Schwarzschild

Custodian - Da Best BodyGUARD?

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So, Custodian is finally here. After grinding the event for 100+ days, the long awaited R17 Jericho Guard frigate is finally craftable.

And it is ... quite interesting ...

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(I quite like this colouring :D)

 

 

At first glance, the ship isn't that amazing. A R17 craftable Guard, with literally identical stats with R15 Ronin, minus the customizable modifier slots. And since it is not a premium, it does not have access to certain modules and modifiers that have made a certain Fed.Guard one of the most powerful of its class. It does, however, have its own unique modules (2 active modules), yet they seem to be quite contradictive on paper, and certainly does not fit the traditional role of "Guard" in this game.

All in all, at first glance, it seems quite mediocre. Sure, unique modules may look tempting, but it doesn't give it one-up over Boremys. In fact it might seem worse than certain Guard frigates in the tech tree when it comes to performing its duty as a traditional Guard.

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(Comparing blank Custodian with blank Ronin at base ranks, and with blank Boremys as a premium with max ranks)

 

 

But to quote Rakza from another thread: (https://forum.star-conflict.com/index.php?/topic/39134-custodian-panic-thread/)

Quote

Custodian is different. Like all the New Jericho Ships if you look closely.

 

Pilgrim = Atypical Special Module

Zhen = Atypical DPS capacity for a Control Ship

Singulairy = Atypical Drone Oriented Gameplay

 

Custodian isn't exempt of this. You just need to find the way it was supposed to be played like.

 

Of course, I don't have nearly the amount of experience he has with Guard frigates, especially when it comes to PvP.

However, I'd like to offer some analysis on how Custodian and its modules work, and to suggest some possible ways to use it effectively. (TL;DR at the end)

 

Just a bit of disclaimer: 

- This is my opinion only. It is in no way shape or form THE way to play Custodian. It probably isn't even the most effective way, but I find it to be entertaining and worth trying out if you feel confused about Custodian. Who knows? It might work for you too.

- I am in no way a PvP Guard frigate Master. So certain scenarios I'm about to mention might not be common-place in high-end PvP matches.

- I try my best to test out the module combos beforehand and offer accurate reasonings, but I may be wrong about something too. Please help me point out my errors if you spot any :) Thanks.

 

 

To understand how Custodian would function within a team, we must take a look at its unique modules.

 

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Its special module "Protective Barrier 1.0" can be picked as an alternative to the default Phase Shield during manufacture, and does not require colletcting 600+ fragments like what Boremys required (phew)

Its description says "In passive mode, boost all shield resis by 65 pts. Upon activation, create 'invisible' barrier covering the front, while shield resis decrease to 0, speed increases by 33%".

 

Lets look at the passive mode first.

65 pts is smaller than the 120 pts granted by default Phase Shield and seems weaker, but keep in mind that this is a boost to all shield resistance, rather than a specific type. On a build with shield modifiers boosting kinetic/EM/thermal resistances, Custodian can hit resistance of 151/67/105. This translates to a damage resistance of 68%/57%/63% after calculating the 65pt boost AT ANY TIME, comparing with default Phase Shield at 73%/65%/69% for a SPECIFIC TYPE. Although the difference means we would take slightly more damage from a single type, in a PvP match, more often than not, we would find ourselves under fire from multiple types of damage, and hence the overall survivability is greater when picking the unique special module.

Unfortunately this comes at the cost of losing the 15% damage boost :(

 

Now onto the active mode.

When activated, it creates something like this:

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A "Frontal Shield" that looks like an eye, and there is no way this thing is "invisible". Enemies can spot this from several km away.

 

I call it a "Frontal Shield" because that is exactly what it reminded me of: Dart's shield. Yet there are several differences, namely it does not drain energy as you get hit, and that is completely invulnerable to standard firepower.

Keep in mind however, that there are certain weapons and offensive modules that can and will penetrate this shield (most common source is from destroyers, Gravi-Lens are EVERYWHERE these days). Curiously though, because of the distance from the shield to the ship itself, some weapons with splash damage would detonate on the shield without dealing damage to the main ship.

As a general trend, weapons that can "go through" a target will hit you through the shield, including Singularity Cannon and Phaser. Tai'Kin blob may be able too, but haven't tested it out yet. I speculate that things with "chain damage" instead of "splash damage" would damage you as well, such as Vigilant's laser and Sk'rah gattling gun, but again, haven't tested it out.

 

In addition, it could be a good "bodyguard" skill as it allows you to block weapon fire aimmed at your teammates as well. Though caution should be exercised as it may block your teammates' weapon as well ... 

 

The shield lasts for 15sec, with a 30sec cooldown that starts as soon as the shield activates, meaning it is actually only 15sec of downtime in-between.

Of course, there is more than one caveat. Firstly the shield exposes your rear and flank, in addition to highlighting your location like a flashlight. Upon activation, your shield resistance go from 216/132/170 down to 0/0/0.

However, there are ways to circumvent these two weaknesses, and this can be done through its other modules.

 

 

The first of the 2 active modules is the "Defence Algorithm":

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At max level, it has a 8sec active time, 25sec reload, restores 2250 hull pts, and boost resistance by 170 pts.

The module itself can be found in Lava Spines, or picked up from the market.

 

A point to note is the energy drain of 180, when almost all the other Guard modules drain in around 200-500 energy upon activation. Even Multiphase and Energy Converter, despite the stats only show ~100 energy drain, takes much more energy to reach the same amount of shield resistance boost.

This makes the module suitable even when you are running low on energy (from perhaps Emergency Shield Boost)

 

But what makes this module a key asset to Custodian is how it works so well with the Protective Barrier spec mod.

The 170 pts resistance boost can be applied AFTER your Protective Barrier activates. So instead of dropping from 216/132/170 to 0/0/0, the overall resistance becomes 170/170/170. Thermal resistance remains unchanged, Kinetic resis drops from 68% to 63%, while EM resis actually increases.

Because the cooldown on Protective Barrier (PB) and Defence Algorithm (DA) matches almost perfectly, every time you use PB, DA can cover its "resistance loss" for more than half of its duration.

Not only do you gain a shield blocking majority of incoming fire from the front, you also don't actually lose much resistance compared to PB's passive mode. 

 

 

The second module is "Pursuit Algorithm":

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At max level, boosts speed by 40% for 17sec, with a 28sec cooldown and an average energy drain of 350.

Drops from the "Ghost" enemies in Sanctuary ... so.. yeah... pray to RNG or pay the high price in market. 

 

This one can be quite controversial in my opinion.

Custodian is the first frigate to have active radar invisibility while moving, and it lasts for quite long with a relative short cooldown. This allows it to, on paper, circle around enemy clusters for some surprise tactics.

Being able to move around quickly without drawing too much attention has always been difficult for a Guard frigate. Granted, even with radar invisibility, a good PvP player can still spot a frigate drifting at medium speed across the map, but the module provides Custodian with some interesting tactics.

For instance, in Beacon Capture mode, a Custodian can use the speed boost and radar invisibility from Protective Barrier (PB) and Pursuit Algorithm (PA) to quickly make its way to the next location in advance and hug the beacon. Because of its high survivability as a Guard frigate, it would be (slightly, oh ever so slightly) more difficult for the enemy Recon interceptors to take it down before the main firepower fleet arrives. It may not be possible to capture the beacon for your team outright, but it can deny the beacon from enemies until the rest of the team arrives to assist. Though, nothing stops enemy destroyers from throwing over a Gravitational Lens from 8km away ...

 

 

Now that we have taken a look at the modules, lets look at its weapon "Plasmatron":

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Obtainable in The Source, or from market.

 

First of all, it is beautiful. 

I mean just look at its effects, it's like launching mini suns towards enemies :D

screenshot-191107-100035.thumb.jpg.dfa43screenshot-191107-100127.thumb.jpg.e1937

 

At max level, uncharged will deal 2544 damage, while charged will deal 7632 damage. DPS on stat is quite low, but the damage per hit is quite high, especially considering its splash/explosion radius of around 150-200m, which is not reflected on the stat.

That is, assuming you can hit the target ...

 

This thing has an unbelievablely slow projectile speed, at 1200m/s uncharged and 3840m/s charged. The fact that it fires off once per sec uncharged and once every 4 seconds charged, makes it pretty much impossible to hit anything faster than a destroyer. Due to it being a thermal weapon, there are no ammunition nor inherent bonuses or implants that can increase its projectile speed. Hence the only way is to use Custodian's only capacitor modifer slot for an Acceleration Coil, which at max level only increases the speed by 26%, far from sufficient.

 

But the thing makes up for it in terms of damage if it connects. 7632 damage is nothing to scoff at. A close comparison I can find is actually a secondary weapon: Cruise Missiles.

Cruise Missiles deal 8717 thermal damage with homing capabilities, but have a longer reload time. In fact, I doubt Cruise Missiles actually hit their targets; Majority of the time, Cruise Missile is used for the constant beeping missile warning that can last for almost a minute, creating pressure to the enemy.

Consider the weapon as a primary version of Cruise Missile. Lets face it, most of the mini suns we shoot out are not going to hit anything except maybe a destroyer. But the short(er) interval between charged shots, and the potential damage it can bring, could pressure enemies to be more cautious.

 

A unique feature is the weapon's ability to explode point blank, dealing a large chunk of damage to self and any enemy within 1000m radius. At first glance it seems quite useless: who in the right mind would be within 1000m from a Guard for over 4 seconds? Pulsar alone would be reason enough to steer clear of 1200m from a Guard frigate.

But similar to Protective Barrier providing cover for teammates, this self-explosion can provide protection to teammates too, specifically Destroyers. The range just about covers the vulnerable range of a destroyer if you hug it (or in the case of Ze'Ta, land on it), detering enemy interceptors from trying to back-stab your friend. An explosion that can take away 1/5 of my shield at 200 thermal resistance is likely to be much deadlier if an interceptor is unfortunate enough to be caught in the blast.

 

At the end of the day, this is a weapon with good long-range harassing capabilities, and good extreme-close-range defensive methods, but it is quite unsuitable for brawling. Slow projectile speed with medium damage makes it unsuitable for brawling at 1500-3000m range. Ironically this is also the range where most Guard frigates would be most comfortable with, and where most Guard module effects take place.

If you want a brawling weapon, try Proximity Mortar instead :P

Prox Mortar and Breach Laser remain as my favourite Guard weapons (pls giv Breach Laser more ranks ; - ; )

 

 

TL;DR:

 

Q1: Custodian, is it as good as Boremys at brawling?

A1: Nope. Boremys is by far the strongest brawling Guard frigate. Custodian can stands its own as a tanky Guard, but it is not a powerful brawling ship.

 

Q2: What about the modules and weapons? Worth getting?

A2: Protective Barrier (PB) spec mod is quite powerful for blocking damage and the downfalls are not as severe as initially thought.

      Defence Algorithm (DA) is a must-have, especially useful when used together with Protective Barrier, mitigating its loss of survivability.

      Plasmatron is a unique weapon, giving Custodian a long-range and extreme-short-range option compared to all other Guard weapons. If you want to try adopting a long-rage playstyle or would like to charge right up to ramming distance with enemies, try it.

      As for Pursuit Algorithm (PA), if you manage to get one from random drop, then it is worth using. Otherwise the tactical advantage it offers is above average, but not sure if it is worth the 3-5k GS price.

 

Q3: Any suggested playstyle for Custodian?

A3: I would either recommend it as a bodyguard for key targets, such as Engineering frigates or Destroyers; or use it as a major distraction and disruption to enemy firepower fleet, to allow chances for team to retaliate.

      PB allows you to block unlimited enemy fire for a duration while allowing teammates to fire through your shield, making it a superb defensive method for your allies. Plasmatron's self-explosion, combined with the various debuff auras available to Guard (Mass Propulsion Inhibtor, Signature Masking, Spectre Field, Pulsar etc), act as deterrence against enemy interceptors trying to sneak up on you and surrounding allies.

      On the other hand, having Pursuit Algorithm allows for a previously unseen tactic for Guard frigate to penetrate deep into enemy fireline from the back. Due to its survivability and potential damage (boosted by Gun Adapter, seriously, keep this CPU with you), enemies cannot afford to ignore your presence, yet it would be much more difficult to take down a Guard compared to taking down a Tackler, hence diverting enemy attention and cause disruptions. Though you would need to communicate with the team so they can take advantage of this effectively.

 

Q4: Any recommended modules and modifiers?

A4: Needless to say, the 3 shield slots would be best used for the 3 types of resistance platings. To really take advantage of PB, it would be ideal to increse ship rotation speed. Hence Vernier Engine, and/or Lightweight Hull would be quite useful. As for your only CPU slot, because of the low crit chance and crit dmg on Plasmatron, it isn't worth stacking crit; nor would scanner range be useful when you have teammates' shared radar; choose between Proton Wall to reduce ECM annoyance, or use the Gun Adapter to boost damage during close range encounters. For capacitor, there are several choices: Emergency Barrier for survival, although it is unlikely you'd be able to escape within the 1sec; Acceleration Coil to boost projectile speed, although the speed is still abysmally slow; Pulse Discharger to further increase damage, although hitting targets with Plasmatron is unlikely to be consistent.

      As for active modules. For a bodyguard Custodian, Pursuit Algorithm wouldn't be a necessity, but Defence Algorithm is quite useful for survival. It would be worthwhile to bring along other buff/debuff modules, such as Signature Masking and Pulsar. But remember to have at least 1 module dedicated to replenishing the shield. While for an infiltration Custodian, Pursuit Algorithm forms the core of the tactic, and you would want to bring along as many survivability to last longer. So DA would once again be useful, and modules such as Signature Masking and Energy Converter can help boost survival and possibly firepower during the downtime of Defence Algorithm.

 

 

 

Final verdict:

- Custodian is a fun, above-average Guard with unique modules. Although not necessarily outperforming Boremys as a frontline Guard shredding enemies, Custodian has much higher team support and new tactics that can be explored further. It could excel at protecting key players with proper management, and can quickly adapt to the need of the team.

- Even without access to Conformist, Custodian is more than capable of withstanding and surviving punishment from enemy fire, provided if you don't charge recklessly into enemy fleets like a Boremys.

- Is it worth the 100+ day grind? ... No. The grind would make more sense if this were a premium ship, or had much better stats than its Fed counterpart. Four months of grind for a single ship is too much.

- With that being said, if you have it already, enjoy it. It is a quite versatile Guard frigate. Try experimenting with it. I am sure many people much better at PvP than me has already figured out their own tactics regarding Custodian.

 

 

Thank you. Good luck out there!

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Very nice analysis, congrats!

 

One problem/question: some pilots have gathered 2 out of the 3 manuals. And they can't build it. Why aren't the manuals available for buying from trade?

Sometimes RL issues simply don't allow enough time to farm for those parts.

Hoping to see them in Trade!

 

 

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Yeap that's a lot of text xd, i guess i did my review quite simple in comparison lol kudos!

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