In a couple of hours the team I fly for will face A Band Apart, the alliance run by and represented in the AT by the incomparable Rixx Javix, writer of the Eveoganda blog. You can watch it on Twitch here.
Both teams made top 16 last year. This time only one will, the winner of this match makes it to the crucial benchmark that guarantees seeding for next year's tournament. Seeding is very important because it means you won't face another top 16 team in your first two matches so generally (but not always) you will face teams weaker than yourself.
I briefly joined ABA earlier this year while looking for a new home but it wasn't quite right for me. I'm happier in an alliance that is busy in EU timezone and the patient low sec pirate style wasn't quite what I was looking for. Also they generally don't hop on comms for brief skirmishes which was something I'm no longer accustomed to. I can see a case either way but personally I'm very much inclined to communicate on comms while fighting in a gang.
Those things said I'm an enormous ABA and Rixx fan. I hope they'll forgive me if I don't wish them luck today ;)