This will be the third in my Combat Philosophy series, having covered both Amarr and Gallente already. Thank you to those that have passed on comments to me (although why you don't post them on the blog is beyond me).
The Combat Philosophy of the Minmatar Race
The underdogs. The downtrodden. The survivalists. Also the wanderers and the nomads. Many are the ways in which the Minmatar are described, a heavily tribalistic but at the same time highly cohesive and unified power in New Eden. They are ostensibly the smallest of the empires, both in terms of number of corporate entities as well as controlled star systems, however, this does tell the whole truth about the potency of the Minmatar. For a long time now, certainly as long as I've been playing Eve, Minmatar ships have been upheld as some of the most enduringly popular and effective ships in the game, despite all the jokes about being clogged with rust and held together with nothing more than duct tape and the willpower of their pilots. But what willpower the Minmatar have. They are portrayed as some of the most persistant, most disciplined, and most cunning of the peoples of New Eden. The Minmatar way is to pull stunning victory using limited resources and being able to adapt to a variety of circumstances and opponents, even if this means that on paper, their capabilities appear to pale in comparison to that of the other three races. The fundamentals of the Minmatar are so:
1) Persistence, struggle and opposition to oppressive authorities defines the Minmatar as a people.
2) Flexibility and adaptability are the greatest tools of the tribes. They will whatever is on hand meld into ways that can be employed to defeat their enemies and defend their freedom
3) The Minmatar are insular within their tribes, even amongst each other. While they cooperate with others, they will never wholeheartedly embrace any universal unifying principles, and will stay dedicated to their hearth and home before all
These fundamentals form the the basis of Minmatar combat philosophy. Their persistence is represented in the way their ships are built. The combination of their speed and the tendency to focus on the application of firepower allow them to stay on their opponents consistently. They are not, as a rule ships that you simply aim towards the enemy ship and open fire, but will tend to progressively wear down their opponents through their fast tracking speed and the high rate of fire of autocannons. This also leads into the principles of flexibility and adaptability. Minmatar ships are generally known for their wide range of possibilities regarding fitting options, being able to mount shield or armour tanks, being able to select from a variety of different ammunition to take advantage of their enemies defensive weaknesses, and all manner of electronic warfare options. Their speed emphasises this, providing Minmatar ships with the advantage of being able to choose the circumstances of a fight, knowing where to fight and how close or far to be from the enemy. This does result in Minmatar ships, as a general rule, being weak when it comes to pitched battles, they lack the sheer tanks and firepower that the other races can bring to the table, their fighting style being more akin to a hit-and-run style of fighting, as prolonged engagements are rarely in the interest of a Minmatar pilot. With the advent of the Retribution Expansion, this is becoming even more evident, as the Tiericide initiative has nerfed a few key aspects of the Minmatar ship lineup, mostly notable with the changes to the Hurricane, which loses utility and fitting options and is slowed down, partly in an attempt to crush the massive Hurricane and fleets of null-sec warfare, which succeeded largely through sheer numbers rather than the flying skills of their pilots (trust me, when 100 Hurricans land shots on a single target, it hurts). This would seem to be not in the spirit of Minmatar warfare, which has generally favoured small-gang style warfare (Caldari and Amarr do the the big fleet thing), and the need to be a slightly better pilot of really get all the potential out of a Minmatar ship.
This points to the third fundamental of Minmatar warfare, that their ships thrive on small-scale warfare. In large fleets, the Minmatar have at best been underwhelming, at worst, the laughing stock of large fleet combat. Evidence of this can be seen in popular opinions of Minmatar ships larger than battlecruisers: Typhoons and Tempests are relatively rare to see vs. other racial battlships (Maelstroms, with their outstanding potential for alpha dps, are perhaps another story) and are rarely seen in large numbers. The carriers, the Nidhoggur and the Hel, are even rarer. When inquiring about training paths, I have personally been discouraged by just about every FC and CEO I've ever flown under, overwhelmingly preferring the Gallente and Amarr instead. And am aware of only one pilot in recently memory that could even fly a Hel. The Naglfar, the Minmatar dreadnought, appears once in while, but usually in fleets that are laden with Revelations and Moros', and is frequently joked about. This may change with some changes to its currently rather poor fitting options, which will see the abolition of its split weapon system to turrets only and a buff to its damage output. The racial Titan, the Ragnarok, is rarer still, and this pilot has never seen one, although is aware that they are out there. The reality is that Minmatar excellence is generally found in smaller ships and smaller numbers. Indeed, one of the bonuses of the aforementioned Ragnarok is providing its fleet with bonuses to signature radius reduction, a benefit that is largely to the advantage of smaller ships. This also points to the relative flexibility the Minmatar have at the small-scale level, they excel in fleets up to a certain size, but are also quite capable soloists, and will never have a problem fitting in whatever fleet comp they find themselves in (with the exception of the capital lineup, which are mostly favoured toward shield tanking).
So what is Minmatar combat philosophy? It's to flight fast and light, and use these to shape the battlefield to your advantage, rather that just wading through it. It means being able to adapt to changing circumstances in different scenarios, fleets, enemies, and locations, with the emphasis on the continual applications of dps while doing everything to mitigate incoming damage. It is to resist and persist through injustice, and to keep the people around you alive and fighting through whatever means are necessary. It means being a jack-of-all-trades while being a master of none, and it means to outfit and out-will your enemies
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