The first weekend of our first ever Tournament is behind us. As you probably know by now, we lost our first match and won our second. As the FC and CEO of the Stay Frosty team I thought you might appreciate a little behind-the-scenes from me, and some of my thoughts and reactions to being in my first ever Eve style Tournament.
First of all, I wish I could communicate to you just how nerve-wracking those moments leading up to your first match are. As you can imagine, we were scrambling to make sure all our comps were prepared properly and alts were flying here and there to bring needed mods, ammo, scripts and drones to us. There was some confusion on our part that led to this logistical nightmare. This being our first time out, we thought our ships had to be ready in space before the match began. So, fearing a gate camp in our home system, we based our comps in another system. Turns out you need to be docked, so this concern and logistical problem on Saturday could have been easily avoided with that bit of fore-knowledge.
Adding to the pressure was the news that one of our link pilots was in the hospital and wouldn't be able to make the match. He was in an accident and hadn't been released yet. This also added to our last minute stress, as we needed to rebalance our comps to compensate for half our potential links on the field. We waited for the announced bans, which would determine the comp we'd be bringing. Sure enough, the bans pretty much removed (?) of our potential comps. So we had to bring our (?) comp, the one we'd practiced least with. With half-links.
I'm not making excuses. Just telling you what was happening to us behind the scenes. You can watch the match for yourself and see that the other team brought exactly the right comp to counter ours, that our poor Logi pilot (who is awesome btw!) missed cycles of reps, that we brought TDs that proved to be rather useless, etc etc. It is all there and it is all true. Rookie mistakes. Sweaty palms. Whatever. We got our asses handed to us. It happens.
Watch the match for yourself.
As I said in my pre-tourney post, this is about building a team for us. We knew going in that we'd be underdogs. We have no tournament experience, our pilots are young in many cases, we PvP more than just about anyone - but we don't always fly together. We had and continue to have, a lot of hurdles to jump over.
In addition, one of our NEO Team (who had access to some of our early planning) left Stay Frosty and joined the corporation made up of our corp thief and the Betrayer Director. So it is rather possible our opponents knew at least the general outline of our comps ahead of time. (I don't know if this is true or not, nor do I really care, but the possibility exists.)
The most important thing about Saturday's match is how well our team took the defeat and instantly started working on ways to improve. We spent a good couple of hours on comms afterwards planning and scheming for Sunday's match. The greatest thing about pirates is how used we are to losing. We fight all the time and losing happens. We don't turn tail and dock in our station when things don't go our way, we get right back in another ship and undock.
Our guys are resilient, combat tested, and extremely eager to prove themselves. What we lack in experience we more than make up for in passion for this game. And while we certainly would have liked to have won our first match, losing it as badly as we did only motivated us more. We want to make a good showing of ourselves. Or go out in a blaze of pirate glory.
From that was born the idea of a Pirate Themed comp. We wanted to go entirely pirate with every ship, but sadly we discovered that Pirate Rookie Ships are not allowed in the tournament by CCP. So our plans to bring an Immolator along had to be scrapped. Instead we brought a Merlin named, "Immolator Is Banned!"
It was tough working the numbers of this fleet comp, but we knew we'd most likely be without Logi (our Logi pilot is moving his house) and no one makes a pirate logi ship anyway. So we opted for pure dps, speed and webs. With some neuts and sensor damps for good measure.
If we did lose, at least we'd do it in style. But we felt good about our chances even before the match started. Unlike Saturday (which was the first time I'd ever flown an Eos into combat!) these ships were familiar to us. We fly pirate faction ships all the time and I'd had that Machariel for almost two years. (It was a gift from Tweetfleet!)
I can honestly say that I loaded and un-loaded my cargo bay about a gazillion times leading up to this match. More cap charges? Or more ammo? I kept doing it until I had, what I thought, was the perfect balance between the two. Little did I know at the time how critical just one more cap charge would become.
ONE. One stinking cap charge and my Mach would have made it to the end. To answer the question posed in the after-match commentary, "Why did the Mach die?", let me be as clear as I can. I had sentry drones on me the entire match. So I was not in any immediate danger up front, a casual here and there pop of the shield booster was enough to keep the damage mitigated. But it did use cap charges. The two Geddons both had long range neuts, so keeping range and trying to mitigate those neuts was my primary challenge. When one would grab me, another cap charge. This process worked extremely well. Well enough to kill every one of their ships, except that last Geddon.
It all came down to a critical moment when the first BS exploded. The last BS needed to die, his missiles were hitting me and I was under his neut. Cap pressure was rather intense and I can still remember the moment when the last cap charge spun around the booster. At that moment I overheated the guns again, and essentially prayed he'd go down before me. My hope was that he'd switch his neut again, which he had been doing before, to one of the remaining Cyns. If he'd have done that, then I might have had a chance. The last booster spun the shields back a hair and I was all in.
I don't know what the commenters are looking at, but that last Geddon's drones were shooting me right up to the last second. Between those and the missiles, I was trapped. Our match watchers told us we'd already won, even with the mach death. So I said goodbye to the valiant beast as she finally exploded under me.
One more cap charge and I burn those last 30 seconds with no problem.
Which is how all PvP comes down in Eve. One last cycle of your guns, one last charge, one last drone. It was a good fight and kudos to the other team for a match well played.
The important thing is how much better we did in the second match, how much more experience we all have, and that Stay Frosty is still alive to play another day. All the rest doesn't matter now. It is time to get back to the drawing board and work hard on our comps for next weekend.
Who knows what we might bring next time?