Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Do and die

Despite going only five for nine with my week one AT10 predictions, I don't feel too bad about them.  There were a lot of surprising matches last week, and I wasn't the only one caught off guard by a few of them.  Who could have predicted that SOLAR would perform so terribly, and the Goons would perform so well, for instance?  And tourney watchers right up to Raivi picked Perihelion over Hun Reloaded and were wrong about it.

One of the things that's really aggravating about the pre-qualifiers rounds is that a lot of really good teams are going to be eliminated after only one bad match.  One pilot that doesn't show up for the match, or one pilot that makes a mistake or misunderstands an order and bam, that team is out of the tournament.  It's one reason I'd like to see the group stages moved earlier in the process and single-eliminations moved later.

As it is, teams that would make later stages of the AT better or at least more interesting, such as TEST Alliance, RAZOR, and Brick Squad have virtually no chance of advancing.  Meanwhile, a lot of teams that got the celebrated 62.5 points out of their first match are probably going to finish with those 62.5 points after next week.  Because of the way opponents are matched, all those 62.5 points bought them was a fight against another 62.5 point team.  Last year, there were eleven teams that ended AT9 with 62.5 points.

I wouldn't give you five cents for the chances of either Verge of Collapse or Alpha Volley Union this week, for instance, and both teams scored maximum points last week.  The same sort of thing will be happening in the loser's bracket.  I think my old alliance-mates in LAWN will do just fine against Wormholes Holders... and it won't make a shred of difference since they didn't get any points last week.

That's the tyranny of this particular pre-qualifying system.

Still, there's some interesting match-ups in both the loser's bracket on Saturday and the winner's bracket on Sunday that will make for some good fights.  Again, my predictions are in bold-face.

Day 3, July 7:
  • 15:00 Curatores Veritatis Alliance vs Noir. Mercenary Group.  This one could be a close match, but Noir seems to have really lost their mojo this year.  From what I hear, their tourney captain was a no-show last week.  Alekseyev Karrde's Basilisk fit was also entertainingly bad.  CVA, meanwhile, brought a good set-up last week; they really only lost to poor execution.
  • 15:40 RAZOR Alliance vs Dirt Nap Squad.  Should be entertainingly one-sided.  In fact, I dare say this will be the most one-sided match of the second weekend.  Razor will be looking to murder DNS 50-0 and then will pray for a lot of low-scoring matches on Sunday.  More on that in a bit.
  • 16:20 SOLAR FLEET vs BricK sQuAD.  Why Brick Squad felt the need to go with Taloses of all things -- a ship that unsurprisingly had a 27% survival rate last week -- is beyond me.  Still, they're the better alliance at this kind of fight and they should win, particularly after the horrible show SOLAR put on against Dead Terrorists.
  • 19:40 PERCUSSIVE PIZZA TIME DIPLOMACY vs ROMANIAN-LEGION.  Battle of the capital letters.  I think our opponents last week did pretty well, and we gave them just enough points that a convincing victory against the Romanians will allow them to advance into the group stages.  As for ROMANIAN-LEGION, bringing four ships to a qualifying match was a bad idea last year.  Still, this one should be a good fight.

Day 4, July 8:
  • 15:00 Rote Kapelle vs Fluffeh Bunneh Murder Squad.  We drew exactly the sort of opponent we wanted, and we should have a nice clean match because of it.
  • 15:20 FEARLESS. vs Nulli Secunda.  Nulli brought the second worst set-up that I saw last week and only managed to win because they faced the worst set-up last week.  FEARLESS should have no trouble with them.  But the kill reports should be very entertaining.
  • 17:20 The G0dfathers vs THE R0NIN.  Should be the most interesting fight of the second week-end.  It's a pity because both of these teams should advance, so hopefully it will be fairly close.  It certainly has the potential to be!
  • 19:00 Against ALL Authorities vs Northern Coalition.  Should be another really close fight.  NCdot brought last week's most common set-up (2 @ Sleipnir, 1 @ Scimitar, 3 @ frigate) and executed really really well with it.  -A- brought virtually the same set-up against a weaker team and had more trouble.  So I think execution will win this one.

Some things to watch out for.  First, there are a ton of teams coming into this weekend with zero points this year.  The second week-end is traditionally about "Hail Mary" comps: comps using fewer than the allotted 50 points.  I think we're going to see a lot of 40- and 42-point Hail Mary comps this weekend, particularly on Saturday.  A 40-point comp that nonetheless wins 50-0 scores 72.5 points for the match and has a good chance of advancing into the group stage.

Saturday is the loser's bracket: everyone fighting Saturday lost last week.  Sunday is the winner's bracket.  Anyone who has two wins, regardless of points, advances to the group stage.  As a result, anyone who loses Saturday is out of AT10, no matter how many points they get.  Anyone who wins Sunday goes on to group, no matter how few points they get.  Fights early on Saturday, though, are potentially effectively meaningless.  They're between teams that each have zero points.  As a result, expect to see a lot of those Hail Mary comps in the first six or eight or ten fights on Saturday.  Those teams have to use them if they want any chance of advancing.

Saturday winners will be hoping for 50-0 wins.  They'll then be hoping for 2-0 wins from the competitors on Sunday.  The lower the point scores on Sunday, the better that is for Saturday teams.  However, if we see lots and lots of explosions in close matches on Sunday -- and therefore, lots of points scored by both sides -- very few of the Saturday teams will advance to group.

I also think there's a pretty good chance we're going to see some "Screw you, have zero points" comps, particularly from the smaller under-dog teams.  It might be very tempting for Verge of Collapse, Alpha Volley Union, Out of Sight, Babylon 5, or Dirt Nap Squad to bring in heavily-tanking, heavy e-war teams and in so doing try to limit their losses and keep their much higher-profile opponents from advancing.  If you're Alpha Volley Union facing Pandemic Legion this weekend, the temptation to grief PL with a hugely defensive team might be hard to resist, particularly if one of PL's high-profile opponents offers a pay-off to do so...

Good luck to all of the competitors (except one) this weekend!


  1. Karbox DelacroixJuly 5, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Second to last paragraph is were Garth broke free from his chains and wrestled the keyboard away from Jester's hands. And it is good.

  2. "One of the things that's really aggravating about the pre-qualifiers rounds is that a lot of really good teams are going to be eliminated after only one bad match. One pilot that doesn't show up for the match, or one pilot that makes a mistake or misunderstands an order and bam, that team is out of the tournament. It's one reason I'd like to see the group stages moved earlier in the process and single-eliminations moved later."

    Well, I would really like to see some sort of mini-AT going on for the good part of the year. Maybe we could change the qualifiers to a round-robin format and just have a higher rotation with the commentators and the devs overlooking the process. Imagine the extra publicity!

  3. Rather than putting in a heavily tanked setup to deny them points, why not send in a solo frigate? Sure, you lose, but the points the other team gets won't do them any favours.

    Or have I completely misunderstood how the scoring works?

    1. Serpentine LogicJuly 6, 2012 at 12:12 AM

      Any unused points from your allocation are given to the other team if you lose, or doubled and given back to you if you win.

  4. The alliance tournament reminds me of a Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament. If you study your opponent long enough, you can make reasonable predictions about what he'll throw. Of course, your opponent is thinking the same thing (unless he's a rookie) so he tests you in a couple of throw away matches. You aren't going to fall for that so you give a couple of random throws....

    Then the new guy steps in and says "what's this shit?!" and breaks your hand. GAME OVER (+62.5 points)

  5. Alekseyev Karrde has successfully proved that he not only fails utterly as a CSM member, but he also totally fails in small gang PVP.

    Why the hell did Noir have him in the logi? He obviously did not know how to fit it, nor how to fly it.

    Don't think we'll be hiring Noir for any merc work, if Karrde is their best foot forward.

    1. I had a look at his fit and I couldn't see what was wrong with it. AB instead of MWD seems fair enough, probably needs the cap. 4 Shield transfers and 2 Energy transfers is standard isn't it? Cap boosters and ASB don't seem bad to me nor do the lows. Did he fit the wrong resist mods?

    2. Nothing was wrong with it, my ASB just gave out that's all.

      If I made any mistake it was not figuring out a way to fit an XL booster on their somehow

  6. What makes that Basilisk fit so bad? It's not optimal but at least it has some of the modules right.

    1. Who's he cap transferring to? Oh, that's true. To the Feroxes. Where are the Feroxes going to be? Oh, that's right: right in the thick of the fighting. Good place for a Basilisk, no? ;-)

      Two medium cap transfers and the medium shield rep just put him right where he can get pounced on and killed. The afterburner ensures he can't run away, which is exactly what happened. Meanwhile, he has no smart bombs to defend himself from the inevitable ECM drone cloud...

      It's just a poor Basi fit.

    2. Your analysis of how logistics works in the alliance tournament is pretty lackluster Ripard. Medium cap trans vs large is 50km vs 70km. You cant start more than 50km from your team to begin with.

      ECM drones were never used on me, I was able to keep the other ships up till my local tank was overwhelmed.

      Let's see your Basi fit, or is that with your "if I was CSM" fantasy collection?

    3. Basis simply don't have the speed to keep from being ridden over. Afterburner Basis *definitely* don't. There's a very good reason that MWDing Scimis were the order of the weekend (by a 5-1 margin), and will continue to be.

    4. If, as Alekseyev argues, the fit isn't at fault, then that only leaves pilot error. So, let's look at the replay of the match:

      Alekseyev was popped in the first 1:30 of the match, facing a fairly mediocre setup, consisting of two Rooks, two Thrashers, a Dramiel and an Oneiros.

      Once webbed, 30 seconds into the match, the Basi lasted about 1 minute. It does not appear that the ASB is even running until 30 seconds after being under fire, and only just before bleeding into armor. Was this a failure to pay attention to the incoming damage, or being stingy with the cap boosters in the ASB? Either way, it is a stupid way to die.

      Now, how did the logi get tackled so quickly? Hmm... looks like he went in close to keep the Blackbird up - a rather poor tactical decision, since the Blackbird was already jammed into uselessness by the Rooks. It would have been smarter to just write off the Blackbird at that point, rather than risk the Basi.

      Esp. since without the Basi, the Blackbird went down anyways, 20 sec later.

      Ok, Alekseyev, you are right. The fit is ok - the problem was with the pilot.

    5. The difference between 50km and 70km is very significant for a logi pilot. It means that you can open the range between you and your team's combat ships when the match begins, keeping you an additional 20km away from your enemies' DPS. The difference often can make or break your ability to tank the incoming damage and avoid being tackled.

    6. Ships, fits, and pilot skill aside - I really think it simply comes down to this:

      Jester's team won (nice going).

      Alekseyev Karrde's team got squashed like bugs.

      Winners may not always be right, but losers are always wrong.

  7. The qualifying system currently rewards throwing a match with nearly all points scored.

    If you score for instance 48 points and suddenly all your ships die due to boundary violation, you will get into the loser bracket with a lot of points. So you will get (probably) somewhat weaker opponents, increasing your chance to score a total elimination. Once you win the match with at least 15 points scored (giving you 63 points after round 2), you will outscore the many 62.5 point teams that also scored only one win. With a total elimination of the enemy team, you will have 110.5 points, which pretty much assures you are placed #17, directly behind the teams with 2 wins.

    1. It's a valid tactic, but risky because if you lose the first weekend you absolutely MUST win the second. If you have 96 points and two losses, you're still not advancing. Going into the second weekend with one win under your belt is the much better place to be.

      The group stages reward winning just as much: if you win three times, you advance, even if you only score 6 points total doing it.

  8. "I wouldn't give you five cents for the chances of Verge of Collapse"

    I lol'd.

    1. Yeah, I'm definitely eating my words on that one. Fantastic job by that team. I was very surprised by the DarkSide comp.


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