[Top 15] EVE Online Best Ships (2020 Edition)

EVE Online, Battleship, Battlecruiser, Best Ship, Spaceship, New Eden
Batteships and Battlecruisers of New Eden race for the prize

A daring explorer prepares his ship for a long dive into wormhole space, while a hardworking miner optimizes his fleet for maximum profits, and an eagle eyed commander weighs the balance of offensive and defensive factors for the upcoming battle that will determine the fate of his Fortizar - in New Eden, no one ship dominates - for every rock there is a paper for which there is a scissors.

EVE Online boasts hundreds of ships filling dozens of roles and specializations. Here are fifteen favorites from my years of playing EVE. From humble Tech I frigates to the penultimate Titan class Avatar, there are ships for every purpose. Part of what makes New Eden so enjoyable is the fact that there is no one perfect ship. You’ll find yourself constantly pushing the envelope in new directions as you explore the potential hidden within each ship you acquire.

[1] Astero

Able to fit a Covert Cloak, the Astero can invisibly warp, which allows it to hide from hostiles.

The Astero is the premier exploration frigate in New Eden. Whether scanning down elusive relic sites or diving into the unknown dangers of a wormhole, the Astero is your best bet to return safely home. Although it is a little pricey, it can be easily flown by low skilled characters.

  • Great bonuses for scanning and hacking, maximizes exploration profits
  • Able to fit a covert cloak so that you can warp invisibly past your enemies
  • Low skill threshold makes it easy to get into but higher skill character benefit even more
  • Uses drones for combat so that you can destroy your enemies from a safe distance
  • With 100% bonus for fitting a Cloak you don’t lose any ship resources 
  • 37.5% bonus to Scanner Probe strength lets you find enemies and objects faster
  • Up to 50% bonus on Analyzer strength doubles your odds on cracking treasure sites
  • Can fly five light drones and hold fifteen, which allows excellent tactical flexibility
  • Slot layout: 2 turrets, 2 high, 4 mid, 4 low, and 3 rigs

The Astero can be bought in most regional markets. Blueprints can be obtained by contract, or on the market, or by accumulating enough Servant Sister’s Of EVE loyalty points.

[2] Manticore

In the hands of an alert pilot, the Manticore is one of the hardest ships to kill in New Eden.

One of the feared stealth bombers, this frigate can appear, lock, and fire and then vanish back into the depths of space. Especially useful for harassing enemies or destroying high value enemy structures. In sufficient numbers, stealth bombers can pose a threat to the biggest ships in the game.

  • Stealth bombers don’t have any decloak penalty and can immediately lock up enemies
  • Bombs are used for massive alpha damage, or torpedoes for relentless pounding
  • As a frigate, an alert pilot can almost certainly cloak or warp out before foes target it
  • Can use a Cyno to allow allies to jump in from adjacent systems for the kill
  • 99.7% bonus for fitting Torpedo Launchers lets a Small ship fit XL weapon systems
  • Can fit Covert Ops Cloak, Covert Cyno, Torpedo, and Bomb launchers
  • Up to 75% bonus to torpedo damage
  • Slot layout: 2 turrets, 3 launchers, 5 high, 4 mid, 2 low, and 2 rigs

The Manticore is a Tech II ship which can be bought in regional markets. Blueprints must be invented by characters with certain industrial skills. Blueprint copies can be bought via contracts.

[3] Svipul

Speed, agility, and the damage type versitility of projectile ammunition make the Svipul a favorite among PvP oriented pilots.

Tech III destroyers are the ultimate Small size ships. The Svipul is a Minmatar design, meaning it excels in speed and punishing explosive damage. The fastest ship controls the range in an engagement, and a Svipul is able to close for the kill or race for safety. 

  • Autocannons have a fast firing rate and better range than hybrid blasters
  • Artillery cannons hit hard, having the highest alpha strike of any turret system
  • Projectile ammo is the most versatile in terms of dealing different damage types
  • Three modes allow the ship to reconfigure and optimize for speed, defense, or damage
  • 33% base bonus for Projectile Turret damage
  • 95% bonus for fitting Scanner Probe launchers
  • Defense Mode bonuses: 33% to shield armor resists, harder to be targeted by enemies
  • Propulsion Mode bonuses: 66% buff to prop mods, 33% more agile
  • Sharpshooter Mode bonuses: 33% better tracking and damage, 100% buff to targeting
  • Slot layout: 4 turrets, 1 launcher, 6 high, 4 mid, 4 low, 3 rigs

Acquiring a Svipul is not difficult in the regional markets, it’s a popular hull. Building one from scratch requires advanced industrial skills and access to rare wormhole resources. Blueprint copies are available via Contracts.

[4] Punisher

The Punisher is one of the toughest frigates in New Eden, designed to stand toe to toe and slug it out until the enemy's ship vaporizes under its unrelenting laser fire.

A cheap Tech I hull, this is still a personal favorite. With five low slots this can be fitted into one of the toughest or fastest frigates in the game. Perfect for a kill and be killed roam into the depths of enemy territory. 

  • Usually equipped with pulse lasers, but autocannons are an alternate damage option 
  • Cheap base price makes this an excellent choice for just having a little fun
  • Five low slots give you a lot of flexibility towards armor, damage, or speed optimization
  • Four turrets packs a serious punch into a small package
  • Up to 50% reduction in the capacitor drain for energy weapons means you fight longer
  • With max skills and an optimized fit the Punisher can go over 9800m/s
  • Fitted for tank, this ship can reach 20,000 effective hit points
  • Slot layout: 4 turrets, 4 high, 2 mid, 5 low, and 3 rigs

One of the easier ships to acquire. Blueprint originals are easily obtained, and with a minimal investment of resources you can build an unlimited number for yourself. Also available in any major regional market.

[5] Tristan

Tristans launch a swarm of drones, which can be selected for any damage type, and in a group this ship exemplifies the swarm tactic - dealing out death by a thousand cuts.

Another Tech I classic for a fun, fast roam. If you love using combat drones, this is the ship for you. Equipped with neutralizers, a fleet of Tristans will rip through larger targets like piranhas.

  • An extremely flexible ship, tactically, it can be fit for both short and long range combat
  • The best Tech I drone frigate on the market, benefitting from Gallente racial bonuses 
  • Fitting with neutralizers allows your fleet of Tristans to negate enemy repairs
  • Drones come in all four damage types, offering great dps flexibility
  • The layout of slots provides a lot of fitting options
  • Up to 50% bonus for Drone hitpoints and tracking
  • Drone bay holds eight, and the Tristan can fly five light combat drones at once
  • Slot layout: 2 turrets, 3 high, 3 mid, 3 low, and 3 rigs

Tech I blueprints for the Tristan can be found throughout Gallente space. This frigate is cheap and easy to build for yourself. Alternatively, there is a steady supply in the regional markets.

[6] Catalyst

Nothing causes panic in a system like the appearance of a dozen Catalysts - even hardened battleship pilots will scramble to warp out and dock up if this ship lands on grid.

No list of Best Ships would be complete without the incredibly popular Catalyst. Equipped with eight hybrid blasters, no other ship matches its cost-to-punching-power ratio. The most popular ganking hull in the game, untold trillions in ISK have been lost to Catalyst pilots.

  • Optimized for hybrid blasters, the short-ranged, hardest hitting weapon system in EVE
  • For 10-15m ISK, the Catalyst can put out over 600 dps
  • A good choice for grinding down enemy structures, especially for low skill characters
  • Fitting with long range railguns and optimized for speed, this is can be a solo PVP killer
  • 50% bonus to Hybrid Turret range is very helpful given normally ultra short blaster range
  • Up to 50% bonuses on tracking speed and falloff increases chances to hit targets
  • Good sized cargo hold carries an ample quantity of ammo for structure bashes
  • Slot layout: 8 turrets, 8 high, 2 mid, 3 low, and 3 rigs

Another Tech I ship, the blueprint originals are easily purchased. Any regional market will be well stocked with this in-demand ship.

[7] Drake

A venerable favorite, the Drake still has a role to play in New Eden warfare, particularly the upgraded Navy Drake can be found out missioning for fun and profit.

Once one of the most popular ships in the game, the phrase: “Can I bring a Drake?” is still a recurring joke throughout New Eden. Powerful shields and heavy missile launchers let this battlecruiser deal and soak up massive damage. Missile systems can deal any type of damage, so Navy Drake is still a popular missioning ship.

  • Battlecruisers are designed for heavy combat - balancing agility, durability, and damage 
  • Missiles have the best range and full flexibility regarding damage type
  • This is a shield-fit ship, which leaves the low slots open for damage buffing modules
  • Can also fit a Command Burst module, which can provide buffs for the entire fleet
  • Up to 20% bonus on shield resistances to all damage types
  • Up to 50% bonus to kinetic damage dealt by Heavy and Heavy Assault missiles
  • Slot layout: 6 launchers, 7 high, 6 mid, 4 low, and 3 rigs

Caldari space is the place to look for blueprint originals for this Tech I hull. Alternatively it can be found in regional markets. With decent industrial skills you can build this hull yourself to get it at cost.

[8] Bowhead

For all its massive size and length, the Bowhead actually aligns quite nimbly, which reduces the drudgery of long hauls considerably.

Once you’ve put together your favorite ships, moving them en mass becomes a real chore. The Bowhead is the solution to that problem. Its incredible 1,600,000 m3 ship maintenance bay can easily haul three fully fitted battleships or a host of smaller hulls.

  • Easily moves fitted ships when you relocate your base of operations
  • Training up your skills increases the capacity to nearly 2,000,000 m3
  • This ship has no offensive capability, so use care and caution flying it
  • An excellent choice for fleet logistics, can transport fitted ships to replace losses mid fight
  • Up to 25% bonus on inertia modifiers, reduces alignment time
  • Up to 25% buff to maintenance bay capacity
  • Mid and low slots provide flexibility to optimize for speed or survivability
  • Slot layout: 3 mid, 3 low, and 3 rigs

Technically, this blueprint can be obtained in Outer Rim space. But that is a dangerous journey into null sec space claimed and guarded by player groups. The ship can be purchased in regional markets, or the blueprints can be found in Contracts.

[9] Tornado

Massed fire from a squadron of Tornados will have you blowing up local chat with: "I guess you're not in Kansas anymore, Toto!" after vaporizing an enemy ship with a single burst of artillery fire.

When facing an enemy who has optimized his fleet for mid-fight repping, massed firepower is one of the better counter-tactics. Few ships do a better job than the Tornado in delivering an overwhelming alpha strike. Classified as an Attack Battlecruiser, this ship sacrifices its defenses in order to fit Large class projectile cannons into a Medium size hull.

  • Artillery cannons have the slowest rate of fire but the highest damage output per cycle
  • Projectile ammo can deal multiple damage types, allowing tactical flexibility
  • If optimized for fast lock and warpout, Tornados can be used as a hit and run fleet
  • Massed Tornado fire can destroy targets before enemy logi are able to rep them
  • Up to 25% bonuses to Projectile Turret falloff and rates of fire
  • 50% and 95% reductions in Large Projectile Turret fitting requirements
  • Fitting 8 Large Artillery Cannons can deliver over 10,000 damage in a single shot
  • Slot layout: 8 turrets, 8 high, 5 mid, 4 low, and 3 rigs

If you want a blueprint original, you’ll need to travel to Minmatar space. Regional markets will also stock this hull. 

[10] Tengu

Starting with a solo exploration dive through wormhole systems, then refitted to defend a critical structure in the home system, before reconfiguring for commerce raiding into enemy territory - the Tengu fits into dozens of roles thanks to its Tech III subsystems.

Tech III cruisers are Medium sized ships that incorporate the latest developments in every area of New Eden technology. Even more devastating, they can be completely reconfigured to fit any fleet commander’s latest combat doctrine brainchild. The Caldari Tengu has proven to be reliably popular across the years.

  • Tech III cruisers can reliably stand toe to toe with Tech I battleships and prevail
  • An excellent choice for wormhole space conflicts, where ship mass is critical
  • Normally rigs are permanent, but the Tengu can safely switch these expensive assets 
  • Unique Tech III systems provide incredible optimization and flexibility
  • Up to 25% reduction in damage from overheating modules for maximum performance
  • Up to 50% to speed of nanite repair speed, adding to survivability
  • 99% reduction in penalty to fit Scan Probe Launcher, an essential part of wormhole life
  • Downside: if the Tengu is lost, a skill level is lost

Another Tech III ship, this you’ll need advanced skills to build this yourself, as well as wormhole exclusive materials. Fortunately regional markets carry this ship, especially the major trade hubs. You can also search the Contracts for blueprint copies. 

[11] Bhaalgorn

Nothing sucks quite like having your ship rendered an inert, useless hunk of future space junk, unable to even warp away thanks to the terrifying neuts of a nearby Bhaalgorn.

Against a fleet optimized for mid-fight repping, neutralizing their capacitors is another viable strategy. Bhaalgorns are heavily bonused for neutralizers and can incapacitate most enemies in moments. Armed with heavy drones, these battleships are rightly feared by most fleet commanders.

  • Bhaalgorns also receive bonus to webbing range, so that enemies cannot escape
  • A battleship hull, they can handle their share of damage in combat
  • Prices fluctuate, but the Bhaalgorn usually proves worth the additional cost
  • Carries six heavy drones, can fly up to four at a time for some serious dps
  • Up to 100% bonus to the range of Stasis Webifier modules
  • Up to 75% bonus to Nosferatu and Neutralizer drain
  • Large Energy Turrets receive 100% bonus, effectively doubling weapons mounted
  • Nosferatu never fails to drain its full amount, unlike other ships
  • Slot layout: 4 turrets, 7 high, 5 mid, 7 low, and 3 rigs

This ship was developed by one of the pirate factions of New Eden. As such, its blueprints can only be obtained through Contracts or by defeating these pirates in their home regions. Bhaalgorns are also commonly built and resold in regional markets throughout New Eden.

[12] Vindicator

Against the armor and firepower of a battleship, the fun of piloting smaller, faster ships is watching their shots miss time and again - until one tries that trick on a Vindicator.

When you’re in a battleship, trying to pin down smaller targets can be a frustrating experience. But a Vindicator (often called a Win-dicator) counters the agility of smaller enemies with heavily bonused webbers. Large hybrid turrets can then mercilessly pound now helpless targets into oblivion.

  • Vindicators get a Minmatar webber bonus and a Gallente hybrid turret tracking bonus
  • A popular choice for battleship fleets that face smaller targets
  • Large hybrid turrets deal serious damage, making this an excellent combat choice
  • Carries and fields a single flight of five heavy drones for additional damage
  • Up to 37.5% bonus to Large Hybrid tracking, increases chances of hitting target
  • Up to 50% bonus to Stasis Webifier, slows target to a virtual standstill
  • 37.5% bonus to Large Hybrid turret damage output
  • Slot layout: 8 turrets, 8 high, 5 mid, 7 low, and 3 rigs

As a pirate faction battleship, blueprints for the Vindicator can only be found in Contracts or by defeating NPCs in their home regions. Regional markets, especially the trade hubs carry Vindicators that have been built and are being resold.

[13] Leshak

Developed in the voids of Abyssal Deadspace, newly arrived Triglavian ships have shaken the balance of power in New Eden fleets, and the Leshak is no exception.

The Triglavian race lurked for thousands of years in sub-pockets of reality known as Abyssal Deadspace, only recently finding their way out into New Eden. The Leshak is their battleship class warship, armed with an Entropic Disintegrator. Unmatched for damage output, the Triglavian’s weakness is that they can only fight one target at a time.

  • Triglavian Entropic Disintegrators become more effective each cycle
  • Even though they can only equip a single disintegrator, Leshaks put out incredible dps
  • Additional high slots can be used for reppers or neuts
  • Carries ten heavy drones and can field four at once for additional dps
  • Up to 25% bonus to Entropic Disintegrator damage and rate of fire
  • Remote Armor reppers get a range bonus of 100%
  • 50% reduced capacitor need for Neutralizers, Remote Armor reppers, and Smart Bombs
  • Slot layout: 1 turret, 5 high, 4 mid, 8 low, and 3 rigs

Leshak blueprints can be found by braving the dangers of Abyssal Deadspace and defeating the Triglavians dwelling there. Alternatively, you’ll find them in Contracts. Building your own ship requires salvage and materials from Abyssal Deadspace, or you can buy them in the regional markets.

[14] Thanatos

If you're going to get killed by a carrier during your first year in New Eden, odds are you'll see a Thanatos pop up at the top of the list for your zKillboard report.

Easily the most versatile and popular carrier, the Thanatos can be found in all kinds of roles. Solo ratting for ISK, in small fleets as a pocket flagship, or playing a part in major fleet engagements. Most carrier pilots will start with a Thanatos.

  • Versatility in fitting makes the Thanatos popular for a wide range of roles
  • As a light carrier, it is cheap enough for many to afford
  • Designed by Gallente shipbuilders, it carries the most fighter drones
  • Ratting in carriers (Thanatos is a top choice) is one of the main ways to make ISK
  • Fighter damage increased by up to 25% bonus depending on skills
  • Up to 12.5% bonus to hitpoints for Fighters
  • Can fit Networked Sensor Array and Command Burst modules
  • Command burst area of effect bonused by 200%
  • Slot layout: 5 high, 5 mid, 6 low, and 3 rigs

Blueprints for the Thanatos can be bought with Federation Navy loyalty points, but more commonly people buy blueprint copies through Contracts. You’ll have to go to low or null sec to build or buy a Thanatos, since they are restricted from high sec. Most Thanatos hulls are sold via Contracts.

[15] Avatar

Representing the ultimate expression of the might and majesty of the Amarran Imperial Empire, the Avatar holds the center of the line in battlefields across EVE.

If you’ve ever seen the Super Star Destroyer in Empire Strikes Back, then you have an idea of how massive the Titan class ships are in EVE. The Avatar holds the distinction of being the first type of Titan built. It has been the lynchpin ship in key battles throughout New Eden history.

  • Can fit a Doomsday module - the ultimate weapon system in EVE
  • Can open jump portals for fleetmates, allowing other ships to jump into battle
  • Can fit a Phenomena Generator, which alters reality in nearby space
  • It can obliterate smaller ships with a single Doomsday blast
  • Gains up to 900% damage bonus for Capital Energy Turrets 
  • Receives a 200% bonus to Command Bursts
  • Amor plates are bonused 500%
  • 80% bonuses to Sensor Dampener and Weapon Disruption resistances
  • Slot layout: 6 turrets, 8 high, 5 mid, 8 low, and 3 rigs

A blueprint original can be purchased for 75,000,000,000 ISK from the Amarr Navy, which is the average price being paid for the hull via Contracts. Buying the ship via Contracts, or a blueprint copy is the recommended way to obtain your own Avatar.

At the end of the day:

If you ask 100 New Eden pilots for a list of the 15 Best Ships, you'll get 122 lists. There are so many things to do in EVE space and the hundreds of available ships have been balanced across those activities during the past sixteen years of game development. The good news is that whatever your preferences are, the only trouble you'll have developing your own Best 15 list will be limiting it to only fifteen ships.

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Originally, I set out to rule the world. Until I realized how much work that requires. Now my goal is to tell stories and create new worlds with good friends. Way less drama, much more fun!
Gamer Since: 1988
Favorite Genre: PVP
Currently Playing: EVE Online
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