The Last Quarter Given: Alliance Tournament XI Day 4 in Pictures (Part Two)
After an afternoon of explosive clashes in the first half of Day 4, the spaceship carnage continues as the final matches of the second ATXI weekend will see the number of surviving competitors reduced from the original 64 to the final 16.
Of those, only 4 will remain undefeated as the rest are consigned to the underbelly of the competition in the survival scrap that is the losers bracket. More teams face the ignominy of their first defeat, so the losers bracket continues to fill as ambitions are belt-fed into the dream grinder and reduced to scrap and ash.
Below are matches #97 to #104 from the losers bracket. Those who survived to fight another day are emboldened in the match title.
Match #97: SCUM. vs. Test Alliance Please Ignore
SCUM. begin the match aggressively, with effective tracking disruption from Mikelo Charisma's Arbitrator cruiser preventing Test Alliance Please Ignore's battleship and battlecruiser strike force from being able to deliver damage effectively. Meanwhile, the SCUM. Typhoon battleships hammer down Faife's Sleipnir command ship then set to work on Nagelbrett's Vargur marauder battleship.
Test Alliance Please Ignore fight back by destroying smidster's Typhoon battleship as the frigate support fleets entangle and begin to suffer losses on both sides. Then sustained missile barrages see Test Alliance Please Ignore's Vargur battleship engulfed in a fireball of destruction, putting SCUM. at advantage with only 2 minutes gone.
No further losses are sustained by SCUM. as the Test Alliance Please Ignore fleet crumbles after the loss of their largest ships. The SCUM. target painter sweeps from ship to ship like the Eye of Sauron as Test Alliance Please Ignore are slowly crushed out of the match and the tournament.
Match #98: Curatores Veritatis Alliance vs. Transmission Lost
Curatores Veritatis Alliance arrive on the field with an exciting, aggressive line-up of ship with which they charge straight at a flat-footed Transmission Lost fleet. The two Gnosis battlecruisers and three Vigilant faction cruisers waste no time tearing into the enemy Typhoon Fleet Issue battleships, destroying all three in under two minutes.
Boemkoolsaus' Scimitar logistics cruiser is put out of its misery after the sheer damage output of the Curatores Veritatis Alliance assault rendered all its attempts at remote repair ineffective. The match is over in less than 4 minutes. The Transmission was Lost for the last time this tournament.
Match #99: Nulli Secunda vs. YOUR VOTES DON'T COUNT
Nulli Secunda's second match of the day saw them well warmed up and coming off the back of a victory, whilst YOUR VOTES DON'T COUNT were cold and possibly still smarting from their previous day's defeat which had seen them consigned to the losers bracket. However, for both teams the stakes were the same; the loser would be eliminated.
YOUR VOTES DON'T COUNT dug in with a very defensive Rattlesnake battleship-based tinker-tank fleet and Nulli Secunda's more mobile composition choice played into their hands as an unspent ship selection point meant that the onus to attack was entirely on Nulli Secunda. Despite this pressure, the match plays out cautiously and Nulli Secunda's procrastination resulting in some frigate losses and compound their dilemma.
With pressure mounting and time dwindling, Nulli Secunda finally rally and attempt to change their fortunes - after all, they were only behind by 5 points. Sadly for them, their assault is repelled and further costly losses are suffered, putting victory beyond reach as the timer expires along with their tournament hopes.
Match #100: Clockwork Pineapple vs. Verge of Collapse
Current title holders Verge of Collapse's presence in the losers bracket was a surprise to many and is one of the teams of which competitors will be most wary. As a result, Clockwork Pineapple begin the match as the clear underdogs. With elimination the price of failure, both sides started with caution, testing for weakness and opponent error.
As the clock ticked down, the tension mounted and Verge of Collapse's superior damage output from their two Kronos marauder battleships came close to felling the Clockwork Pineapple Bhaalgorn of Elmnt80, but was saved by timely and consistent remote repairing from Bussunda in his Oneiros logistics cruiser. Frustrated, Verge of Collapse needed to innovate...
...and in a tournament first, we saw exactly that. A swarm of rarely used neutralisation drones were used to shut down Clockwork Pineapple's troublesome logistics cruiser with a spectacular light show of energy-sapping tendrils. Verge of Collapse's vampiric space octopus was enough to tip the balance and with less than 3 minutes left, Clockwork Pineapple's fleet collapsed.
Match #101: HUN Reloaded vs. Red vs Blue
A fast-paced battle sees HUN Reloaded's Dominix battleship-focused fleet pitted against a Red vs Blue team favouring missile platforms and electronic countermeasures in the form of Raven and Widow battleships. Both teams begin distant from the arena centre, with the intent of picking of targets of opportunity from range.
HUN Reloaded does far better out of the initial exchange, decimating Red vs Blue's frigate support wing and performing a lightning strike on their Scimitar logistics cruiser to almost instantly destroy it in a stunning double salvo. However, Red vs Blue persevere and manage to claw the points back by downing Bubba12's Dominix.
Red vs Blue give a good account of themselves, managing to take down a second HUN Reloaded Dominix, but logistics support - or in Red vs Blue's case, a lack of it - is the critical deciding factor and HUN Reloaded inflict loss after loss whilst minimising their own and winning the match.
Match #102: M.I.F vs. Agony Empire
If this match were a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, then both sides brought rocks, with little ability to throw them. Two Dominix-based tinker-tank setups with minimal support fleets meant that both M.I.F and Agony Empire had phenomenal defensive ability and limited damage output. The only significant difference was in the presence of Agony Empire's ECM jamming Widow battleship pair which might disrupt M.I.F's tinker-tanking ability. Might.
A seemingly never-ending deadlock followed as the teams tested each other and the commentators, Apathetic Brent and CCP Dolan speculated on (and hoped for) a pivot moment which would open the match up.
Finally, it came and it was an M.I.F Proteus strategic cruiser that gave out to much excitement and relief from the commentary box. With barely over a minute to go, the destruction of RICOrus' vessel was the single explosion of the match, but it was the pivot point that everyone had been waiting for.
Match #103: The Obsidian Front vs. Darkness of Despair
In a setup reminiscent of the earlier Curatores Veritatis Alliance versus Transmission Lost match, we see a face-smashing close-range fleet from The Obsidian Front starting as close as possible whilst Darkness of Despair has a more balanced composition positioned more cautiously at 50 kilometres from the centre marker. As the match begins, The Obsidian Front need to find a way to safely cross that 50km expanse to make use of their vast damage potential.
After almost three minutes of tentative circling, The Obsidian Front pick their moment and advance, their entire fleet moving at a controlled, ordered speed toward the waiting Darkness of Despair fleet. Without a logistics cruiser to mitigate damage, The Obsidian Front need to make their shots count and reduce enemy damage potential quickly.
The battle is joined, but does not go as The Obsidian Front expected. Darkness of Despair weathers the storm and Totured Veracity's Kronos marauder battleship, which bore the brunt of The Obsidian Front's assault, stands firm. The charge is blunted and The Obsidian Front fail to apply damage as intended, instead suffering heavy losses leading to defeat.
Match #104: Sadistica Alliance vs. Ministry of Inappropriate Footwork
Sadistica Alliance had had time to acclimatise to the losers bracket, but Ministry of Inappropriate Footwork had put in a good showing in previous matches before being relegated by tournament favourites HYDRA RELOADED. Both had taken some impressive scalps despite their current predicament in the last chance saloon. Pre-match, Sadistica Alliance failed to submit their bans, giving their opponents an advantage in ship selection.
Both fleets start at range, but Sadistica Alliance's Vindicator and Bhaalgorn battleships strike out toward the centre of the arena, leaving their support fleet to cover the rear. Ministry of Inappropriate Footwork accept the challenge and pile in with their trio of Sleipnirs.
As the battle develops, Ministry of Inappropriate Footwork manage to take down both Sadistica Alliance battleships without any significant loss to their own strike force. Support frigates also engage and here we see Chale'aan's Oneiros logistics cruiser taking fire from Miyahon's Harpy (and everyone else), whilst repair drones attempt to keep the cruiser intact. Ministry of Inappropriate Footwork take the match.
More coverage of Alliance Tournament XI...