Learn to Fly: Tristan

"Learn to Fly" is a series in which we examine the specific skills required to properly fly a ship in Eve Online.

Previous Chapters: Condor / Sac / Comet / Slicer / 

In this installment we'll be looking at Stay Frosty's favorite Frigate, the Tristan. Before Stay Frosty and my friend Joffy came along, I honestly never thought much about the Tristan. Mostly that was because drone skills were one of the last skill groups I trained. I was late to the drone party. And to effectively fly the Tristan, you will need some decent drone skills.

For a T1 Frigate the Tristan is extremely versatile. It can be fitted in a variety of ways for solo kiting, solo brawling, gang support and other roles. This versatility makes it difficult for the enemy to know exactly what you will be doing, the Tristan is full of surprises. This is its greatest strength. The other day I landed on a gate with a Stabber Fleet Issue so I tackled him and then called for help to kill him. Top damage!

Let's take a look at some recent Tristan kills:
Tristan Vs Executioner
Tristan Vs Hookbill
Tristan Vs Rifter
Tristan Vs Slicer
Tristan Vs Hookbill

Feel free to explore our killboard for even more examples, but those give you a good idea of the capabilities of the ship.

RJ's Baseline Tristan Fit

High Slots
2x Blasters (Ions or Neutrons depending on your skills, etc)

Mid Slots

Low Slots
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane 2
Small Ancillary Armor Rep (loaded with Nanite!)

Rep Set - 2 Aux Nano Pumps & 1 Nanobot Accelerator give you maximum rep power.
Rep Set Alt - 1 Aux Nano, 1 Nanobot, and 1 Trimark
Aggro Set - 1 Aux Nano, 1 Anti and 1 Damage Rig
*Lots of flexibility here.

Drones - My usual set is 4 Hobs and 4 Warriors, but you can flavor these as well for whatever it is you'll be doing.

Know Your Ship

The Tristan's versatility is its strength and also its weakness. Like any T1 Frig it is fragile and needs to be flown with skill and knowledge of its abilities. The above baseline fit is only one example, but it is also a great place to start learning the ship and what it can and cannot do. The beauty of it is its ability to choose engagement ranges, the Tristan can brawl or pull range and let the drones do the work. I typically start most fights at the very edge of scram range until I know exactly what the bad guy is doing and how his ship is fitted. Then you can decide to move in or pull back.

The Tristan is not fast when fitted with an AB. (MWD Kiting Tristans can be very fast!) But you don't need speed since your circle of engagement is about 40k. One of my favorite things is watching someone try to get away while my cloud of drones continues to kill them. Just last week an Atron tried that and exploded about 100k from me. That was funny.


I feel very confident engaging any other T1 Frigate solo in a Tristan. Light missile boats can give you a lot of trouble if they have range, but if they have range you can always just leave. Other Tristans can also be tough sometimes, but I find that simply burning in tight and OH'ing everything almost always works.

T2 Frigates are tricky. Stay away from things that are super tanky unless you have back up, or they are big ships. The trick is getting close to long-range ships and staying away from brawlers, if you can manage the initial ranges on those you will win the fight - if you can't then things will end badly for you.


The Tristan is a cheap T1 Frigate perfect for being daring, challenging yourself and taking on targets that you might not normally engage. Like this Slicer. You win some, you lose some.

A few weeks ago I fitted up 10 of them and I have 4 left. They are a blast to fly, people will typically engage you (although I do have a lot of people running away from me!), and they are not hard to train into.

Try the Tristan. It is a ship that will often surprise you. Have fun!


  1. Tristans are awesome. Try the Artillery Tristan or the Triple Neut Tristan. Hours of fun!

    1. They are indeed and I love the fact that you can fit them so many different ways, amazing little ship.

    2. go with nothing in the high slots, MWD and med shield extender in the mid, DDA's and a nanofiber in the low. then jus combine orbiting with manual piloting at 17km and keep an eye on your drone health as you peck stuff to death. the fit becomes particularly deadly when coupled with a full snake set, allowing you to go into plexes and pull range on anything inside if it is planning on sitting on the beacon. and as a fleet of say 3 to 5, this fit can be used to down very large game.

      -A. Alakmor

  2. The Tristan is one of the few frigs in game that gives me pause when I see one on scan. You just don't know what it's going to do. I normally pick my engagement strategy and just go for it against them. Sometimes it works others just seem to be fit to destroy me regardless :)

  3. Also a nice starter ship if you want to pilot and Ishkur later. Talk about MWD kiting...

  4. Digging up an old post here, but I was wondering if you could give me some more insight into what kind of ships you would engage with the fit you describe? I assume most destroyers would be a no. How about cruisers? Or only T1 frigates of the brawling persuasion? If so, which ones would you feel most comfortable going after? Thanks!


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