The Celestis is a wonderful ship, and I firmly believe sensor dampening to be the strongest of the current EWAR and have been lobbying for more use of it in my fleets since November of last year. This is my current favourite Celestis fit for my Dickcat Doctrine, though i’d happily use it in any small-medium armour brawling fleet:
I use the smartbombs for anti-drone, though you can happily replace them with Rapid Light Missile Launchers for a touch more DPS. PL also recently release a Celestis fit for us to use in their AHAC fleets (when we get invited). It focuses a little more on tank, but does largely the same thing.
It’s probably best known for the flavour of the month frigate fits for small and novice FW plexs, such as the gheyness tridamp Hookbill, ran with all the links so your locking range plummets to nothing while you get pounded with missiles. It’s pretty much like having guaranteed ECM in this scenario. L33T PvP indeed.
However, Sensor Dampening is also useful in general fleet engagements, you can damp off all kinds of EWAR sat at the edge (especially opposing ECM, it’s pretty much the hardcounter) and make life very difficult for sniping/long range kiting gangs. Their main use however is preying upon opposing logistics, and I know of three main ways you can get your contingent of Celestis (No, it’s not Celestii) to wreak havoc on the opposing logistics support.
1 – Spread targeting range dampening scripts
In the days of yore when damps were completely ignored, it was popular for the logistics support to any fleet to sit as far away from the fighting as possible to stay out of blapping range. Even today pulling range has its place. If the opposing logi are sufficiently far from the people they are trying to rep, reducing all of their ranges to the point where they can no longer actually apply reps meaning a) no more logi or b) you force them to burn in, potentially into the range at which your fleet can project damage well.
2 – Focus targeting range dampening scripts, swap between targets every few cycles
Before boosts, by applying all four of my Dickcat Celestis damps to a single target its targeting range is going down by 91.55%. That’s insane. That reduces a Guardian from 81.25km locking range to ~6.7km, or an Augoror from 75km to ~6.4km. Not only is this likely to stop the guardian from repping its target, you’re also likely to break the cap chain. Unless the guardians are sitting on what they’re trying to reps faces, you’re spending 20mill on a low-SP pilot to remove a 150mill ship and high-SP pilot from the fight. Any regular logistics pilot will tell you how much it sucks to be following broadcasts as well as having different parts of your cap chain go down every ten seconds and constantly having to readjust or manually pilot back into range. Add neuts to the equation and you’ll end up with them ragequitting the fleet after 2 minutes, let alone sustaining the effort through TiDi induced multi-hour brawls.
3 – Spread resolution dampening scripts
This script is largely ignored, but in the right situation can be incredible. There was once a fight where I was FCing my beloved DickCats (though I’ve lost the battle report) and we JUST couldn’t break their logi. Thankfully the were struggling to break ours as well, but thankfully I had 3 Celestis in fleet, so I told them to load and spread these scripts. By switching between targets rapidly, guaranteeing their next would not be prelocked, I yelled for some overheat and the extra few seconds it took for them to lock was enough to blow up an Augoror. 1 less Augoror was enough for us to start making headway in the same way through the rest of their fleet without overheating.
You’ve probably noticed by now that I haven’t spoken to shield variants of the Celestis, and to be honest I just don’t like them. Generally you’ll see their 5 mids go prop mod, 2 for tank, 2 for damps, which means you’re already half as effective as an armour based one (4 EWAR modules vs 2) from the start. Basically, fit it for agility and locking range, then warp off when something comes near you because you’re not going to have much tank.
So yes, homework this week is lots of lovely Celestis flying, and I’d love to hear if anyone has ever tried soloing in one.