Candyman R29

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I think it's fair to say I really owned this round. Maybe not outright victory but the moral victory taken with the same grace and humility that has become my hallmark.

This was of course "the draft round" where the top 3 rated packs (winners of 4 of the last 5 rounds - the exception being Zedi's explorer win) all split up and either joined the draft or played solo.

That left quite a large opportunity for other packs who stuck with their usual group to take advantage of lower competition. It was always a high possibility and those opportunistic packs fought hard to limit any potential benefits a drafted pack might gain, while also laughably claiming the opposite.

My pre-round predictions were that a fast group (likely a non-drafted pack) would look to run, but that there would be a number of fast attackers of varying abilities aiming to keep pace. Best case scenario would be that there is no outright runaway and that converters come into the mix early enough to keep things interesting. Best strategy in this case is to play strong efficient converters.

Not many of my drafted pack were into that though so of the 8 who were active, we ended with 4 slow attackers, 1 fast attacker (ivetza), 2 explorers (asanka and temujin) and a converter (jmerc) who ended up not converting. We knew this wasn't optimal but it was how people wanted to play so we figured we should still do okay with it and hopefully still have our own fun.

Things played out somewhat as expected with a non-draft pack jumping out to the early lead with a strong pair and quick converter. Most other fast attackers were spread out without their usual back-up/dynamic and this natural advantage proved pivotal.

We had no aspirations to compete early (other than ivetza who made a couple mistakes and faded but still stuck around to help out and support).

The rest of our attacking crew (myself, rompar, warpig, p@cz and joined randomly by Oment) just went about our business of slow attacking which meant mostly hitting bots.

We managed to snag a wonder early (Ancient Library). Unlike pansy realms we actually attacked it to take it but only needed a couple of 5 or 6 of us set to meaning it was on lower HP already and that led to 2 realms instantly warring us (realms 8 and 12).

Realm 12 sniped the wonder after realm 8 had been chipping away at it, so we mutualled realm 12 and realm 8 licked their wounds and undeclared. During this time the baby worms who call themselves the hydra had tried doing damage to a few of our guys. It was a nuisance for sure and we'd rather them not so we replied in kind and without specifically organising, snared down the 12 spirit apparently for over a day. He was looking strong at the time and maybe even could have won the round if their realm hadn't F'd around and found out. Oh well.

Realm 12 had undeclared war at some point, waited 2 days then redeclared to take the wonder back after we'd taken it down. It wasn't worth fighting for so we let them have it and just upped our mastery on their weaklings some more.

Then we went back to growing for a few days. Realm 8 had taken the Ruby Monolith and it was on medium-low HP so a good wonder in a good spot to take. They had the strongest attacker (FW) outside of runaway realm which was a small concern but not too much else stopping us. We had more firepower for a wonder war so were confident we could keep it. When we declared war on them, they declared back within minutes. A silly mistake on their part. We just wanted the wonder with no hassle then those bozos started hitting our guys with ops. Well, when top OP in your range has mutual war on you, poor spies and low docks, our hand was forced so we went to town on his boats and sunk him. It was the third time in the round that it happened to him.

Because of timing of the wars, unless realm 8 undeclared war on us, our best bet of keeping the wonder after taking it would be waiting for the full 5 days before automatic undeclaring so we did that. Some of the team did their sends early then I waited until the end to finish it. Somewhere along the way Merf (8 kobbo) suicided our smallest guy and got destroyed for his trouble. He was barely in range of anyone after that.

Unfortunately, despite all the spectacular play on our part, all the other realms involved particularly those favouring blops (the realm 12 hydra worm, and realm 1 pansies) had completely Amber Hearded the bed. They had spent their time accidentally boosting the runaway realm by going after their challengers. It's the second time in a row that the fast attacking runaway has been backed up by Rush and the hydra, but at least last round they were in the same realm.

That meant that the round was already won very early on, so getting the win was a lost cause. The best I could do would be to help try to prevent realm 4 from breaking the record for most top positions in a row from the same realm. They already had 3 locked up, with 4th, 5th and 6th not far away as explorers and a 7th as converting icer doing his best to take chances and catch up.

The icer had done a risky send already so around day 40 I set up to take advantage if he tried again. Most strong OPs were locked in 4 dorf range so couldn't send. I was only just inside so skipped a few days of DBs to let him slip out of range. He dutifully did mere hours before the icekin sent again. I'd been stocking plat, ore and research points prior to this so was able to take the bank conversion tech, exchange ore for plat for a big OP train a few hours before the send and then timed it to take the 2.5% OP tech once the OP arrived. It all came in to be able to make a ~110% reasonably safe hit. It left the icer on the same land size as me with way less DP. I hit him mid hour in case either #1 or #2 icers, or #12 spirit wanted to gain as well. Only #2 took his chance though. I guess #1 icer and #12 spirit had been hanging with cowardly bloppers too long and shied away.

Putting that hit on #4 icer ended their hopes of getting 7 people in the top 10. I also noticed their explorers were cutting things a little close too.

So a few days later I again set up to let 4 dorf slip out of range and aimed to hit the 4 exploring gobbo once his spell dropped. I could have possibly hit him with his spell up earlier in the day but I was still in range of 4 dorf then so I needed that final DB. Even better was the land gain I'd get (~786 total) would land me just outside of 4 lyc range. Unfortunately for me, the gobbo took his daily bonus early so I had to either skip the hit or almost certainly get hit once my land arrived.

I decided to bravely make the hit anyway and it ended up being for 798 total land and hit of the round. Again, nobody could touch me safely at the time and I left more DP than my target (even with his spell back up) for another 110% hit and taking 1 more of their guys out of their top spots list.

Lucky for me, the foolish #1 icer sent a few hours after me on a different spell drop hit. He had a lot more DP than me but would still be an easy hit for the 4 lyc. I saw no indication of being targeted by #4 so I started building my land and even released all my draftees. #1 icer took the hit for me so I got to keep my acres.

That only left a few days in the round. I built up my mods, trained as much as I could but on the final day only one decent target was available and I needed to wait an hour for extra DP to come in. He got hit by the #9 woodie so I missed my shot to get a final attack in and to get what would have been another exceptionally well deserved, if a little late surge to a top 5 spot.

Overall, still a fun round. I'm glad the draft happened and I really liked my realm. Happy with every one of the picks (apart from the late addition who never spoke).

It was a beneficial round for everyone. Socially I think a lot more people got involved, hopefully lots of players were able to learn a lot more about the game, tactics and strategy.

Finally, I'm glad that it allowed a pack who have really struggled to compete of late to get the win they've been after. Congrats realm 4!