Rote Kapelle, 50-16. All you people that wanted to watch me die on TV got your wish. One of my many fans was particularly savagely gleeful about it. I'm glad I could make you happy. There isn't enough happiness in the world.
Overall, I'm extremely happy with our performance today, and I was happy with the match in general. The match you watch is time-delayed from the actual match, so I was able to watch most of the match on the video stream after participating in it. I would like to say that Michael BoltonIII is doing a much better job commentating this week than last week. When he tries to be a serious commentator, he's actually pretty good at it. When he tries to be "entertaining" or "colorful", he's ridiculously poor. And he had the latter turned up to 11 last week -- he was almost unwatchable. This week, he's doing a much better job, so keep it up, MB3!
An experienced swordsman fears an inexperienced swordsman more than another experienced one: the inexperienced swordsman might do anything. The good news is that we specifically wanted to win with low points last week so that we'd draw a mid-level opponent this week. That strategy worked exactly as we wanted it to. What we specifically didn't want was to be among the mess of 62.5 point teams and end up facing either an extremely strong opponent in the six-mans, or worse, a team that might try to troll us with a overly defensive comp (how'd that work out for you, Gorgon Empire?). We knew Fluffeh Bunneh would be coming in to win, and so would we. So that was two worries down.
The bad news is that pulling intel on Fluffeh Bunneh pilots, we had no idea what comp they might bring. So we had to practice our comp against a lot of different enemy comps. Against any random comp we could think of, our "Sleipnir-Curse" comp was destroying it. Rote Kapelle has the best Curse pilots in New Eden, as far as I'm concerned. Vindi/Oneiros comps have been very common, as has the PL so-called "Sledgehammer" comp: Sleipnir, three Cyclones, and two frigates. So we spent a lot of time practicing our comp against both. We didn't have very much trouble at all beating the Vindi comp.
Sledgehammer? Not so much.
We practiced against Sledgehammer lots of times and it was always a 50-50 shot. And most of that was simply my fault. We eventually decided that the best way for our comp to beat Sledgehammer was to kite it for a while. The plan was two-fold: make the enemy Sleipnir burn cap charges until his ASB reload cycle, and kill enemy ECM drones. We'd commit to battle only after the Sleip was in reload. It's critical not to get tackled by one of the Cyclones because all three PL Cyclones seemed to have webs. So if you get tackled by one, you're tackled by all three and it's over for you.
And that kept happening to me. Bad piloting or bad luck, I kept straying within web range and getting tackled in practice. I finally pulled our team captain aside and said he should pull me and replace me with someone else. "No," he told me. "You're gonna figure out how to do this." So we went back and did it again, and again, and again. And I finally learned how to avoid or break the web tackles. And we learned how to cap out the Cyclones and outlast them. Against other comps, I wasn't having any problems at all. In particular, against Vindi, I knew exactly what to do and had proven it in practice several times.
So, Sledgehammer was the comp that I was most concerned with when we warped in. But it's only one comp, and Fluffeh might bring any comp... right? Aheh. Yeah. Ironically when I saw that it was Sledgehammer, while the other Sleip pilot was nervous, I became very, very calm. At least I knew.
Last week fighting PIZZA, we named all of our ships after U.S. pizza chains. This week, fighting Fluffeh Bunneh, we named our ships after knights from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I laughed when I learned the ship name I'd been assigned: Sir Bedevere. I asked the guy that named the ships if it was intentional. He said no. But it was probably fate that I was assigned the name of the pseudo-intellectual douche-bag of Arthur's knights. ;-) Sir Bors was the fated knight who was beheaded by the Fluffeh Bunneh of legend; that name was assigned to one of our Merlins.
Guess that should have been me. The initial part of our plan worked perfectly... except Fluffeh didn't bring e-war drones. I was soon covered in damage drones. So that part of the plan was not relevant. We kited around, making the enemy Sleip burn charges. I was following the lead Sleip when he passed within 11km of one of the Cyclones safely. I passed behind him at the same range and started to slow down. I prepared to break web tackle...
...only to find it was a scram, not a web. Our Curse tried to break the tackle with neuts.
...only to find that the Fluffeh Bunneh Cyclones were cap-injected. You never know what an inexperienced swordsman is going to do.
So much for all my practice in breaking web tackles. I wasn't going to break a scram tackle with the three ECM drones remaining to me. So we committed to the fight, but at that point my fate was sealed. Even with an ASB, a Sleipnir can't tank three Cyclones and a Sleipnir through a reload cycle. All we could do was hope to burn down their Sleip first. I went full overheat on my guns and defenses to insure it, then we got a head start on a Cyclone. Once I was down, I spent the rest of the fight calling which Fluffeh Cyclones were using hardeners and which couldn't thanks to our Curse.
So again... all in all, I'm content. If one of our Sleips had to go down, I'm glad it was me. xoXFatCatXox is a better pilot than I am, and he was better able and better equipped to finish the slaughter. He proved it today.
Still, I had a great time. gf, Fluffeh Bunneh. On to the group stage!