Game 5- Trials of the Forglar Swamp Normal
I'm so glad this map has the central island; it used to be utterly brutal. I draw Centaur Skirmisher, Archer Commander, Groble, Elven Archer, and Glorious Charge. I open with the Centaur and then back him with the Elven Archer on turn two. The Elven Archer kills the Boghopper Shaman in one turn, and I've got four champs on the board. Other than a weird thing where my Elven Archer dies to a Muck Dragon, my ranged attacks, combined with a War-Enchanted Groble, manage to clear most of the map in short order.
The presence of the magic-immune firk and the magic-eating Mandrake give my WE Groble pause, but I've got Mogaslicers to handle that. Strangely, the game ends the turn after it spawns the boss champion, but without me so much as touching him.
Game 6- Trials of the Forsaken Waste Normal
This is a low champ opening hand: Groble, Outcast of the Flame, Glorious Charge, Repair, and Full Plate. I open with the Outcast, then play a Groble; then I try something that may or may not pan out. I slap the Full Plate on the Groble. The map is small enough that the lumbering will hopefully not be a problem, and a Groble with 45 Defense will hopefully survive the entire fight. This is great. He takes no damage from anything, and I begin to play a mini-game designed around keeping him from being in a position to take damage (meaning, not letting him be hit by something with a base damage much over 10 and a decent attack). It turns out I needn't have worried, as nothing, none of the purple bases, none of the rares or exotics, have the capacity to injure my Groble. He finishes the battle with unblemished health.
Game 7- Trials of the Savage Tundra
Centaur Skirmisher, War-Enchanted Groble, Seed of Potential x2, Grimlic's Mirror. This is a sort of dream. I lead with the Centaur, but my eventual plan is to cast every rune in my opening hand before anything else. This means I'll have two War-Enchanted Grobles in position to eat up all the spells the AI casts. The best part of this is that it all goes down before a Snowblind is dropped, so I'm able to mirror my WE Groble without any misdirection. While the Skirmisher dances with the Frost Giant, being just fast enough to stay out of its reach, the Grobles work their way up toward the northern font. They hold on for a long time, though eventually one falls to the concerted efforts of 5 or so champions, and then the other crumbles a turn later.
As the armada of summoned foes draws closer, I put a Lodestone Construct in front of my shrine and equip him with the Full Plate; and again, full damage immunity. Or near-full; he can't stand up to the couple 18-Attack champions on the opposing team, and they gradually wear him out. In that time I pull out two Mogaslicers, and kill my way around the edges of the massive champion mass with them. However, once sufficient champions appear, they start just attacking my shrine, and then the odds turn against me.
Game 8- Trials of the Shattered Peaks Normal
I draw Medic x2, Groble, Dwarven Mogaslicer, Light as a Feather. The best bet here seems to be the Mogaslicer, and not just because I'm about to face a lot of moga. He's got the same speed as the Groble, but the damage aura will have a more immediate and useful effect once I'm meshed in with the enemies. He does very well in removing the first G'hern, while my Groble comes around and smashes the Scarecrow. The not-saving problem I've had with using experience comes up again, as my Outcast of the Flame somehow still doesn't have Immunity-Fire.
Things do start to clump up, with all the G'hern managing to spawn from the western font because I don't take it in time. The Groble, balanced by healing from a Medic, holds off the entire northern horde of moga. I put down the War-Enchanted Groble and when he starts taking too many hits, give him the Full Plate. Even with that boost, though, the WE Groble is still taking hits from the G'hern, all of whom have Attack in the high teens. I'm able to Mirror him before he dies, but I'm out the Full Plate facing four G'hern (including both of those brutal ranged champs) and a handful of moga. I bring out the Lodestone and the Archer Commander, but the latter isn't much by herself. By the time they're plucked off, I have nothing but my copied War-Enchanted Groble. He fights a running retreat, but Dirge is 48 Attack and 35 Damage by the time he kills me.
So that's a pair of hurtful, hurtful losses. However, they were losses which provided experience, so I plan to spend that and then delve into the battle with Grimlic for which the bg was constructed.
I increase the Archer Commander's Speed to 8 and purchase Volley Leader. I'm holding off on spending the Skirmisher xp, but I am curious as to whether or not Leap powers Blitz; if so, then buying up Leap 3 would let me get an extra move for the ap I'm spending, plus make them even better first-turn font grabbers. I buy the Mogaslicers 4 hp each, and purchase Speed 8 for the Lodestone (it'll turn into 9 with the Forest faction bonus). I max out the Medics' Heal Champion, and actually buy Immunity-Fire for the lower-level Outcast, along with upping his speed to 10. Even though they're getting expensive, I do buy Speed 10 on the Timber Wolves; I think I'll use them in a lot of split faction groups and I want them to have maximal mobility. I finally descend, lovingly, to tend to my War-Enchanted Groble. I top off his Resistance-Fire and purchase the first level of Resistance-Physical, then bump his speed and his health.
Archer Commander 68/1/13/12/8(9 w/ Faction)/10/38/3-6, Commander:Archer, Volley Leader
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 73/1/15/12/9(10 w/ Faction)/12/52/1, 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 61/1/10/18/8(9 w/ Faction)/11/46/1 Blacksmith, Construct Immunities, Pilfer
Medic x2 47/1/5/12/7(8 w/ Faction)/5/37/1 Immunity-Disease, Cleanse, Heal Champion 3, Passive, Immunize
Outcast of the Flame 82/13/11/10(11 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 88/2/10/10/10(11 w/ Faction)/9/24/1 Detection 1, Skirmisher, Timber Wolves
War-Enchanted Groble 76/1/10/19/8(9 w/ Faction)/11/47 Spellswallower, Resistance-Fire 3, Resistance-Physical 1, Construct Immunities, Adaptive-Ironfist, Loyalty
Light as a Feather
Seed of Potential x2
So I'm glad I have the free units at start, because I only pull Centaur Skirmisher in my initial draw. I also have Butterfly Wings, Light as a Feather, Full Plate, and Glorious Charge. I use the Charge and Light as a Feather to get my Rangers tight up on the demons to the left and right of the shrine, and chew through them as quickly as I can. I drop the Timber Wolves once I secure a font, and they bite their way through the demons assaulting the font, though they don't do enough damage to get a kill before one of the three wolves falls. I get a Groble out on the west side and run him around, and bring out a few Centaur Skirmishers as well. However, I'm simply not inflicting sufficient damage to kill the demons fast enough. By the time I've cleared the first new wave I'm already trapped facing a second. My Medics do their best to heal, but I don't time my abilities properly in terms of addressing Inhibited Champs. It's another loss for team rock.
So I go again.
My second time, I draw Elven Archer, Timber Wolves, Righteous Deflection, Seed of Potential, and Spontaneous Growth. The Growth was a spell I never once saw last game, and I think it will really help here. I play out my Archer and set to cutting down the first rank. I give Menalaus the Seed, because he's really the one to kill in this game; no regen and vulnerability to fire means he gets hurt, and hurt bad, and hurt fast. Grimlic is tricky because many of the best ways to deal with fire exist in Wrath factions. I throw the Full Plate on Grimlic, since he's a teleporter and doesn't need normal movement. Then I realize that you can't teleport if you're lumbering, and things get a little less awesome- I'm waiting for my Lodestone to appropriate the item.
Another fun interaction lesson is that Spontaneous Growth doesn't override Scorch the Earth. These are the kinds of things it's hard to know without trying. My wolves and Groble push me up to just past the river, but a Gahlroon and fully three damn Imps drive me back. These Imps have fully 15 speed. That's just madness. It ends up being just the brothers, two Medics, a Mogaslicer at my font, and eight Ash Demons, an Imp, a Rust Demon, and a Scorpic. I'm afraid that, at present, I have to declare this experiment a sad failure.