Art by Cryo Huren
[Editor’s Note: This part three of a four part series about fleet commanders in EVE who have played a part in World War Bee II, or World War Bee as it is known to Imperium members. This interview was completed prior to the M2-XFE fights that led to PAPI misplacing part of its super and titan fleet.]
Ichinumi Tsukaya is a fleet commander with the Imperium.
What can you tell us about yourself, who you fly with, and why you FC?
I’ve been playing since 2007, on and off (my current main wasn’t always my main). When I made Ichinumi Tsukaya I swore I’d roleplay as a Caldari militant. Now I have lessened that a bit, but still will remind everyone the superiority of the Caldari state. “As we make the tea, you must take it. The Caldari way demands it.”
Anyway, I FC with Goonfleet blackops and welp squad (collectively due to low AUTZ numbers within coalition) and in special circumstances I support mainfleet. I FC because I have a great knowledge of game mechanics so may as well use it, and I want to entice colleagues to take my more aggressive posture in campaigns. Started FCing towards the end of my tenure in CALSF and, honestly, really miss flying with people who know how to fly their own ships.
What do you think motivated this war? Either politically or personally or both.
TEST probably thinks it can cannibalize Goonswarm, assuming that we hate Pandafam more than them because of historically terrible relations between Goons and Pandafam, and that culturally there is a perception that Pandafam has higher expectations of its people than TAPI and less easy farming, less super umbrella support etc. Also, PGL and Vily [were] probably fairly butt-blasted when Sort Dragon ‘threw down the gauntlet’ on The Meta Show, shortly before his final defeat. They probably had no intention of continuing NIP from that point onwards, having been ridiculed as weak leaders and even forced to back down on their very slow moving plots to attack DeadCo, conceding and stating publicly at the time that ‘it is not worth losing friends over.’
Honestly? Good riddance to the NIP. This war was a long time coming, and if we were not conducting ourselves in an honorable fashion we may have ended it before the enemy had a chance to become a problem. But I am a hawk not a bear, and agree with Pandemic Legion’s current alliance bio [which says, “You should have killed us when you had the chance”].
What are your favourite battles or recollections from this war?
I am a fan of good clean fights. I had this fun brawl against Panfam, with fairly even numbers, while they were trying to stop us blowing up an iHub. It surprised me that they didn’t try to form bombers or a second hac fleet, or some shit, against our very stretched numbers given that they are all about ‘blueballs or helldunk.’ But I was grateful for it nonetheless (and for the fact that they actually don’t headshot me all that often, like very rarely).
The time after wasn’t as clean being outnumbered 3-1 with badguy bombers, fax and haw dreads, but we blew up that iHub too, so v0v. I’ve done some other things like get some dank kills hunting supers in Esoteria with the squad and batphoning mainfleet for help. And I had a good Jackdaw brawl with [Taipan’s Fury CEO] Rastino somewhere here, too, as seems to be customary.
Is there anything you would like to have accomplished which you haven’t?
I am salty at Pandemic Horde now for taking AUTZ content away from me. Don’t they have faith in their AUTZ team? Is FRT not promising to back you up as much anymore? Bah. I literally have to redo all my plans and figure out something to do now! It feels like we started having a few more good fights with them and they were like ‘nah lets pull out of AUTZ.’ We set up a good one the other day for [Imperium FC] Havish Montak brawling Muninns. Did the whole slow escalation thing to rope ’em in. It was bae.
What were some of the challenges faced by your FC team or leadership during this war?
Oh you know, consistently knowing that you’re very able to be rapidly out-formed at short notice has certainly been a negative in this war for us. Every single decision, especially in AUTZ, has to be looked at through this lens. At the same time, we’ve shown consistently that our team is not to be taken lightly, defying the old ‘goonies are bad’ – like no we’re not good but we’re not bad.
How has this war differed from others you’ve participated in before, if at all?
As far as wars I’ve participated in, honestly Horde’s defensive strategy was more defensive in the Geminate war when TAPI tried invading gem with Goon help. It was more my style of defense. We had carrier blobs on forts where we figured we had enough caps to respond to an escalation. That lead to very rapid frustration and depletion of bad-guy resources, and it worked perfectly, leading to PGL feeding like 300 dreads to [Pandemic Legion’s] Hedliner in west Geminate to ultimately kill a few faxes and TAPI’s hasty retreat after that – so much for revenge for Fountain war.
However, I disagreed with them on leaving things, like leaving TKE to Goon sigs (funny given they inhabit that space now), and would often go out there myself and extract wins and losses, figuring every setback made the badguys work just a little bit harder leading to a net gain in fatigue. I just figure that the way the upper command types are in Horde is if they aren’t doing it themselves they reckon it’s not getting done right, or something. We all play game after all, mayhaps it is only intrinsic to the nature of space empire leadership types to have that kind of arrogance. I haven’t seen that in the excellent leadership qualities that [Imperium FCs] Zungen and Havish [Montak] possess.
As far as other wars I’ve participated in? The Branch war [where] Horde fought Deadco, and occasionally NCdot, when they decided to help. It was a series of sick dunks against Deadco, to be honest. Very one sided, hard to make a serious impact as they timezone tanked well. I took the time to learn cloaky camping and more nullsec meta so I wasn’t big in FCing there. And, of course, NCdot was really not happy about that happening, so yeah the disunity in the north killed that (keep in mind at the time Deadco were just freshly disavowed by Horde due to 40 faction Fortizars for a six month truce with Goons).
I caught the tail end of Goons pushing north. My first engagement there was F7C-H0 in Cloud Ring, the Keepstar anchoring. It’s funny that, back then, TAPI-Imperium really was a super coalition of epic proportions. We chucked everything we could at that Keepstar to try to keep Goons out of the north – except PL was MIA, bit of a shame at the time, huge tactical error as I am sure history now clearly shows. There was a bit of a MBC without TAPI and Legacy formed for that one. I would’ve partook earlier but had a fight with alphastarpilot almost immediately after joining Horde as I literally had no idea of how a nullsec coalition works and tried to take on more than I could chew
Tribute was a joke NCdot rolled over and took it, lol. Shame we left early. We really did set them up in fortress drones as a result of leaving early. This might be our huge tactical error in some future retelling should we not win this war because it would’ve been a matter of time before TAPI turned on us anyway, lets face it.
So how does this compare to us? [The Imperium has] a very powerful enemy super fleet breathing down our necks, too, so we can’t afford to do what Horde did in gem defense and put carriers on Fortizars – there’s just not enough punishment a fort can dish out for doing so. No, they’re going to have to come at our Keepstars if they want to meet their objective of removing us from the game, and they’ll need to fight our super fleets on it – at least I hope that’s the plan. [It will] probably happen in the coming weeks, as this is absolutely coming to a head one way or another.
If someone is thinking of becoming an FC, what advice would you give them?
Try your best to not sully your name by getting in over your head too early. Learn as much as you can first. Talk to FCs after fleets about what they did and why – I know doing so with [(Templis CALSF primary FC] thelastspartonand ushy and solidus and others was hugely invaluable for me when I started out. Learning all fleet roles was also hugely valuable to me. Study the current meta, study game mechanics – at least be able to know ship types and weapon ranges roughly off the top of your head and doctrine types, weaknesses and strengths. Really do learn everything you possibly can before taking out your first fleet because, honestly, you’re being watched and judged from day one. Be afraid of failure because when doors shut, you can expect them to stay that way. If you’re ok with being casual about it that’s cool, but expect that commitment to be reflected in your outcomes.