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! =)
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
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.
I move my imp onto the teleport tile (just out of range of the sword tile), but threatens a 4AP kill on the heavy if he decides to take the sword tile. Priestess is there to block the backstab. Remember that TF gets an AP refund on stomp, and that includes telestomps! Having 2 TF units deep in your rear with spare AP is not fun!
Vic: Okay, so Nat won't be going for my crystal, at least not yet. At this point I'm contemplating if I want to go crystal or TKO but haven't made up my mind.
Vic covers his teleport tile and threatens to 3AP killstomp my imp with his pyro by positioning behind his crystal. Note also that if he decided to go for a crystal kill, my crystal is in range of his demo. My VM could potentially come into play now, given that he can splash the heavy and the demo, but I'll only do so if he decides to go for crystal, so that I can heal up my VM while doing damage. Otherwise, that option would be too slow now.
Vic: I see your Imp move; let's see if he's afraid of fire. That Pyro is itching to pull that trigger and light 'em up! I bring out the Demoman because I'm still not sure if I want to go crystal or not. Splashing his VM would be nice, especially that it has no sword equipped, so he's not much of a threat... Let me get a medic out first in case he gets punch happy. I also deploy the Scout to turn my cards quicker.
I sword the VM so that I can make good on my threat to splash the demo and the heavy. At the same time, I defuse both the pyro and spy threat by helming the imp. Note that the pyro and spy are not upgraded, so spy backstab only does 800 (imp is 880 with helm) and pyro takes 4 shots to kill a helmed imp (300 * 3 * 0.8 = 720). If he attempts to do so, he cannot stomp, so my priestess will rez the imp to return the favor, forcing a respawn. I also move my priestess, because pyro can splash imp and priestess. If pyro does so, he cannot kill imp, but will kill priestess. I can then take the trade of a pyro for a priestess, but my imp would have low health and the spy would be able to backstab, leaving my monk to fend off the units while I struggle to get units back on the board. Since this is a recorded game, better to take the safe option! =D
However, note that this means the priestess is in range of a heavy on the sword tile. This means that the tiles directly above and below the priestess are no longer safe, even though they would normally be out of range of the heavy on the sword tile.
Vic: Awww what? sworded VM AND helmed Imp? Crap. I need an Engineer with the quickness! That Priestess does make such a pretty target for my Heavy though... But 2 AP to move and 3 AP on the sword tile is only 600 points of damage. That Imp would then kill my Heavy in 4 AP, standing in front of the Priestess. I could then move the Pyro on the sword tile and kill the Imp, which would be rez'd and I'd lose both the Heavy and Pyro.
Out comes the medic. Ugh. With only 3 units on the board, I'm afraid of Vic forcing a trade, thereby leaving me at a severe unit disadvantage. Even though the trades might be even when viewed in isolation, deploying units also takes AP, and you may not have enough AP left to make use of your newly deployed units.
Vic: I can't attack anything yet so I bring out a Soldier and Medic. If that VM wants a TF punching bag, he'll have a soldier shooting rockets in his face; that'll give him something to really frown about. I also move the Spy forward to require one less AP to backstab the VM if he attacks the Demo and doesn't retreat.
I decide to spend a scroll and take out a bunch of units. Remember that the heavy is the only really durable unit on TF - at 1200HP, a sworded VM needs 4 hits to take one out. It's the only unit above 800 HP (3 hits of naked imp or sworded VM/necro), and so I don't mind spending a scroll if I can take it out. That said, in this instance, I didn't stomp, so Vic can still respawn the heavy. He can't medic rez though, because there's just not enough AP to move, rez, and still save the units. However, I think I still come out ahead because I managed to kill the spy, and it's highly unlikely Vic will spend the respawn on the spy. Remember that once the jars are gone, the spy and the heavy are the only 2 units that have a good chance of killing a helmed VM.
Also, note that the VM has 20% resist and 880 HP - this means that without a jar, Vic needs 4 soldier or pyro shots to kill the VM, and if he doesn't stomp, I get to spend a soulbomb and wreck shop. Even if he moves the pyro to the sword tile (2AP) he cannot kill in 2AP (400*2*0.8 = 720), leading to the same situation. I would actually be very happy if he did that, as the soulbombs are kinda clogging up my hand - I would like to use them, but to use them to the fullest (i.e. to rez and to boost hp at the same time, to take full advantage of the soulbomb's effect) I need to have a KOed unit.
Vic: UGH! Why did I put the Spy on that same row?! Bad move! Now I'm going to have to use a jar on that stupid VM or he'll kill my Medic. I also use a respawn on the Heavy because he's crucial in this matchup. I need as much physical attack as I can get.
Vic does have a jar, though, and spends it. I'm not too heartbroken. =p For his jar, he got a VM, a soulgem, and a sword. That's ok - I haven't spent my soulbombs yet, so I can still get monster units up and running later. For now, though, I have to get more units on the field - my imp is looking lonely.
Vic: I really contemplated saving the Spy, because he shapes so much of the board with his deterrence, but I didn't want to use both respawns and I absolutely need the Heavy. If I can use an Engineer to upgrade him and get him on that sword tile, Nat is DEAD! But I still don't have an Engineer...
I get another imp and priestess on the board, but now I have 2 soulbombs and 2 pots clogging up my hand. Ugh. Note how I spread my units out such that they cover each other, while avoiding possible pyro splash. Luckily, no snipers are on the board yet, so I can spread out as I like. On his map, a sniper on the bottom (or for the reverse, top) row is REALLY tough to deal with.
Vic: No VM's out? Ok, good, I need a breather after that gaffe.
Move 10The power of TF shows itself - once the heavy appears again, he shapes the entire board without even having to think about equipment. I worry about the sword tile again.
Vic: Still no Engineer?? Ugh. This isn't good. I need to be upgrading my units right now as Nat prepares for his next attack. So I bring out the other Demo, hopefully he'll do more than simply having his teeth knocked out. I also bring back the Heavy, because he's just itching to jump on that sword tile and heat up his gun. Now where the heck is that Engineer?!
To prevent someone from taking a tile, often it's useful to take the tile yourself. Even if your opponent can dislodge you, that forces him to spend AP, which means fewer AP to mess with you. In this case, I take a potshot at the demo and soldier, and squat on the sword tile. Note that this means the demo is now a 2 hit kill with the imp. I'm praying for a good unit draw next turn..
Vic: Great, here's another backflipping, punch happy VM to deal with.
Vic knocks me off the sword tile, but doesn't take it himself. Instead, he takes the opportunity to KO the VM and move up at the same time. My hand is still crap. >.>
Vic: Wohoo! Engineer finally shows up. But I need to deal with that VM first, he's just too close for comfort.
I take the opportunity to spend my hand. Rezzing with the priestess, I pot the VM, soulbomb the top right corner (you can see the minor damage on the medic etc) and retreat. Hopefully I get better cards! On hindsight, though, my positioning wasn't ideal...
Vic: Uh oh, super VM on the way?
The heavy moves in on the sword tile. UGH. And with just 2 shots, he takes off a whole bunch of HP - I didn't even know that he could hit the imp from there! Remember when I said that my imp was guarding the sword tile and could threaten a 4AP kill? That's still true, but no longer important - even if I get the 4AP heavy kill, the damaged units means that the demo or pyro could sweep in, blow the heck out of everything, and stomp his way out on the DE corpse highway.
Vic: That's okay, it's Heavy on the sword tile time!! Yeeeessssss! That sword tile felt oh so good. But I needed another AP on it to truly wreck Nat's units.
Now that the imp 4AP kill is no longer open to me, I need to seize the initiative. I can't play passive and defend - with so many damaged units, that just won't work. So, to seize the initiative, I move my VM up boldly, take out the soldier, and threaten to killstomp the medic. Helpfully, the gem I had equipped earlier tops off my VM, so Vic will have to spend 4AP to kill again.Why kill the soldier and not the demo? Well, remember 2x pyro and 2x soldier are TF's only 300 damage hitters. Spy and heavy do good physical damage, sure, but you need to position very carefully (melee or backstab). Straight up trading units never works against TF, but trading away your low damage units for his high damage ones will leave you in a good position at the endgame - for example, demomen have practically no chance of taking out a helmed VM.
This threat works, too, because TF only has 2 medics, and taking one of them out has severe consequences for the end game - respawns are great, but they don't allow a unit to pop back up and wreck the back lines like how a CL potion or a soulbomb do. So, not stomping becomes a great option when the medic is too afraid to take a forward position.
Vic: Nooiiiiiiice! Very nice, Nat. I didn't even consider that possibility. I kept thinking of all his counter moves healing and attacking the Heavy, all of which I liked. But not this move. I don't like this move at all.
Vic does this weird shuffle and puts his second heavy and his medic in range of the VM and splash. Woah. This is weird, because if I have a sword or scroll (and I actually have both), this VM can equip sword (or scroll), attack x4, and KO both heavy and medic, both high value units. If I do so, he will have to respawn either heavy or medic.
To retaliate, he must have both a jar and a 300 damage unit (respawn, deploy unit, jar, attack attack stomp). In his deck, I know that he only has 1 respawn, 1 jar, and 3 300 damage units left (2 pyros and 1 soldier). Still, by making this move, he's daring me to take the bait and sword my VM and gamble on whether he has all that in his hand.
Vic: In hindsight, I take an unnecessary gamble here. Thinking he has no sword or scroll in his hand (don't ask me why I thought that, I can be a space cadet at times) I bring out the other Heavy and move the Medic behind him. I'm thinking that without a sword or scroll, his VM would have to retreat or be kill stomped by the Heavy (How could I have spaced out that badly, though??).
I decide to take the gamble. In fact, it's a gamble that only has upside for me, and no downside. If Vic doesn't have a respawn, I get a heavy and medic for a sworded VM. Not too shabby. If he doesn't have a jar or a 300 damage unit, I force him to spend his respawn and I get to use my soulbomb and pot and escape, or wreck shop. If he does have all three... well, he spends a respawn, a jar, a heavy or medic, for my (1 soulbomb) VM, soul gem and sword.
This would also be his second jar, while I have 1 VM, helm, soulgem and sword left, which means I still have 1 potential monster VM. Remember that he only has 3 300 damage units left, and 1 spy. Also, if he takes out my VM, the next turn I can execute my 4AP kill of his sword tile heavy, leaving him with no heavies.On balance... that's reasonable, if not pretty good for me!
Vic: Nat had a sword... And a scroll. Sigh, what was I thinking?! Oh I wasn't? Ok that explains it.
He does have a jar, respawn (he respawns the medic), and soldier in his hand. Hmm. I guess I'll have to take out his heavy.
Vic: I thought about saving the Heavy instead of the Medic, but with the amount of mistakes I've been making in this game I can't rely on winning this with just one Medic.
2 heavies down! Running tally - 2 pyros, 1 soldier, 1 spy. This positioning gives the pyro a free imp kill, but I'll take that trade. If the pyro stomps and retreats to within 2 tiles of the sword tile, the other imp gets a 2 hit kill (400damage *2), but I'm loathe to leave the teleport tile unguarded - the demo could pop through and splash lotso junk.
Vic: Goodbye Heavy! Way to hold down that sword tile, dude! Ugh. This game has gone from bad to ugly for me.
Pyro takes the imp and retreats up. Ok, now I need to contest the sword tile again - the heavies might be gone, but a demo on the sword tile would be nearly as bad.
Vic: Nat's selling an Imp for $free.99? Why yes, thank you.
A bit of clumping occurring, but at the lower part of the board, away from the demo. With this, the fresh imp is 2AP away from the sword tile, and within 1AP from attacking range. With the heavies gone, the imp can 3 shot whatever's on that tile. Also, remember that an imp on the sword tile gets a 2 hit kill on 800 HP units, so that pyro better move.
Vic: Crap, I was hoping his last VM would be buried in his deck. I could have used some luck right now!
The pyro doesn't move! YES! Vic even spent the AP to upgrade it!
Vic: I finally get to use my Engineer! Hurry up dude, upgrade these guys; we have helmets to crack! I thought about trading my Pyro for that wounded Priestess, but I've lost too many units at this point. I think I'm going to have to attempt a crystal win now.
This is a must kill. Under normal circumstances, it would be a trade (and I would still happily take that trade), but I have a wraith in hand. Remote stomp whoo! Running tally - 1 soldier, 1 pyro, 1 spy.
Vic: Fantastic, I upgraded that Pyro just to have him stabbed in the chest. Twice.
Vic takes the wraith. Instead of retreating the scout, he retreats with the engie. This is reasonable, as the engie is kind of important - without an engie, you don't get 390 units. Still, I'm happy to take the scout!
Vic: What he said.
In fact, I go one better, safely stomping by deploying a necro and cluttering the board with a phantom.
Vic: Oh, nice.
Vic goes the upgrade route, rather than attacking. Here you see the result of having too few attacking units - he can't trade, even if it would be technically advantageous, as his lone demo/soldier wouldn't be able to threaten anything. As it is, he's forced into a corner due to the need to protect his medic.
Vic: I really didn't see what I could be attacking that would have a favorable result for me. I guess after losing the Heavies I really didn't think I could pull off a win.
I take the middle with the necro on the sword tile, and start on the monster VM. I don't need to spend the soulbomb or the pot for a monster VM, as a plain old 960 HP VM takes 5AP to kill with a 390 unit. I'll keep those in reserve in case my VM needs to pop back up and wreck shop. As it is, the VM needs 4AP to kill, which is pretty hardy for just 1 piece of equipment. =)
Vic: Here we go again...
Vic looks intimidating with his double ubercharge. >.> he also spawns his pyro. He thinks his pyro is safe, but...
Vic: 4 AP to kill that VM is too much, so I charge the Soldier to kill him in 3 and the Engi to kill him in 4 if he's within range. If he attacks I'll end up losing several units again but at least I could kill stomp that VM. If that happens I have hope of pulling this upset. I also deploy the Pyro, if the Imp kills him then I'll trade with the Spy.
His medic can't move down and rez the pyro without exposing himself, and even if he did, he wouldn't be able to save the pyro and do anything significant. Running tally - 1 soldier, 1 spy!
Vic: Nat goes for the Pyro. I don't feel like I'm in a position to be trading units, but that's one less Imp to worry about.
There's the spy!
Vic: I make the trade. And if that Necro decides to attack the Spy I'll rez, backstab and feed him a sandvich. This would be great because the Spy would be at full health and could kill that lower Imp. Or if the VM attacks my units on the top, the Spy could reach him in one AP. Oh this is good!
I have to take out the spy, as it's one of the 2 last options for Vic to take out my VM at this point. Vic knows this, and knows he has to save the spy. He can move his medic down, rez, move spy, backstab necro, stomp and then retreat. Regardless, the spy will have 130 HP from the rez, and would be easy pickings. Usually a freshly rezzed unit would have 100HP and die from just the soulbomb, but the medic is upgraded. Darn that engie! I swear, he exists just to annoy DE.
Vic: Nat falls for the trap! Yes!
I actually wasn't expecting the sandvich. The sandvich makes the spy incredibly dangerous, as now spy can take out imp, or just retreat completely safely. Directly attacking spy is also dangerous, as none of my units can killstomp - and if there's no kill stomp, medic will move, rez, heal, spy escapes, and my VM still has to be careful of spy. If I used my imp to kill spy, I could take out his medic, probably, but would leave my teleport tile open.This is how comebacks happen, and I'm not going to allow that!
Vic: Backstabbing time! *Sniff* *sniff* You smell that? That's the beginning of a comeback!
I scrollkill the spy. Sure, it might be wasteful scrollkilling the spy, but what else would I use the scroll on? It's worth spending a bit of my advantage to make sure that my ultimate advantage (monster VM) stays safe.Now, at this point, the ubercharged soldier is doing 585 raw damage, which after VM resist would be 350 per hit. At 930HP, the VM can take 3 such hits. Now, I was expecting him to move to the gem assault tile, which means that the VM would be knocked back diagonally and out of the range of the soldier, but I thought wrong - instead, the soldier moved to the tile left of the demo. I was so surprised I forgot to take a screenshot. ^^; With the crystal as a backstop, he took out the VM in 3 shots. Thankfully, he didn't have anything in range to stomp!
Vic: Whaaaaat?? A scroll on a spy?! Don't you want to save that for a Medic or something?! Dang.
I kill the VM in 4 AP but don't have enough to stomp. Dang it. I have a scout in hand but not enough AP for that either. That stupid VM is going to be rez'd and is going to plant permanent metal marks on all the TF's faces!
I immediately rezzed and potted. Yes, I could have kept my priestess safe if I had used the soul bomb, but I can afford to lose a priestess at this stage. The soul bomb might prove itself useful later, if I did have to leave my VM in range of the soldier for whatever reason.
Vic: Bummer, I was hoping he'd at least use his last soulharvest.
Vic takes my priestess. He spent rather a lot of AP doing so, though, due to soldier's knockback.
Vic: 3 AP to kill a unit is a lot?
Tabby: Sure it is! That's a weak less-than-half HP priestess, you'd expect that beefy soldier to have his way with her in like 1AP or something!
Monster VM complete! At 1010 HP and 40% magic resist, he now needs (390*5*0.6 = 1175) 5 shots to kill the VM. If I play it patient, I should be ok. Even with ubercharge, soldier needs (585*3*0.6 = 1050) 3 AP to kill. Due to knock back, this would be difficult.
Vic: Monstah Void Monk? No Jar to throw in his face? I am SO dead.
Here comes a sniper! The first sniper! I think Vic should have deployed him some time ago, preferably on the bottom row. Could have done some good, I'd have to worry about him sniping the teleport tile guard, telestomping and tossing grenades, at least. Now, I also need to consider the soldier knocking the VM onto the sniper's row as well, but without jar, snipers are less big of a deal. I'd do the calculation here, but I'm lazy - go check out my damage calculator. ;p
Vic: Yes, it would have been ideal to deploy a Sniper earlier, much earlier. But I was too busy getting my face punched in and making mistakes. So the Sniper is late. Really late.
The beginning of the end - abusing my monster VM by denying the sword tile while splashing a whole lot.
Vic: Yeah... This is going to be a painful end. That's a lot of cracked teeth right there.
As calculated, even an ubered upgraded soldier shot followed by a crouched sniper shot won't kill ol' ironsides...
Vic: I'm only killing this VM if Nat makes a mistake. I don't think that's going to happen.
And with the soulgem, I get to abuse splash and heal up at the same time! Really, staying in a tight bunch like that is no solution; given my lack of single target damage, the better strategy might be to spread out a bit. Still, who can spare the AP...
Vic: Spreading out Nat? Easier said than done at this point. Spreading out would give your VM direct access to a Medic's face and start shattering their expensive glasses. They don't like it when you do that.
Spreading out, but too little too late.
Vic: My plan here in moving the Scout was to be 1 AP away from the spot the VM is standing on in the picture. I was thinking your VM would go splash some and retreat to the sword tile. After which I would move the Scout there (negating the Soldier knockback) and kill your VM in 3 AP, stomp with the Scout and maybe do a dance or two. But that obviously didn't happen. Considering that move gave me some serious horse blinders, as I failed to consider that your VM didn't have to retreat back to the sword tile.
Tabby: I was actually specifically watching out for that move! After getting surprised by the crystal acting as a backstop up at move 34, you betcha I wasn't going to let that happen again!
Watch the T-Shape! Now that VM got to advance while KOing the soldier, there's no way that soldier can rez and either escape or kill VM, especially since I have a soulbomb in hand.
And there's the GG. =) This was an exciting game, I was on tenterhooks for most of it, and I certainly got a jolt at move 34, where my VM got KOed (but not stomped)! I can't help thinking that earlier snipers might have done some good, especially since I was allowed to spread myself out to avoid splash damage.
Hope you guys enjoyed the replay!
Vic: Good game, Nat! You played this very well, while I played quite poorly and those mistakes made it hard to bounce back from.
But you also kept me under pretty much endless pressure and you held the initiative for almost all of the game. Kudos, dude.
I need to find a way to not be so mistake prone, and I'd appreciate any constructive criticism or advice from you readers.