Game 1- Beginner Forsaken Wastes Normal
I open Archer Commander, War-Enchanted Groble, Elven Archer, Dwarven Medic, Spontaneous Growth. I lead with the Elven Archer and manage to also deploy the Groble...then realize it's because I misclicked and deployed the Commander instead of the Elven Archer. I always enjoy playing new runes and being surprised by things; like how the Lodestone Construct is a large-base. My mechanical men stomp their way over the broken bones, and I only lose one Timber Wolf the whole match! Medics are a nice cheap healer, and Immunize saves one of the wolves. Other than that and the need to heal a War-Enchanted Groble one time, there's no notable challenge.
Game 2- Beginner Savage Tundra Normal
I open to Centaur Skirmisher, Groble, Groble, Full Plate, Dwarven Mogaslicer. I drop the Skirmisher, and a second one two turns later; Speed 12 means they're still getting 7 ap on ice, which is nice. I put Full Plate on a Mogaslicer and he becomes fully immune to most of the enemies on the screen. I briefly consider just destroying the shrine, but instead I let my Centaur run around and throw spears into things, while my Mogaslicers mow through the northern shrine's defenders.
I'm once again going to shift my play over to the Trials, because I don't think I learn a ton playing against the Beginner missions.
Game 3- Trials of the Ironfist Stronghold Normal
I open all three archers, Timber Wolves, and Glorious Charge. I drop the Wolves since I know I'll be running into dogs when I spring the Mead Trap. I take the first font and clear the first wave with no real difficulty, though all my aura guys get bunched up when I'm fighting the Earth Golem- I only have an Outcast of the Flame for non-physical damage. That means my Slicers are weakened enough that when I cavalierly charge into an Earthmover/Barbarian Commander, they die pretty quickly...both go down in one round, actually. That misplay costs me, because now I'm facing down a horde of melee fighters with a bunch of...archers. And a wizard. I slap Full Plate on a Centaur Skirmisher, using him to clog the entrance for a couple rounds. That actually works pretty well; with Mobility and Speed 7 he's able to shift and attack without worry. He goes down and my Seed of Potential-Bearing Archer Commander dies when I forget that Ancestral Rage sets your Range to 1. The War-Forged Groble, however, is a true champion. He's got a Seed on him, and then I also slap the Righteous Deflection down. Since he's bolstered by Ironfist spells, and he's a Spellswallower and Adaptive-Ironfist, with the AI spamming Unobstructed View, his damage is well over 20. Every time I heal him with Repair, too, that increases his hp by a further 5. Sadly, he can't survive Stone Dragon/Groble Pulverizer/Ghoulhunter. The Lodestone's just a big sack of dying, and then it's two Medics facing...everything. A Full Plate-wearing Groble tries to assist, but I pay the price for my hubris and go down bleeding. The Groble puts up a great fight though; Defense 45 and Resilient means he's really not being hit by anything.
Game 4-Trials of the Ironfist Stronghold Normal, Redux
I'm shamed by my previous misplay so I decide to run this map again. I definitely feel that it had been my game to lose. Sapelah and his gang are back for blood, and I pull Groble, Archer Commander, Outcast of Flame, Grimlic's Mirror, Repair. It's my 11 Speed Outcast of the Flame, so he hits the ground first. I use a Medic to trigger the mead trap (he ends up very dramatically in the center of all three dogs. My Mogaslicer tears up the Beastmaster, and then I drop a delicious Repair to take him from 10 hp to 48. I'm much more careful with my auras this time, and they let me avoid a lot of attacks by killing creatures on the end of my turns. I manage to get the War-Enchanted Groble out early on, and it's glorious. He's getting +2 Damage, +1 Attack, and +1 Defense with every useless Unobstructed view my opponent casts.
The pass is clearer this time, meaning I can move my small base figures up while the Outcast deals with the Earth Golem. One of the Slicers spends a big chunk of time stuck away from the enemies because there's no room for him, but I do get to put a Barbarian Commander between 3 Aura 3s at one point. Two War-Enchanted Grobles (thanks to Grimlic) can kill the Dwarven Sharpshooter in a single attack each. Even my standard Groble is doing 20 damage by the time the AI starts spawning purple-base champions. My War-Enchants have over 100 hp and are regenerating 4 hp a turn, and I wipe everything the turn it lands.
Obviously most games won't work out that same way with the War-Enchant, but that was sure fun. A full-faction group sounds even more appealing; I can't say that I was drawing a ton of benefit from the K'Thir end other than the speed boost, but I think it'll prove more valuable in a more challenging game. The Ironfist Map bunches things up and lets a few big melee characters really hold their own- mobility isn't much of a factor.
Spending XP, I buy Rend 3 for both Mogaslicers. My Groble without Pulverize 2 gets it. I increase the Lodestone's Speed to 8, and buy Speed 9 and Immunity-Fire for the unleveled Outcast of Flame. Both Medics pick up Cleanse, which heals as well. Keeping an eye on the goal of beating Grimlic, I buy Resistance-Fire up to 2, looking longingly at the Resistance-Physical I will one day purchase. Four games is also where I like to consider what is and isn't working within the bg, and make the necessary changes. Unfortunately, I don't see any rune that demands to be removed. I'm keeping the Commander in until she can get the ability to grant Rain of Arrows, and will decide if that's awesome once I get a chance to use it. Similarly, I haven't had a cause to summon the Dwarven King, but can easily see benefits in doing so at some point. I leave the bg completely unchanged for now.
Archer Commander 56/1/13/12/7(8 w/ Faction)/10/38/3-6, Commander:Archer
Centaur Skirmisher x2 70/1/14/11/11/7(8 w/ Faction)/7/42/2-4, Mobility, Blitz
Dwarven King 97/4/14/22/9(10 w/ Faction)/14/58/1, War Cry 3, Divine Favor 3, Melee Specialist 2
Dwarven Mogaslicer x2 71/1/15/12/9(10 w/ Faction)/12/48/1, Damage Aura 3, Rend 3, Charge 2
Elven Archer x2 83/3/13/11(12 w/ Faction)/11/12/30/4-7, Barrage 1
Groble x2 86/3/10/25/9(10 w/ Faction)/10/42/1 Immunity-Fire, Pulverize 2, Siege, Fury
Lodestone Construct 57/1/10/18/7(8 w/ Faction)/11/46/1 Blacksmith, Construct Immunities, Pilfer
Medic x2 45/1/5/12/7(8 w/ Faction)/5/37/1 Immunity-Disease, Cleanse, Heal Champion 2, Passive, Immunize
Outcast of the Flame 65/13/11/8(9 w/ Faction)/14/37/3-6 Fire Aura 3, Incinerate 1, Dissipate, Confuse Attacker
Outcast of the Flame 84/2/13/11/10(11 w/ Faction)/14/37/3-6 Immunity Fire, Fire Aura 3, Incinerate 2, Dissipate, Confuse Attacker
Timber Wolves 83/2/10/10/9(10 w/ Faction)/9/24/1 Detection 1, Skirmisher, Timber Wolves
War-Enchanted Groble 64/1/10/19/7(8 w/ Faction)/11/45 Spellswallower, Resistance-Fire 2, Construct Immunities, Adaptive-Ironfist, Loyalty
Light as a Feather
Seed of Potential x2