Grath Telkin has a bit of a reputation. In the null-sec space of EVE Online, he is easily one of the most notable figures, known for yelling at people and leading some of the most cutthroat players in the game. Pandemic Legion is a wrecking ball swinging from one fragile null-sec empire to the next, and their reputation for reigning fire on their foes is, at this point, pretty well solidified. So, obviously a person like Grath, who has been playing at such a high level for so long, would have some incredible war stories to tell.
When I sat down to interview him and have him recount some of his favorite moments from within the game, I was honestly surprised by the story he wanted to tell. As a man who has fought tooth and nail against overwhelming odds, helping carve a ruthless reputation for his corporation, Sniggerdly. I had expected him to recount some tale of an epic struggle that he had endured. Intread, perhaps true to Pandemic Legion's nature, Grath wanted to talk about the time he crippled an alliance so badly that they imploded on themselves in what must be almost record time.
Grath Telkin explained to me that, back in 2010, Pandemic Legion had been hired by what was "basically the Drone Russian Federation" to engage a massive alliance known as Atlas Alliance in order to evict them from their space. During the campaign, Grath began to notice a special little pipeline of systems where Honorable Templum of Alcedonia were located. "Atlas had this little ring of vassals," Grath explained. "They basically just used them as a meat buffer."
"I found them one night while roaming, and I killed like 14 dudes when they mass undocked and just buffalo charged me," he said. "They would charge you and you would drive away and just kill stuff." Grath went on to tell me that as he continued to ravage HTA pilots, other members in Pandemic Legion began to take notice. As an entire organization that exists for the thrill of the fight, the thought of a massive squishy alliance that couldn't hold their own in a fight was too good of an opportunity to miss.
"Pandemic Legion is a very 'blood in the water' organized culture," Grath said. Meaning that its members go where they think there is prey to slaughter. He went on to elaborate that the structure of the alliance is such that members are encouraged to find their own projects—like imploding alliances—and that success often depends on whether or not other Pandemic Legion pilots are interested in helping out. In the case of Grath's little excursion into HTA space, Pandemic pilots were incredibly interested.
On a good day, Honorable Templum of Alcedonia was able to field hundreds of pilots to defend their assets. Grath told me how there were times when his pilots would be greatly outnumbered, but due to Pandemic Legion's elite experience, HTA's offensives were often little different that shoving meat into the grinder.
"They were really bad," Grath said bluntly. "They tried to separate themselves into corporations having particular systems, and in the end that was one of their big downfalls." He explained Pandemic Legion's strategy of having only a handful of pilots spread across the constellation of star systems that HTA occupied. With spies in every system, any major fleet movements could be immediately identified. Because HTA spread itself out over each system, when they sent out a call to arms, Pandemic Legion pilots could intercept the smaller forces and kill them, never having to fear a larger force from dropping on them because by the time it mobilized, they'd have already done their job and spread back out.
"We cut them a thousand times."
But war in EVE Online isn't fought with ships alone. Borrowing a page from Goonswarm Federation, enterprising Pandemic Legion pilots installed themselves into every HTA system and began repeating a modified version of "People of Rise". The speech, which was originally used by Goonswarm to demoralize vassal empires by attacking their confidence in their ruling body, was spammed into the local chat of every system. HTA members could scarcely get a word in before it was immediately drowned out by multiple postings of the full speech, spamming the channels and wearing their moral and sanity thin.