Monday, December 23, 2013

TAST4 Finals Game Replay: Naveeshwa(DW) v TBKesq(DE)

Hi all! This is another TAST 4 finals match, between Naveeshwa playing dwarves, and TBKesq playing dark elves. It's everyone's favorite matchup again! :) this time it's going to be on the tribe map. It used to be a super fast crystal kill map, with each crystal only having 3000 hp, but since the crystals got buffed to 4500 each, crystal rushing isn't as strong as it used to be. That said, with two gem tiles on the map, those crystals can go quick!
Usually, the middle crystal is the first to go, followed by the crystal nearest to the gem tile. The hardest crystal is the one nearest the helm tile - it's really hard to hold the gem tile on that side and attack at the same time, since for that to happen you need to be heavily bunched up around your own gem tile, or out in the open in range of the sword tile.
Move 1
Naveeshwa opens with a gunner on the gem side and gren on the helm side. This is best, because otherwise your opponent would have the helm tile to add magic resist against any grenadier attack.
Move 2
TBKesq opens with a VM 1 ap away from Navee's gem tile, and a wraith on the bottom. Dwarves usually have A problem with stomping, so it can be nice to have a wraith around to deter DW from simply KOing and leaving bodies around. A lightly equipped or vanilla L3 wraith is scary too, and can be used to draw out drills or scrolls. Also, with just a single gem, a L0 wraith can take 3 hits from a 300 magic damage unit - much like the tribe shaman with shield or wizard with shield.

Move 3
Navee stacks up a +3 gren right away, and deploys a paladin top side, probably to assist in holding the top gem tile if necessary. With such a cluttered board, grenadier splash is a real problem!

Move 4
TBK blows a scroll on move 4 (!!!) just to KO a gunner (!!!) and damage the +3 gren (!!!!) I'd really like to hear TBK's reasoning on this. Sure he had a cluttered hand with 2 scrolls a soul bomb and a pot, but he could have easily bought time by doing the exact same thing, but without spending the scroll. Then that's 4 ap to kill the VM, and 1 ap to either stomp or heal gren.
If Nav chooses not spend a consumable, he has to choose between stomping or... well, beering the gren, essentially. After 3 AP of splash (at 160 each, total of 480), +3 gren has 480 HP left. Wraith does 200 damage per hit, so a scroll would kill. Move move scroll kill eat. So that's a L0 wraith, VM and scroll for a +3 gren...
You know what? That's still a crappy deal. I don't know what TBK was thinking.
Move 5
Nav spends the scroll to stomp the VM and have AP left over for healing the +3 gren to full. So that's a VM trade for a gunner, essentially, and a scroll for a scroll. You might think that that's a fair trade, but it's not. Maybe the VM is worth more than a gunner, but a DW scroll is worth far less than a DE scroll - DW gets 2 scrolls and 2 drills. So DW still has 3 consumables, one for each sword, and with the annie yet to come in play, the drills are far more valuable than the scroll. Whereas DE only has 1 scroll to DW's 3 full sets of equipment, and it's hard enough to kill a DW buff unit with scrolls on the best of days.

Move 6
TBK responds by... moving up the wraith, gemming it, deploying another VM, and moving up the necro. Nothing remotely threatening to the +3 gren, who basically has map control at this point. From this setup, the top necro can advance to the forward gem tile and take 3 shots at the top crystal (at 800 damage a pop) and retreat. That's not bad, but I'm not sure that TBK really has the time to be plinking away at crystals right now. At the very least, Navee can move the gren to helm tile (ensuring that the wraith will do minimal damage to 40% magic resist) and KO the wraith. Saving the wraith will require spending a lot more AP, and with a +3 gren on the helm tile the bottom gem tile will basically be denied.

Move 7
Navee takes the helm tile with the gren, and starts deploying more stuff. Sworded annie on the field, stuff is going to get wrecked. ;) Now TBK has to spend AP retreating or give up free KOs without trade. This AP deficiency will allow DW to fortress up more.
Move 8
TBK decides that taking potshots at the top crystal (and soulbombing the top left corner) is more important than developing. Essentially, this means that TBK must live or die by the CK, having ceeded map control to Navee. As he's one scroll down at this point, maybe it's not unreasonable. I don't agree with the soulbomb through - with just a necro, VM and wraith on the board, the HP buff isn't that fantastic (and the soul bomb only hit 3 enemies). In any case, DW typically has enough damage to overcome the HP buff of a soul bomb (see pally attack aura, drill+annie combo, massive splash everywhere).

Move 9
Navee KOs the wraith (hard to save him now) and deploys an engineer. Annie has to stay in the back for now until Navee gets some defensive equipment, but that's fine, TBK doesn't have anything to threaten annie at this point. Note that after the soulbomb, annie is at 550HP, at 2 hit kill range of a sworded VM or imp.
Move 10
TBK deploys the priestess and heals up (and rezzes and pots the wraith). I don't like it, but at this point the wraith is too valuable to sacrifice. However, why leave the VM in a splashable position? If the VM wasn't there, perhaps 4AP kill of wraith would mean 4AP of rezzing and healing of wraith by priestess, but with the VM there, KOing the wraith will certainly be AP positive for Navee, and some bonus gem damage to boot. Trying to bail the pally out of position maybe? I'm not seeing it though. Any damage to the gren could be undone by moving gren up, Pally sword tile heal for 600, bubble, move back down, 1 spare AP. Getting a pally on E3 might not be a bad idea either.

Move 11
Navee just tosses one grenade and spends the rest of his AP moving the vanilla grenadier down (intending to use as stomp?), helming and bubbling the annie. Note that even with helm, annie is max 715HP, which is still a 3 shot by a 300 damage magic unit. He needs both helm and shield to be a 4 shot for a 300 damage unit.
Move 12
TBK sacs the top necro to take out the top crystal. Crystal kill is on the way! But that's the easiest crystal to take out. It looks like Navee is at 50% crystal health right now, but that gives a false impression of what TBK has managed to achieve - the bottom crystal will be the real test of whether TBK's crystal rush will succeed, and it's currently still untouched.
Move 13
Navee takes out the necro, stomps, and lobs 2 grenades at the wraith. I'm surprised he didn't go for the bonus crystal damage by targetting the VM. 300 for a direct hit and 150 for splash still means that TBK needs to heal twice to get to full...
Move 14-15
TBK deploys an imp and pops the bubble, and does 1 hit of damage. Navee beers the annie in response, and KOs the imp. No healers on the top, so TBK has to either spend AP getting a priestess up there or spend his other soul bomb. Not sure if it would be a good idea to spend his last soulbomb for just an imp though.
Move 16
TBK spends that last soulbomb! AND his last scroll! He takes out the annie, which is important for sure, but now Navee doesn't have to consider any consumables in his calculations - no scroll or soulbomb means that Navee never has to take into account such unknowns. Not having to worry about a scrollkill means that if you have a single helmed unit, just out of range of an imp, you know that your opponent can never scrollkill. Sometimes, the threat is greater than the execution...

Move 17
Navee kill stomps the wraith and KOs both the VM and the imp. With no soulbomb or scroll to worry about, the grenadier has nothing to worry about. Otherwise, a soulbomb scrolled imp could KO the gren way out of position for pally to rez.
Move 18
TBK decides to rez the VM, gems and does some damage to get the gren to back off, and heal the VM up at the same time.
Move 19
Judging by the health left on the gren, the VM got 3 shots off, for a total of 480 damage. He heals 2/3 of that, so 320. Added to the 100 from rezzing, 420 hp. So it looks like Navee decided to drill the VM. I can't say that that's a bad move - usually I would call it a good trade for DE, but looking at the field now, any trade away of any attacking unit for DE seems like a great move for Navee at this point.
Move 20
TBK runs in fists blazing. That's 2 more hits of 160 each, so the gren has 160 left. Just one more tap!
Move 21
Navee decides to retreat and heal. DW, always playing it safe. It's not a bad option for DW - ap efficient, but at the cost of leaving a vanilla VM upfield. I wonder if he used the barbed crystals, which would do more damage given that the VM is on the helm tile...
Move 22
TBK takes the vanilla gren and retreats. I'm not sure about this move. Yes, DW has few attacking units, and it can be a good strategy to deny DW the attacking units to gear up, but at the same time, Navee already has a +3 gren on the field, and DE's backfield is very very weak. Nothing to threaten DW with at all, and he doesn't have any more consumables in hand (or in deck!) to give DW a credible threat.
Move 23
Navee KOs the VM to force TBK to burn ap saving it, and uses his spare ap to deploy another gunner.
Move 24
TBK deploys a priestess, heals up and helms the VM. Good thinking placing the VM in 3 range of the deploy tile, so that he saves ap when deploying a priestess and healing up.
Move 25
Navee doesn't sense any threats, though, and develops his board by deploying an enginneer, second pally, and moving up the gren.

Move 26
TBK makes a +3 VM and chips the middle crystal. I might have preferred using the time to helm an imp, aiming to have it on the gem tile, so that it's some sort of deterrent against the gren taking the gem tile and doing massive crystal damage. As for Navee, he must know that TBK's only chance is to go for crystal, and he doesn't have any protection on the top gem tile. It might not matter if Navee can get a good enough fortress around the bottom gem though.

Move 27
Navee shields the pally (?) bubbles enginner (?) and prescrolls gunner (??!). I don't understand at all. TBK can use priestess debuff to neuter the prescroll (essentially trading priestess for scroll, which is usually good trade if you still have all your priestesses.
Move 28
TBK indeed debuffs the gunner, and positions priestess in front of gren (looking to make the gren move to kill, or to waste scroll, no doubt).

Move 29
Gren moves back, 3 shot the priestess, and stomps.
Move 30
The crystal, engineer, pally and gunner from a T shape, and was too attractive to the VM to pass up, resulting in 3 shots to the middle crystal and lots of splash.
Move 31
Normally that would be a good move, but with a pally on the sword tile and self - heal, just rezzing and healing tops off the paladin, with enough ap to deploy another pally.
Move 32
TBK seizes the opportunity to claim his gem tile and damage the +3 gren, forcing it to retreat.
Move 33
Navee retreats indeed, bubbling up and bla bla bla. Dwarf stuff, you know. He decides to sword and shield the gunner, though. Interesting choice, you do have to have a sworded gunner to deal with +3 VMs most times, but is this the right time? This ensures that the middle crystal will be killed for free for splash on the gunner, as Navee will have to spend ap healing his investment in the gunner.
Move 34
The lack of control of the top gem tile foils that plan, though. TBK pops the bubble on the gren, and retreats to a safe distance. However, this opens the gem tile again, and TBK is not challenging control of the top gem tile at all...
Move 35
Having a bubble means never having to worry about getting killed by 300 damage units. ;) Navee doesn't even bother retreating from the gem tile. If TBK wants to save his priestess, he will have to spend at least 3 ap, which leaves only 2 ap to do damaged to the gren. With 1 ap to pop the bubble, only 1 ap left to do damage. Ouch. Next turn, pally to helm tile and engineer to E3 means that forward gren is unkillable.
Move 36
TBK makes the tough choice to save the priestess.
Move 37
Navee decides to do straight damage and retreat. TBK can trade VM for gren at this point - he should have done 240 last turn, leaving 720 hp (3 VM hits). Not sure if Navee would have to spend drill to take the VM... (225+450+450=1125*0.8=900)... Still with no soulbomb or priestess in range, perhaps just KOing would be enough.
Move 38
TBK decides to save the priestess instead. This puts Navee in the position of repeating last turn...
Move 39
Navee decides to heal and bubble instead, so that he can remain on the gem tile without fear of being taken out. Gren will need 5 hits to KO, and VM needs 1 AP to move, soooo
Move 40
TBK decides to heal up and sword imp. Pretty much the only way to deal with +3 gren at this point, however, this still is a tough thing to do. Imp will need 4 hits to KO gren with bubble, so you only have 1 AP to move... and the gren has a range of 3, and can ignore LOS. Ugh.
Move 41
Navee plays it safe again and retreats. KO gren for VM? If gunner takes out VM, perhaps rez VM and retreat such that it forces a trade from imp? The possibility of pulling a win from this is very, very slim at this point.
Move 42-44
What happened was that TBK used the imp to kill the gren instead (by moving to the gem tile and dragging the gren over). This appears to have been a mistake, because the gunner then moved to D5, splashed and killed both the imp and VM, and stomped the imp. This leaves one drill for the VM, and a gunner in a forward position.
Move 45
TBK rescues the VM and KOs the gunner.
Move 46
Navee decides to go for the crystal kill. With just one VM left and with Navee having a drill, it's hard to see how he can stop this crystal kill!
Move 47
TBK KOs the gunner with the priestess on the sword tile, but cannot stomp because of beer. I believe he swords the priestess too, judging from the later screenshots.
Move 48
To make things even more annoying, Navee takes the bottom gem tile as well.
Move 49
Imp deployed, takes out the gunner and drags the priestess off the gem tile.
Move 50
The end. Didn't even use the drill, just went up and hammered the crystal.

Good game to both players! DE v DW is always a tough match (I should know) and this game just illustrates how difficult it is, even if you have a good start and get some good crystal damage going. :)

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