Flying The Thrasher In EVE Online
The thrasher is a member of the destroyer class of ships. It boasts cruiser-class firepower on a frigate-sized hull, meaning that it is fast, agile, and surprisingly mean. The thrasher stands out among the destroyer class of ships because the projectile turret weapons that it uses are all about "alpha strike." Alpha strike is the idea that a gun front-loads damage, dealing it periodicially in big bursts of damage, rather than diffused over a period of time. Because the thrasher has such a great damage output for a ship of its size, it can surprise and even one-shot some ships, whose unwary pilots don't expect it to present such a threat.
Another factor that makes the thrasher so great is the ease with which it can be trained into. Next to frigates, destroyers are the easiest class of ships to train into, making them a great thing for new players that are tired of flying frigates all the time. And did I mention that the price tag is damn cheap, too? You don't need to worry about expensive tech two guns (though some players certainly do), expensive hull cost, or any of that.
This guide explains how to fly a thrasher in PvP with basic skills. It eschews a fitting setup that requires a lot of ISK or skill points, which is why it may disappoint more experienced players that for some reason are still putzing around in tech one hulls (that's right, I'm calling you out). I will explain my fitting decisions in such a way that new players will be able to understand my rationale and learn to better fit ships, themselves.
Why Fly The Thrasher
Another skill that makes the thrasher invaluable, under almost any circumstance, is that is has very high scan resolution, meaning that it can slap a warp disruptor on a target before it can escape.
Even escape pods can be tackled and shot, which is one of the most fun things that you can do. In larger battles, especially, there will be escape pods sitting around for long enough for you to one-volley them into oblivion. For older players, the loss of their clone can cost more than their ship. And if they had implants, well, that can tack on anywhere from a few million ISK to hundreds of millions of ISK, depending.
Another crazy thing that you can do is take out drones, with some rapidity, which is a good thing since drones are more likely to hurt you than most ships, as long as you're orbiting them at a close enough range. If you think you might do this, then group your turrets into two stacks of x4 and x3, respectively. That way you don't need to waste the entire volley on a single drone, and can split your fire between two drones at once.
x7 250mm Light Artillery Cannon
Ammo: EMP S for short range, Fusion S for medium range, and Carbonized Lead S for long range.
Artillery is the long range option for projectile turrets. Because fitting things is terribly difficult during the earlier stages of the game, using the smaller options for weapons is generally a good idea. The 250mm version is the smallest artillery variety, which is ideal for new players who will not have Engineering, Electronics, Weapon Upgrades, or Advanced Weapon Upgrades trained to very high levels, if at all. Of course, you should get those skills up as quickly as possible, in order to get the most out of your ships.
There very likely won't be enough CPU for a Salvager I or other utility module in the last slot. C'est la vie.
If you are into upgrading your guns, you will need much better skills. You can use seven 280mm Howitzer Artillery I guns if you have Advanced Upgrades trained, and scale your other modules back so that they don't use as much power grid. This means that, among other things, you won't be able to fit a shield extender or have any kind of tank. For that reason I don't recommend it. Even frigate-sized ships should generally have at least a little breathing room in the hit point department.
A more recommended upgrade is to splurge on "named" or, eventually, tech two versions of your guns. This can triple or quadruple the total price of the ship, though.
x1 1mn Afterburner I
x1 Small Shield Extender I
x1 Warp Disruptor I
As usual, named or tech two versions of these are better, though if the price tag is more thank 200k ISK I would caution you to hold off until you're sure that you know what you're doing. Still, even with very high end equipment this won't put you out all that much.
The afterburner is superior to a microwarpdrive option because many frigates these days tote Warp Scrambler modules that disable "MWDs" as we in the business call them. It also takes advantage of your small hull size, while an MWD will increase your signature radius to a larger, more easily hit amount. A Stasis Webifier will reduce your velocity, but the increased signature radius remains, meaning that you will still take a ton of damage. All in all, the afterburner is a safe bet. If your fitting skills are a little better and you prefer MWDs, by all means do so. Some people even fit both, and use whichever is more advantageous at the time. This last is probably only worthwhile for very high-end PvPers, though.
The warp disruptor can be upgraded to tech two if you have decent fitting skills, or named if you are having trouble fitting things in. The tech two version is good because the extra range dovetails nicely with your ability to lock (and thus, tackle) things almost instantly.
Alternatively, if you don't expect to be shot at because you are part of a larger gate camp or something, you may want to swap out your shield extender, afterburner, or both, for a Sensor Booster I or variant thereof, in order to get the absolute fastest lock speed, possible. Instant-locking can be a tremendous asset to a fleet.
x2 Gyrostabilizer I
Damage-boosting modules are the way to go, here. Especially if you decide to splurge for the tech two version. A Micro Auxiliary Power Core I may be necessary if you decide to use 280mm guns, as described above. Speed-related modules like Overdrive Injector Systems I, Nanofiber Internal Structure I, and Inertia Stabilizer I modules will also improve your survivability, if for some reason you don't feel like going all damage -- though I don't recommend this, as your damage is your virtue, and compromising that seems counterproductive.
x1 Small Projectile Collision Accelerator I
x1 Small Auxiliary Thrusters I
x1 Small Core Defence Field Extender (see below)
There was a time when putting rigs on a disposable, tech one ship was wasteful and expensive. That time is not now. Small rigs cost peanuts. They cost less than most tech two modules, certainly, and don't have prohibitive skill requirements.
The idea here is to use the Collision Accelerator because it boosts your damage, and the more damage you do, the better. It improves your damage by 10% at the cost of reducing your power grid. Thus, if you are having problems with power grid, you will want to skip this rig. More than one won't fit because the calibration cost is too high.
The Auxiliary Thrusters increase your velocity by 10% at a cost to your armor hit points. Since your shield is where the bulk of your hit points are, this is fine. Speed will keep a frigate alive better than extra armor, every time.
The shield rig is a little bit tricky. You can boost your total shield hit points with the Field Extender, as listed. But your resistances are pretty low, and you have a pretty nasty EM damage hole. That is to say, since you have 0% EM resistance on your shields, any that hits you will get through. Close-range Minmatar ships and all Amarr ships tend to favor EM damage. Using a Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I will plug that hole. You also have low thermal resistances, though, and thermal damage is generally considered the most wise to tank for. In that case, use a Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I. The reason I don't recommend using two or three resistance rigs is twofold: First, if something is hitting you dead on for long enough that resistances really matter, you're probably already dead. Second, the drawback of shield rigs is increased signature radius, meaning that you are easier to hit, and take more damage from weapons. Since your small signature radius is one of your virtues, you should probably avoid increasing it with more than a single shield rig.
Lock and shoot your target, then immediately orbit your target at a very close range, perhaps 10km or so, and shoot him with your friends. Do this until you get blown up, then get another thrasher and repeat the process. If somebody sets drones on you but isn't otherwise able to hurt you, it's generally a good idea to kill them, before the ship that launched them.
A lot of interceptor and assault frigate (two popular tech two ship types that rely on speed and durability, respectively) pilots will underestimate your damage output, or not expect quite so much at once. Enjoy educating them about the nature of their mistake. Be sure to let them know how happy you are to provide them with this valuable PvP experience, in local chat.
You will get on pretty much every kill-mail that your fleet manages, which is nice if you're a killboard enthusiast (read: whore), as I am. Your fast lock speed also means that you can even tag shuttles and wandering escape pods, with a little bit of luck.
If you seem to be taking damage, you can try escaping, but usually by then it's too late. Your shield buffer is so that you can get into range and fight off drones, or warp off if a big fleet jumps in on you. It is not for sustained damage taking.
All in all, it's a fun ship that performs its role very well, and is a refreshing alternative to frigates, even for more advanced players. I still go back and hop in one every now and then, even though I can afford a supercarrier. It's a great way for new players to get some PvP experience and cred, especially if you are wandering around looking for ganks with friends.
That's all for now. Good luck out there, and fly safe!