Tag Archives: O1Y-ED

Chasing Asher’s Phantasm

The same thing we do every night, Boat – try to take over Fade!

-Asher Elias, Asher and the Boat

Things happened to fall into place last night in just the right order so that I found myself sitting down at my desk with some free time in the evening just as Asher put up a ping for a Cerberus fleet.  I hate it when I get to my computer and there are pings for fleets, but they are all stale and the fleets have long since undocked.  And, having done the Clownshoe fleet earlier in the week, I was up for a combat fleet looking sail into harm’s way.

I even opted to join in my Cerberus rather than flying logi.  I wanted to shoot something… and I like to get a couple kills on the board every month just to prove to my corp that I am still alive.

We would, of course, be heading to Fade, the focus of the war for the last couple of weeks.  Despite the persistent Reddit propaganda about The Imperium not undocking, not fighting, and not contesting sovereignty, DOTLAN and zKillboard paint a different story.

zKillboard Top Alliances and Corps - May 6, 2016

zKillboard Top Alliances and Corps – May 6, 2016

(How the kills are counted and ranked is explained here.)

I think the biggest surprise there is finding my own alliance, TNT, on the list… that has to be ITAI, to corp CO2 wanted to kick and blacklist, doing some heavy lifting there… though I am bad and almost never fly specifically with my alliance, preferring to just take whatever fleet is leaving out of Saranen when I have the time.  Anyway, back to the fleet.

It had been a while since I had been in an Asher fleet… no Reavers ops of late, just the war… and was surprised when he noted my absence of late. [Insert “Senpai noticed me joke here.] It has actually been difficult to find time for a fleet during the week of late, and next week will continue that trend.

Several fleets were going up, but the Cerberus doctrine probably fits me best as I have almost all the related skills for it trained up to level 5.  Asher himself would be leading us in a new FC ship he was trying out which we were able to see once we got ourselves settled and undocked.

Phantastic Fantasm

Phantastic Fantasm

That is the Sansha’s Nation Phantasm, a pirate faction ship, wearing the Sansha Victory skin, making it a pretty rare site.  I took an excessive number of screen shots of it while we were lolling around in various places.  It is a pretty, and very pointy, ship.

Undocked, we headed to our ride north, stopping along the way just long enough to pop a MOA Drake that was acting as a bait for a gate camp and clearly wasn’t expecting a 100 ship Cerberus fleet to land on it.  At that point I was “Op success!” because I was on the kill boards for May and could go back to flying logi next time.

We moved to our bridging titan and got ourselves in range before it sent us on our way.

Cerbs waiting for the bridge

Cerbs waiting for the bridge

Once dropped into the north end of Pure Blind, we headed for the usual location in Fade, the system of O1Y-ED.  Along the way we got some instructions on how the fleet was going to work and what to do during certain circumstances.  Key items on the list were to keep anchored up with your prop mod running and to align immediately to broadcasts when told.

Once at the destination we warped to a point off the station and let the festivities commence.  As usual, numbers were against us, but the doctrine was designed to kite and keep foes at a distance until an opportunity presented itself.  This meant quite a bit of aligning, warping, aligning again, warping again, anchoring up, maybe shooting a target or two, then aligning once more for another warp.

The fleet was an illustration of a number of things Asher has spoken about before, both on coms and on his podcast, about the nature of fleet ops and, especially, having the critical mass of firepower and being able to apply it correctly to a target to break its tank and kill it before it can start receiving enough repair reps to save it.

That last bit was key to our fleet last night, and we didn’t do very well.

In one of the first encounters we got within range of PL’s logi and were given a primary and a secondary to target and shoot.  The idea is that you lock both, shoot the primary until it is dead, then shoot the secondary, which is then the primary.

We locked both up and as the missiles flew… it is always a bit unnerving with missile doctrines as you have to sit and wait until the missiles travel to the target and do their work before you can tell how things are going… it looked like we were going to drop the first logi.  It was down to under a quarter armor… and then reps caught and its armor stabilized and started pushing back up.

We almost had it… and would have had it, except that it was clear that somebody had decided to shoot the secondary.  So our damage, which looked to put kills within the realm of possibility, was split and neither target was destroyed.  There was enough damage on our side… for the moment.

In addition to splitting fire we were, as a fleet, having some problems aligning.

Aligning is easy enough.  It an align point is broadcast, you just right-click on the broadcast in the fleet window and select “Align to…” from the contextual menu.  It the align point is a station or a gate or something else that might be in your overview… I have something of a lazy, probably shows too much standard overview I rely on… you can right click there or, if I remember right, just highlight it on the overview or in space as press the “A” key.

Cerbs aligning for another warp

Cerbs aligning for another warp

But, in combat, with lots of things going on, people were not keeping up.  In a situation where you are kiting the enemy, being aligned can be a matter of survival.  If you are aligned when the FC warps the fleet, you are on your way pretty much instantly.  If you aren’t aligned you may find yourself hanging about in the face of a hostile fleet hungry for a kill after the rest of their prey just slipped off.

So it went, we would warp off as hostiles landed only to find that one or two people were not aligned, and the fleet would be a couple ships lighter.  There was some talk of Darwin in action and survival of the fittest on coms, but with less ships, the amount of damage we could put out decreased, making kills harder to get.  And so we kept bouncing around the system, or burning along at speed, kiting the enemy around while looking for an opening.

Running with our bubble coverage

Running with our bubble coverage

After a a stretch of this where we managed to knock off a couple of hostile Cerberuses that strayed away from their cover… but not enough to match our own losses… Asher took us to a gate and jumped us into K4YZ-Y to look for and advantage.

There we continued kiting, getting a few more kills… my favorite being the PH Noctis looking to scoop up loot… until the enemy managed to pop Asher’s pointy new FC ship.

That actually took me by surprise.  I usually keep a bounty on FCs I fly with regularly so that I immediately get a pop-up notification when they are blown up so I know that things might be going to hell shortly.

Fortunately we had a couple of alternate FCs along for the ride.  Thomas Lear took over and began bouncing us around to shake off the enemy until they got bored and left, though rumor had it that the enemy was convinced that Oxygen was driving the fleet now.

We eventually ended up in a POS in system… somebody said it isn’t really an Asher fleet unless we spend some time hiding in a POS… waiting for things to die down so we could find a way back to Saranen.  By this point, in addition to losing Asher, enough other ships had been peeled off that we lacked any hope of tank breaking critical mass when engaging the enemy fleet roaming the area.  It was time to head home.

There was a bit more waiting, and then some dodging about to get away, but Thomas Lear got us through and to low sec and then back home to Saranen.

Landing back at the Quafe Company Warehouse

Landing back at the Quafe Company Warehouse

Not our most glorious fleet op.  I couldn’t get a decent battle report for what we did, in part because other fleets were operating in the area, including a White Legion Muninn fleet.  But it was another day in the war where we formed up to oppose our enemies and show that we will continue to resist.

One of the more interesting aspects of this op was a look at the kills we got.  Less that two weeks ago, when I was out with Boat on that Cormorant fleet, we were really only seeing Pandemic Horde.  Nobody else was showing up in Fade.  Last night we saw fleets from Pandemic Legion and NCDot as well as a few other members of the Moneybadger Coalition.  Fade is where the fights are happening for now.

Fast Times with Boat in Fade

If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Deklein is gone.  I have a Harpy, a Burst, and a Scimitar left in a couple of stations up there, ships I dropped off in out of the way places.  But that does not mean that things have been quiet.

If you have been listening to The Mittani on The Meta Show, and given the rage in chat some of you just can’t help yourselves I guess, you have heard that The Imperium is picking its battles, fighting where it can win.  The target for that has been Fade, where Pandemic Horde has set up shop.  If they have came to the North seeking fights, we have obliged them.  In addition, we have also taken back a few systems in the region.

Fade - April 25, 2016

Fade – April 25, 2016

Fade, once entirely conquered by the Moneybadgers, has eight systems controlled by The Imperium as of this point.  We may not hold them for long, but now they have to come back and retake them.

A large part of this attack on PH has been led by Dabigredboat who has been leading fleets of bombers and coordinating with interceptor gangs to keep the horde busy while racking up a large number of kills, putting GSF at the top of the list over at zKillboard.

zKillboar Lists - April 25, 2016

zKillboard Lists – April 25, 2016

While I have been hearing about the exploits of Dabigredboat, or Boat, or DBRB, I wasn’t able to get into one of his fleets until Sunday.  The ping showed up announcing that he wanted to try something new.  Leaving behind his stealth bombers and interceptors, Cormorants were the ship of the day and he would be handing out 100 for free to those who joined his fleet.

Free ships got a response and he actually had to get 30 more together to hand out and, once the pre-op nonsense and confusion was resolved, we undocked our fleet.  No logi, no links, a couple of support ships, and a whole lot of Cormorants.

Cormorants undock

Cormorants undock

I actually splurged and bought a skin for my Cormorant, the Guristas 30-Day version, which somebody thoughtfully stocked in our staging system.

Guristas Cormorant Sking

Guristas Cormorant Skin

Then it was off to the usual destination for DBRB this past week, O1Y-ED in Fade.

It was another fine example of DBRB in action.  He is loud and excitable.  He gets frustrated quickly when people makes mistakes, but that passes as quickly as it shows up.  And clearly enjoys taking advantage of the enemy when they make a mistake.  We rolled up on our target, the staging station for PH.

Aptly named or not?

Aptly named or not?

DBRB has the area around the station well bookmarked, so we began what would become a routine over the next two hours of warping, aligning, and warping off again while looking for a tactical advantage.

The horde however, wasn’t sure what to do about us for a bit.  We were able to knock off a few ships around the station, the best probably being a Vargur that apparently felt he could tank a bunch of Cormorants.  That loss alone was probably worth more than our entire fleet.

We did get a couple of small surges where the pattern for the afternoon seemed to get set.  Horde seemed set to headshot DBRB at every opportunity, and he ended up losing four Cormorants during our time in system.  However they never managed to pod him and so he was able to re-ship… somebody in fleet would jump out of their Cormorant and DBRB would take it and continue to lead us in the fight.

Eventually PH got together a Ferox fleet and started to chase us around in that.  That was not a winning proposition for us, so we warped around them for a while… occasionally hitting a lone Ferox that wandered off from the pack…  until they tired of that.  We remained trailing our coats within site of their station.

Cormorants still there...

Cormorants still there…

Then it was time to come after us with frigates and destroyers, which is when the kill mails began to pour in for us.  There were a couple of points where we landed in amongst a PH formation and took down targets as fast as we could lock and shoot.  The battle report I was looking at after the fight showed we had racked up more than 500 kills during our visit. However, it kept updating after that and the total now appears to be beyond 600 kills.

O1Y-ED Report

O1Y-ED Report

Not all of those kills were ours.  There was another group zipping around hitting PH.  But not all of those deaths were ours either.  Still, out time there added greatly to the total of kills in the system over the preceding 24 hour period.

The most effective response to us came from a few intrepid stealth bomber pilots who managed to score hits now and again.  For a while there we were able to catch bombers or warp away in time… except for people who were not aligned as instructed.  Towards the end though we got caught a couple of times.  When we finally turned for home I had taken a few hits and was about halfway through my armor.

Shield regeneration kept me going!

Shield regeneration kept me going!

So my ship was looking a bit chewed up when I arrived back in Saranen.

Armor damage on the Cormorant

Armor damage on the Cormorant

Of course, my ship had some additional markings as well.

Kill marks

Kill marks

I think those are two “5 kill” round-up marks on the ship, though I am a little confused on the whole count, as I only got 7 final blows during the fight.  This was a handout ship however, so maybe it had three kills on it already?  I didn’t check before the fight and I *think* I can see marks on the side in one of the screen shots above that might be the same marks… so I might be looking in the wrong spot.

Edit: Those are the kill marks, the kill marks are located here:

7 kill marks in a neat row

7 kill marks in a neat row

Anyway, I got home safe with the remains of the fleet and repaired the ship for next time.  DBRB let us keep the ships for now.  We shall see if I can get out with it again and add to its kills.

Overall though it was one of the best fleets I have been on in a while and a prime example of what happens when Boat is let loose in the right situation.