Monday, March 26, 2012

Game replay: tabby_nat v ArtNJ

Okay, so I thought I had some free time last week (having taken a day of vacation), and started a game with ArtNJ. I was a dumass and forgot that I took that day of vacation to MOVE HOUSE. Sort like of forgetting that ninjas can teleport, but RL ninjabombs hurt more.

Anyway Art kindly offered to comment on this post before it went up, so you'll see some comments from him throughout (and if you don't, it's because he was lazy! YEAH! XD)

Comments in RED are Art's comments, comments in BLUE are my comments to his comments!

So anyway. Off to the races - I start with a forward necro and priestess combo - I copied this off someone else, but using an imp instead of a necro. The idea is that you start with an early forward unit so that your opponent is pinned back. He can't kill your forward unit on 1 turn (best is imp deploy, move, attack, attack, attack. Priestess then rezzes for the kill.). I have since learnt that this doesn't work with a necro, because a necro can't killstomp after being rezzed. But always experiment! It's fun! For certain values of fun. >.>

Art responds with an archer + hat. So my necro can't killstomp in 5AP, as I had planned for. Now, don't try this next move at home, kids...

Art's Comment: My deployment is possibly flawed. Tabby *should* assume that I have a second priestess or potion to rez the priestess, and *should* leaver her alone. But I actually dont have any of those things, so if he decides to be overly aggressive, its going to be a huge annoyance for me

... because it's a crappy one. 

Art moves 1 square back, kills my necro, and takes the power tile. So I've traded a necro for a cleric. That's noooot a bad trade IMO - I tend to rate necros somewhat lower than most people.

Art: Actually, it turns out great since I dont get another priestess for a longgg while. Its not a pruden move on Tabby's part because I might have had a potion, but its not a terrible thing to try vs. a higher rated player. The higher rated player (me) should never have allowed this move without a pot or at least a second priestess in hand.

I bring out another necro and sword him. Archer can't kill unless she scrolls because I'm on the defence tile, and I swap a broach..

Art: I will scroll kill an upgraded necro every day of the week, so I dont love this move. Plus, the nec is more powerful on the sword tile anyway.

And Art burns a scroll. Burgh. Whyyyyyyyy. So that 1 scroll for a sword and necro. To be honest, the loss of the sword hurts more than the necro.

Art: Tabby gets burned here. Pretty much the entire purpose of a scroll is to kill a unit with runemetal or a fully upgraded knight in a strong position. I didnt hesitate. That he cant kill/stomp me with the priestess is really just a bonus; I would have done it anyway.

I pop an imp and scroll kill the archer. Tip: always kill with a priestess where possible if you can't stomp - if he rezzes, he rezzes with the debuff. Same with the Annihilator - you want to kill with the debuff. 

He lets his archer expire and brings out 2 knights. This /is/ the 2 crystal map after all, he's going for the gem tiles.

Art: If I had a potion, I would have used it on the archer, and got bonus value out of the archer/nec trade. But my hand is a little limited here.

I challenge with my VM and imp. Not much to say, pretty standard.  

Art: Looks fine, and I'm really sweating my lack of a priestess after this deployment.

Another hatted archer. Grrr. 3 range units on the defense or power tiles cover the gem tiles, so I won't be able to hold the tiles for long. I need a way to get rid of that archer, and the imp is it.

Art: Why the concern at this point? I'm just developing, in a VM safe way, no threats yet.

Tabby: I usually take out the 300 damage units as fast as I can - when sworded, they are a PAIN to deal with, and they are usually the only things that have enough burst damage to kill a buffed VM. There's no real rush per se, but I find that imps have little purpose in CL matches other than to kill archers and ninjas. Maybe that's just my style. XD

 This is a bait. If he kills with the knight (200x4 + stomp) my wraith will walk through and killnom (and his knight will be 1 AP further from the gem tile. He won't be silly enough to stomp using his archer. ;)

Art: I'm a little skeptical of this trade because if I have another archer to deploy, its basically a free unit. However, I dont have another archer, so its a perhaps favorable trade.

He moves over to the power tile to kill, no stomp. Which is also fine for my purposes..

Art: Probably this is not the best square for my archer, a safer retreat would have been better.


He moves his wizard up to kill. 

So I raise, pot, and he brings his ninja in. Art is definitely ahead at this point - look at the stuff he has on the field, and all in very good positions. My mistake was giving up the imp for the archer, I think. All that AP I spent moving the imp around for an even trade made it a loss AP-wise, and Art has definitely capitalised by reinforcing. I try to catch up by dumping upgrades on my guys and moving them to places where, in my head, they make sense.

Art: I am not actually ahead, because I have no priestess in my hand. Moreover, 2 archers are dead and I dont have another in hand.

Tabby: Interesting. I didn't think of it that way. In retrospect, I was playing this like I had to be worried about clerics - I should have dived in and done damage, not plink around for position. Noted!

Here comes the bone headed move. Can you see it? Of course you can, you're not an idiot like me. ;) The niiiinjaa caaan teeeleeepoooooo~~~~

Art: Can a father with a smoking hot 13 year old daughter be over protective? That is how you should act towards your runemetal'd units. Conventual upgrading and deployment would have been good for equality.

Tabby: I know. I just.. forgot.. that the ninja could teleport over. >.> No really. I forgot.

Oh bugger.

Backpedaling and rationalisation time - I totally meant to do that! It's you know, exchanging a potted sworded gemed 1 nom wraith for a bare naked ninja! I totally meant to do that!

... yeah I'm an idiot. XD

This gives Art the initiative again! So he does whatever he wants, and he wants to reinforce. Looking at the stuff he's putting, my guess is that he's burning his hand to get to stuff he wants before he makes his move - he's doing the equivalent of looking through his deck to get his combos out in MTG. And to throw another reference in there, what I did was a "gote" move in Go - this is a move which does not threaten the opponent at all, and hands initiative back to them uncontested. The opposite is a "sente" move, which forces your opponent to respond in a certain way. Google those terms - they are very important in any turn based game, and I'll probably do a blog post about them some time in the future. :)

Art: My god, my deployment is aweful! You never want this many units out against DE because the darn VM's will be so annoying. I had no choice, because I had no priestess out. About this time Tabby should be noticing I *still* have no priestess out, forgiving himself for his error and thinking he still has a chance.

Tabby: That's an interesting way of analysing this. It's definitely true that VMs get a lot more killable, even by magic units, if you don't have enough units for them to leech off of. Food for thought.

So anyway now he has a field full of stuff, but I notice that he's only got unsworded wizards out. And nothing says "unkillable by magic" like hatted VMs. :D And I got those! So I stick one in his face. Notice that that VM is in range of the priestess, so if he gets KOed (no stomp possible), I'll just raise and punch away until I'm topped up again. 

In retrospect, this was a bad move. I should have tried to get as much out on the field as possible (see my Macro v Micro post below) - Since he can't cause severe damage either in raw numbers or positioning wise, I should have put the priestess and VM and equipped the VM, out there, now, rather than wait until a worse opportunity forced my hand.

Art: yeah, I'd probably get the other VM out and hope for the third sword and some scrolls. One VM with no sword & scroll is just an annoyance. I can afford the minimal crystal damage, heal and still gain a few tempo. So its a premature attack.

Art sees that hitting the VM is not going to do any good and skips right past to the priestess. Le sigh. 

Art: I'm trying to trade units so I'm not so badly crowded, which is bad against VMs.

My necro is practically forced to kill the wiz, otherwise I'll lose the necro too, for not much gain. At least I get the power tile!

Well. Not for long, anyway. Notice how I stubbornly refuse to BRING OUT MY GUYS SHEESH what was I thinking. XD

Art: I finally get my priestess. I guess I'm winning now, but VM's are still annoying against bunched units. I really struggle to get them off because my ninja is gone and I dont have an archer (2 of 3 gone, 3rd not in deck yet). I cant help but think that tabby could really still make a game of this because my physical damagers are so depleted.

 So I'm down on doods, I'm down on positioning.. Go for the gem kill!

Art drops his sword on his knight. I'm not exactly sure why - pity points? The most charitable conclusion I can come up with is that he forgot that he had an archer left, and wanted some physical damage to kill my VMs (since his wizards can't do it).

Art: Lol, I'm not too sure why either, except that the 3rd Archer is nowhere in sight and the VM's are hella annoying. Look at it this way -- I have one archer left, no ninja, so the sword has to go somewhere. And I only have one wizard out 1 or 2 dead so....probably not the right move, but I was floundering a little myself...DE are really annoying without archers/ninjas. I could easily have outsmarted myself earlier...if he can make a super-VM Tabby could still have a chance.

I finally get my priestess and VM out and buffed. I'm thinking of getting my VM out next round and starting to whale on that crystal. That power tile looks mighty tempting, but the big sword is kind of a bummer.

He knocks me off the gem tile with the burly man and moves up. 

So I run around for a top up. Good thing about VMs, they are seriously hard to kill - you need a lot of physical burst damage, or redonkulous amounts of magic damage.

Wiz takes a drink and the two burly men play pingpong with my VM. I'm thinking that I need to get to his gem and start killing quick, before his archer comes out and my VMs can't charge around recklessly any more.

Art: Well, you want to sword up a VM, get a scroll and inflict some serious carnage, or at least safely kill the wizards. Again, the VM's are a problem for me, this game could well still be equalish.

I go harrass the wiz some more. The main thing is, though, I'm whittling away at the knight - that's my main aim. I want to get the other gem tile so that I can really smack that crystal down.

He smacks me away and heals up his wizard. And here's the archer! Party's over. At this point, my VM has 1050 HP - which will die in 1 scrolled sworded archer hit. I need to be over 1080 to survive that... so I have to bide my time and wait for a good time to use the soulbomb.

Can't stomp - archer will get me. Can't stomp - archer will get me. Can't stomp - archer will WAAAAAAAUUIGGHH

 On the bright side, he's nicely bunched up now. =D

Alright. Gearing up for my final stand. I've got my 1080 HP VM from using the soulbomb, so I can at least survive the scrolled archer. He has a fireball in hand (2 actually), so I can't rely on range being my safety. My plan is to dive in, take the defense tile and plug away as much as I can, rez and repeat.

Wiz comes over for a few zaps. I can deal with that for now.

I skip over to the power tile, soften up everyone (yum!) and head up to the defense tile to wait for the scrolled archer.

Art: forgetting the boost tile is the decisive mistake. VM are speedy buggers, dive in, wack x3 and retreat. I only have the one archer and cant expose it. Keep the VM alive and the game is still close.

... I forgot the power tile. WAUGH! And my priestess could move up there, and rez, but even if I run all the way back to my deploy, HE HAS 2 FIREBALLS. Double WAUGH!

I decide my best option is to rez, do as much damage as I can, and make him spend the AP to kill me. In the meantime, my priestess and necro are waiting to dive in for the crystal  kill.

Art: This cant be right...that VM is your 13 year old smoking hot daughter...are you really sacrificing her? Is there no way to save her (him)? What about priestess in position to heal (2ap), 2xheals and retreat to in front of the nec. Yes, I can kill you, but can I do it without exposing my archer? Maybe...I havent spent the time here. Just saying you dont plan on sacrificing your last runemetal without soul searching agony :)

Tabby: I DID! You have no idea how many times I replayed this. =p The thing is, priestess needs 2AP move, 1AP rez for sure. So I have 2AP to play with. If I simply heal heal, your archer takes him out no problem. If I heal and VM moves to necro, archer can move up to the defense tile, shoot shoot fireball and have 1 AP to do whatever. If I spend 2 AP moving, you have TWO fireballs! I need to spend 1 AP to heal, or you can kill stomp from anywhere on the field.

CL is sooooo OP. XD

He stomps with the cleric. Good, good. Now, I prepare for my final stand.

I move my imp and VM up - kind of like a reverse fork - you can deal with one or the other, but that will take you AP which you'll need for me to kill you. Note that my priestess, imp and VM can all hit the crystal. My VM and necro are 1 AP away from the crystal. Of course, he could just knock me off the gem tile...


He chooses to deal with the imp. Fairnuff, that means..

I get a few whacks in with the VM. Why not stomp with the buff knight instead of giving up the power tile? But I guess Art thinks he doesn't need it right now, the smug ba~

Art: If the VM is going to die, I really dont care which of my other units he picks off as long as the archer lives.

Stomps with the archer to get the power tile. Good move, but my archer is still alive. Just a few more whacks...

Just... a ... few... more....

Art: I wish I could reconstruct the exact situation enough for close analysis. Tabby does get my crystal low, maybe there is a shot somewhere. The problem is that Tabby has no runemetal and no scrolls left.

... aw fiddlesticks.

I could kill the knight with the necro... stand on the tile with either the VM or the necro and hit the crystal with the other?

Not happening.

OH WELL! Good game, I'llgitchew next time! (And thanks for guest commentary by ArtNJ himself!)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Macro and Micro - Don't neglect your back benchers!

Ok, this is going to be a quick one, because I'm moving and hardly have time for HA, much less blogging! Anyway, a common mistake lots of people make is pressing too hard. I'm going to borrow some terms from Star Craft here:

Micro: micromanaging your units so that they have the greatest effect. In HA, this means all your fancy footwork to make sure that your unit stay alive and do the most damage they can.

Macro: ensuring that you have enough materiel to make war with. Essentially, getting lots of units out onto the field.

In HA, you only get 5 AP per turn, true. But never think that this 5 AP is always best spent killing doods - sometimes, it's best spent bring your units out, equipping your units, to make sure that you've got more options for future turns.

A good rule of thumb is, look at your units and your opponent's - if you have fewer than your opponent on the board, and he has fewer reinforcements than you, then look for a good time to bring out your units.

Sometimes, you don't even have the luxury of moving your units to safety before bringing out new units. It's far, far worse to move 1 impaler to safety in exchange for allowing your opponent the time to move all his units up and reinforce. It may be better to let him kill the impaler and get out a replacement (and another necro!) in exchange!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Shooting the deploy tile

This one's going to be a quickie - most of you should already know this, but some of you might not. The deploy tile is a strange sort of tile, with respect to stomping. You can't move onto your opponent's deploy tile, so you can't stomp in the traditional sort of way. You can, however, perform a melee attack at the tile, which will "stomp" the KOed unit on that square.

 Well, ok, but so what? The difference is, as always, 1 AP. A ranged unit can KO at a distance of 2 tiles, and generally would be able to use the next AP to move over the downed unit and stomp. HOWEVER, this does not apply if the final square is a deploy tile! See this diagram for illustration (I know, these graphics are so 1980s, right?). The Ninja has 800HP and no resists. The Imp has 300 damage. In 5AP, if the Ninja wasn't on a deploy tile but anywhere else, the Imp would be able to do a 5AP killstomp. But not now!

 So, just a tip - keeping your unit on the deploy tile basically gives +1AP protection against ranged units.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Consider the soul bomb

When I first tried DE (after my first 5 games with CL - man they're boring XD), the one thing I thought was REALLY crap was the soulbomb. Inferno does a buttload of damage, and stomps. Soulbomb (it's really called soul harvest by the way) does a piddily 100 damage, and rezzes multiple characters. Meeeeh.

Now I know better, though. The best thing about a soulbomb is not the damage, it's not the rez (although those are realllly useful), it's the increased max health. You see, the soulbomb gives all your units extra life, depending on how many enemy units it hits. It's a byzantine calculation depending on how many enemy units you hit, the resistance of the enemy units you hit, how many units you have on the field... see here for a spreadsheet Drvumad helpfully did up - (I can't remember this crap either!)

So what's so great about getting maybe 40 extra HP? 1 AP, that's what.

Take a look at this:

0% resist
Hits 200     300     450     600
2 400     600     900     1200
3[1] 600     900     1350   1800
4[2] 800     1200   1800   2400
5[3] 1000   1500   2250   3000

20% resist
Hits 200   300     450     600
2 320   480     720     960
3[1] 480   720     1080   1440
4[2] 640   960     1440   1920
5[3] 800   1200   1800   2400

It's a damage table I calculated, so that I don't have to calculate damage every time. A 200 damage unit does 640 damage in 4AP to a 20% resist unit, and so on. In particular, notice the numbers that come up. A normal 200 damage unit does 800 damage in 4 hits to a 0% resist unit, and 5 hits to a 20% resist unit. That means a kill in 4 AP or 5 AP respectively. But add 40 HP, and that's suddenly a kill in 5 and 6 AP! That's huge! Another number is 960 with 20% resist. That's a normal 800 unit with a brooch and helm. That should be a 4 AP kill with a 300 damage unit, but add 40 HP, and that's suddenly a 5AP kill! So, don't sleep on the soulbomb. A soulbomb appearing in your hand early in the game can be a game changer, not a waste of a slot. If you have too many items, think about throwing it out, especially in the early game when your opponent doesn't have swords out on the field, and the 200damage v 800HP unit situation happens all the time.