Once More Unto the Breech

A Band Apart ATXV Poster
HYPE Train
The Alliance Tournament is four weekends away. Flagships have been locked in. Fleet Compositions are being spreadsheeted. Ships are being built. Mods are being hunted down and hoarded. Practices are really starting to hum. This is the stretch now. Shortly the brackets will be announced and the path to glory locked down. Hopefully our 11th place finish last year will mean something when it comes to placement. But nothing is guaranteed. Especially this year, with the rule changes and the new ships on the field - literally anything can happen.

If you've never experienced the mad rush to build an AT team yourself, I highly recommend it. Of all the things I've done or been a part of in Eve - flying with my team is simply one of the best things. Especially when the team starts to come together and mesh, when things start to hum. It is an elevated feeling, confidence, team-work, energy, that is hard to replicate in normal game play. Even in fleets or gangs, it just isn't the same thing. Working together for a purpose, to achieve a direct goal is rather unique. It is easily one of the things about the Alliance Tournament that keeps bringing me back.

Winning would also be awesome. A Band Apart remains an underdog. Apparently we aren't getting a version of Apothne's yearly AT predictions this year, but I wonder if we'd finally make it out of the mid-tier if he had. Maybe. While I like to use that information every year to help motivate our team, it doesn't really matter. The only thing that matters is winning matches. Without checking I believe we are 7-6 so far in the last three tournaments, having finished in the Top 16 the last two. My goals for this year would be to break into that last weekend without being in the loser's bracket. After that, just let fate take charge and see where it takes us. I believe that is an achievable goal. But I know that anything can happen.

We've bumped into hard counters the last two tournaments and I know how fast those can wreck the best laid plans. So anything is possible. Avoiding the rock, paper, scissors nature of the AT is our last hurdle, to put aside the underdog status and make an impact on the field.

All of which is a lot easier to write about than it is to achieve.

Our team is strong and we are really coming together this year. Whatever happens, I'll be just as proud of every single pilot and the players behind them - as I have been every year.

"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height."