With much anticipation we have all waited for the announcement of this years Alliance Tournament. The biggest EVE E-sports program of the year and for some the only reason why they still play.
The loss of CCP Gargant was sad news and some worries about AT actually still going ahead where heard amongst the community. Sure, CCP Fozzie is THE man for this kind of thing but he must be too busy with Fozziesov, so who is going to step into this void and still make it happen? Enter CCP Logibro. Concerns were whispered about his appointment and credentials. Some said he was too busy with other things, others, that he doesn’t have the experience or knowledge to shoulder the responsibility.
Well I am here to tell you that CCP Logibro has done an amazing job so far. The changes he has made to the rules and point system have been surprisingly well received by those that care the most. There are some crucial changes that have hurt some of the teams that have already practised their setups based on last years point system, however.
After seeing the destructive power and heavy use of drone setups last year it is interesting to see that drones have been penalised so heavily this year; only T1 drones are allowed, and even Geckos have been banned. The effect of this will be noticed, the heavily used Ishtar setups from last year are less likely, despite T1 drones still being relatively powerful. Brawling setups with Geckos are obviously no longer possible. The biggest change from this will be the effect it has on the tinker setups from last year as they are usually heavily supported with drones. Tinkers aren’t the most exciting to watch and this will go some way to encouraging teams to think of other setups.
No more bastion! Some cries of disgust from pilots that have trained marauders to level 5 specifically for the Alliance Tournament have been heard, but overall it is a good decision. Marauder setups where not always successful last year but it was clear by the amount of Golems and Paladins left at the end of several fights that something needed to be done. Removing bastion mode has been compromised by dropping the point value of marauders, so I am confident we will still see these ships return this year, but no longer as a core part of a composition.
Two of a kind
It is somewhat disappointing to see teams will not be able to field three of the same kind of ship anymore; triple Vindicator or command ship setups are now no longer possible. It presents team captains with an additional challenge: They will need to field at minimum six different hull types and figuring out how to synergise more hull types always adds extra layers of complexity.
Electronic warfare modules have taken a bit of a hit as well this year by the disallowing of scripts for both dampeners and tracking disruptors. The effect of this will be most felt by teams that intended to bring kiting setups. A triple damping Maulus now reduces lock range of a Scimitar to 36.25 km instead of 13.51 km – a massive change compared to last year. Damps can be more easily countered by remote sensor boosters; one remote sensor booster onto the damped scimitar will bring its lock range back up to 65.6k, even more when boosted by a sensor integrity link from a Caldari or Amarr command ship hull – even when triple damped, a logistics ship will lock at 95 km.
The most popular EWAR this time around will be jammers, their strength has not been nerfed and will be the most valuable “spare” mid-slot filler. Expect Maulus to be replaced by Griffins and Blackbirds to replace Celestisii.
What to expect this year
Popular compositions this year are sure to be battleship-heavy setups. The point reduction on faction and T2 varieties will be encouraging and will surely push team captains to consider these more. Marauders will still be seen despite not being able to use the bastion module, their reduction in point value will make their T2 resists and utility slots a valuable addition to certain teams.
Drones have taken a big hit this year but despite the weak damage output and hit points of T1 drones, their damage application is still really very good; expect to see Gilas and Worms still for this reason.
Tinkers are somewhat gimped by the changes brought in, but there are various compositions that will still work and work very well. What will be more interesting is the counter to these types of setups and I am personally looking forward what teams will do to beat tinkers this year; expect bumping and energy neutralisers to feature heavily.
Overall it feels like fast paced high damage setups are encouraged, like Minmatar rush or Gallente control – short fights with lots of early explosions.
The feedback from team captains I have spoken to so far is very positive with regards to the changes and point distribution. Bring on the fights!
Special credits to Bei Artjay who co-wrote this article.
Tags: alliance tournament, ATXIII, Nashh