Alliance Tournament Histories: Pandemic Legion vs. Hydra Reloaded – Part Three

 

Originally this was the second part of part 2, but as usual, I have been somewhat verbose and the SCL gets its whole own part. Again thanks to Duncan Tanner as well as Elise Randolph and Lucas Quaan for their help in getting all the facts together for this piece

Editor’s Note: This is part three of an ongoing series exploring the history of the Alliance Tournament. You can find part two here.

The Syndicate Competitive League

While the New Eden Open can be considered CCPs first foray into eSports, the SCL was the first big stab at player-run tournaments, being the precursor of the modern #EVE_NT tournament series. The SCLs were weekend-long tournaments ran approximately monthly, supported by CCP effectively through the newly minted CCP Fozzie giving up his weekends. There was a fourth SCL ran after ATXI, but neither PL or HYDRA made an appearance so I’m just going to skip it for the purposes of our narrative. You can find all the old SCL VODs here.

Suspicious of just being a tournament to steal AT setups, Pandemic Legion skipped the first one and the HYDRA team swept through to victory. Notably, HYDRA used dual tanked Machs in the finals against the Exodus team (Exodunks), which served as a precursor to the now-infamous dual-tanked Vagabonds we saw later from PL. The further we go, the more we will see each of HYDRA and PL influencing and taking from each other’s theorycrafting, being inspired by and needing to outthink each other. Then for SCL2, HYDRA failed to get a team together in time and PL took the crown. Finally, we move on to SCL3 which – according to what I have managed to cobble together – was the birthplace of the end-game theorycrafting and meta for the following two Alliance Tournaments. Pandemic Legion met HYDRA (Under the name Warlords of the Deep) in the grand finals, in a Bo5 (Best of 5) that turned into a Bo6, something that should tell you how tight and insane this series was. HYDRA had already beaten the PL B-Team earlier in the tournament to meet them there. Do note that I will be counting the gamescore of SCL3 separately from the cumulative Alliance Tournament Game/Match score.

 

SCL3 – Defeating the Mini-Boss

Before the epic SCL3 finals, HYDRA had to defeat the PL B team (handily named PL-B) in a Bo3 to get through their part of the bracket.

Game 1

  • Commentary by Bacchanalian and Apathetic Brent

We are firmly back in the heyday of the “Tinker” (or “Turtle”) where you clustered around a T3C, fed it cap and it fed everyone else an insane amount of reps. Low DPS, low maneuverability but extreme lasting power and probably the most taxing in terms of piloting skill EVE has ever seen from the seat of the T3C. Here we see classic Pandemic Legion bringing a Tinker variant of Sentry Dominixes with a Proteus and Myrmidon Link Ship. HYDRA bring a setup we’re going to see a fair few times which is the Sleipnir/Hurricane Fleet Issue mix and Bombers, tons of DPS and void bombs to attempt to break the tinker apart. Add on to that two Keres, back when damps were scripted (and to some extent even without) they were one of the most, if not the most powerful tool in the AT. Any ship with a spare mid would fit a damp, leading to the well-remembered Damp-Merlin fits despite the Merlin providing no hull bonus to the module.

The PL Proteus is Painted and assaulted with the full might of the HYDRA team, and when it failed to hold tank, that spelled the end for the PL team. Tinkers tend to either hold, losing nothing, or break and completely fall to pieces as each ship relies so heavily on each other for the comp to function.

Game 2

  • Commentary by Bacchanalian and Apathetic Brent

PL pull a classic PL move, despite being a team famous for its theorycrafting and deep roster of comps, they bring the same setup again. HYDRA varies theirs slightly by downgrading the two Keres to a Sabre and a Merlin in order to upgrade their earlier first-loss Osprey to a full T2 Basilisk. It’s noted in the commentary that Shadoo bribed another team 20B to pull out of the tournament, opening the slot for the PL B-team who would otherwise not have been able to be involved. As mentioned previously, times have certainly changed in what is considered acceptable conduct both by players and tournament organisers.

 

SCL3 Finals – The Unstoppable Force against the Immovable Object

Game 1

  • Commentary by Bacchanalian and Apathetic Brent

HYDRA ban Proteus/Legion to remove the possibility of an armour tinker, for which signature is a reasonable part of their tank. This forces PL into a shield Tinker (which they bring) that HYDRA attempt to counter with the neuting power of a Curse and the overwhelming DPS of four bombers and their void bombs to assist the Curse. After a minute and a half, Blast x’s Tengu is broken and HYDRA take the first game. By this point in the tournament meta, HYDRA have shown repeatedly that they are more than capable of dismantling PL’s signature comp, the tinker, and PL have to pull something new out of the bag.

0-1

 

Game 2

  • Commentary by Bacchanalian and Apathetic Brent

HYDRA bring another overly aggressive team with two Vindis and a Navy Mega, supported by two Sabres and some Caldari frigates for that fast tackle and their own non-negligeable DPS. PL bring a neut-drone comp (which you will remember a form of from the FF 2013 finals) supported by Sentinels which are the absolute key in this match to mitigating all that damage. The PL Curse is also a significant threat to the cap-heavy Mega hulls, and it takes a pounding. It is testament to the power of Sentinels that a mere Exequror manages to hold tank on the PL team for three whole minutes against the onslaught before losing Grath Telkin’s Vexor. PL trade out their Vexor and Curse for HYDRA’s low end, trying to outrun the Blasters of the HYDRA team, but HYDRA somehow manage to still get their DPS down. PL try to claw back the match with Exeq/Vexor/Double Sentinel versus the HYDRA BS but with only the DPS of a Vexor and the Exeq and Sentinels getting caught, PL draw the match out but fail to claw it back.

0-2

 

Game 3

  • Commentary by Bacchanalian and Apathetic Brent

The commentator’s nightmare; Tinker v Tinker. HYDRA in a 5-man drone armour setup against PL’s mobile Caldari Tinker. Normally, the superior rep and tank capabilities of a T3C make it the main choice for such a comp, but the mobility and rep range of a regular logistics has its own advantages. This is the comp that inspired the near-invincible HYDRA/Camel Widow/Etana/Cambion mobile tinker, sometimes called Purple Mistress or Purple Mistress of the Shadow. Despite what you might expect, this is actually a pretty intense match to watch, PL win the drone war clearing all of HYDRAs DPS, but lack enough of their own drones left over to break the reps of the HYDRA tinker. The match goes into overtime, and then all the way through that without a ship being lost, causing the match to be called as a draw. I cannot express how difficult it is to perform what both teams did here; AT piloting and that of a tinker Logi no less is stressful at the best of time, having to fly perfectly under so much pressure for so long turns it all the way up past 11 to numbers professional mathematicians have to invent. Not only that, but every Cap booster has to be conserved and transferred to the ships that are being pressured and running out through jetcans. This is likely one of the matches which caused the rule of “in an event of a tie, team with highest attack bar wins” to be implemented in future tournaments.

0.5-2.5

 

Game 4

  • Commentary by Bacchanalian and Apathetic Brent

PL are in a bad way. They lost the first two matches and tied the third, they were on match point in a heavy stress 20-minute game and made no progress in pulling it back. PL still need to win three straight games to pull the win out of the jaws, hell, the stomach of defeat at this point. So what do they do? Bring the same goddamn setup as the last game they just drew. I’m not sure how whoever on the PL team made that call sat on his chair with those balls of tungsten dragging him down to the floor.

HYDRA however do bring a different setup, a Minmatar team with the Hurricane Fleet issues serving at the weak tank point of T1 resists and a large sig for PL to remove over the first two minutes. This takes the pressure off of the PL team and they begin the slow methodical win of a Tinker team totally in control.

1.5-2.5

 

Game 5

  • Commentary by Bacchanalian and Apathetic Brent

The insanity that is this series continues with a repeat matchup from Game 2; The HYDRA mega-rush against the PL neut-drone team. It starts by looking bad for PL who lose their Myrmidon for nothing, then their Exeq drops while getting maybe halfway through the HYDRA support wing. With the HYDRA support defanged, however, they have to pull back, allowing PL to keep range and avoid the damage from the HYDRA battleships. PL then drop their crucial Sentinels which were so important in keeping the HYDRA DPS neuted.

Unlike the last match however, PL have managed to conserve more of their DPS to this stage of the match and manage to take down one of the HYDRA Vindis making this match extraordinarily close. HYDRA spend their last Merlin to try to catch Grath but he dies just before Grath can be intercepted by the larger ships. With the Vindi down, PL squeeze out the win on points and push the best of 5 into the final sixth game.

2.5-2.5

 

Game 6?

  • Commentary by Bacchanalian and Apathetic Brent

Both teams have an SCL win each and they’re down to the final wire for that third crown. PL once again bring their Neut-Drone comp against HYDRAs Minmatar team. PL trade almost their entire team for a single Hurricane Fleet Issue, making this early 2013 the exception to the rule that HYDRA win every match they have played against PL, apart from when they meet in the finals of a Tournament in which case PL win every match (with this and FF tournament 2013 being the exceptions).

This series is a classic in EVE’s tournament history, and if you didn’t while reading the article, I highly recommend going through and actually watching the videos, as well as checking out the entirety of the SCL’s twitch.tv back catalogue.

Next time we will be delving into ATXI, where PL and HYDRA have played two thirds of all games they faced each other in AT history. There may be a delay in Pt3 depending on how soon I can start the ATXVI team summaries, which I am pleased to announce will be making a return this year.

Tags: apothne, AT, Hydra, PL, scl, theorycrafting, tournament

About the author

Apothne

Apothne is a proud member of Sniggerdly and an experienced roaming FC. He is a Guest FC and Lecturer for EVE University and anyone who invites him to ramble on their comms for a few hours. He is currently one of the most active and experienced player commentators for EVE Tournaments, including hosting and casting AT XII-XV and all #EVE_NT leagues, as well as the Amarr Championships on stage at Fanfest 2016.