We may not be deployed to Null any more, but that doesn’t mean I won’t disband a scheduled Op and go 2 mids for a cool bombing run.
So, another quiet sunday in Kinakka when I get messaged by the Head of PR for System lords Collective [S.C.K] who had a POCO a few jumps out which had been rfed by SCUM. Waffles have a long history with SCUM, we both live out of the only station in Kinakka when we are deployed there, and we rather like shooting at each other.
Anyways, it’s either 7 jumps through HiSec or 17 thgrough low and we have ~2 minutes before SCUM are supposedly going to drop some BlOps BS on it. I get a Waffle hero Michael Chausseur (whose heroism shall be explained later) to keep eyes on the POS and form up our Wolf fleet to go mess with SCUM as we can stay under their guns, apply scrams to stop them MJDing and the collective had already stated their intent to bring along some long ranged DPS. We get to 2j out, wait for the call to come in for a few minutes and we’re quickly in a fight we didn’t expect.
Instead of there being BlOps BS at zero on the POCO, there was a swarm of frigs on the SCK snipers 120 from us. We burn in and start taking them down, clearing all of them off the SCK gang, but just as we do ~8 Piwat CO [PIVOT.] T3s land on the POCO at zero. They’re plenty far from us so we finish SCUM off and blap a random Beam Apoc who had come in at range:
given that they had no logis, a single kill would be worth my entire fleet and the promise of extra DPS from the reshipped SCK we engage the T3 gang, only to have them drop an Archon on us. No worries, that was part of the expectation so I just pulled us out and spoke to my new friend in SCK on what we were going to do. PIVOT. had more Archons on standby and while SCK were confident in that fight, if SCUM sided with them their Alliance CEO was not willing to risk a full AHAC + Cap fleet.
We start to head home, but as we arrive in Kinakka we see a SCUM BS fleet warping off to their POS, which they summarily drop on the PIVOT. Fleet. We race back and start picking off what we can in what escalates to a small cap brawl involving a Nyx which kept warping in and out of the engagement. Here is the summation BR of all of the above:
SCUM win the field, but as they’re mopping up the last of PIVOT. the aforementioned Waffle hero noticed the SCUM Titan (owned by smidster), which had been used to bridge their BS in had drifted 3/4 out of their staging POS. The Quick Response Legion phone was dialled, HICs & Cynos were set up and god’s wrath was quickly applied to the Avatar, where it died so quickly even the Waffle fleet didn’t have time to jump in to get on the kill.
SniggWaffe’s glorious return to Kinakka allows me to once again take out my beloved dual-prop Thorax fleet, or #TWEETFLEET if you prefer (TWin EnginE Thorax). The fits evolve with the times and what you’re likely to see, so there are a few minor changes to the last time I posted about them. Firstly, the Thorax itself:
With my acquisition of a links toon, I can comfortably use a second mag stab over a second EANM. after some thought I decided that the low I used to use of an explosive hardener was too valuable, and instead am now plugging that hole with a rig.
Now there are many worries about both blasters and the void ammo itself, but when you look at the numbers and consider the rest of the ship life is pretty good. Thanks to CCP still having ridiculous tracking bonuses on hulls (7.5%/level), with void loaded you’re tracking better than a Rupture with 220s fitted with Gallente cruiser at III, which can already track even frigates quite well. Add the scram/web fitted to each ship to the equation and tracking is not a concern, and even then I make sure everyone has CNA in reserve. With regards to projection, a similar solution is provided. The dual-prop plus scram/web means that assuming you start the fight brawling (which is kind of the point) you can be on the primary in short order, even if scrammed. No DPS anchor is used, haul ass to the primary and apply your ridiculous DPS.
Next ship, the logistics backbone. When armour brawling you have three options: Augorors, Cap Injected Exequrors and Cap Stable Exequrors. Each have their own strengths and weaknesses; Augorors have a cap chain, which makes them very hard to neut. In most fits you have 2 spare mids, meaning you have room for both an ECCM and a SeBo (the SeBo is important due to the base nerf to T1 logi scan resolution & the prelevance of sensor dampening in the current meta). Exequrors, thanks to their sizeable drone bay and hull bonus to rep drones will actually apply more reps than their Amarr counterparts. Generally speaking cap-injected Exeqs are going to be able to fit more tank and are inherently more neut-resistant than their passively stable brothers, but you are effectively putting a timer on how long your Exeqs make a difference to the fight, being somewhere between 7-10 minutes. Given the sparsity of neuting in cruiser and down brawls that makes me most inclined to choose the cap stable Exeq. I can brawl and roam as long as I like without worrying about cap charge replacement and it’s one less thing for the Logis themselves to worry about. I’m currently using the fit from Waffles old Mallrat Doctrine but I’m being swayed by marginally more blingy, but more tanky versions:
Back to my one true love, the Celestis. With the prevalence of drones and the limited effectiveness of LMLs I’ve gone back to smartbombs in the highs. These things are incredible, having 2-3 in your fleet can change fights from unwinnable to unloseable.
On my first outing with these bad boys in our current Kinakka deplyment we ran into a roughly equal sized Villore Accords Armour cruiser fleet and thoroughly dunked them. Coming soon to a grid near you!
So it turns out if you shoot people’s structures they get mad and shoot back. Naturally, I immediately went scouting and found a POS near Waffles staging, reinforcing it in a few minutes on a Saturday evening after my scheduled BlOps fleet.
The POS in question belonged to RAZOR Alliance, who are a 3500-man CFC member alliance. Armed with our gorgeous (and completely stolen from Darkside) Naga fleet, I managed to pull together 40 of Waffles 200-man membership to see if we could get some action, and if not just blow up their mining operations. We landed on grid, blew up the POS, so I summarily dismissed the fleet and went on to plan my next op.
However, shortly after I left the channel I got word that a RAZOR Oracle fleet had come back to immediately re-anchor a medium POS in its’ place. Pings went out and thankfully 30 waffles were still around and we valiantly set forth for some pewpew. The numbers of DPS and logi were pretty even, but they had a wing of 4 bombers firing waves of electron bombs at us, as well as a good number of interceptor/Interdictor support. Despite all this, we DUNKED them. We traded a ‘Ceptor for 4 Oracles, a Naga, a Keres, a Sabre and a Scimitar.
After they ran off, we decided to reinforce this shiny new POS, but their retreat was only temporary to do a full CTA rageping for a 80-man Maelstrom fleet which they quickly dropped on us. Deeming this ungentlemanly, we lit our own cyno and dropped a PL Proteus fleet on them. We chased RAZOR back to Doril, their staging system, and finished reinforcing the new POS after picking off stragglers. The new timer was only four hours, so in good spirits we set up another Op timer and did some other stuff. Here is a combined battle report for the two engagements, as well as a video of the second:
(Video still being edited)
Fast forward 4 Hours, 45 brave Waffle once again sail forth to Utopia with PL on standby in case RAZOR got mad again. However, RAZOR, the 3500-character alliance, member of the largest coalition of EVE-players in the history of the game, only managed to pull together a 30-man Muninn fleet which scarpered as soon as we landed on grind. The problem for them was that they scapered to Doril, where the PL backup was sat on the other side of the gate. While they tacked and killed what they could get their mitts on, we finished off the POS, impeded only by a Goon ISBoxing bomber squad, who failed to get any kills, but lost most of his bombers. Thanks to what I can only assume is not paying attention, he rewarped the remaining bombers and all his pods back to us to we could have another run of shooting at him.
After placing some commemorative cans, we went home to go on a good old fashioned roam.
Last night E-UNI had an arranged fight with FCON. I won’t go into how I found out about this, but let’s just say I knew where and when it was going to happen with about 2 hours notice and thought it might be fun to crash the party and apply some Waffle dunkage. What followed the two hours before was 3 hours of stress, frustration and euphoria. The plan was simple, get our lovely Darkside Naga doctrine formed up with enough people, travel two regions over and get a good warpin. Oh, and don’t get bollocksed by the myriad of blocs with fleets along the way.
A borrowed Titan bridge and a lot of jumping later, we’re 5 jumps out freeburning as we’re 10 minutes late (battlecruisers are slow bastards these days) and I hear that the E-UNI gang have engaged FCON. Their armour gang vs FCONs Cerbfleet. The result of the fight was pretty predictable.
Let me take a moment here to say FCON, dick move, seriously. E-UNI can’t do damage projection and have very few Recon pilots. If you’re going to have an arranged fight bring something they can trade with, don’t bring something to just sit at 60 and burn through everything they have without a chance of ever losing ships. Arranged fights should bring fun to both sides, so don’t be cocks.
Rant over, anyways, after 10s of forming on the ingate and sorting a warpin (cheers Gallastian) we landed on grid. Numbers were pretty even between our Naga gang and the Cerbs, though their sig radius, perfect damage application and ability to control the fight through superior speed gave them a slight advantage. Evidently that meat they should warp off immediately as we landed on grid, feeding us a Scimi we managed to tackle.
E-UNI had very few pilots left, so they bravely limped back through the Skarkon gate and made themselves scarce. As you can tell, I wasn’t very happy with FCON and we’d traveled quite a long way with very little to show for it, so I gave chase only to find they had 120 dudes ready to go two systems over. Cue the Cerb fleet going and docking up to be replaced by a 80-90 man rail Ferox gang with ~20 Logis and plenty of tackle.
At this point you’re probably expecting a trademark ambitious but inevitably futile Apothne welp. NOT TODAY FRIENDS!
Fortunately for me Waffles were on top form. The Waffle Naga anchor (Morrow Disca, soon to be retiring to NIGGS) kept us at the lovely range of just under 50km from their Feroxs, right at the edge of our optimals, and (in my head) forcing the Feroxs to choose as long a range ammo as possible while maintaining maximum DPS for us, making life for our logis much easier. Our pilots focused fire beautifully, logis were on the ball keeping us repped up (though it got a little hairy at times) and our support were hero-pointing and webbing/painting targets like pros.
Unfortunately for FCON, they were not. As you can see from the BR the Feroxs with T2 guns had Spike loaded, giving them an optimal of ~97. Sure, we’re in DPS range but you’re doing ~270DPS with horrific tracking, whereas with faction Thorium you’d be doing 100 more, while still being at good range. Their pilots with T1 guns had STANDARD antimatter loaded. For the inexperienced, the difference between faction ammo and standard ammo is that faction does a ton more damage…..and that’s about it. The general rule in EVE is that you use standard ammo for structure shoots (and only then if you’re cheap), and faction/T2 for everything else. With the standard antimatter (and meta1 guns, really? I know meta 4s are expensive but meta 3s do wonderfully) they’re doing 332 DPS at 23+15, i.e doing zero damage to us. If we once again consider faction Thorium, they’d be doing 286 DPS that would actually hit us.
Now, a quick aside to speak to Railgun doctrines, which were both being used here. Antimatter is your short range ammo (Javelin is rarely useful), Uranium/Plutonium is your medium range ammo, Thorium is your long range ammo and Spike is your ridiculously long range ammo. Not carrying sets of each is akin to flying a Pulse laser doctrine without scorch. Not a good idea.
My three favourite kills however are these:
http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=20862165 Small gun Ferox? He’s using faction ammo at least I guess.
http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=20862314 Javelin? Really? 13.5+10 is what you wanted?
http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=20862162 Next-to-no-tank attempting-to-be cap stable Osprey. wow.
We managed to bag a few extra kills on the way home but not much else worth of mention happened. Mocking FCON baddies and berating poor doctrine choices is all well and fun, but what I would like to speak about now however is how terrible I was during the pre- and post-fight part of the fleet. I was fairly happy with the fight itself, I called intelligent targets, told our anchor where I wanted us to go and maintained good situational awareness, but for the travelling my words were continuously garbled,my decisions were slow and garbled and I spaced out often and had to continually ask scouts to repeat intel (especially after the fight).
This is where I find myself with FCing these days, I have enough experience and familiarity with popular doctrines that I can make relatively intelligent decisions and control the fight decently, but that is a fraction of what a FC needs to do. Moving the fleet itself around with ad hoc desto changes, having multiple different sources of intel through different mediums coming through and being so incredibly short on time blew my circuits and I pretty much cocked it all up. After the fight(s) I find myself a mixture of exhausted and elated, draining my concentration substantially and ruining any good maneuvers to eek out more kills. I can’t imagine any of the Waffles on my fleet were particularly happy with me or confident that I was doing good things while we were both setting up and leaving.
Frankly, the fact that we got the fight with the Feroxs was pure luck, as soon as our original target the Cerb fleet warped off in L4X I had that awful moment of realisation that I had brought us all the way out here for nothing but a single Scimi kill. Thus, I have the following things to work on, which are also factors any FC should be thinking about:
– Mental stamina: It is my dream to one day be competent enough and have the opportunity to lead a PL campaign and FC large scale, important campaigns and engagements not only passably, but fantastically. There’s no hope of doing this if I can’t maintain a high level of concentration and mental acuity for extended periods of time.
– Delegation: Partly to help with the above, but in general I will have a finite number of things I am capable of doing at any one point in time. There will be a subset of those things which I can do well, everything else needs to be delegated so that all jobs get done well.
– Presence & Personality: It was noticeable how at the PL London meet, whenever Hedliner opened his mouth the room stopped, turned and paid attention. Even when he was just chatting you could see people twitch to listen, tables over when he started speaking loudly. A 23 year old, green student had the attention of middle aged professionals as well as all kinds of nerds in general and people from all walks of life. He obviously has done a damn sight more to earn their respect than me, but any long-term FC should make people want to listen to him and enjoy spending time in his or her fleets. I am currently awful at this.
My mate Theon Severasse of Waffles is a badass solo pilot.