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The Thrasher is offered for free via the TEST Free program. Please see the Test Free page for details.
Engineered as a supplement to its big brother the Cyclone, the Thrasher's tremendous turret capabilities and advanced tracking computers allow it to protect its larger counterpart from smaller, faster menaces.
Another versatile Minmatar ship, this destroyer is useful for lvl 1-2 missions, salvaging, or PvP. When fitted with artillery, sensor boosters, and damage mods, it can obliterate frigs and pods. However, this ship shines brightest in the roles of suicide ganking in high-sec. Let me explain:
Suicide ganking involves blowing up high-sec chucklefucks (who're mostly in mining ships) and being obliterated by CONCORD immediately whilst harvesting carebear tears. If that makes you smile, then here's what you must do:
Salvaging is a nice way to squeeze the last little iskdrops from your missions or make a little extra whist ratting. Also if you are of the noob persuasion, it can be a helpful boost to your meager earning abilities. Fit as many salvagers as you can, probably six, and add a couple tractor beams. Now warp around belts/missions and get free junk to sell. It's nice to have Targeting to 4 for this so you can lock up a bunch of wrecks at once and keep everything running smoothly. If you're doing this in belts it's a good idea to fit a modest tank and a microwarp drive to keep stray rats off you. If you see a neut pop up in local it's a good idea to GTFO because this ship will evaporate under a gentle moonbeam.
With the popularity of Rifters, it's not surprising that the Thrasher is quite a common sight. However, this ship has much more going for it than simply being a step up from a popular PvP frigate. With an 8/3/2 slot layout and 7 turrets, the Thrasher is fairly versatile in terms of fitting. Along with the standard destroyer bonuses to range and tracking, the Thrasher also receives a damage bonus - the only destroyer that does. The fact that this bonus is to damage rather than rate of fire is quite significant, as we'll see in a moment.
First of all, let's talk about autocannon Thrashers. Due to the low powergrid requirement of autocannons, an AC Thrasher has heaps of fitting room available. A medium shield extender is generally the most common choice for tank, however a 2 slot armor tank with a 400mm plate is another popular option. Either an afterburner or mwd will fit with either option (due to the lower speed and poor sig radius of destroyers, mwds tend to be more popular here than they are on frigates), and there's even room for a neut or nos in the last high slot, making the AC Thrasher a very well rounded boat.
In terms of damage output the AC Thrasher is up there with the gankiest assault frigs, and with a big tracking bonus the same tricks that work against the Wolf or Jaguar won't necessarily be effective here. On the other hand, the optimal range bonus adds almost nothing to autocannons, and despite being easy to fit the tank on the thrasher isn't really any better than what you'd find on a regular t1 frig. A shield tanked Thrasher isn't going to be packing a web, and even without a web yourself dictating range in a smaller ship shouldn't be too difficult - despite being the fastest destroyer the Thrasher is still slower than the slowest assault frigs. Expect an AC Thrasher to be a challenging fight in any equivalent ship or smaller, and even in a larger ship its strong damage output should not be underestimated (although as with all destroyers it will generally take more damage from your weapons than a frigate would).
Artillery Thrashers are a different beast entirely. I mentioned earlier that destroyers have very high volley damage, and artillery already have the highest volley damage of any weapon system by far (especially so for the higher-caliber artillery of each size, in this case 280mms). Add to this that the destroyer receives a bonus to damage (not rate of fire), and with 7 turrets you have a ship that can potentially do upwards of 1700 damage in a single hit (or sometimes even higher, given that turret damage is randomized). To put that in perspective, a lightly tanked (damage control only) t1 frigate has 2k or 3k effective HP, and a well tanked one usually has around 6 or 7k. Granted the rate of fire of this ship is pretty low, however when you warp in and immediately lose half of your HP the instinctive reaction is rarely a rational one. Thanks to the destroyer's optimal range bonus, Thrashers can even hit out to over 50km with Tremor ammo, making a group of them very effective for flyby sniping.
Artillery Thrashers really excel in gangs, where a small group of them can destroy a lightly tanked target instantly. If you're out in a frig and encounter a group of Thrashers, give them a wide berth - no matter how fast or tough you think you are. However, they struggle to fit any real tank, and even with their tracking bonus it can be quite easy to get under their guns at which point their impressive alpha strike (another term for initial volley damage) won't matter. If you encounter one solo, your priority should be to close range quickly - avoid approaching it directly (maintain some angular velocity), and don't panic if you lose a lot of hp on the way in - once you're orbiting close that damage should drop off to almost nothing.
Minmatar Destroyer bonuses (per skill level):
[Thrasher, test_free Thrasher Shibesnake (Arty)] Gyrostabilizer I Micro Auxiliary Power Core I Sensor Booster I Tracking Computer I 1MN Monopropellant Enduring Afterburner 280mm Howitzer Artillery I 280mm Howitzer Artillery I 280mm Howitzer Artillery I 280mm Howitzer Artillery I 280mm Howitzer Artillery I 280mm Howitzer Artillery I 280mm Howitzer Artillery I [Empty High slot] Small EM Shield Reinforcer I Small EM Shield Reinforcer I Small Thermal Shield Reinforcer I EMP S x1000 Scan Resolution Script x1 Targeting Range Script x1 Optimal Range Script x1 Tracking Speed Script x1
[Thrasher, test_free Thrasher Tunnelsnake (Auto)] Gyrostabilizer I Gyrostabilizer I Warp Scrambler I Medium Shield Extender I 5MN Cold-Gas Enduring Microwarpdrive 200mm AutoCannon I 200mm AutoCannon I 200mm AutoCannon I 200mm AutoCannon I 200mm AutoCannon I 200mm AutoCannon I 200mm AutoCannon I Small Energy Nosferatu I Small EM Shield Reinforcer I Small EM Shield Reinforcer I Small Thermal Shield Reinforcer I EMP S x1000