Monday, June 18, 2012

Rayje (DE) v greatgonzales (CL) - Grand Finals Reegan Memorial Tournament Game 2

Hi everyone! Looks like we've got the second match between Great Gonzales and Rayje - this one ended so quickly, we didn't have the time to do a live replay! (totally not because I was so slow. Ahem.) Can Rayje give GG some payback for the previous game? Let's find out!

Move 1
Alright, we've got the tribe map. If you've ever played on this map, you know how good (bad?) it is for crystal rushes. Rayje decides to start on the bottom, away from his gem tile. Ooo I don't know about that. Is he intending to contest GG's gem tile with the imp? The middle and bottom crystals are still up (obviously), so that's 600 physical damage - the imp can take the tile but not hold it. At the same time, he's going to be behind in covering his own gem tile. Dicey!

Move 2
GG opens with 2 wizards and the ninja. Very early ninja, which is actually not too bad - it's hard to threaten the ninja this early, and you have him out so you can upgrade him, making him pretty beefy next turn (at least 4 hits with a 300 damage unit). He doesn't have any clerics in hand, though, which must be pretty worrisome - any damage is going to stick for a while.

Move 3
Rayje takes the wiz, but summons the wraith to stomp, so that GG can't take the imp back with the ninja! This is getting exciting! GG can hit the wraith with 2 crystals, 1 move and 1 hit from the wiz, and then stomp, but that opens up the opportunity for the imp to move in and kill the ninja. That would be the ideal move, if Rayje smells that GG doesn't have any pots or clerics in the back. Is GG willing to bet it? If not, he'll have to dodge the ninja, and make a threat some other way - maybe move the ninja, shield the ninja, pull out an archer to kill the wraith.. something to turn his hand over while keeping the ninja 2AP away from the imp.

Move 4
GG shows that he's made of sterner stuff than I am, and goes for the top gem. MEGA bluff - if Rayje ignores this, GG can kill the top crystal. On this map... It's probably not a good idea to trade 1 crystal for 1 ninja.

Move 5
Rayje agrees, and reclaims his gem tile with his imp. Still, he's up 1 wiz for free at this point, and GG still has to spend AP to deal with the wraith hanging around in his territory.

Move 6-7
I think we're missing a move here, but it's clear what happened. GG took the time to bring out the archer and shielded it, and took out the wraith. Then, Rayje soul bombs everything of GG's on the lower half, and uses the raised wraith to work on the middle crystal some more. 

Move 8
GG swords the archer and takes out the wraith again. So they're about even on crystal, but GG's damaged crystal is the already vulnerable middle crystal, whereas the hard to hit top crystal for Rayje is already half down. On the unit front, they're about even as well, trading a bare wraith for a wiz, wizards being key crystal killers and the wraith being, well, a big lunk of super-not-very-useful.

Move 9
Long distance imp sniping. GG's managed to scrounge up a pot by now, though.

Move 10
Good ol teleport. I'm wondering why GG chose to swap with the relatively more high value archer than the wiz, though. Also, if he wanted to sac his necro, he could move move move shoot stomp, thus leaving phantoms to waste AP.

Move 11
Monks are speedy and have splash damage. Always good to remember. Not so easy to see coming, though.
Move 12
GG turns more cards. Move along.

Move 13
Rayje upgrades the necro, and shields him with the priestess. Not a bad idea - the necro can still 3 shot the archer, even if she has a shield on. Rayje can't do it from this position, though, so there's some maneuvering to be had first. With the archer at the bottom, its going to be hard to take both gem tiles and force a crystal kill win that way. If Rayje was going for a crystal kill, he could also have placed his necro behind the middle crystal to play peekaboo once he got a unit on his gem tile. If he's going for a TKO, then he should consider punishing GG for not having any clerics out.

Move 14
And the clerics are out. =) With 2 sworded archers on the map, and the knight on the gem tile, I'm not sure if ANY strategy is going to work at this point.

Move 15
Rayje's not giving up though! Tougher stuff than me, that's for sure. The first order of the day appears to be to get an imp upgraded and slowly move it forward to where we can get some hopefully uncontested kills, preferably units with bows on. Notice how the middle crystal stubbornly blocks the way? I'm wondering if placing the VM 1 square nearer, aiming to kill the middle crystal and splashing the archer, might help. To top it off, Rayje's hand is really terrible now- full of equipment to take hits, but seriously - nothing can really stand up to a sworded archer. For reference, the VM will go down in 3 hits with or without armor, and vanilla 800 hp units need 2 items to last a measly 3 AP. Not good.

Move 16
GG doesn't have to take any risks - nothing's threatening him directly now, so he's content to take out most of the bottom crystal, peekabooing with the bottom archer.

Move 17-18
Rayje moves his VM up somewhere (in front of the middle crystal?) blocks his gem tile with the priestess, and spends the rest of his AP equipping his necro. GG responds by taking out the VM with the forward archer, and fireballing the whole mess to stomp.
Move 19
Rayje moves the necro up and takes out the forward archer! Excellent move - this was why he spent the time buffing up the necro. Now, the necro can take 3 hits from the sworded archer before dying, and if the archer stomps, it's open to getting counter attacked by the sworded imp. If the cleric moves forward to rez the buffed archer, then either the archer or the cleric will be left in range of the necro (which means lights out!).

Move 20
GG avoids all that mess and does the forcing move - the wiz dives in and takes out the top crystal. Rayje has to respond, or he'll lose the middle crystal right there.

Move 21-22
It looks like Rayje took out the wiz with the imp, and phantomed the corpse. With the remaining 2 AP, he brings out... another necro? On the sword tile? GG shows what he thinks about shielding the crystal with a necro and punches right through, using a scroll and dealing significant crystal damage.

Move 23-24
Rayje heals the necro back up and takes out the archer, but the cleric waltzes in, touches the crystal and it's good game GG. :)

Looking back at the course of the game, it seems like this all started in move 4, where Rayje left his gem tile unprotected. Up to that point, he had a good attack going, but a wiz on that tile forced him to thin his units out too much, ending up with only 1 necro on the map, giving GG LOADS of time to get set up and in a commanding board position with forward knights and two sworded archers. Rayje spent another 5AP killing the ninja (which was really necessary), but by sacrificing the ninja GG got another 5AP to improve his position. On this map in particular, speed is essential. If you give your opponent 5 free AP to set up a gem kill, you are going to pay for it in spades, and not necessarily in crystal health, either - notice that the wiz didn't actually do all that much damage. The damage was forcing Rayje to back off his imp, giving GG time to improve his position. My advice - spend the 3AP to get a unit out and on your gem tile, or you'll really regret it later on this map, whether it's having to delay your attack at a crucial point to save your gem, or something else.

Hope y'all enjoyed the replay!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Face-full of buckshot - Gunner splash

This is as much for me as for you - now I'm sure you know about the VM T-splash, and the wizard's chain lighting, and so on. But the gunner has always been a strange beast to me, and I'm always having trouble "seeing" where gunners would like to go to town with the splash. These sorts of things work best visually, and I'm a visual sort of person, so here goes:

 This is the splash area when you target the square with the crossed circle in it.
 and this is the splash area where you aim diagonally.
I'm sure you guys can figure these pictures out. =) Remember, gunners cannot splash through units, so they can hit only a maximum of 3 units. They also MUST target a unit 2 squares away to get splash, however, when they do, the splash goes 3(!) squares away, so the gunner is really a 2.5 range unit (interesting insight credited to Ragnarok). Commit these patterns to memory, and you won't get splambushed again!



Thursday, June 7, 2012

randomhit(DE) v Ome15(TR) - Round Table Tournament

Hi everyone! Another replay here, mightily delayed due to my slowness and slooowwwnneesss. ;) But time doesn't hurt Hero Academy replays, and I expect this to be a very high level match! Interestingly, it is also the first Tribe match replay on this blog! Now it may not come as a surprise that I play DE (;)), but I haven't had many Tribe matches lately. Tribe generally have low damage, and tend to be bad at gem killing due to the lack of reliable splash. They have to make up for these deficiencies with the wave to disrupt protective formations, the meat to save AP on healing and attacking, and the stomp-rage. Most people think that DE have an advantage over TR, and the numbers seem to say that it's about a 10% advantage. I mainly think that its due to the ability of DE to increase health (so that axes and warriors can't 3 hit kill), life leech cancelling out the spiked shields. At the same time, it's hard to get your wraith up to speed (since eating triggers stomp rage as well), and necro-phantoming may not be the best option most of the time. So! Let's see how this one goes. =)


Move 1
5AP opening! Haven't seen one in a while. ;) This is the teleport map, so you have to be careful of a crystal kill. Both teams are pretty bad at crystal killing, though, so it's not that bad. As DE, I like to control the centre sword tile with a necro, since it denies SO MUCH space. But this is Tribe - a wave will ruin your day if you rely too much on positioning on tiles.

Move 2
Ome responds with a sworded spiked (check out those shoulder pads) witch. Everyone's jockeying for the teleport tile. With a range 3 unit like the witch and the necro, you can sit on the teleport tile and another unit on the crystal tile, and get megadamage on the medium crystal. But it's a medium crystal now, and a lot harder to kill - the one you really have to protect now is the rear small crystal, which only has 3000 HP. It's protected from melee by the flanking deploy tiles, so you really only have to worry about a frontal attack.

Move 3
Randomhit gets his necros into position, with one on the crystal tile and one on the teleport tile, getting ready for that crystal damage! At the same time, the imp is positioned to kill whatever goes on the crystal tile - any naked unit (save the chief or a warrior) will die in 3 hits, so that's a 5AP kill stomp.
Move 4
And guess what, Ome's got a chief! Curiously, Ome puts a axe on the teleport tile, instead of the 3 range witch. Worried about a imp kill, I suppose, but this means that he can't hit the crystal this turn. If he had a scroll, he could even have scrollkilled the witch and stomped, so I guess Ome doesn't want to take the risk.

Move 5
3 units in a T (or 2 arms of the T) means a VM will wreck your day, and look, here it is. =) The imp gets a bigger spear as well, probably to deal with the chief. Randomhit might be suspecting no doctor yet, and in that case you want to kill as much as you can because you don't need to stomp, and not stomping means no stomprage!

Move 6
Whelp, here comes the doctor. Randomhit has to stomp any kills now, lest the chain heal rez and meat put a big dent into what he thought was a clean kill. The warrior takes the place of the axe, and the axe goes on sword tile guard duty. I kind of feel that Ome spent a lot of AP not very efficiently see the witch and the axe moving around without accomplishing much. That stems from the fact that the witch was upgraded early, and Ome had to protect his investment - and I suppose he had to upgrade given his hand, but I don't know what his hand was at the time. ;)  Still, very unfortunate - control of the centre is now in Randomhit's hands, and Ome's all bunch up as VM food.

Move 7
Ome decides to clear out the top and move to the bottom. Whaaaaa? I really don't understand this move. Why? Maybe he thinks that Ome has to spend too much time attacking the top crystal, and he would do better by focusing on his own crystal attack? I don't know, but I would be sorely tempted to run my VM in and take 3 hits on the back crystal.  Live life dangerously! (and then undo and play the safe move)


Move 8
I'm just going to call it move 8, but I think we're missing a move here. As far as I can tell, Ome moved up his witch and took some shots at the medium crystal, and Randomhit upgraded a whole bunch of stuff. This is classic "build up and crush" strategy, but I can't help feeling that Randomhit is now the one with the cluttering problem. Notice for example how the buffed imp can't move anywhere except straight up, and can't attack anywhere either. Her role is now to make sure that any attack on the bottom ends up a trade at best, but with the priestess so far away, and with a wave/buffed witch/chief, it's very easy to overwhelm the rezzing or healing with massive AOE.


Move 9
Right. So Ome is finally all set up for crystal crushing, and starts with the wailing on the top crystal. Keep in mind that this is the big crystal, with 4500 HP, and is relatively easy to kill, and he still has to have a plan to kill the back crystal.
Move 10
Randomhit decides to counterattack and hit the witch and splash the back crystal. I like this, if I'm going for a crystal kill on this map I always try to kill the back crystal first. It just makes sense most of the time, and the splash really makes it worth it. But here's the thing about playing agaisnt the Tribe...

Move 11
They have LOTS of ways to ruin your day. >.> I'm guessing that the axe took the VM down to below 50%, and the warrior finished the deal. Randomhit probably wasn't planning on that, but he's got an ace up his sleeve! Remote rez to the rescue (bet you wish you could eat meat while passed out).
Move 12
Yup, that bomb sure has its uses. More splash, this time taking out the doctor - any time you can trade a unit for a doctor, I say do it. Even if its a triple upgraded VM, it's worth it in the long run - Tribe without rezzing means no stomp rage, and means you get 1 free AP every time you kill anything (you never need to stomp again)! Like dwarves, but that fat lady has a lot of armor and HP. >.>

Move 13
Ome has to take care of the VM threat, or his crystal is toast. So he does. This is another very good rule - always play your forcing moves first. In this case, randomhit not only killed 2 units and got a bunch of crystal damage for his VM, he also got initiative, which means he gets 5 free AP to set up whatever he wants for his next turn, and Ome gets to defend again. Once you're at a certain level, people just don't make exploitable mistakes any more - it's just who made the better decisions. And being able to control the situation means you're the one who gets to force your opponent to make decisions, or set up forced trades in your favor! Excellent. And well worth sacrificing units, sometimes.

Move 14
Randomhit decides the best use for his 5AP is to hit the bottom crystal. I guess it's ok, but I would have played another forcing move - I would have moved my VM up (2AP) and taken more shots at the back crystal. Just taking the 5 hits on the bottom crystal gives initiative back to Ome - let's see if he can use it well!

Move 15
I have to say, this a very tough move. Ome decides to use the initiative to macro up, get reinforcements, move his axe to the centre (??), and just consolidate in general. I really really don't know if he's got the time for this! The VM splash on crystal move is still open (and theVM can splash even more units now), and the axe is kind of fodder anyway - IMO, at least. I think it might be better to move the axe forward to block the bottom crystal, sacrifice it to get a stomprage, and then use the 4 AP to macro up if that's what he really wants. 1 imp isn't too big a price to pay for 4AP - now, randomhit has absolutely nothing stopping him from getting another 5 AP worth of damage on the bottom crystal.

Move 16
and that's exactly what randomhit wants. I'd still do the VM move the VM move is a forcing move, whereas this move is not. It's generally better to play forcing moves before moves which give up the initiative. In Go terminology, play sente moves before gote moves. ;) (I was all about to be smug and find a webpage saying this, but I guess I read it in a book somewhere? Gah. Anyway it sounds like exotic East Asian Mysticism, so I'm leaving it here!)

Move 17
Ome bravely seizes the initiative and.. brings out a shedload of units. UM. I really don't know about that.. Tribe thrive on trades, and should NEVER be afraid to make them - it's rarely the case where a unit trade ends up not in the favor of the Tribe. Why not do something like charge the priestess, move down to the crystal, meat or not meat and whirlwind the hell out of everything? There's only 1 bomb left, and the priestess can't deal with everything. And then if there are any bodies left over the witch can have a ball - anything to avoid just taking 5AP upon 5AP of damage to the lower crystal, and leaving his back crystal unscratched! I guess I can't see his hand, so I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing it's cluttered with units and Ome wants to wait for a hand of waves and meats before going in... but I don't think he has the luxury of time here.

Move 18
Randomhit carries on with the bottom crystal. Notice how Ome is getting close to closing off the back crystal - another reason why I would do the VM forcing move.

Move 19
Some action! Ome charges his chief in, finally! some damage on the back crystal, but it looks like he didn't have any meat. Pity!

Move 20
Randomhit moves his priestess up and took a shot at the crystal, not enough to kill, though. Why not the VM? Hmm.

Move 21
Ome responds by waving the necros forward, taking the crystal tile with the witch, and doing the old chop chop. Pretty good chunk of damage there!

Move 22
The imp finally sees some action and takes out the witch - no stomp, remember, there are no doctors around. The priestess also finally takes out the back crystal.

Move 23
We've got a crystal race here, but it's too little too late - the warrior facerolls on the top crystal taking it out in one hit with sheer ugliness, and the chief does a ginzu commercial, but...

Move 24
The imp takes it. All that equipment......... =p
Fairly interesting game - I think Ome had the bad luck to have all units and no meats or waves or doctors, but eh, what you gonna do about it? Hope you all enjoyed the replay! Let me know if I missed anything - I'm no Tribe expert after all (or a Hero Academy expert, for that matter....) and have fun!