Monday, March 18, 2013

Game Replay: ikarigendo (TF) v masterpiece2 (DW)

Hi all, here's a new replay, ikarigendo (TF) v masterpiece2 (DW)!

TF and DW are two of the best teams in the game right now, but for different reasons - DW takes damage like a boss, with the bubble absorbing attempted one hit burst damage, and the pally aura making unequipped units +1 AP to kill most of the time. DW needs a lot of time to get the "dwarf fortress" set up with pallys in the right spots, engineers behind bubbling, and so on. DW also excels in spreading AOE damage around, with grenadiers and gunners both doing significant splash damage. Single target damage is a bit more of a weak point, though, as DW only has 2 drills and the Annihilator to do massive single target damage with (and gunners in melee range, but those are much easier to defend against, as compared to an archer or even an impaler).

On the other hand, TF is great because their units are expendable - they get more units than any other team, and the units are great right out of the box (they have the most vanilla 300 damage dealers) - just deploy them and go! If TF manages to get a stomp, they can always retreat from the stomp due to the bonus AP that TF gets when stomping, or use that bonus AP to deploy or set up your next attack. Having a jar means that your opponent's high value units are never completely safe when there are high damage units around, but on the downside, without the jar, TF doesn't have good single target damage - unlike every other team, TF can never 2-shot another unit barring exceptional circumstances (like having a spy backstab or medic link).

Let's see how this match goes. =)

Masterpiece: as this was our first game blog, we forgot to take 2 shots for each turn, and we did not take screenshots that showed HP on each turn.  I’ve done my best to recap each move which will shed light on how much HP each unit has.

ikarigendo: this match started in the previous patch, before the Pali, sniper, and heavy nerfs. We knew that balance changes were on the way, but didn't know exactly what they would be or when they would hit. I can't remember which turn the changes hit, but it was near the end of the game.

The stats say this map/team matchup is dead even, with emphasis (though statistically not significant) on a 40ish turn crystal kill. It’s worth reviewing the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses before getting started.

TF2 strengths / weaknesses in this matchup:
·         Trading offensive units: When playing them with the Dwarves, I have to be particularly careful to not get into trade situations since I have 7 offensive units and TF2 has 12 if you count the re-spawns.
·         Crystal kill: this team is a powerful CK team.  Demo-Man, Soldier and Heavy are deadly crystal killers.  With the Scout’s ability to get on the gem tiles quickly, this makes them a CK-capable team.  That being said, Dwarves are a bit better here in my mind.
·         Speed: TF2 is faster than DW, both out of the gate and once they get settled due to the team AP advantage.
·         Jarates: Jarates are a ridiculously strong item, the threat of them has a powerful effect on board position

TF2 Weaknesses:
·         2 healers. This is the best weakness to go after in a TKO attempt, with the Dwarves lack of range stomp and 2:1 offensive unit disadvantage, this is pretty much the only way to TKO TF2, the problem is it is usually accomplished via gunner-suicide mission which creates an even bigger offensive unit gap.
·         Squishyness: This team has no physical defenses other than the invisibility of the spy and the 10% magic defense of the Medic.  This leaves them vulnerable to the ever-present AOE of the Dwarves.
·         2 Jarates: with only 2 Jarates, i can build 3-4 3+ units with dwarves by spreading out the helm/scale upgrades situationally.  Once the 2nd Jarate is used, the final super unit(s) become quite difficult for them to take out.

General Strategy
I play more of a "take what the field gives me" than a pre-determined strategy type of game. That being said there are 2 ways to win, those Dwarven-win scenarios are:

TKO Kill
In a TKO match, I cant trade units unless I'm killing medics.  That being said, Killing one medic early changes how far TF2 can position their offense without risking losing the 2nd.  This has a huge effect on how well Dwarves can do against them since any extra bunching plays into the hands of the Dwarven AOE.  I’m more than willing to sac a drill and a gunner for a medic early.  I’d even contemplate a +1 unit and a scroll depending on where the game is.  I will be looking to position a gunner or engineer in a spot that will threaten this move early in the game.  Gunners are my favorite kamikazes.
A 2nd strategy is forcing TF2 to waste a Jarate on an un-sworded unit or un-upgraded Annihilator.  This is pretty unlikely against a good player, but it is such a huge win and would favor the Dwarves in the late game since their beefy/aura-ed/bubbled units can be difficult to kill, that I will go out of my way to set it up if possible. 

Crystal Kill
Dwarves are a better CK team than TF2, and on this map, if I can encourage clumping either through a well protected grenadier on the attack tile or a early down medic, the drill will do AOE that costs TF2 AP to heal up and do massive crystal damage.  I may look to set up a 2x engineer gem tile drill situation if the opportunity arises – this move ends games and no sacrifice is too great to set it up.
I cant over extend early with this matchup, so i will probably look to set up a favorable defensive position. My only pre-determined strategy is to secure my side of the board, and then work for good board position.  I’ll know pretty early if I’m going for TKO or not (if I use a drill on a medic or not) so that will help me pick a kill strategy and stick with it.  

Move 1
Masterpiece2: So he takes 4AP by using the scout and plops him on the gem tile. and then dumps 2 snipers on the deploy tiles. I don’t get too worried about snipers seeing as though Pallys can heal as much damage as they can deploy. I wont put a valuable unit in front of them because of the Jarate threat, but i can anticipate him moving one to in line with my attack tile in the near future.

ikarigendo: In general, there's no such thing as a bad opening hand for TF, but this isn't great. Especially against DW, TF needs to put on the pressure early, and I didn't draw any offensive threats. Snipers, medics, and scouts are all supporting units. Among these, the sniper is the most threatening, because with a jarrate it can kill something. So, put these down, plus the scout, because that lets me clear my hand faster and hopefully draw an offensive threat (particularly pyro, soldier, spy, or heavy).

Tabby: Remember that the scout gives 1 AP when deployed. This map has always been vulnerable to crystal killing because of the 2 gem tiles, and remember that DW are slow starters - this means that TF can get an advantage by going in early and splashing the crystal, forcing DW to either forgo development for healing/taking out the crystal killing units, or spending drills scrolls or other equipment on less valuable targets just to get a bit of a breather.