Camel Empire AT XIII AARBob Shaftoes
The second weekend was our lowest point in the tournament. We tunneled hardcore on beating Gorgon Empire, as we had a healthy respect for them and Afterlife and spent most of our time in the first inter-week reverse engineering and testing Gorgon setups. All that prep time turned out to be completely wasted when Gorgon brought a bomber tinker and we had a long-range kiting comp with damps that acted as a hard counter.
Now, our second match against Exodus was easily the most wobbly part of the tournament for two reasons. The first is that we wasted all of our time on Gorgon during the first week of practice and were quite dismissive of Exodus, thinking it would be a “straightforward” match. The second was down to uncharacteristically poor execution on our part. Our Typhoon Fleet Issues were supposed to screen their counterpart Exodus TFIs to stop them from getting on top of our logistics ship and smartbombing our remote rep drones, while our Malice neuted their logi and we burned down a Typhoon. Unfortunately, our Malice was jammed by Kitsunes most of the fight and one of our TFIs missed tackle on the opposing TFI which led to all the rep drones dying, followed quickly by our logistics ship. Two things saved us in that match. The first one was our pro Malediction pilot Nixor. He put so much pressure on one of the Kitsunes that he caused him to boundary violate, leaving the Malice free to neut the enemy logistics ship and disable it. The second factor was our destroyer wing. With clever piloting and damage application, they allowed us to trade TFIs at an even rate without losing too much HP and turned the match around for us. Props to Exodus for a good fight, and congrats on the fourth place finish!
The time between the 2nd and 3rd weekends was a bit awful for us. PL finally realised they were going to fight either us or Warlords and started shitposting on every public forum to try and get us thrown out of the tournament. Camel has a strict no-posting policy during the AT (the offender loses prize ships/shares if we win anything), so we could not adequately respond to these provocations until after the tournament. Now the tournament is finally over with, I can finally address these issues. Camel Empire and Warlords of the Deep were and are two separate teams. We do have a shared pool of setups. We do theorycraft together, but both teams are very proud and gave their all in an attempt to win the tournament, and there was no “collusion,” or any “house rules” especially in both of the series where we played against each other. We were very aware that CCP was watching us closely and would ban us if they spotted anything dodgy, so we made everything as above-board as possible. In terms of testing for that week, we decided to focus the brunt of our efforts against Tuskers and PL. We knew Tuskers would likely win their section of the losers bracket, and if we lost against Warlords, we could have a potentially tournament-ending Bo1 against them. Fortunately, we beat Warlords convincingly in our Bo3 series, which put us in great standing for the Bo3 against PL in the winners’ bracket final. And what a series it was against PL! This was the most expensive tournament series in AT history and likely the high point in AT XIII for us. PL was the team we wanted to beat the whole tournament, especially after the collusion shitposting fiasco, so we went in full-bore with all of our Cambions, Etana and flagship and proceeded to get destroyed by a typical PL hard-counter with Morachas. You would think that such a demolition might have broken our resolve to continue with the series and handed PL an easy win. On the contrary, comms after the first match were pretty nonchalant and the loss only hardened our desire to murder those nerds. After we banned their Moracha setup, PL had nothing left in the tank. We knew they had developed a strategy of firewalling missiles from watching their matches and from CREST data, and we simply used Guristas missiles against their firewalling ship to kill it. We also meta-gamed them using bans. PL guessed wrong on jammers and setups for both us and Warlords for the rest of the tournament and eventually got knocked out in straight matches, leaving us fighting Warlords in the grand final.
Warlords and Camel. 1st and 2nd. No matter who actually won the series, it was a victory overall for both teams who had put in so much effort and so much time over the past three months. There were still bragging rights and gold medals to play for though! The first match of the series, we tentatively tested the waters a bit with a simple setup since we were up 1-0. Sadly, Warlords brought a setup that countered us perfectly, headshotting our logistics and mopping up the rest of our team.
The second match was incredibly frustrating for us. We skewed towards Caldari jammers to try and take an easy win. Seeing TFIs again was precisely what we didn’t want, but we still felt like we could have taken the match with some lucky jams. We still might have pulled out a win if one of our Widows had not DCed halfway through the match, but bumps from Wildcat and Sgt Anti pretty much sealed our fate.
In the third match, we decided to go back to basics and brought the same shield kiting comp we brought against Gorgon. Warlords clearly wanted to tie up the win after a long day and went all-out with 2 Chremoas and their flag SNI. Fortunately, we were able to reduce the DPS on the big ships through damps and get a few lucky jams on their basi to kill some frigates and take it to time although it was touch and go for a bit when one of our lightly tanked Sleipnirs hit low armor.
The final match was a bit of a swing and a miss on our end when we took the same bomber-heavy team we used against SMA in the first match and aimed to headshot Warlords. Their big destroyer wing destroyed our bomber wing and doomed us to second place. Props to Warlords though, they deserved the win after all those losers’ bracket matches and seriously out-meta’d us in the final.
Overall AT XIII was pretty cool. I really liked the meta compared with previous years, and all of the rule changes brought a breath of fresh air into the hulls being fielded. CCP did an excellent job with the actual streaming of the tournament this year with very little in the way of technical difficulties and delays seen in previous years.