Alliance Tournament XVI finally kicked off on Saturday, July 28th.
Our first match was slated for 16:00 UTC. During this year’s training we decided to warm up a little on each game day, because some of us (myself included) tend to make little mistakes here and there when still ‘cold’. Therefore we met up almost three hours early and did a couple more training matches on Singularity. I for one felt much better prepared for the real thing after that.
We made sure to be logged on to Tranquility by 15:00 and made our characters ready by switching into empty clones and moving them to the station from where we were to be ported into the tournament system by a GM.
Shortly after Jureka, our team captain, was contacted by none other than CCP Falcon.
At first the team captains get to ban three ships each in alternating order that neither team will be allowed to use for the match. Only after this the teams can really settle on their final setups and decide who will fly which ship.
The banning went pretty well for us. We banned Widow, Rook and Curse, preventing our opponents from using the strongest ECM platforms as well as the Curse’s combination of energy neutralizers and tracking disruption, both good counters against our setup. They used their bans for Leshak, Bhaalgorn and Scimitar. Since flagships are exempt from banning we were still able to use our flagship Leshak instead of a normal one, so this wasn’t a problem.
This meant we’d indeed be flying an armor tanked setup based around a Leshak and a Vedmak for massive turret based damage (as many teams have opted to do, they’re the new shinies and well suited for this kind of fights after all) accompanied by an Armageddon Navy Issue and a bomber for more damage, an Armageddon for neuting power, two command destroyers for fleet boosts and drone damage, some tackle and a Guardian for reps. We had trained in variations of this setup quite often and had become pretty comfortable with it by now.
I was chosen to fly the Magus command destroyer. The fleet was formed, ships and implants were given out and everyone made sure to be fully prepared.
Soon we were told to check everything one last time as we were about to get ported. Then our screens went black and moments later we reappeared neatly lined up in Jove space where no one but the combatants and the GMs can go.
When Falcon gave the command to warp into the arena things started to go a bit awry. Our Vedmak pilot misklicked and warped to zero instead of his preassigned range. When he landed he had our opponents’ Leshak and Vindicator (blaster fitted no doubt) sitting right next to him. Bad news.
It never rains, but it pours, so of course something else went wrong as well: our Pontifex pilot couldn’t warp at all for some reason, and after the time to warp ourselves was up Falcon warped him right to the arena’s center too. Very bad news indeed.
This almost made us panic and lose our focus. Almost. Fortunately we managed to pull ourselves together. We quickly analyzed their setup and our shot callers gave everyone their jobs.
The countdown came and we concentrated on the task at hand. For our Vedmak and Pontifex that meant to haul ass and get away from that Vindicator as quickly as possible. Fortunately nobody was able to tackle them in time, and they made it out unscathed.
We primaried the Vindicator to take it’s massive damage potential off the field while neuting the Leshak and harassing their support with our own.
We drew first blood by destroying their Daredevil quickly. The Vindi took some time to kill, but we slowly but surely broke it’s reps and took it down while our own reps held steady. The Leshak came next and died much faster. After that we had the match pretty much in the bag. When the Rapier was their last ship left only a good five minutes had passed, leaving more than four minutes for us to end the match. Since we knew their Leshak was a flagship we took the time to loot it, and while we were at it we looted some more wrecks before finally killing the Rapier and winning the match 100:0.
One can’t hope for a better start into the tournament, and we logged off in high spirits for our next match on Sunday.
You can watch EVE_NT’s stream of the match here.