Thursday, January 31, 2013

Game Replay: tabby_nat (DE) v edotensei (TR)

Hi all! Thus far, in all my replays, I haven't done TR yet, and that's because quite honestly, I don't exactly have a strategy against TR - the wave is just too crazy to constantly guard against, and trying to test all combinations of axe and warrior really gives me a headache!

DE tends to have an advantage against TR, in the sense that DE never needs to worry about spiked shield resulting in weakened attackers and getting counter-attacked against weakened units. That said, DE doesn't exactly have "explosive" AOE attacks in the first place, and axe throwers are just crazy good against the high HP DE units.

So, my TR games tend to involve me turtling HARD behind crystals and whatever else that will stop me from sliding over to the TR side, staying extra out of range, littering the board with phantoms, and hoping that I can force enough trades so that I get into the late game with both sides low on "stuff", and I can stop worrying about waves and meats so much. Because of this (and axes), I tend to focus more on the necro and the imp. VMs are only good if I can somehow catch 2 or more of the shamans together, and strike a decisive blow against TR's healers, but this doesn't happen often.

Thankfully for you, I've managed to get a showmatch against edotensei, who appears to be reasonably competent with TR. =p So here goes!

Move 1
3 imp opening hand. I'm loving this game already!

Move 2
Edo has a good start with a chief and a shaman out already. No cheap kills for me this game, it seems. At least I have the imps out so that I can conceivably trade for the chief if he decides to come in early.

Edo: So im delighted to play vs Tabby and his Dark elves. Dark elves seem to have a slight advantage vs tribe due to negation of the tribe shield and just the ability to do well in the endgame coupled with the fact that when i ko multiple targets it helps the wraith with ready made meal to become a god unit. my advantage lies in being unpredictable with the wave and trying to get some free kills. 
My 2 losses in my league games came on this map so im not to delighted about it. here tabby opens very aggressively with both imps challenging my sword square and looking to take advantage of any opening mistake, i proceed cautiously. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Quick tip: Soul Harvest

Ah, the soul harvest. So stylish, so underutilized. As you probably know, soul harvest (or the soul bomb, as I like to call it) has several effects. The main one is, it revives all KOed friendly units on the board. It also increases the max health of units, as well as dealing 100 damage to enemy units in a 3x3 square.

Reviving KOed units
Yes. It does this. You know this. Next.

Increasing the max hp of units
DE thrive on getting increased HP on their units, and even a little bit of HP means a whole lot. For example, a VM at 960 HP takes 4 hits from an unupgraded archer. But add just 5 HP for 965 HP, and suddenly that VM takes 5 hits! That extra AP to kill? Priceless. This is basically why people complain about unkillable monster VMs. :) To give your opponent even more grief, aim for >1080 HP VMs - those will survive 3 hits from a sworded archer (that's a scrolled hit!), and truly live up to their name of "monster VM.
This is not to say units other than VMs can't benefit from soul harvests - check out this Impaler. Without even a single piece of equipment, she's over 900 HP, which means it'll take 4 hits from an unupgraded archer to take her out. That's as good as a unit with a shield! And remember that the buff applies to all units on the board, so you could conceivably have your whole team effectively shielded.
In particular, this is a real boon to your priestesses, as you would normally never think to spend equipment on them. With souls harvests, your priestesses get a free ride and additional protection for free!
I can hear the outraged cries now. "Damage?!" You cry. "You mean that paltry 100 damage that gives even the puniest cleric the tickles?!"Yes, damage. Specifically, damage on 650 units, and especially against TF. Why?
Check out the HP of this spy. 550. It may not occur to you right now, but remember that every action in this game is governed by AP. 650 HP might as well be 800 HP for all that does - your 200 damage units still need 4 hits to KO, and your 300 damage units still need 3 hits.

But wait! After the soul bomb, spies have only 550 HP! That's 3 hits and 2 hits respectively! That's -1 AP, and that is huge! Also, keep in mind that the soul bomb has an area of effect - you can rack up a whole lot of -1 APs to kill in just 1 soul bomb!

Even outside of 650 HP units, 100 damage can come in handy in lots of situations - take for example, newly rezzed units. Apart from the cleric and upgraded medic (boo) freshly rezzed units have 100 HP or fewer - feel free to drop a bomb on them and then spawn a wraith to stomp for good measure! There's no hiding from the soul bomb. :) Soul bombs are also fantastic for taking out phantoms (you can get ridiculous HP buffs this way) and for dealing crystal damage (remember that they deal full gem assault tile bonus damage, which can be really significant especially when you get hit 2 crystals at the same tile, like on the tribe map or the staggered crystals in a field map).

Blobertson also reminded me that this piddling amount of damage? Also breaks bubbles, beer, TF medic link, stuff like that - it's particularly good against TF medic because the link target needs to get healed up before the link can be re-established (shades of matrix), whereas it's not that good against bubbles because soul bombs that don't do damage don't give bonus health. Still, it's a good option to look out for!

All of the above
But you know what the best thing about the soul bomb is? It's the fact that all of the above advantages aren't mutually exclusive! If you're lucky (or you plan ahead), you can have the soul bomb Rez your down unit AND bump it above 900/1080 damage AND damage a whole bunch of spies AND deal crystal damage with a cherry on top!
Now that? Is the perfect soul harvest. :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Do you like the mobile template? Leave me a comment!

I just noticed that blogger defaults mobile viewers to the mobile template. This might be ok for iPhone viewers, but could be annoying for iPad viewers - especially if you're reading a replay, where you don't get the big pictures or the left/right justified text..

So guys, would you prefer it if I disabled the mobile template? Let me know in the comments!

Game replay: tabby_nat(DE) v theycallmevic(TF)

Hi everyone! It's been a while since my last game replay, and there's been some discussion of the DE/TF match, so I thought I'd put up a replay! =) This was a game between me and TheycallmeVic, and it's a real classic! TheycallmeVic will also be giving his point of view, so TF2 players, take note! =)

Before we begin, a few words about the DE/TF matchup - TF is generally known as the team which thrives on trades, and to that end, TF has 18 units, compared to DE's 13. Unit for unit, TF tends to be more powerful as well. However, TF gets no equipment, unlike DE, so your units are as good out of the box as they'll ever be.TF also has the jarate, which basically means that TF can kill 2 DE units almost at will. This means that until the jarates are spent, your "monster" VM or Wraith, aint so monster. TF also has the engineer, which means that soul bombs and pots no longer make your units 1 AP more durable (300damage units take 4AP to kill a 905HP unit, but at 390 damage, engineer upgraded units still only take 3 AP to kill).

On the other hand, once the jarates are spent, TF has a really hard time taking care of helmed units. The key HP point is 930 HP - 3 390damage shots will do 930HP to a 20% resist unit (i.e. helmed necros and imps, and naked VMs). Without jarate, a 390 damage unit needs a whopping 5 shots to take care of a helmed VM! This is a serious problem for TF, and basically means that without spy or heavy support, it's hard to deal with VMs.

What this means for DE in this matchup is that DE needs ways to get "free" kills. You need to i) splash a whole bunch of units in your trade (VM), ii) stay safe by pulling the dead TF unit away from counter attacks (imp), or (iii) stomp safely (necro, wraith).

Regarding the map, this is a generally good map for TF due to the sword tile in the middle - as DE, you CANNOT give up control of this tile. A heavy parked on this tile will deny the entire middle of the map, causing you to bunch up and die to demomen and pryos. Similarly, a demo on the sword tile will cause LOTSA pain. The wide open map also opens you up to spy backstabs, so you need to watch your back.On the bright side, the teleport squares allow you to dive deep if your opponent neglects to cover his teleport tile, and if your opponent does cover his teleport tile, that unit (and the units around it) will be vulnerable to a VM or imp hiding behind your crystal.

Right! So on with the game! =)

Move 1

Nothing surprising, I place a VM behind the crystal so that Vic will be encouraged to leave his teleport tile open, for possible future harassment.

Vic: Nooooo, not this map! I don't have a good track record here. But ah well, let's see what happens

Move 2

Vic brings out a heavy, spy and pyro. Ouch. His heavy is 2 AP away from the sword tile, and his spy can backstab whatever I place on that tile, so I need to be cautious for now. At least there aren't any medics on the field, so I can threaten to 4AP kill the heavy without stomping, forcing him to spend a respawn or lose the heavy.

Vic: Seeing what's in my hand, I'm thinking of deploying the Heavy and the Spy to support him. The Spy will also deter Nat from occupying the sword tile. I brought out the Pyro just because he likes to burn stuff.