On December 10th the culmination of over two months of fighting ended in the destruction over the Circle of Two (CO2) Keepstar in their capital system of M-OEE8 in the Tribute region which hosted the single largest gathering ever witnessed in one system peaking at 5,337 and surpassing the original record of 4,920.

 

But while most of the news is about the battle itself the precursors to the battle and indeed the war itself started back in April of this year and towards the end of World War Bee.

World War Bee had started coming to an end towards the end of April and going into May as the new residents claimed the systems within the regions that used to belong to the Imperium, except for one; Tribute. Home to CO2 since 2013 who was at the time a member alliance of the Imperium or the Clusterfuck Coalition as it was originally called.

For many years the Imperium held dominance over the northern regions of the New Eden map but all that was changed towards the end of 2015 and going into 2016. World War Bee had raged and on the 28th of March Tribute became the focal point of the war with M-OEE8 coming under siege in what was the biggest battle of the entire war. The battle itself was documented by Rooks and Kings and narrated by Lord Maldoror below.

 

The conclusion of that battle resulted in CO2 announcing its intention to leave the Imperium and join the invading Money Badger Coalition, in exchange CO2 space was left alone. Indeed CO2 benefited from the switch being able to expand their territory into Vale of The Silent and gain some new neighbours in the form of Mercenary Coalition, The OSS and Shadow Cartel.

While many alliances were settling down into their new homes it didn’t take long before tensions between a number of groups became apparent. These tensions culminated on the 20th of August when CO2 along with their allies TEST Alliance Please ignore (TEST) clashed violently with the forces of Pandemic Legion (-10.0 / PL) and Northern Coaltion. (NC) defending a Capital Ship Assembly Array (CSAA) in the system of SH1-6P.

Reportedly there was a CO2 titan being built within the tower that was hit by a combined NC/PL fleet. Once engaged the battle quickly escalated into a super capital fight. This resulted in the destruction of six CO2 titans making up part of the 1.18 trillion ISK lost by the defenders. The battle is self is as it stands as one of the most expensive single battles so far this year. The clash was captured by delonewolf in his youtube video below:

 

As the first major battle to take place in the north since the end of World War Bee, it drew the political lines between NC/PL and their allies along with CO2 and TEST with theirs. Many pundits see this as a turning point in the alliances relationships and set events on course for the eventual invasion of Tribute.

The start of the long campaign was marked by the deployment of Northern Coalition to the system KQK1-2 in Pure Blind. KQK is the entrance system into Tribute region and provided Northern Coalition. a position with which to begin operations against CO2. With over 700 capital ships including 112 Titans, 150 super carriers and 228 Force Auxiliary ships the fleet was a formidable showing of firepower. The fleet jumping out to its final destination was caught by youtuber Ryan below.

 

A few hours after Northern Coalition completed their move leader of Pandemic Horde Gobbins sent out a eve-mail with a link to a forum post which was then quickly leaked onto reddit:

Horde update vol 15 – War

We are going to war.

Target is the tribute region, specifically CO2 sov: http://evemaps.dotlan.net/map/Tribute#sov

The first targets are the systems UMI and AW1. Timer for UMI is already coming up on Tuesday.https://timerboard.net/tribute

  • Expected enemies are CO2, TEST and Snuff/PM.
  • Have a Maelstrom ready if you can fly and afford one.
  • Pull out your wands and start entosing as many hostile systems as you can.
  • Summer’s over, let’s go boys

Why hit CO2?

CO2 have been good allies during WWB and made a massive difference in the war against goons. Afterwards they became good neighbors regularly bringing fights to 7rm (ruptures, ONIs ecc…) and to lowsec. There is no component of hate for CO2 in this campaign, they are a good alliance full of great guys. The goal of this war is to secure a better access to empire and superior space while fighting together with NC and PL. It is my belief that CO2 will eventually lose this war whether Horde joins in or not, and then I would rather be the ones holding Tribute than letting test or a new alliance grab this key area.

What about the other alliances in Tribute like MC, OSS, SC?

For now leave those alone and do not entosis them. Focus on CO2 first. Also keep in mind that Horde’s final interest in Tribute is only those two constellations circled above, although during the invasion itself the Sov can be held by anybody.

 

Tribute 09-26

The Tribute region as of the evening of the 26th of September with the 3 systems under attack highlighted in orange.

 

The war then entered a long period of a continuous tug of war where, despite the best efforts of Northern Coalition. and Pandemic Horde to take systems they were almost entirely blocked by CO2 and TEST bar a single infrastructure hub in the system of UMI-KK. Circle of Two’s home ground advantage and experience in sovereignty warfare was proving hard to crack. Using their faster and more mobile doctrines to avoid a direct confrontation, defensive forces simply ran circles around the slower but heavy hitting Northern Coalition supercapital fleets, rendering them ineffective. With Circle of Two and TEST riding high on a wave of positive propaganda it seemed as if the walls of Tribute would stand indefinitely.

The Tribute Region as if the 5th of November with all Circle of Two (Yellow) systems still held after 6 weeks of fighting

But the invaders received extra support from Mercenary Coalition who up until the beginning of November had remained neutral, they then joined the side of Northern Coalition. and Pandemic Horde against TESTCO. In addition to this a alliance theft resulted in the loss of a reported 32bn ISK in member assets. Pandemic Legion, DARKNESS., ChaosTheory., Waffles., and inPanic. joined the fight bolstering the attacking forces by over 8,000.

After such a long period of making almost no progress the invaders, now reinforced with fresh pilots made quick progress and after just two weeks had pushed the front line back to the CO2 capital system of M-OEE8. You can read more about those events in a previous article here.

Vastly outnumbered and outgunned the situation looked bleak and so CO2 leadership announced the withdrawal of their forces from Tribute. Over the following weeks the invaders made preparations to strike the Keepstar and the first attack took place on the 4th of December followed up by the second on the 5th of December where both sides battled it out in a 262bn ISK clash which resulted in the Keepstar being reinforced for the 2nd and final time, it was now vulnerable to complete destruction. You can read more about this in this article.

Such was the anticipation for this battle that CCP Released a Scope video.

Early on the evening of Saturday the 10th of December forces from far and wide began to marshal and as of 1730 there was already a reported 1,500 in the system of M-OEE8, and at approximately 1800 the fleets belonging to Northern Coalition, Pandemic Legion, and Mercenary Coalition and many others arrived in the system swelling the system with over 3,000 people. As the counter ticked down Pandemic Horde brought 1,000 by themselves. By the time the structure was due to come out of reinforcement over 4,000 people had arrived in the system.

The fighting began and immediately the Keepstar fired its doomsday weapon into the fleets of Northern Coaltion and Pandemic Legion destroying a Damnation belonging to NC’s leader Vince Draken.

The attack by the hostile fleet began and the repair timer for the structure was paused as local surged past 5,200.

An hour after the fighting began rumours began to circulate that both Circle Of Two and TEST, in view of the overwhelming size of the opposing forces which as reported by Seleene of Mercenary Coalition consisted of 513 Macherials, 466 (Horde) Scorpions. 371 Typhoons. 293 Logistics and 349 T3 Cruisers, had decided to stand down.

The remainder of the fight passed with the keepstar taking its 2nd commanding officers scalp in the form for Poisin Kevin fleet commander for Northern Coalition.

With only a token fleet to defend it and such overwhelming forces arrayed against them not only from the aggressors of this war but also from countless 3rd parties who came to the system it was ultimately only a matter of extended dilated time that the keepstar would fall. The sized of the battle ultimately means it has been impossible to generate an accurate kill report, but from the monthly stats we know that the keepstar was involved in over 2,200 kills which was worth well in excess of an estimated 100 billion isk.

The entirely of the fight was captured by youtuber adamskyride in gloriously cinematic fashion (below) along with a number of other videos from delonewolf, TheEliteGamersAgonist X to name but a few.

The destruction of the keepstar marks the end of the on the most violent part of the war for tribute. With all systems now held by Northern Coalition, Pandemic Legion, Mercenary Coalition or Shadow Cartel.

For Northern Coalition. this is a home coming of sorts after losing the space to the Goonswarm Federation back in 2012 who then gave it to Circle of Two in 2013.

As for Circle of Two, as seen in the scope video released (below) The Judge promised this to ‘not be the last time people have heard the name Circle of Two’ as they move on.

When asked for comments a number of leaders and fleet commanders involved in the war responded.

Poision Kevin the lead fleet Commander Of Northern Coalition. had this to say:

My personal PoV is that this has been a very, informative war, leaks aside, I’ve learnt a lot of eve mechanics and feel like everyone got something out of this (Co2 learnt services shut down in final RF) I learnt dreadbombs are bad m’kay. The fact that the cog-wheels started turning after SH1- for this is what few knows. gigX told Vince that if we come to SH1- to help PL, get a sick fight and have fun, he’d burn our alliance down and take our space. When Vince told me this I instantly asked if we can’t go for CO2 next after Pure Blind is secured. What happened once Pure Blind was secured is we deployed, and well, the rest is history. I would like to thank everyone involved and I already have in our :white_check_mark: Channel, but special thanks to Mercenary Coalition!

KillahBee the campaign fleet commander for Pandemic Legion said:

Wanna give props to test / co2 for fighting back so hard especially at the start before PL entered the war. Was a fun war for me.

Gobbins leader of Pandemic Horde had a thoughtful comment to make when asked:

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

When asked if he would like to comment gigX the leader and main fleet commander for Circle of Two simply replied:

Yea sure, for EN24/Imperium News and CCP Scope

Credit – Feature image from Razorlen EVE flickr album M-OEE8

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