It was a clash of rivals in this month's EVE-NT match, Volta took on Afterlife for a spot in the semi-finals where the winner will face off against what is arguably one of the best teams remaining in the tournament; Warlords of the deep.
You can see the full set-ups & bans here.
Afterlife took a new approach to the format, showing some setups that we have not yet seen fielded in EVE-NT Collides with ships such as the Phantasm and the Nightmare. Alongside the innovative new set-ups they rounded up their 7 by bringing 2 Command ship teams with T2 logistics and a double Typhoon Fleet issues. This is a set-up that we have seen perform well for other teams in previous matches.
Volta took a more trusted approach and brought a team of 7 that was made up of seen before set-ups with some slight variations. The only exception is an armour drone team that no other team has brought before. Not so much innovation by Volta here, but I cannot really blame them for bringing what has been a solid set up for other teams in the past.
Volta removed 2 of the more conventional set-ups from Afterlife by banning the Sleipnir and the Typhoon Fleet issue setups. Afterlife also banned out the Typhoon Fleet issue set-up and made sure they did not have to face the Rapid light missile spam from the Orthrus set-up.
This left Afterlife with the following set-ups:
- A drone team with the 2 Gila's backed up by a Jackdaw, a harpy and a Basilisk
- A dual Nightmare set-up with frigate logistics and a Raptor
- A dual Navy Scorpion team with 2 Claws and a Vigil
- A control heavy set-up featuring a Curse, Claymore, Phantasm and 2 frigate logistics
- An Astarte/Oneiros team with Confessors and a Maulus
Against Volta's set-ups:
- Double Barghest supported by 2 frigate logistics and a Vigil
- A Sleipnir/Scimitar team with Svipuls and a Bomber
- An Astarte/Oneiros team with Confessors and a Bomber
- An armour drone team featuring 2 Ishtar's, Eos for links and 2 frigate logistics
- A Vindicator team supported by 2 Enyo's, a Sentinel and a Guardian
I remember looking at the ban list before the matches started and I could not help but think that Volta had the advantage. While Afterlife had shown some cool new set-ups I doubted whether they were as strong as what we have already seen and what Volta had put their trust in.
Afterlife: Claymore, Curse, Phantasm, Burst, Burst
Volta: Eos, Ishtar, Ishtar, Navitas, Navitas
While these two set-ups are similar in layout (Frigate logistics + command ship and 2 cruisers) they work very differently. Afterlife wants to be defensive and utilize cap pressure from the Curse to neutralize threats and shut down logistics. Volta on the other hand can be much more aggressive with their drones while protecting their logistics frigates.
When the match started Volta took an aggressive stance straight off the bat and went after the Afterlife Bursts with their drones. The Bursts however were able to outrun the T1 drones that Volta deployed likely with the help of a rapid deployment link on the Claymore.
Meanwhile Afterlife went after Volta's logistics frigates successfully neuting 1 of them while killing the other, the second Navitas went down shortly after.
Volta realized they could not kill the Bursts and deployed heavy drones to go after the Curse while Afterlife starts working on an Ishtar of Starfleetcommander. With no logistics they are unable to keep the Ishtar alive while the Afterlife Curse lived until the 2nd Ishtar is about half armour.
With the 2nd Ishtar going down Volta calls the good fight in local.
Afterlife: Astarte, Confessor, Confessor, Oneiros, Maulus
Volta: Barghest, Barghest, Vigil, Bantam, Bantam
With these 2 set-ups going up against each other I would have expected the outcome to be decided very quickly. Any set-up which has a T2 armour logistics covered by Command ship links is extremely hard to break unless you can take the logistics off the field.
Killing the Oneiros is a possibility because of the extreme missile range and damage that the Barghests can put out, but if they don't they will go on reload and give the other team time to take the logistics frigates down and start working on the battleships.
The match started and Volta tests the tank on the Maulus to see if they can kill it quickly. As soon as it catches a rep from the Oneiros they swap to the Oneiros. At the same time Afterlife uses their beam Confessors to destroy the low em-resistance Bantams in rapid succession.
The Afterlife Oneiros successfully tanks the rapid heavy missile barrage despite being painted by the Vigil and reps back up to full health. In the meantime Afterlife slowly starts chewing on one of the Barghests while they reload.
With the Oneiros at range (and perhaps not being able to get locks thanks to the Maulus damps) Volta swaps their damage over to a Confessor but the Oneiros responds in time.
Volta switched to the 2nd Confessor and get lucky this time as the Oneiros was unable to land reps in time, granting them a first kill and reducing the remaining damage of the Afterlife team. Volta uses the remainder of the missile barrage to try and kill the other Confessor but are unsuccessful. They do however manage to break free from any tackle that was applied to them and start applying heavy neuting pressure to Afterlife.
With a Confessor down and with the Astarte in long range rail configuration, Afterlife looked like they lacked the damage to break the Barghests, Volta was still in it despite having been unable to kill the Afterlife Oneiros.
The next missile barrage from Volta does manage to bring the active tanked Oneiros down as one of the Barghest entered low shields. With the Oneiros removed from the field the Maulus and the Confessor fall shortly after.
Afterlife's rail Astarte does manage to destroy the already weakened Barghest of Theronth but dies shortly after to the remaining Barghest.
Afterlife: Gila, Gila, Jackdaw, Harpy, Basilisk
Volta: Sleipnir, Svipuls, Svipuls, Scimitar, Purifier
This didn't look like a very fair match, Svipuls under Command ship links are extremely strong and can take down a shield tanked logistics in record time. And that is exactly what happened.
When the match started Volta rushed the Basilisk straight away while Afterlife attemped to kill a Svipul. The Svipul takes reps from the Scimitar just fine and Volta starts applying pressure to the Basilisk and a Harpy that was presumably screening the Volta Sleipnir.
The Harpy goes down through reps and the Basilisk follows shortly after, Afterlife is unable to apply any pressure to the Volta team and was wiped of the field without killing a single ship.
Afterlife: Scorpion Navy, Scorpion Navy, Vigil, Claw, Claw
Volta: Vindicator, Guardian, Enyo, Enyo, Sentinel
Match 4 sees afterlife putting an all-in battleship team on the field with 2 Rapid heavy Navy Scorpions, and 3 support ships for tackle and paints without any logistics against the T2 armour logistics team from Volta.
The lack of warfare links on the Volta side should make it possible to score a kill on the Guardian using rapid heavy missiles but if the Claws are stopped from applying tackle to it it would be an uphill struggle for Afterlife.
The match starts with Afterlife rushing the Guardian with everything, Volta attempts to screen the Claws and Afterlife runs straight into their hands.
Both of the Claws go down almost immediately without logistics and without any tackle applied on the Guardian it can keep moving and it mitigates most of the incoming missile damage from the Scorpion Navy's this way. The Vindicator gets on top of a Scorpion Navy issue and starts burning it down. Afterlife almost manages to score a kill on an Enyo but the Guardian lands reps in time.
A swap to the Sentinel did score them a kill when it looked like the Guardian was either out of range or simply unable to apply reps in time.
As the first Scorpion Navy goes into low shields Afterlife scores another kill with a swap to an Enyo, again catching the Volta Guardian by surprise. It is not enough however as the first Scorpion gets destroyed by the Vindicator leaving Afterlife with insufficient damage to pressure the Volta Guardian.
Volta takes the final game despite getting caught off guard a few times by swaps from Afterlife.
My thoughts on the series
I expected Volta to win after comparing the set-ups. Afterlife brought some really innovative set-ups that unfortunately just were not strong enough to go up against the solid tried and tested set-ups that Volta fielded.
Match 1 was a great game from Afterlife's perspective, using the kiting control set-up with the Curse to bring Volta's drone set-up down.
Match 2 result was against my expectations, with the Oneiros surviving the first missile barrage I was certain Afterlife would take the match. But the Astarte and the Confessors being long range fitted reduced their damage to a point where they gave Volta a comeback chance.
Match 3 & 4 were the the most predictable. Volta simply outmatched Afterlife in both set-ups and was able to score wins quite easily
Coming up on EvE_NT collides
I have been able to sit back and enjoy the matches for the last 2 months but that stops here for me as I will be going up against The Tuskers with my own team (Hard Knocks) on the 7th of February
Tuskers have had a history of dominating in this format and I have a lot of respect for team and their captain, but we will be coming prepared so it should be a good series
Make sure to tune in on February 7th