The Syndicate Competitive League series three was this weekend, something I forgot to mention in advance. Due to real life, I missed the first day's matches only to find that the second day's semi-finals and finals comprised many familiar faces: Insurance Fraud, Pandemic Legion, Warlords of the Deep, and The Reputation Cartel. It's funny how dominant these four teams have become in the EVE eSports meta. Most of it is having great pilots, of course, but a lot comes down to having great theory-crafters.
There was an interesting discussion late in the day on whether PL has lost most or all of its good theory-crafters, but I think you could expand that to all of EVE. It's kind of funny how infrequently there is something new under the sun. Of course it still happens, and with all the new ship classes it should happen more often because the trend has definitely slowed down recently.
And while discussing these philosophical topics and the match just ended, and the match just about to begin, SCL director Namamai kept having a bit of fun by showing off the Mythbuster's kitten-cam all day, hee.
::coughs:: Anyway, some really good fights today! Unfortunately, a lot of them were centered around "Tinker tanks". Named after the PL pilot Tinkeng, these are the circular energy-transfering tanks that have become so prevalent in EVE tournament play since the New Eden Open. Initially very simple, these comps were centered on trios of Vargurs or Golems but are now expanding to lots of different comps. The classic tinker is becoming a comp centered on a tech3 logistics ship like a Legion or Tengu with a massive self-rep tank powered by cap transfers provided by everyone else in the gang... usually heavily resist-tanked drone boats in the PL iteration.
And today, we saw a ton of it. Armor tinkers centered on a Legion. Shield tinkers centered on a Basilisk or Tengu. Hell, today in an attempt to be humorous after they pushed PL to two losses in the finals, the Warlords of the Deep decided to be all ironical and bring an armor tinker setup themslves only to find that PL brought a shield tinker team. And for 20 minutes, the SCL was presented with the unfortunate display of two male turtles trying to mate. Exciting tournament action this was not. ;-) Remember, this is coming from a guy that likes watching tactical battles.
|Mythbusters kittens? Or Pandemic Legion forming up on their Basilisk?|
CCP Fozzie, again acting as the CCP rep and providing tool and logistics support to the SCL (and reconfirming his heroism by doing so) finally got exasperated with the PL team captain and said that "if you guys go tinker again, I'm gonna delete all your titans." Hee! Quote of the week, right there. CCP Rise was also on hand to provide occasional help and commentary and was also really helpful!
Anyway, thank Heaven, the Warlords of the Deep team was able to overcome the PL tinker menace in the end to win this month's SCL series for first place. Great job, Warlords! At one point, they brought a particularly audacious Curse-anchored comp with bombers loaded with Void bombs to break the tinker tank. It worked fabulously well: you could see the cap chains collapsing when the first Void bomb went off. Quite fun and effective!
The SCL team continues to get better and better at this tournament thing. A new innovation this time was to alternate between matches so that you got two teams in the first semi-final best-of-three, then the second two teams in their first best-of-three, then back to the first two teams for their second match, and so on. It was a really really nifty change to the scheduling process, and really sped things up across the matches. Nice idea!
SCL continues to happen on the Singularity test server and because the test server has a preliminary Odyssey load on it, that meant that all of the battleship changes, the new faction battleships, and the new faction battle cruisers were in play! That made for some interesting fights with Hurricane Navy Issues and Megathron Navy Issues being favorite ships, but lots of others making appearances, in particular the new cruise missile power-houses the Typhoon, Raven, and Raven Navy Issue. Ripard starts cruise missile training in a couple of weeks. ;-) It's one of his last weapon systems before he has all of them at T2.
Viewership peaked at a little over 500 this time, no doubt due to the lesser publicity this series received. If CCP is going to get serious about eSports, events like this are really going to have to get more direct focus from CCP, though to be fair CCP Dolan is also very busy with CSM-related activities. So I'm a little conflicted there. ;-) And as always, the commentary was top-notch with Apathetic Brent, Bacchanalian, Elendar, and Seldarine doing the honors there. Expect one or more of these guys to be commentating on AT11.
Anyway, all in all a really good day of PvP action, some fun incompetent flying from Duckslayer (who lost The Reputation Cartel an easy win by flying at top speed right out of the edge of the arena) and DHB Wildcat (who couldn't bump anything to save his life today), and a preview of the tactics we can all look forward to seeing at Alliance Tournament XI which is going to be in a couple of months. And yours truly got to get on the air for a few minutes today and chit-chat about CSM8, which was fun...
Looking forward to SCL series four next month!