On Boxing Day, December 26, Spectre Fleet assembled one of its largest fleets ever, with over 400 pilots attending. For its 200th roam and birthday bash, Tengu and Rattlesnake fleets were assembled along with Chimeras supporting FC Jayne Fillon’s Wyvern. The fleet traipsed across Minmatar/Amarr FW space, but the massive fleet apparently drove off any potential combatants. They made for Providence to find their fate, counting on the tendencies of Providence and the proximity of Pandemic Legion.
After waiting for a short while, an intense battle between Pandemic Legion supercapitals and the massed subcapital fleets of Spectre ensued. PL titans came under attack, and many Spectre capitals quickly fell to massed doomsdays and fighter-bombers, while their subcapitals died to a few strategic cruisers and slowcat carriers. The end result was a massive toll of 115 billion isk for a battle stretching out over two hours.
Jayne Fillon was kind enough to catch up with TMC and give us this interview.
Jayne Fillon: So this event had been in planning for a long time.
A few months, ago we realized that Ganked 200 (the 200th weekly “gank night” public fleet) and Spectre Fleet’s second birthday were happening during the same week, and that Saturday that week (the traditional day for Ganked) was also Boxing Day. With so many different reasons to celebrating falling on the same day, we knew we had to do something bigger than usual. Normally, NPSI groups run T1 cruiser doctrines, and it’s very rare that we use T2 logi, let alone faction battleships, carriers, and supercarriers… But anything worth doing is worth overdoing, so we decided to just go all out.
We’d been preparing this for a few months in advance. I have experience with rattlesnake fleets from my experience in Triumvirate, but we tested to Tengu fleet doctrine a few times in advance, most notably at the EOC titan kill event. This helped us estimate just how many people in our community could (and actually would!) bring a T3 cruiser to a public fleet. It’s different for us than in a major alliance, since we offer no SRP, and welps do happen. There is a lot of trust that is required in a public fleet before people will bring a Tengu to an event.
On the day of the event, we got approximately 400 people to join, split nearly equally between the Tengu fleet and the Rattlesnake fleet, with around 24 chimeras in the rattlesnake fleet for support.
The idea was that we would start in The Forge lowsec, and take a 10j route through Minmatar and Amarr FW. If we didn’t find anything, we would jump into providence and await our fate.
With PL staging out of Curse, and Provibloc being Provibloc, a fight was almost guaraunteed, one way or another – and everyone knows the best brawls and multi-way slugfest.
Anyway, on the day, lowsec decided not to fight us. It’s pretty common that all of the major lowsec entities will form a temporary alliance to fight the massive Ganked fleets, but today that was not the case.
We made it through the 10 jump route without too much of an issue, only losing a Chimera that DC’d to a NC. fleet that was trying to pick off stragglers. Once we made it to Sosala, we sent the subcaps the KBP7 by gate, and cyno’d the capitals through Mai to get the KBP7, where we sat and awaited our fight. After about 20 minutes, PL took up the challenge and cyno’d in.
So, in summary:
The event was planned to celebrate the 200th weekly fleet of Ganked, which has been going on for 4 years now, and Spectre Fleet’s second birthday. The FCs were myself, leading the RS/Capital fleet, and Douglas Aurelius, who led the Tengu fleet.
It was planned for at least two months in advance, with testing doctrines and how willing people were to fly them without the promise of SRP. Our tests went well, and people seemed excited, so went ahead with our way-shinier-than-normal-celebration-fleet.
Yes, we expected to die, but not without a fight!
TMC: Did you expect to lose the Wyvern?
Jayne: Yup. It’s pretty hard to flaunt a supercarrier like that one region next door to PL and not expect a response. I stripped my normal combat fit off it, and went with a full CN fit with the new Spectre Fleet entosis module as the cherry on top.
If I had survived (and we won the fight), I would have been so far from home I would have just let my own fleet kill me. It was a one-way trip.
TMC: Did you expect the PL super drop?
Jayne: It was a possibility, but honestly I had expected (hoped?) the universe would team up against us instead. PL and Spectre Fleet have a history of being involved in some pretty bloody subcapital brawls, which are always a ton of fun, especially when they turn into multi-way clusterf***s. Fighting a supercapital blob is pretty “meh” compared to 1000 angry nerds just bashing on each other for a couple hours. So I guess you could say that I always knew it was a possibility, but I had just hoped that PL would come at us with subcapitals, and A LOT of allies. I can’t really fault them for dropping the superblob on us, since they are so effective, and both sides would have taken major losses if they had engaged with anything else.
It doesn’t matter what subcapital doctrine you bring. Against 400 Rattlesnakes and Tengus, we’re going to kill something. When they dropped the supers, we did clear every single subcapital off that grid before eventually chasing down the Levi that had bumped.
And it’s not like they caught us by surprise with the drop, either. They (the HICs) warped to us at zero, and when the Devoter popped the Cyno, I just told our logi to rep him so their entire fleet could come through. Haha!
TMC: That’s fantastic. What other comments do you have on the event and outcome?
Jayne: I think next time we run an event, we’ll run a doctrine a little less scary so that people actually want to fight us with something other than a supercapital blob.
The PL Perspective
PL FC Elise Randolph also spoke to TMC, and related the events from her point of view.
Elise Randolph So Spectre Fleet was doing a big public roam, its 200th, yesterday afternoon. It was supposed to start at 19:00. We heard that it was going to happen up north, starting from the Mai area.
Unfortunately, Mai is very far from PL, but we had a timer in D-G in Providence at around the same time. So as the Spectre Fleet formed and got situated, we stopped paying attention to it and had a great fight with Providence and Stainwagon. The fight lasted about an hour, and on our way back home we heard that the Ganked 200 fleet – completely with a Wyvern and nine Chimeras – was still out and about.
As we were looking for a wormhole route, we scouted the fleet and saw that they had 400 people split between two fleets, with nine Chimeras in tow. We had about 110 [fleet members] and – given that we’d have to take wormholes to get to them – that meant we could not take triage. 70 DPS ships vs 190 DPS ships is not really that good of a fight, so we just kept an eye on it and got ready for Round 2 vs Provibloc and Stainwagon.
Then we got word that the Spectre fleet was moving toward Providence, within our sphere of influence. Still, with the looming threat of Provibloc, Stainwagon, and these 400 additional hostiles, we didn’t have a single subcap doctrine worth fielding.
Then, members from the Spectre fleets began asking for PL to form, so we took the only doctrine that could survive the potential onslaught: slowcats, titans, and supers.
There is a huge risk of bouncing when you jump into a blob – one of the many drawbacks that people don’t consider when using titans/supers – so we jumped our titans in first (to doomsday what we assumed were 9 triage carriers), followed by half our carriers, while keeping half the carrier fleet and the entire supercap fleet in reserve for bounced titans.
We took titans because we mistakenly assumed the 9 Chimeras were triage-fit. Triage in TiDi makes Rattlesnakes very, very hard nuts to crack, even with a slowcat fleet, so we eliminated them straight off with doomsdays. Six of the twenty five titans bounced on entry, though only 3 bounced sufficiently far to be “in danger.”
Since the fight was in KBP on the Dital gate (a high-sec gate), we assumed that the two Spectre fleets would just burn to the gate (they were 15km off) and jump out if they didn’t want to fight. Instead, the Tengu fleet noticed one of the bounced titans (Creatnos) was a Leviathan and 90km off the main group – well out of rep range. They dropped on him, we had him light a cyno, and then our super fleet came in. The Tengu fleet immediately disengaged.
The Spectre Rattlesnake fleet, however, saw a different Leviathan (Kyrenia), and decided to bump that ship out of the rep range of its support. An interesting decsion given that there were already isolated supers. Fortunately, they began bumping Kyrenia in the direction of our isolated super fleet 90km away, so they managed to bump him into rep range of both fleets
Our Slowclat fleet was shooting Spectre Fleet Rattlesnakes, while leaving the Tengus alone, as they kept moving. Our titans were shooting Rattlesnakes from A-Z, and our Supers were shooting Rattlesnakes based on proximity.
So the one fleet essentially was calling 3 simultaneous primaries. Rattlesnakes were dying swiftly.
After about 30 minutes of TiDi (3 real minutes in game) we had killed 80 Rattlesnakes. Although Kyrenia had dropped to 17% shields in 2 real game minutes (not a good feeling for any shield titan), we had won the DPS race.
I know a lot of the Spectre fleet guys were disappointed that we didn’t throw 70 DPS ships into their 200. We figured that if they were really against the fight, they could have burned 15km and jump out to high-sec. They instead chose to go for a DPS race against an isolated titan – an admirable move that they got close to winning.
After the fact, both parties’ leadership appear pleased with the outcome. Some considerable amounts of salt have been raised by members of the Spectre community over being dunked by the PL fleet, but Jayne isn’t too upset. Whatever one’s opinion, hundreds of people got some much-needed content.
Happy birthday to Spectre Fleet from us at TMC!
Image use: Lazlow Jones
This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by Siaka Stevens.