Due to our defeat against Bright Side of Death in round two of EVE Online’s Alliance Tournament XVI we had dropped to loser’s bracket and now had to beat lllllllllllllllll (aka Barcode) on Saturday, August 4th to avert our elimination.
We trained a couple more times during the week. Unfortunately our training partners brought more or less the same ship setup all the time (just like us, to be fair), so we didn’t have the opportunity to measure our own setup’s viability against different kinds of opposition.
Match day came, and we warmed up and prepared as usual. Having learned our vulnerability to the Curse’s combination of neuts and tracking disruption the hard way, we banned Widow, Curse and Rook this time. Obviously Barcode had studied our previous matches well, banning Guardian, Armageddon and Oneiros. Hence we had to substitute our Tech II logi cruiser with a Tech I Exequror, and the Armageddon with a Bhaalgorn. We also used a Confessor instead of a bomber for a bit more anti-tackle and a Navy Megathron in place of the Navy Armageddon.
We got ported to the arena system and warped in at our preassigned ranges.
So we’d be fighting a shield tanked setup. Not many had been used this year up to now because most teams wanted to use the armor based Triglavian ships. We didn’t encounter many missile heavy setups in training either, and soon we’d have to realize that we were pretty unprepared for what was to follow.
Barcode had rapid light missile launchers on all their cruiser hulls and rapid heavies on the Barghest, and only 30 seconds into the match our Confessor died to the missile spam.
Meanwhile we couldn’t apply much damage at all because the huge range missile boats have allowed them to pull away from us quickly and kite us as they pleased. I was assigned to apply the target painter fitted on my Magus to their Scimitar, but couldn’t even lock it most of the time. In hindsight I should’ve zipped around the battlefield more, burning towards the enemy ships between fleet boost cycles and burning back to my team when the next boosts were due. I admit I was pretty overwhelmed by the situation we were in.
Our Sunesis fell next, which left us without any fast tackle, making it even harder to prevent them from kiting us. When our Exequror died leaving us without reps except for some maintenance bots our chances of winning shrank dramatically.
Mortales, our Vexor pilot, managed to get a tackle on the Barghest, but it didn’t take them long to focus him down. Free of tackle again the Barghest immediately used it’s micro jump drive to get out of our reach for the moment.
Our Vedmak died next, but almost at the same time we finally managed to break their Scimitar. Not only were they without logi too now, this also evened out the scoreboard to 17:25 from our perspective. Suddenly we saw a small chance to turn this thing around.
Unfortunately they coordinated the reload cycles of their missile launchers very well, and it took mere seconds from me being locked and primaried to my demise. Right after that our Pontifex suffered the same fate. So much for our fleet boosts, and now we were down 17:37.
We still had our three battleships left though, our flagship Leshak among them. And they were applying damage to the Barghest and had it in low shields now. Should it fall we’d gain 23 points and would ‘only’ need to keep our remaining ships alive for the win.
They focused our Leshak next, and since they still had everything but the Scimitar alive and kicking a lot of damage came in.
Fortunately it had a local repairer, but so had their Barghest, which we were still trying to kill. We probably would’ve taken it down, but since we couldn’t tackle it any more it’s pilot jumped out of our reach again.
Since they couldn’t break our Leshak they switched to the Navy Mega. At first it seemed it might survive, but it exploded 18 seconds before time ran out.
And so the match ended with a score of 17:58. It was on the brink of a turnaround once or twice, but in the end we weren’t quite prepared for their setup and couldn’t deal with the missile spam.
You can watch the match here.
And thus our participation in this year’s alliance tournament ended. We didn’t make it as far as we’d liked, but I for one had a lot of fun and hope we’ll get in again next year.