Day 3 of the Alliance Tournament saw epic showdowns, quick ship deaths, and more boundary violations than you can shake a Naglfar at. 24 teams entered but only 16 could progress to Day 4.
New Blood Drawing Blood
First time AT entrants Fraternity showed their might once again with a flawless victory against Hard Knocks Citizens to kick off the day's matches. Fraternity drew first blood by making a quick targeting switch from an Astarte to a Svipul, with a second following in quick succession. Most of Hard Knocks' support was gone within the first 3 minutes, seemingly giving their opponents no trouble at all. Having only lost to Spectre Fleet Alliance in their first match, Fraternity were certainly a team to watch as they snagged a place in the first match of the day for Day 4.
Who Needs Logi!
Apparently not 404 Alliance Not Found, as neither they nor their opponents Complaints Department chose to field any logistics ships at all in their match. Both teams opted instead for a heavy-hitting comp, with 404 bringing four bombers up against the Navy Issue-heavy Complaints team and their flagship Bhaalgorn. Despite losing a pair of Jackdaws and their flagship within a couple of minutes, the little Maller of Complaints Department wreaked a fair amount of havoc on the 404 team's bombers, clinging on to life til the very end and being the last ship to explode. Along with a 404 Hurricane boundary violating and a pilot on one of the teams getting confused by having passive modules hidden, it proved a match with many talking points.
How Much ECM?!
Spectre Fleet Alliance have been fielding interesting setups in all of their AT matches, favouring undermanned Battleship-heavy comps; their faceoff against A Band Apart was no different, with Spectre bringing no fewer than 6 ECM ships. More jamming potential for sure, and at the fight outset there were jam attempts on most of the ABA fleet - but it cost a Kitsune, an Ibis, and a Griffin in a trade for the ABA flagship Armageddon. With 2 Astartes and some great damage output from Confessors and Cruors, ABA worked their way through the ECM ships and battered down the hull tank of Spectre's battleships. In only their second outing in the Alliance Tournament, A Band Apart secured their place in the top 16.
Phoebe Freeport Republic and League of Unaligned Master Pilots (LUMPY) both had strong support as they went into their match. Both had lost their flagships in the preview weekend so it was all down to fleet composition and piloting skill. PFR obliterated the Hyena of LUMPY within 20 seconds of the match starting, while LUMPY focused down Phoebe's Oneiros in retaliation. The match continued as a a kill-for-kill trade, but everything changed in the last 20 seconds of the match; with LUMPY leading by 13 points, the Bhaalgorn and Hyena survivors of the PFR team managed to break down LUMPY's Fleet Typhoon and stealing the win by just 6 points.
In their road to Day 3 of the Tournament, Pandemic Legion had already flashed the cash with a Raven State Issue and an ill-fated Etana. And while Northern Coalition. had also fielded a Fiend in the early matches they had otherwise been a bit more conservative. So imagine my surprise when it was NC. and not PL who brought a Cambion to the big faceoff match of the day. Within 2 minutes of the match starting, PL lost their Scimitar but took the flagship Barghest of NC. down with it, then proceeded to trade a Svipul for the 100 billion ISK Cambion. Both poor trades that favoured PL.
With just over 3 minutes of the match remaining, PL were down to just a Scorpion Navy and 2 Sleipnirs against 5 NC. ships of which was almost entirely their support wing. PL had a commanding point lead and it was just a case of them tidying up the field and securing the victory. A pair of PL Sleipnirs chose to chase down the Drake of NC.; a fairly good choice of target, except this Drake had plans. It burned towards the arena boundary and screeched to a halt just before passing it. The chasing Sleipnirs, so focused on securing another kill failed to notice how fast they were approaching the boundry! They blew past the 125km line and were subsequently exploded by the match officials along with the Drake that was puched over the line by one of the Sleipnirs! NC. were now in the lead, with the last PL ship, a Scorpion Naby needing to take down a Caracal and one other ship to regain the lead- and managing it, with barely 16 seconds left on the clock.
Another 8 flagships down in another fantastic day of matches, setting the scene for a Day 4 full of more close calls and excited commentators. With the Tuskers knocking out The R0NIN and The Afterlife beating Exodus in the last matches of the day, the best-of-three matches that would close out Day 4 were looking pretty damn good. Vydra Relolded, Mercenary Coalition, Dream Fleet and Paisti Syndicate also picked up wins, securing them all another day of fighting and a top 16 place.
Trivia - Exodus' flagship was the most expensive flag loss of the day, with 2 Tobias' Modified Stasis Webifiers making up over half of the ship's total value.