability instead of their damage type in that case. If you have a bricktanked enemy, then you might still want to switch anyway. For a speedy drone set, I would go with Augmented Valkyries, as they are the fastest drones out there and pretty cheap. For a tanky set I would take Imperial Navy Infiltrators, and then finally for a max DPS set I would take Augmented Hammerheads. With 2 seats of the first two, and one set of the later, my drones aren’t terribly expensive, and I can hopefully cover all roles and also the standard damage types against T1 shield/armor resists. For the cheap version I went a little different as I don’t think anyone would want to use augmented drones there.

Skynet Gila V3

[Gila, Skynet 50mn LSE V3]

Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II

Sentient Sensor Booster, Targeting Range Script
'Shady' Sensor Booster, Targeting Range Script
Drone Navigation Computer II
Sentient Drone Navigation Computer
Caldari Navy Large Shield Extender
Corelum C-Type 50MN Microwarpdrive

Drone Link Augmentor II
Drone Link Augmentor II
Drone Link Augmentor II
Drone Link Augmentor I
Core Probe Launcher I, Sisters Core Scanner Probe /OFFLINE

Medium Polycarbon Engine Housing II
Medium Polycarbon Engine Housing I
Medium Dynamic Fuel Valve II


'Augmented' Hammerhead x2
'Augmented' Valkyrie x4
Imperial Navy Infiltrator x4


Quafe Zero
Agency 'Overclocker' SB7 Dose III


Nanite Repair Paste x100
Sisters Core Scanner Probe x8
Mobile Depot x1
Infiltrator II x4
Valkyrie II x4
Vespa EC-600 x2

Skynet Gila V3 Cheap

[Gila, Skynet 50mn LSE V3 Cheap]

Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
AE-K Compact Drone Damage Amplifier

Sensor Booster II, Targeting Range Script
Small F-RX Compact Capacitor Booster, Navy Cap Booster 400
Drone Navigation Computer II
Drone Navigation Computer II
Caldari Navy Large Shield Extender
50MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive

Drone Link Augmentor II
Drone Link Augmentor II
Drone Link Augmentor I
Drone Link Augmentor I
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I /OFFLINE

Medium Polycarbon Engine Housing II
Medium Ionic Field Projector II
Medium Ionic Field Projector II


Hammerhead II x2
Imperial Navy Infiltrator x4
Valkyrie II x4


Quafe Zero
Agency 'Overclocker' SB7 Dose III


Nanite Repair Paste x100
Core Scanner Probe I x8
Mobile Depot x1
Infiltrator II x4
Valkyrie II x4
Vespa EC-600 x2

Closing thoughts

At this stage, I am finally happy with the stats that this Gila gets. I am sure there are still some minor improvements that could be done, but for myself, it feels like this can now die in honor. The niche I think this should be used in is easily multiboxable smallgang DPS. There is about 1 button to press after the initial setup, and as long as you have the grid awareness to keep it within 150km, and away from enemy you can pretty much do whatever else you need to do while dealing decent DPS.

I personally would pair it with something that doesn’t need a ton of instant antitackle support from other ships, as the Gila has quite some travel time until it actually applies. So far I had mostly thought of Stilettos, but maybe other stuff could work too. But in the end one has to remember, there is only so much you can do if they shoot your drones. But in the end one has to remember, there is only so much you can do if they shoot your drones.

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