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ATXIV - Final Weekend (Part One)

Image of ATXIV - Final Weekend (Part One)

8 teams remained to engage in glorious spaceship combat for glory, honour, and Alliance Tournament XIV prize ships. In a weekend that saw more than its fair share of dramatic events, would the pressure of back-to-back matches start to show; or would the teams up their game even more in order to seize the top spot?
Exodus vs Phoebe Freeport Republic
Exodus had a Hyena on field for all of 14 seconds as PFR took two kills within the first 30 seconds of the match. Exodus replied with swift kills on PFR's Exequror and bombers, but their Fleet Hurricane proved harder to drop thanks to repair drones and reload cycles. That seemed to set the tempo of the match, with both teams trading kills for a while. Exodus pulled away as they worked down the Navy battlecruisers before PFR could work through a Barghest and its rapid heavy missiles. A strong final showing but PFR were unable to pull it back with their core DPS gone, and Exodus took the win and set themselves up for a fight against We Form V0lta after the first break of the day.
Northern Coalition. vs Paisti Syndicate
A more sedate match as the first couple of minutes were a game of control between both teams. While Paisti Syndicate seemed to be testing targets, NC. focused the majority of its attention on the Scimitar, breaking through its shields at last and taking the lead. Paisti seemed to struggle against the support might of the NC. team, trying to work through the Oneiros and Svipuls without success. They did manage to kill NC.'s Vigil but were denied any further kills as the focus fire and heavy EWAR pressure were just too much.
Exodus vs We Form V0lta
Bringing a full fleet of Caldari ships - including a pair of Vultures and an Etana - was a bold statement by Exodus as they went up against We Form V0lta's more varied composition. They quickly dispatched V0lta's bombers, support frigate, and logistics, showing the powerful potential of the Rook; but V0lta claimed a kill on the Etana before catching a break as they got their own tackle and target painters on one of the Exodus Rooks and made short work of it. The second followed soon after, and V0lta got back into their stride with their Barghests doing huge amount of damage to the rest of the Exodus support. Great work from Exodus, but sadly not enough to secure them a place in final day of the tournament.
Northern Coalition. vs The Afterlife
The second Etana of the day was provided by The Afterlife, giving opponents NC. an immediate shiny target to go for. Go for it they did, picking off a Jackdaw on the way before trading their own logistics ship for a Claymore and a Kitsune. Without links and with their Cerberii succumbing to focus fire from NC., The Afterlife were relying on their Orthruses and final Jackdaw to take as many opponents down with them. A tough call with NC.'s Navy Scorpion and two Sleipnirs largely untouched, but they fought hard to the bitter end. NC. would progress to the afternoon's best-of-3 series against We Form V0lta.
The Tuskers Co. vs Pandemic Legion (best of 3)
Match One - As if we hadn't been treated to enough shiny AT ship explosions already, Pandemic Legion kindly obliged once again by bringing an Adrestia to the field in their first round against The Tuskers.  PL's logistics and Tuskers' Kitsune were primaried, but a switch to Tuskers' Scimitar saw first blood go to PL before their own Guardian dropped. The points stayed fairly even for most of the match as the teams traded kills - the AT VIII prize ship fell shortly after the Claymore of Tuskers, bringing the scores within 3 points of each other. The trades continued, with just the Astarte and Phobos of PL against the two Cerberii and Flycatcher of Tuskers - one Cerberus followed the final Astarte in death, then the Flycatcher was burnt down. It would be Cerberus with its long reload times against the Phobos - who took a Micro Jump Drive a little too close to the edge and handed Tuskers the win with a coasting boundary violation.
Match Two - An Adrestia in match one, PL fielded yet another tournament prize ship in the form of the Malice. In another match that showed the prowess of both teams, it took a while for either team to take a commanding lead; PL took another early logistics kill before going for the heavy-hitting missile ships, but the explosions were fairly few as the match ran to time with 7 ships still alive on the field. Tuskers had focused on the support ships of PL while their own damage dealers were slowly picked apart, leaving them with not enough firepower to secure a second win. With the score one match apiece, the series would go to round three.
Match Three - 30 seconds in and both teams were down a Hyena as we went into the final match of this series. Despite PL losing two more ships in fairly quick succession, it was Tuskers who took the full force of the Barghest/Orthrus missile core and struggled to take out the enemy logistics and gain a slim lead. But with one of their Barghests the next to fall, it was too little too late for a Tuskers comeback. PL were able to work through the remaining Tuskers ships without losing any more of their own, maintaining their top spot and sending Tuskers into another best-of-3 the following day to determine who their final opponent would be.
We Form V0lta vs Northern Coalition. (best of 3)
Match One - An almost perfect mirror match kicked off this best of 3 series, with V0lta bringing their own AT IX prize Malice instead of the Vengeance of NC. V0lta seemed to have complete command of their version of the fleet, working down both of NC.'s Svipuls before focusing down the Oneiros. NC. seemed to struggle to apply damage through the jam attempts from V0lta's support ships, and weren't able to catch a break as the match progressed. V0lta took a commanding lead with a  clean sweep victory in match one.
Match Two - V0lta brought their flagship Bhaalgorn out to play in round two, warping it in a zero to give it the best chance to lock something down with its high-powered Officer modules. The two teams traded logistics ships before choosing different strategies - V0lta went for the hard-hitting Barghests while NC. worked through their opponent's support ships. Even without their supports V0lta still had a huge amount of control on field from their flagship and Scorpion. Despite still having a good amount of damage from Cerberus and Caracals, NC. just didn't have enough to break the tank of any of the remaining V0lta ships. With a second victory under their belt, we bid goodbye to NC. and saw V0lta progress through to the final day.

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