Ships The underrated Cobra Mk.IV

Hello there everyone, I wish to speak about the Cobra Mk.IV and its bad reputation. Yamiks called it one of the two worst ships in Elite, at the same time he placed the Cobra Mk.III among the very best ones. And he is not the only one; many people think the Cobra Mk.IV is complete rubbish, some who don't even own it. Now, I am not going to claim I know better than most Elite players, but I'm still not sure I agree with the verdict this ship has received. I recently came back to Elite Dangerous as a closed-alpha backer, I hadn't played the game in ages, since before Horizons, since before launch actually, and I hadn't played it much. I came back and lately I have enjoyed myself immensely, far more than the first time, probably because I now knew what kind of game I went into again. And I fell in love with the Cobra Mk.IV. I hope to address some of its flaws, but also its strengths, here.

I will compare the ships, and what they do, Mk.III and Mk.IV.
-Without modifications mind you; for this is from the perspective of a "new" player.

Exploration; The Cobra Mk.III is better.
Pure and simple, the longer jump range you can get from the Mk.III makes it the best choice. While it has one less internal slot, it doesn't matter really. The Cobra Mk.III can have a pretty good exploration load-out and using that extra slot on the Cobra Mk.IV simply reduces the jump range a tiny bit more, depending on what you equip of course. That said, the advantage in jump range isn't that big and the second thing that makes me call the Cobra Mk.III better is its agility. Being agile is under-rated when you are an explorer.

Combat; The Cobra Mk.III, but its closer than one might think.
The Cobra Mk.III has about 30% better speed, and a similar, if not equally large, advantage in turn-rate. While it has one weapon less, since the ships have the same power-output, that means its easier to manage to power of the Cobra Mk.III, and this is significant, for it tells you it is easier to equip the Cobra Mk.III and it is almost as if it wants you to equip it to your hearts content. The shields are the same. Why would anyone take the Cobra MK.IV into combat? Well..
.. I would.
The Cobra Mk.IV isn't the same combatant, but its not that much worse, and it depends on how well you like flying it, as much as how you fly it. It is slower, its biggest drawback, and there is less agility, but fully equipped it can be a surprisingly tough ship for a small ship, with more than 1600 hull points, and you are still able to maneuver. At least I felt I was. And it does have five guns. Its like comparing a Spitfire to a Typhoon or a Messerschmidt 109 to a Messerschmidt 110. Yes, you trade off some agility, but you gain endurance and destructive power. I liked flying the Cobra Mk.IV into combat, I killed Python's with it Bounty Hunting (PvE mind you), Competent, Expert and Master. I took both the Cobra Mk.III and Mk.IV into combat, and despite finding the Cobra Mk.III slightly better, I kept flying the Cobra Mk.IV. It brought me home.

Trading; The Cobra Mk.IV, yes, you read that right.
While we all love the Cobra Mk.III it simply cannot carry as much. The Cobra Mk.IV can carry 16 tons of cargo more, that's it. Jump range difference doesn't matter all that much, unless you are making a long trip, and the difference isn't that great, at least not without mods. A couple of light years, which in the great scheme of things make little difference.

Mining; The Cobra Mk.IV.
Simply put the Cobra Mk. IV has one more internal, and whether you use it for a cargo rack, more limpets or another refinery or something else, the Cobra Mk.IV can be better equiped, most likelt mine faster. It also has 3 light weapon slots to the Cobra. Mk.III's 2 light weapon slots. The Cobra Mk.IV can have three mining lasers and still keep a couple of guns for popping bounties if you get attacked. Unless you are in a hazard area, the system security will help you. Despite some miners liking the agility of the Cobra Mk.III to fly between the rocks, the Cobra Mk.IV simply does the mining part better.

Yet, the Cobra Mk.IV is condemned, and I realize why.

Everybody who usually can fly the Cobra Mk.IV can also pick to fly the Python, the Anaconda, the Krait Mk.II, and if they are feeling nostalgic, the Cobra Mk.III. It is the original after all. Why would they chose to fly its slower and somewhat plodding cousin? Also, with modifications the difference between the designs become even more visible. Simply put, there are so many more and better options than the Cobra Mk.IV for veteran commanders.

And that is the tragedy of the Cobra Mk.IV, for coming back as more or less a new player, I fell in love with the Cobra Mk.IV. It is a very good ship, for a new player, but to new players it won't be available, and the few it is available for are actually old players that have either reset their accounts or simply not played it since way back when, such as me. It is such a nice beginner ship, in a low price range, easily affordable. It gives you a few harsh lessens, despite being a small ship you sometimes feel you are flying something larger. It teaches you to manage your power properly. The Cobra Mk.IV teaches you how to equip a craft for a certain kind of job, what you need to be a trader, miner or bounty hunter, or even a pirate. It can actually be a very nice little pirate ship as well.

The tragedy, as I mentioned, is it is not available to new players. If it was it would probably not have the awful reputation it has. As it is it is only available to old, veteran players, and only a small minority of them, and that condemns it, for it is measured against galactic champions when it is a blue-collar worker.
- I would be willing to forfeit the uniqueness of being one of the few that can own this ship; I would have it be available to everyone if I could. It would give the Cobra Mk.IV a purpose, a place amongst the stars, I would let it be experienced by new players. I do not know if I am the only one that feels this way. Perhaps I have fallen in love with a ship everybody else avoids, but I don't mind.

Because I like this ship.
 
Last edited:
Just a slight addendum to this.

Cobra III - 8 optional internals
Cobra IV - 10 optional internals

The MK IV while having 1 more small hardpoint the setup of the hardpoints is far superior to the MK III with all of them being able to be used together if desired whereas the 2 smalls on the MK III are awkwardly placed at the far tips of the hull.

My preference is the MK IV but since the addition of the extra 2 smalls the gap is closer now... But generally I still pick the MK IV.

The general hatred for the MK IV is simply that most people seem to think it should have been faster or as fast as the MK III while also being tougher...
 
I like mine a lot.
Recently I made it a mission runner/ multi purpose which works out great aswell.

64t cargo and still reasonable shields although only a c3 slot available...
I think among the small ships only the Dolphin can carry that much, but the Mk4 still can defend itself quite well.

Sad there aren't any small pad-only outposts to give them a purpose.
 
Thanks for the positivity :)
In its price-range there are few ships that compare to the usefulness of either Cobra. The Mk.IV just gets a lot of bad press, a bit undeservedly.
 
Last edited:
The OP is spot on, and that's why the exclusivity of the Cobra IV needs to finally get lifted. For a new player the ship would be a godsend early on. Caveat: A new player can't have it.
 
Last edited:
I'm reluctant to prise my CMK4, as I know what grudge that sometimes triggers at those who can't have it. To me it's the perfect miner for SD, SSD and core mining. I'm currently mining in my Cutter who has the advantage of a much bigger cargo space. But thanks to the FCs that you can park in a ring, this advantage shrinks dramatically. The only reason for the Cutter are better mining lasers, since I still find decent asteroids for laser mining (despite some currently popular contrary reports). ;)
 
The OP is spot on, and that's why the exclusivity of the Cobra IV needs to finally get lifted. For a new player the ship would be a godsend early one. Caveat: A new player can't have it.

I disagree. New players would most likely lack the skill to use this ship to its full potential (e.g. FA Off, G5 DD). For new players it would be nothing but the slowest ship in this size class and thus damaging its reputation even more.
 
I disagree. New players would most likely lack the skill to use this ship to its full potential (e.g. FA Off). For new players it would be nothing but the slowest ship in this size class and thus damaging its reputation even more.
For me as a new player it was rather the Cobra III that I learned to hate. You can get it too early, and the thing was way too fast for me back then. I remember it as an unruly rhino, bouncing all over the station interior. Of course when I was at that stage, the Cobra IV and Horizons didn't yet exist. I'd probably have liked the IV though, based on it's characteristics. I was a pure cargo pilot in the beginning.
 
For me as a new player it was rather the Cobra III that I learned to hate. You can get it too early, and the thing was way too fast for me back then. I remember it as an unruly rhino, bouncing all over the station interior. Of course when I was at that stage, the Cobra IV and Horizons didn't yet exist. I'd probably have liked the IV though, based on it's characteristics. I was a pure cargo pilot in the beginning.

The first time you would have been ganked, you would very likely have blamed the low speed. And for a beginner, this 'ganker' just could have been an NPC. 🥴
 
I disagree. New players would most likely lack the skill to use this ship to its full potential (e.g. FA Off, G5 DD). For new players it would be nothing but the slowest ship in this size class and thus damaging its reputation even more.
As I said. Some don't play a ship to it's strength. You most likely put weapons on it too.
 
There's no other ship that can touch the utility of the Cobra Mkiv if you're after a small multi role ship. It's the Python of small ships.
 
There's no other ship that can touch the utility of the Cobra Mkiv if you're after a small multi role ship. It's the Python of small ships.
Indeed, but there is no requirement for small ships anywhere in the game, which means that AspX can do whatever things a small ships can do, but better and not much more expensive
Great view, great jump range and great overall utility... but i'd still try a C4
 
Well, you say its not that much more expensive, but there is a major price difference.

The Cobra Mk.IV costs about 760k credits, where as the Asp Explorer is more in the 6,600k credit price range. Its a bit more than eight times the cost of a Cobra Mk.IV. If we are speaking of early multipurpose ships, had the Cobra Mk.IV had been available to new players it would have been a lot cheaper, also being cheaper to equip, two or three millions total for OK gear instead ten or so millions in expenses.

Not to take anything away from the Asp Explorer, but it is not a ship a new player will be able to afford quickly, unless he either watches tutorial videos on how to earn money, somebody gifts him a bunch, or he takes to the economy like a fish to water.
 
Maybe this is a branding problem.

Suppose the Cobra mk IV had been named the "Lakon type 5".
Then pilots would expect a chuggy workbee and not a fast smuggling fighter. And they would praise the good mining hardpoint loadout, generous internals and middling jump range.
 
Top Bottom