This was a great turnout, with a full class and great numbers in fleet both at the start of the roam and six hours later!
Our first engagement was in PF-346, where Noir. had set up a T2 large bubble on the FD in gate. Our scouts got eyes on the setup - Ishtar with its drones assigned to a remote sensor boosted Hyena, along with a Sabre and Loki on grid. We put a bait squad through to FD while holding in X-B, and sent them over to PF. Apparently even this small local spike spooked them, as the Ishtar aligned and warped off before we could get in system and establish point. No such luck for their Sabre and Loki however... Loki strangely enough was a ganglink ship, but they were also using it for the ReSeBos...
Our next engagement was against CAS in BMNV. They had gotten eyes on us during the above kills, and had assembled a fairly direct counter to our setup in the form of approx 10 overtanked Vexors, a Myrmidon and some tackle. We assembled in X-M on the BMNV gate, they on the other side. We both had eyes on each other, and had a bit of a Mexican standoff - our numbers and EWAR against their anti-frigate capability and tank. Rather than bore the fleet to death, we ended up hopping into them, which was obviously suboptimal. We decloaked and started hitting a Vexor, breaking it decently quickly, but given our knife range to them, we began to trade ships quickly, including our dedicated EWAR boats. We managed to pop 2 more Vexors but lost 17 of our ~47 ships. This was mostly down to us taking the initiative to actually have some content and hopping into the hostiles - if they had found some courage and come into us, it would have likely been a much more even fight, as our EWAR would have been able to mitigate more of their damage. Still, a fun fight and good training for getting into and out of a challenging engagement.
BR is messy but gives the general idea:
We headed back to Stacmon, got folks reshipped, and then checked out East Syndicate. First target was a Pilgrim that cross-hopped our scouts. We bubbled him in, holding fleet one system out, got him to aggress, and brought the hammer down. We were aligned out as we killed him, awaiting the cyno, which went up, but we melted him too quickly for his backup to make it through! Pretty funny engagement.
While moving through the back pocket around 6E/6-C, we came across an Ineluctable Talwar gang that warped at range to our gate piecemeal, eventuallly totalling about 8. Talwars are an absurdly hard counter to frigates, as their combined alpha strike (>1000 damage per Talwar) can volley a frigate off the field before it can react. We lost a couple of ships here, including one who had aggressed without the FC's call - remember, don't aggress in such a situation without the FC explicitly calling it.
We got a nice, sweet spot of revenge however with a nice bubble catch tactic, with Gizz warping at range ahead of fleet, bubbling, then purposely warping fleet into the bubble. Sadly only a single Talwar followed us to his death, but it was a satisfying kill and shut down their local smack nicely.
Next kill was a bit... bizarre, but was a great opportunity to employ some specific tactics. We were pursuing a BDEAL small kiting cruiser gang around 6-C, when a Thorax hopped into us on the 6-C gate in EZA. We had what was sure to be an easy point and kill, when he cloaked up. As a Thorax is not a designated Covert Ops ship, any cloak fit to it will drop its speed by 75% (T2) or 90% (T1 cloak). In essence, unlike a CovOps cloak ship which can get a full-speed MWD cycle off under cloak to avoid proximity decloaks, the Thorax was essentially going to sit dead still. We employed some gate decloak tactics - deployed drones, dropped cans, and encircled his cloak point. Pretty quickly we nailed the decloak, established point, and burnt him down.
We grabbed a few quick frig kills in 6-C, but the rest of East Syndicate was quiet on intel, so we headed back towards 8V-SJJ, where scouts had sighted another Noir./Suddenly Spaceships gatecamp patrolling 8V/K5. We very narrowly missed landing a bubble on the entire camp on 3KNK gate in 8V while they were aggressed (after a bit of hurf blurf from them in local, they proceeded to whelp utterly in FD later, and we killed the last straggler there as well). Whilst trying to locate a probing solution on them, Saygen scored a hero point on a Goon Crow that was keeping tabs on us, and I brought the fleet over. To my delight, a Goon Orthrus had also engaged our scouts and was trying to kite off and kill tackle. A seriously ballsy scram was landed (I believe by Rev), and was held while our AB-fit frigates moseyed on over and started to lay on dps. Honorable mention to our Griffin pilots, who scored some key timely jams that likely kept our initial tacklers alive. Just under 1.2 BILLION isk kill!
Scouts caught the scent of a Black Legion gang headed into the BMNV pocket. After identifying their comp - a Police Pursuit Comet gang, with Keres and Sabre support - we gave chase. They ran away at best speed from us, but nonetheless we caught a Comet via bubbles and good skirmishing. But the real fun with them lay on our return out of the pocket.
We had intel on a BL Arazu entering 31-MLU, where we had earlier seen FIGL bringing out some heavies (Vindi, Domi, etc.) on their undock. Sure enough, the Arazu showed up at FIGL's home station, and began to tool about around the undock perimeter. Wary but curious of what skullduggery BL might muster through their cyno, we checked it out. After some unsuccessful grouped bumping attempts, we got in contact with FIGL who was game for attempting to burst down the Arazu before the full weight of BL could make it through. Notably we also put eyes on their main staging point for the area, just to make sure we were not about to have 100 Muninns or Ishtars show up on grid. With FIGL bringing Talwars, we did a coordinated strike on the Arazu, which had quite the insufficient tank. It lit cyno, but only managed to get a few ships on grid before exploding gloriously - a Nidhoggur, Muninn, Cerberus, Scimi, Rapier. We warped off as soon as the Arazu popped, but rejoined the fight immediately and wrecked the Cerb. FIGL killed the Scimi and the other two ran off, so we all started in on the Nid. We put it into structure before it docked, likely just some friendly trolling by the cap pilot but certainly worth the ammo!
Heading back to Stacmon, we got a few small kills including a nice quick skirmish with a DROOG frigate fleet in FD. Heading through Ostingele, ROX got a scan on a Thrasher detachment at the small outpost. We got eyes on grid, and had 2 Thrashers on grid with the other 10 or so in the plex. We warped at 0 to the outpost, landing on the Thrashers' faces and melting them.
Being outmatched in dps by 10 Thrashers, we had no intention of actually entering the plex, where a killbox could be pre-set by them at our landing point, killing us as we landed before we could even target back. We hung out at range from the acceleration gate to see if they would warp out and come back. In the interim we had various and sundry ships land on grid, from Fweddit kite frigates to a stabbed Exequror (wat) to a.... Rattlesnake?! It was pointed out that the Rattler had warped to the site at 100 fro m Stacmon. Saygen burned over and landed a first point on him while I bounced fleet off Stacmon gate and back at 100. It worked perfectly, as we landed around 6Km off the Rattler. DPS applied, EWAR applied, away we went. J4LP joined in Merlins, Slicers and Crusader; I held off aggressing them unless we were redboxed by them, as I was sure that they wanted the Rattler too. Sure enough, all third parties stayed solely on the Rattlesnake, breaking its tank surprisingly quickly. Just as the Rattlesnake went down, I rolled tacklers over to proximate Fweddit Merlins. Tackle was spread really well, and we melted Merlins as fast as I could call them. The EUNI Thrashers sitting in the plex had finally come out to play, burning out at us, so I warped the fleet to a safe and regrouped, then got into Stacmon and wrapped it up.
Rough math on the evening is over 3B isk in internet spaceships destroyed... Killboard is decidedly GREEN. But more pointedly, I really liked the spread of engagements we encountered, and the commensurate tactics we had to employ - everything from baiting, to assymetrical ship class warfare, to probing, to decloaking. Inevitably some of it probably veered above and beyond the BASIC curriculum, but hopefully it provided a good taste of how you can take the foundation that PVP-BASIC gives you and employ and evolve it.
Many thanks to all AGONY support pilots, the scouting, skirmishing, and bubbling was paramount in enabling much of the above carnage. Job well done.
All in all, I had a great time FCing you all, and I hope you had a blast flying with us! Remember that PVP-BASIC graduation not only opens up the rest of our curriculum to you, it also extends an invite to all future BASIC roams!