The Stabber is an amazing ride. Despite being only a tech one cruiser, it exemplifies the two virtues that Minmatar ships are best known for: speed, and packing a wallop. Though not the greatest for running missions, the stabber is a very, very accessible way for new players to try PVP, especially if flown with friends.
The stabber is a cruiser, the medium size of ships that are larger than destroyers but smaller than battlecruisers. Its ship bonuses are to speed and to the firing rate of its projectile weapons, making it excellent for skirmishes where it needs to hit hard and get out before help arrives.
When The Stabber Shines
The stabber is a good choice for Minmatar pilots that like flying fast ships but want something bigger than a frigate or destroyer. The stabber can use its great speed to close with and orbit an enemy. From there it can pound that enemy with guns while using its warp disruptor to prevent escape.
This ability to close distance and "tackle" a target while maintaining a good velocity are particularly great when flying in tandem with other ships that can back you up. There's a good chance you'll be able to melt many frigate-sized ships by yourself, unless they outrun you. Larger ships (like the Drake or any kind of battleship) will cause a problem, but not if you have a big enough posse, and you can certainly pin them down in a belt for long enough for your backup to get there and help turn up the heat.
You can probably kill most tech one frigates and destroyers, though their guns will track you well enough that you will be taking most of their damage, and many of them will be able to out-run you enough to get away.
When Not To Stabber
The Stabber isn't going to do much good against ships that hug the undock of stations. That kind of PVP requires way more damage than this cruiser can dish out, and the warp disruptor isn't going to stop anything from re-docking. Not to mention that there's a decent chance that the stabber will bump into the station or another ship while orbiting, and temporarily lose enough velocity to become mincemeat.
Ships to avoid include assault frigates, which will be able to take your damage and out-race you well enough to pin you down, and then kill you at a close enough range that your guns won't be able to track them.
I wouldn't fight anything that can jam with electronic warfare, like a Blackbird, or anything that has a ton of drones, like many Gallente ships. The stabber just isn't well-equipped to fight those kinds of ships by itself. This is fine. Every class of ships has their strengths and weaknesses.
Fitting The Stabber
This fitting is a high damage, fast setup that I suggest for new players because it is uncomplicated but can still dish out a ton of damage, especially to other cruisers or larger ships. It's probably going to make a lot of more advanced players wince, but I think it's what players that are very new to PVP will enjoy playing.
- x4 425mm Autocannon I (Carbonized Lead M for normal range, Titanium Sabot M for extreme close range)
- x2 Assault Missile Launcher I (Flameburst Light Missile)
The neat thing about projectiles is that you have a tremendous amount of flexibility regarding damage types. If you know that you are going to fight a Drake or other shield tanker, for example, you could switch to Proton or EMP to inflict more EM damage to chew through their shields.
Autocannons are the close range version of projectile weapons, with a very limited optimal range but an excellent falloff range. Like all close-range weapons, they inflict more damage than their long-range counterparts. This means that although the projectiles can't hit with perfect accuracy, they can still inflict damage out to a sufficient range. With long range ammo like Carbonized Lead M, Nuclear M, or Proton M, you should be able to hit and hurt enemies at least 10km away, and possibly farther if you have decent skills. You don't want to engage that far away, though, because your sweet spot is at about 4500m. When you spot a target, you should orbit him at 2500m, to avoid his weapons while getting the most out of yours.
- x1 10mn Afterburner I
- x1 Large Shield Extender I
- x1 Warp Disruptor I
This is where I will really get in trouble with older players. The issue here is that the Afterburner is less popular for the kind of PVP that more advanced PVPers often concern themselves with. But the way it is used involves pulsing it periodically in order to micromanage capacitor and minimize damage. Unfortunately, new players won't have the expertise, capacitor skills, or fitting skills to make this practical.
For our purposes, the afterburner is perfect. If you're fighting, it stays on. It gets you where you need to go, and keeps you from taking too much damage. Especially at close range, where the stabber thrives. It also makes the stabber more resistant to energy neutralizers and warp scramblers, which a pretty important considerations in small-scale PVP.
The shield extender gives a big chunk of extra shield hit points to improve survivability. It should give you enough extra hit points that you can adjust your tactics in a fight, or retreat if necessary.
The warp disruptor is pretty important. Without it, targets can escape by warping off. Your speed is impressive for a cruiser, even without a microwarpdrive, letting you glide into range and orbit your target, while keeping him pinned down. If you like, you can trade the 20km-range warp disruptor for the 7500m-range warp scrambler, which trades range for the ability to completely turn off the target's microwarpdrive, if applicable.
- x2 Nanofiber Internal Structure I
- x1 Overdrive Injector System I
These are pretty standard for speedy ships. The nanofibers increase speed and maneuverability, the latter of which is very important when trying to stay close to your targets. The overdrive just gives a big speed boost.
Lastly, there is also room for a single small drone. My advice is for newer players to fit a Warrior I, the premier anti-frigate drone. If you are willing to train a bit extra, though, you can use a Hornet EC-300 instead. This is a light drone that has a very small chance of "jamming" a target as with ECM e-war. Its chance of jamming is so poor that it is unlikely to jam more than once in a brief fight, but that one jam can still be devastating, especially against larger targets like battleships.
The basic skills are Minmatar Cruiser and those require for the modules used here. Fitting skills like Electronics, Engineering, and Weapon Upgrades are needed at various levels in order to get things to fit, as well. All of these are essential skills for a Minmatar pilot, that you won't regret training. Navigation skills that improve speed, such as Acceleration Control, Evasive Maneuvering, and Navigation are all helpful to improve survivability. Beyond those, gunnery skills are the most crucial, in order to improve your damage output. To that end, you should be trying to train up the following: Gunnery, Medium Projectile Turret, Motion Prediction, Rapid Firing, Trajectory Analysis, and Surgical Strike.
As with all PVP in EVE Online, it is always better to travel in a pack. With a few stabbers to pin down targets, blackbirds for e-war support, and perhaps a drake as bait and surplus firepower, you have a decently dangerous fleet on your hands, so long as you run from better-equipped fleets and try to target larger, slower-moving ships.
All this at a price low enough than even very new players probably won't feel too bad about losing. Newbie heaven. So get some friends, get out there where your war targets are hanging out, and own it up.