Header art by Smultar
On Saturday August 18, The Alliance Tournament Sixteen Semi-Finals and Grand Final match series took place. The Semi-Finals took place between Vydra Relolded and Triumvirate, with the winners going on to play Hydra Reloaded in the Grand Final. If you haven’t yet seen the final day matches, I would strongly recommend that you give them a look – every single match is worth the time to watch and enjoy.
One thing to note from the last day of play was the introduction of the ‘Highlander’ or ‘Conquest’ rule, a new rule for Alliance Tournament XVI. This rule states that within the best-of match sets, any match win will then ban those ship hulls from further use by that team until the end of the match set. For example, if a team wins the first match using a setup with a Guardian and a Leshak, then those hulls, alongside the other eight ships, will be banned for the potential next two matches, but only for that winning team.
The day kicked off with a best-of-three in the knockout ‘losers’ bracket, with Triumvirate facing off against Vydra Relolded. This series went for the full three matches, and resulted in Vydra moving forward to fight Hydra in the Grand Final.
The first match between Tri and Vydra saw Vydra take the lead through the exceptional deployment of their armour ECM setup, killing a Curse as the match reached the halfway point. From there, Vydra managed to roll Triumvirate up, killing a Vexor a minute later, and then a Vedmak after less than another minute. The first match saw Vydra win by points, killing 40 points and losing none.
The second match saw Vydra attempt to use a variation on their ECM core comp through use of a Widow and a Tengu, and Vydra dodged the Conquest ban on the Leshak by bringing their flagship variant. Triumvirate decided to deploy their signature triple-battleship core with armour logistics frigates, also deploying a flagship Leshak. Triumvirate began this match very aggressively, diving into the centre of the Vydra fleet, and the two sides spent a few moments probing to find tackle on a good target. Tri then took an early lead before the three minute mark, killing a Damavik and then annihilating a Thorax and Deimos in very quick succession. From this point, Triumvirate simply pressured Vydra to the end, removing the tengu with a third of the match remaining. The final nail in the coffin for this Vydra comp was losing their flagship Leshak with a minute and a half remaining. This match series was now at 1-1.
The final fight saw Vydra field a variation of the RHML battleship ‘kingslayer’ setup supported by AT prize logistics ship, the Rabisu. Triumvirate dodged the Leshak Conquest ban by bringing their flagship again, with another variation on their typical triple-battleship core supported by an Oneiros. Vydra kept their cool this round, pressuring Tri’s logistics cruiser, killing it just after the three minute mark. Losing their logistics cruiser sealed Triumvirate’s fate early on, with Vydra then killing a Kitsune and then very quickly demolishing that flagship Leshak. From there, Vydra streamrolled across the remnants of their opponents, winning the final match in this series, one hundred points killed to zero points lost.
The Grand Finals
The Grand Final was an interesting repeat of the Alliance Tournament Fifteen final, with Hydra Reloaded once again facing Vydra Reloaded. This was also a significant matchup because a Hydra/Vydra faceoff earlier in this Tournament as well, which resulted in Vydra having to work their way back up through that knockout bracket. With the way the Grand Final system works, Hydra came into this best-of-five with one match up due to having entered through the winners bracket, and again the new ‘Conquest’ banning rule was in place.
The first match saw Vydra take an early lead, using a triple DPS battleship core supported by logi frigates against a flagship Leshak/Absolution/Guardian comp from Hydra. Vydra killed a Zealot after roughly two and a half minutes, and then killing a Vedmak less than a minute later. This was swiftly followed by a Confessor and Absolution kill, and then Hydra were too many points down and couldn’t bring it back. Vydra took advantage of a huge amount of jams on the Hydra Guardian to kill off Hydra support ships, before deciding to switch onto the Hydra Leshak at around three minutes remaining, and Hydra lost their flagship in the first match of the set.
The second match saw both sides field an AT prize ship – Hydra brought out a Rabisu in support of their previous Leshak/Absolution/Zealot damage core, while Vydra decided to utilise a Leshak/Guardian/Navy Harbinger damage core supported by a Chameleon, the Gurista prize ship that is effectively a Gila with a monstrous ECM bonus. This match seemed odd to watch, with Hydra doing very little but posture in the first three minutes while allowing Vydra to probe them out with damage on a number of the Hydra ships.
With six minutes remaining, though, Vydra decided to try going for the jugular, tackling both the Leshak and Absolution from the Hydra team and putting damage down, but the hugely powerful reps from the Rabisu held them comfortably. This match finally saw first blood taken at four minutes remaining, with Vydra punishing a small mis-step and killing Hydra’s Confessor. Hydra then lost a Vedmak with only a minute and a half left on the clock, with the Vedmak appearing to have disconnected or be unresponsive with zero velocity as it died. Vydra ultimately won the match twenty points to none, going to 2-1 ahead in the match set.
The third match saw something of a reversal of fortune for Hydra, who brought a very similar setup to the one Vydra used in the second match, complete with that Chameleon prize ship. Vydra decided that htey might be well-served with a kiting shield “RLML spam” comp, making the odd choice to bring a Basilisk instead of a Scimitar. The match began with Vydra kiting away and very quickly breaking through Hydra’s Deacon with that RLML burst DPS, and then also breaking a Hydra Vedmak as well. Hydra very rapidly traded those ships for a hostile Orthrus, before then losing a Magus. This match was easily the fastest-paced match of the day, with ships traded back and forth, seven ships killed before the halfway point, including that 250 billion ISK Chameleon ECM ship. Hydra ultimately pulled this match out of the bag with a win on points, equalising the set at two matches apiece and taking it to the final fourth fight.
For the last match of the day, all of the ‘Conquest’ bans were dropped, allowing both sides to bring any team setup they like as long as they obeyed the standard six bans. This ultimately led to no unique AT ships fielded, as both sides instead chose to field almost mirrored triple battleship cores using Vindicator/Leshak supported by a Rook and T2 Logistics Frigates. These teams ultimately chose to move directly at one another, brawling at near-zero distance and seeing which battleship core broke first. The first loss impacted hydra, losing a Vindicator and a massive chunk of their potential damage output. From there you could really see that Hydra began to flounder, losing their Leshak a couple of minutes after the Vindicator and spiralling out of control. Once it became obvious that Vydra would not break and would once again be Alliance Tournament Champions, Hydra took the honourable path out, choosing to boundary violate the remainder of their team. Congratulations Vydra Relolded!
The Final Standings
While we need to wait for an EVE-O forum post to fill us in on the precise standings of AT XVI, we can safely say who are this year’s top sixteen alliances. This is significant because the best sixteen alliances are traditionally invited to return for the next iteration of the Alliance Tournament without submitting to the silent auction or feeder round competition. 2019’s Alliance Tournament Seventeen has already been confirmed by CCP Masterplan during the course of the livestream broadcasts for AT XVI, so we can look forward to seeing these teams again next year. The top four teams of AT XVI are:
1. VYDRA RELOLDED
2. HYDRA RELOADED
4. Northern Coalition.
The remainder of this year’s top sixteen alliances, in no particular order, are:
Test Alliance Please Ignore
WE FORM V0LTA
Of Sound Mind
SAMURAI SOUL’D OUT
The Tuskers Co.
Bright Side of Death
lllllllllllllllll – ‘Barcode Alliance’
By the time of publishing, CCP had already delivered the first part of the prizes to alliance executors. This consists of the Alliance Tournament Cup, which is still in the possession of two-year reigning champions Vydra Relolded, PLEX prizes for the top 32 teams (2500 PLEX for top 17-32 teams and 5000 PLEX for top 1-16 teams), along with the Triglavian Victory prize SKINs for all teams who successfully won a match during AT XVI. In an interesting twist, and in a similar vein to the prize SKINs for Alliance Tournament XV, all teams have been granted ten individual SKINs for each of the Leshak, Vedmak and Damavik, meaning that teams have been awarded a total of 30 SKINs for each match series won.
The blueprint copies for the Hydra and Tiamat have not yet been delivered, though – these BPCs will be distributed to the top four teams as a part of the September 11 release. As always, there will only be 50 of each ship BPC awarded, and the top four teams will be awarded a set number of each ship BPC. Teams receiving BPCs are Northern Coalition, who won three, Triumvirate receiving seven, Hydra Reloaded gaining fifteen, and Vydra winning twenty-five.