Sunday, 1 December 2013

A weekend of PVP: A bit of everything

While there were no "mega-battles" during the thanksgiving weekend (30 Nov-1 Dec), I FC'ed multiple fleets and also was involved in a good old-fashioned battleship brawl. This is my holiday weekend PvP summary!

There is quite a bit to cover in this post so I'm going to try to keep each section as brief as possible.

30 November Battle report: Zealots v Nagas

This was my Saturday morning, EU Friday night prime. CVA was flying around Doril with a small Cerberus gang. 10 pilots, 5 Cerberus, 2 logistics, other support. As I knew their FC I convo'd him asking for a brawl which he agreed to.

I formed Zealots. We had 9 Zealots, 2 Oneirous (!).

As we were moving to the agreed fighting system, Waffles (A Pandemic Legion feeder corporation) were spotted in Litom with a sizeable Talos fleet. Over twenty pilots with solid logistics support. I talked to the Cerberus FC again and we agreed to ally against the Taloses.

Unfortunately our timing was off and we got into Litom just after the Cerberuses seemed to defeat the Taloses in a minor brawl. We chased the Taloses into Litom and back to their Station.

A short while after they reformed into blaster Nagas with heavy Basilisk logistics support. They had around 4-5 Basilisks, 20+ Nagas.

At this stage there had been a lot of no-fighting for my fleet so we decided to go for it despite being heavily outnumbered. We landed at 0 on them, tanked for a short period and killed one Naga early on. However after the first kill we couldn't break their Nagas or their Basiliks. I warped us out. We lost 2 Oneirous and 2 Zealots.

Not much I could have done differently there. We were outnumbered heavily, we didn't have enough logistics.  We could have stood down, however then we would have got no fights for a 30-45 minute fleet. Its a tough situation for an FC. Do you just "YOLO" into a bad situation or leave the rest of the fleet dissatisfied with no content? Sadly this was a recurring theme for my Zealot fleets this weekend.

 30 November Battle report: Battleships in HLW-HP

After my Zealot fleet ended another FC in our alliance formed up Maelstroms to join an on-going brawl between Pandemic Legion blaster Rohks and Goonswarm Federation Dominixes.

From what I can gather, Goons had been out sometime before the fight shooting various sovereignty structures. They had a sizeable Dominix fleet, 120-140 Dominixes, plus support. On the way home, Pandemic Legion decided to hotdrop the Dominix fleet. Apparently the Rohks cyno-ed into system with an undersized fleet. Around 40 Rohks, maybe 70 pilots all together. These are very rough numbers as we were not there for the start of the fight.

By the time we had arrived, the majority of the Pandemic Legion Rohks were destroyed, despite PL having dropped Chimera triage carrier support. Pandemic legion also had a number of short range dreadnaughts on field.

We jumped into system, dropped our Bouncers and began shooting Rohks. We also Micro-Jump-Drived ("MJD") away from the Dreadnaughts. Pandemic legion was losing battleships, triage carriers and dreadnaughts quickly and so they decided to escalate further by deploying slowcats. An initial moderate deployment of maybe 30-50 slowcats was then followed by a constant stream of Archon reinforcements.

Despite having around 200 battleships, our side could not break the Archon's tank. Goons and other allied entities were pushing heavily to deploy dreadnaughts to counter the slowcats. However our dreadnaught numbers were not sufficient and they were not deployed.

At this point, all friendly fleets extracted, leaving only Pandemic Legion slowcats on field with a few Dreadnaughts.

While our losses were comparatively light, Goons appeared to lose a sizeable number of Dominixes.

Battlereport is here:

No strategic objective was involved so I believe the Russian coalition/Goons won on the basis of ISK efficiency.

(edit: I have lots of pretty pictures from this battle on my home computer, will post later today!)

December 1: Zealots vs Harpies

This was a similar situation to my Zealot fleet the previous day. Multiple enemy fleets out around the Doril system, an opportunity for a brawl with one of them. Again I formed Zealots and again(!) I got an undersized fleet with not enough logistics. We had about 10 Zealots, 3 Oneirous and a heavy interdictor.

The enemy fleets were a Razor Munin/Autocannon Tornado fleet of around 30 pilots. No logistics, between 10-12 pilots in each of Muninns/Tornados. The other fleet was a ~70 man Harpy fleet from Red v Blue. They had about 60 Harpies, 10 Burst logistics frigates and 10-15 tackle frigates. Their Harpies were railgun fit with afterburners. This is a doctrine that is relatively flexible. Decent mobility, decent damage projection, tiny signature and a solid low-signature/high shield resist  tank.

Clearly we did not have enough to fight the Harpies so I offered Razor a bro-pact for us to fight the Harpies together. The Razor FC however was quite frustrating to deal with. He had turned all conversations off (on the basis that they were distracting?!) so I had to communicate with him through an intermediary in his fleet. This was pretty fucking terrible.

I had my fleet at a safe POS in Doril waiting to warp into the Harpies. The Razor FC finally located the Harpies at the Sendaya gate (after we had already been watching them for a few minutes) and warped to a point 40km away from them. The Harpies warped off. It seems they didn't want to fight despite having a numbers advantage, facing no Razor logistics and having good transversal against the poor tracking of the Tornados/Muninns.

Once the Harpies warped off, the Razor fleet stood down. My fleet had no been out for about 30-40 minutes again and still had gotten no fights. I decided we would fight the Harpy fleet on the Sendaya gate in Doril. This would allow the majority of the fleet to de-agress and jump out if the fight turned south (as I expected it to).

We warped to the gate and the Harpies warped to us. We anchored and I primaried their FC. They primaried me. Their FC went down first and we started killing harpies. However their multiple tackle frigates then got webs on me and I went down despite me/my logistics overloading everything. Once I died I ordered everyone to deagress and get out. If they could kill one Zealot they could kill us all and I was not trading my Zealots (200mil ISK) for their Harpies (40-50mil ISK).

I think we killed about 5 Harpies plus some tackle. We lost 2 Zealots and 2 Oneirous. Pretty terrible.

What could I have done differently?
  1. The biggest thing, and the thing I'm most annoyed about, is that we stayed with Zealots when we could have switched to our Crow fleet. Our Crow doctrine is an interceptor fleet with below-average DPS. It is very fast however and tanks excellently due to its high speed and low signature. With light missiles it also had solid damage projection, around 50-60km. While Crow fleet is bad against any fleet with a decent amount of logistics (due to its low DPS), the Razor fleet had NO LOGISTICS! We literally could have warped in, pointed as many of them as we had Crows and destroyed them one by one. Instead of losing a billion isk in Zealots, we could have killed multiple billions in Muninns. I'm really annoyed I didn't think to do this! This also applies if we had only been fighting Harpies. Our Zealot numbers were terrible and that was a bad engagement that we went into just to get a fight. We could have switched to Crows and kited their afterburning Harpies while killing all of their tackle. 
  2. If we had stayed with Zealots, we could have done some things in the Harpy fight differently. Firstly, we should have killed all their webbing tackle. Despite their small railguns, my logistics pilots reported that I went down pretty quick once I was webbed multiple times. The second thing is we should have switched ammo types. By default, Zealots usually load Scorch due to its excellent range, 40-45 km with good skills. However Scorch also has a tracking penalty which reduced our DPS against the low signature Harpies. Now the Harpies warped right on top of us so we should have just switched to Multifrequency and started volleying them. Multifrequency is a short range laser crystal that does not have a tracking penalty like Scorch or Conflagration. Here is a damage projection comparing Scorch v Multifrequency against the Harpies: 

As you can see, Multifrequency outperforms Scorch in that close range bracket. The lesson here is just to think about  the optimal ammo type rather than just going with the default (Scorch). 

Still though, that was a terrible engagement for us, we should have switched to Crows. This would have allowed me to avoid the "no content" dilemma that took us into that brawl. Fortunately this was a sufficiently painful lesson/realization that I don't think I'll ever forget to consider switching to Crow fleet again!

December 1: No Content afternoon

There were a number of final system timers coming out and our FC formed up a solid AHAC fleet. I was flying a web loki. We had about 100 pilots, plus dreadnaught alts on stand-by.

The first timer was the final timer on the DY- infrastructure hub. DY- is a critical jumpbridge system connecting Nulli's I-N staging system in Immensea with their renter territory further to the north-west. There is no station in system. We arrived in system first, 30 minutes early. As the timer ticked down, SOLAR fleet arrived in Tengus, Razor deployed Muninns and Goonswarm were in Dominixes. In addition, Darkness of Despair formed Typhoons and I believe Against All Authorites brought Maelstroms/Rohks. We had about 900 pilots in system when the infrastructure hub came out of reinforce.

The other side never showed up, we took the system without incident and pushed another system into its second reinforce timer with the use of our dread alts.

RUS coalition forces destroy S2N TCU

So massive no-fights. The reason I chose to write about this anyway was two-fold:

1. Firstly, why did N3/PL not turn up? There are a number of factors. Firstly, they were not defending a station. As such, if they did deploy slowcats they could not dock up if the fight went south. Secondly, with 900 pilots I can only assume we heavily outnumbered them. While I don't know what their numbers were, from previous engagements I doubt they would have had more than 500 pilots.

2. Secondly, Razor deployed a mobile cynosural jammer field on the I-HUB preventing any slowcat deployment within 100km. I have no idea whether this deterred N3/PL or not. If they had wanted to deploy slows despite the lack of a station, they would have first had to engage in subcapitals to destroy the jammer. Alternatively, they could have deployed slowcats 100km away from the hub and then tried to reposition once it was destroyed. Neither of these are particularly good options. Their subcapitals probably would have been destroyed by our superior numbers. Moving slowcats around a system is difficult, especially when you have no subcapitals to destroy tackle. Regardless, this is the first time I've seen a cyno-jammer deployed. I can only think about what would have happened on my Zealot fleet that got hot-dropped if we had deployed one on the gate!

Cynosural jammer field in action!


Well, an interesting weekend. Not many victories but lots to think about! Pictures coming soon.

Bonus pics:

Our Dreadnaught fleet dropping into a low-sec POS brawl

Further low-sec droppage


  1. Another thought on the zealot vs harpy situation. Maybe if you were aligned somewhere you could've avoided them landing on you on zero and burned them down through 0 transversal. Downside to that is that you would have to really commit to the fight if you were unable to kill off all the tackle.

    And 31st nov? Only 30 days in nov, mate ;)

    1. Ha thanks, December 1st it is!

      Re the Zealots v Harpies you're quite right aligning out would have been committing. That was why we went to the gate at 0 so we could get out. I really didn't think we could win that fight so that was the only way I going to brawl, especially with 200mil AHACs.

      The other thing is that they actually had 60 harpies. A maxed level rail harpy does around 190dps from memory. Lets assume RvB is not maxed and they're doing 150dps each. That's still 9000 dps(!) and quite impossible for 3 Oneirous to out-rep.

      Definitely not repeating those odds with Zealots this weekend. Fuck that.