There's one thing I know about the group stages, and that is that the first two weeks now mean officially nothing. Setups, good bad or indifferent, are now out the window. People who looked weak, can show up in a big way in the 12 man stages.
Effective setups go from a small handful to a huge plethora. Some might argue that the setups become even more rock vs paper vs scissors. For me, this is where the real art of finding and testing and practicing good setups with good pilots shows up. Finding a setup that manages to meld the strengths to be good across the board are few and far between, and even more difficult, when a good setup is found, how do you keep it secret, how often do you test it?
What will 'the' defining 12 man setup of ATX be? and who will field it? Since I don't know, I can only hazard guesses. I will explain choices when I have a logical reason, otherwise free for all! Subtitle to this is that I have had a pretty rough week and can't put in the full effort for this post. Sorry.
Saturday 14th July - Day 515:00 Nulli Secunda vs Black Legion. - neither team showed up every match. MEN. have a great group of pilots at their disposal, but in the end I think that pushes them over the top in the fight.
15:20 HUN Reloaded vs Choke Point - Looks like HUN have their eyes set on another championship, only time will tell if they are as dedicated in 12v12 as they were in 6v6.
15:40 Fatal Ascension vs Agony Empire - Controversial decision here, as FA spent some time in Syndicate, losing ships to Agony Empire, so on that score, Agony has the upper hand. But FA's been doing pretty well so far. Well I guess this is their time to prove me wrong or right.
16:00 The G0dfathers vs Dark Taboo - No idea why. Both solid teams, both good fights in their 6v6's.
16:20 Mildly Intoxicated vs Alpha Volley Union - Mildly Intoxicated showed off some inventive setups and good piloting. I like their chances here.
16:40 Nothern Coalition. vs Test Alliance Please Ignore - TEST barely makes it through to the group stages, suppose I just said it didn't matter, but I still like NC. here.
17:00 Goonswarm Federation vs FEARLESS. - Did FEARLESS throw their match, or did they just mess up, I have no idea. What I don't like to see is Vindicators being thrown away, Goons did the best with their Vindi's.
17:20 Verge of Collapse vs Capital Punishment. - Brutal match ups for Cap Pun all around, in one of the hardest groups, Verge of Collapse has impressed me throughout, will be an interesting fight, that's for sure.
18:20 Dead Terrorists vs Heretic Nation - Gotta love the Defenders of Amamake!
18:40 Exodus. vs The Gorgon Empire - Exodus impressed me with their 6 man setups throughout the two first weeks, and I know from experience that their 12 man setups are no joke either.
19:00 Ev0ke vs DarkSide. - Gonna be a close match, DarkSide. is still showing the same amount of competence from last year.
19:20 Raiden. vs BricK sQuAD. - Brick manages to win when everyone thinks they won't.
19:40 Gypsy Band vs PERCUSSIVE PIZZA TIME DIPLOMACY - Best of luck to PZZA who swept up with one win and a loss going against Gypsy Band who won both of their matches in the first two weeks.
20:00 Suddenly Spaceships. vs Shadow Cartel - This one I literally had to toss a coin, it was heads Shadow Cartel and tails Suddenly Spaceships. Pilots from both sides are well disciplined and smart, both sides setups have been intelligent and more importantly, well flown.
20:20 Rote Kapelle vs RvB - Going to be another great match for us. Red V Blue put out some great teams in the first stages, but my heart still lies with Rote Kapelle, and always will. Think we have the slight edge on experience, but are indeed infiltrated by RvB alts!
20:40 Pandemic Legion vs Kill It With Fire - Man, what to say here? I really hope Kill It With Fire wins this matchup. It would force "our" group to re-evaluate how the group stages are going to play out. But in the context of the Alliance tournament, can you really bet against PL?
Sunday 15th July - Day 615:00 Black Legion. vs Choke Point - MEN. have been on again off again, and as much as I want to have a bromance with their alliance, I am just not 100 percent sold on them this tourney. However I feel the same way about Choke Point, especially since I found their first match to be problem filled.
15:20 HUN Reloaded vs Nulli Seconda - HUN was looking good in the 6 mans, much more of their usual bad-ass selves. Nulli on the other hand, brought BROADSWORDS into their last match, and barely won their first match. The jury is still out on if they were thrown their match, but either way luck plays more of a role in their current set of victories than any skill.
15:40 Agony Empire vs Dark Taboo -
16:00 The G0dfathers vs Fatal Ascension -
16:20 Alpha Volley Union vs Test Alliance Please Ignore -
16:40 Nothern Coalition. vs Mildly Intoxicated -
17:00 FEARLESS. vs Capital Punishment. -
17:20 Verge of Collapse vs Goonswarm Federation - Someone has to end the domination of Goons thus far.
18:20 Heretic Nation vs The Gorgon Empire -
18:40 Exodus. vs Dead Terrorists - Gogo Exodus!
19:00 DarkSide. vs BricK sQuAD. - Darkside. are still pretty scary this year, but this could go either way, as BricK sQuAD has had some pretty good last minute success.
19:20 Raiden. vs Ev0ke - Ev0ke surprised me last week, looks like they will win this time, without the surprise.
19:40 PERCUSSIVE PIZZA TIME DIPLOMACY vs Shadow Cartel. - First round opponents, and as usual I hope they kill them all.
20:00 Suddenly Spaceships. vs Gypsy Band -
20:20 RvB vs Kill It With Fire -
20:40 Pandemic Legion vs Rote Kapelle - Jesus, what a match up. Eternal hopefuls vs proven success. Great way to end the weekend.
Up Next : Group Stage Finals predictions, maybe that post about ASB's.