Round 24 started on the 24th of May 2021 and ended on the 16th of July 2021.
Round Win Story
|Dominion:||Tossed salad in my bowel|
|Dominion:||Consign me not to Darkness|
|Dominion:||A Sight For Sore Thighs|
Round Win Story
Since Gothia has not had the time to put anything together, the great Rio is putting some basics together.
We'd discussed a slower strat several times recently and both Oment and I (Rio) had tried our hands on our own with mixed results over the past few rounds. Ultimately, super efficient atteching was by far the easiest way to have success with a chance of winning out of any attacking strats so we decided to all go for it, with the exception of Oment who wanted a fast explorer.
We discussed a few possible race choices. Big Bell decided early on to try Wood Elf, I was leaning either Troll or Dark Elf and Gothia had started to look at Merfolk during the previous round. I suggested that a Troll/Dark Elf combo could be potent so Gothia ultimately switched to DE and I took Troll.
There are a few ways to go for super efficient atteching, either maxing schools at 40% immediately or doing a more normal start to protection early and then bringing them in. You can also range land from 310 to 500 or so acres. With most people employing the 310 choice recently, we decided to go slightly differently and went 360 acres each for a slightly better economy and possible chance of hitting some of the 310ers at OOP. The other thing we tried to do differently was going 100% elites from the start. Big Bell and I both managed it although Gothia found he had to have some gargoyles early just to stay safe but with his immortal OP trained by OOP, he could just train straight DP for the first couple of days.
Protection went fine. We each made a few hits. The only notable hits were that I managed to make a double-tap on the only very greedy 310er who turned out to be Merf (ha ha). Other techers that went lower land and more specs hit for more acres but mostly just enough to catch up with the 3 of us and it didn't take long for our slightly better economy to pull us ahead.
There were plenty of other heavy techers, notably the group in #4, the group in #15, a DE and WE combo in #13 and a few other trolls. There was also a sylvan in #10 although I think he went higher land.
From recent experience, despite the efficient strategy, I knew that some speed relative to other techers was key so we wanted to get teching done ASAP and not go overboard on imps too quickly. We therefore kept schools maxed where possible (Big Bell let his fade a little but still very high) and delayed DMs a while concentrating on homes (and WG for Gothia) instead.
We also leaned heavily into plat theft. Gothia spent a lot of time scouting possible plat targets and when we found a few decent ones we bled them dry. We managed to find 6 or 7 decent targets in the early days until either outgrowing them or them increasing their spies too much to be worth it. We kept a sheet of all the people we had tried for and colour-coded them to know who to always hit up, who to hit up only if they had huge plat to be worth the losses and who to never try on as their spies were too big. This system meant we were amongst the top thieves for most of the early round.
Of all the techers, we felt pretty good with our pace as we seemed to be 3 out of the top 4 or 5 for most of the early part. Unfortunately we seemed to be getting a lot of the attention with an early black op war on us, and multiple suicides/bottom feeds on Big Bell and I. Gothia also took a hit from the #10 sylvan but that was a risky hit Gothia made and it didn't work out. Nevertheless, we still stayed ahead of all but #13 WE, which was slightly unfortunate as it was his packmates who were bossing the round as the fastest of the fast attackers.
As planned, our teching progressed extremely quickly. I finished my 34 techs end of day 13, Gothia had 35 techs middle of day 14 and Big Bell had 30 tech middle of day 15 (started at 40% schools but let them slide to 20%). We were all around the 1100 land mark at the time of finishing. Gothia and I went to approximately 400 DMs early and while I pushed mainly homes to get my pop up he started going heavy WGs. Big Bell had already been mixing in LYs and homes so was just able to rezone to more forest when he was finished.
Realm 13 were looking by far the strongest contenders at this point. Even though their fast attackers had gone way into the red on their speed, they only had to control the round long enough for their techers to come up strong. The woodie remained slightly ahead of us through the growth phase and the dark elf kept making risky hits and was never safe all in but somehow never got hit. It was quite infuriating for us to see but nothing we could do. If for example reasonably safe DP was 100k, and very safe was 110k, we found leaving anything less than 110k would get us hit so we had to leave that. Meanwhile the dark elf would be leaving 90k and nothing was happening.
A turning point came when the #13 WE made in my opinion a big strategic mistake. We had all at this point grown to the bottom of the top OP range. The WE rather than growing decided that he wanted to push huge OP and so sat and trained for far longer than he needed to in order to grow. We on the other hand took hits whenever we found them and other than the #10 sylvan, were usually first onto fat targets popping up in the TC. It meant that even though the #13 woodie had much more OP, we were growing at the same rate and ended up catching up with him.
At a similar time we found ourselves embroiled in a few wars against us. People were targeting us frequently and I found myself Fireballed and slightly sunk - although it was done at a terrible time as I had just gotten land in and had already sent out so I could build up my docks with troops out. The realm that did it also made a dreadful mistake. They were a realm of black op explorers with the top converter in the game, but while they were trying to hit us, the converter himself was low on docks so before he could make a nuisance of himself, we sunk him.
Right after this, a second realm with the next strongest converter (a nomad) also warred and again threw some black ops our way although we were mostly protected by then. They made the same mistake in leaving their converter exposed but unfortunately this time we made a mistake. Top OP (Brick Top #13) had sent out but had plenty of OP to hit the nomad if he sent so Gothia made a quick hit. We just all completely mistimed it as Brick Top had only sent 2 hours before, not 3 or 4 which meant that the nomad could "suicide" his DP elites and have his OP turtle back home in time with 9 hour. It was by far our biggest mistake of the round and one that we had to possibly rethink our plan. Ultimately, we realised we should just keep doing what we were doing and hope that luck would swing our way.
Luck did go our way in the end. After the two black op wars ended, we went after realm 13 as we knew we would have to deal with them at some point. They held the Armada at the time so we wanted to take it from them partly for prestige but partly to panic them into reworking their doms to protect themselves. Their fast attackers were starting to fade at this point and we were starting to get on par with their woodie with their DE having faded a little while ago.
After wonder exchanges and things starting to settle again, once 72 hours had expired we decided to let war linger keeping it on our terms.
Then one of the key moments happened. While war was still active, a big hit became available to me and I would be leaving pretty decent DP so I made the hit. We asked Oment to undeclare war as the #13 woodie had a lot of OP stored up. Oment undeclared a few minutes later but when I got new ops on the woodie I realised he had a lot of resources stocked up and would be extremely close on a maximum rezone. I did a bunch of panicked calcs and thankfully realised that even if they had a perfect BS on me which would be unlikely, he would still be about 1.5k OP short. Shockingly, he did the full rezone and sent on me anyway but clearly bounced. We couldn't understand it but it turned out to be just a miscalc by his packmate. A little sidenote - I found a bug at this point which was increasing my defensive casualties as it wasn't taken casualty reduction into consideration so the increased losses that I had could possible have gotten me hit by someone else but that didn't happen. Anyway, the fact that the woodie spent so many resources on a massive r/r that bounced cost him so much plat and time that it took him from outright favourite to simply in the mix with everyone else.
While we had been pre-occupied with wars and multiple top OPs in our range, the #10 sylvan had been growing at quite a pace. We had been competing with him for hits several times and then another turning point happened when there were two very fat targets available within 12 hours. We were within top OP range so had to let the first one go but he was just outside so he could hit it. When the second one appeared, we still weren't quite safe but he did go for it and flew into top OP range on borderline DP. Our calcs had him very safely hittable but everyone seemed to let him go which meant that he suddenly became the top threat being able to boost his pop massively with a land lead over us.
I knew that I wouldn't be able to catch up and threaten the sylvan in time so I just grew when I could and started to push temples and spec OP to maximise my sui. Gothia was best placed to make a run at the win and hit whenever he could while trying to stay safe. He eventually caught up with the sylvan and the two of them had similar stats. Gothia though had the potential of either me suiciding or Big Bell doing a giant rezone so the sylvan had to play it much safer than him.
One key part is that throughout the entire round, Oment while playing a fast explorer was always 2nd-4th behind others, particularly a FW who was way out ahead and quite likely was going to win ahead of all attackers.
Fortunately for us, a big halfer dropped frenzy and another couple of explorers were just hittable for Gothia so in the end he was able to make up enough acres to catch and then overtake the explorer for a very late surge and win.
It was Gothia's 4th win of Open Dominion. Even though it ended up being close with the explorer, and not everything went our way, it was definitely far less stressful than all the other wins we'd been a part of and we're extremely glad that teching was on the agenda to be nerfed the entire round.
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