The Northern Coalition's (NC) invasion of the Drone Regions* continues into this week with Shadow of Death's systems in The Kalevala Expanse and Etherium Reach bearing the brunt of the attack, with Shadow drawing support primarily from elements of White Noise and Red Alliance.
The first large scale fight took place in system UJXC-B (constellation 6-CBBM) in the northern-most part of The Kalevala Expanse. Despite a very close-run (and, by all accounts, wickedly fun) fight, NC forces held UJX at the end of the battle. For those interested, an excellent battle report was posted by one the participants on the NC side on Kugutsmen's. It's very well written and has been both corroborated by other participants, and re-posted on several Eve news websites.
As of this writing, NC's RAGE alliance has taken sovereignty of UJX, as well as two adjacent systems UDVW-O and F48K-D. RAGE has also taken advantage of the Shadow of Death sovereignty abdications that occurred earlier this month due to Legion of Death's mishandling of their renters and occupied the better part of the 2Q-8WA constellation in the North-East corner of Kalevala.
The next likely target for the NC is L-GY1B, which a gateway to Etherium Reach and a stepping stone to 74-DRC. Entering the Reach via L-GY would put the NC in the D-GU3R constellation, which is part of a long, single strand of unoccupied systems (again owing in large part to Legion's poor renter management skills) that leads to Etherium Reach proper. 74-DRC is a single system bottle-neck between The Kalevala Expanse systems the NC currently holds and the remainder of the region.
The I-Hub at Etherium Reach's gateway system LXQ2-T comes out of reinforced mode today. RUS has been fairly quiet since the dust-up at UXJ, which would indicate they've something in the works. If that's a smack-down in LXQ, it's going to be quite the party when NC arrives to finish the job. Should NC take LXQ and open up a second beachhead in the Reach via L-GY1B, while at the same time continuing their push into Kalevala, they may force Legion of Death to make hard choices as to where to hold and where to fold.
In that event, given that Legion has only nine Shadow of Death renter systems remaining in Etherium, they might choose to fall back to a more defensible frontier and relocate their Etherium renters to other regions in the Legion of Death sphere of influence. However, Legion's neighbors in the Reach, which include Red Alliance and White Noise, are unlikely to approve of such an action. RUS may require that Legion remain in place and put the interests of the coalition ahead of its own.
The Russian coalition has a passion for viewing the game from the standpoint of Russian military history. It will be interesting to see which page of that book they open to in planning their fight against the NC. They take a long view of the game and aren't demoralized by set-backs. For their part, the NC are not underestimating their opponents. They've brought their game-face, knowing they're stepping up to PvPers with a well-deserved reputation for discipline, guile and tenacity.
Its going to be interesting
[*Fiddler's note: For those capsuleers new to Eve or unfamiliar with nullsec, Drone Regions are Eve-speak for the contiguous nullsec regions that have drones as their local pirate type]