After a great week of games… it turns out I am exceptionally average!
We had another epic Sunday afternoon of battles last weekend at our Factions: Battlegrounds playgroup! I got in 4 head to head games, and then embarrassed myself in some 4 player madness. Tuesday, I got in 3 more games. Since I played 8 games, I’ll break down the recaps into a 3 part series. Let’s recap it!
The first 4 games were all against Riley B. Riley B. is a really good player who has helped with the game since it’s early prototypes. He uses Doom Sand primarily but is skilled with a lot of different factions. He chose Kragg to get warmed up, and I went with Parada!
(GAME 1 Riley B (Kragg) vs Pete (Parada))
After having nightmares against Kragg from last time, they were not a Faction I wanted to face. However, I was more prepared to go against them this time… or so I thought. I decided to implement a melee based attack to meet Kragg’s brutes head on, scoring points and wounding their burly units enough for my ranged units to finish them off. After seizing a gold mine with my vanguard, I was able to position the Sentry Jitu and Elf Bladlord in solid positions. Both units require a little extra thinking (and in the Elf Bladelord’s case with a 4 damage Skirmish attack… a LOT of extra thinking) to eliminate.
I was able to handle relatively easily eliminate the Goblin Scout, Razortusk Charger and Orc General units with this method, which was Riley’s vanguard. It was looking like a strong start! However, that is when the trouble began. Rather than continue to be aggressive and get across the board to the forest tiles that I placed near the Kragg basecamp, where I could use the Elf Bladelord’s skirmish and agility special abilities more effectively, I took my foot off the gas!
A good quality is identifying your bad habits, rather than living in denial… and for some reason when I have the lead I tend to slide my best melee units into the corner rather than keep applying pressure.. I did the SAME THING with the Sunfire Angel last time!! Lesson learned. Let fighters fight and recruit something cheap to rack up resources.
This game, Riley had set the board diabolically, with 2 water spaces in the middle tile shutting off my access to the other side of the board. I figured with Parada I’d simply out-gun Riley B by shooting over the water spaces…. But that’s hard to do when you don’t actually recruit any ranged units!
Riley B. DID recruit a ranged units: Troll Crusher and Veteran Orc. He patiently lined them up, mixing commands and taking some damage to get them lined up across the directly water spaces from my units, then decimated my Sentry Jitu and Eloko Marshall with ranged attacks. The Elf Bladelord managed to escape the volley, but rather than fight back I did the classic “hide in the corner”!
The good news for me was that the Elf Bladelord is a LOAD to take out. After already eliminating a couple units, I was waiting to get something like the Elf Sharpshooter or Centaur Skirmisher on the board to help carry the load. With a 4 attack and Agility, it can score rapidly, and Evade 4 and Skirmish makes it challenging—VERY challenging to take out.
However, Riley B. was gathering gold quicker than I was and got one of the only units that could safely survive a Bladelord skirmish and still get the kill… the Greater Roc. With the Roc bearing down, I went all out and used agility to at least take out the Troll Crusher and give myself a measly 16 points. The Roc took out the EB giving Riley B 30 points and the win! Final score 30-16!
Games 2 and 3 (Riley (DOOM SAND) vs Pete (Ihalaban)) (Pete is 0-1)
While I wanted to do a lot better with Parada, I also had not been Ihalaban for awhile and wanted to try a pure mana-based strategy that I had conjured up in my head a few days ago. So, I decided to switch factions.
Riley went with his bread and butter, which is Doom Sand, so I knew that I was going to be in for a major fight. Riley B started with a vanguard featuring the Rampaging Gorolox as his primary attacker to start the game, and wow, did he use it well. Using it’s good speed and size he sliced through my Ihalaban General and tore into my Feral Gowrow, NOT shying into a corner (I need to take notes…)
Fortunately for me I had gathered enough mana to attempt my strategy (which was several area attack, multi-target spells) and I began to come back. I played the Naga Archon and had a nice Wave of Blades, which damaged the Gorolox and the Anubite Astromancer down to 1 health each..
Unfortunately for me, Riley B. using Doom Sand, did the same thing. He used Anubite Astromancer (which survived the Wave of Blades through Spell Ward) to knock my home tile for 3 damage, which weakened the Naga. He then used his Gorolox to attack and eliminate the Naga, putting him near winning..
I was in better position for a comeback this game than last however. Zepodom Usurper is a really fun unit. It’s 5 rank is, of course, elite. Paired with 5 health it’s tough, and it’s aquatic/flying combo makes it extremely, extremely useful…It’s ability, Diabolical, is useful as well. What it is not useful as? A point scorer..which is exactly what I used it for, naturally… But that is where wounding units is so important.
Now for some Zepodom fun: Because the Naga Archon’s Wave of Blades left both the Gorolox and the AA with 1 health left, I was able to recruit the Zepodom to a water space and elim the AA. I then started off the round, with that superior rank. I actually flew over an allied unit then to take out the Gorolox, and pull to within 3 points of victory. That’s what I love about the Zepodom, it’s like a swiss army knife on the battleground!
Unfortunately, I was too far behind in the resource game, and some quick insurance in the form of the Firesky Wyvern and Scorchblast ended it… Riley B was on FIRE with a 30-27 win.
So…. Despite this loss I actually saw some potential in my strategy. I just needed to get into it a little bit quicker and USE the 10 mana to start the game early and often, then build it back up as the game progresses…
So we ran it back!
Riley B went with the Gorolox in the Vangaurd again, and I started with the Ihalaban General and the Camazotz Sorcerorlord. As the Gorolox aggresively attacked, along with the Sunray Ukhozi coming to grab some resource centers, I positioned the Sorcerorlord to let loose a Ruinous Blast in round 2, which wiped out ALL of Riley B’s units!!
I then had the board all to myself and recruited and commanded some units to procure resources. This gave me a great jump right out of the gate!
Riley B did not let the comfort last, however, and set up a wild chain reaction by sending the Genie Khan via Teleport to eliminate the Camazotz. He then teleported it back on to my corner gold mine, the one I needed to control since it was situated nicely on my tile. I would not stand for that! I recruited the Grand Bakunawa during the reinforcement phase, tapping out my gold, but allowing me to attack and kill the Genie. With the mighty Bakunawa on the board, I could establish a position deep in my territory and wait for the opportunity to close out the game.
With all of that action going on to one side of the board, Riley B was quietly setting up his forces nicely in the opposite corner in a desert heavy area, led by the Tyrant Chieftain. He added the Firesky Wyvern and Assassin Mage to the game, with the specific role of dispatching the Bakunawa. This gave him the rank and units that could potentially make it happen, and he nearly pulled it off, carefully navigating and positioning both units. I was able to add a couple of cheap units to run interference for a couple of rounds, and then…. BINGO. The Assassin Mage was moved adjacent to a water space.
This enabled me to cast an effective Maelstorm, which wiped out the Mage. Riley had also recruited the Sabertooth Wyrum, as another way to take out the GB, but alas, it would not make it in time. I had closed out the game, winning 30-26, with the majority of my points coming off of area spells.
Game 4 (Riley (ZYAN) vs Pete (MOONSHADOW) (Pete is 1-2)
At this point Riley (yes, a different Riley who’s last name also starts with B!!) and Mackenzie showed up, and had played an epic looking game of Kragg vs Baazaria. I am not sure who won but it looked like it was LIT!!!
Riley B # 2 and Mackenzie locked in combat!!
While we waited for them to finish and play a 4 player WAR (Recap on that coming out next!) Riley and I decided to play one more.
Normally, I don’t like to brag. But…. In this final game of Moonshadow vs Zyan, I put on a CLINIC. While Moonshadow may get a couple of boosts as a lot of players find it underpowered, it showed that it still is capable of pulling off dominating victories. Granted, Riley B admitted he was really rusty with Zyan, so I won’t put too much stock into this W.
Anyways: My go to strategy is very simple. Jabaris.
A more detailed answer would be a healthy dose of Jabari Shadow Knight early on, save enough mana throughout the game for the Jabari Stormchief to be able to use Lightning Storm as an insurance finisher, and use Jabari Warlord and Assassin Squad in the middle rounds to connect the gaps. It’s not foolproof and it requires a lot of gold, but it serves as a good plan to stick with if you want to excel with Moonshadow.
I had a GREAT tile arrangement for this particular game, and was able to claim both gold mines in round 1 thanks to JSK’s whopping 4 speed. Vukazi Scout, with 3 speed and the expensive cost of all of 1 gold, is a great complimentary unit. Riley B. used the Swiftwing Valkyrie to snatch one back from me… but speed kills. I got the Savage Manticore during the reinforcement phase to take out the SWV. Meanwhile, Zyan’s Regal Pegasus and Zyan Hoplite fell victims to consecutive Joust attacks from the Shadow Knight.
A fast vanguard for Moonshadow consists of the Jabari Shadow Knight and the Vukazi Scout.
It’s really hard to box Zyan in especially with their gold generation, but that’s exactly what I had done. Riley astutely recruited Farm Peasant in order to keep income coming consistently, but with the speed I had on the board, it was an uphill battle. I reclaimed both gold mines and picked apart each unit he brought out, as I added Assassin Squad and Jabari Warlord to the fold.
Riley B. wisely attempted to set up the Phalanx, which would have helped him withstand the joust attacks and also the Savage Manticore, but the Jabari Warlord was in place to use a ranged attack to take out the Armored Cavalry before the second unit with Phalanx could be recruited. He then got the Elite Gladiator to defend the home terrain a bit, and was able to muscle the Warlord, eliminating it (This would be the only unit I’d lose). However a Piercing Sting from the Savage Manticore rendered the Gladiator almost ineffective, and then the Assassin Squad cleaned it up.
The last gasp came in the form of Royal Titan. Since Zyan was pinned completely in on it’s home tile, gold generation was rapid. It was a good play, and pretty much the only chance at that point to get back in it. But…. I had the Jabari Stormchief, Assassin Squad and Elite Spearfighter in place. 2 ranged attacks and a Lightning Bolt later, that Titan was dead. Final score Moonshadow 36-Zyan 8. Probably my best win so far!
Riley B was a FORCE to be reckoned with, and I managed to steal a game, really only beating him handily once… He could easily beat me 5 times in a row next time around, so I have to bring my A game and clean up mistakes… for now, my record sits at 6 wins-4 losses….
I’ll recap our 4 player game and then my 3 games on Tuesday next!! (Spoiler alert– my 2 player record is 7-7, so you can probably figure out how I did!!)