Frigate Countdown: The Hookbill

 Hookbill On Gate

The next Frigate on our list is the Caldari Navy Hookbill. Slow, goofy, and rather under-powered - this ungainly duck of a spaceship has an ace up its sleeve that makes it the perfect ship for a very specific type of low sec game play. Five mid-slots!

The Hookbill (or HB, or CNH if you are typing in chat) is the perfect frigate for plex diving in faction warfare low sec space. Five mid-slots are enough to ensure some utility and the space to make it happen without too much trouble. Dual web versions are not uncommon, with enough room for some buffer, a scram, and possibly even a utility slot - for a tracking or missile disruptor. Or an ECM burst if you are evil. Or anything else your weird little heart desires.

To ensure the HB doesn't achieve true greatness it remains a Caldari ship and only has two low slots, it hates drones, and the damage output is not the greatest in the world. This is why many of us choose to fly the ship double tanked with an extra border of armor repping in that valuable low slot. Or extra dps thanks to a ballistic control or two, and a hull tank thanks to some rigs. Or various incarnations of those basics. Light missile kiting versions are rare, but not unheard of. You can make it work, but in my opinion the sacrifices needed to make this slow chunk move aren't worth it. But such a version can be a great addition to a small gang.

The Hookbill excels at sliding into plex gates, or being inside of them. That is the role this ship has been pushed into over the past five years or so. And in that role, it really does shine. In solo engagements it's slow speed means you want to up close and personal with your target, which also means putting yourself at risk if you choose the wrong target. Anyone who flies the HB like this lives by the seat of their pants and few things in Eve Online are as thrilling as smashing faces with another ship in one of these. You'll quickly learn the art of overheating and orbit management - or die trying.

Javelin rockets and a handy TD will help ensure you don't get kited to death from most targets, and the others you shouldn't be fighting anyway. Unless you are sure you can get on top of them. Neuts aren't a real problem in most cases - unless you are trying to run that armor rep or keep point. But the Hookbill is an "All-In" kind of ship - generally speaking all engagements are to the death. And the nature of the ship means that you will be using all of your tools, skills, and knowledge every single time.

Over the years I've grown to enjoy flying the Hookbill. It isn't one of my favorites, but I have over 200 kills in them. They have their uses and they make for a great change of pace. Plus they are not really scary, so people will engage you more often than in some other ships.

I recommend the Caldari Navy Hookbill. Just be sure to wear your brown pants.