EVE’s Alliance Tournament XV started on Saturday. The tournament format is double elimination, which means that a team is out after two losses, but can still carry on and even win the tournament after one loss.
Our first match was scheduled for 16:20 EVE time on Saturday, our opponents being SOLAR FLEET.
SOLAR aren’t new to the AT, while for us it was going to be the first fight in a proper alliance tournament match after having survived the feeder round in June, so despite having trained a lot and being confident in our doctrines and execution by now, we were still pretty nervous.
About 45 minutes ahead of the match SOLAR’s and our team’s captains were allowed to ban two ships each for this match, which neither team would be allowed to use. After that our captain and FC decided which doctrine we were going to use, and who would pilot the ships.
The AT takes place on Tranquility, EVE’s normal gameplay server. So, since the feeder round as well as all training takes place on the Thunderdome event server, this was going to be the first time we’d be fighting with our real characters, with real skills, implants and ships. Thus not only training participation and player skill have to be taken into account, the character’s skills are also important. Fortunately my character can fly a lot of ships with near optimal skills, and I was chosen to fly one of our DPS ships with an added fleet boost module. Then everyone got handed their ship and made very sure that everything was in order: correct ammo types and cap booster charges in sufficient amount, all modules fitted and online, and the right implants installed.
After being ported by a dev into the otherwise unreachable system in Jove space used for the tournament we made sure our overviews and watchlists were set up correctly, checked our modules and made sure that everyone knew their respective warp-in range. Shortly thereafter the dev prompted us to warp to the arena, which we did (everybody at their correct ranges, fortunately 🙂 ).
Now we finally saw what we would have to fight. SOLAR brought a somewhat peculiar setup consisting of three short range fitted battlecruisers, two rapid light missile Cerberuses and two Gilas, supported by two Daredevils and a Scimitar for reps. We used the reamining form-up time to decide our course of action, and soon the 30 second countdown started ticking.
We decided to take out their close range damage first, while our support took care of their Daredevils. This worked out quite well from the start. Still, the incoming damage was nothing to sneeze at either, and they switched targets quickly whenever they couldn’t break their primary. This finally led to some losses on our side, when we weren’t sending our repair drones to the ship taking damage quickly enough.
We kept taking out one ship after the other though, and before long we knew we had it in the bag. Final score: 100:35 in our favour. Not flawless, but good enough to stay in the winner’s bracket by securing our first win. Yay!
This meant that our next match would be against United Federation of Conifers, who had defeated Villore Accords prior to our match, on Sunday at 18:00. It also meant that we would fight in Arena 1 instead of Arena 2, so our match would be shown in the commentated stream on EVE NT’s twitch channel. I personally had never heard of UFC before, and judging by the poll in said stream many others hadn’t either, since 80% of their viewers saw us as favourites (although I don’t think we are that well known either).
Preparations went very similar to Saturday. I was again chosen to fly a DPS ship with a fleet boost on top.
UFC brought an all-missile shield setup with heavy ECM support. This wasn’t exactly good news for us, since we had some tracking disruptors (which are useless against missiles) and not much defence against ECM aside from an information fleet boost with electronic hardening ammo.
To be honest, I think they could have won this one, had they played their setup effectively. Fortunately for us they didn’t.
The teams were 100km apart at the start of the match, so no team could apply enough damage to break anything at first. For some reason they then started to spread out pretty far and approach us from different angles, while we approached the center of the arena together as a tight ball. Whenever a DPS ship of theirs would come into our effective range, not only would we apply a lot of damage despite one or two of us being jammed at any given point in time, they also weren’t able to apply their reps effectively because the logi would have to burn to the ship being shot at, and burn the other way again whenever we switched targets. So one by one, they fell. Even the Widow, which we assumed to have a heavy tank, fell very quickly. After that, although they still had seven ships on the field at that point, the match was pretty much over. Final score: 100:1 The one point again, as in our feeder round match, a point we didn’t actually field. Flawless victory.
So after two matches we’re still undefeated and move on in the winner’s bracket. Our next match will be against Pen Is Out on Sunday 6th, 15:40.
To be continued… (cue theme music from Back to the Future)