Author: Artjay

EVE_NT Tournament dude

Stats Blog Major League Week One – Aleksi Aksan

Aleksi Aksan – one of the newer EVE_NT Commentators, hits the keyboard to take a little look at the developing season two meta.

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We start this week with a short quiz. The following unannotated graph represents what:

  1. The Minor League Red vs Blue record
  2. The Major League Red vs Blue record
  3. The overall Championship Red vs Blue record
  4. Fuel for fears of imbalance in the draft
  5. 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[citation needed] 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.

Bei’s Stats Blog – Week One Minor League

Part of the process of designing the Championship for me is taking a careful look at the results of matches to help inform whether or not a system was working. These can be used to establish the tweaks needed to help improve the balance of fittings for the next season, and help understand team captain thought process when making future changes to the format. Oh and I also love examining how the meta is developing from a statistical point of view as a spectator/commentator as things are not always as they seem on the surface.

Before continuing let me highlight that I am very ware of the small sample size of these statistics, with only a total of 56 games in the season, many stats like survival rates for uncommonly picked ships are rather meaningless and can be affected in a big way by pilot error in a particular match for example, and would only give a more accurate representation over a longer period of time with many more matches.

So, what were the trends in the opening show of the weekend?

Overall, teams who picked blue side fared a lot better than red (Blue – 5 wins, Red – 2). Initially this might confirm the fears team captains have been projecting at me since first revealing the banning system – but I’m not too concerned yet as there were some interesting matches where red made confusing piloting and picking strategies. It is worth noting that interestingly there is no runaway meta-win type so far.

Picks

So far 30 of the 68 ships have been picked, which compared to last season definitely indicates a larger spread of options. Obviously due to the natural bonuses to some ships hulls and their design they will unlikely to ever be relevant for tournament play, but this is a positive sign we will see some surprises here and there as the season progresses.

The most picked ship last Sunday is tied between Rifter and Ferox both being picked 5 times. Let’s look at why. Firstly, the Rifter. With the slight nerf to the tank of the punisher (because T2 timarks on its already existing overpowered amount of EHP would be broken) and the addition of T2 trimarks, the Rifter showed itself to be the most popular screening/tackle frigate of the EVE_NT Cup. It has both a scrambler AND a web, plus speed capable of snagging most enemy battlecruisers and battleships, so for diving in head first to pin down an enemy big ship it’s the first choice for armour this season which will put a smile on the face of many bitter vets who have longed for rifter to be relevant again.

Secondly, the Ferox. It has changed radically for Season 2, with a switch from its range-limited blasters to railguns. While they don’t track quite as well they enable it with spike to project as far as it can lock. Up close it does 500+ DPS as well, and with its fairly good shield buffer it is not completely vulnerable in a brawling scenario. With the addition of a skirmish link to rapidly propel itself in close, or decrease the signature of ships kiting or using afterburner to to mitigate damage, it’s a really strong pick.

Bans

The clear ban-magnet of season two is the Abaddon, being banned in 6 out of the 7 matches so far. Despite having its tracking being slightly nerfed this season, it’s is still a solid DPS projection platform that can just park itself in the middle of a brawl and force the enemy to make decisions with its beam lasers. I think what makes it strong in this format is its huge brick tank that make it a very unattractive primary meaning it gets to constantly maintain pressure while its support take control of the match.

Battleships and armour logistics like last season are dominating the bans – and for good reason. They are key ships that really dictate the way the support has to operate around them. There have been a good variety of battleships banned – with Hyperion, Apocolypse, Tempest, Armageddon and Typhoon all being targeted heavily. Interestingly, despite its terrible win-rate in season one (33%) captains still keep picking Exequror and banning out Auguror (5 times last week).

Play of the week

I wanted to identify a ‘play of the week’ in picks and bans to identify matches where there were new or interesting strategies. Honourable mention goes to Offline in their match vs Exodunks – where they banned both armour logistics making Exodus’s first two picks almost void, and then picked a really strong osprey based shield brawler set up which totally threw Exodus off their game in the picks and bans and they subsequently struggled in the match to crack Offline’s setup.

Sudden Otters vs Nasty Boyz

This match excited me for two reasons. Firstly, Nasty Boyz picks/bans were solid, and their setup did not expose any glaring weaknesses, with the rifter for screening, Armageddon & Dragoon combo that is great at shutting the enemy down, exequror for reps and Oracle for DPS. Nasty Boyz played really well in the EVE_NT cup, making very few piloting and picking errors, so how did they lose their first match? The other reason this match is interesting. Sudden Otters presented a strategy we haven’t seen yet, for the first time in Championship history picking a logistics frigate – the Burst. The pick of a burst confused the analysts and commentators who dismissed it as useless. In this match however it complimented the resists of the Ferox and Rokh which are both tough brawlers who are almost invincible with a logistics cruiser on grid. The Caracal in the cruiser slot is great at applying extreme pressure to enemy destroyers and frigates, and the thrasher is a great rush destroyer or guard dog (a term I use for ships that are good at protecting backline ships like logistics or ewar ships when they are key to a setup), with the highest DPS of its class and reasonable EHP. The combination worked and Sudden Otters almost clinched a domination victory. This sort of play instantly makes me a fan of a team, and I can’t wait to see what Otters bring out of the bag next.

Season 2.1 fittings (post-cup tweaks).

OK so based on the cup results we have decided to make a few tweaks to the season 2 fittings. These are primarily centred around giving shield based setups and combinations more options after the ‘meta’ bans are laid down. This is the final version, please make sure you are using the correct sheet from now on.

I started to get a bit carried away but have avoided changing too much as we don’t want to ruin people’s theory-crafting and practices too much. We think these changes should mean you have to re-think things slightly but I hope no meta breaking changes. Ultimately the banning system needs an overhaul at some point to keep things interesting – but that is further town the road when we have more time.

Shield Links

Shift of information link to Hurricane – Hurricane already has a decent base speed, and needs to be mid-range rather than long range to do max damage, so the speed link is a bit wasted – info should synergise with Vigil/Maulus/Griffin better as potential options I think.

The Ferox has had the biggest of all the changes I feel, by switching to rail guns and picking up the skirmish link. Whilst I acknowledge the Ferox is a bit of a brick so this might not make sense at first, by allowing it to better position its rails at the back-line faster, I think it will make good use of speed. More usefully I think, if it stays at antimatter optimal if can be there to help the Rokh, Tempest and Raven close on their targets faster in a brawl or give a signature reduction to an Osprey/tackle as it has the EHP to get stuck in.

This means the Drake picks up the 2nd shield link. This increases it’s power considerably and I feel brings shield in line – or close to armour in being able to go for large slow EHP setups. Cyclone remains unchanged.

On Corax

The number one complaint I got from season 1 captains was that Corax was bad now and they missed it. I kneejerk said i’d probably change it back – but after taking a second look since Talwar has almost never been banned I don’t think having two ships that fill almost identical role (with T2 rigs the EHP are similar, DPS is the same) is a good thing. The only place this is a penalty I believe is if both teams decide to choose shield.

Battleships

There are three battleship changes.

First, Raven. Without any damage application mods – as captain’s rightly pointed out – it would never reach its 1k+ potential and therefore not be viable. Thus, I have done a bunch of things to buff it at the sacrifice of tank. Since everyone is adamant that torps will never be viable, I may have gone over the top a little and added a target painter, MJD, Rigor Rig and Guidance enhancer. The weak tank might make it difficult to use and engage with, but hopefully we might see some cool MJD + gank plays, and the target painter is also a buff to the rest of the team so when it isn’t in torpedo range it is not entirely useless.

Secondly, Abaddon. I have re-balanced it slightly as I felt that it was tracking a little too well during the cup for its huge EHP advantage – instead it gets more DPS now. I still think it’s a strong ship, and a little more distinct form the Apocalypse, but relies even more on its team to help it apply its damage.

Thirdly, Dominix. With the shift of Scorpion to armour (which works I think) it means that shield only have 5 options to armour’s 7. This feels a little unfair considering many bans now often end up being battleship bans, meaning shield is left picking from a small pool and can be more easily countered or end up with a bad pick. A shift of tank to enable it to synergise with shield links it means that they now have a shield mirror of the Armageddon that I think should be quite strong.
Thanks to Suleiman for consulting on some of the fits for me, if there are any bad ones here its because I ignored him 😀

Season 2 Fitting Notes

For Season 2 of EVE_NT Championship & Cup we have shaken things up a bit. Based on team captain feedback and our own assessments we have mixed the ship fittings up to keep them interesting and balance things up a little – you can find the new set here. The first thing to note is two changes to the rules I used to fit ships.

  1. Frigates and Destroyers now have T2 rigs. Had to think long and hard about this one as wanted to avoid mixing rules between classes but I think this one works. It adds 10-20% EHP in many cases with T2 trimarks and shield extenders, and a few ships benefit from T2 fitting rigs. It brings the power level of the classes up slightly without resorting to something more drastic like going to T2 hulls.
  2. Added links to the Combat Battlecruisers. No brainer really, the new links are great. We decided AGAINST fleet implants. With maximum all Level 5 skills you already get quite a lot from a T2 link and I feel with the implants they will be an even more powerful ban magnet than they probably will be.

Anyway now for some notes on the classes…

Frigates

In Season One there were 4 popular frigates with good reasons. Punisher for its insane tank, Tristan for its logi-bot assistance, Vigil for its excellent support ability and Merlin again for its tank. To be honest I don’t expect much to change as these are just naturally useful frigates.

Some changes that might interest you tho – one ship of each race have afterburners. This may or may not be trash, but those hulls weren’t doing anything interesting anyway, and signature tanking VS some opponents might come in useful. Additionally one of each race now has a remote tracking link on them. I’m still not sure if this will make them viable, but I can see some funky combos where boosting certain battleships with tracking might be quite broken, will see how it plays out! The Griffin has a buff directly benefiting what the Red meta of season one was. I’m sure you can see what it is. The Crucifer and Maulus have also had buffs, 3 damps on the Maulus and Two Guidance disruptors makes them more focused in their role, the frigate pick being first means that these are easily countered, but again against some opponents you might want to pick these to screw them away from their comfort zone or force them into a corner with bans.

Oh and the Punisher has had a nerf, but now has more DPS. Sorry.

Destroyers

Destroyers are definitely the problem child of this format, and try as I could some are still going to not really be used often. One of things I have done to make the Catalyst and Cormorant slightly useful is giving them a RESEBO. This makes them possibly a good counter pick against Maulus/Griffin.
The dragoon fit i’m finally happy with, mostly and have decided this will no longer be an EWAR pick. This might make it far and away the strongest ship in its class, but what the hell. In general the T2 rigs give destroyers that little more EHP giving them maybe another few seconds alive in the arena. Put your best pilots in these to make best use of them.

Cruisers

The class that has changed the least. In general just little tweaks here and there. Rupture is now artillery (which opens up some interesting all-alpha setups). Thorax is no longer hull. Bye-bye hull tanking. Watch out for those EWAR cruisers folks, the EWAR link is a powerful thing!

Battlecruisers

Have not really changed that much except the addition of links. The extra PG/CPU needed by the links means some combat battlecruisers are slightly squishier, but i think the trade-off for a link is worth it. There are two links of each type. Before you ask, no, I’m not changing Drake to shield, it would be broken.

Some minor tweaks to Tornado and Talos have taken place. Brutix is now armour, so maybe blasters can come back in style. Oracle has had the nerfbat hardest by removing its tracking computer, because maybe it would be nice if other things were picked/banned once in awhile.

Battleships

Some pretty radical changes to this class. As cornerstones of the setups it’s really important to get them right and I could have played safe and not really changed anything but V0lta screwed up the Typhoon pick so bad it made me cry so I just HAD to buff it. This has a knock-on effect on other things. The fit I have gone with is nowhere near as strong as it could be and I get that, but i’m erring on the side of caution by giving it next to no tank and no damage application mods, but it’s now fast and can spam cruise volleys from range. The ship it has biggest impact on is Raven, I didn’t want two cruise missile ships so have moved Raven to torps. It is now what the Typhoon was trying to be before, but with a decent amount of EHP. Hopefully this means no one bans it now and Torpedos become slightly relevant.

Maelstrom now has 1400mm howitzers. ‘Oh no Bei…’ you are thinking. Just work out how much of a dent in a Drake it will do from anywhere in the arena with one volley and you might stop laughing. The other ship that might make you laugh is the Megathron, let’s just say some ships were re-designed as being a slight buff to red-team options and leave it at that.

Tempest has had a minor buff by me being slightly better at fitting. I think. Hyperion has had a couple of minor nerfs, I still think it’s strong, but probably not broken strong.

Scorpion is now armour. I think this might make it a ban magnet, but with all multi-spectrals I think it can be countered. It has next-to no DPS so will rely on all the ships in your setup operating at max efficiency. My main concern with this is that armour now have one more option than Shield, will see how it plays out.

Two ships that are now much more scary in the field of capacitor warfare are the Dominix and Armageddon. Both have had an extra Neut power added, extra Neut on the Dominix and Nos on the Armageddon, so be afraid, very afraid.