The CorpsThe difference in the two corps stood out pretty strongly. Rifterlings threw a lot of ships at the problem, with a limited amount of coordination. Candymen had half the ships, but of a higher class and apparently actually with a plan. I wasn't particularly sure how'd that go but I wasn't too confident.
Size versus NumbersCandymen attacked us first, which was good since we were waffling around a bit. We started out in armor frigates, a mix of T1 and AFs. I was in a Rifter. Candymen came in with something like Vexor x3, Prophecy x3, Dominix. Ouch. I had visions of drones wiping us off the field while neuts slapped down anyone going for the fast-close orbit. We did manage to burn down a Vexor, but then had to retreat and reship to step up to cruisers. The Vexor pilot had prepositioned an Exequror in our home station, so was back quick. However, moving up to cruisers allowed us to take down their fleet. You can really see the difference in the Dominix kill - our ships there now range from AF to T1 cruiser to a Ishtar.
* 12 weaker ships still can have a lot more dps than 7 better ships. The enemies had a RR tank comp, but we were able to target switch through it.
* Blasters and Overheat management. I was very happy to manage my heat up to 95% damage at the end of the fight, and kept in the top 3 damage dealers on almost all kills. I think I was helped there in that the RR meant they had to be close to each other, so when I switched from one target to another they were always in effective neutron blaster range.
* Jumped in the Thorax I had handy, which was active fit when the fleet called for buffer fit. I have to keep home system better stocked. If you're a courier contract pilot this means you're about to have more business.
Repairing LessonI had gotten my Thrasher pretty shot up so it was down to something like 17% armor on a 400mm plate tank. Plus when I overheated my guns I managed to leave them overheated a bit too long so the whole top rack was burnt out - that was a nice come-down compared to the overheat on the Thorax. So I had a useless ship. I was weighing whether to stay in fleet in hopes that the Candymen would target my hulk and waste fire on it, or run for repairs. We had a momentary break so I announced I was ducking off and ran to the next system since I'd heard the Sosala station was camped. Warp, Jump, Warp, Dock, Repair, Undock, Warp, Jump Fast Fast Fast. See what I did wrong?
I warped back into the fleet and realized my top rack was offline. If you totally burn out modules out and then repair them, you have to manually online them - preferably in station or else you'll need 95% cap. So as we waited for the next align-warp call I started onlining the guns one by one as my cap recharged. I fought that last battle at the wormhole with 3/7 guns, and did successfully draw fire again, so that part was useful at least.
* It's always worth that second to make sure you really are repaired and online, drones in bay, ammo in cargo.