RECAP: Grudge Match and then Putting Moose beaver To The Sword
So Seismic Stan and I met on the field of battle in the quiet low sec system of Aliette and prepared for our best of five matches duel, starting at lowly frigates and then going to destroyers, cruisers, and if required, battlecruisers and battleships.
Since both of us are long in the tooth in terms of skillpoints (and he's a wily old bastard), I knew that trying to counter a specific ship in each class was useless so I went with whatever I felt I could make work.
For frigates, I settled on a dependable low sec roaming Rifter. I considered going for something more exotic or with a bigger tank, but I figured the familiarity of the abilities of the Rifter was key. Pretty much standard 150mm autocannons, a Nos, and active armour tank.
Next, there was no doubt I would take a Catalyst as its my favourite destroyer, the question was merely if I should go with a blaster fit or rail fit. I opted for railguns as I planned to try and stay out of his range and flick him to death, hoping he opted for a shorter ranged Thrasher or Coercer, or a paper thinned hull Cormorant.
I spent the most time working on a cruiser ship. First I thought "gank Thorax" but realized that was better for catching unsuspecting targets unawares and not ideal for a prepared opponent. Then I spent some time planning out a blaster Moa that could tank like a pro and deal decent damage, but I was worried I would be outranged and outran by a well piloted Rupture. So I finally decided to get out of my comfort zone and go EWAR. We agreed no ECM, but that left a lot of other nasty options open like neutralizers and tracking disruptors. I've been eager to try out an Arbitrator for a while so put one together with two medium neuts, one medium nos, and one small nos in the highs, two tracking disruptors in the mids, and a buffer armour tank. All damage would come from medium drones of which I packed 15 (no frigs to worry about). It was a risk; if he brought a missile ship or a drone ship or a sniping ship, I could be in trouble.
On to battlecruisers and this was a no brainer: Gank Talos. I fully expected to die but I hoped the shock of getting hit by battleship weapons would make him panic and mess up. So eight big honking Neutron Blaster Cannons IIs, tackle, a semblance of an armour buffer tank, and a one way ticket to explodey-ville!
If we got to battleships, I wanted to fly cautiously. I wanted something with the best combination of gank, tank, and range. There is no question that Pulse lasers are the answer to two of those questions and the Abaddon provides the bulk of the third. Enter Mega Pulse Laser IIs, 1600mm plates and trimark armour pumps, and enough mid slots to pin down a charging bull (or Megathron). I would try and engage at ~50 km range and let powerful Scorch Crystals do their work. Failing that, Imperial Navy Multifriequency would have to suffice.
The Duel Part 1 - Merlin vs Rifter
Stan ran into a problem setting up. He forgot an important power grid implant and thus his frigate fit was not going to work! I offered to disable a mod to equal terms but he declined, graciously offering to slog it out with whatever he could pull together in station. A true trooper, almost Canadian in his perseverance!
We met at the duel safe spot (apologies to Vsmit who was in system to see duels but we went with security over publicity due to Stan's terror of low sec) and I saw it was a Merlin. I've said before a properly fitted and flown Merlin can be fearsome so I knew I was in for a fight. We barreled into each other at short range and began the dance of death.
I was quickly in armour and out of capacitor, but since warping off was conceding defeat I turned off scram mods and concentrated on pulsing the armour repper whenever I could and keeping that nosferatu running. Slowly but surely I nibbled at his shields and eventually I broke them. It was over soon after that.
Lord Moose Beaver 1, Baron Crumpet Tea 0
The Duel Part 2 - Catalyst vs Catalyst
For the second duel I warped in and found Stan landing over 100 km away in a Catalyst. And he fired up a micro warp drive meaning two things: 1) we're both fitting long range fits and trying to maintain range and 2) my afterburner fit is sorely going to be outpaced in that department.
In hindsight, I should have never won this duel. Stan had also fitted a remote sensor dampener which combined with the range fit and MWD should have meant he could fight outside of my targeting range of 41 km and prevent me from ever hitting him. I'll need to review the fraps I made of the event but I never once had problems targeting him when he pulled within 41 km so I wonder if he fit the wrong script and was uselessly messing with my scan resolution instead, or just didn't get the mod activated soon enough when in range.
Regardless, the fact of the matter is that his big signature from the MWD meant I hit him pretty hard when he came into range and as he tried to pull back I finished him off.
Lord Moose Beaver 2, Baron Crumpet Tea 0
The Duel Part 3 - Moa vs Arbitrator
I was really surprised to see yet another Caldari ship as I fully expected a dependable and solid Rupture cruiser here. I was really happy when he landed right on top of me as it meant that my tracking disruptors would be most effective in close. We engaged and the battle was on.
Again, this fight was weird. I think he stayed stationary for most of the fight allowing me to orbit at ease. It seemed he was firing upon my drones a lot of the fight too and since I had him tracking disrupted and lots of spare drones, that didn't worry me. I killed his drones right away to make sure my tank was not threatened and sat happily at ~50% armour.
Then something happened as his shield tank broke. I don't know if he opted to start moving differently (which is what the fraps suggested) or if he turned all weapons on me instead of my drones. It became a race into structure but I think my drones managed to save me and kill him while I still had 28% structure left.
Lord Moose Beaver 3, Baron Crumpet Tea 0
I can't help but feel that rust on Stan's part saved me in at least two of those matches. The Catalyst matchup was completely in his favour on paper, and the last one would have required some pretty fancy flying to avoid death had he been doing all throughout the match what he did at the end to start hitting me.
That being said, there is no substitution for victory and close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. My Canadian Honour has been assuaged this time, Stan. Don't make me come after you again!