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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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Test case

Welpfleet got into its first major supercap fight:

The Welpfleet Canes destroyed two super-carriers (a Hel and a Wyvern) and nine carriers, for the loss of about 150 BCs and virtually their entire special team.  On the one hand, it's a clear victory for GSF: the new tactic worked, even with a very large supercap contingent on the field.  On the other hand, I have to wonder if RaidenDOT didn't play this one a little dumb.  There were very few GSF hictors and dictors on the field.  All the GSF hictors were killed to the last ship in about three minutes, and it appears that their dictors were popped as quickly as they appeared.

So why lose any super-caps at all?  Was the GSF fleet doing that much DPS?  The time-stamps on the kills give us some clues: it looks like Raiden started attacking the hictors too late.  The Hel died while three of the hictors were still standing.  The Wyvern died about five minutes later with one hictor either still alive or dying almost simultaneously.

So that's lesson one: if you're going to bring your super-cap fleet, make sure they make killing hictors and dictors a priority.  Once the hictors were dead, Raiden took no further super-cap losses.

As for the carrier kills... the number of carriers on the field -- about 15 -- is clearly insufficient.  In a major fleet fight, carriers need to be used en masse or not at all.  There's no way this small number of carriers could support each other in the face of the GSF attack, even if they'd been R&K Pantheon fit.  They weren't.  All but one were somewhat hardened triage carriers that wouldn't have lasted two minutes under that many GSF Canes.  There's no way any of them survived even a single triage cycle, and in triage, they can't get reps from the other carriers on field, even if the reppers on the other carriers had been ideal, which they definitely were not.

So, overall for this first test case of the Welpfleet, victory doesn't go to the winner so much as the loss goes to the loser.  Raiden played this one really dumb.  The individual Raiden pilots (that lived) seemed to have a grand time, but the FC really should have looked more closely at his fleet composition before taking this GSF gang on.

One final note: if you are a kill-board whore and were to pick a side to be part of in this fight, assuming you lived, which side would you have wanted to be on?  The GSF side got 11 capital and super-capital kills, plus a half-dozen expensive sub-cap kills, worth some 50 billion ISK on their individual kill-boards.  The Raiden side, on the other hand, killed almost 200 ships.  The ISK killed wasn't anything even approaching the GSF tally, but getting on even half of those 200 kill-mails is a battle you'd remember for a long, long time.  ;-)  Kinda fun to think about.

Anyway, you can bet the other Welpfleet targets out there will be studying this test case closely and deciding how to adapt.


  1. If the Goons manage to survive until the supercap nerf hits, then it's going to be an extremely interesting winter :-)

  2. Hadn't Foundation proven that spider-tanking carriers were a better proposition than triage carriers? Why would you use triage when there are that many ships on grid?

    I'm looking forward to the next whelpfleet fight, mainly to see who improves their tactics fastest :)

  3. Yeah battles like this after supercaps get nerfed are going to be amazing.

  4. Cosmin, GSF currently has no immediate threats to their sov or existence, I'm sure they can hang on another month. ;) The more interesting question to me is how much of an effect this will have on supercapital stockpiles and fleet doctrines. In my opinion, the success of whelpfleet will continue after the nerf if capitals continue to be deployed without a sub capital support fleet. The counter to a highly mobile, high dps fleet composition remains to be seen really.

  5. The moment super-cap players realize that goons can show up at their whim and eat their lunch for comparable losses those super-caps will likely be parked. Question is do we have any solid numbers on the super-cap nerf attributes?

  6. Part of the goons' success there came down to good target calling - they picked shield supers that are necessarily reliant on active shield hardeners. That many canes will cap out a super in one or two neut cycles, switching off its hardeners and making it much easier to kill by slashing both its EHP and greatly reducing the effectiveness of incoming reps. IMO, the biggest likely short-term consequence of this fight is that it will increase the trend for armor tanked supers to go for completely capless tanks rather than relying on active hardeners that give very nice EFT numbers but can (literally) be neutralized when shit hits the fan.

  7. @Anon0701: Absolutely right. Nobody's ever lost when betting against a Hel's tank. That said, if the Raiden Archons had been fit properly, there should have been sufficient cap transfer available to keep the super resists up. Again, the Raiden FC should have looked at his fleet comp and didn't.

  8. Jester, analyzing fights by looking at killboards is not the most precise practice.

    That video shows the entire fight.

    Several things to note:
    1) Carriers, triaged or not, died in 30 seconds.

    2) More supers didn't die because goons ran out of hictors. They didn't die because goons ran out of ships.

  9. @Anon2114: Completely agreed, but at the time I wrote this piece, the video hadn't been released. ;-) Was doing the best I could with the data I had on hand.


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