Archive for the Pandemic Legion Category

C-J Falls :: 2000+ Pilots Involved as Multiple Coalitions Clash

Posted in Against All Authorities, Eve History, Fleet Tactics, Mercs, North versus South, Pandemic Legion on March 7, 2012 by Easley Thames

Tonight the C-J station came out of its final reinforcement timer. The battle in this system was not only enjoyable by all accounts, but also provides clues about the future shape of the North-Eastern sovereignty map.

By the time of this battle, RA had already moved most of their assets out to low-sec, as part of their announced plan of relocating to Delve.

Furthermore, neither XxDeathXX nor RA had an operation planned to defend the system. If that were the end of the story, things would have been pretty boring tonight.

However, aware of a developing PL / NCdot plan to upset AAA and Solar’s night of conquest, AAA called out for a full “red pen” CTA.

Given the numbers arrayed against them, even the mighty Tech Cartel alliances would have thought-twice about engaging AAA tonight, but this time they ended up gaining critical support from an unlikely source.

Whether it was a revival of the “bro pact,” or merely an attempt to mount a formidable defense in the name of “good fights,” PL and NCdot were able to get the support of the same people who helped murder their super-carriers  last week.

Source: kugutsumen.com

That’s right. This time Goons + Test + other CFC alliances fought on PL and NCdot’s side.

Some are calling this a nostalgic return to the days of the “bro-pact” between Goonswarm and PL.  While the leaders of both alliances do chat regularly, I think this can be explained in other terms:

  • PL and TEST have already been in cooperation for quite some time as fellow “Honey Badgers.” Many in TEST look-up to PL and enjoy working with them.
  • Goon leaders – including The Mittani – have a long history of cooperation with Red Alliance and XxDeathxX. Red Alliance was a part of the Red Swarm Federation, along with Goons and TCF. Among other notable pro-goon actions, XxDeathxX played a major role in the successful “all-in” offensive on Delve in 2009 under the leadership of Darius Johnson by attempting to heroically guard the Eastern flank against Atlas & AAA.
  • Third, and most importantly, this was the only way a real fight could go down in the system tonight, and everyone agrees that fighting 1000 people is far more fun than not fighting anyone on a Tuesday night.

Evoke and some other pro-PL groups also made a modest showing, but the major balancing force against the A-Team was clearly the CFC tonight.

Some expected to see Raiden on the field, but cooperating with Goons would probably have been too much for them to stomach.

The following list is highly abridged, since I don’t want this image to be any longer, but the total numbers are roughly correct.

The Cluster-Fuck Coalition (CFC) was hit very hard on their jump-in to the system by Nulli Secunda, Occupational Hazard, The Initiative, and SOLAR. These alliances demolished the CFC drake fleet.

A large CFC bomber gang was able to skip past the gate-camp and get involved with the main-battle on the station, but their presence was a double-edged sword, since bombing runs were actually a hindrance to the “Slow Cat” sentry-drone doctrine being used by PL tonight.

Needless to say, the carnage was immediate, but with Time Dilation maxed out (all the way to 10% with 1900 in local) things took a while to resolve themselves.

To elaborate on the strategy used by PL and NCdot, Shadoo brought in a fleet of approximately 140 carriers filled entirely with sentry drones. Each carrier can hold hundreds at a time, so losing a few waves to bombing or anti-support fire is not an immediate ‘game-over’ situation.

PL’s plan was to fight on station so that they could de-aggro and dock if the fight got to messy.

The coordinated sentry fire was theorized to be a good counter to just about anything engaging at ranges up to 100km. This seems to have proven true, given that they successfully brought down several after-burner Tengus at long range.

The fighting was already well under-way when I logged into C-J with my  dictor. I had flown over and logged-out the night before in anticipation of this brawl, and luckily I arrived in time to participate in the bulk of the fighting on the station.

Sentries were fairly effective in popping -A- fleet ships with coordinated sentry fire, but bombs and support-ships killed hundreds of these t2 drones.

It was an expensive engagement for everyone, especially since PL and NCdot were stripped of literally every support ship in short order.

The destruction of all hostile support allowed AAA and Solar (among others) to drop super-carriers on the station with relative impunity.

PL may have been able to match or exceed the A-Team’s super-cap numbers, but tactically it would have been a colossal blunder without support.

NCdot and PL were forced to dock when the -A- and Solar supers cyno’d in.

To the credit of PL and NCdot, they were fast about calling for their carriers to pull in drones and de-aggro, so only one carrier was killed by supers.

Pictured Here: PL's "Slow Cat" Carrier Setup

I feel compelled to mention that this was one of the best showings from -A- in a long time, with 400 alliance members involved, including a strong super-cap showing.

The alliance had labeled this operation as extremely high-priority, so it is doubtful that AAA Russians and U.S. players will be together on the same field like this very often, but it was nice to see what we’re capable of when we really want something.

It shows that -A- has a great deal of dormant potential that can be dialed-up on occasion, especially when merging its two major timezone groups into a single operation.

In particular, the missile spam from AAA’s Tengus was immense. Including all friendlies, there were over 300 Tengus on the field.

Back when T3 cruisers were introduced, members of my corp joked about a day when an alliance could field a full fleet of these pimp-mobiles. It’s crazy to see those musings actually turn out to be descriptive of reality in 2012.

With no firewall to block the incoming waves of heavy missiles, even heavily-tanked (and low-signature) Proteus and Legion hulls were popped without difficulty.

As soon as PL and NCdot docked up their carriers in C-J, the station was flipped by AAA supers, and promptly handed over to Solar Fleet control.

This may hint at the future division of the North-Eastern regions. Even if most of Insmother is retained by AAA, I think flipping C-J sends a signal that -A- does not care about expanding much further North.

More importantly, this battle marks the culmination of the AAA – RA war. The end result is clear: RA has lost, and AAA has won.

There will be plenty of structures to grind, but the most action we can hope for will be fights with opportunistic groups like PL.  RA has already fled this hemisphere, and XxDeathXx seems to be increasingly inactive.

I believe that very soon Solar will be able to declare a similar victory over XxDeathXx, thereby ending the DRF Civil War, but Eve is an unpredictable place. I will not jump the gun until I see who XxDeathXx can bat-phone to save them from Solar and AAA.

Two major powers have apparently lost the will to fight, and will have to regroup elsewhere, while two others have earned new territory after a long-fought campaign. This is what 0.0 life in Eve is all about.

Pictured above is the aftermath of the fight on the C-J station.

For those who do not know, C-J is the long-treasured crown of Red Alliance’s once-vast empire.

This system holds the same nostalgia for RA members as NOL once held for BoB, and this is only the third time it has ever fallen.

My corp has now been present for all 3 conquests of C-J in this historic system’s long history.

In many ways, the real story here is the decline of the DRF as a coalition.

Sometimes small conflicts can snowball into absolute catastrophes. Such was the case when XxDeathxX pissed off Solar, by taking the side of a renter over their most powerful ally, in what began as a minor standings dispute.

With White Noise existing in name only, RA evacuating to Delve, XxDeathXx flailing with no clear plan for the future, and WTF left adrift with no master to guide it – the future indeed looks bleak for this formerly fearsome group.

I have mentioned it before on this blog, but the butterfly effect – as depicted by CCP’s marketing department – is a real phenomenon in this game. Even small decisions can have immense consequences, and I would bet my favorite hurricane that XxDeathXx’s leadership now regret the way they treated Solar.

The DRF civil war was likely preventable, and it is XxDeathxX’s leadership that is to blame for the coming Drone Region diaspora.

One last topic seems germane to this discussion, and I feel this post would be incomplete without it. That topic is the role of mercenaries in 0.0 sovereignty contests.

Mercenaries are a great asset. From the well-chronicled adventures of  Seleene’s Mercenary Coalition, to the current influence of Pandemic Legion, mercs can clearly tip the balance in 0.0 – sometimes with frightening effectiveness.

However, when you rely on mercs too much it can lead to atrophy within your coalition.  You need to flex your own muscles as an alliance on a regular basis, otherwise they will eventually turn to fat.

I believe RA, XIX, and many others who benefited from their presence in the Drone Regions have put too much confidence in their hired help.

Mercs can be a great tool in a variety of situations, but the evidence available suggests that they make bad long-term guardians of sovereignty.

Operation Etherium Reach-Around

Posted in Against All Authorities, Eve History, Fleet Tactics, Killboard Stats, Pandemic Legion on February 29, 2012 by Easley Thames

Not often does one see AAA’s coalition, The Cluster-fuck Coalition (CFC), and tons of random people from all over New Eden cooperating spontaneously.

Tonight, something magical happened in Etherium Reach. In AAA, we will forever remember this day fondly as “Operation Etherium Reach-Around.” It will come as a shock to no one that this name was chosen by eccentric Maverick Navy CEO Avicenna Sarfaraz.

At the outset, let me tip my hat to Mukk Barovian, Perseus Kallistratos, Makalu Zarya, and James Kordent. These four FCs really pulled a rabbit out of a hat tonight, in more ways than one.

Things started off with a relatively small-scale conflict between the DRF and AAA/Nulli in LXQ2-T, with XxDeathXx forming a dread and carrier fleet to kill a Stain Empire POS that was coming out of reinforced mode.

XxdeathXx added two titans to their POS-killing fleet, something that caused AAA spies to raise an eyebrow. Presumably, the XxDeathxX FC was eager to add more muscle to their rather unimpressive fleet of about a dozen carriers, half a dozen dreads, and a small support fleet hitting the Stain Empire PoS.

An Avatar and Erebus were on field when AAA showed up solo, with only 60 sub-caps, but the Avatar cyno’d out at the first sign of trouble. The Erebus was not so fortunate. Once he was tackled by AAA’s Oracle gang, Nulli rushed to support their allies with a swiftly-traveling Naga fleet.

XxDeathXx and Controlled Chaos warped in some additional carriers to repair the imperiled titan, but a very smart order by the AAA FC team lead to the placement of defensive bubbles that caused the carriers to land outside of repair range. This allowed a relatively small battle-cruiser fleet to wear down a titan with minimal interference by hostile remote repair.

The Erebus exploded too quickly for PL or NCdot to arrive. This was due in part to the fact that he was not fully tank fit. Approximately one minute after the titan died, the pro-DRF mercenaries showed up to save the day — or so they thought.

PL and NCdot had around 30 supers on the initial jump-in, with no support to speak of on field. This might seem like hubris to some, but PL’s reputation is often enough to protect them from serious challenges to their super-cap fleet.

Tonight, AAA decided NOT to leave the field when hostile supers landed. Instead, a small number of dictors did their best to hold down PL and NCdot super-caps, while calls for help went out across New Eden.

Some of the first AAA pilots on-field burned to a nearby low-system to trade their current ships for additional DICs and HICs. There was a tense atmosphere, but everyone realized the potential for something special to unfold here. Everyone moved with a sense of urgency.

At one point, PL and NCdot were able to free up the majority of their super-cap fleet. They took this chance to warp out. However, a well-timed bubble by AAA FC James Kordent caught a single Aeon seconds before it entered warp.

To their credit, PL and NCdot decided to come back for their stranded comrade, but this decision would eventually cost them dearly. From the moment that the XxDeathXx titan was tackled, forces across the galaxy had been massing.

Reinforcements from every AAA ally were on the way, not to mention the hordes of neutral alliances who just wanted a chance to appear on the kill-mails.

It took some rather dynamic bubbling by AAA dictors to keep the supers bubbled. In particular, MVN FCs James Kordent and Perseus Kallistratos pulled off some impressive feats in the domain of interdiction. Together they used a combined 160 bubbles before help arrived.

Our brave dictor pilots nearly died on multiple occasions. The AAA, Nulli, and  CONDI logistics pilots deserve a huge amount of credit for saving them both repeatedly.

When I personally landed on-field in my Heretic, along with other reinforcements, the situation was still in flux. No one knew for sure which neutrals were going to help PL and which had come merely to pile-on the tackled supers.

Neutrals from dozens of alliances were showing up. Many were bombing the field indiscriminately. TEST’s tornado fleet was firing at both sides of the conflict, while most of the other Clusterfuck members seemed to be focusing primarily on PL and NCdot (though by no means exclusively so).

However, despite the chaos. NCdot and PL supers were now completely covered in bubbles, and they started dieing one-by-one. They deserve recognition for choosing to go down fighting instead of initiating self-destruct. PL and NCdot have a good tradition in this respect, and I wish more people would follow their example until CCP fixes the mechanic so that a kill-mail is produced.

There was only one other moment where PL and NCdot had a chance to escape. The grid was badly contorted, and their supers were able to cross from one grid to another. We spotted this phenomenon early, and had dictors on both grids to prevent any escape.

This is what the end result looked like from my perspective in the AAA fleet.

Some are pointing to this battle a great example of the weakness of an unsupported super-capital fleet. In my opinion, the fact there there were no PL or NCdot titans on field to blap things was a major factor. Even without titans, the super-carriers nearly escaped on multiple occasions.

Super carriers were already neutered to an extent when they lost the ability to launch anything other than fighters or bombers, but titans remain very capable of killing support ships. Perhaps the lesson from the battle in LXQ2-T is that titans are what are imbalanced right now, not super carriers.

In any case, it’s food for thought, and I’m sure CCP is taking everything that happens on Tranquility into account when working on future balancing. If Titan tracking does get a nerf, fights like this – where a small sub-cap fleet holds down many supers until help can arrive – might be far more common.

This victory was preceded by PL losing 2 other super carriers to AAA, and morale among the Southern bloc is improving at a time when XxDeathxX and RA are both holding high-level meetings about the future of their coalition.

Ultimately, super-capitals can be replaced, especially by rich alliances like PL and NCdot. What can’t be paid for is the psychological impact of a super-capital being destroyed. Whether or not this harms the DRF, PL, or NCdot – it will definitely positively impact on everyone else involved.

Battle Summary: http://dog-net.org/brdoc/?brid=5104

Capital Kills —

Ship Class Total
CARRIERS 9
DREAD

6

SUPER-CARRIERS 6
TITANS 1

FAIL Hotdrop

Posted in Against All Authorities, Pandemic Legion on April 3, 2011 by Easley Thames

I logged-in to find some fun, and was quickly invited to an MVN-lead AAA roam that had been killing stuff with great success this evening.

We swept up to Curse and popped a Cynabal who tried to re-approach a gate we had covered on both sides. Right after the nano-cockroach exploded, our FC was contacted by a Cascade Imminent (alliance ticker: “FAIL”) FC about a super-cap kill in progress.

Our light-weight roaming gang burnt at best speed to 5-v in Querious, where a PL Nyx and 8 carriers were bubbled on planet one (the site of the FAIL I-Hub).

FAIL had managed to bubble part of a PL fleet when the rest were jumping, and had quietly on-lined a cyno jammer to “lock out” PL’s other supers.

It was an excellent trap, but FAIL lacked sufficient dps in the system to kill anything, so the call went out to friendlies who began to head for the system in modest numbers.

We started with the carriers who were working hard to keep the Nyx alive. PL had a small number of other supers in the system working to bring down the cyno-jammer that FAIL had quietly on-lined to make this kill possible. It was a race against the clock.

Soon, only the NYX remained, but PL’s other forces in the system were close to bringing down the jammer, and they had a sizable number of sub-caps inbound via gates.

Unfortunately, things had gone too slowly up until this point because friendly supers were facing difficulties getting into the system while the cyno-jammer was still online. A jump bridge into system was being used, but it ran out of fuel and took too long to refill.

We took too long, and PL successfully brought down the cyno-jammer before the Nyx died. PL lit a cyno and jumped in with strong showing of supers. We were out-gunned at this point, so we focused on killing HICs / DICs to save friendly supers.

In the end, FAIL lost a titan. One has to feel bad for Best Path, as they seem to move from one tragedy to the next as a corporation. No other supers died (including the PL Nyx).

These are the relevant battle reports:

PL Board – https://www.pandemic-legion.com/killboard/view_kill.php?id=386990

Eve Kill Board – http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=9292554

AAA Board – http://a-kills.com/?a=kill_related&kll_id=451282

I think FAIL made the right decision to take this opportunity. It didn’t work out the way our side would have liked, but without the jump bridge problems it could have been a great kill. It was also an exciting engagement.

In hindsight, it might have been wise to keep eyes on the jammer and essentially give up once it was clear PL would kill it in time, but I wasn’t involved in the command of this operation, so I can’t say for sure what they knew at the time

In the end, PL got caught in a bad situation, but they made smart moves, and showed once again why they’re the best of the best.

3-Peat Number Two :: PL Wins AT 8

Posted in Alliance Tournament, Pandemic Legion on June 21, 2010 by Easley Thames

Pandemic Legion won this weekend, a feat that should come as no great shock to anyone following the tournament teams. While their victory was far from assured, few teams are on PL’s level when it comes to tournament prep, which includes: theory-crafting, practice matches, meta-game intelligence gathering and good piloting.

This makes PL’s third win in a row, matching BoB’s record from the days when TWD was around. What I found surprising was how many people seemed unaware of the history of the tournament. To me, the Star Fraction v. BoB match was one of the most exciting matches of all time, but newer players might be totally oblivious. For many U.S. players, the last 3-peat they saw was in the Shaq & Kobe era (or possibly the USC title which was recently stripped).

The final match shaped up to be a really great throw-down. If anyone could beat PL, I believed fully that 2 of the 4 semi-finalists could do it (Darkside and Hydra). Both of these alliances are used to small-scale fighting where, unlike most combat between large 0.0 entities, your individual piloting choices have a huge impact on the outcome.

Hydra is made of of pilots whose individual feats are on-par with anyone in PL, especially considering Gobby (one of the game’s most innovative fleet commanders) is now with them. What PL brings to the tournament (and Eve warfare in general) is a level of seriousness about victory. Hydra will self-destruct ships, bring the same setup repeatedly and rely more on educated guesses to determine what they will face.

PL does not take such a casual approach. From what I have seen, PL practice as much or more than any other team. Moreover, while others will setup random people from the alliance to play with them on the test server, PL can draw from a deeper pool of competent tournament-level pilots who will simulate real match conditions.

Finally, while it is not always a factor, it’s also worth mentioning that PL’s intelligence gathering/meta-gaming is second to none. Last year, PL forum posts indicate that they knew exactly what their opponents were undocking (before transport to Polaris) for each and every match. That level of preparation ensures you not only bring a good setup, but it also prevents fittings mistakes (such as improper racial ECM or fitting TDs against a missile-spam team).

I think that PL deserved this win and the reality is that everything they did (practicing with various setups, bringing quality pilots and monitoring the opposition) can be replicated by anyone motivated to compete on their level. Hydra came close this time, bringing a setup that could have been dangerous for PL, and I would be lying if I said they did not also approach the tournament seriously. All I am suggesting is that, for the moment, Pandemic Legion appears to be on a totally different level than everyone else in-game.

Then again, wasn’t that what everyone thought about BoB’s team in 2007?