Monday, July 23, 2012

AT X - A champion is revealed!


Wow, what a final day. I wasn't able to watch all the fights, but the ones I did catch were each very very good. Everyone who made it to the final day should be very proud, just the simple time and energy needed to get that far is staggering.

My "bracketology" needed a little work, but with the exception of a few wrong turns early on, I got the long game correct, but only on half of the bracket. HUN did beat PL and force them out of the tourney right where I expected them to. I suppose if you replace Verge with Rote Kapelle then suddenly my bracket looks a whole lot better. I would have looked like a genius if I had said "the winner of Rote v Verge will win the tourney." I'm not quiet that smart :)

I could act all "I expected Verge to do well." But honestly I didn't.

Well, at least not until I watched the fight with Rote, and at that point it seemed that Verge would go all the way. Their piloting was superb, and WarGod as their logistics was just simply amazing. Yes he made some mistakes and wasn't perfect, but... they managed to win. Props to them for winning ATX!

In the end they pulled off an amazing run to victory, facing one of the toughest, if not THE toughest path to the finals than any team in history. This year there were many more competitive teams than in the past, and next year the route will be even harder as a likely pretty mad GENOS and Outbreak teams will return to the running.

HUN as well had a tough time, but they seemed to find a setup that worked for them, and stuck with it to the end. Commendable in my book, and one of the setups I will try to break down in more detail later if I feel so inclined.

As for the AT prizes this year, I have always thought that the winners should get 50 of the cruiser sized prizes as well as 25-50 of the frig sized prizes. It just seems like that would give more reason to actual win and alleviate the thing that really bothers me, the desire to look at the prizes and choose to win one or the other in order to get the better ship/prize. Despite Raivi's comments, I don't think the "Osprey" prize is very impressive, at least not as impressive as the AF for second place is.

In any case,

Standout matches in no particular order:

Pretty much every match of the Verge of Collapse team throughout the last day. From the bitter to swallow, for me, win over the Rote team, down to their next Match with MI, as they flew around trying to chase down their targets. Then the match vs Exodus who arrived with the same basic setup, MOAR DPS! I have long championed Exodus due not only their skill but also their dedication to practicing with us, all the way to the Final vs the seemingly invincible Vargur setup. Verge pushed through that fight as well, and into the final vs HUN. That match was full of surprises where Sleipnirs managed to sweep out the Vargurs and secure Verge's first Alliance tournament participation and first title.

But each winning team can look back on their match with pride:

HUN brought a Vargur based setup 8 times total before losing, defeating the most 'hard' counter they could face, the PL Widow ECM swarm, looking invincible up until the final match.

Pandemic looked great in their wins vs TEST and Darkside.. Their ECM widow setup performing better than any Widow/ECM based setup prior to that, before falling to the HUN Vargur's.

Exodus showed off their skill in their matches against the Agony Empire 'baited' turtle team, I mean come on, who wasn't screaming at that match until the end begging them to switch damage. Looked like they were going to lose four points to zero! Exodus' next match against Nulli in the elite 8 was a spectacle, QUAD windicators vs Bhaalgorns for all the marbles.

In fact I would say that perhaps even a little biased, but in many ways, ATX proved to be the best tournament thus far. Now if only CCP would get the replays on the AT site, going to be tough, given the level of partying that probably followed after another amazingly successful AT.

Indeed, where would the AT be without the full and continued support of the AT team over at CCP, so a special thanks to those people for sacrificing their weekends, cherished time off, and in some cases coming off of vacation just to speak directly to the viewers and players of Eve Online. This year's revamped match overview eased the viewing of the matches, providing a clear readout of EWAR and special effects, while adding even more information in the form of speed, pilot names, and the ever important health bars. A hearty thank you for a job well done to those guys.

On a final, more personal note, I would like to thank the Rote Kapelle team as well. Apathetic Brent was our team Captain, along with a selection of capable co-captains, Sakura Nihil, Namami, Proxay, Dradius, and the rest of our team, for making it an exciting and involving time for everyone in RK.

Next up : Who knows!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

AT X - Finals Predictions.

Whew! What a crazy day. I have to admit that I was really pulling for RvB over PL in the final match, but it just wasn't meant to be for them this year.

Other highlights included some incredibly brutal matches, and still some halfway decent throw away fights like the fight between FA and Dark Taboo. FA brought a thorax heavy setup seemingly paying homage to the now old Star Fraction vs Band of Brothers match-up.

My totals were 10 right out of 16, none to shabby for such a tough round to guess since there were so many matches that were for little more than just honor. That's 62.5%.

Bah, who am I kidding, Rote made it back into the final day, after quite the DPS heavy match against KiWF, and then hoping on the sidelines that the match between PL and RvB fell in our favor. I could almost feel the angst radiating from fellow Rote members as the last match went down. Even the few seconds where PL holds fire on the Eos of RvB made me honestly consider them throwing the match to keep us out. I think they just want the chance of a rematch to avenge their earlier loss vs us rather than face off with RvB again.

On to the Final day. I guess this is the Eve version of "Bracketology" familiar to us Northern Americans for the NCAA March madness tournament. The idea is you choose the winner of the tourney before any of the matches get played, at least here we have some background.

Fair warning, I am terrible in bracketology, further, I make one mistake and it could be all over.

Special 16

HUN Reloaded vs FEARLESS. - HUN's been eating well all tourney.

The G0dFathers vs Heretic Nation

Pandemic Legion vs TEST


Mildly Intoxicated vs Raiden.

Verge of Collapse vs Rote Kapelle

Exodus. vs Agony Empire - Our training partners vs our Syndicate fellows. Probably the hardest match for me to call thus far. Exodus in a nail biter.

Shadow Cartel vs Nulli Secunda

Wow that's a lot of left sidedness.

Elite 8

HUN Reloaded vs The G0dfathers

Pandemic Legion vs Darkside. - Wow, what a matchup this is going to be, like two Juggernauts slugging it out for ten minutes, it's going to be a fight that nobody is going to want to look away from. I can't wait.

Mildly Intoxicated vs Rote Kapelle -Well this is an interested match, in AT9 we faced a lot of the Mildly Intoxicated guys when they were still in Black Legion. Looking at the schedules their departure may have cost MEN a chance to get this far. It's going to be epic. This time we come out on top.

Exodus. vs Shadow Cartel - Can't go against our training partners, but if I was going to this would be the match where it would happen. Very close match up, lots of skill and ability on both sides.

Final 4

HUN Reloaded vs Pandemic Legion - Yes it's controversial, yes I could be entirely wrong, but both HUN and PL have been playing great all tourney, it's going to be a key fight for both of them, HUN has been so focused on making it into the finals, repeating as champs that is anyone is going to defeat PL, it's going to be them.

Rote Kapelle vs Exodus - Wowza.


HUN Reloaded vs Rote Kapelle - Long time wishers vs successful champs. In a battle of the who will be's I think Rote surprises and wins the championship.

ATX Champs.

Rote Kapelle

Now I predicted we would win similar to this back in AT8 and let's just say it didn't work out to well for me. I wish for better luck this time!

To view my picks in bracket form, look here

Upcoming : ATX final results (OMG!)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

AT X - Group stages, Day 7

Good lord I was bad last week!

Saturday 21st July - Day 7

15:00 Nulli Seconda vs Choke Point - Nulli's got to win this in order to advance, well win this and hope for a good outcome of the next match. I think they aren't just grasping at straws this time.

15:20 HUN Reloaded vs Black Legion. - HUN's in pretty much either way, it would be very difficult impossible for HUN to be removed from either the first or second spot in the group at this point. MEN. are too proud to go quietly, this will be an epic fight.

15:40 Fatal Ascension vs Dark Taboo - Unless these guys agree to a t1 frig vs t1 frig fight in advance, and show up with just two t1 frigs, there's no way either can advance. So as such, I don't really care :( damn these matches.

16:00 The G0dfathers vs Agony Empire - It's a match of the sealed deal. Given both sides show up and get a few kills, it doesn't matter WHAT FA and Dark Taboo do. Agony empire has been very strong so far, so I wish our Syndicate brosefs luck.

16:20 Mildly Intoxicated vs Test Alliance Please Ignore - TEST just hasn't stopped winning, but it doesn't really matter now does it? Both the top two here are locked in.

16:40 Northern Coalition. vs Alpha Volley Union - Locked out and looking in, not sure this match means anything at this point, Could just be a source of pride for one or the other to get A win this group stage. One almost certainly will (in before draw)

17:00 Goonswarm Federation vs Capital Punishment. - Now here's an important match (finally). Capital Punishment has to win in order to have any shot of advancing. Goons are already out, so do the GOONS play sandbagger to Capital Punishment, or try for the win? I like the odds of Capital Punishment here. Goons miss the finals for another year.

17:20 Verge of Collapse vs FEARLESS. - Also a relevant match (two in a row, must be good planning). Verge of Collapse is struggling to hold off Capital Punishment in this last round, while FEARLESS. has clenched a spot in the finals either way, well barring some handicapping and being killed without scoring any points in their match.


18:20 Dead Terrorists vs The Gorgon Empire - Both of these teams are out of it but could still provide a good fight, they have made it thus far, might as well go out with a bang and a win right? I like Dead Terrorists in this matchup.

18:40 Exodus. vs Heretic Nation - Both go through already but Exodus. has it out to kill everyone. Should be an entertaining match either way, but I still like the Exodus guys.

19:00 Ev0ke vs BricK sQuAD - Done and done-er. I thought Ev0ke would do better in the group stages, but that has just not turned out to be true. They had some decent setups on paper, but the teams they faced dispatched them with what looked like ease. Same for Brick Squad, I quite liked their Vindicator setup vs Darkside.

19:20 Raiden. vs DarkSide. - Well these two have it locked up. I would say that DarkSide. will care to win this one, but in the end it doesn't matter.

19:40 Gypsy Band vs Shadow Cartel - Look two matches in a row, where both really matter. This is the only group to split 1 win each. If there was ever a time to get a win, now is that time. Gypsy Band lost their Flagship last weekend, but I doubt that is their last gasp. Shadow Cartel has brought a variety of setups, and thus are hard to predict. I honestly get the feeling that Shadow pulls it out in the end, and goes through with a Victory here.

20:00 Suddenly Spaceships. vs PERCUSSIVE PIZZA TIME DIPLOMACY - Facing them will be the winner of this match. Suddenly is fresh off their win against Gypsy band, but PZZA has brought solid setups in every match, they just rolled the dice wrong and faced a TD heavy team that ate them alive in the first round of the group stages. I might be wrong, but you can never be too wrong with PIZZA!

20:20 Rote Kapelle vs Kill It With Fire - I think we all know what way I will be voting here. However Rote Kapelle is fresh from their dramatic victory against PL, will there be overconfidence headed into this match, perhaps some underestimation of the KiWF team that might lead to a loss? All the teams who have made it this far are still dangerous.

20:40 Pandemic Legion vs RvB - Some might have trouble admitting it, but RvB is for real. I doubt that PL will be taking them lightly, as a win here for PL seals the part of the standings that they can influence and just have to hope to score enough points to knock out Rote after they win. One of the most interesting matches if Rote wins will be this one. I can earnestly say GO RvB, since by winning, they remove PL from the picture if RK wins.

Barring any complications:
Up next : FINALS - No analysis, just picks. Recap of ATX, Also a fittings breakdown of the Final match! Exciting stuff.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

AT X - Group standings breakdown

We are headed into the final weekend of the group stages, and boy are things a mess. This is a short breakdown of the different groups, standings and what each team has to do to advance, if possible.

Group A

Alliance                 Wins             Points
HUN Reloaded       2                   250
Black Legion.          1                  139
Nulli Secunda          1                  112.5
Choke Point             -                      4

A contentious group here, but only if HUN stumbles at the last weekend, and stumbles badly, they would have to score <14 points to be in grasping reach of Black Legion. Meanwhile Nulli is poised to go against Choke point who have thus far been unsuccessful in providing much opposition to anyone. Nulli, with a clean sweep there, could force Black Legion. out if MEN. lose (even with 98 points in a loss) and Nulli claims a total hell death (125 points). Choke is completely out, but if they beat Nulli they secure MEN.'s spot in the finals. This is assuming that each team brings full point setups. If Black Legion or Nulli bring shorted teams and win the math changes. This is a bracket where Nulli might take the risk of bringing a low points team in order to have a chance at advancing.

Group B

Alliance                 Wins             Points
Agony Empire         2                   250
The G0dfathers        2                   250
Fatal Ascension        -                     17
Dark Taboo              -                       4

Agony Empire and The G0dfathers have this group locked up, even though they face off this weekend, the match determines nothing as they will both be headed to the finals. FA and Dark Taboo are too far behind to catch up, short of both sides bringing extremely shorted teams, think along the lines of a dual t1 frigate duel to advance. Just for giggles, let's expand on that, both teams bring one t1 frigate (2 points), that means they automatically "spot" the other team 98 points, so whomever wins the duel, barring a tie, would get 100(match win)+98(handicap)+THD victory bonus of 25% (47.5) = 247.5 + 17 points (already earned) = 264.5 or 247.5 + 4 = 251.5. I think that FA and Dark Taboo should talk about this strategy if for no other reason that how great it would be to see. It means that both teams MIGHT, if Agony or G0d's get 0 points, the winner of FA and Dark Taboo could advance. WRONG! Minimum setup points is 50 points. And hadicaps apparently only work if the other side brings full points.
Dueling Frigates, awesome since introduction.
Except when they aren't allowed.

Group C

Alliance                   Wins             Points
Mildly Intoxicated     2                  250
TEST                        2                  250
Alpha Volley Union -                     52
Nothern Coalition.     -                      9

Another locked down group. Come on NC. and AVU, show up with t1 frigates! battle to the death. If Alpha Volley could win the Frigate duel, they would be easily able to threaten TEST or MI if they fail to score points in their matchup. UHHHH NOPE, you guys are out of it completely.

Group D

Alliance                   Wins             Points
FEARLESS.             2                   250
Verge of Collapse      1                   143
Capital Punishment    1                   125
Goonswarm                -                     48

Even Goons have a chance to advance in this group, and that'd be with 1 win and 2 losses. If FEARLESS blank Verge of Collapse this weekend, and Goonies THD Capital Punishment, they would end up with 48 (current points) + 125 (or more if they handicap) = 173 points and would slide into the finals in those most improbable way. Capital Punishment has to win in order to advance, win and hope that VoC doesn't do well vs FEARLESS. or that they do so well that FEARLESS score 0 points. It's another "death group." Where nothing is certain.

Group E

Alliance                   Wins             Points
Exodus                      2                   250
Heretic Nation           2                   201.25
Dead Terrorists          -                     71
The Gorgon Empire   -                     43

An interesting group because even though it should seem like the two teams with wins would have it on lock, in fact the handicapping theory works here as well, possibly even a smaller handicap if Heretic nation loses without any points. To lock this up Exodus and or Heretic Nation will have to score points, win or lose, OR Dead Terrorists and The Gorgon Empire fail to handicap and deny themselves.

Group F

Alliance                   Wins             Points
Darkside.                   2                  250
Raiden.                      2                  225
BricK sQuAD.          -                     22
Ev0ke                        -                       4

Darkside. and Raiden. seem to have this bracket locked up, unless one of them scores 0 points and the end game t1 frigate fight happens between Ev0ke and BricK sQuAD. Come on guys, this has to happen at least once, it's the only chance for either of you to advance. one tech 1 frig per side, DUEL ON!
Puppy says please? "Logan is fail."

Group G

Alliance                   Wins             Points
Shadow Cartel           1                   189
Suddenly Spaceships 1                   167
Gypsy Band               1                   134
PIZZA!                      1                   100

Now if all the other groups are "death" then this group is "total hell death." The winners of the two matches this weekend will likely advance. Extremely likely. Unless teams go for a complete tank setup and a win is low scoring like 2-54 points. In that case Shadow Cartel and Suddenly will both advance. Otherwise this is totally up in the air, anyone could advance.

Group H

Alliance                   Wins             Points
Red v Blue                 2                  227.5
Pandemic Legion       1                  177
Rote Kapelle              1                  138
Kill it with Fire           -                    22

I suppose I look at this group with a fair amount of love, seeing as how Rote is here, but being honest, there are tons of ways that this could go. If Rote loses to KiWF, RvB and PL advance. If RvB wins and PL doesn't score a lot of points, and a RK win over KiWF, Rote will advance with RvB to the finals. If PL wins, and RvB don't score too many points, PL and Rote would advance. If both RvB and PL score a ton of points in their match, there is a chance they would lock Rote out from advancing.


In short, of the 8 groups, B, C, E, and F are pretty much locked up for their top two seeds.
Groups A, D, and H still have some contention for the two advancing seeds.
Group G is WIDE OPEN!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

AT X - Group stages weekend 1 recap

Another Weekend in the books, filled with many more great and face-palming moments, but beyond the fights, there's a whole new level. That is, how are the groups panning out. Don't worry, we'll get there.

Highlights(lots)/Lowlights(not many)

Day 5
  • HUN throw down with some Vargur love, teasing people with a Vargur shield tank, letting it drop armor before kicking it into overdrive and going 125 - 0!
  • Agony Empire delivered a bore fest of a total win. Sucks that the Rook based setups seem to be doing so well this year. Really hate the monotony of the ECM dominated fights, not a lot of damage out there, makes for boring watching, still a very solid win.
  • TEST drives the WINDICATOR , and wins.
  • Two "underdog" wins in a row by FEARLESS and Cap. pun. that were good matches.
  • Dead Terrorists and Heretics had an amazing back and forth match that went to time. DT 55 points, Heretics 76.25 points.
  • Shout out to Exodus for putting together a solid team and taking some by surprise. Nice Flagship.
  • Lots of pretty explosions (and fast) in this match. Once again showing that armor tanks can easily be overwhelmed by high (enough) DPS. We thank Suddenly Spaceships. and Shadow Cartel for their efforts in lighting up the screen.
  • Rote "No boundaries" Kapelle decided discretion was the better part of valor when facing a tough RvB team that can only be taken as serious contenders, and attempted to run away. RvB wouldn't let us go without a fight, and quickly removed our pilots from their ships for daring to show their face on the field. (they weren't very nice!) I missed the match but got to watch twitter explode after RvB won. Didn't know that Jester was such a polarizing figure.

My predictions, well, they were pretty bad for the first day of group stages : 6/16. Ewww, that's 37.5% Let's see how well I did on Day 6.

Day 6
  • Raivi's doubt single handedly allows Black Legion. to advance. He did do a good job on explaining why bringing fewer ships to a match is a bad idea. I appreciated it <3
  • HUN show that their Vargur setup isn't just a fluke, and steamrolls again.
  • Agony gives more proof that Vindi's are better, hull for hull than pairs of Talos' Stream failures messed up this match pretty bad, but not Agony.
  • FA after being so good in the initial matches make everyone wonder wtf is happening, in particular watch for the scimi reps... on things that aren't taking any damage. n1
  • "no boundaries" TEST beat out the Rote record and drive 4 ships out of bounds, making a certain Dev's day as he gets to press his kill button some more. Somehow they manage to win... making me head-scratch the rest of the day. Proving that they are the better violators.
  • FEARLESS. redeem their terrible Vindicator use in the qualifiers, pushing down hard on Capital Punishment. and coming away with a win.
  • Heritic Nation provided a nice counter to the Vindicator, killing off a strong Gorgon Empire team featuring two Vindi's, and a disconnected Bhaalgorn that cost GE the match.
  • In a Match of rock vs paper, or I guess I should say ROOK(Dead Terrorists) vs paper(Exodus), the paper wrapped up those rooks, deploying a mass of drones to avoid those pesky jams. In Bolton's word, out of context, "ownzoned"
  • Shadow Cartel has a slugging match with PZZA and barely lose. Great match to watch.
  • Another flagship down when Suddenly Spaceships attack!
  • RvB shows up for a win again, successfully trouncing Kill it With Fire.
  • Probably the match of the tourney happens when PL vs Rote heats up. PL brought a gutsy setup, complete with two Bhaalgorns, including their flagship Bhaalgorn, for posterity, everything on that Bhaalgorn that CAN be pimped legally according to the AT rules, is. Then on top of their already 20BIL isk Bhaalgorn they brought in four AT9 tournament prizes, the Malice, who's hulls are likely 30 bil alone! Rote brings a Sleipnir setup, that's 8 points under, to help drive up their points total if they win, and dives into the 160bil PL setup like their hair is on fire. I've seen the fight about 10 times now, and each time it's amazing. If you watch nothing else, watch this fight, full screen, lights off, sound up. "The most tense I've been in a long time..." Just so you know, the odds against Rote were 3:1 on Monocle Madness and 11:1 in some other places. DAMN IT!
Somehow, as if pre-inspired by the Rote win, my predictions managed to recover, going from crap to savant in just one 24 hour period.  It makes sense that I had no chance to run any bets on Sunday, and lost most of my bets on Saturday. Still 13/16 correct is 81.25%!

Giving me a combined two day average of 19/32 or 59.3%. Steps in the right direction I tell you!

Upcoming : Predictions for the last day of the group stages and likely FINALS PREDICTIONS (in b4 I predict rote to win it all.)

Friday, July 13, 2012

ATX - Stream added

Added the ATX stream directly to the top of my blog, now you can watch and read. Enjoy, hopefully not in moderation. Obviously the feed won't show up in an RSS reader.

AT X - Group Stage Days 5 and 6

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 5

15:00 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 6

15:00 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.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

AT X - Group Stage Schedule

Oh, wow, well looks like a rough road for Rote to get to the finals. First a very tough match versus Red V Blue, followed by a slug fest against Pandemic Legion, with our last match being against Kill it with Fire. Well we wanted a tough schedule, we got one.

Tons of great match-ups! Hope I get to watch at least some of them!


Saturday 14th July - Day 5

15:00 Nulli Secunda vs Black Legion. -
15:20 HUN Reloaded vs Choke Point -
15:40 Fatal Ascension vs Agony Empire -
16:00 The G0dfathers vs Dark Taboo -
16:20 Mildly Intoxicated vs Alpha Volley Union -
16:40 Nothern Coalition. vs Test Alliance Please Ignore -
17:00 Goonswarm Federation vs FEARLESS. -
17:20 Verge of Collapse vs Capital Punishment. -
18:20 Dead Terrorists vs Heretic Nation -
18:40 Exodus. vs The Gorgon Empire -
19:00 Ev0ke vs DarkSide. -
19:20 Raiden. vs BricK sQuAD. -
20:00 Suddenly Spaceships. vs Shadow Cartel -
20:20 Rote Kapelle vs RvB -
20:40 Pandemic Legion vs Kill It With Fire -

Sunday 15th July - Day 6

15:00 Black Legion. vs Choke Point -
15:20 HUN Reloaded vs Nulli Seconda -
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 -
18:20 Heretic Nation vs The Gorgon Empire -
18:40 Exodus. vs Dead Terrorists -
19:00 DarkSide vs BricK sQuAD. -
19:20 Raiden. vs Ev0ke -
20:00 Suddenly Spaceships. vs Gypsy Band -
20:20 RvB vs Kill It With Fire -
20:40 Pandemic Legion vs Rote Kapelle -

Saturday 21st July - Day 7

15:00 Nulli Seconda vs Choke Point -
15:20 HUN Reloaded vs Black Legion. -
15:40 Fatal Ascension vs Dark Taboo -
16:00 The G0dfathers vs Agony Empire -
16:20 Mildly Intoxicated vs Test Alliance Please Ignore -
16:40 Northern Coalition. vs Alpha Volley Union -
17:00 Goonswarm Federation vs Capital Punishment. -
17:20 Verge of Collapse vs FEARLESS. -
18:20 Dead Terrorists vs The Gorgon Empire -
18:40 Exodus. vs Heretic Nation -
19:00 Ev0ke vs BricK sQuAD -
19:20 Raiden. vs DarkSide. -
19:40 Gypsy Band vs Shadow Cartel -
20:00 Suddenly Spaceships. vs PERCUSSIVE PIZZA TIME DIPLOMACY -
20:20 Rote Kapelle vs Kill It With Fire -
20:40 Pandemic Legion vs RvB -

Upcoming - Predictions for the first weekend (hopefully), impact of XLASB in the qualifier rounds.

Monday, July 9, 2012

ATX - Group stage teams (TOP 32)

Well the qualifiers rounds are done, and now we move on to the group stages between the top 32 teams from the qualifiers. I have listed them here, but they are also available from the Alliance tournament web site, located here:

The Top 32

Teams - Points scored
1. Raiden. - 125.00
2. Exodus. - 125.00
3. Pandemic Legion - 125.00
4. Verge of Collapse - 125.00
6. The G0dfathers - 125.00
7. Northern Coalition. - 125.00
8. Fatal Ascension - 125.00
9. HUN Reloaded - 125.00
10. Goonswarm Federation - 125.00
11. Dead Terrorists - 122.50
12. Gypsy Band - 122.50
13. Nulli Secunda - 100.00
14. Ev0ke - 100.00
15. Rote Kapelle - 100.00
16. Mildly Intoxicated - 95.00
17. Heretic Nation - 86.50
18. Agony Empire - 83.50
19. Black Legion. - 82.50
21. FEARLESS. - 76.25
22. Alpha Volley Union - 74.50
23. DarkSide. - 74.50
24. Red vs Blue - 74.50
25. Dark Taboo - 74.00
26. Shadow Cartel - 74.00
27. The Gorgon Empire - 72.50
28. Kill It With Fire - 72.50
29. Capital Punishment. - 72.50
30. BricK sQuAD. - 70.00
31. Choke Point - 68.00

Tie breakers were, Wins, points, teams last beaten, team last lost to, points of ships left alive.

ATX - Weekend two recap

Well I would say weekend 2 was even better than the first weekend. Even the first day's matches were solid, if at times a little head-scratching on setups some of the teams brought.

I think it was Kil2 who said "STOP BRINGING THESE 50 POINT SETUPS... YOU CAN'T MAKE IT THROUGH LIKE THAT." He was pretty much right on with that comment. Only 8 of the 32 teams who lost in round one made it through to the group stages. Of those, only 3 that scored zero points in round one made it through.

How did they get through you ask? Well TEST just got very lucky with tie breakers, and is ranked 32, but did bring a 46 point setup, handicapping themselves just enough, that with a win and a THD they would end up with enough points to advance, cut off for advancement this year was a massive 67.5 points. That's only 6 points more than a round one total hell death, and was split between TEST and R.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. with TEST winning the 32nd spot on tie breakers.

Otherwise, Brick Squad fielded 44 points, and won with a THD, giving them 70 points total, landing them the 30th spot, and faced a 50 point setup. Capital Punishment. fielded 42 points, and got a THD, giving them 72.5 points and 29th place, and faced a 50 point setup. Dark Taboo had just four points in round one, and fielded the biggest handicap of all, bringing 42 points, and scored a THD even though they faced a 50 point team.If ANY of the 50 point teams HAD won these match ups, they would not have advanced, since they only had 2 points, and would have ended up with 64.5 after a THD. Even if all of the 50 point teams had won, it would have dropped the point total needed to advance down to 66.5, still more than a max score of a Total Hell Death of 62.5. Message here is, even if you don't have any points, by handicapping your team, you can still advance.

PERCUSSIVE PIZZA TIME DIPLOMACY, 12 points last week, fielded 48 points, giving themselves a nice buffer, bringing their total up to 77 points, and getting 20th seed. I set this match apart, because even though they did face a 50 point team, their opponents could have advanced with their week one earnings of 10 points.

The rest : Choke Point, 8 points last week, Kill it with Fire, 10 points last week, Black Legion., 20 points last week, and Shadow Cartel, 14 points last week fielded 50 point setups, and advanced.

How about that winners bracket?

Rote Kapelle advanced with a win against Fluffeh Bunneh, our setup narrowly edging out theirs in a really close fight, that turned into steamroll towards the end. So we are through to the 12v12 rounds!

Otherwise, 9 teams, despite winning last week, failed to score enough points this week to advance.

Tribal Conclave was rolled by FA, dropping them out of the top 32. THE SPACE P0LICE was also rolled by HUN, Against ALL Authorities scored 2 points, but need at least 6 to advance. The R0NIN scored 4 points, but needed 6, and lost the battle of "The zero's." Team Liquid showed up in Tengu's again, didn't work out this time. Out of Sight fell to the goons. R.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. lost and saved my keyboard's period keys. Elysian Empire went home 4 more points. And Fluffeh, who only had just more than 30 points to begin with scored 16, but not enough to advance.

Interestingly, both days the fights were good, setups were MUCH improved over week one, well for the most part. Some gimmicks didn't work, Alpha Tornadoes, and some worked too well, WINDICATORS! (when you don't burn out your guns guys.

My predictions were unnaturally poor this week I felt like. With some stupidness prevailing during some of the matches, like the afore mentioned Vindicator burning out "their entire rack" of blasters, and then 3/4 of the way through the fight realizing they could un-group, amidst other questionable ship and setup.

Excuses aren't any good, so I will just say, 17/32 is better than 50% (53%). Look forward to next weekend where hopefully I can do a better job or predicting some winners, but I doubt it at this rate.

In the mean time, I did a decent job betting at Monocle Madness, and with some of their overall pots cresting over 2 bil on the first day for well known matches or good odds, then building on that the second day with some matches having pools of over 5 bil. The last match of the day, HUN reloaded vs THE SPACE P0LICE, pool was 5.5 bil isk. Others topped out at the 1-3 billion isk mark. Some people out there are losing a whole lot more isk than I have. Good luck to them to recoup it in the group stages.

Next up : The 32 group stage participants, Predictions for weekend 3 of ATX.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Parimutuel Betting wha?

So for those of you who actually visit my site in the 'eflesh,' rather than through google reader or some other similarly functioned RSS reader, you might have noticed a new link along my sidebar. One directing people to Monocle Madness, a new online lottery and ATX betting site. First let's take a look at their primary betting model for the Alliance Tournaments and go from there.

Their bets operate on a "Parimutuel" betting system, a rather obscure, but good system that allows winners, no matter the odds to take home some money, while essentially paying the house just a small commission.

Simply put instead of betting against the house you bet directly against the people betting on the other side. So if more people bet the same way as you, the amount of money you take home if correct is stuck at just 1.08 of investment. However if you bet against the crowd and win, the return can be significantly higher. They seed each of the matches with some small starting capital, and let it build organically from there.

Bets climb as match time approaches, but for one thing, this style of betting encourages you to get your friends to bet opposite from yourself, thus increasing your winnings. Last weekend some of the matches were topping out at about 1.2+ billion isk in a pool. Not bad for a new site.

As explained, the house takes a small cut of the action for being the holder of all the money, but the vast majority of the winnings are returned to players and not kept by the house. This plays in well with the overall feel of Monocle Madness, aka people winning instead of the house winning. The betting is not only very exciting, but also very social.

Maximum bets are in place to prevent the return on a bet from dropping lower than 1.08 percent, but as the pool increases on both sides, the maximum bet does as well. At initial buy in, 5 mil is the maximum bet, but with just a few minimum bets, the maximum can be up to as high as a few hundred million. from there even more.

Strange to think that Monocle Madness and it's link to ATX betting just came from "a human API calculator" and a bunch of friends and alliance mates betting last year, to a full fledged betting and Lottery site this year. But it was an idea and opportunity that one of the Founders, Tony Two Bullet, couldn't ignore.

"We saw all these micro lotto sites coming up, and we were saying that there's a market for the opposite style of lotto."

Monocle Madness, in addition to AT betting, actually finds year round appeal with their mega style lotteries. These lotteries are the opposite of micro lotteries like Somer Blink, or BIG Lotteries. Think of it as a pool of prizes that each entry has a chance to win one prize or stays in the running until all the prizes are gone, or it wins. In short layman terms, the Madness system is based around many tickets but also many prizes. To illustrate;
Errr, wait, no. More like the following; You buy 20 tickets for a specific pool of prizes, lets say there are 120 prizes in the pool. Now, in a micro lottery like Somer, you have a chance to win a prize or even all the prizes if you get lucky and get the one winning ticket, but in a mega lottery like Monocle Madness, each one of those tickets has a chance to win one out of the 120 available prizes, you might even end up with more than one winning ticket out of your 20. Odds of winning "something" are generally held around 1 in 10, sometimes higher when it does not negatively effect the prize pool by making it too easy to win something. 

Tony says that "Mo-Ma's ideal goal here is to promote lots of (thousands?) of EVE players to feel confident in buying smaller tickets frequently and have a chance at a variety of big money prizes, rather than going bankrupt on heavy betting for single prizes."

Suddenly each ticket a person buys is not only a chance to win the prize, but also a chance to win another prize. For me that is all about maximizing my chance to win something, even if I don't get the main prize, I might still make my money back, or win other good prizes.

Currently Madness has only been open to the public for a few weeks, and their prizes are either generated in house, bought from alliance mates/friends, or bought off the open market. That's why when you look at their site you don't see hundreds of lotteries in action, but just a few. They will be looking to scale their operation up as time goes along, and interest increases.

Madness will be allowing people to convert ship winnings back into isk in the form of 'credit.' You can either bet or buy more tickets with that, or... Unlike some other sites, they will allow players to convert their winnings from the site back into game isk. Tony said "We expect a lot of people to claim the ISK in conversion. Otherwise we're only providing prizes in Jita with plans to expand[to other trade hubs in the future]."

Their in game channel is Monocle Madness, come join and take a look. It's filling up right now with speculation about the upcoming matches.

Friday, July 6, 2012

ATX - Week 2 predictions

Predictions for Week 2 are in some cases, much easier to predict than week 1, but in some cases that much more difficult. Mostly because good pilots, even with bad setups week one, if they are smart, can learn a lot from other setups and matches that preceed and followed their week one matches. Lots of times killmails and video's of the fights provide enough outline to reconstruct solid setups even if they aren't the originators of the idea.

While this is still possible to do from one year to the other, the changes made to modules and the new modules make this year a new game. So here we go with predictions for week 2! Just so we are clear

Little ATX jargon to whet your appetite...
ASB - Ancillary Shield booster
XLASB - Extra Large Ancillary Shield booster.
THD - Total Hell Death.

Saturday, July 7

15:00 Curatores Veritatis Alliance vs Noir. Mercenary Group - Well I guess we start with the lowest ranked and work our way to the highest. These two teams had both bad luck, and bad setups in the first round. CVA's First setup should have been fairly solid and ended up facing off against a near mirror image. Well all except for the Frigates. Gypsy brought tackle Merlins and CVA brought ECM merlins. Unfortunately their ECM just could not hold and their scimitar was tackled and killed before they could inflict any damage. They didn't lose all their ships, but it goes to show that the rules care about explosions. Not retained ships. Noir had some rough luck, with their AT captain apparently a no-show for their match. And that could be considered a high point in conjunction with the beating their recieved in the first round. In short they went up against an unexpected and very lucky rook setup, that their dual Ferox's could not break before being killed themselves. In a game of second chances, nothing short of Total Hell Death (THD, complete removal of the enemies team) can expect to move people on to the next round if they scored 0 points in the first round. It's a touch matchup but I think CVA has a good underlying team, and a semi strong setup. CVA narrowly win this not sure it actually matters

15:20 No Holes Barred vs Test Alliance Please Ignore - Speaking of teams who should probably copy off other more successful teams, we come to No Holes Barred, users of the bizzare, and ineffective armor Sleipnirs. Now for those who don't know, Sleipnirs are shield takers not because of an over-abundance of mid slots, having only 5, and 5 low slots, but because their ship bonus' heavily favor a shield tank, providing more shield per boost as one of the main bonus. I'm sure No Holes Barred knows this now, after losing in specacular fashion. Only part of that was because of the armor Sleipnirs, the other part was because of a solid setup by the opposing team. TEST Brought a solid setup for the first round, but were unable to break the tanks of the locally and remote repped Cyclones they faced in thier Sleipnirs. They were slowly ground under for a pretty convincing loss. TEST shouldn't shy away from what are obviously good setups, and come with another solid setup here. I think TEST will in this one convincingly. (I'm going to stop pointing out that it still might not matter because they scored 0 points in round one.

15:40 RAZOR Alliance vs Dirt Nap Squad. - Razor lost their first match, and I might attribute that completely to their failure to kill Darkside's Logi before their's went down. Otherwise it would have been an entirely different match. But you know how it is with "might" and "maybe." They don't get you very far. Dirt Nap Squad (DNS) on the other hand, brought what appears to be more of a "Don't die and maybe score some points" setup, rather than a "Kill some people." setup in the first week. it didn't work out so well, and despite the conservative setup, DNS still lost all their ships and didn't kill anything. RAZOR isn't a bad pvp Alliance, but then neither is DNS, despite being black ops droppers. They still do other things effectively. If DNS come more aggressive this time they might just be able to head off RAZOR and score a win.

16:00 Get Off My Lawn vs Wormholes Holders - Well LAWN's setup in round one, wasn't "BAD" it was just outclassed. Their Sabre's died very quickly after their logi went down and they didn't seem to get the memo about how good Sleipnirs are with Ancillary shield boosters, and fit a buffer tank instead. They went down in "record" time. Wormhole Holders Decided it was a good idea to show up with just three ships. Now their setup was probably pretty strong on paper. But they did seemingly zero research on how it woud work in practice and how they should warp in relative to the beacon. They lost in a big way, but at least they got the XL ASB memo. After a week of refinement and reviewing setups I think that LAWN will come out victorious here.

16:20 SOLAR FLEET vs BricK sQuAD. - SOLAR brought a Sleipnir setup from last year, fitting buffer tank instead of XLASB, and then had the unfortunate luck by running smack into a Rook based team, done right. Their lowslot ECCM wasn't up to the task of keeping them unjammed long enough to matter. BricK on the other hand brought a gank talos setup, only to run into a even more ganky Armor Vindicator setup. The total DPS was similar on both teams, however, the total EHP heavily favored their opponents, and it showed. Now just watching the matches since then, lots of teams have adapted both of these setups, but the Talos setup was rarely successful, bring brought in some form to the field 4 times, but only winning once, against the even more bland setup of Tengu's. Brick's Scimitar was also active afterburner tanked. Not a great counter to 90% webs of the Vindicator, especially when you try to dive in close with the scimitar. That speaks of bad piloting, while the SOLAR loss just looks like a bad matchup rather than bad piloting compacted with a bad matchup.

16:40 Capital Punishment. vs The Veyr Collective - Speaking of Vindicator setups... Capital Punishment. is sure aware of those. They were another set of adopters for the Talos, and it didn't end well. The Veyr Collective also brought a set of Talos' but these were armor tanked. And missing a single lowslot it looks like. They went smack up against the Nothern Coalition. Honestly it might have looked close but that one was over before it began. Capital Punishment I think has the advantage in this match.

17:00 Manifest Destiny. vs The Fourth District - Mainifest Destiny in round one brought Artillery Tornadoes. It'd be shallow to say, "And that's all I have to say." But really, that's pretty close to all I am going to say. Other than to break it down a bit so there is understanding as to why this is such a bad idea. The entire arena is 125km in radius, so sure a fight COULD happen at extreme ranges, however, warp ins are at a max of 50KM from the beacon. So the max distance that could happen would be 100km from each other. In that enagement range, 800mm Tornadoes can reach to 50-80 KM with Barrage L. And actually track to have an impact in the match. 1400mm arty Nadoes have no such luck. In addition Manifest brought their Tornadoes in at 50, so that's something, at least they were trying with their setup. Obviously, no luck. The Fourth District brought a risky Marauder setup in round one, Kronos that didn't seem to do that much damage or that much webbing (despite bonus' that seem to lend to those two things). They were torn up by a Ferox based team with really little trouble. Difficult to tell what happened there since I didn't see many web or DPS effects that should have been coming from the Kronos. Manifest Destiny has had success in the past so I am going to go with experience over the Fourth District.

17:20 Dystopia Alliance vs Pure Madness. - Dystopia decided to bring a pretty weak setup against a very strong (historically) Pandemic Legion team. They paid the price when their Widow, DCU tanked with multispecs died hard and fast in the first match. But one thing bothers me about their setup. I don't consider Dystopia a bad, by any means, alliance. In fact, they are full of old time PvPers and 'bitter-vets.' It makes me wonder about the meta game involved between PL and Dystopia. Pure Madness brought what should have been a solid Oracle setup, but they were tanked by some XLASB love from their opponents, and seemingly when they were just about to burn through one Sleipnirs charges on their XLASB, two of the Oracles got jammed out by ECM drones, reducing their DPS so the Sleipnir could easily tank them, and eventually, each one was hunted down and killed by a combination of good piloting from the Merlin they faced and then later by three sleipnirs pinning their opponents. This is the first matchup where teams actually scored points against their opponents, each team scored 2 points. Not sure how much of a help this is going to be in light of trying to advance. However total hell deaths are going to be required to move on. I really would like Pure Madness. to win here, but I am also really torn between them as tourney newcomers and underdogs and the skill and experience from a team like Dystopia. I'll take a gamble here and go with Pure Madness.


18:20 Dark Taboo vs WHY so Seri0Us - I'm really not sure how Dark Taboo managed to kill anything with their setup, but I guess it's no surprise that they were able to kill some frigs, seeing as how the majority of their DPS was frigate sized. Here's a refresher, Taboo fielded Rooks, with small missile launchers and rocket launchers, as well as some daredevils with warp speed rigs. If there was a psyduck image I could post here, I would. WHY on the other hand, brought a ballsy setup for 2 Machariels and support, but faced a just as mean team of Sleipnirs. After some early match trade offs, the Machs ended up going down towards the ends of the match. I'm just so disappointed with the setup Dark Taboo fielded in the first round that I just can't pick them in the second.

18:40 Lone Star Partners vs Bruderschaft der Pilger - Lone star brought a pretty interesting mix of setups and ships to the first match. Their Oneiros was XLASB fit and had 3 large reps, but their smaller ships didn't have the buffer to benefit from the armor repairs and died quickly. The Vigilants's had TD's and ECCM, but no injectors, leaving them vulnerable to neuts at the very least. Bruderschaft showed up with a solid setup, but faced off against a pair of Vindicators. Even the XLASB tank isn't enough to deal with that much DPS and their ships left the field in a hurry. But the important thing to focus on from their match was that their setup was a well thought out one,  but was facing some serious trouble any way you look at Vindicators. They did make some pretty critical mistakes. You don't always want to start at 0 in a sleipnir based team, and this is exactly why. The Vindicators were able to land web at the start of the fight on both Sleipnirs, and remove them before really anything could happen. Had the Sleipnirs started further away, the result might not have been different, but it might have been closer. Lone Star looks like it is interested in out of the box setups, but Bruderschaft have proven in round one that they can at least comp a decent setup. Pretty much a toss up here for me. I will go with Bruderschaft.

19:00 Choke Point vs Exiled Ones - Choke Point was matched up again Fluffeh in the first round, so I have probably seen this fight almost as much as the Rote fight from weekend one. They brought a good setup, two machs with a few jamming frigs and a daredevil to tackle down targets. However their execution was less than stellar. Their focused fire was poor, and they were unable to go for any of the weaker targets until later in the fight. Exiled Ones on the other hand, showed up with what on the surface appeared to be a good setup. But then the killmails started rolling in to reveal Tengu's not only with an active tank, but with a large shield boosting active tank and injectors.They were able to volley fire some opponents off the field, but their setup was a confusingly bad one. Choke point rebounds here I think, and is able to score some much needed points, hopefully combining with their current 8 points.

19:20 Kill It With Fire vs RED.OverLord - I just love teams that bring Curse. And Kill it with Fire did just that, even if it didn't work out for them vs the FA Sleipnir setup, it is still a good move. EWAR really decided this fight, with the Kill it ships losing a lot of time behind Kitsune jams. RED.O brought a Tengu setup, but it was very unsuccessful vs a very strange dual tanking Mach setup that managed to outlast the Tengu DPS during their XLASB reload cycles. Historically the Tengu setup's haven't returned solid results, but have been either the punchers or the punching bags. In this case the punching bag. I'm going to side with the team that brought a curse last time.

19:40 PERCUSSIVE PIZZA TIME DIPLOMACY vs ROMANIAN-LEGION - Pizza, well PZZA, I have to say I was quite surprised by their fight in the first weekend. Obviously fighting directly against them might have something to do with that, but their setup was a strong kiting setup, even if they were in Drakes. Traditionally a hated ship in the tournament. Romanian-Legion showed up with an expensive but ultimately dead setup, since they decided it was a good idea to warp a pair of Machariels to 0 at the start of the match, they were quickly tackled and broken. The exchange at close range was brutal, and they were able to take down a few ships before losing. Like I've said before, having a decent setup is worthless without understanding how and where to warp into a fight. Here's a hint, it's rarely @0. I think Pizza shows up with a delivery this match and with 12 points and a strong showing here they have a good chance to make it into round 2.

20:00 The Kadeshi vs Shadow Cartel - It's a match where neither team really deserves to be in the loser bracket. The Kadeshi, I chose them in round 1, and then they made the one piloting mistake that cost them, and lost one of their Tengu's to a boundary violation. The ships they were fighting were barely unable to tank three Tengu's worth of damage, and with the loss of one of their Tengu's like that, their damage went from winning the fight levels to losing the fight. They did manage to net a cool 14 points by killing a Vigil and a Tier 3 BC (Talos). Shadow Cartel had a run of bad luck before their match even STARTED, losing a lynch pin Proteus to tragic disconnect moments before their match. Down one ship they were fought under, but still managed to rope in a few points. In a match of two good teams that lost, one through piloting error, and the other through computer error, I think both with be forced to come out swinging for the fences to make their 14 points count the most. In a very close match that could go either way, the Shadow Cartel is going eek out a victory, taking their 14 points plus this match into the group stages. It could easily be the other way around if the Shadow Cartel underestimates The Kadeshi at all.

20:20 Sleeper Social Club vs Babylon 5.. - SSC brought in some drone love in the first round, and was one of a few teams to do so. Their Ishtars threatened to blot out the sun with drones, but were tackled towards the end of the match, to just barely, lose on points to the Fearless team. Overall they brought a solid, supported setup, and scored 16 points for their trouble. Babylon 5.. brought a pair of heavily tanked Vargur's with a Webloki for support. Unfortunately for them, the Nulli team they fought brought a ton of ECM drones and were able to lock down the Vargurs enough to gain a decisive advantage. Oh, and the Babylon 5.. team brought 3 ships to a six ship match, because of this the ECM weak Marauders were swarmed with drones and the failure to fit a smartbomb on the Vargur's are very telling for their next match. I think SSC will win this one.

20:40 Black Legion. vs Perihelion AllianceThis has to be the best match of the day, how sweet they save it for last. Both teams have done well in the past... MEN. Oh how you let me down in the first round! Honestly your setup wasn't bad at all, you were just outflown by the drone swarm and fast tackle of your opponents, who removed your Logi before the match even really got heated, depriving you of the rep you needed for your buffer fit Ferox's. Black Legion still rallied and got the most points of the losing brackets, at 20 points. Perihelion brought up the second most with 16 points (tied with Babylon 5..) In round one Peri FACED a Vargur setup, and a tough loss. They brought a Proteus gank squad, but the hostile Vargurs were able to pick apart their reps at range, before focusing on the meat of the Proteus setup. Peri was just not able to grind down the rep and EHP of the Vargurs when it came time. Some questionable calls were made early on in their first match and that is usually the most telling. Solid FCing will usually slant the match. In a match I hate to choose a winner of, I will predict Perihelion goes through.

Sunday, July 8

15:00 Rote Kapelle vs Fluffeh Bunneh Murder Squad - Best match of the day. Totally! Okay okay, I'll tamper my Rote enthusiasm and predict this match objectively... Yeah right! So, Rote's setup had trouble with the Drake based kiting setup used by their first round opponents, but they were able to wrangle their targets down to score a win in the first round. Pretty much all Rote, including myself, will tell anyone who listens that getting the points we did isn't a bad thing, and we got what we wanted. Our opponents have the same number of points as we do, 37.5 so I am sure they are saying the same thing. Their initial setup was a bit of a hodge podge, focused around armor logistics and ECM, their Blackbird was really the unexpected hero of the fight. He kept most of the Griffins out of the fight, and pulled a mach to him, halfing the DPS for his teammates. The Deimos and Hurricane tanked the Mach damage well and put out enough DPS to secure points to gain the win. It should be no surprise that I think Rote has the chance to pull out a second win, but with 37.5 points each, both teams have a chance to make it through if they get some points in this match.

15:20 FEARLESS. vs Nulli Secunda - Lark and Fearless performed great in their match, holding onto a tough fought match against a Ishtar setup that could just as easily gone the other way, and looked like it would for a minute there. With 46.25 points Fearless must be pretty happy, but are likely less than happy about their second matching pair up vs Nulli. Nulli pushed through a pretty weak setup, both theirs and their opponents and brought home 41.25 points. This will be a critical match for both teams, where winning with some point or even losing with some points could move both of them through. In this match up I favor FEARLESS.

15:40 Gypsy Band vs Elysian Empire - Gypsy Band faced off against CVA in the first round and handed them a pretty decent loss, only giving up a few points from their setup of Sleipnirs and Merlins. They made some piloting mistakes, but showed up to the field at good ranges, and well led. Elysian empire arrived with a double rook setup that was mostly overlooked in week one despite the serveral victories it produced, and one horrible loss. Elysian Empire delivered a solid setup and didn't bother to copy the setup from alliances and tournaments previous. One has to give them some points for that, but be tempered by the fact that they fought against a likely leaderless and hasty setup in the Noir. team. How much does that count for against the Gypsy band after their good performance. I'm not sure. Tough call on this one without knowing the teams better I am going to go with Gypsy Band.

16:00 Mildly Intoxicated vs R.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. - Mildly Intoxicated surprised a lot of people, myself included when they came out on top of the Black Legion team in the first round. Their setup was a bit of an unconventional drone setup, but their tactical use of assigned drones definitely won them that match by removing the MEN. logistics ship before it could become a factor. R.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. used some real strange level of injunitiy, fitting XLASB Machariels with a supplementary armor tank to cover and repair damage when the XLASB were reloading. This in conjunction with solid piloting landed them a victory, and moved them into the winners bracket. Now will they stay here? I don't think so.

16:20 Goonswarm Federation vs Out of Sight. - Goons put on a show in round one. There's no doubt that this year their team has taken practicing and theory crafting as seriously as everyone else. Or they are doing a damn good job of trolling us all into believing that. Part of their convincing win was because the other team brought a brawler setup that just wasn't as good, and paid for it. That didn't change the fact that the Goons Vindicator based setup was a solid one. Out of Sight brought a under-shipped Sleipnir based four man setup. Strangely they are a statistical anomaly, bringing just four ships and winning against a 5 ship setup. I think the Goons arrive to win, and play for keeps, winning in the second round as well.

16:40 Dead Terrorists vs Team Liquid - If PL are the masters of the Minmatar rush by virtue of running it first and most successfully, then Dead Terrorist seem to be that origin point for the dual rook setup. In just match 2 of the first weekend, Dead Terrorists brought a setup that nobody had really had much success with, and cleared the floor of their opposition, handily disposing the often used Minmatar rush setup without a single loss. Team Liquid went to the other end of the extreme, and refined a mediocre setup, slapped some more speed on there and flew around abusing some armor tanked Sleipnirs. A good first showing, but it's unclear if that was more due to the caliber of their opponents, or due to their setup. Well now it's their chance to prove themselves against a historically dominant team in Dead Terrorists. I'm backing their play.

17:00 DarkSide. vs Verge of Collapse - DarkSide utterly rolled their opponents in the first round, using a unique setup that hasn't been duplicated since. Even after having reportedly lost some of their "key membership" they know how to put on a good show. I noted some good piloting but their setup was just so much better than the Brutix based setup they faced, that it was really never a contest. I look forward to see what they bring this time. Verge of Collapse scored with their first matchup, coming up against Tornadoes fitting artillery and otherwise poor choices. Once their Sleipnirs ran down the range, fought through some webs, and landed tackle, it was all over. From there on it was just cleanup. The VoC team showed well in the first round, but was never really in danger the entire match. Against DarkSide it is going to be a totally different story. I think a very close story. But in close matches, logic says to go with experience and proven ability.

17:20 The G0dfathers vs THE R0NIN - Battle of the Zero names! Couldn't have planned this one better myself. G0dfathers nuked TEST out of the water in the first round, but it was hardly because TEST brought a bad setup, instead it was because G0dfathers just looked way more on the ball and competent than TEST in the fight. They hope to roll that right on into their match today vs another team with a zero in their name, THE R0NIN. R0NIN punched DNS pretty hard, using a Black ops battleship as the baseline for their setup, they were able to eventually break down the DNS heavy tank setup. I'm rooting for the R0NIN here, the better of the two zero teams...


18:20 Suddenly Spaceships. vs RvB - Suddenly Spaceships, more like Suddenly DPS! Last match Seldarine and friends met up with another high DPS fit and utterly melted it. Their Vinidcator setup was even more effective against the blaster rush setup they faced than they could have hoped for. In fact, they tore right through them hardly looking back. Coincidentally, another fast-finisher, RvB, in fact a VERY fast finisher, is matched up against them. In the first round RvB dismantled their opponents, and look to do the same here, but keep in mind that both teams got enough points in the first round that all they really need are a few points in this round to keep them in the hunt for a position in the group rounds. Good luck to both sides.

18:40 Ev0ke vs The Gorgon Empire - Ev0ke had what I could call a clean THD in their first round. Their opponents made some mistakes (warping in their tackle/web loki at 0 to support their Maelstroms, who also warped in at 0, but Ev0ke took their mistakes and capitalized fully. Their setup was solid, if not a little overused by this time in the tourney. The Gorgon Empire surprised a lot of people with the manner in which they removed their round 1 opponents from the field. Their quick, brutal THD victory was impressive and well directed. This is a solid matchup, but it still is a tourney vet vs a relative newcomer. In a coin flip decision I am going to guess The Gorgon Empire surprises once again and comes up with a win.

19:00 Against ALL Authorities vs Northern Coalition. - AAA Cruised through their first match, losing only a single merlin in exchange for two Mach kills and a convincing win. They, as well, flew the favored Sleipnir setup, and flew it well, using damp merlins to keep damage off of their Sleipnirs while focusing fire to bring down first the hostile support and then the meat of the other team. Northern Coalition brutalized their opposition, also fielding the quite popular Sleipnir setup. Wonder if this will be another mirror match where both sides bring the same setup. Might not even be uncommon to see that on the second day, once certain setups start looking favorable. In any case, AAA has had their hands full in the past week, as have NC. so I am not sure who will have had the time to lock down some practices. All told I think I like AAA in this match.

19:20 Alpha Volley Union vs Pandemic Legion - Alpha Volley Union in the first weekend brought a unique setup that I am going to call "Amarr rush." Consisting of 2 Abso's, 1 Oneiros, 2 Griffins and a Rifter. Their opponents in Dark Taboo were either up way too late and started the match in shit fit ships or were just outclassed from the start, or perhaps even both. Alpha Volley was able to remove their opponents quickly either way, and secure a win. UNFORTUNATELY they are going up against Pandemic Legion, people who know what setup you are going to bring before you even bring it. Never a good place to be in the second round. Alpha Volley will have to pull out a trick of an entirely different nature against Pandemic. I wish them luck.

19:40 Agony Empire vs Exodus. - Agony Empire had a strong showing in the first week, obviously, scoring a total hell death, mainly due to their opponents being terrible (remember LSB and injector fit Tengu) than any chance to show real ability. The Agony Setup was more designed to not lose, than to win as convincingly as it did. In the second week they go against Exodus. As predicted Exodus did very well in the first week, fielding not one but two Vindicators, a setup where one seems to have been enough to rake in easy wins, well two was no different. This is going to be another one of those vaunted good fights, but how much of that will be decided before either team even makes it to the field, I'm not sure. I think Exodus has a great chance here for an upset win.

20:00 Heretic Nation vs Raiden. - The saviors of mother Amamake triumphed in round one, but I'm not sure it was due to any great skill on their part, and more of a major blunder on the part of their opponents. However despite their opponents shortcomings, Heretic nation did show up with a solid setup and to their credit, they didn't stop their opponents while they were making a mistake, and instead capitalized on it for a major win. Raiden. faced another poor opponent, who's choice of tracking disruptor on their Vigilants made about as much sense as bringing the Sabre's and then using them as tackle for Raiden. In a battle of who had the worse first round opponent I think Heretic Nation shows off their chops.

20:20 Tribal Conclave vs Fatal Ascension - Tribal Conclave led the charge against an understrength Shadow Cartel team in the first round. Had they faced off against a full powered team the results might have, and I would even venture to say, would have, been different. Vs Fatal Ascension who's first round effort made quite the CFC cheer, after wiping the field clean of opposition, but not without loss and I might add, not without some serious close calls. In the end I don't think it matters much, Tribal Conclave is meeting a surging FA team after an easy win. Only a solid setup from back to front will save them now, and I think FA has the answer.

20:40 HUN Reloaded vs THE SPACE P0LICE - HUN showed some later alliances how a Vargur should be fit with their first round victory. Smartbombs and neuts alongside Dual 650mm guns proved to be all the DPS they needed, along with a XLASB on each to mitigate incoming damage. I was foolish to choose against them in the first round. THE SPACE P0LICE managed to take out The Kadeshi, another favorite after performances years past in their first round, and in an impressive manner, arriving in four Talos' and removing the three opponent Tengu's with ease, losing only a pair of ships in the process. Helped a little by the bad piloting from the Kadeshi, running out of bounds and all that. Either way, I felt bad for not following my guy last week and betting against HUN, I won't make that mistake again, but I think I might be wrong anyways!

That concludes weekend #2, days 3 and 4 of Alliance tournament X (oh wait, they haven't been played yet, damn)

Up next : Results from the second weekend, predictions for the next weekend and a possible surprise post somewhere in between!