After those four battles I'm sitting on some more experience, particularly with the runes who were below the cusp at the last runthrough. I increased Speed on the lower speed Enchantress to 10. Bought Charm 2 for one of my Dark Seductresses, and Disease Immunity for the other. It's difficult to decide how to level the Shadestalkers, so I just put the points into buying up their exertion; I want to keep them cheap but I would like to, at least, see them putting out higher damage. I may go back and increase that later. The Ethereal Soldier gets Hex 2, and the Mute Stalker bought into Evasive 3. I can finally afford Speed 8 for my slower Wandering Zombie- just 13 more points for Speed 9! Finally, I bump the Utterdark Spectre's Speed to 10.
With all that xp spent, it's time to trot the BG into actually PvP. There's a lot working against me here, most specifically that I've played several games with a friend of mine and apparently that increased my rank. I expect to eat a day's worth of losses, but I'm only too happy to be surprised.
Game 9- PvP(Hastatus 1559, Level 1) Versus gaverion (Princeps 1378, Level 1)
I'm always surprised by maps that seem totally unfamiliar; apparently they change a lot of the maps in PvP, so the Ironfist Stronghold map with the narrow pass now has a font there to capture. I draw some Berserkers, Enchantresses, and the Lich King and think I have a decent chance of racing the font. Unfortunately, gaverion is able to drop a cheap Scorched Dwarf he uses to take the second font while his Deep Elf Priestess contests the font. Ultimately I'm not sure if I was supposed to run away with my Lich King or stick around, but his Priestess and a Deep Elf Masochist eventually run me off. By the time I lose the central font I've picked up the northern one with my Mute Stalker, and dropped an Eternal Lich. However, gaverion controls the central font and drops a Deep Elf Ritualist and Deep Elf Scout in rapid succession. Thanks to a beckon he takes the northern font away from me, and then I'm stuck trying to defend my Shrine with the Eternal Lich (sans phylactery, he took that away real fast) and a Skeletal Berserker. I'm facing two Priestesses, a Grimlic, a Ritualist, a Deep Elf Summoner, and a Scout until I kill it.
Thinks progress predictably. My proud moment is when his Grimlic drops three mirages and I base up a Plagued Skeletal Berserker, which kills them all with the infection damage. He removes my Lich and my Berserker in the same turn and, since I can't cast anything else for xp, I concede.
Game 10- PvP Versus Alazel (Princeps 1378, Level 1)
While Game 10 loads, my trades come in; I have a second Mute Stalker, a second Utterdark Spectre, and two Nether Wraiths (which are stealthing energy thieves with Hex). The game starts up and I'm facing Forglar Swamp. I draw both Liches, an Enchantress, an Animated Blade, and a Wandering Zombie, and lead with the Lich King again. I'm up against a lot of Firk, it looks like, including the Mind Shredder. I quail, because I've used the Mind Shredder to great effect but as of yet not faced off against one. Alazel also has a Soulsphere, meaning all of his units share damage. Since my only ranged attacker is a Lich King and Alazel is playing a Firk Sensorate (Resist Magic 3) this means I'm only doing about 4 damage to each of his other units, and a single damage to the Sensorate. Combined with his Boghopper Shaman, Three rounds in the Mind Shredder still has full health. Then he drops a Feeding Frenzy on my Lich King, who barely survives. The Frenzy has the other delightful effect of further spreading out the damage his units are taking- my Lich is doing his best but he's not even putting out a dent.
I render my Animated Blade incorporeal to escape from a poison trap and take one of his fonts away. The next turn starts up with both of us seizing a font from the other; his Firk Sensorate is outside a deployment zone, while my Lich goes down to the Mind Shredder. The Delay I dropped (I finally get to use it!) prevents me from having to deal with a Salaman Negamage. Unfortunately, he opts to drop Kartch, Finlord instead. I manage to fight it out and kill off his Boghopper Shaman, do serious damage to Kartch, and just as I'm about to tear into his Salaman Dervish...he drops another Soulsphere. Followed by a Marsh Gargantua.
I battle it out for the eastern shrine for a long time; I'm using a Mute Stalker, which negates the advantage of his Kartch. However, the Stalker's not fast enough to catch the Mind Shredder and attack, so I'm running in circles, storing one more ap each round, while my zombie tries to kill his other troops. Judicious use of various disease effects, meanwhile, is enough to break his second Soulsphere, though it does nothing to his titan. When he has my Stalker at one hitpoint, and poisoned, I make him insubstantial, as I'm facing no magical damage. That lets me hang onto the font for one more turn, but my attempt to throw Reanimate down on the Stalker meets a Backfire.
Eventually I'm staring at another Boghopper hero, I have no champs on the board except a devastated Skeletal Berserker, and I concede. I'm proud of my boys.
Game 11- PVP (Principales 1886, Level 1) Versus yewsef (Signifier 2398, Level 1)
The fact that yewsef's Shrine has over 80 hitpoints indicates I am going to be badly, badly hurt in this engagement. My opening hand only includes 1 champ, and it's the Skeletal Berserker. This is less than ideal, so I play aggressive and pump a mobilize into him so I can grab the central font on turn two. yewsef contests the font and I decide discretion is the better part of valor, fleeing back with my Berserker to grab the font closest to me. The opening hand has me in a bad way, so I'm looking at things as a workshop to play with strategy. I run my Vampyre up to the central font and he's hit with a Devolve and reduced to 11 hp. I Phase Shift, again facing absolutely no magic damage, and get two Skeletal Berserkers into the mix. After Phase Shift ends I slap Ghostly Visage on the Vampyre, now a few hp higher thanks to a very weak swing on a summoned snake. yewsef drops a Thorn Collection on my Berserkers, then Vortexes my insubstantial Vampyre, meaning he now has uncontested control of the central font. Yewsef does what I would have done, and moves one of his pieces to contest my font; but he overshoots and misses its control zone. He manages to plant a serpent in the font, though, meaning I'll be without 10 nora on my next turn.
The Vampyre tries to take my font back while a Shadestalker and Ethereal Soldier attempt to hold off the Centuar Regulator I've been fighting since the beginning of the game. The Shadestalker falls, but I pull a Skeletal Berserker out to help my soldier; the Centuar runs away to rejuvenate himself. My chicanery with Plague and Ethereal Soldier is fun, but doesn't actually accomplish anything in the vein of preventing my game loss. Still, things went far, far better than I expected, and I'm again proud of my boys.
Game 12- PvP Versus nickybaby (Principales 1851, Level 1)
This is the first split-faction warband I've gone up against. The shrine has more hp than mine so I'm a little concerned, but at least the first creature he drops isn't the end of the world. I draw Wandering Zombie, Mute Stalker, Animated Blade, Vampyre, and lead with the Vamp (I'm thinking about naming him Edward). Edward and my Mute Stalker go for the southern font, facing off against a Krikkinwing and a Drakon. Meanwhile an Ethereal Soldier goes for the northern font, boxing out against a Skithmaw. Edward's Shield of Darkness is Disarmed, but he's not in position to take any hits so that's okay. I eat the Krikkinwing thanks to a timely Mobilize, while the Ethereal Soldier removes the Skithmaw.
The battle for the southmost font devolves into his using dragon after dragon, and me using...Edward. It's just Eddie. I hold three fonts for much of the game, but eventually I relinquish my hold on the northern one to focus on a thrust to the south. The game drags on; I kill every dragon he throws at me, but he never runs out. Eventually we've both popped our avatars, but there's just so much space taken up by his big units that I can't get a swing in on his. Font control really decides the match; I hit a point where he uses Broodcall to take my closest font and I can't recover it in time before he burrows a Sand Dragon into the control area. Once that happens I have nowhere to deploy units- even though I got the fun Reanimate effect wherein the nearest area I control leaves my control at the same time Reanimate triggers, meaning I immediately contest it and get to swinging. I manage to beat back his assault on my shrine with a Berserker, a Mute Stalker, and the shrine himself. I still get surrounded though, and he pops a Strip Armor before piling three dragons onto my shrine.
This proved an excellent experiment, both in terms of getting me to think closely about deck building and getting me back into playing PvP at all. I went 0 and 4, but I also have 63 career ranked wins (most of which were back when you could play ranked games against your friends). By comparison, nickybaby had close to 550 career wins; close to the same number of losses too, granted, but that indicates participation at a much higher level of play. For a deck I put together yesterday using a combination of runes I've never played and runes I don't tend to like playing, I'm very satisfied with the results.
Since the trades went through, I have some runes to swap in and I'll toy with the overall bg composition. The major thing to house me in that last game was Granite Bracers, because so much of my fighting was reliant on Edward. When he's up against a creature who automatically blocks and ripostes the first attack each round, he's not only limited to hitting every other round (when he has enough ap for two attacks) but he's forced to hold his ap on the in-between rounds, because he's sure not to hit. I'll tweak the bg and return to it later, perhaps, to see how the new version plays.
Full-Faction Forsaken Wastes Deck (Stealth/Insubstantial Focus)
Final Single-Player Record: 7/8
Final PvP Record: 0/4