Monday, April 3, 2017

A look at the Icebreaker

What do we do?

By: George Argyropoulos
a/k/a Dragon_Bane

Typically, I have a decent handle on the idea behind a build I want to pursue earlier than this. Quite honestly, I was holding off a bit to see if we got a test server (thankfully we did) and I was likely going to wait and do an Anatomy of Design article for this hull after the raid.

Unfortunately, there has been a little bit of a clamor with regard to build direction and design because we have not had the same transparency we had last year. Add to that the fact that our build time seems to have been contracted and it feels like we are a little bit under the gun.

Before I get into the build, I would like to address the time imbalance many of us are facing. To wit:

  • March 16 : Raid starts. Give yourself a day to get your 90 or so million.
  • March 17 : Start building your blank IBs. Blanks with Officer and R&D take 4D 17H.
    (Total required : ~20 Days - link)
  • March 17-23 : 7 days of build time
  • ~12 days of tokens in the raid
    (1 Day deficit - saved token or coin to get it out for VXP)

So after we rank these puppies, which was a pain without a weapon, we continue (assuming no charged armors, because, 200 million points):

  • March 24-25 - VXP - Rank them while using the shipyard for something else. Net loss of 2 days.
  • March 26-April 12 - 18 days of build time ; 18 Days of Tokens available in the FM - 36 total days of build time available.
  • Refit to blanks: 47 Days 9 Hours
    (11D 9H deficit - link)

This is exacerbated by any of number of factors. I think the biggest one is that there was a week less of FM because of the way the calendar fell this month (long month leading into a short, weeks wise), in conjunction with 4 new Tier 5 FM prizes following the raid. It's one of those 'Perfect Storm' scenarios.

Because of this, even if you had earned the hull on the first day of the raid, you are likely going to fall short of a fleet of just 4 for the raid. This exacerbates the issue even more, because of the calendar issue, you are in an even worse position if you didn't get the points required on day one, already had a ship already in the Yard or not up to date on your FM? If you are in any of these positions, you likely won't even get 3 ships out the door.

(Side rant: Additionally, during this entire time span you are precluded from building anything else. No tweaking a guard to adjust for anything. No catching up on a fleet for any of your chores. No building or tweaking of your PvP stuff at all, nor any of your PvE stuff. The calendar really boned us this month.)

I would like to implore Kixeye to look at this and maybe possibly offer us some avenue with which we could catch up without having to resort to buying into a special offer. Perhaps a TLC or some other avenue so that we can actually have this fleet out the door and ready to participate in the raid. Particularly as the new hull is coming out this week and all these fleets will transition into our FM fleets. When normally successful top end PvE players are noticing this sort of disparity in the timeline, something may have gone off-track a little... like this article. So where was I? Oh, right...

Ok, Icebreaker...

Daniel Baker (a/k/a Peg Leg II) was kind enough to forward me a chart similar to the one above which got me thinking about the stacking bonus and how it would relate to a build. I know that a lot of people are hesitant to use the Charged Armors, but because of the stacking bonus, it seems as though these hulls were designed to use them, particularly if you are running four hulls. Hopefully the issue with the charged armors is resolved before the raid. That said, my current plan is this:


Some of this is a risk, but given the above information, it seems like the only logical path. I will test a few other builds out during the raid as well, but for now, this is the load out.

1. Weapons : The  D-100S Siege Rocket is a given here. The question becomes one of balance with regard to the other weapon slots. The addition of the Gale 3 is to help give the fleet some 'breathing room' when trying to maneuver - particularly against the fleets we saw in the preview server.

2. Armor : This is a tricky one. Given the findings in the chart above, it seems clear that this hull was designed to utilize Charged Armor. Using them seems a little bit of a risk currently, but as I said before, I hope these are corrected before the raid. If you do not have Charged Armor, I would stick with the D1 versions of armor and have them retrofitted to the max in your Retrofit Lab.

3. Specials : These afford some tuning options, and I went with the following...

  • Alloy Armor MX-3 : This will bring your resistances up a good notch, however, given the stacking bonuses as evidenced in the chart above, and depending on what we see in the targets, you may be able to swap out something else. This would be heavily dependent upon the target, but I could foresee using Guidance Scrambler 3 or something similar if the targets afford us the opportunity at damage mitigation through good driving. Something to keep in mind.
  • Explosive System IV : This one is used to increase the splash of the rockets while pulling in the spread a little bit. I was a little torn between this and Combustion System 2, however, given the large inherent spread of the weapon, I chose to go this route.
  • Garrison Battery MK-X : The clear choice for Turret Defense given the weapon of choice for this hull and the buffs to that weapon that this special provides.
  • Hydraulic Resistors :  My all-time favorite special that Kix has produced. I only wish there were more opportunities to acquire it. We did see Torpedo Turrets in the preview, though they weren't firing. I expect them to work normally during the raid.
4. Last minute tuning : I left these two spots open. The weapon slot I left so that I can add what I want once I have seen all of the targets. In the preview server I had used Trident Missiles for their Counter-measure ability of shooting down rockets. They are not a cure for them, however, given the size of the target we have seen, over time, this should help mitigate overall damage from Coldsnaps if there are targets in which we can not avoid them. 

The special slot is currently reserved for the High Yield Warheads special that we are expecting to come out in the TLC this week. The splash, building and wall damage buffs we saw in the preview server mesh very well with this hull.

And that's it. That is the current plan leading into the raid. Again, some of this build is a little risky and some of it does put some faith into Kixeye to sort out the Charged Armor issue as it seems this hull was designed around them. Hope this helps some of you and/or gives some of you ideas.


  1. Thank you Sir. Again a thought provoking article by you George. Well done. :-)

  2. Thanks George for explaining, still plugging forward a little at a time hoping the tlc gives some better direction. This one has me a bit skeptical, especially on the armor. But I am committed to the Iron Breakers for the raid. LOL

  3. How about getting Kix to finally cough up a dry dock for us, that would make this game a whole lot better, but of course that is never gonna happen cause Kix wants you to spend, spend, spend. You would think they would get a clue. Used to be mostly level 50 dead bases that littered the sectors, but now it's 80s, 90s, and even 100s. People just get fed up with trying to keep up and now we have a raid every 3 months as if every 4 was not bad enough, and more and more people are walking away.

  4. Excellent, this is the way forward. You have captured my thoughts regarding the time bind we have. I find the lack of transparency in this cycle to be very unhappy. Just a few words concerning the new armor would go a long way.

  5. If you didn't get the D-100S :-( what's the best alternative or will it be offered again ?