Aleksi Aksan – one of the newer EVE_NT Commentators, hits the keyboard to take a little look at the developing season two meta.
We start this week with a short quiz. The following unannotated graph represents what:
- The Minor League Red vs Blue record
- The Major League Red vs Blue record
- The overall Championship Red vs Blue record
- Fuel for fears of imbalance in the draft
- All of the above
Answers on a jetcan.(1)
Getting down to the meat of this week’s statistics we do see Red vs Blue go the way of nuclear half life and by some bizarre and ill-understood method give us consistent results. At 5-Blue, 2-Red we are seeing continued strength on that side of the draft, however we have seen a meta turned on its head between the first weeks of the Minor and Major Leagues. The overall meta is beginning to take a clearer shape with two weeks worth of matches behind it, though we are likely to see shake-ups still.
So we are seeing that teams most often pick armour, least often pick no logi (bolstered here even by the inclusion of Sudden Otters’ victory with a mere Burst to support them), but win most with shields. The body of this differentiation however has come with our first week of the Majors. Where last week in the Minors showed little to divide the meta types the top tier teams of the Major League have cut a clear divide between the styles. Armour remains most popular, and No Logi gets firmly relegated to third place. However the biggest shift comes from Shield, 2-2 in the Minors it’s been taken to 5-1 in the Majors by teams like Clevergirls and The Other Team, both claiming 2-0s for the week with shield teams over armour compositions.
Another key shift is the near exclusion of No Logi comps, the only one being taken unsuccessfully by Provi-Shotz after a Logi targeted draft by Team Johnny. Bar this every match of the week was a shield vs armour match, the better of which shield easily claimed. The only victory armour scraped back being in The Charlatans vs Phalanx.
So we’re seeing more of a priority placed on logistics. All four logistics ships falling into the top 10 most contested picks in drafting so far, with the Exequror being one of only two ships to achieve 100% pick/ban rate. Proving itself the prefered armour logistics pick across both leagues while only averaging a 50% win rate, certainly nothing to fault it for and far stronger than the 25% of its Amarrian cousin.
On the shield side of things however the logistics are feeling worlds apart. With similar pick/ban numbers, 10 matches for the Osprey to 9 for the Scythe, they’ve had radically different effects on the matches. The Osprey holds a 100% win rate across its 6 picks so far in the season, crushing the 1 win in 4 games of the scythe. Survivablity stats start to speak to the reason why.
The Scythe has not yet survived a match. Though a naturally fast ship, the speed granted by the MWD has rarely given it the tools needed to protect its buffer tank and outlast. The sig bloom of the MWD combined with a shield extender make it a good target compared to the other AB capable logistics and without recovery mechanics this damage often stacks up until it falls. As evidenced in The Charlatans vs Team Pretty where even without their support ships or ever achieving tackle Team Pretty were able to chew through the Scythe’s buffer in the final moments to score 3 more points despite losing the match.
The Osprey on the other hand is AB and XLASB fit, keeping minimal sig radius. However this no buffer fit leaves it exposed, as we saw in the NT cup, to being volleyed through if it can be pinned down. Surviving 50% of its matches and falling very often to the charge based nature of that XLASB the Osprey shows that unless countered hard it can do exactly what a logi is meant to do in this format and buy its team time. In the Major Leagues no Osprey has so far allowed any of its fleet to die while it remains on the field.
Moving on to look at why this has been such a drastic shake up and what we can expect because of it. Shield picks and strong shield teams from the blue side of the draft have been absent from the Minor League with only Offline taking blue shields in a well drafted match against Exodunks. A win however.
Fast forward to the Major Leagues and it is almost every game, achieving an 80% win record in the process. Part of what has allowed this is how open shield has been to pick into from the blue side, with the key logistics ship of the Osprey never being banned by the red side. What we’ve seen instead is a huge focus on banning armour battleships from the red side of the draft. With 5 matches seeing a full triple armour battleship ban from the red side including twice into shield comps. Though less extreme in the Major League, with closer to 60% than 80% of bans falling on armour, this still leaves blue side able to draft close to what they want with valuable 1st picks on the logistics and the battlecruisers slot.
And so comes the question, “what do they want to pick?” Well the answer, the dream team, is something like this. Merlin, Thrasher, Osprey, Ferox and Rohk, not just theoretical it can been seen in action in The Other Team vs Team Johnny. All ships battle proven and consistently performing with win rates over at least 5 matches. The core however is the Osprey and Ferox. With these ships lending each other survivability and the new weapons on the Ferox letting it provide a large sphere of influence with which to protect its logistics.
However like any good recipe this one can work with many alterations outside its vital core. Slashers are often brought in, with the AB based frigate a potent tackler in the right situation. The destroyer slot is also open, with the ever popular Talwar offering a pure damage option and the relatively unproven Corax being brought out to great effect by Liquid Ninja of Clevergirls, winning and surviving both of its matches.
At the top end the unstoppable Rokh provides a tanky damage powerhouse being edged out most often in favour of the more versatile Tempest that brings far more to the table in terms of speed, damage and utility, at the cost of significantly reduced tank.
Though looking strong so far the Major League teams have 2 weeks between clashes and you can be sure their scrims and theory crafting sessions put due time on breaking down such a composition fielded against them. With the second week of the Minor Leagues this weekend however we will have to see if this style of composition makes it down and if creative answers are to be found.
Returning to the competitive statistics we look at the top end of contested picks where, though we find most of the “dream team,” we rarely see them banned. Instead we see the big three armour battleships and the armour logi topping the table. The Ferox coming in a joint 4th draws far less bans than anything else in the top 10.
The biggest ban targets remain the Apocalypse and Abaddon. Both exceptional laser gun boats with solid tank their role in the pre-season qualifying cup was a strong one. However, with tweaks to the Abaddon since the cup and the Apocalypse showing only reasonable performances when allowed through, these may no longer be the powerhouse fire platforms they were, only time and more play can truly tell.
Unsurprisingly perhaps the armour logistics are hotly contested, with it being the core for the most popular compositions they will be contested until these fall out of favour. The Prophecy and also Algos make it up there, the armour drone boats being a strong element of the armour meta we saw develop through the Cup and into the Minor League.
Further down the list we begin to see the shield ships creep in, the Ferox as said drawing few bans for its efficacy and surprisingly the Scythe drawing more bans than the Osprey despite its poorer form. All in all there are no surprises at the top, but with a shield meta beginning to come out on top we may see more ban priority moving towards the key shield ships of the Osprey and Ferox.
The question remains however of the efficacy of these drafting strategies, with the most effective ships at the moment rarely being the most contested we should be seeing a shift in priority in the next few weeks towards those that are.
This final and incredibly data rich graphic points to that very fact. With win rates being strongest somewhat away from that top end of pick priority. This can however be distorted by contextually strong picks, teams letting strong picks through only to counter them and large meta shifts such as we’ve seen this week. What we are likely to see is a shift of pick/ban priority towards these strong picks. This will either end up focusing there or allow through enough of the ships that are currently being locked away to show their strength and allow a more diverse balanced meta.
Whatever comes to pass it’s clear shield is no longer going to be playing second fiddle to armour, logistics is here to stay, ECM hasn’t yet worked in the Major Leagues and anddor Hita has competition for greatest boundary violation by range.
(1) 5. All of the above.