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USA vs EU - Valkyrie Tournament Round Up

Image of USA vs EU - Valkyrie Tournament Round Up

Eve Valkyrie had its first post launch, entirely player organised/run event on the 14th May and what a blast it was!
Team Captain to the winning Fanfest team, Wan5, put up the suggestion on the forums on May 3rd about doing a match between the players of the North American servers vs the players of the European Servers. The match was considered to be an exhibition match, there was to be no dedicated tournament rules and no ship restrictions. Equally so, there were no prizes up for grabs, other than bragging rights of being top team in the world!
We had the challenge of making sure that the tournament could be run without CCP support or specialised tournament tools, this would be the first test of weather or not a player run tournament would be possible, we wasn't even sure if we could get it to work!
QuantumDelta and Wan5 helped with the organisation of the event to a massive extent, they organised dedicated team channels on Discord (a Teamspeak like application used by the Valkyrie community) along with managing permissions for commentators to freely operate during the event. QuantumDelta managed the teams and marshalled them into matches in a pre-defined order which allow us to all get in together.
The original intention was a best of 5, 2 games on the EU server, 2 games on the US server and a coin flip to decide the last one if it was required. We were advised however that the European servers were empty at the start of the tournament. As there is no way to guarantee a match up at this time it was decided to use those servers first as this would help ensure we would all be matched up together.  As the tournament progressed it came time for the matches to move to the USA servers. However, as there was a constant population on the USA servers which may have interfered with the match ups the USA team opted to remain on the EU server for the rest of the tournament.
We was fortunate enough to have 2 fantastic player commentators for the event also - Gazimoff and Talithria, who did a fantastic job of covering the tournament. The stream for the coverage for the whole event can be found here or by clicking the image below.
Valkyrie Youtube Bumper
The team composition (in no particular order):
EU Side: Wan5, GeneralStargazer, QuantumDelta, DelTorres, Rmtz, Berick, Zimtok5, Codex6
USA Side: BlueboyX, R0B0T2K, Xtobe, Gigai, Erasmus49, Bromosapien, Game-Over, W9bjh
I won't go into who finished with what score on what team, as it's a team game - it just matters which side won!
If you do however want to check the scores out for yourself, feel free to take a look at the full live stream ">here. (Score for Game 1 is at 6:15, Game 2: 14:36, Game 3: 22:33 and Game 4: 30:05)
For the first 3 games of the night, the game mode was ?Control?. Friendly fire was on for all the matches. To briefly explain control matches - it requires a pilot fly to one of three points on a map at which point you deploy a drone, the drone then begins capturing the point for you. Whichever team has the most drones capturing the point for them begins to win the point. Drones can also be destroyed. So for example, if 3 pilots from Team 1 drop a drone each at point A, but 4 pilots from Team 2 drop drones then the point will begin capturing for Team 2. However, if Team 1 destroy 2 drones belonging to Team 2 they begin winning the point.
In the current build, once a point is captured, if a player still has a controlling drone at that point they are attributed with +25 points for the kill. (I believe there is also a bleed mechanic as well so that game points slowly deplete faster against the team that has the least amount of control points, but I?m not sure if this is fully implemented currently)
In game 1 both teams have 100 points at the start of the game and the first team to get to 0 loses. If the game reaches full duration (10 minutes) and neither team is at 0, whichever team has the least amount of points remaining, loses)
So before I do a summary of each match, a bit about myself and the influences of ship choice:
I've been practising every night with pretty much the same 2 pilots since starting the game right after FanFest - DetTorres (who is, the guy i look up to in playing support, I think he does an amazing job at keeping people alive!) and Wan5 (Winner of the Valkyrie tournament at FanFest, expert wraith fighter pilot, who has been a great tutor by passing on his experience). Training/playing with these 2 guys has been amazingly fun, we've had some good fights playing together and has been something I regularly have looked forward to in the evenings!
From my own point of view, I love fighters in Valkyrie against other players. I also enjoy playing support ships to help keep the team alive. So given that this was the first match against a team I hadn't seen in action before I went with the all rounded fighter, the first ship you unlock, the Wraith.

Game 1 - Cathedral Map The wraith has a good balance of shields and armor, decent amount of speed, manoeuvrability and capacitor (think of an afterburner in eve, burns cap, short boost of speed). It has fixed forward dumb firing gatling cannon weapons, (so you have to align the ship with the target exactly to hit) and head tracked missiles Given the all-rounded nature of this ship it seemed like the sensible first choice.
As we undocked Wan5 called for the first point we capture to be B so we all flew over, deployed drones, then moved towards attacking the enemy team who were waiting just outside their own carrier. As they were all there it gave us a good view of the enemy team composition which was quite diverse.
I tried picking off a target at range, but then turned and headed back for cover when the target started receiving support. Wan5 managed to pursue the support away from the enemy squadron and the rest of us were able to move forward and engage.
The most threatening in terms of keeping the enemy team alive was support, while the most threatening to us was the damage output of the heavies. So we had to make the decision to either pre-occupy the support with staying alive or kill them and then get on the heavies, while trying to avoid take damage from the heavies.
Sure enough we managed to take out some of the support and eventually we was then able to focus fire on taking out the heavies without support to keep them alive.
Without heavies or support, we was then free to start taking out fighters as the game went on. We did a small amount of splitting up to try and gain control over the entire map. The whole team was flying well together, covering each other where required as best we can. I played interceptor for a few targets that were being chased by other fighters, giving the opposition nowhere to run.
Time on clock at the end: 03:41 (6m 19 seconds long)
Score at the end of the game: USA: 0 EU: 63

Game 2 - Necropolis Map: For me, this was the most fun game of the entire night, just because it swung in favour of both teams multiple times during the match and literally came down to ?Next kill wins?.
On this game I switched (as did Wan5 and one other) to the Ascent fighter. The Ascent fighter is a lot different to the Wraith, it's a little more specialised, in my opinion, its an anti-fighter fighter. The dumbfire gatling cannons are swapped out for a more sophisticated Plasma cannon system. The plasma cannon can fire at a longer range, does more damage per shot and the weapons are slightly gimbaled (That is you still have to aim, but there is a small degree of error correction to help land the longer range shots). But on the downside it fires significantly slower (don't bother shooting heavies, you?ll spend too much time trying to kill them), overheats after 5 or so shots, it doesn't track well (at all really) on fast transversal shots (such as banking targets) and to accommodate the more sophisticated weapon system the ship has less shields, armour and capacitor. In short, you're a glass cannon in the ship that needs to have aligned shots and your defence is your environment and teammates!
In this game a few of the squad flew over to A and another pilot and I flew over to B. (There's an amusing bug on this map when your team captures point B CCP Bosuns voice plays ?You've captured point Bravo? - it puts a smile on my face every time I hear it, so I just had to capture it!)
We noticed however that the entire USA team was holding back at point C near their own carrier (which will destroy any of our fleet if we get too close). So the groups from Point A and B converge and we start looking for targets to pick off again. Now given the firepower of the Ascent, when 2 or 3 of us focused on one target at the same time we could pick them off very quickly. Wan5 calls for us to head in for strafing runs, so I call the first target and we roll in, sure enough we get one target down in 2-3 seconds and start moving onto other targets. In turn, the rest of our squad moves in and begins going for targets.
Amongst the weaving in and out of the enemy fleet, a few of us get caught out and killed by the enemy carrier, and a few of us in weaker ships die to the heavies in the enemy defence, unfortunately, we lose this first engagement as we are all in too close. QuantumDelta is the only one remaining alive as we undock. But he advises us not to come and save him as its suicidal on comms, so being valkyrie pilots, we storm into where he's fighting! Sadly however, he does die while we are en-route, but he does pull the enemy squad along with him and puts them out of position. They then switch over to chasing Wan5, our squad in turn begins to start targeting Wan5's pursuers. Because the USA team was focusing so completely on Wan5 we were able to call targets and pick them off one at a time. At this point the engagement continued to the end of the match, exchanging kills blow by blow until it finally comes down to us getting the final kill!
Time on clock at the end:03:45 (6m 15 seconds long)
Score at the end of the game: USA:0 EU:1
Game 3 - Forge Map: [There was no video for this match due to technical issues with the stream] This was to be the potential final game so everyone needed to be on ball here!
I decided to stick with the ascent fighter again on this level as there is a good amount of cover and distance between the points on the map. We did a split again here for controlling points. Myself and another pilot headed up to the point A, at the highest point on the map to capture the point, while the rest of the squad moved across to capture point B. Once again it seemed that most of the enemy fleet held back at Point C.
However, i noticed a single pilot slowly moving across the field, over extending himself heaving towards point B - I engaged and destroyed him before he had a chance to kill our drones taking the point.. In the meantime, the rest of our fleet began to move across to point C. I slowly moved across from point B to point C, and utilising the range on the Ascent I started taking out fighters, while the reset of the squad starts getting rid of support and the heavies pounding on us. From here on out, the fight was mainly focused on around C, but as they were coming in 1 or 2 at a time, they were typically being picked off as they came in.
Time on clock at the end: 04:12 (5m 48 seconds long)
Score at the end of the game:
USA: 0 EU:37
EU was declared winners after 3 games.
We were all enjoying the games so much that even after being declared winners we did ask the USA team if they wanted to play the last 2 matches and they happily enough obliged and we also played 2 more. But in the interest of trying to keep this as short as possible I won't be covering these matches.

All in all, a fantastic experience. To have full squads of players each side made the game really interesting to play, i gained a lot of experience seeing what it was like playing other teams with full support as well as diverse team makeups.
Both the USA and EU teams joined together on comms after the fifth match for the traditional good game commendations for both teams which showed fantastic sportsmanship for both sides.
I also interested in hearing peoples opinions of if they enjoyed the 8v8 option that we had experienced and i don't think there was a single person playing that said no! So for future tournaments i think we will dispense with the fan fest tournament standard of 5v5 and stick with 8v8!
Video of 4 of the 5 games from my own point of view, complete with Team EU Voice comms is here:

Gigai also recorded his POV for Team USA

I wanted to end this article with a shoutout and thanks to the EVE_NT team for hosting the event, in particular to Tyrendian Biohazard for developing the method of switching twitch streams to maintain coverage for the event. I can safely say that everyone who participated will be keen to get involved in another tournment in the near future.
Hope you've enjoyed the roundup. If you ever need a wingman in Valkyrie, give me a shout!
Fly Dangerous o7 - General Stargazer

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