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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Long distance imp sniping. GG's managed to scrounge up a pot by now, though.
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.
Monks are speedy and have splash damage. Always good to remember. Not so easy to see coming, though.
GG turns more cards. Move along.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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.
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!
- ► 2013 (17)