What a week!
What a blast!
What a mindfuck!
Brave has now played two matches in the Alliance Tournament and we're a respectable one win, one loss.
And we're so pumped for the next weekend where we will play three matches, the first reasonably even, the next two against the odds.
So let me roll it back, last Captain's update was 5th August. We continued to work hard in practice and perform well against other teams. We knew we'd built a strong squad.
To give you an idea of how much work we've put in we use a points system to track practice. Either 1 or 2 points is awarded per practice session. The highest currently is 46 so that person has put in between 46 and 92 hours at practice. Several more are very close behind. Oh and the early practices weren't tracked so it's actually more than that.
At the other end our least practiced player has put in 2 hours but people around that level are considered almost unplayable because of the very organic and idiosyncratic way we FC. We sort of FC by committee but we know which info is for us and which isn't and when to just make our own decisions without listening to the others (but maybe tellling them). So it's very hard to come into cold, you need to know how we work to make sense of the babble. It's actually very effective for small gang - the person with the best perspective calls what needs to be done in a composition where we're all doing different things.
The first day of the tournament rolled round and we faced Easily Excited a competent tournament veteran who went 2 wins 2 losses last year. And we got slaughtered by bans. We'd underestimated the time needed to fit ships so our comps weren't ready - we were frantically fitting up an hour before the game. We had 2 armour comps and a tinker ready and they banned out guardian and oneiros. Oops!
Next our best Tengu logi pilot complained of being ddos-ed and announced he wouldn't be able to play. Holy crap.
We asked Tomiko to take the tengu and he was wonderful, allowing us to scrape through a very close match where the final whistle went 10 seconds before our opponent finally broke our ultra-tanky set-up. We all played well in this game but particularly Tomiko who had only practiced the ship two times with us and who flew the hardest ship in AT perfectly.
That put us on a high, but you know what they say about pride....
It comes before a fall and Sunday was a disaster. We played command ship juggling trying to work out our comps if Blue Ice, our main command ship pilot, was again unavailable because of internet problems. He came on by phone before the match and told us he couldn't get online so we had to work something out. We decided, under some time pressure, to use Shisuka who hadn't been able to practice with us because of work commitments but he did pretty well in an overall abyssmal performance.
I'm going to talk about my own performance. I was slow out of the blocks intially because I was really nervous about moving too early and getting a penalty so my dps arrived late on our primary target. I then bumped the target when I did get there, Approaching straight into him in a microwarping Vindi. That's a habit I have from frigate soloing where it doesn't matter, it matters a lot in battleship combat where you push the primary out of your colleagues' blaster range. Towards the end of the match I even burned out my top rack to set the seal on a terrible performance. In terms of FCing I insisted the support hang back early so we didn't feed cheap losses by support staying out of rep range but they stayed back too long because I never stated they should come in, leaving it to their own judgment. That caused the decision to come in to fall between the cracks as they were maybe waiting to be told and I was assuming they would seize the right moment. You know what they say about assumptions. In addition the Napoc was the wrong primary. We picked it because the Napocs started at 20 and the rest was at 50 but really we should have just thrown everything at the logi and offered the trade of logi ships if necessary. Cog's usually remarkably resilient in that logi when we all abandon him and we really needed the logi and scorpion dead asap.
Add to that the fact that several other usually excellent pilots also had stinkers and it's to the credit of the few who did pilot their ships properly that we made such a close-fought match of it.
Still at the end of the day we're Brave Newbies, we undocked and had a go and if we welped at least we tried.
And full credit to Phoebe Freeport Republic who played a superb game when it looked like they also fielded a comp that was a response to last minute calamities.
Monday we practiced but people were still really frustrated and it turned into a bitching session. Probably good to get it all out of people's systems.
Tuesday we practiced against a really good opponent and won three lost one. We piloted really well too.
Brave has found our mojo again, we have one more session before Saturday then we hope to bring a really strong game against Brothers in Arms.
If we win that one (and we're hoping too) we will most likely have a super tough match up against Ministry of Inappropriate Footwork captained by tournament expert Bei Artjay. It's another team we've practiced against and know well - that could be one of the best games of Sunday if we get there and if we play to our best.
If we survive our first two matches we play the loser of RONIN v Shadow Cartel. SC are another team we know from practice - they're a team we have beaten in practice but tbh they usually trounce us so if by some magic we make it that far we'll treat it like it's our final and throw everything at it.
Wish us luck, tune in to the CCP Stream this weekend and join Mumble where Extrems will be hosting a Brave AT party.
Brave's match times:
22nd STUDIO BROADCAST MATCH Brave v Brothers in Arms 1800
23rd STUDIO BROADCAST MATCH Brave (if we win) v Footwork or Drop the Hammer 1620
23rd STUDIO BROADCAST MATCH Brave (if we win) v loser of RONIN v Shadow Cartel 1920
If we somehow win all three clear your diaries for the weekend of 29th/30th where we could play as many as 11 matches (or as few as 1).
Lastly I want to talk about how accessible the Alliance Tournament is to people who are members of our alliance or who are thinking about joining.
When a mildir sent out his first mail everyone who said they wanted in got in and everyone who said they wanted to be captain (ie me) got captain. I did a second recruit and added a bunch more then a third recruit and added more people The only people who slipped through the cracks were people who expressed an interest but didn't really bother following it up when I was trying to get in touch with everyone.
We fielded players who mostly started playing in 2013 or 2014. At least two of the people who played on Sunday have under 20 million skill points - less than a year's worth. Our best logi pilot has 18 million skill points and is the first name on the teamsheet for most games (he can't fly a tengu though). If you are reading this now and are interested in the 2016 AT, AT XIV then plan your train so that you will be a really strong AT pilot - we're particularly likely to be short of command ship pilots who can kill things but ewar frigs, D3s, assault frigs and interceptors are all really useful.
Anyone in the alliance can be right at the heart of next year's AT team if you want to, a team we hope to see go further into the tournament than we are likely to (and we're planning to make the final weekend).
So if you want to be part of something amazing, if you want to put your pvp piloting skills under the microscope and learn to be a better player please think about joining the AT squad next time we recruit. In the meantime watch us this weekend (and inshallah the weekend after) and cheer until your cat thinks you've gone mad.
If you're not in Brave and are considering joining join channel Brave Newbies in game - at least 2 of my squad are usually in there working as BNI recruiters. Make sure you join us before May 2016 so that you're eligible to play in AT XIV!