After all, there wasn't much to talk about. We were in our Execution comp: DPS, DPS, and more DPS. E-war was for the other guy. Our comp had been modified from the original plan to reduce its cost in points, but that was deliberate. We knew that to advance, we had to beat PL and we had to beat Kill It With Fire. But even if we scored two wins, our rather anemic performance against RvB meant that we weren't doing that great on points, either. So we needed some bonus points. But we didn't need to talk about any of that. Every one of us knew what was at stake. So, we talked about Mechwarrior Online.
Nobody outside Rote Kapelle gave us much of a chance. I heard later that the odds against us ran anywhere from 3.3 to 1 to 11 to 1.(1)
The comp name is a play on words, of course. Execute is a noun with two major meanings: to perform in accordance to a plan, or to put to death. This comp was about both. We'd be putting Rote Kapelle's core strength on display, our ability to fly ships well, get on target at the right range, with the right ammo, the right damage avoidance, and the right tactics. The boundary was only on our minds as something the other guy would have to worry about. This time, 11 out of 12 of our ships warped to the beacon at zero.
|Common view of me when practicing this comp|
It's not a comp without risks, of course. During practice (more on that after AT10), I brought a lot of Enyos and Iskurs home in low structure. Today, I asked for an Enyo. I got an Ishkur, which was OK with me. I like both. I still have a fondness for "green and covered with blasters." But the Ishkurs were on tackle duty. With our Bhaalgorn/Oneiros/Oracle comp, I'd proven myself an aggressive tackler but still able to keep a frig alive.
We also talked about what to name our ships. Diseases? Roman Emperorors? Even an hour before the match, we still weren't decided. The ships were delivered to us named after OPEC countries. That was a play on the new OTEC commercial being played during AT10, the PL logo in those commercials central and prominent. I drew "Iraq", probably because of a certain Information Minister. Then someone brought up Elise Randolph and his Taylor Swift fetish. There was some laughter, then we quickly all renamed our ships after Swift songs. I chose "The Story of Us".
I'll get "Iraq" back if we get out of group and end up fighting Goons, I suspect.
Before I even knew it, we were on the field. Our entire comp cost about 1.4 billion ISK. PL's comp cost literally one hundred times that: four 30-billion ISK frigates and a 20-billion ISK flagship, plus assorted debris. Put another way: we found out later that their four Vengeances had more ISK invested in the Dread Guristas rockets in their cargo holds than we had in every one of our ships and everything in them. Did we know PL was bringing such an expensive comp? Yeah, we were vaguely aware of it. "What's a Malice?" someone asked. "AT prize ship. It's a super-tanked Cruor," someone else said. "Then we ignore them," was the order from our FC. Cap wasn't something we needed much, either.
We were a lot more concerned about the PL ship names.
"That's their flagship, Flaghorn," I said.
"Who's flying it?" the FC asked -- there were two Bhaalgorns on field.
"B'reanna," someone else said, "26 kilometers away."(2)
"That's the primary then. When we start, all your DPS on B'reanna. Guys, we kill these two Bhaalgorns, we've won this match," the FC said.
We'd practiced against both Bhaalgorn- and Vindi-heavy setups. We knew we had the DPS to break the tanks of two of either, even in the teeth of full Guardian reps. Therefore, we'd ignore enemy logi to start. After we learned a bit more about the Malices before the match started, the FC said "Sturm, that means you're dead," naming our Scimi pilot, "That's where this is going. Sorry about that, but there's nothing we can do."
So, did it ever occur to us to specifically go after and destroy the Malices? Nope. We were focused on winning the match. That meant killing the Bhaalgorns. Killing Malices only ever entered our minds after both PL Bhaalgorns, the Guardian, and two Vengeances were down. "I'd like to kill a 30-billion ISK frigate," the FC said at that point, almost as an afterthought. By that time, the Malices were doing everything possible to protect themselves. And that was pretty easy, because they're fast, tanky, and were sniping at us at 40+ kilometers with Medium Beam Laser IIs. By that time, we only had one, maybe two tacklers left.
Maybe PL was looking to put on a show, but we weren't. Pride didn't go before a fall, pride went before a chainsaw to the face.
About the actual match, I don't have much to say except things went exactly according to our plan. One Bhaalgorn down, two Bhaalgorns down. Once that was done, one PL Vengeance was close and paid the price for it. We tried to break a second, but couldn't do it under reps. That meant a tail-chase to run down the Guardian. I was the second tackler to land on him. PL was going for our Enyos which had no tackle, which was fine by the Ishkur pilots including myself, who did. Once the Guardian was down, we found another Vengeance in close proximity and nuked him.
Only then did we think about the Malices, and we didn't think about the flagship Bhaalgorn loot at all. Later, we learned that one of the PL Vengeances dove down on their wreck to scoop it. The only result to that was that it put that Vengeance in my tackle range, so tackle it I did. That ultimately cost me my ship, but given that I died to tackle an eight billion ISK frigate, I'm rather content. ;-)
Finding 12 MBL2s firing Aurora at me from ranges of between 20 and 30 kilometers, I declared "I'm going to try to pull range." The FC, seeing me in structure, approved. My plan was to open out to about 75km or so to break the locks of the Malices, then see if I could sneak back in on one while they were more concerned with Sleipnirs. Didn't work, of course. The Malices were still hitting me at almost 50km when I died, and it's hard to maintain transversal from four spread-out targets at once. That left me watching the rest of the match in a pod. Again! Still, I was a lot happier this time! First order of business for me (again): rearrange our fleet to make sure bonuses were still getting applied.
About the now-infamous Ben Booley troll, I have nothing to say. I wasn't involved.
Final score, Rote Kapelle 95 to 52. Great fight, PL, and much respect to you from everyone in Rote including myself. You made us work for it, no doubt about it! The Local chat from our opponents afterward was 100% gracious and professional. As for us, we did exactly what we needed to do to stay alive for another week. Next up, Kill It With Fire, who we must beat to even have a chance of advancing out of group.
(1) One of our guys made more than a billion ISK on a 100 million ISK bet.
(2) The commentators thought it was Dancul1001 flying it, but he wasn't. nbd.