Kronos PvE Level 4 Marauder

I know that some people do not like the changes to the Marauder ships in the Rubicon expansion, but I absolutely adore them. I've been flying my Kronos for the last week and have fallen in love with the ship.

The invincible Kronos marauder!

The invincible Kronos marauder!

Two years ago, I acquired a Kronos to try out as a level 4 mission-running ship, but I soon abandoned it. While a fun ship to fly, it just wasn't as efficient as the Navy Issue Dominix that I was using at the time, and the extra high slots for salvagers and tractor beams just weren't as effective as using a salvage-dedicated ship (a destroyer or Noctis) to clean up wrecks.

When I got a Rattlesnake and mastered the Stoneloon Maneuver using a Large Micro Jump Drive, I completely forgot about the Kronos. For the last year, my trusty 'snake has been my favored ship of choice for running level 4s.

So, my forgotten Kronos sat idle and stripped in my hangar for a long while. When CCP Games started talking about rebalancing the Marauder line, I followed the discussion about the prospective changes on the forums with great interest, and wondered how they would actually perform. One of the first things I did after installing the Rubicon patch (right after buying my blueprints for a Stratios and an Astero), was take my good old Kronos out of mothballs, and give it a spin once again.

And what a spin it has been, all week. The Kronos is a certified level 4 mission-running machine, perfectly suited to the task. In fact, I have to agree with my friend Ripard Teg and admit that it is overpowered.

Marauder Mission-Running

My Kronos in bastion mode - it's usually vertical for me because I tend to engage the module after doing a micro jump up or down in the mission room.

My Kronos in bastion mode - it's usually vertical for me because I tend to engage the module after doing a micro jump up or down in the mission room.

Essentially, I use the same kind of tactics that I found to be effective with my LMJD 'snake:

  1. Warp into to mission room
  2. Align at a suitable spot away from the rats
  3. Engage jump drive to get 100 km distance
  4. Engage bastion - come to full stop
  5. Deploy sentry drones
  6. Deploy mobile tractor unit
  7. Blast away
  8. Salvage as MTU brings wrecks within range
  9. Rinse and repeat as needed to clear the room
  10. Jump to the next acceleration gate - wait for the jump drive cycle to complete
  11. Warp into the next room
  12. Complete mission - profit!

After making the micro jump, I click on my bastion module. That instantly stops the ship, and establishes an absurdly impenetrable tank. Even better, you don't have to worry about Serpentis sensor damps or Gurista jamming any more, as the bastion module provides electronic warfare immunity.

The level 4 mission-runner's best friend: the Mobile Tractor Unit

The level 4 mission-runner's best friend: the Mobile Tractor Unit

Next, I drag the ultra-cool Mobile Tractor Unit out of my cargo bay into space, where it automatically deploys. With one of these, you can safely forget about putting any tractor beams on your Marauder. The MTU has a 125 km range and does a nice job sucking in wrecks and looting them for you. I use the lone salvager on the Kronos to clean up the wrecks as the mission progresses. It's very efficient if the number of wrecks is not too large - for missions with more than a couple dozen rats, it would probably take less time to bring in a Noctis, but I have gotten used to the mobile unit doing most of the work as I'm sniping away at red crosses. Using salvage drones after killing everything in a room also helps speed up the process.

Fitting for Laziness

I've experimented with various fittings, and have settled most recently on this configuration:

[Kronos, Level 4 PvE Marauder]

1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Large Armor Repairer II
Reactive Armor Hardener
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Armor Explosive Hardener II
Federation Navy Magnetic Field Stabilizer
Federation Navy Magnetic Field Stabilizer

Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
Sensor Booster II, Targeting Range Script
Large Micro Jump Drive

Dread Guristas 425mm Railgun, Antimatter Charge L
Dread Guristas 425mm Railgun, Antimatter Charge L
Dread Guristas 425mm Railgun, Antimatter Charge L
Dread Guristas 425mm Railgun, Antimatter Charge L
Drone Link Augmentor II
Drone Link Augmentor II
Bastion Module I
Salvager II

Large Capacitor Control Circuit II
Large Capacitor Control Circuit II

Hornet EC-300 x5
Warden II x2
Salvage Drone I x5
Hobgoblin II x5

Some notes on this fit:

  • 103,603 EHP in bastion mode. Yep, it's a brick.
  • Armor resists: 77/74/78/81 - but that's a bit misleading, as using the Reactive Armor Hardener means that some of those levels will adjust to incoming damage types, typically to about 90% resistance for whatever damage type you are taking.
  • Cap stable at 49% capacitor.
  • I've discovered that a faction armor repairer is completely unnecessary. I had a True Sansha LAR fitted, but I've found I never needed it. In fact, I rarely have to turn on the armor repairer at all.
  • The Wardens are there only for support, and for picking off frigates at over 100km - I have excellent sentry drone skills, though. Your mileage may vary depending on your own skills.
  • I like the Dread Gurista rails because of their extended range. Excellent for sniping, especially with Iron charges loaded. DPS with Antimatter, which is the standard ammo I use, is over 600, with turret volley damage at 3042.

I admit that my fit is a bit blingy with the faction modules, but the nice thing about marauders with bastion mode on is that their tank is so strong, only the most determined ganker is going to take you on in high sec space. I've had a few ninjas fly into my mission room, take a scan of my Kronos in bastion, and just fly off. The secret is to have enough performance on your ship to be effective, but not make it so shiny that you become an irresistible target. I admit that my fit presses the limits there. You could put tech II modules on instead, and that would create more of an "anti-gank" effect, with only small reductions in performance.

I would actually get another 28,000 hit points if I installed a Damage Control II instead of the Reactive Armor Hardener, but those come from improved shield - the initial resists for armor are the same either way. But I like not having to fit specific hardener modules for each mission. Having studied the fine art of laziness my entire life, I'm all for diving into a mission after accepting it, and not having to worry about installing a perfect defensive fit. You purists out there may want to follow good PvE mission-running practice, however, and swap out specific hardeners for higher resists, and add a DCU.  You'll get no argument from me - it's good sense.

But is it any fun?

I must admit that my Rattlesnake fit still finishes level 4 missions faster than my Kronos. It has higher DPS and a similar amount of tank. But it doesn't have e-war immunity, and when you add in the time to run salvaging and looting afterwards, it works out to be nearly the same duration per mission.

More importantly, I have found my newly rebalanced Kronos to be a more fun ship to fly for mission running. Between transferring from the MTU cargo, salvaging wrecks, selecting targets for drones and guns, and blowing up red targets, there's simply more to do, and that makes mission-running a little more interesting, even if it does take a bit longer.

If CCP Games was looking to encourage people to try marauders again, then mission accomplished, at least for me.

Fly safe! o7