Top 10 T1 Combat Frigates

We fly Frigates because they are the purest expression of combat in all of Eve. No matter how old or experienced the player, you can only pack so many skill points into a T1 Frigate, which gives players of all ages a chance to experience a good fight.

Cheap, versatile, and a lot of fun to fly - T1 Frigates rule the skies of Eve. Great for solo, impossible to stop in swarms, Frigates are the foundation for everything else that happens in New Eden.

I fly a lot of ships but I try to fly at least one T1 Frigate every single day. Based on that experience and the experience of fighting against them, here are my current Top Ten Rankings of the best of the best in T1 Frigates within the current environment. I based this solely on my own opinion, experience and each ships ability to fight solo and in small gangs.

Below Ten - The Condor and the Rifter

Every Frigate has a place and a use, but some are more versatile, stronger, faster, and potentially worth flying solo than others. Currently the condor and the rifter are challenging ships to fly. And while many opportunities await the daring pilot, the cross-fit, the 'try-anything' sort, (or the dishonorable link booster) it is impossible to ignore the facts. Right now, as things stand, these two ships are relatively useless in solo and challenging in small gang applications. It pains me to see the rifter down here, but there it is.

#10 - Executioner

The executioner is the T1 version of the Slicer and has speed and great tackling ability that is almost useless in the current environment of WCS enemies that run at a change in the breeze. If you do manage to catch someone and kite them it will take you all day to actually kill them. And if you fit for more damage you'll get caught and die so fast you might get podded. The executioner is fun to fly but deadly in combat - for the pilot.

#9 - Punisher

Well, it does have a decent tank. The punisher's best role is bait, but sadly almost everyone knows this and obvious bait is obvious. Blessed with slowness and determination the punisher is a great little ship with a lot of potential, but in practice it will explode more often than not. Best flown in a group and used as a nice anchor.

#8 - Atron

I love the atron and in the hands of a skilled pilot it can be terribly effective. On the other hand every single atron you see in space, unless Crake or Stay Frosty is in local, will be stabbed and run from any potential fight. This makes me sad, but it is currently the truth. 99.9% of atrons are flown by cowards.

#7 - Slasher

From here to number one is essentially my own opinion, the remaining Frigates each have their own unique blend of attributes to offer the daring pilot. At some point however you have to say, "which one would most likely win in a fight?" and go from there. The slasher is pretty versatile and can be extremely effective if fit perfectly for the target it is engaging. That can often be a pretty narrow target window however and that is why the slasher doesn't rank higher on the list.

#6 - Merlin

If fit the right way there are few Frigs that can pack the damage output of the merlin. Sadly its lack of a drone bay drops it down the list a bit due to a lack of versatility, but the merlin is a formidable ship that has several effective configurations to choose from. Speed/Kite with rails or brawl/blasters and have at it. The merlin is a great example of how often the meta changes in Eve, it wasn't long ago that it was firmly planted in the bottom of this list.

#5 - Tormentor

Like any Amarr ship the only drawback to this Frig is cap. There are two ways to deal with this issue, extend the cap or increase the damage and hope for a short fight. The tormentor ranks higher than the merlin simply because it carries drones. But I love flying this ship, it is complicated and clanky, but it also has lazors!!

#4 - Kestrel

The highest ranking frig without drones, the kessie is extremely versatile and effective, especially in small gang applications. Recent light missile changes have curbed some of that, but not by much. Decent speed, decent dps, decent tank, the kessie is pretty damn decent when it comes to fighting.

#3 - Incursus

The workhorse of the frigate line-up, the incursus is a beast. It takes a beating and keeps on trucking. Versatile highs and lows make it a combination monster in the right hands and an excellent choice for solo or small gang engagements. I once tanked four AFs in one and lived! Stories like that are the stuff of the incursus legend, which is well earned and the ship remains a constant in the changing meta.

#2 - Breacher

The difference between these last few frigs is small and the breacher could easily be number one, but it losses a few points simply because it is a missile based ship. That might be unfair, but in a close fight ammo selection is critical. Having said that the breacher is currently a great choice for any combat and can be fit in many exciting ways, even dual tanked for ultimate surprise.

#1 - Tristan

In my humble opinion the very best frigate in Eve right now. The proof of that is the confidence I have while flying it, while every other frigate takes careful consideration of target selection - the tristan has a much wider field of opportunity in front of it. Extremely versatile high slots and an incredible amount of fitting opportunities mean the ship is rarely what you think it will be. And this is, next to a huge drone bay, its best strength. Are the highs full of neuts? Rails? Blasters? or something else? The tristan can be effective in many configurations and is currently the best frigate in Eve.

Agree? Disagree? Make your case in the comments below.





22 comments:

  1. I have to admit that I am surprised at the lack of the Rifter in this list. It has good damage, good speed, choice of short range/long range, and you can armor or shield tank it. I know I am new to solo/small gang PvP, but the Rifter seems to fit most of your positive atributes (minus drones).

    -Zgeik

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    1. Take a Rifter out into space and find a fight with another Frigate. Nine out of ten times you'll be coming home in your pod.

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  2. Oh, how have the mighty fallen. Clearly the most iconic ship in EvE, it is now regulated to collecting hangar dust. I can't help but wonder at CCP's focus on drones.

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  3. A concerned MinmatarOctober 7, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    You consider the condor worthless? Before LML changes I considered it to be the poster ship for effective t1 soloing. I haven't really played since the changes though, did they really break it that badly? Or was I always wrong?

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    1. You are not "wrong" and this is important to point out - every frigate has its positives and minuses and each engagement brings its own challenges. It is entirely possible to be successful flying a Condor or a Rifter in combat given the right set of circumstances, skill, and enemies. Having said that, in comparison against each other I would attack a Condor or a Rifter in any of the other Frigates without hesitation and fully expect to win. That doesn't mean I would win every single time, but I'm pretty confident I would win 9 out of 10 times.

      Hope that makes sense.

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  4. Yeah, the Rifter's only good point now it falloff range, but without range control it amounts to little. Target selection is very limited in consequence. Ideally this frig is now best fit as scram kiter, but even then no assured range control only means eventual death. Too much is sacrificed for such a fit that tank suffers hard. The Firetail is the new Rifter, but it's not T1 either.

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  5. Of course, just to prove me wrong, Skir goes out and kills a Jaguar with his Rifter:
    http://frosty.eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=25501422

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  6. My main takeaway is how closely bunched together they are nowadays compared to pre tiericide.

    Even if your ratings are spot in, the Rifter is still a competent ship and not as far from the top as yesteryears 'loser' frigates were compared to the Rifter/Merlin back when I learned flying.

    Tiericide has been gold.

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    1. Good point. Fair to say these days all frigates can be flown, which wasn't always true.

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  7. Maybe you could just give up for the frigates for a while and focus on a heavy interdictor. Then no amount of wcs will help against infinite-pointage.

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    1. I bring a Sabre into local and everyone runs and hides!

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  8. I haven't played in about 2 years. I liked solo frigate PvP but I sucked at it, badly. I still keep up with a few blogs.

    This makes me want to re-sub.

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  9. I like Skir's fit. Adds more range control via his choice of rigs. Goes to show that you just have to put some thought into it, is all.

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  10. This is a pretty good list. The Breacher is my current favorite solo ship. The Tristan is the T1 ship I'm most likely to run from. I use a dual ASB Hawk to hunt them so I have a ship that can shoot and tank with no cap. I think the neut is one of the most powerful PvP weapons in the current meta.

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  11. Kestrel OP!!! : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxPBuKI-Pc8&list=UUrSlzV3xEHMCEvx2M8-AGTw

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. Very nice guide Rixx, I really appreciate that and I agree with most of your points.
    Tristan is something that a frig pilot tend to avoid, is very unpredictable, drones hit hard at distance. I was too a real fan of the incursus. I flow that for long time, the only problem of the incursus is the lack of speed and the lack of web, you can't fit one if you want a really tanky one, you need a cap booster in the mid.
    Probably I would put the Atron a bit higher, maybe at 6th place, due to the speed and good dps. I really don't like the slasher much, too fragile. Yes, defenetly the Rifter is sadly at the bottom of the list. Here is my personal one.
    Mark Yanning

    12) Rifter
    11) Slasher -too fragile to me... i don't see a really good role in him
    10) Condor - usually kiting, not tank. I met even the buffer one with dual web with links.. that's crazy
    9) Executioner - half a slicer, dosn't work very good
    8) Tormentor
    7) Punisher - big problem of capacitor if you go for active rep, too slow if you go buffer bit still very tanky as an incursus
    6) Kestrel
    5) Atron
    4) Merlin - I like the one with the medium ancillary booster, or the medium shield ext dps one
    3) Breacher
    2) Incursus - can be fitted al dps with 2 webs.. (no point)
    1) Tristan

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  14. with some fits the post would have been awesome :)

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  15. The Tristan is a good ship, but it's only real strength is its versatility of viable fits, which makes it unpredictable. Otherwise, it's nothing special.

    I also think you underrate the Slasher greatly; a Slasher with a TD literally cannot lose against any turret-based frigate. Same with the Condor.

    The Punisher & the Executioner are by far the worst T1 frigates in the game, followed by the Merlin. The Rifter is FAR better than any one of these, especially considering the recent buff.

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