Logis are exclusively gang ships, even more so than the HICs that we covered in my last article. While some fit a token small turret or a flight of combat drones (usually for no purpose other than getting on killmails), most logistics ships have no offensive capability whatsoever. This is just as well, given that flying a logistics ship effectively takes a great deal of concentration and most if not all of the logi pilot's available target slots will be taken up by gang members.
Each logistics ship receives significant bonuses to remote repair modules, stacked towards its primary racial tanking type - armour for amarr and gallente, shield for caldari and minmatar. These bonuses substantially boost repair range (up to about 70km with a large rep), and significantly reduce the powergrid consumption of the modules (allowing the logistics ships to fit 3 or 4 large reps apiece), in addition to a regular increase to rep amount. The magnitude of these bonuses (in particular the powergrid bonus) gives the logistics ships far greater repping power than their t1 counterparts.
In addition to their distinction between shield and armour, logistics ships can be split into two categories - the guardian and basilisk (which we will call dual logistics) and the scimitar and oneiros (which we'll call solo logistics). There is no official distinction between these classes in game; the difference results from a combination of the ships' second bonus, and subtler variations in their statistics. Despite the names, a gang can include as many or as few of any logistics ship as it chooses, i.e. you can have a gang with three scimitars or with seven guardians - the key is that while the solo logistics operate independently, dual logistics need to be grouped with at least one other logistics ship in order to work effectively.
The solo logistics ships receive balanced slot layouts (a standard trait of gallente and minmatar) with enough fitting capability to fit three or four large reps or shield transporters along with a moderate buffer tank. Thanks to their large number of mid and low slots, these ships are capable of taking in one (almost always the same one they are fitting remote repair for, for obvious reason) while using the other to increase their cap stability, either using cap boosters or mods that enhance cap recharge. This allows the solo logistics ship to operate autonomously without the need to be cap boosted by an external source, hence the title 'solo logistics'. The second bonus to these ships is to tracking links (the remote version of the tracking computer), however aside from niche fits it's quite rare to see these used.
The dual logistics ships' second bonus is to cap transfer modules. To support this, these ships shift two of their low or mid slots to high slots, allowing them to fit a similar number or reps to their solo counterparts while also fitting cap transfer modules. In addition to this, the dual logistics ships (as befits the caldari and amarr) receive more polarised slot layouts - mid slot heavy for the caldari, and low slot heavy for the amarr. The immediate effect of this is that the dual logistics ships can't really fit to be cap stable without significantly reducing the effectiveness of their fit. However thanks to their bonuses cap transfer arrays, they don't need to; two or more of these ships can feed cap to each other (known as linking up), and the bonus to transfer amount means that the resultant energy gain to each ship is significantly higher than what it expends to run them. Cap from nothing. Since they now don't need to be cap stable individually, these ships can dedicate almost all of their slots to enhancing their tank, resulting in a much tougher ship than either of the solo logistics, at the cost of requiring constant support from another ship.
All logistics ships receive substantial range bonuses to their logistics modules of choice, giving them an effective range of 70km with large shield/armour/cap transfers and 50km with mediums. This range bonus is on the racial cruiser skill, so ranges are the same regardless of skill level. They also receive large reductions to powergrid consumption and cap use of their respective modules, allowing them to fit large reps (which are otherwise a battleship class module).
The guardian is by far the most commonly used logistics ship for armour gangs. As you'd expect from an amarr ship, if offers a heavily low slot biased layout of 6/2/5 and by far the strongest powergrid, offering it the capability to fit a fierce armour tank as well as substantial repping power. The guardian also receives 25m3 of drone bay and bandwidth, enough for a flight of light drones. As a dual logistics ship, the guardian receives bonuses to remote armour repairers and energy transfers, as well as rep amount for armour rep drones.
With two mid slots, the guardian has little ability to support its own capacitor and relies on energy transfer from friendly ships (usually other guardians) to keep its reps going. A standard guardian fit features four large remote reps (or three large and one medium) with two large energy transfers, and a five slot armour tank made up of a 1600mm or 800mm plate and hardeners. Mid slots usually feature an ECCM to defend against jamming, and an afterburner or MWD. For the most part, afterburners are more common - most armour gangs are relatively immobile, and an afterburner gives the guardian pilot additional survivability, as well as additional powergrid for tanking. Since armour gangs often fight on gates and stations, most guardian pilots will use a flight of armour rep bots instead of damage drones, allowing them to fight without incurring aggression.
The repping power of the guardian is very solid, and thanks to its very focused tank they tend to be the toughest of the logistics ships. With an armour tank and an afterburner their signature radius remains relatively low too at 70m3, allowing the guardian to evade a significant amount of damage from larger ships.
The main weakness of the guardian is its reliance on other ships for cap - if there are two guardians on the field, jamming or driving off one of them will lead the other to cap out quite quickly without support. Damping has relatively little effect on them due to the way that armour gangs generally fly meaning they are generally pretty close to the ships they are repping, however scan-res damping combined with rapidly switching targets and the occasional jam can be effective, although more so in larger gangs where the guardian pilots arent able to pre-lock a large proportion of their gang.
If your gang consists of larger ships, webs and target painters are likely to be useful for killing guardians in a close range fight. Since guardians are relatively tough and rarely aggress (thus being able to go through gates if taking fire), you will need to weigh up the advantages of primarying the guardian over the ships it is supporting - against a small number of logistics ships, you can sometimes simply break through the reps without killing them. Due to the way in which a guardian pair can produce cap from nothing, neuting tends to be relatively ineffective against them.
As a t2 amarr ship with strong racial resists, the guardian is usually weakest against thermal and EM damage. However, these are often filled with active hardeners - this leaves kinetic > thermal > EM > explosive against 2 hardener fits (which account for about two thirds of guardian fits) and themal > EM > explosive > kinetic against 3 hardener fits. Given that thermal is best against 3 hardener fits and pure EANM fits, and still second best against 2 hardener fits, it's probably your best bet.
The basilisk sees most of its use in heavier, BS centric shield gangs. It provides more reliable repping power and stronger tank than the scimitar, at the expense of speed. Essentially the shield version of the guardian, the basilisk switches the guardian's mid and low slots for a 6/5/2 layout and gets buffed cpu in place of powergrid. The basilisk receives bonuses to remote shield reps and cap transfers as well as shield rep drones, and gets the same 25m3 of drone bay/bandwidth as the guardian.
The standard basilisk fit is even quite similar too - it generally features four large shield transfers (or three large and one medium) and two large energy transfers, a three slot shield tank (plus a damage control) along with an ECCM and a propulsion mod. Again, afterburners are the most popular choice although MWD basilisks are not uncommon. The basi's final low slot is usually a fitting mod, required in order to support its full rack of repair mods. For drones, the basilisk usually carries either shield or armour rep drones (the latter being more to patch people up after the fight than during).
As a caldari ship, the basilisk has a very high sensor strength making ECM jamming relatively difficult. It is however slower than the guardian (despite being shield tanked), and has a significantly larger signature radius thanks to a combination of base stats and the sig penalty from its shield extender and/or rigs.
Like the guardian, the basilisk's reliance on friendly cap feeding to run its reps makes ECM the best tool against small groups of them. Range damping can potentially be useful due to the tendency of shield gangs to spread out much more than their armour counterparts, however thanks to the basilisk's long base targeting range you'll need a lot of them, ideally on bonused ships, in order to make a real difference. Again, scan res damping can be useful in larger gangs, and as with the guardian neuting tends not to be particularly effective.
Generally the basilisk will field a weaker tank than the guardian, and their higher signature radius means they will take more damage regardless, however they are still relatively tough ships to kill. They do have a slightly easier resist profile to take advantage of however - as a caldari t2 ship the basilisk gets very high thermal and kinetic resists, with a massive EM hole before hardeners. This is usually filled with an active hardener, however it still leaves EM and explosive about tied, and both substantially lower than kinetic and thermal.
The scimitar is fast - substantially faster than any other logistics ship. This makes it the logi of choice for most shield gangs, especially kiting or sniping gangs which rely on speed to survive. It does however have its weaknesses compared to the basilisk, as we'll discuss.
As a solo logi, the scimitar gives up the basilisk's additional high slots in exchange for extra lows, giving it a 4/5/4 slot layout all told. It also loses the basilisk's bonuses to cap transfers, however it retains the same shield-related bonuses (range and cap use on shield transfers, and rep amount for shield rep drones). In addition to the scimitar's shield rep bonuses, it also receives a bonus to tracking links - a form of remote tracking computer as I mentioned earlier. This bonus is rarely if ever used on the scimitar so we'll ignore it here, however I'll discuss it in a little more detail when we look at the oneiros. Unlike the guardian and basilisk, the scimitar receives a fairly substantial drone complement of 45m3 bay and bandwidth.
There are two common ways to fit and fly a scimmy. In larger fleet warfare, the scimmy is often used in a similar way to the afterburner basilisk - the main difference is that instead of cap transfers, the scimmy uses cap power relays in its additional low slots to grant cap stability. This kind of scimmy fit may use either four reps (giving it the same repping power as the basilisk but a weaker tank) or three reps (giving it weaker repping power, but an equivalent tank to the basi). In either scenario, the scimitar does have the advantages of higher speed and lower signature radius than the basi, meaning it should take reduced damage when compared to the basilisk and have an easier time keeping up with a MWDing shield gang (the scimitar has the lowest base sig radius of all the logis while the basi has the highest, however the shield extender on both ships makes them easier to hit than their armour counterparts).
Alternatively, the scimitar can be fit as a kiting ship - this kind of fit features three reps and a MWD, along with an additional cap mod or two allowing it to be cap stable while running its MWD and all three reps. This kind of fit generally has a fairly fragile tank, however it makes up for it in speed - 2km/s or faster is fairly standard. This allows the kiting scimmy to maintain range on the hostile gang, typically positioning themselves 50km or more behind their main gang (which as a kiting gang, is usually already 20-50km from your the fleet they're engaging). This means that while the scimmys themselves are fairly fragile, catching them can be nearly impossible.
When it comes to drones, scimmies will generally either carry a mix of medium and light rep drones (either shield or armour, or a flight of each) or alternatively a flight of rep drones and a flight of damage drones. While offensive drones on a logistics ship can be a liability (it aggresses the logi pilot, preventing them from going through gates or docking), the scimitar is something of an exception to this since most of its fights happen off gate - especially with the kiting scimmy. Light drones then can provide a small dps contribution to the gang, as well as some limited tackler defence shield the scimmy get tackled. Don't expect much micromanagement of those combat drones however - the logi pilot will often be too busy concentrating on repping their fleetmates to set them on specific targets.
On the three-rep scimmy fits, you'll notice I haven't mentioned the fourth high slot. There are a few options for this - the most common is a token small gun which exists only for getting the logi pilot on killmails - this doesn't really serve any useful purpose other than to aggress the logi, although as mentioned above this is less of a problem for scimitars when compared to other logistics ships. Alternatively this may be a salvager (which is irrelevant for our purposes), a small rep, or my favourite option - an expanded probe launcher, allowing the scimitar to double up as a combat prober when the gang requires.
As a minmatar ship, the scimitar is much easier to jam than the basilisk (it gets 33 sensor strength with a single ECCM compared to 44 - a substantial difference). While jamming is very effective against the scimmy, it doesn't have the added effect of breaking cap chains that is has against the basilisk or guardian. This lack of reliance on other ships makes the scimitar very versatile, able to evade hostiles or go through gates without disrupting the repair capability of its fleetmates. There are however two things which the scimitar is far more vulnerable to than its caldari counterpart - damps and neuts.
The scimitar's base targeting range is 75km after skills (long range targeting 5 is a prerequisite for the ship), compared to 100km on the basilisk. Two un-bonused damps with range scripts can bring that down to under 30km, or on a bonused ship, under 20km. This can severely hamper the scimitar's repping ability as part of a high speed shield gang, especially against a kiting scimitar which is likely to be some distance from its main fleet. Additionally, the scimitar is very reliant on its own cap stability, both for repping and for speed (which for the scimitar, often equates with survival) - landing a couple of heavy neuts on a simitar can quickly leave it dead in the water. This is easier said than done against the kiting scimmy, which will generally be well outside of neut range, however where scimitars are operating at close range (such as on gate) it can be a convenient way of eliminating them from the fight - especially since shooting them would only cause them to go through the gate and back.
As a minmatar t2, the scimitar has fairly strong resists across the board, with an order of preference of kinetic > explosive > thermal > EM. Due to limited slots and a fairly minor variation in resists, scmitars are usually omni tanked and rarely fit a specific hardener which would affect that order. Of course with the kiting scimmy, catching the ship tends to be far more important than selecting the right damage type. Long ranged webs, long ranged tackle and long ranged dps are your best friends here (as they also are against the kiting gang that it's likely to be a part of), as well as fast tackle and probes. However, beware of tacklers flying close to the main gang in an attempt to lock down scimitars - kiting gangs tend to be especially good at killing them.
(updated for Crucible, winter 2011)
Of all the logistics ships, the oneiros is the least predictable. Like the scimitar, this is a solo logistics ship designed to operate independently, and compared to the guardian it sacrifices high slots for extra mids (giving it a 4/4/5 slot layout) and receives a speed boost too, making it proficient for use with high speed armour gangs - something that the guardian tends to struggle with. These improvements come at a price however, and without the mutual energy transfer that the guardian relies upon the oneiros needs to provide it's own capacitor.
Capacitor is the real determining factor in how an oneiros is fit, and there are two ways to go about producing it. The first is to go the same route as the scimitar, utilising its free slots (in this case at least two of its mids, its rig slots, and potentially one or two of its lows as well) to boost cap regeneration and allow it to operate cap stable. This is more challenging than it is for the scimitar, since the oneiros needs its mid slots for propulsion and potentially ECCM (although some onerioses seem to go without the ECCM to allow additional cap regen - a risky move). However, it is generally possible to fit an oneiros to be nearly cap stable with the same repping power (4 large reps) and an equivilent buffer tank to that of the guardian, providing the pilot has logistics 5.
The second option is to fly the oneiros cap boosted. While this carries a risk in protracted fights, where the ship could potentially run out of boosters, it allows guaranteed cap stability and also frees up slots and rigs for additonal modules, thus leading to the oneiros' unpredictability. Rig slots and lows can be used for additional tank or powergrid with which to fit tank and/or larger reps, whereas spare mid slots (aside from the one taken up by the cap booster) can be used for dual prop (a very nice addition which allows the oneiros to move around quickly while being able to switch to AB when it needs to signature tank), extra ECCM, or tracking links. While not all that common, tracking link oneiroses can be used with battleship gangs to provide an on the fly range buff, and are particularly effective with ships like megathrons where the ability to hit at medium range is not generally expected.
While the oneiros is noticeably faster than the guardian, it is not as fast as the scimitar. An MWDing oneiros will generally do about 1.6km/s, whereas with an AB you're looking at a little over 600m/s. Both MWD and afterburner fits (as well as dual prop mentioned above) are popular, the former typically for high speed gangs like HACs while the latter is more common when supporting slow moving battleship gangs. With afterburner fits in particular, it becomes relatively easy for the oneiros to mount the full 4 large remote reps, something which the scimitar (and at times, the guardian) struggles to do. Combined with its larger drone compliment of 50m3, this means that the oneiros potentially has greater repping power than the guardian, although not by a substantial amount. It's also worth noting that since propulsion, cap, and ECCM are all provided primarily by its mid slots, the oneiros is usually able to dedicate more low slots to tank than the scimitar is mids, making a stiff 1600mm buffer tank on a similar level to the guardian relatively common (this is particularly true on cap boosted setups, which don't need to use any rig or low slots to support their cap regen).
All that said, the oneiros does have some clear weaknesses. Firstly, a regen fit oneiros is very vulnerable to neuting - it has neither the remote cap support that the guardian does, nor the range dictation that the scimitar relies on to avoid hostile neuts. AB oneiroses in particular are particularly vulnerable to this. As I've already mentioned, it's also more difficult to fit ECCM on the oneiros while keeping it cap stable - while not a direct weakness in itself, any oneiros pilot who doesn't fit an ECCM is going to be vulnerable if you have ECM jammers on your side (even a flight of ECM drones is likely to cause it intermittent problems). For those pilots who do fit ECCM, cap instability further adds to the effectiveness of neuting.
The cap boosted oneiros solves both of these problems, however it has its own in that it's fighting on a time limit - once it runs out of boosters, the reps stop. Many gangs with cap boosted logistics will carry spare charges in the cargo of their dps ships, however getting these to the logis mid fight can be a challenge (and if you notice it happening, you could always ask your light support ships to kill the cans).
As a gallente t2 cruiser, the oneiros has a large native resist hole on explosive and a smaller one against EM. However, it's common to fill one or both of these. With a single hardener, explosive is still the lowest resist by some margin and it's probably a safe choice, while EM is the best choice when only explosive is filled, and a poor choice when an EM hardener accompanies it. Most oneiroses that I've seen plug explosive with a single hardener and do not plug EM (meaning both are still solid choices), however I have also seen them fit with two explosive and one EM (which gives fairly even resists across the board, with thermal as the only real weakness). Your experiences may vary!