Art by Redline XIII.
Most citizens of New Eden know of the galactic southeast as the place where the massive Legacy and Winter Coalitions have been engaged in hostilities for a little over a year. Legacy have generally gotten the better of this fighting, especially during their summer 2018 campaign against Fraternity, the main alliance of Winter Coalition. Conflict has also been constant in the region of Tenerifis, an especially volatile crossroads where Winter, Legacy, RAZOR Alliance, and the remnants of the former Drone Control Unit all four share a border.
The Initiative, as well as their associated alliance Initiative Mercenaries (both referred to as INIT here for simplicity), have apparently decided to show up and fight anyone they can find, spending the night of February 8 in a battle with various Legacy alliances in TWJ-AW in the Impass region followed by another fight against Fraternity in 0IF-26 of the Detorid reigon. This briefly gave them both of the top two spots on Dotlan’s “Most Violent Systems” list, with the two fights combining for more than nine hundred ships destroyed.
Fight Night Part I: TWJ-AW
The Initiative sends their famous Stuka Fleets through the region of Impass semi-regularly, so Legacy and INIT have come to blows before. According to Shattered Armer, Military Director for Brave Collective and fleet commander on the Legacy Coalition side:
“The initial report came in as a +180 neut spike in Z-N9IP, a dead end system in Brave’s main ratting pocket. We knew right away they’d used a drifter wormhole to get into Impass without being picked up on intel. The pings went out for Rorquals to start getting safed, which we’d almost managed to do, except for 2 Rorqs in TWJ and 4-M, both of which were simultaneously tackled while decycling. Most of our Rorqual pilots are competent enough to keep themselves alive long enough for help to arrive. Both Rorquals had stashed their Excavators, were in comms, and lit cynos as soon as they saw Inhibs going down. Obviously I can’t say what our response times were like, but we were ready to drop before the Rorquals had exited PANIC.”
The rapid response of the Legacy fleet (comprised at first of pilots from Brave Collective, Rezeda Regnum, Requiem Eternal, Evictus, DRONE WALKERS, and Warped Intentions) did indeed save both Rorquals, an impressive feat that deprived INIT of what would have been their two most valuable kills of the night. The two fleets settled in to a fairly even slugging match. Eventually INIT disengaged and began to move to the next system over; at nearly the same moment, an INIT interdictor managed to catch a few Legacy capitals as they were warping from the battle site back toward an on-grid Fortizar. The INIT fleet immediately reversed and warped back to the trapped capitals, taking down several of them as Legacy reorganized. Per Shattered Armer: “Most of the capitals they killed were FAXs that were in triage and couldn’t receive reps, or had bumped away from the main fleet and were out of range of triage. Eventually our fleet was reinforced by a carrier group from Test, as well as the subcap pilots reshipping, and we shifted back to the attack. The fresh fighter wings helped us chew through their subcaps fairly quickly, and as their logi began to thin out, they decided to break away.”
That decision appears to have been helped along by Hyperion Shi, a Legacy pilot who joined the fight late in a Ragnarok titan. He was hoping to use his Lance doomsday device on the bunched-up INIT fleet, but in his words, “1/4 of their fleet started yellow boxing when I landed. They booshed as I finished spooling; I got some hits but not enough to kill.” As both Hyperion and Shattered Armer pointed out, that was the moment when INIT decided to disengage and move back to the drifter wormhole.
By the numbers, the final result in TWJ was favorable for INIT, who destroyed 270 ships (not counting capsules) and 21b ISK at the loss of about 65 ships and 10b ISK. However, in their retreat back toward the drifter wormhole, INIT were caught by Legacy pursuers, losing a further 1.3b ISK and 21 ships. Unusually for such a battle, both sides can be pleased by their performance; INIT can be satisfied at winning the battle handily, while the Legacy pilots reacted with admirable speed to an enemy fleet that managed total surprise. Shattered Armer put it best: “All in all, it wasn’t a bad fight for us. There isn’t much you can do when a Triaged FAX gets focus void bombed then primaried by a massive bomber wing; its going down no matter what. Their addition of Kikimoras in place of Harpys certainly add a new spin on the Stuka concept, though. [In the end,] Rorquals got saved, Capitals were extracted cleanly, and my guys got to loot the field, in true Brave fashion of course.”
The quick response and organization of the Legacy fleet are even clearer when this fight is contrasted with the one that happened immediately afterward. INIT re-entered the drifter wormhole, which dumped them out into Fraternity (FRT) territory in the system of 0IF-26. There, another gigantic fight broke out.
Fight Night Part II: 0IF-26
Specific details of this battle are harder to come by, but INIT landed on grid with several pilots from Brave Collective and Evictus, Legacy alliances who frequently roam through FRT space. INIT partnered up with those Legacy forces and lashed out against FRT almost immediately, with the combined fleets destroying approximately 40 FRT ships (including a Thanatos and a Minokawa) in the first half hour of fighting at the loss of about 25 of their own.
Following that strong start, INIT and Legacy destroyed two Apostles, two more Thanatoses, a Phoenix, and a Nidhoggur in a single ten-minute window from 22:43 to 22:53. Sensing that the battle was getting away from them, FRT dropped in five supercarriers, nine dreadnoughts, a titan, and assorted FAXes. This did little to stem the bleeding, with another Thanatos and Phoenix going down in the next ten minutes. At that point INIT and their new friends beat a hasty retreat, leaving FRT before the tide could turn.
The final tally: 140 ships killed and over 36b ISK damage done by INIT and Legacy; 59 ships killed for just under 3b ISK by FRT and its allies. That outcome is what could easily have happened in the TWJ-AW battle between INIT and Legacy, and the fact that it didn’t is a testimony to the military preparedness of Legacy both at coalition level and at the level of individual alliances like Brave Collective. By examining the differences between these two fights, readers can better understand why Legacy has dominated FRT and the rest of Winter Coalition nearly every time the two sides have come to blows.
This sequence of battles illustrates one of the most fascinating things about EVE: enemies can become friends, sometimes with shocking rapidity. As power blocs ebb and flow within the game, nearly every alliance will eventually find themselves allied with someone who used to be a hated foe, or may find themselves fighting to the death against former buddies. Sometimes the change happens literally in a matter of a jump or two, as INIT found when they went from fighting against Legacy in TWJ to fighting alongside them in 0IF. One suspects that INIT will not be fretting too much over philosophy tonight, however; they’ll be celebrating a pair of victories, which saw them destroy a combined 57b ISK of ships at the loss of only 15b of their own.
Friday night is fight night, indeed.