It’s been quite a while since the last Faction Warfare update and the picture has changed considerably in Gallente/Caldari space since the end of October. TEST continued its plex farming onslaught in full force and steadily backed Gallente forces into all but the most resolute home systems (Nennamaila, Eha, etc.). Like any fire that burns so ferociously, eventually it runs out of fuel. With only the stalwart systems left to offensively plex, many Caldari have begun to run L4 Missions to make their LP. It is hard to believe but as late as early November GalMil chat was rife with boasts that capturing every system in Cal/Gal FW was within grasp. It would not surprise me if CalMil chat looked much the same now.
This is, of course, old news – but the impact of having TESTs massive resources bearing down on the Gallente has made for some interesting strategic shifts in FW. Now GalMil is mostly playing defense with mixed results. A variety of GalMil corps generally led by Aideron Robotics put up a heroic, multi-week defense of the system against Old Man Gang and affiliates; but these old Russians allied themselves with a variety of Russian pirate corps to boost their ranks. This was a wise move as OMG was able to frequently field sizeable fleets, especially during the Russian time zone. Generally, GalMil did not have the strength to challenge plexes until significant damage had already been done to the system’s contestability. Even when GalMil assembled a force to kick OMG and others out of plexes, each battle was hard fought. Logistically both sides were turning on a dime to maximize their ship class to each available plex, but OMG was consistently a bit more nimble. Ultimately, the tug of war for Heydieles ended with a CalMil victory and Old Man Gang has reclaimed what they consider their true home. No doubt the logistics chief of OMG should enjoy putting his feet up at the Moon 19 station cantina. Well deserved.
This battle is far from over. Old Man Star is right next door and many of the displaced GalMil corps have since set up shop there. Expect both Heyd and OMS to be chock full of holiday killmails in the coming weeks.
Eha Remains Stubborn
Innia stands as one of the most powerful strongholds for the Caldari, so it’s no wonder that they would focus their efforts nearby in Eha. Despite easily pushing Local to above 100 pilots, CalMil has still been unable to seriously threaten the system with contestability topping out around 40%. Test, Templis, Caldari State Capturing, and a few others have been spearheading the assault, commanding plexes at will for large swaths of EU time zones. The defensive effort has been led by Justified Chaos with generous portions of help from elements of Genstar, BNANA, Mostly Sober, and GMVA.
During the EU/US time zone overlap, the killmails are plentiful. Generally GalMil can field between 2 and 3 dozen pilots with CalMil supplying between 2 or 3 times that amount. Battles are generally close and both sides have their fair share of competent pilots trying to get that extra edge. Logistically GalMil is somewhat disadvantaged; they are further from their side of hi-sec space and Innia is home to more CalMil pilots to stock their markets than Eha is for GalMil. So far the Gallente have been able to keep their stations flush with hulls to continue the fight but given the intensity of the conflict in this part of low-sec it might be the side that can’t get enough supplies to the front that ends up losing the fight.
It’s not all bad news for GalMil. Offensive fleets are beginning to pop up here and there and last week a task force formed to push Enaluri past the critical last 15% of contestability and into vulnerable. A 30-man fleet complete with multiple Thrasher gate camps locked the system down for the better part of last Sunday and the system found itself back in GalMil hand’s shortly afterwards. CalMil resistance seemed largely absent in Enaluri, although the occasional Sniper Cormorant band did show up to cause trouble.
Additionally, Vlfrevaert was taken earlier this week which puts Caldari system Ladistier in an awkward position. With Heydieles already fallen into Caldari hands this frees up a considerable amount of capsuleers to defend OMS and resume offensively plexing elsewhere. Right now OMS is stable enough not to warrant a massive d-plexing fleet and the Galente Milita didn’t waste much time putting their free time to good use. The taking of Vlfrevaert means Ladistier is isolated. Whether GalMil intends to push in to Ladistier now remains to be seen but if they do manage to take the system this could be the beginnings of a southern front in the war, setting the stage for an undoubtedly massive battle to retake Heyd and possibly move further into low-sec.
If CalMil decides to coordinate a final push to completely conquer FW space this will likely lead to all-out battles for long time homes of GalMil that will undoubtedly prove a tough nut to crack. If CalMil is content to sit teetering between Tier 2 and Tier 3 and collect their LP, GalMil has their work cut out for them to settle the score.
Many thanks to Deen Wispa of Justified Chaos for contributing to this article.
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