Last Sunday, the Tama system of The Citadel region saw the first low-sec Mothership loss. The Nyx, belonging to pilot The End, was set upon by a small x13 gang and quickly destroyed.
Recent weeks have shown an increasing frequency for supercapital losses. Despite this, the kill scored by x13 forces was itself unprecedented. It was the first time a Mothership had been downed within the confines of Empire controlled space, where conventional interdiction methods do not work against the EW-Immune supercapitals. For many months, it was thought this immunity rendered them invulnerable in low-security space, a myth now debunked by the x13 squad.
The End was piloting his Nyx in a low-security system, looking for targets of opportunity over the period of a few days. x13 received intel about his movements, fine-tuned their plan and then sprang into action.
Ventosus of x13 explained in an interview that even though they had only known of the Mothership being in the area for a short time, the technical skills that they needed to execute the kill had been planned “for several months.” Ventosus stated: “about one month ago, we had our first try at it. A friend of ours got his POS put into reinforcement, and we expected a Wyvern (to) be present when the POS was out of reinforcement. We landed some 5-6k from the hostile Mothership at our first attempt, and failed. He simply warped out.”
x13, undeterred by this set-back, went back to the drawing board and further refined their tactics in order to ensure that when the next opportunity presented itself, they would not fail. “We went back to our HQ, one more experience richer. We started to train in bumping the right way. A couple of weeks went with several training sessions when we felt like we could do it, we started to think about fittings.” Ventosus explained that once the reports of the Mothership started to filter in, their small task force, consisting of no more than 12 Battleships, 2 Dreadnoughts, 2 Carriers and 2 of their own Motherships moved into a forward base of operations a few jumps away from the target system. There they lay in wait for their prey.
As soon as he knew the target was in the system, the x13 Squad Commander gave the order for the bait ship to enter the system. This ship was purely there as a sacrifice to goad the Mothership into revealing its position and allowing the x13 pilots to freely engage it on their terms. “We were fishing with our neutral Raven for some ten minutes until our scout told us that target was speeding up. [The] target had 22au to combat gate. So did we. So at the same time as the target warped to gate, we jumped into some of our battleships... which were “neut” (energy neutralizers) fitted. Some 80 neuts from our fleet in total.”
Ventosus goes on to explain how they then carried out this vicious attack in a way that rendered the ship immobile, almost defenceless and able to be destroyed in the quickest time possible. “The target came out of warp, so did we some seven seconds after. He was locked and insta drained. He started to align, but we were prepared for that and our Battleship fleet bumped him so he de-aligned.” Ventosus went on to explain how The End then launched fighters onto the closest Battleships that were hindering him from aligning for warp. Cynosural fields were subsequently opened to allow the x13 capitol ships to jump into the engagement, and it was shortly after that when the structural integrity of The End’s Nyx succumbed to their onslaught. He also added that due to their advanced planning, a Triage fitted carrier meant that only 2 of the x13 Battleships were lost during the entire fight. A loss of possibly only 200-300mill isk.
Delerium Primus, a spokesman for M. PIRE Alliance which houses the Union Of Xtreme Military Corporation, the corporation of The End, did admit that the loss of the Mothership was “a big loss to M. PIRE.” He then went on to downplay its significance. “We cannot really say that we will miss what we never saw, if you know what I mean.” His statements referred to the fact that the Union of Xtreme Military had only been in “M. PIRE approximately 3 weeks” but that there was a “delay in deployment into the north.” Delerium Primus did state that even though this loss would hurt M. PIRE, that there were other supercapitals available for their deployment. Shortly after The End’s Nyx went down “M.Corp gave birth to a brand new shiny Nyx which will be flown by one of our directors.”
What this means for the supercapital age is uncertain at this time. Whilst the actions of x13 have certainly debunked the myth of Mothership invulnerability in low-sec, the question of just how vulnerable they actually are remains. Many were quick to remark that pilot error on behalf of The End played a role in his loss, although opinions were divided on the extent to which it did. Undoubtedly, other low-security Mothership pilots will have learned a lesson from the events and will exercise more caution in the future. At the same time however, others eager to see them destroyed will have been buoyed by this recent historic moment, and will likely mimic the tactics used so effectively by x13.