The following post is a re-post from Kugutsumen by “Elise Randolph” of Pandemic Legion. A link to it’s original location can be found here.
The war in the South between RUS/CFC and PL/N3 has been burning hot with very little headway made by either side. Any advances made by the PL/N3 group were done so on the heels of a careless –A- mistake. After the new year –A- let their home system of F4R fall into final reinforced because they simply couldn’t install a jammer upgrade. –A-‘s bacon was saved by their allies who proceeded to put a combined 2500 man cap/subcap fleet into F4R to guard the system from downtime – about eight hours. PL/N3 were simply astonished by this showing and simply couldn’t fight; catastrophe averted for the ever downtrodden –A-. After this showing, a plan was formed. Essentially the plan revolved around eliciting the same reaction, but this time actually being able to fight. Manny, the PL Campaign Commander for the Southern defense, went straight old-school and pulled the pages from The Old Days of warfare. HED-GP, an important but non-essential entry system into Catch, is plagued by a lack of moons: a mere six. Up until now the narrative of the war has been: if there is a jammer, PL/N3 simply cannot match the numbers of RUS/CFC and the system is defended. Control of the jammer leads to control of the sytem on both sides. To subvert this fact, slowly but surely PL/N3 took control of all six of the moons in HED and proceeded to reinforce the system. –A- were caught off guard when they went to anchor the jammer and found no POSes to anchor it on. Pulling another page from the Book of Old Days, PL/N3 secured the system hours before any hostile formups and deployed their Wrecking Ball doctrine – a doctrine that combines Titans, Dreads, Supers, and Slowcats in such a way as to minimize the super-killing bumps with Titans and Supers shrouded by Carriers. The gauntlet was thrown; HED-GP could only be saved with a similar capital and supercapital showing from RUS/CFC.
As happens ever so rarely in Eve online, the stars aligned and a truly awesome capfight was on the horizon. Surprisingly, RUS/CFC were chomping at the bit for this fight. The combined PL/N3 Wrecking Ball fleet consisted of some 500 Archons, 100 Dreads, 170 Supers, and 70 pivotal Titans – a force of nature in its own right and the largest such fleet assembled by this group. RUS/CFC responded in a huge fashion, though, ready to punish PL/N3 for this gutsy move. RUS/CFC sounded the horns and rallied a whopping 1800 subcaps, 500 Dreads with 200+ ~surprise~ BL+Misc Dreads sitting one jump out. All 700 Dreads were DD tanked with a close range fit – the most downright punishing Dread fleet assembled in recent memory. This was augmented further with ~30 Titans and ~150 Supers . Capable, for sure, of putting the PL/N3 Wrecking Ball fleet to the fire. PL/N3 were stuck in their own bubbles; backing down was not an option. Strategies were formulated while PL/N3 sat waiting for the oncoming storm.
PL/N3 did have two huge advantages – being loaded in the system, and having their synergistic Supers who were accustomed to working with one another in these types of fights. While CFC and RUS did have equal number of Supers, the RUS bloc prefers shield Supers while CFC – like the rest of Eve – have armor. Since HED-GP is only a two-gate system, strategically RUS/CFC could have brought their Dread fleet in at an SBU and raced the PL/N3 fleet at the IHUB. Given the ludicrous amounts of DPS that 1800 subcaps and 500 Dreads could pump out, the race would be a close one – not even needing the split-tank Supers. Kill the SBU, and PL/N3s efforts would be for naught; the hours of waiting and preparation would amount to one huge goose-egg. And, of course, being bubbled would mean that the RUS/CFC fleet would be immune from any harassment whatsoever. As I mentioned before, these types of Capital slugfests are the unicorns of Eve PvP combat – an FCs dream. Killing an N3/PL Wrecking Ball fleet would show once and for all that the Kings of Supercapital Combat were in fact mortal. On top of that, a punishing loss would simply cripple PL/N3 for a non-insignificant amount of time before the ships could be replaced. On the day of the B0TLRD Accords being announced –an agreement between the CFC and PL to make a cartel around space ownership – these types of fights would be even /more/ rare. A figurative unicorn that dined of four-leaf clovers.
The RUS/CFC fleet had the numbers. Their plan was simple – come into system with subcaps and cyno their close-range Dreads into the PL/N3 Wrecking Ball and then unleash havoc in what would be the largest and bloodiest Capital fight Eve had ever seen. A crude plan, perhaps, but no doubt effective. All that was left to do was execute. While RUS/CFC vehemently argue against all things drones assign, they opted to bring drone-assigning Dominixes to the fight. Over a thousand of them. As they entered local PL/N3 were surprised by the turnout and, after doing some quick math, feared that they would lose the structure race to the Dreads and Domis alone. The combined RUS/CFC fleet were not here for a strategic advantage – the tower coverage meant that even if they did save the system PL/N3 could just put the system into reinforced and flaunt their Wrecking Ball again – instead they were out for blood . Smug messages of condolence between friends went out, notably to Sala Cameron who showed up in a Ragnarok. While the Rag was bait fit, there was no way it was going to survive 150 supers, 30 titans, 500 dreads, and 1800 subcaps. “RIP to your 4th Titan, sorry in advance~”
The RUS/CFC fleets left the SBU and came onto grid with the PL/N3 Wrecking Ball fleet at the IHU. Suspecting that the RUS/CFC strategy would be to use their close-range Dreads to bump Titans and Supers out of the Wrecking Ball formation, PL/N3 dropped a Cyno Inhibitor on themselves forcing the RUS/CFC fleet to take it out. After about 30 minutes of 10% tidi fighting RUS/CFC traded ~50 Domis of their 1000+ for the Cyno Inhibitor – a fantastic trade for the subcaps. Now came the tricky part – getting the 500 Dreads, 200 Supers,30 Titans, and 200 reinforcement Dreads into local with some 2700 already in it. Jumping onto the same grid with 2700 people is always a dangerous proposition. In The Old Days this resulted in many welps, and this was on a scale simply never-before seen. The RUS/CFC fleets either forgot the lessons of old or were simply overcome by greed and took the daring approach to cyno all of their Dreads on grid. Not only on grid, but actually inside the PL/N3 bubbles. Brazen. The call was made, the cynos deployed, and the Dreads began to jump. On the brink of Supercapital Armageddon, all hell broke loose.
PL/N3 command channel lit up; “what the fuck did they just do?! They’re cynoing into our bubbles with their subcap fleet on grid?!” The shock and awe would have to take a backseat, though, and PL/N3 quickly went to work breaking the fleet down into 5 distinct cores each shooting their own target. If they were to win they absolutely had to clear Dreads at a frenetic pace. This would be the only play PL/N3 had: clearing DPS before losing all of their repping power. The PL/N3 pings went wild: “Fight is on, when you die pod yourself to Amamake and come back in a new Dread – cyno chains up”. Fast reshipping was the best hope to clear damage, and the cache of Dreads and Carriers was ready to be depleted. Organized chaos from PL/N3 saw reports that the 5 groups were cutting through the RUS/CFC Dreads with ease – the DD tanks weren’t effective and Titans, which were split into pairs, were able to single-shot Dreads. Hearkening back to the old days, strange things began to happen. The RUS/CFC Dreads would simply vanish after taking damage. Others would remain invulnerable. The Dreads, visually stuck in a warp-tunnel by the RUS perspective, were materializing in HED and then being magically transported back to where they came in F4R. The node creaked to a halt, 25 minute module lag from the PL/N3 perspective. Drone assign simply broke. Credit to CCP on a day where most will blame them, the node did stay functional in the face of 4000 people on grid.
The RUS/CFC Dreads were showing up in clumps of 100, vanishing again before dying. After about an hour of this confusion (six minutes of elapsed real time), all of the RUS/CFC Dreads began to materialize in earnest. The 25 minute module lag, however, meant that the relatively uncoordinated dread fire was relegated to easily tankable splitfire. The only thing doing significant damage was the Titan Doomsdays – after all 25 minute module lag is irrelevant with hour-long cooldowns. Jumping onto a grid with 2700 people, of which 1800 are yours, is a rookie move by all accounts. It is what saw PL lose the then-largest capital fight in Y-2ANO some five years ago – a fight that CFC were involved in. The same type of fight that RUS experienced fighting NC in Uemon and O20 some three years ago. So a completely abysmal execution changed what was a decent chance at killing a Wrecking Ball fleet into an utter turkey shoot. RUS, dejected by this catastrophic failure, completely gave up on calling primaries. The CFC, equally frustrated at the failed execution, at least tried to make the best of the situation and killed bubbles allowing them to extract the bulk of their dreads. Meanwhile the BL component, the ~surprise~ 200 Dreads, simply opted to go home instead of showing up to the fight after RUS decided to cyno on grid.
Some three-hundred and fifty RUS/CFC Dreads died between HED-GP and various other systems they panic-jumped too. In return for this hefty price, a mere ~10 N3/PL caps. The same RUS/CFC who had apologized in advance to Sala were greeted with a smug response: “sorry I killed 350 of your Dreads PS I did the most damage”. The old school strategy devised by Manny, Vince, and the rest of the N3/PL FCs paid dividends albeit in a very anti-climactic and drawn-out way. At the end of the day the largest Wrecking Ball fleet ever assembled was able to execute perfectly and completely and utterly devastate the RUS Dread fleet, proving once again that N3 and PL use capitals better than anyone else. In the current Eve climate a 350 Dread loss is not coalition-breaking by any means – the fighting will continue and the South will be ablaze with action. RUS/CFC will have victories and, thanks to –A-, PL/N3 will have their share as well. The fighting is far from over, though it will be months before we see a capital fight of this scale again.
(Note killboards still updating, about ~50 dreads are still logged off on the HED-GP grid and dying by the hour)