Game 5- Trials of the Savage Tundra Normal, Redux!
My initial pull is Mobilize, Animated Blade, Dark Enchantress, Reanimate, Skeletal Berserker. I plop the Enchantress and send her toward the south font on turn one, and present a Shadestalker on turn two. Since the Icefisher tends to Break the Ice and retreat, Shadestalkers should be able to eat up a lot of their AP. There's a beautiful moment where two units lose all of their ap to an insubstantial Shadestalker blocking the Shardcaster.
The fight became much more exciting when I realized my touchy net connection hadn't saved most of the stat increases I paid for after Game 4. That meant, for instance, I plotted out one round in such a way that I would get several hits with an Animated Blade with Multiattack 3, but only had Multi-1 (and no Rend).
Still, after a pretty long fight I managed to pull out a victory. It really came down to the Shadestalkers on this one, as well as diligent use of the Shield of Darkness. I even got some good use out of the Dark Enchantress, though her rounds would have been more impressive if the Animated Blade flanking with her had his stats. I never managed to take the north font, but managed to hold my shrine with just a Vampyre, an Eternal Lich, and a few Wandering Zombies/Skeletal Berserkers. I didn't even have to pop the Avatar and run away, which usually ends up happening on this map.
Game 6-Trials of the Sundered Lands Normal
I draw Ethereal Soldier, Wandering Zombie, Dark Enchantress, Vampyre, and Shield of Darkness. I lead with the Enchantress (she has speed 11 and I want to get more practice with her). On turn two I back her up with the Eternal Lich. Dark Enchantresses do great with the Reaper's blade, and a Wandering Zombie and Skeletal Berserker help feed her dark appetites.
The combo of softening up those high-Def targets with a combination of Essence Drain, Plague, and the Eternal Lich lets me keep my Enchantress at full health through two fonts. There's a small slowdown when the Cannoneer hits the board, but I push through and cut down everything in my path. Each purple-base falls apart in just a few rounds, and the biggest headache I have is maneuvering two Shadestalkers around each other.
Game 7- Trials of the K'thir Forest Normal
I draw Utterdark, Animated Blade, and Skeletal Berserker. I lead with the Utterdark; the Berserker would have had the 11 speed but I can hit the font with 6. Turn two I bring back the Enchantress/Reaper's Blade combo, then phase shift both of my units to get the stealth. The first few champs fall easily, but things get tricky when I cross the river. There's a lot of magic damage, and the Grimlic's Eyes destealth all of my champs whenever they move anywhere near the northern font or the shrine. I manage to push through thanks to zombies and phase shift, along with somewhat cheaty use of Dark Seductress- when summoned, she Fears the board, but the AI won't attack with a Feared creature at all. Two Seductresses buy me the time to move a few Shadestalkers and the Mute Stalker over the river, and Reanimate keeps the Vampyre in play until the bitter end.
Game 8- Trials of the Underdepths Normal
From elves to...evil elves! I draw Vampyre, Animated Blade, Shadestalker, Plague, and Delay. Yes, I've kept Delay in even though I can't use it...it's all about discipline. This isn't much of a choice, and I lead with Vampyre. I back him with Shadestalker, which is a great early play for this map since you're facing melee fighters first. The next turn I add an Utterdark, which lets me phase shift the Shadestalker and Vampyre and pick up stealth on both.
It's stealth and incorporeal that push me through most of the map, picking the targets off one at a time. Anytime things clump, the Enchantress is able to drop a Charm and/or Fear (the latter being useful against the Gahlroon) to gum creatures up; she only has both at range 1, but careful positioning makes it work. The Nefari Messenger's magic damage makes her a threat but she doesn't have detection, so I just keep turning everyone invisible and things work out fine. The high base damage on the two techy pieces in my set (Utterdark and Mute Stalker) really help ensure that my warriors strike hard the whole time through. I suffer very few losses, mostly the Shadestalkers; but the Stalkers come off of cooldown so quickly that by the time I have the space in my rotation to cast the second one, the first one is available again.
I've found that the deck works best when I'm picking a few key champs to run into combat, then supporting them with other pieces who take swipes at the primary champ's target. Between the insubstantial and the energy thief, the BG is able to isolate one target while simply not dying from attacks inflicted by others. This is different than a lot of my BGs, which tend to fight battles on multiple fronts. With this battlegroup I devote a large quantity of resources to a single target, but can often kill two, even three such targets in a single round. Although many games had a slight tension point, the cheap, quick-popping champs had an easy time of pushing through. I would definitely like to have a few more pieces; most notably I'd add in another Utterdark and Mute Stalker if I had them. I'm looking into the Rune Bank concept in hopes of picking some up.