Invasions 101


Header art by Quendan Comari.

When the Imperium retook Delve in 2016, it was done with battle-hardened troops fresh from The Casino War. The Imperium members outnumbered the locals at slightly under 2:1. The residents of Delve at the time were the likes of Lumpy, Caladrius Alliance and Tactical Supremacy, which all professed to be PvP-focused alliances. Some of these alliances had also taken part in The Casino War against the Imperium. The Imperium invasion of Delve, then, served two purposes: to found a new home and to blood it with the wrecks of at least a few of their enemies.

Invasions Aren’t Meant to Last Forever

Under normal circumstances, invasions of Delve are most likely to come from the NPC-owned space in Delve, which is accessible from Querious. It’s a natural path right into the heartland of Delve that minimizes risk to invading forces.

What wasn’t normal was the invasion of Delve by the Imperium in 2016. With the numerical advantage and troops hungry for blood, the Imperium just smashed through the front doors of Delve. The Imperium assault was launched from Aridia: the system of Q-HESZ was first to fall on the July 30, 2016.

By the September 12, 2016, the Imperium had claimed the final piece of sovereignty in Delve. The whole operation had taken around six weeks, even with the Imperium exercising caution because some members of the Money Badger Coalition (MBC) were trying to stop the Imperium from rebuilding. For instance, Progodlegend of TEST was keen to follow the Imperium to Delve to ensure that the Imperium would be destroyed.

Possibly, the focus of the MBC was centered on securing the prize taken from the Imperium in the North. For instance, Circle of Two (Co2) lost their first sov in Tribute to Northern Coalition on the October 18, 2016. Large campaigns, such as an invasion, take weeks and months of planning and preparation. The attack by Northern Coalition on Circle of Two was most certainly premeditated. By December 10, 2016, less than two months later, Co2 had conceded the region of Tribute.

When the Imperium “glassed” Tribute in 2019, while under the ownership of Northern Coalition and Pandemic Legion, it required about a month of fighting.

The examples above provide considerable evidence that if you have superior numbers to your enemy, invading does not require a long drawn-out process. So, the pace of the current PAPI invasion of the Imperium homeland of Delve stems from choice, not necessity.

The Motive

The stated intent for this war, according to Vily in a Polygon article, is “a war of extermination. This is a war to the death. We are aiming for the removal of [The] Mittani and the Imperium from Eve Online. . . . We are here to purge them.”

But the reasons offered on a Talking in Stations’ (TIS) interview are wildly different from the motives ascribed in the Polygon article. Here, Vily tells a very different story, of a coalition leader looking for a goal for himself and his members.

The problem with Vily’s ambition is that The Legacy Coalition is far from able to fight either PanFam or the Imperium on its own. The Legacy Coalition has to be reliant on a more powerful group in order to pursue its own climb to power. It would seem that Vily first courted the Imperium and wanted the Imperium help for a war in the north against NC (listen to the TIS show at 1:28:00 for example). But something went awry with that plan and Vily felt that there was little option other than to turn to PanFam for assistance. This Vily duly did, and with enough gusto to raise a 150k character coalition that is supposed to stop the Imperium members from playing the game – in order to save the game.

Some media outlets have made observations about the differing ideologies between the warring sides. Generally, this ideological difference is being posited as a fight between good and evil, right and wrong, them and us. This is normally a safe bet, given that many conflicts can be framed in such a way. But this war is littered with unrealistic accusations and false flag operations.

There are some very big differences between the Imperium and PAPI. The Imperium has existed for a long time. Its members are used to working with each other and there is total trust when doing so. PAPI do not have that luxury, entirely. They are a coalition formed solely for the purpose of destroying the Imperium. PAPI also has to contend with the fact that some of their members remember the conflicts they have had between each other that preceded this war. This past history of aggression does not always sit well. Once PAPI claims victory, their loose coalition will cease to exist and each alliance within PAPI will return to being at war with each other.

Art by Quendan Comari

How wealth is generated and distributed also seems to be very different between the Imperium and PAPI. For instance, the Imperium shares all income from the TTC in Perimeter between its member alliances. PAPI does not. The Imperium has always preferred an empire modeled on people doing things together. PAPI members seem to prefer a renting model as a method of utilizing space.

With the claims made by PAPI, it would be reasonable to think that there should be some urgency to their invasion. PAPI have made it clear that the Imperium needs to be removed from the game in order to save the game. So why the delay in purging the Imperium?

History Repeated

Perhaps Vily has started to remember the lessons of the past. TEST and Co2 were evicted from the North to make room for rental space for PanFam. The Russian-based coalition of XIX was also dismantled for PanFam rental space. GotG was also taken apart for rental space. Now here we are with PAPI looking to remove the Imperium from the game. And they plan to rent out the former holdings of the Imperium.

Legacy may have gone into this war thinking that they were in third place when it came to nullsec power blocs, but this may not be the reality. Both the Russian and Chinese communities are well represented and Legacy would likely be very challenged by either.

The Mittani, the leader of the Imperium, has declared that when the large capital fights take place, orders will be given to shoot the capitals of the alliance it will hurt the most. This will give some alliances within PAPI pause for thought. Who would want to see their entire capital fleet wiped out with only the promise of replacements? With the new material changes, replacement of lost ships will become more important, and perhaps more difficult, than ever before.

Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

Vily is now presented with an impossible choice. If he pushes forward into Delve, then all of PAPI will be looking to Legacy to charge in first. Leadership by example, after all. That will put them on the front line for losses. How many losses they can sustain is unknown, but Vily would have you believe their capital stashes are stocked deeply.

If Vily and PAPI leadership were to call for a withdrawal, then the Imperium wins outright. This would mean that Vily had successfully formed a coalition of over 100 alliances and 150 thousand characters only to be defeated by a greatly inferior force. This is a legacy that would be hard to escape. Vily would forever be remembered as the leader who had every tool and advantage at his disposal and still failed.

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  • Rammel Kas

    Good to see a Moomin post again. Thank you.

    I would add to the analysis… the rising power of FRT and their apparent licensed lording it over Army of Mangos since the start of the fighting. Aside this NC. sponsored corp with a western appointee leader under Vince’s seal, the only other groups from Serenity are Mangos (forced into the Legacy fold under threat of FRT) and PLA (strong members of Imperium and rightfully distrustful of anything Norhaus touches).

    These boys are stealing a march on the others. With the greater super capital might not actually deployed to the front lines. I wonder what they could be up to?

    October 7, 2020 at 11:09 AM
    • Moomin Amatin Rammel Kas

      Very kind of yoiu, thank you.

      There is a lot of history that is relevant to this war. From both Tranquility and Serenity. “May you live in interesting times”.

      October 7, 2020 at 5:23 PM
  • Noob

    Wait. Not winning fast enough?

    October 7, 2020 at 3:28 PM
    • Moomin Amatin Noob

      The numbers:

      100 alliances vs 10
      150k characters vs 50k
      4th month of the invasion of Delve.
      ISK lost seems to be almost 50/50 exactly (although that has likely changed in the last couple of days – heh).
      PAPI is losing more control of space than The Imperium seems to be according to dotlan and timerboard.

      So make of that what you will. I am not sure about “not winning fast enough” as it feels more like “not invading with any conviction”. Either way is fine with me and I am only pointing out how unusual this seems. The fact that there are something like 60 fully operational Keepstars in Delve, owned by the Imperium, is also another number.

      October 7, 2020 at 9:32 PM
      • Nate Hunter Moomin Amatin

        Should probably compare regions too, 30 nullsec regions vs 4.

        October 7, 2020 at 10:31 PM
      • 60 operational keepstars and that was just one anchoring timer lol

        I assume the butcher’s bill would scare anyone motivated by killmails but we’ll see, I guess. I’ve been surprised so far this week

        October 7, 2020 at 10:51 PM
    • Garreth Vlox Noob

      More like not even making a noticeable effort to actually invade our home region, followed by two complete whiff attempts at anchoring a keep in NPC delve. And that’s the really important part here… they failed to anchor in NPC delve… if they can’t win the strategic objective with their titans and supers on field how do they plan on fighting under our jammers when our titans and supers are already in system and they have to gate their’s in to camped to hell gates? Many of their recent entosis fleets involved them hacking with FAXES, they won’t have that option in delve unless they want to gate those as well. We have close to 60 keepstars at this point, that means PAPI can look forward to at the minimum, close to 180 repeats of the last two days, only this time our supers and titans will be in play and they will have to gate their’s in through a meat grinder to contest the keeps and if at any point in each keeps 3 timers they let their DPS slip they get to start all over again. When you think about that it’s really easy to see why they are taking so long to get to attacking delve, they just plain don’t want too.

      October 8, 2020 at 4:12 AM
  • Oh but you see, anaconda coalition only started two weeks ago, you see

    October 7, 2020 at 3:38 PM
    • Moomin Amatin Rain

      Anal-Conga-Lition I think is now the name. It is hard to keep up.

      October 7, 2020 at 9:32 PM
  • Guilford Australis

    Solid observations. The longer this conflict drags on, my two basic positions on it are reinforced:

    (1). PAPI has taken far too long just to move to within striking distance of Delve. Horde declared Total Reddit Victory after taking Fountain, but INIT retook it within a week of Horde’s restaging to Querious and has been mopping up PAPI structures there for the past month. Meanwhile, the Querious campaign can only be described as half-assed, and it, too, has taken a very long time. Neither of those scenarios is good for line-member morale, commitment, and likelihood to log in for pings that even remotely look like structure bashes, entosis, or pointless slapfights.

    (2). PAPI took the low-hanging fruit first and is now nearly out of low-hanging fruit to pluck. Strategic objectives in Delve are going to be miserable for PAPI, nothing like the smorgasbord they enjoyed in Fountain. They will be bashing their foreheads against the concrete wall of relentless supercapital TIDI-fests now that The Imperium is backed into a corner. PAPI line members are going to blink and swallow hard before undocking those supers and titans to defend the third or fourth failed attempt to anchor a Keepstar in NPC Delve – but we won’t because it’s our home and we have no choice.

    That Vily – who boasted of a “war of extermination” before the war actually began – recently announced in a SOTA (which is where alliance leaders usually exaggerate their strengths and accomplishments to boost morale) that PAPI faces “coin-flip” odds of success despite outnumbering The Imperium 3:1 and being Massive Reddit Meme Warriors probably says more than Vily intended to say about his confidence for this campaign.

    October 7, 2020 at 4:39 PM
    • Nate Hunter Guilford Australis

      1. PAPI has deployed thousands of characters into Querious, probably 50%-100% more pvp characters than the Imperium has. FWST yesterday on zkill registered 5,640 PAPI characters and 3,380 Imperium a 67% advantage for PAPI. That took 14 hours for that battle to conclude and nearly all FCs from both sides were involved. Is there really any time to do anything else significant for that day? Nearly 2 T for a single battle is quite a bit but when it takes 9,020 characters 14 hours to lose 220 mil per character that’s kind of pathetic.

      2. Everyone takes the low-hanging fruit first, i mean that’s a direct takeaway from every strategy ever. We’ll see who decides to log in less first. Some % decrease from both sides is to be expected but it’ll most likely be equal on both sides so PAPI will still hold the numbers advantage.

      Most the FCs have said some really dumb stuff and its the mobs job to spin it as they wish so carry on.

      October 7, 2020 at 10:28 PM
      • Garreth Vlox Nate Hunter

        “Most the FCs have said some really dumb stuff and its the mobs job to spin it as they wish so carry on.”

        Most FC’s are the leader of the largest coalition the game has seen in a very long time… you expect slightly better than dumb random shit to come of the mouth of the guy leading 150K people on a war of extermination against the single most organized and established group in the game.

        October 8, 2020 at 4:03 AM
        • Guilford Australis Garreth Vlox

          Yeah, that quote is pure sophistry. There’s a difference between some random skirmish-level FC and the leader of a coalition who personally declared a war.

          It’s like saying, “Sure, gigX made some mistakes, but he was just an FC, and all FCs make mistakes, so it’s pretty much just spin.”

          October 8, 2020 at 1:28 PM
      • Guilford Australis Nate Hunter

        I notice you’re taking the arguments you want to have rather than the ones I made in my comment, presumably because my points were inconvenient to your narrative.

        Any thoughts about PAPI wasting two and a half months taking Fountain so they could be Big Ball-Swinging Reddit Warriors, then losing ALL of it within a week after moving to Querious to fortify the numbers of their incompetent loser allies in TEST?

        Care to comment on my observations about the ways in which a Delve campaign will be nothing like the cakewalk Horde enjoyed in Fountain?

        Because those were my points, not whatever you’re talking about.

        October 8, 2020 at 12:58 PM
        • Nate Hunter Guilford Australis

          i’ll say Horde took fountain then abandoned it because it doesn’t matter. Horde’s not going to move into fountain. Didn’t the imperium do the exact same thing to Horde.
          TEST has been sitting on their hands and their major part in this war seems to be financial and a punching bag for the Imperium in Esoteria
          Hopefully Delve will be a proper campaign with wins for both sides and some good press.
          I do think Legacy are fools if they think they’re going to move into Delve and hold it, unless they think some of Imperium would join up with them, which is a long shot at this time.

          October 9, 2020 at 6:56 PM
  • Nate Hunter

    The largest difference between the 2016 invasion of Delve and now is the shear amount of large structure timers to chew through, i think 1DQ has 4 keepstars now. in 2016 citadels had just been added and Outposts were still part of the sov warfare. Now Delve has 60ish Keepstars and many fortizars. PAPI seems to be clearing a couple citadels a day in Querious with the goons mostly fighting on the armor timers. In fountain they cleared 1-2 keepstars per week, which is 3-6 keepstar battles per week.

    Both sides just showed how much effort they are willing to put into a keepstar fight with two 12 ish hour battles two days in a row. The Imperium has successfully effort tanked Delve to the extreme.

    October 7, 2020 at 8:09 PM
    • Moomin Amatin Nate Hunter

      I keep thinking that I will open the in-game structure browser while in Delve. I then put that thought to one side alongside where I keep my other silly ideas.

      October 7, 2020 at 9:40 PM
  • TheKman

    I read this in Moomin’s voice, I often do with all of his articles that he writes. It adds a level of depth which makes these even better to read. But the other part is-is that Moomin knows his shit and this shows that he can see not just the bigger picture but the entire gallery.

    October 7, 2020 at 8:32 PM
  • Ghost Dansing

    Moomin writes really good.

    October 7, 2020 at 8:58 PM
    • Moomin Amatin Ghost Dansing

      My editor and teacher keeps me honest. Thank you.

      October 7, 2020 at 9:34 PM
  • kwnyupstate .

    If your goal is to get large parts of the player base to stop playing, you are the problem.

    October 8, 2020 at 12:45 AM
    • Garreth Vlox kwnyupstate .

      And yet he claims they will save the game by driving 50K players out of the game.

      October 8, 2020 at 4:03 AM
      • Alaric Faelen Garreth Vlox

        it’s an idiotic thing to even claim. You cannot force anyone out of the game, and in fact are just invigorating them to remain– even if they lose Delve– just to camp TEST until they cannot undock without fear of being dropped on. That same NPC space they are using to stage will just be GSF staging if they lose Delve.
        Vily is a putz. A blowhard that is second fiddle in his own war. TEST have been less than useless so far, totally relying on the rest of the game to accomplish anything of value. NC/PL and even Frat are the only actual threat, and probably tired of doing all the work while TEST does diddly.
        But even if Delve is lost, that just frees up 10k players to do nothing but wreck TEST where ever they undock.
        If GSF retains Delve, TEST is finished. And it’s not even up to TEST to decide that– since they are wholly reliant on NC/PL to fight the war for them. If GSF loses Delve, TEST will have 10k angry bees with nothing to do but camp every system they own until they can’t even belt rat for isk.
        And more likely, seeing how weak TEST is, once GSF is off the map, TEST will simply get steamrolled by their ‘allies’ because they are easy pickings. After all, why bring all those titans and supers home when you can just keep rolling south and wipe out TEST while they are there.
        TEST is a joke. They had a hilarious fail cascade in Fountain, a laughingstock kicked to FW space while everyone else in that war just went on about their business. They were the only losers in that war. Even as Brave came into their own as a null power, TEST were hobo’s in low sec that we all laughed at. They only got back into null hiding behind the Imperium’s skirt, just like they are now hiding behind NC/PL’s skirt.

        October 8, 2020 at 5:14 AM
        • > it’s an idiotic thing to even claim. You cannot force anyone out of the game

          You are familiar with situation that arose on Serenity in the past, correct? Yet i have to agree that so called “anihilation” is a very amusing and naive term if nothing else.

          October 8, 2020 at 1:49 PM
          • Garreth Vlox waltari

            “You are familiar with situation that arose on Serenity in the past, correct?”

            The situation that arose on serenity was due entirely to the uniqueness of the serenity server, that uniqueness does not exist on the Tranquility server and as a result of what happened on the serenity server the opportunity for a repeat of those events will never happen here.

            October 8, 2020 at 6:23 PM
      • 50k players whose entity also happens to be one of the few positive forces in the game– one that:

        – Holds a modest amount of sov, actually lives in it, actually makes sure it’s exploited for the benefit of its members
        – Not just in it to farm former highsec pubbies and botters for rent
        – Maintains a fairly modest blue-list
        – Not afraid to go abroad and create content during periods when the game lacks it
        – Has a history of repeatedly developing a high level of understanding of game mechanics and of lobbying for game mechanics that benefit the game as a whole– sometimes at the expense of our own power
        – Actually cares about playing the game for its own sake rather than hunting reddit upvotes and killboard stats
        – ?? IDK I’m sure we could go on, but whatever

        October 8, 2020 at 7:17 AM
      • kwnyupstate . Garreth Vlox

        I think regardless of whether you love or absolutely hate goons how can anyone join a war effort where the expressed purpose is to significantly damage the health of the game. If successful Vily will probably cause CCP to go bankrupt and the game could end entirely.

        October 8, 2020 at 11:49 PM
  • To recap the last few months:

    TEST: “We and everyone else in the universe are gonna come stomp evil gons”

    IMPERIUM: “We’re not gonna defend the periphery of our space: you wanna play, come to Delve.”

    HORDE: *takes Fountain*

    TEST: *attacks some Imperium jump bridges, cowers in fear when Stain locals bring 20 Tornados to systems in Esoteria*

    TEST: “See! We’re massacring the Gons! We took Fountain!”

    ALSO TEST: *batphones the rest of their 150k-member coalition to Querious, finally is able to take some sov… in a region Imperium already said they wouldn’t defend*

    INIT: “Hey look, Horde left Fountain!” *takes it back*

    TEST, immediately upon winning a glorified gatecamp slap-fest in SVM: “WE DID IT WE INVADED DELVE SEE GONS!? U R LOSING!”


    PAPI: *tries to anchor a Keepstar in NPC Delve*


    PAPI: *anchors another Keepstar in NPC Delve*


    UNFORTUNATE ERRANT TITAN, whilst dreaming whistfully of better days when it could chill in lowsec ganking lost, NPC-corp capitals: *dies*

    TEST: *talks shit in 8QT local*

    ALSO TEST: *loses Esoteria sov to Bastion*

    ALSO ALSO TEST: *can’t clear Stain asshouses from their own space, even on the same grids as their own Keepstars, even with capital support* *continues to cower in fear at the sight of 20-man Tornado gangs*

    Test are the biggest garbage pile of an alliance I have ever encountered in my decade-and-a-half of playing EVE. There have been alliances that were worse at the game, and there have been alliances that talked more shit, but never in my goddamned life have I seen an alliance as fucking terrible as TEST are talk the kind of shit TEST talk. They’re full of the most cowardly, risk-averse players I’ve ever seen. They’re completely untrustworthy. They’ve got no capacity for strategic thought. They’ve got such a low opinion of the whole notion of loyalty that when we show up to help our Stain allies defend their structures, TAPI line members think they can *insult us* by questioning why we’d show up to help an ally when Delve is threatened. They’ve been miserable, entitled, insufferable whiners ever since they moved into the TESTagram in Deklein.

    TAPI are like that chubby neckbeard from the back of your college polisci classes who interrupts the professor constantly to “challenge their ideas” and proselytize on the virtues of radical Libertarianism. LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT HOW BITCOIN IS THE FUTURE OF FINANCE AND TAXES ARE RAPE AND ABOUT HOW HARD IT IS TO BE A CIS WHITE MAN IN AMERICA! Yesterday I set an alarm, woke up early, and played EVE for seventeen hours straight in order to support our efforts in FWST: not because EVE is spectacularly fun to play or because I’m terrified of losing Delve (we’ve “lost a homeland” every few years now for almost two decades: I’m familiar with the procedure), but because all my old EVE friends have returned to the game and because all of us are keen to kick these fucking retards’ teeth in. They’ve been spergy, whiny, ungrateful fucktards for years and it would absolutely make my day if we can make them eat their own shit for three meals each day. No matter what happens, we’re not going to come out of this war looking bad: either we lose– the expected outcome having put up a ridiculous fight while outnumbered 3:1– or they lose– and are forced to come to terms with being the complete fucking dead-weight of inept mongoloids that they are. If PAPI accomplish TEST’s goal of forcing Goonswarm out of existence, I would happily sign on to help Horde fuck TEST into the dirt afterward. I’ve been fighting Horde for years, but I don’t dislike them. TEST, though, can get fucked.

    October 8, 2020 at 7:00 AM
    • Moomin Amatin Ganthrithor


      October 8, 2020 at 7:15 AM
  • Lrrp

    Will Vily be remembered for failing as well as…say Vuk Lau is for losing Morsus Mihi space?

    October 9, 2020 at 8:42 PM
    • Moomin Amatin Lrrp

      History is written by winners. Time will tell I guess.

      October 9, 2020 at 11:56 PM
  • Elithiel en Gravonere

    Every day they botch another failed attempt at invasion, is another day we have to improve, refine and get better at sharpening our woodchipper. I’m already coming up with cunning ambush ideas and traps. Methods we can use to make every system cost them dearly.

    October 14, 2020 at 5:33 AM