By all accounts it seems that the remnants of the CFC, primarily composed of GSF, will be attempting to invade and live in Delve through Aridia, specifically Sakht. Although the GSF narrative wavers between “MBC is the new CFC” to “cracks in the coalition” depending on which way the leadership wants to spin the situation, it is true that the alliances in the north will generally work together to counter GSF interests. As CFC alliances continued to lose members the likelihood that they would be able to make inroads for their push back toward Deklein seemed less and less likely. Despite strong proclamations of a steady and calculated advance through Pure Blind, GSF leadership quickly dismissed this strategy by stating “nobody cares about Pure Blind.” This quick dismissal and side stepping of the fact that the goal was Deklein and not Pure Blind showed just how quickly GSF leadership felt they needed to hit it in reverse. This humbling experience, to their credit, has pushed them to address their situation in Eve as it actually is, not as they wish it were. Hopefully for their sake this ushers in a realist adaptation toward their military and political strategy. This article will analyze why this is actually a good decision based on the following factors:
Distance from the “MBC”
Leaving the north is a fairly simple advantage. It’s unlikely that most of the MBC alliances will follow the GSF toward Delve. Certainly some groups will likely send a few fleets through wormhole connections to harass them and nomadic groups like PL and NCdot may want to extend their harassment. But the GSF will not likely have to contend with the fleet numbers we saw from the MBC in late March. This distance also leaves room for future possible diplomatic relations with one or more of the groups that currently occupy the north. Without the CFC, the MBC has little interest in maintaining a massive coalition in the north, despite what the Mittani sometimes states. It’s essentially Sion’s game to lose in the north regarding diplomacy.
Delve’s NPC system allows GSF to have a staging beachhead within the region. From there they can take space in multiple directions allowing their offensive to be unpredictable and sudden. Best of all if any offensive falters they can easily retreat to the NPC space while “not being kicked out of nullsec.” The geography of the region helps provide many avenues of attack while softening the blow of any setback internally. For content they have access to the “Querious fightclub” directly from NPC spaces while Delve itself borders Fountain and Period Basis as well. If GSF leadership plays their cards well they can end up rebuilding their coalition while laying ownership to Delve, Period Basis and Querious, three regions bordered by fairly defensible borders on all sides.
The factions that occupy space in and around Delve vary in degree of unity. It is possible that they may unite to balance out the CFC’s vast (although diminished compared to a year ago) numbers. Once again if the GSF’s diplomatic strategy is well played, they can draw some of these factions to their side against their rivals and could even benefit from such a relationship. Proper diplomacy rousing allies to their cause, the GSF can rapidly expand their territory and perhaps even gain some of their older members back into activity.
Delve has history for the Goons. When Band of Brothers was disbanded, the Goons rushed in to take over the region. This was followed by a big “whoopsie” in which the Goons lost all of their sov prompting them to migrate northward at the invitation of Tau Ceti, an old alliance which found it fit to give the Goons a place to recover. We could assume that had it not been for the unpaid sovereignty bills, the Goons would have developed their coalition in the south west rather than the north. Mittens can play this move to Delve as a “return” of some sort. DJ initially led Goonswarm into conquering Delve, now it is time to see if Mittens can do the same or if he will need to be handed territory as was the case with Deklein.
There is no question that the coming months will be extremely pivotal for GSF’s existence. The CFC is all but gone with many of the remaining alliances losing half to two thirds of their membership in the past months. GSF can still form 200 man fleets which is quite a bit for any alliance. However this is in stark contrast with what GSF used to be able to field before it had lost its thousands of members. Considering GSF has not purged inactives we can assume the current number is extremely inflated. It may even be a wise decision to remove inactives if only to seem less threatening and make other alliances more receptive to the possibility of opening up diplomatic relations. When the CFC relocated to Saranen I said that unless they at least seem to make progress, the coalition will falter and die. Today the coalition is all but gone with killboard battles showing single digit contribution from GSF’s allies. Now I will make the statement that unless GSF is successful in Delve, they may meet a similar fate as their coalition. In a twist of irony, the home of their old enemy, Band of Brothers, may be the refuge the GSF now will use to rebuild.
The other possibility is one I witnessed myself back in the summer of 2011. I had recently joined Romanian Legion which at the time held Period Basis. I remember seeing Morsus Mihi fleets abandoning the north and coming to live in Delve. At one point they were the center piece of the old Northern Coalition and having the largest super capital fleet in Eve. After a few months of trading blows with the local powers in Delve, their alliance splintered and became one with the history pages. GSF’s future lies wholly in the hands of its leadership and its ability to turn its failure in the north a success in the south.