The Untouchables: Alliance Tournament XI Day 4 in Pictures (Part Three)
In EVE Online's Alliance Tournament XI, 64 teams of 12 ships clash in 10-minute rounds of screaming hot laser death and blistering explosions as gigantic spaceships are ripped apart.
If it were a real event, the death toll would be in the thousands. Fortunately it's only pixels, so there's no need to panic and every reason to enjoy the carnage and fireworks.
The double elimination format means that it takes two losses for a team to be knocked out of the competition. By the end of the fourth day, the undignified scrap that is the losers bracket is something that only a few teams will have managed to avoid. In parts one and two of our #ATXI Day 4 coverage, we saw many of the bitter struggles for survival in this competitive pit of the damned.
Meanwhile, in the rarefied atmosphere of the winners bracket, the more clinical, deadly and consistent juggernauts emerge, casting their opponents into the pit of the defeated in their seemingly unstoppable march to the final.
At this stage, only eight teams can still claim to be undefeated. By the end of the day they will number only 4.
The final four matches of Day 4 (#105 to #108) follow, with winners emboldened in the title.
Match #105: THE R0NIN vs. Rote Kapelle
Everyone sat up and took notice when Rote Kapelle defeated defending champions, Verge of Collapse, on Day 3. It was the moment they truly became identified as title contenders. The R0nin had faced their own challenges, defeating some impressive teams, but nothing to match the scalp of the title-holders. In any case, both teams had a lot to fight for and everything to prove.
As the match begins, The R0nin's high speed fleet dives down into the belly of the Rote Kapelle fleet as they scatter like a shoal of fish disrupted by a diving bird. The R0nin's lightning strike pays off and they quickly take first blood as an Enyo assault frigate tackles Rote Kapelle's vital but weak Exequror cruiser.
The battle erupts at an explosive pace, with both sides fully committed. Rote Kapelle recover from the early strike by destroying the Dominix Navy Issue battleship of Charakterowitch, taking the points lead. Meanwhile, Rote Kapelle's Armageddon battleship flown by Bob Shaftoes barely clings to life as the pendulum threatens to swing back once more. When he finally explodes (above) the fight becomes desperate for Rote Kapelle and their subsequent valiant efforts amount to naught as they are consigned to the losers bracket. The R0nin are the ones to keep their undefeated claim.
Match #106: Late Night Alliance vs. Exodus.
Of the eight remaining undefeated alliances, it is perhaps Late Night Alliance and Exodus. who are the lowest profile. Both relatively new alliances, they have yet to make their mark on EVE's history books to the same extent as many teams with which they find themselves sharing the undefeated accolade. This could be seen as an advantage, as underdogs are often underestimated. Silent is the wolf before the rising of the moon.
The match begins with Late Night Alliance clustered together whilst a more elaborate spread from Exodus. sees their starting formation spread across the arena. First blood to Exodus. as Late Night Alliance's frigate support is decimated by long range sniping shots from sentry drones.
As the range closes and the battleships - including both teams' expensive but powerful flagships - engage, Sturm Gewehr's Armageddon battleship becomes the primary target in the still full-strength Exodus. fleet. whilst TeaEarlGray HOT's Vindicator battleship suffers on the Late Night Alliance side. It is TeaEarlGray HOT's vessel that falls first, followed by the flagship Bhaalgorn piloted by Bahamut420 and a landslide victory for Exodus. is secured.
Match #107: DarkSide. vs. HYDRA RELOADED
Tournament favourites HYDRA RELOADED showed the respect they had for their opponents but leaving nothing to chance in their fleet composition. Not only did they field their Dominix flagship, flown by featured pilot HaartSp and undoubtedly fitted with extremely powerful equipment only allowed on flagships. More excitingly, they had three rare Malice frigates - overpowered limited edition ships awarded as prizes for HYDRA RELOADED's victory two years ago at Alliance Tournament IX. Darkside. faced an uphill battle.
As the battle joined, Darkside. roll the dice and attempted to target the HYDRA RELOADED Oneiros logistics cruiser in an attempt to render other, intimidatingly tough ships easier to kill. Here, Max911's Tengu strategic cruiser opens fire as the first of the Darkside. frigates fall to the HYDRA RELOADED assault.
The gamble fails and HYDRA RELOADED run rampant, systematically destroying every Darkside. ship and retaining their record of not only being undefeated in the tournament, but not having even lost a single ship. Darkside. are a competent and respected team who were made to look ordinary by a stunning HYDRA RELOADED performance. The question of the tournament is clearly no longer: 'who is going to win?', but 'can anyone stop HYDRA RELOADED?'
Match #108: The Initiative. vs. Pandemic Legion
The Initiative.'s tournament path to this point had arguably been less than emphatic, with each match having been close and hard-fought. Their opponents, Pandemic Legion, had convincingly despatched of their opponents without a loss so far and, as favourites to win the match, would clearly be expecting to continue that run of form.
Not to be outdone by HYDRA RELOADED, three-times Alliance Tournament champions Pandemic Legion also chose to bring the bling, fielding three Utus - limited edition prize ships from their most recent championship win in 2010 (ATVIII). Each of these exceptionally valuable ships are estimated to be worth over 30bn ISK of in-game currency (which equates to roughly 5 years of subscription time or $1,200).
Pandemic Legion start confidently, committing everything to the fight and piling damage onto The Initiative.'s Oneiros logistics cruiser. Meanwhile, The Initiative. manage to successfully apply target dampening electronic warfare to Blast x's Oneiros whilst focusing fire on the Pandemic Legion Utu flown by fmercury. In a heart-pounding few seconds which sees commentator Apathetic Brent so full of Schadenfreude-fuelled glee, he seemed anything but apathetic, the Utu's armour is stripped away and The Initiative. gives alliance tournament viewers the most expensive explosion of the tournament so far. Pandemic Legion still won quite convincingly, but at the same time, they lost. The Initiative. enter the losers bracket - and the tournament history books - with pride.
More coverage of Alliance Tournament XI...