I really only got interested in AT last year and remember roaring at the screen watching Turn Left trying to break PL’s tinker tengu. It didn’t happen unfortunately and PL went on to win.
This year I managed to watch most of the first weekend matches despite some fairly determined girlfriend aggro and I enjoyed it a lot. The first thing that struck me is that a lot of my lowsec mates are in it this year which is kinda cool, I don’t know why but this year we have Tuskers, 7-2, The Devil’s Warriors, Turn Left, Scum and of course Shadow. With the exception of Scum I have friends in all these corps and fly with them when I can so am taking more notice than I otherwise would.
Obviously I am hugely biased, and living in lowsec as I do think that most nullseccers are brain-dead F1 mashers who couldn’t create content to save themselves. This of course is not true, pretty much all the past winners of the AT are nullsec teams so they must have a few decent pilots but here is the difference.
A large doctrine fleet such as seen in null acts more as a single giant entity, with cap and reps flowing about through the fleet and damage pouring out of it whereas a small lowsec gang is very much more independent, a collection of ships all capable of separate action or coming together to act cohesively. The AT seems to me to be more like the former, albeit far more finely tuned, despite the small size.
I think the first time lowsec guys will be at a disadvantage this year due to lack of AT experience but I actually think they will do well. Sulei for instance is a bloody good pilot and a great theory crafter – I know how much time he put into our T1 cruiser fits so god knows how much time he spent on AT. Their big advantage is of course the fact that they can all manually fly very well, nullsec does not teach you this skill and I can’t wait for the inevitable big upsets.
Highlights of the first weekend:
- Tuskers stomping Cyno Field Theory
- Feign Disorder doing a good number on the Unthinkables despite loosing their logi early on.
- I missed Devil’s Warriors loosing to Solar but fingers crossed they can do OK in the other bracket
- Also missed Camel club but no doubt they totally routed whoever they were fighting
- Shadow had a cracking fight, highlight was Floppy surviving in 4% hull
- Scum I seem to remember made Noir look pretty silly (why do they never do well?)
- Hydra were amazing, never seen such a kicking
- No Holes Barred were also pretty impressive
The other good thing to see was the lack of sentry drones which have largely been replaced with Geckoes. The meta still seems to be really drone heavy though.