Day Four of the tournament saw the knock-out stages begin take shape in a bruising day of battle that ensured some intriguing final group games.
Few would have predicted some of those advancing and even fewer some who fell, which all lent to an air of mystery surrounding the championships as tens of thousands of pod-pilots crammed round any available holo-reel to watch developments.
First out of the blocks were The R0NIN and they enhanced their prospects of making it through to the next round by beating Firmus Ixion whilst The Corporation Alliance assured their safe passage by besting Kith of Venal. Stain Empire did likewise with their victory over Fimbulwinter whilst the second tournament's surprise package Morsus Mihi triumphed over Nebula Rasa.
Despite their home system problems, Veritas Immortalis cast them aside to get the better of Sani Khal'Vecna whilst The Five brought back memories of yore as they soundly defeated SMASH Alliance.
In something of a turn-up for the form guide, another alliance under pressure, ASCN, who had been criticised for fielding the same all-Gallentean tactics as they used so successfully in the second tournament, fell at the hands of The Star Fraction. A corp with an unique history within the Eve universe, TSF figured out the 'unbreakable tank' that had thwarted so many prior opponents.
A concerted effort to knock out one of ASCN's frigates proved more difficult to overcome than first thought, despite 20 light drones and many small guns arrayed against them. However, eventually by switching between the two frigates Star Fraction forced mistakes and were two frigates up.
With the execution of a beautiful trap, ASCN lost their Zealot in a close run battle as it tried desperately to return to the welcoming remote repair of his team-mates to effectively seal the tie. With three ships down, ASCN's remaining two were still a formidable pairing but the tactic that worked against the frigate did so again and with time about to run out, all five ships were destroyed.
Controversy reigned in the next bout as Muffins of Mayhem turned up to face RAZOR Alliance in what can only be described as their economical formation, flying five freebie ships, of the type given when pilots first come out of the academy. RAZOR won with considerable ease and the tournament organisers were seen muttering dark threats of lost deposits.
The results in that group ensured that Exquisite Malevolance progressed whilst Star Fraction needed to win their last game to ensure they followed them.
Group E was turning into one of the more confusing as Prime Orbital Systems beat Axiom Empire whilst Edge of Sanity overcame Enemies of Carlotta. That set of results meant that POS were virtually through, AE had a possibility of qualifying but only if Edge of Sanity didn't win their last fixture.
However, it was Group F that took the most confusing award as at the end of Day Four, Interstellar Alcohol Conglomerate, Red Skull and Terra Incognita all had the possibility of finishing on nine points. IAC had earlier beaten Xelas Alliance whilst The Red Skull faced an opponent with technical difficulties and as such the short-handed TI team battled bravely but were downed.
Anarchy Empire were the winners in their tie with Exuro Mortis, whilst Cult of War got the better of Euphoria Unleashed, virtually ensuring Band of Brothers would be seen on the last day.
The last group was also the one with the only two teams assured of a place in the knockout stages with Against ALL Authorities and The Sani Sabik both having nine points after TSS beat AAA in their game.