[AAR] [WHC] Failed Naglfar Gank and What We Learnt

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Danny Algaert
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[AAR] [WHC] Failed Naglfar Gank and What We Learnt

Post by Danny Algaert »

Participants:
Spoiler
FC: Danny Algaert
2IC: Sekoton
3IC: BedDaBaws
Scout: Vorkan Disha
A lot of pilots in AAFs whose names I did not record.
Doctrine: AAFs
Comp:
1 Sabre
1 Heretic
5 Deacons
~25 AAF DD
2 stealth bombers
Losses: https://zkillboard.com/br/121856/


Vorkan got eyes on a Nagalfar in 2W2, a C6. We went through the usual "is this POS trash". I had only been awake a short time, still finishing my second coffee as the Nag was called, this coffee would later turn out to be significant. Both 1W1 and 2W2 were frig holes. As no better FC had spoken up I called AAFs. I do not have a good mental feel for what caps can do, never having flown one and only having ganked a few. When someone else is FCing I would normally play around in pyfa to get a feel for whether or not we have the numbers to actually break it's tank but I got focussed on FCing and instead just made sure we had more DPS than a C6 wave 1 + Avengers deals, assuming it can comfortably tank that. Knowing from experience that high-class dread will almost always have smart bombs fit, and having watched our bubble get smartbombed off on on this kill I was mindful of the fact we'd need to be outside of 7.5km and so would either be in conflag falloff, or have to use scorch, depending on pilot SP. I asked for 4 Deacons, which I hoped would be enough to keep us alive through drifter aggro, and 2 dictors, a hyperspatial sabre and a heretic, the idea being sabre would get on grid first and bubble, in case of poor timing with site finishing/siege ending, and the heretic is easy for logi to keep alive. I called for Retributions and Confessors over other DD due to the need to be outside of 7.5km and we did end up with most of the fleet in those.
Nag finished it's first site and activated drifter while still forming and went on to start a Core Bastion. Due to the prevalence of webs in wave 1, 3, 4 I did not want to engage during the waves of the site. The plan was to wait for the Nag to be on the drifter. I had voiced this to fleet however scout was occupied with scouting so should have explicitly asked if other stuff still alive. Scout called that the dread was on drifter, so we undocked and moved up. I believe these webs to be the cause of the Hecate and Nemesis loss.
We held on 1W1 initally, just in case the Nag pilot had an alt in 1W1 watching the frighole and then moved up. As soon as we had jumped in 2W2 I had dictors warp, and shortly after warped the rest of the fleet in at 10km. This avoid the initial scramble to get outside of smartbomb range, inevitable barrage of broadcasts and loss of those taking actual site/enemy aggro on warping that many people to 0 on smartbombs.
We were initially optimistic, the Nag had armour damage when we arrived. There was a mobile depot out upon landing, I should have asked about this before warping fleet in as preventing a dread from ever having an anchored mobile depot is ideal. We instead reffed it immediately upon landing. We were able to get it quite deep into shields before it was able to rep back up to nearly full. We keep plinking away at it, trying to get a feel for how comfortably it was tanking us and for how long it could do so. The fact the dreads regular cargohold could hold very little "stront" (strontium clathrates, the resource consumed by the dreads siege module) was raised, and although we could not break through it's tank, this only meant the original plan of "shoot at it" had to be changed to "shoot at it, lots", nothing we can't handle. We continued to shoot at it, at some point pinging uni-wide for assistance. The amount of time the Nag had already spent sieged left questions in my mind over the assumptions we had made about how much stront it could hold. However I did not dwell on this as I then got caught up helping to sort out access lists, shared folders and bookmark sharing. I had delegated this but some trouble was encountered. We contracted Jynn a ship scanner to fit in place of tackle when he was reshipping and noted that the Nag was nearly on full cap, despite fully tanking us. I had been curious as to it's cap level as many PvE dreads I have seen die were not cap stable. Jynn also begun piecing together it's fit which proved helpful both at the time and to allow us to analyze after the fight.
The fit was something like this,
Spoiler
[Naglfar, Naglfar we did not kill]

Capacitor Flux Coil II
Capacitor Flux Coil II
Capacitor Flux Coil II
Capacitor Flux Coil II
Capacitor Flux Coil II
Capacitor Flux Coil II

Capital Cap Battery II
Capital Cap Battery II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
CONCORD Capital Shield Booster
Pithum C-Type Multispectrum Shield Hardener

Siege Module II
Hexa 2500mm Repeating Cannon II
Hexa 2500mm Repeating Cannon II
Hexa 2500mm Repeating Cannon II
Imperial Navy Large EMP Smartbomb

Capital Core Defense Capacitor Safeguard I
Capital Core Defense Capacitor Safeguard I
Capital Projectile Burst Aerator II
which explained it being at 90% cap despite running it's shield booster. We later had someone's alt bring a cargo scanner, now this would have been immediately obvious to anyone who deals with caps a lot, and I am very familiar with the idea of DSTs or hoarders in SMB, but in the moment it had escaped me. Upon seeing the Occator in the cargo it become clear, even to the most distracted of FCs, that it was not running out of stront any time soon. We had talked about bringing Cruors or FVBs, ordinarily I would have pyfad this with someone else FCing. I felt a bit too overwhelmed with everything else to spend too long looking at pyfa. I ought to have delegated this, in hindsight a dozen or so cruors would have been a lot more useful than sitting there plinking at it's shields for as long as we did. While I have seen first-hand how well FVBs do against caps we did not have anyone experienced with launching FVBs and I wasn't sure how many we would need to land at once to volley it's cap, we would still have needed cruors for this to keep it capped out as its cap regen. What I instead opted to do was have a fleet member who has worked with Bombers Bar before to ping BB for help. This had been suggested early on but at the time I was mistaken about ability to kill it and had thought just waiting for those who were heading to WHC to help to arrive would allow Eve Uni to have the kill to itself. I decided to reuse the shared folder we had linked to unistas making their way in to help. As the entire WHC chain had been copied over to the shared folder and I did not want this being shared to the BB fleet I wiped all the bookmarks in the folder, ready for someone to copy over only the pertinent ones. I had forgotten unistas were still actively these to get in. Unlike BB, uni members cared about kspace entrances close to campuses and my deletion of these caused some of those joining to require fleet warps. We need to be more mindful of actually helping people we ping for ping to get in and help us, but at the time I was overwhelmed with the amount of stuff going on. A separate shared folder for BB would have been the better option here. With BB on the way, ACLs and shared folders being sorted out now seemed the appropriate time to deal with the coffee that had been working it's way through my body. I asked 2IC to take the reigns for a moment and excused myself. I came back to the fleet scattering and about SYNDE Cerbs on grid. As the fleet was half off by this point I took back command but did not call for a stop to the scatter. We bounced and very shortly after, while regrouping, our dictors last bubble ran out and the dread warped off to a hole. We followed, however there was a Tempest, which we had seen briefly on D earlier, on the hole and it was already shrink. This meant anyone jumping in would be rolled in. The dread did not immediately close the hole so I called for us to shoot the dread. This gave the fleet purpose while I considered our options. Shortly after the hostile dictor, which I had not yet been aware of, and the Cerbs landed. I called for fleet to align sun, with the hopes of warping our fleet to the planet this also put us into alignment with. I did not intend to fight Cerbs at range. Some fleet members, either not in the right squad or set exempt from fleet warp assumed the warp I had given the fleet was to the sun. That was a reasonable but unfortunate assumption on their part, however it likely lent credibility to the idea that the whole of our fleet had warped sun. Had the enemy sabre followed our align and warped to the planet at the same time as us we would have been stuck in the middle of a bubble had we selected the same range. The Cerbs and sabre warped sun, and we took a few losses unfortunately. With the enemy sabre at sun I warped fleet to *. We held on * while figuring out if there was any member of the fleet who was somewhere else than * that was not currently dying. The idea was we could quickly kill their single sabre if landed, but once we left it would be easy for them to bubble our way out for anyone stuck in system. Fleet returned home, we conducted an internal debrief, and looking for some clarification on SYNDEs relation to the dread pilot Rogue reached out to their CEO who had been present. What we got instead was a great secondary debrief with Cyrus Kurush in public mumble where we talked over different ways we could have approached the gank.

A few things I can't remember the order of or didn't fit well into the above:
The nag pilot asked in local for FC. I asked 2IC to speak to him to avoid giving free intel. A ransom of a few billion was offered. The offer was not considered because killing a nag, or at least trying, is a lot more fun than some isk. Even if we had been inclined to accept I recall ransoms at some point being explicitly disallowed by uni rules. While I coild not recently find that, I was unsure. This was given to the nag pilot as our reason for declining the ransom as it eliminated the possibility of further negotiation.
I called for extra ammo but then called for undock about 1 minute afterwards as a broadsword has landed on grid. The broadsword was with the Nag and didn't pose any risk of spooking it. I should have redocked fleet to ensure we all had enough ammo.
FVB runs were suggested. I should have just tried this.
Cruors were suggested, we would have needed about a dozen to break through his recharge but we had enough pilots to allow this.
It is unclear if the nag pilot refit to full cap regen as soon as sabre popped on d. A mobile depot was already out which we reffed on landing. It is possible that depot was scooped and relaunched during the engagement. I had a lot of windows open doing fleet "administrative" stuff and may have missed it, but the fact I am unsure means greater focus is needed in future.
Wrecks were left on field. I saw these when I went back to the site to check if reffed depot was out still, and if so its timer. I announced this but am not aware of anyone going to loot. I took the small amount I could carry and need to remember to return it to its owners.
The 4 different privilege levels on a BM folder and then 3 different privilege levels on an ACL has caused some people confusion in the past. I delegated the task of copying bookmarks. I opted to use a folder I already had which only needed eve uni added to 1 ACL to sort out all access, and then only needed 1 BB character granted manage of that same ACL to sort out all BB access, however I still spent a lot more time than I would like to while FCing focussed on bookmark admin than actually FCing. Sorry to everyone who had difficulties entering to assist us. I had expected it was all being sorted out via fleet chat but did not actually check.
The dread was spotted in a fresh system. We brought the fleet in, establishing tackle. In hindsight to keep the dread in place we needed dictors and deacons. Had I know how far from breaking the nag we were I should have had more scouting. Since we weren't breaking it's tank we didn't need all those DD on grid the whole time. This would have allowed us to know who/what were connected to, defensively, for assistance, and for other routes in for both WHC and anyone assisting. The connection SYNDE used was near to Jita, and if memory serves eggs too was close.
Combat comms were poor. This is not a new problem but I felt it especially hard today. Most of what was said could have been handled via fleet chat. I should have given myself priority speaker. It is something I often do for other FCs but it slipped my mind in the moment. However priority speaker is a band-aid solution to the fact people are keying up so say unimportant stuff. A fleet is not a committee. I am aware I am guilty of this too. Combat comms were called for. Repeatedly. Combat comms were not adhered to. The amount of irrelevant stuff in comms today was overwhelming. It gets exhausting asking for combat comms and then 30 seconds later someone keys up to tell the whole fleet they died or they ran out of ammo or whatever. I made some poor decisions under pressure today. I am not a great FC and it make my job so much harder when I am being overloaded with information I don't care about while trying to make decisions. There times I/scouts/2IC/someone-with-a-task hard to repeatedly check check check just to communicate with each other. Don't be that person making it harder to FC. I appreciate that banter is fun. Combat is not the time for it. I have a lot to reflect on after this fleet. Please equally reflect on whether or not you need to key up.
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Danny Algaert
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Re: [AAR] [WHC] Failed Naglfar Gank and What We Learnt

Post by Danny Algaert »

Formatting will be fixed later. Sorry for absence of linebreaks. Wrote this on phone to ensure timely AAR.
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Kithian Hastos
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Re: [AAR] [WHC] Failed Naglfar Gank and What We Learnt

Post by Kithian Hastos »

I'd like to say first thank you for writing this in so much detail.

I did not get to participate as I didn't see the ping until a couple hours later as it was late in my night. But even though it didn't pan out. Sounds like an amazing learning experience!
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Re: [AAR] [WHC] Failed Naglfar Gank and What We Learnt

Post by Sekoton »

So, I was the 2IC for this fleet, and much like everybody else, I learned a lot from this, particularly pertaining to trying to gank caps.

I'll give a brief POV from my point of view, since I was responsible for us losing the Nag, so clarification is necessary, I think.

I had joined as soon as I saw the ping, probably 30 seconds after it went out. I heard the formup and Danny asked for a 2IC, which I immediately x'd up for, as I haven't FC'd in a while and I really want more experience with it, so this seemed like a good opportunity. We undocked shortly after and we had a great formup. We had 26 people in fleet including logi by the time we were on .1W1 which was fantastic.

I mostly just assisted Danny with minor things like communicating with the Nag pilot and helping people in fleet chat where possible. It did seem like you were getting overwhelmed at times, so while you could have delegated more, I should've also prompted you to do so I think, so you could focus better.

However, when Danny went afk for a brief bio, I saw 7(?) Cerbs warp on grid with us. Looking back on it now, I'm kicking myself and wishing I took the fight, but in the moment I was panicked by the sudden arrival of HAC's and thought there was going to be more than Cerbs, so I called scatter, as I didn't want us to be caught in the bubble if anything else appeared. However, it was just the Cerbs as well as their Sabre if I'm not mistaken, so for that reason I think with the amount of DD on grid as well as our logi, if I had called for immediate webs on as many cerbs as possible, we might have been able to kill them if logi held.

Unfortunately, this isn't what happened. We scattered and then Danny returned and subsequently regrouped the fleet. I'm sorry if my decision to scatter annoyed or upset anybody, but I was exhausted by that point as it was late, and I was caught in a situation which I have no experience in, since I've never fought cerbs, so I had no idea of their capabilities in the moment. Rest assured, I have learned to only go for leadership positions in fleets when I am completely alert and it's at a reasonable time, to avoid that happening again.

After this, we regrouped in system and eventually made our way home.

The biggest problem of the fleet, that I myself am guilty of, was poor combat comms. As Danny has already said, numerous times people had to be told to keep the comms clear so I, Danny, Bed, Scout and anybody else could communicate important info. I lost my cool at one point with somebody over this which I'm really sorry for.

However, when we're in a situation like that, people shouldn't be calling out that they've been blown up, or they have no ammo left, or other inconsequential matters. These can all be said in fleet chat which helps reduce comms pollution. To add onto this, many people didn't have a whisper key set up, which hasn't been a problem for us until now. I hope this encourages people to have a whisper key set up for events where there is a large fleet and logi needs to be able to communicate.

As for future fleets, I'll be taking this into consideration when I'm FCing, and I'm going to try and enforce stricter combat comms in the future for my own fleets, so that people get into the habit of communicating relevant information in voice only.

I think everybody performed well though, and while we didn't kill the nag, overall I think we did well and we learned a lot from this engagement which we can apply to future cap ganks.
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Yto Itinen
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Re: [AAR] [WHC] Failed Naglfar Gank and What We Learnt

Post by Yto Itinen »

Thanks for the very detailed AAR Danny, seems like this was an intense experience for all involved!

Dreads are the nastiest cap to kill using stuff that can go through a frig hole. I'm not really fond of adding more cruors to neut out caps,
although it could be a good addition if we keep seeing more Marauders in whs. The cheapest solution to neut out caps are Focused Void Bombs.

Yes, FVB are tricky to use well. I think the trickiest something is to master, the more worthwhile it becomes to teach. I understand E-Uni shying away
from SP intensive and expensive doctrines. FVB bombers are cheap and low SP.
In this case, especially with the maximum regen cap refit, a few FVB landing would have dried the cap of the Nag.

The only case where FVB are going to fail are PvP fit HAW dreads, as they fit cap boosters. We tried experimenting against one at NSC with a friendly pilot, and even when our FVBs hit, the cap sticks brought him up. Again, if we fight something like that, neither Cruors nor bombers with FVB will do anything.

I have been thinking a bit of a way to increase DPS while fighting with low numbers, as bigger groups have successfully used Kikimoras as cap killers.
They are squishier, more expensive and in general less forgiving than AAFs. The losses will be harder on each person and on morale, so I'm not gonna advocate for that. For E-Uni, I guess more bombers will have to do.

Thanks for FC-ing this fleet, I hope you get the cap kill next time!
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Re: [AAR] [WHC] Failed Naglfar Gank and What We Learnt

Post by Vex Clover »

Thank you for writing leading the fleet and writing this AAR. I learned a lot from it myself.

From Cyrus' feedback, I am curious about the benefit of adding Sentinel for neuts and Hyena for webs instead of Cruor for both. Those individual ships are better at their respective roles (longer range+better neut in case of Sentinel).
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Yto Itinen
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Re: [AAR] [WHC] Failed Naglfar Gank and What We Learnt

Post by Yto Itinen »

From Cyrus' feedback, I am curious about the benefit of adding Sentinel for neuts and Hyena for webs instead of Cruor for both. Those individual ships are better at their respective roles (longer range+better neut in case of Sentinel).
I chance to say, the less ships and people you need for support roles, the better.

A Hyena would only bring 40km webs to the table, which are not really needed for a single, slow big ship. AAF are slow, a Hyena is quite good on fast, kitey fleets to catch enemies and buy a few seconds for the fleet. Frigates don't benefit much from TP, so it's a pure support role.
A Sentinel is quite slow and not really tanky, and again bastioning marauders don't care about tracking disruptors. So, it provides long range neuts against a static target, where the amount is more important. Again, in a kitey small gang, a blinged Sentinel is a great thing to have, but it will still be just an overly specialized support role for AAF.

So, the Cruor covers two support roles rolled into one and is less skill intensive.

If you want a cheaper alternative to a Cruor, esp vs. smartbombing stuff, go for a Dragoon. It's cheap, throwaway and won't die to SB easily.
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Re: [AAR] [WHC] Failed Naglfar Gank and What We Learnt

Post by Viscatus »

I enjoyed my time (all be it short) responding to a general Uni Wide call out from WHC for a potential Dread kill.

The callout on Discord happened at 02:04. I probably noticed it around 10:09 and asked in AMC coms if Dairek wanted to go or anyone else who could run AAF's. We confirmed you still needed pilots and I think (member here is fuzzy) we left around 02:20. I think we arrived in Innu maybe 2:30-2:35? Coms were hectic as others have noted and fleet chat wasn't much better as questions got lost in the shuffle. We were going to head to 2W2 but then Sekoton called scatter so we held until Danny returned from his bathroom break and called regroup. I'm not sure if Dairek was with me but I figured I'd regroup if the AAF's engaged the Nag or Cerbs, sadly I landed as the fleet was warping off to the "not sun" and got caught by the Cerbs and then got my pod caught in the bubbles trying to warp to a fleet member after losing the Retribution.

The question and answer session with Cyrus was great especially his frank comments about what he expected our fleet to do and how to kill a dread.

The criticism I'll add is the same one I did at the very end of the debrief in including general Uni members when an all hands pvp ping goes out. WHC is a silo for many good opsec reasons, however in an all hands ping its basically impossible (or nearly so) for most members to respond if they do not have access to WHC bookmarks. Without Dairek I'm not sure I would have been able to respond in time or would have been trapped in the chain as bookmarks appeared/disappeared in the impromptu shared folder. I'd suggest setting up a checklist (similar to what most FC's have already) for when a UniWide callout from WHC happens to help alleviate some of the chaos in a developing situation.

Sad we didn't end up killing the Dread/Cerbs however it was a lot of fun to respond to the potential.
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Re: [AAR] [WHC] Failed Naglfar Gank and What We Learnt

Post by Waruiru »

TLDR version. If Danny had more coffee, there would have been a kill!

More seriously, the comments about com discipline should be noted. Since leaving Uni, I have learned that Uni is much more relaxed than many other groups. Chatters get muted, booted or shouted at to shut up. Danny is very polite, so respect that and keep combat coms when they are called.
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Erywin Chelien
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Re: [AAR] [WHC] Failed Naglfar Gank and What We Learnt

Post by Erywin Chelien »

Looks like everybody learned something, hopefully your next catch will be successful! Was nice to read a WHC AAR again :)

Cheers,
E
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