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This post is dedicated to the effort and hard work that far too many Marmites put in over the last week or so to defend ourselves and ultimately deliver a crushing blow to POH. Good work lads it was well worth it.
So to give this story some background POH (The Pursuit of Happiness) is a high-sec merc corp who declares war on fun targets as well as contracts from disgruntled miners and the like. Marmite (AKA The Marmite Collective, AKA Mermaids) are the biggest high-sec merc alliance and often have over 100 such wars going. Both have sightly different goals and methods but often are competitors. This has created somewhat of a rivalry between the two that has been years in the making. While Marmite had size and large totals POH took pride in elite doctrines and were effective due to their small size and ability to pick at enemies weak spots. Marmite are the names on every bodies lips when you ask about high-sec wars while if you ask who is the most elite group the field is often split between POH and Marmite.
To begin this year POH decided they had enough of being ‘like Marmite’ and wanted to be thought of as number one in more then just the dark places on the forums that only ISD and trolls dare tread. Saeger1737 a director in POH sent out an alliance wide mail to this effect which was a masterpiece of prideful RP’ing and sheer arrogance all blended together into what is now quite a comical mail. What Poor Saeger never realized what that this was a Marmite crew that was battle hardened and had weeded out most of its weaknesses while POH had undergone rapid expansion moving away from the core concept of ‘a few elite players’. Seemingly overnight POH had gone from being forced to dock up when Marmite brought a fight (blob) to being able to field a force that could match both size and quality of Marmites T3 Doctrine.
The battle lines were drawn and Marmite prepared for the fight by sharing Intel mails of known alts and watch listing every POH character so we could monitor patterns and know how many were online. Marmite studied their enemy and sought out finding and adding any newly joined POH and sharing those too. Much time was spent theory crafting their known fits and counters for them. Time drew near and while Marmite prepared for the coming battle all POH did was bolster morale with impressive mails and continue business as normal.
The War went live and both sides went into high alert. Nobody wanted to be ‘that guy’ who got first blooded. Thankfully Noragen Neirfallas (AKA me) found the answer that was both embarrassing and a nice way to ease into the war Stupid Loss 1, Stupid Loss 2. Infuriated by not getting first blood POH responded with full force and brought a fleet to Amarr to taunt us and try to make us do something stupid. But Marmite only smiled at the grief they had inflicted and proceeded to plot and plan out the next step in the war.
DISASTER STRUCK. An unwary Marmite who had not read mails sent out and was infact dueling on the Jita 4/4 undock whilst at war with not only bloodthirsty POH but also RVB an alliance notorious for blobbing Marmite on the 4/4 with enough numbers to make us wonder why there wasn’t some TIDI. Of course he lost his Shit Fit Mach and then proceeded to prove just how bad he was by letting a Proteus lock and shoot his pod. We were stunned as camping the undock in fits like this was banned for the duration of this war with POH. Finally it settled in that we had to do something so completely decisive they would know they were both outplayed and outclassed. A blow so stunning that it would shake them to the very foundations… ah but listen to me I’m starting to sound like Saeger 😉
First we tried hunting them like normal which meant watching kill boards and trying to catch out the odd target and destroy him but this proved to be difficult with everybody on high alert. For our first good attempt we decided to hit the Dodixie campers. After theoury crafting a way to pull it off we decided to use my suggested path to a little used entrance of the hub. We built up just outside and watched and waited for the opportune moment. Finally one rather ballsy pilot in Eve Uni undocked a Megathron and started to wail on the POH lads. We waited to see them agress back then jumped the gate and warped right into the fight. We made quick work of both the POH battle cruisers BC1 BC2 and headed home again. I logged for the night. While I slept other plots were hatched. The assumption that the way we found earlier was still unwatched was made. This turned out to not be the case and when the same tactic was tried twice we lost 2 ships. Ship1 Ship2. When I woke up in the morning I gave the lads and especially the FC of that fleet Fybs some light hearted ribbing for assuming that the POH guys were stupid and we all agreed that mistakes were made that would not happen again.
So I set about doing what I do best, creating an outside the box solution. Something Marmite had never before attempted. It had to be so unexpected for us and setup just right so that they would never know it was a trap until it was too late. Much time was spent crafting the idea of how to do this around my former experience with wormholes. We decided the ideal way to set them up would be a k-space to k-space wormhole and sit our fleet on one side while the bait fleet sits on the sun on the other. The other option was finding a way through w-space to sit the fleet in w-space on the k-space hole and lie in wait. For this to not be suspect I set about a campaign of counter intelligence where I filled up chat channels I shared with POH or known POH alts with stories of the WH contract we had taken. This provided the plausible reason that if locates were run on us why so many of us were in wormhole space.
This finally eventuated in POH’s home system and we parked our bait fleet on the sun and a small backup fleet 1 jump over to look like it was our big surprise. This wormhole was a high-sec to high-sec and was 9 jumps away from the fleet. This would have been perfect too because we looked like really far out backup. But sadly all the scanning hours put in came to naught as the main POH leadership decided that instead of trying to take a fight in their home system they would instead dock up and log off. We needed a new plan…
I raced an alt down to Dodixie where we knew that there were still many POH active and started scanning it out for a wormhole. Luck was with me and I found exactly what I was looking for. X702, a way IN to a C3 that was guaranteed to have a k-space hole inside other then the one I used. Finding it I jumped through and came to exactly where I wanted it to go. The middle on nowhere. We regrouped at our home system of Uedama and split the fleet back up again. This time we put every well know Marmite into one group and those of us who actually do the work in the other ;). We burnt our backup fleet past known POH scouts and lost them on the way to our destination a good 25 jumps from the target system. Then history was made. Marmite jumped in a 15+ man T3 gang with heads full of juicy implants into the unknown space.
As we jumped in the bait fleet of people so juicy they could not be ignored into the home system of some of the most arrogant POH members the rest of us patiently waited. Our Bait fleet consisted of 4 Guardians, 3 Proteus, 2 Lokis and a Neut Legion. 20 minutes of taunting followed while the bait sat on the sun with some neutral boosting/jamming alts in a logistics heavy formation. Finally they undocked and met our force on the sun. They brought a Bhaalgorn, Proteus, Absolution, Abaddon, Vexor Navy Issue, Falcon, 4 in corp Guardians (1 was late to the party warping to god only knows where), 2 OOC (out of corp) Guardians and one OOC Exequror (and we thought we brought heavy logistics). While Marmite fleet comp is top secret beyond what we actually fielded (that’s right there were more surprises that have yet to be fielded) it’s safe to say that the wormhole concealed a Guardian, Falcon Ashimmu and 8 DPS boats. Wormhole group held positions even as our brothers were dropped upon. We had to rely on our Logistics to support the fleet until the order was given to jump. for this to work everything of value had to be grabbed and held before we jumped in. We held our position knowing just how perilous the bait fleets position was.
Finally points were called on all major targets and we poured through the rift in space and rushed to help our brothers with their struggle. As we landed they realized their mistake and tried to get away while scrambling to bring out all their neutral logistics. We held them down and hammered jimmy 15 in his Bhaalgorn to try and break it quickly but the reps were too much. Realizing this Fybs called a hard switch to xXDewayneXx in a Guardian. It broke so quickly we all did a double take. Well all except Fybs who was already calling the next primaries and we hurried to get on with it. Tora and Wyper in the neut boats out neuted the Bhaalgorn and removed its effectiveness from the fight. They began to fall like dominoes in a line and those who hadn’t run at the first sign of trouble died. After a completely one sided battle where they failed to kill even a single one of us we looted the field, popped the wrecks to deny even a single ISK to the losers and headed home with the loot and our heads held high. It was a good day.
All in all if their Guardians were fit properly the fight may have gone on longer. But due to poor Guardian fits and possibly overtaxed players trying to multi box more then is efficient our Neut boats out neuted and dried up the Bhaalgorn removing its effectiveness and while our Guardians held up being primary their Guardians with full reps couldn’t take the heat from our drones and long range T3’s. After we collected ourselves we studied the fits our enemy used and were shocked. The fits made no sense and were some of the worst any of us had killed in a fleet engagement. At best they could be called buffer fits although their buffer could have been vastly improved by improving the resists on them all. No wonder the Guardians couldn’t keep each other up.
For the next few days POH were reeling from these losses and many polite mails with dangerous undertones got exchanged back and forth between leadership and other key members. Finally hairline cracks in POH’s armor became gaping rifts and POH began to failscade Link. First many of Deadly Fingertips members left followed by the entire corp due to the knee jerk reaction of leadership banning all forms of station camping. They even lost Seager too it all which was ironic since he was the one who started it all. Over a period of 3-4 days POH went from being able to brawl with us to having to revert to their roots using hit and run tactics using fast kitey ships to strike from range and run before a response can be mustered. While this tactic is effective as a whole its little more then a nuisance and certainly not going, to quote Saeger, make our ‘Alliance Burns brighter then Fireworks on the New Year.’
While the war is not over and will not be until what little of POH is left manages to get ISK positive their pride has caused the downfall of what could have been a truly great high-sec merc corp. Who knows maybe they could have even been like Marmite.