Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The Alliance Tournament

The Alliance Tournament is well underway now, with this coming weekend we will see who walks away with the coveted honour and prizes of victory. So far I have watched every match, mostly live and some in retrospect. I have also taken part in one match, which at 15m SP and less than a year old I feel is one hell of an accomplishment:

What I hope to share with is my "Tournament Experience".

It all started back around March 2010 where a poll was taken asking who might be interested in taking part in the coming eighth Alliance Tournament along with The Bastards. Interest was deemed to be good and plans were progressed to get confirmed names etc. By the end of the process 16 Tuskers had expressed a desire to participate along with 18 Bastards. Wheels started turning and the Alliance name was agreed and formed with just our two mighty Corps. A tourney war chest started to be assembled.

Prior to the creation of the alliance our two Corps had never/rarely had any interaction with each other, perhaps the odd shot across the bows of each other in low-sec. This changed once the Tusker Bastards Alliance was formed as we started to get to know one another and how we operated in order to build trust and cohesion among the pilots. Joint roams were organised out of various bases of operation in assorted configurations. During the process Captains, Leaders & Organisers were appointed to keep things rolling. Joint forums were created for sharing of ideas and enhancing communication between corps.

Doesn't this all sound idyllic so far? Well it does sound it but the best laid plans seldom go off as planned and unfortunately the AT was no exception. For multiple reasons things seemed to stall for a while. Eventually however, thanks to some sterling work by a number of parties the involved parties were roused and put to practice. Practices were a combination of both fleets and gangs on TQ and organised practice sessions on SISI where blowing up a ship lots of times doesn't matter two hoots.

We generally had organised practice three times a week where we would attempt to have two full teams of 10 able to face off against each other. Sometimes this wasn't possible for many reasons. One of which being that it's hard to pull a career pirate off TQ to shoots his Alliance mates on SISI. Huge thanks must go to those individuals who had not signed up for the Tournament but gave up their time to assist with testing. Our practice sessions when in full swing were fairly effective, though as a couple of small low-sec pirate corps we didn't have the vast resources of pilots & isk that many of the big 0.0 alliances have. We certainly made the best of what we had and put things through their paces.

The first match was soon upon us and we were up against a tough draw in HUN Reloaded, they were known to the tournament scene and a certain to be tough adversary. For the match a team composition of our flagship Bhaalgorn (Don Pellegrino' Boat) along with two Apoc's, two Rooks, Guardian & Daredevil were chosen. This was not our most tested fleet composition but in tests that we had conducted it performed exceptionally well. The match came and the alliance members not in the team eagerly awaited the match on vent, unfortunately we did not prevail and were taken down very swiftly by the HUN team. Congratulations to them. The biggest factor to our team in the match though was just how powerful ECM drones can be in sufficient numbers despite our ships being fitted with ECCM modules.

Onto the next match we rolled, and we put in a couple more practice sessions and decided to field a slight variation on our most tested team. It was looking like I would get to fly in this match too. We discovered a few days before the match that we were up against Dead Terrorists, another tough adversary. (why couldn't we have one of the comedy smartbomb teams to fight?). Determined to put up a respectable fight we formed up on the day. Due to RL circumstances though we lost a couple of pilots and made some last minute changes. Ships, implants and modules were distributed to our pilots, Kirith receiving a can containing his Dramiel for the day. It's not how I would have fit it by any means, but the AT isn't like low-sec pvp on TQ. Following a strict timetable we were formed and ready in fleet in Hevrice V station and before long we were teleported to the arena. Our FC gave the command to warp to a Team beacon (A,B,C or D). Once in place we aligned to the arena where we would be fighting and warped to our ranges. BC's to 30km, Others to 50km. Being extra careful not to move and incur a HP penalty we waited for the countdown. I was watching and listening to the live broadcast on a second monitor while sat there in the arena, surprised that the broadcast has a slight delay as our match had started before the broadcast came up. Any nerves or other concerns that may have been going on immediately dissipated and we set to business. Dramiels went after their Frigs and the BC's after the Mach's as at this point it didn't appear that they had logistics. It didn't take long before we found out that their Proteus was logistics. We tried in vain to break them but to no avail, we managed to catch a bomber by some swift target switching but alas that was the Terrorists only loss. With our Scimitar heavily damped and forced to get to very close range to deliver some reps we lost a few ships until we reached breaking point and knew that we could not claw back a victory. It's always easy in hindsight to say what we should have done differently, but it is pointless & futile in my opinion. I think it's fair to say that for the most part everyone enjoyed taking part in the match, I did anyway. Nicely Done Dead Terrorists, good luck this weekend.

All in all it was a great experience to have had, as for would I do it again. No chance, I much prefer proper non-consensual low-sec pvp!

Oh yeah, I lost my first Dramiel in the match. However I don't think that counts as a real loss. Not in my book anyway :)

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