Rote Kapelle [STUGH] defeats Pandemic Legion [-10.0] 95 to 52 points in one of ATX's most exciting matches.For me, the single image I'll always remember about Alliance Tournament X is this one:
[STUGH] appeared on field with a standard Minmatar rush squad while PL brought the most expensive squad yet of the tournament featuring their flagship Bhaalgorn as well as 4 Malices, the AT9 prize frigate.
The match began as a rush towards the PL flagship which soon fell, after which PL spent the majority of the fight kiting and picking off whatever they could with their frigates.
Apathetic Brent of [STUGH] explains that their setup did "5361 DPS before overheating," which was enough to take down the PL Bhaalgorns, after which "what did they have left?" "We tried to kill the Malices but they are too well tanked and too fast." When asked about their strategy he says that while [STUGH] had focused in previous matches on "finesse setups" they decided "to stop fencing and pull out a chainsaw." A strategy which very much worked in their favour.
Elise Randolph of PL says that knowing [STUGH] "required a win, they decided to field a very strong team." While they were successful in destroying the [STUGH] Scimitar early on, with their Bhaalgorns lost it was a race to eat through the ancillary shield boosted Sleipnirs, which they were unable to do. She concludes saying, "we'll get back to testing this week, polish up our strong setups and see where that takes us."
Apathetic Brent end with the statement, "Rote Kapelle – No Boundaries" in reference to their previous match in which suffered numerous boundary violations.
PL brought overwhelming, massive force against the exact wrong thing. Why oh why oh why did Pandemic Legion bring that comp against us? I've seen that question asked again and again. PL has been characteristically quiet about it. I have a theory. It's kind of a funny story.
After our very first match against PERCUSSIVE PIZZA TIME DIPLOMACY, I said:
For the record, Rote's first comp did exactly what we wanted it to do. In any way you think it didn't.Poetic Stanziel said of our matches right before the PL match:
Rote is already known for being shy at the start of their engagements. I'm sure Pandemic will bring something to exploit that tendency.I'm here to tell you right now: that was deliberate. Why did PL bring that comp? I can only guess. But they were spying on many of our practices, and every time they saw us practicing, we were practicing a quite different comp than what we eventually brought: Bhaalgorn, 2x Oracle, 2x Curse, 2x Ishkur, 4x Merlin, 1x Oneiros. That's 12 ships for 100 points. We even had a name for the comp: Vamp-Scorch. Did we ever field it?
Nope. But we sure made it look like we might field it!
After all, look at our first six-man comp. There's a Bhaalgorn and Oracle and Curse, right there. We were shy about engaging, right? We kept using finesse comps and kept kiting, right? We did everything possible to convince PL that was the case. Every match, we showed up with damp Merlins and finesse e-war. Everyone else had a Bhaalgorn flagship and we kept hoping that nobody would notice that we didn't. And we bided our time, and waited for the right moment to pivot to our front foot and do something completely different... something lots more aggressive. Something more in tune with our actual flagship, in other words.
When would it be time to stop fencing and pick up a chainsaw? The moment we saw we drew PL in our group. We really wanted to beat PL.
Things almost came apart for us after the RvB match we lost. But it had one rather interesting side-effect: we got a night when we weren't being watched by PL. At all. The whole team came together and we convinced our team captain that it was time to stop fencing. So we took the opportunity, the night before our PL match, to get in some practice with the Execution comp while we had a whole system on Sisi to ourselves. But the damn plan almost came apart right there! Toward the end of one of our practices with Exodus (our sparring partners this year), we were in that comp wrapping up a fight when a PL spy appeared in Local.
"Wrap it up!" our FC said, "Pop wrecks! Back to station!" The last thing we wanted PL to see was us in something other than Bhaalgorn, Curse, Oracle, Oneiros. We'd won the last sparring match in the Execution comp, but I said "Someone say 'Rote white flag' in Local! Quick! Quick! Rote white flag!" We'd been showing PL spies a lot of that, too. Someone got it typed into Local and we ended that night's practice soon after. We wanted PL to think we were whipped.
Apparently, it worked. ;-)
So why did PL bring that ultra-finesse comp against us? Again, I can only guess. But as I said on our comms before our PL match began, "They came here ready to out-finesse us." I have to admit a certain satisfaction when I said it. Their comp was the perfect counter to Bhaalgorn, Curse, Oracle, Onieros. Against what we actually brought, though? Not so much.
"I've got a chainsaw to their face instead," our FC replied, and started issuing orders. It's not every day you can out-meta-game Pandemic Legion.
Is that how things really went down? I don't think we'll ever know. PL likely won't say a word about why they brought that comp. Still, I'm glad we could give everyone watching that match a good show.
And if you lost money on us, I'm not sorry at all. ;-) Couple more posts about AT, then I'll move on to other things.