Round 26

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Round 26
Winner 🥇
Player: Rio
Dominion: Building schools for dummies (#6)
Race: Icekin
Second 🥈
Name: Wurstmeyer
Dominion: origami paper flip (#4)
Race: Orc
Third 🥉
Name: AJ
Dominion: Mr. Clever (#12)
Race: Nox
Changes: Round 26/Changes
Valhalla: Link

Round 26 started on the 13th of October 2021 and ended on the 1st of December 2021.

Round Win Story[edit]

Back in Dominion Classic, I found myself quite a few times in great position to win, but somehow something always went wrong (usually me making a colossal error of judgement). In those days, I used to make lots of notes on my attacks and what was happening all around me so I could tell full and complete stories of the round, but since Open Dominion I decided not to write anything down until the round is done - so forgive me if there are some mistakes in this story.


Last round (Round 25) my usual pack (BigBell, Erik/Gothia, Oment) had split up. Gothia took a round off and Oment played solo while BB and I packed with a couple of others. This round, we had a strong idea that we would reform again so started throwing around ideas. Gothia was keen to have a more relaxed round, and despite the changes I wasn't too sure if fast attacking would be worthwhile (so much depends on how fast others play) so we looked to go very slow teching again as we found it quite easy in Round 24. In terms of race choice, I suggested 4 of the following: Dwarf, Human, Merfolk, Spirit, Wood Elf, Dark Elf, Icekin, Nox, or Troll. We were quick to suggest that Gothia pick Troll, Oment had just had great success in the sprint round with Spirit, and BigBell liked the look of Human (despite Gothia's warning that something always goes wrong with them). I picked Icekin as I liked the 5% platinum racial and the dirt cheap cost of troops once mountains and WPA are maxed.

So we were set:

Me - "Building schools for dummies" - Icekin

Gothia - "5:4 for dummies" - Troll

Oment - "Immortality for dummies" - Spirit

BigBell - "9-Houring for Dummies" - Human

The Realm

With the new matchmaking realm assignment system, we often don't have high hopes due to our ranking co-efficient being quite high, but we were happy to see that we had some known names in SlyPimp (Getting married for dummies - Dark Elf) and Mandos (Well Endowed Penguins for Dummies - Spirit). We were also joined in Discord right away by two people I didn't know: Unfather (The ghosts of many dead fish - Spririt) and margoose (Vicious Maiming Pyro Daemons - Lizardfolk). Everyone in Discord throughout the round was willing to help each other out so it ended up being a great round from that perspective

Early Round

We'd had success previously with going 360 acres and maximum schools, so I just simply re-used the shell of our round 24 sims to give to Gothia and myself. I think BigBell went slightly larger at around 400 land and Oment went at around 500. We all got out of the gates fine, all making hits with no bounces and nobody getting hit.

It didn't take long for me to realise that I would have to get used to being at the back of the group. Oment naturally was able to send more frequently with not only starting larger but having immortal OP. BigBell was also able to utilise his 9 hour to get land in quicker and outgrow me significantly but a little surprisingly, despite being all Smasher, Gothia was able to leap ahead too. In the past, I'd used "11 houring" to a small degree in both of my previous Troll rounds, but Gothia was able to make maximum use out of it from the start which gave him a huge boost. It basically meant that he was able to make hits on smaller targets using less OP as well as get land in sooner. Most of the time he probably couldn't have hit a target on his new land size with his OP so these were "bonus" hits, and a further advantage was that it meant casting his racial spell only half the time.

I was still growing at about the rate that I expected to, while BigBell and Gothia were both ahead of schedule, so early on, things were fine. Oment continued to be a little further ahead of all of us.

Prior to stealing and black ops becoming available, all of us trained a good number of spies as well as some additional wizards for protection from pesky swarms. That didn't seem to matter for Gothia as right from the start we found 2 realms repeatedly swarming him. At first it seemed like potentially some people just going for swarm ranks, but for Gothia, those swarms did not stop. He found that he was training ridiculously high wizards (he probably had the best WPA of any attacker in the game in the first few weeks) and was blocking a significant number despite them coming from Realm 13's Sylvan and Dark Elf. He was top of the Wizards Executed ranks from the start. In fairness to Gothia, as annoying as it was, he just accepted his fate as a known threat and dealt with it as best he could. Meanwhile I was getting more and more annoyed with seeing it happen, even suggesting to Sly that this kind of continuous lame targeting could be off-putting for players in the long run. Gothia just carried on, ever increasing his Wizards Executed position.

Way up above us, the round was looking very interesting with Realms 3, 4, 7, 8 and 11 all battling it out to get a stranglehold on top. We didn't have anyone large enough to see exactly what was going on but it looked as though Realm 7's Lyc (Nate) and Orc (mris) had started out strongest with Realm 4's Firewalker pair (DanTheMan & jboy) the biggest competition. Realm 11 surprisingly warred Realm 7 which from our perspective seemed to almost backfire when #7 lyc started making war hits on them, although a short time later we saw that mris' otherwise strong-looking Orc took a battering as a result of a prolonged snare campaign. Not long after this, there was a hitting battle where #4 FW hit #7 Lyc, then #11 Lizardfolk (Slater) hit the #4 FW and #8 Lyc (Merf) doubled the FW. Then #4 Lizardfolk and FW both retaliated on #11 Lizardfolk. Realm 4 had been looking really good at this point, but it ended up with #7 Lyc making further hits and somehow getting out into a lead that he wouldn't give up for some time.

After the dust had settled and things started to calm down, the #7 Lyc started to pull ahead but the other strong fast attackers always seemed to be within a couple of hits up to 3k land. It was fairly early still in the round when Realm 7 suddenly declared war on us as we looked to be the strongest of the late round threats (ahead of Realms 9, 12, 13 and 14). Despite Realm 7 having 3 Dark Elves and a Halfling in range of us, the damage was limited. Gothia and BigBell had both been forced to train decent WPA already, and #7 made the mistake of casting Revelation on Gothia in close succession, which tipped us off to what was about to happen so Energy Mirror was put up and the first volley of fireballs had half blocked between mirror and failure. After only mild success against Gothia, they turned to BigBell but he too managed to block quite a large amount of them. Even though other realms had been warring each other all over the place for wonders and black op, the Wizards Executed ranks still showed the extent of harassment our guys were facing. BigBell was in 2nd place and had more Wizards executed than the next 4 people combined. Gothia on the other hand had executed more Wizards than the rest of the playerbase combined, including BigBell.

Mid Round

The last time we teched, we all went with 30-39 techs each, however this time with the lower RP generation, we looked at going fewer techs and pushing Homes and Improvements sooner. BigBell and Gothia both finished teching ahead of me with roughly 25 techs each and started their r/r early. I had targeted quite a few different techs (both Wizard/Spy cost reductions, platinum production, military Cost, and maximum population). Due to them being located all over the tech tree, I decided to keep my schools for a little longer. I was behind BigBell and Gothia anyway (but not too far) but a key difference was that due to my Mountain needs, I had been forced into bringing in Ore Mines sooner so I had already started pushing Keep. The Keep advantage allowed me to keep pace and even though it was several days later that I finished, I had around 38 techs by that point as well as comparable Improvements. I had also transitioned from lower WPA to maximum WPA and gradually increased my Mountain percentage from approximately 40% early round to 50-55% by this point. It meant that I could just turn the majority of my Schools into Diamond Mines and maximise my Mountain percentage over the coming days.

We all started to close in on the 2nd-3rd tiers very quickly. Only the #14 Nox (JRog - Leeches) was even close to us in efficiency. He had matched our pace early on and was competition for our hits. He was however low on Spies and low on Docks, so we took action. My only regret is that I'd called him out as a potential round winner shortly before this on my inaugural podcast, when it was quite likely we were going to take him down, and we did with War and a sinking campaign. It took him a few days to recover his boats, by which time we'd moved convincingly ahead.

By around the 3k mark, the 4 of us in the pack had closed up quite tightly together. BigBell was now leading with an impressive Population, Gothia wasn't too far behind in Population but his OP/DP was lagging while my OP/DP was catching up quite quickly due to cheaper troops.

Above us, another noteworthy incident happened when #7 Lyc had hit #11 Lizardfolk (Slater - StoryTeller) who then suicide-razed in retaliation and fed a number of people, most notably Realm 4.

I just had enough OP to join in on the hits but he was knocked out of range and then locked shortly after. His realmmate then forced the issue by completely suiciding as well. BigBell an Gothia both got there first but those hits were rolled back.

By this point we'd still had a 100% "perfect" round. No bounces, no getting hit. That record wouldn't last long, however, as at some point BigBell sent out on a risky 9 hour hit and was semi-suicided by the #4 Dwarf. Despite the Dwarf being much larger, I believe he was able to leave less DP than what BigBell had, thanks in part to #7 Lyc DBing out of range of the Dwarf. This really derailed BigBell's momentum as I caught and passed him shortly after. It was also a strong indication that although the #7 Lyc was on top, Realm 4 had a firm grip on everything between the Lyc and us.

It was starting to become clear that I was our realm's best hope for a win.

Final Third

We were now climbing high into the ranks and closing in on the 2nd tier of attackers and they were taking notice.

The key turning point for me came around day 37. Even though I'd made a hit the day before and was in the middle of training Wizards, #8 Undead sent out on extremely low DP so we thought it was worth the risk of hitting him. Until a few hours prior, I had everybody in range covered for DP but snatched at the hit and only realised after that the #4 Orc (Wurst - Origami) had closed in on my DP and had just enough. The #12 Nox had followed me on the hit and had less at the time but roughly the same on later hours. We knew however that I would be the more desirable target.

So we started looking into all scenarios of what may happen. Gothia had actually caught up in land but was still quite far behind me in overall military, so was happy to use his considerable 5:4 if it would further my position. We had both alternated in getting into the #7 Lyc's range so had full ops on him as well as all of Realm 4. We therefore knew that if #4 Orc did go for me, the #7 Lyc could have a chance of hitting him, and Gothia could take his pick over which one he wanted to 5:4. I don't believe the #7 Lyc knew this as Gothia was less than 20 acres outside of range with his DB to take. The Lyc could take his but then at day change, Gothia could get back into range even if the Lyc also took his again. What ended up happening is that the Orc did go for me, albeit 2 hours earlier than we expected (as he had huge DP coming in 3), and then unsurprisingly the Lyc hit the Orc. After the hit on me, we started to assassinate the draftees on the Orc to make him an easier target and prevent him from easily retaliating on the Lyc.

We then knew the likelihood was that the #4 Dwarf would raze for the Orc to retaliate on the Lyc if they could get enough DP down. Gothia sat tight but could still likely 5:4 any of the parties involved so we waited for the best chance. What ended up happening is that the Dwarf didn't move, and instead the #4 Lizardfolk made the sacrificial suicide raze on the #7 Lyc with the Orc making the hit shortly after. Apparently, this was down to #7 pulling a bunch of assassinations on the Dwarf, which ended up with the Dwarf still being short while also having no more spies and wizards. Regardless, this left a huge opportunity for Gothia to semi-suicide the Orc and me to make a 100% hit on the #4 Lizardfolk once OP came in. #12 Nox followed me on the Lizardfolk minutes later and it didn't take long for others to feed on the Lizardfolk. We had banked on Gothia taking 2 hits in response which he did quickly from #4 Nox and #3 Orc, but then a 3rd came along from the #13 Orc which was probably unwise of him as he ended up getting easily hit by the #7 Lyc. Although the initial hit stunned me a little, the recovery hit on the Liz was huge so I bounced back up. Unfortunately, the #12 Nox getting two cheap hits and remaining untouched and the #3 Orc getting a b2b as well meant that there were now more threats around, not fewer.

Then around day 39, we managed to come across a very fortuitous hit. Someone in Realm 14 (where Leeches was based) had sniped a wonder from Realm 0 which meant it was on low HP. Even though the wonder (Halls of Knowledge) was now pretty useless to us, we could all gain 100 prestige for just 32k raw OP (26.7k for me with my tech), so we declared War. Lots of action had been going on recently so we'd all been making hits and putting the wonder takedown on the backburner when #14 Nox sent out. I realised that I had a chance of sending Frost Mages on him just before his troops returned and possibly being safe when Sly decided to Rev him and saw that his Ares expired before his troops returned. We had 5 of us in his range and most had better spies so we waited until 2 hours before expiry and blasted him with Snare.

A couple of days later, the #3 Orc (Rury - Baby-faced Assassin) had used his recent growth spurt to start pumping some solid military and sent out on borderline DP. Gothia had just about recovered from the last send and managed to build back his military with additional temples. We knew if the #3 Orc got away with the hit he would be way out in front so Gothia planted a giant sui hit on him and took 5 hits this time, completely putting him out of the picture but dragging the Orc back down into a 4 or 5 way battle with myself, #12 Nox and #4 Orc (with Dwarf/Nox back-up). I had probably moved into 2nd spot in military terms by that point and managed a decent sized retal on one of the people that hit Gothia, which #4 Orc doubled seconds later.

The following day, #3 Orc and #4 Orc both managed hits, and thanks to ops on a Halfer provided by a now unconverted Oment, I also got a 75% hit in to keep pace. #12 Nox once again followed on my hit and the Halfer then decided to release troops so was locked shortly after.

End Game

We now found ourselves heading towards the end, where it can come down to a sprint finish. Both Orcs started mass training specs, but I decided to leverage my large population (around 75-80k at this point) as well as cheap elites to stick with training them. The Orcs were only just out-training me on OP (them 4.2k/hour and 4.0k/hour, myself 3.8k/hour) but on DP it swung the other way so I matched pace initially while their pops were shrinking. As I was also able to build more quickly I managed to get top OP for the first time. We had been eyeing up an all in hit on the #4 Dwarf and looked to snare. Because of their wonder meaning 50% failed Wizard ops, we knew taking a Revelation could give the game away but took one that went through about 6 hours before I planned to hit him. To our surprise it was off which meant I could chance a send on him there and then or wait and hope that it stayed off (or snare as he had zero spies but we would avoid this if we could). We decided to wait but hours later, we took another Revelation and this time Ares Call was up. We still could snare but I decided to scout other people and found the #5 DE all in, and when casting a Rev found that his Ares Call was actually off so I hit him instead. There were no other available targets so both #3 and #4 Orcs and #12 Nox all BF'd to try to keep pace.

Then with us "big 4" OPs out, the #13 Gnome (rvv - Oregasm) sent out on very low DP (although trained lots of incoming before he returned).

I looked to Gothia to see if he had one more 5:4 in him which he dutifully said yes, although this would kill his round off entirely. I was actually feeling ambivalent about a raze. I had been defending all of #4's potential razes since the point that they hit me, and think if you're the top person in the game, that's probably fair enough. But looking for a raze on a 75% hit seemed pretty lame so I wasn't keen. Then I remembered that it was Realm 13 who spent all those weeks harassing Gothia with black ops and how much it pissed me off. Any lingering doubts evaporated and we set it up. The Gnome had trained a lot of DP, drafted up and invested heavily in walls so I would still need to send Frost Mages even with a raze. We also decided to assassinate draftees but this meant he might react. So we decided to raze first, then assassinate, then I would take fresh ops and hopefully invade before he could invest all his remaining resources into walls or release any Spies/Wiz into draftees. Luckily it all went through and I made the hit.

None of the other threats responded so it put me a hit ahead of everyone. 400-500 acres or so.

It meant for the remaining days we would all build and train ourselves to death. The Orcs didn't have the population to compete with myself or the #12 Nox. The Nox also wasn't prepared to let me bully everyone so pushed more OP than he was able to send while defending me, but it also locked me down from too much as well. My concern going into the final days was that the Orcs would start making BFs and use the Nox/myself as cover but fortunately the #3 Orc couldn't safely and the #4 Orc had rejoined EG and wouldn't be able to leave it in time.

In the end, the Nox and I trained each other down. I could afford to sit and let him make the first move but that never happened and Invasion was disabled early enough that things stayed as they did.

One interesting note: until my last hit, I never sat more than 72 hours between hits. I was able to keep hitting with pretty decent frequency while others had to sit and train.


Big thanks to the whole Realm - Gothia, BigBell, Oment, SlyPimp, Mandos, Unfather, margoose, and our quiet comrades.

Gothia in particular was clearly the MVP for this one with the big hits on both Orcs to keep them in check, and the final raze on the Gnome to put me into the lead. He also played his Troll amazingly to get to where he did with the constant black ops holding him back. The heart-raising 11 hour hits and then catching someone else in their 11 hour hit was sublime.

Oment and BigBell were both right there with us throughout and always willing to do what was needed when their rounds started to lag.

SlyPimp was an exceptional teammate to have. He got so many ops on people early on when we were looking for Plat targets, and again when we needed ops help. He was also great to talk to about strategy and came up with a few great ideas himself.

Mandos was great to play with. I told him that a big part of our slow teching strat stemmed from his version with Dark Elf where he soundly beat one of my initial attempts at the same strat.

Unfather has only joined the game recently but picked up so much and was great to talk to. Margoose joined a little later and was always happy to help with ops and wonder bashes.

Nate - I don't think you could have done much more. Very well played early round, but unfortunately I think without other attackers in your realm, I think we were always going to run you down.

Other big threats particularly in #4, #3, #12 and #13 - well played guys. I thought I had the edge but it was definitely not over until it was over.

I genuinely believe this was the best round of OD we've ever had - not just all the great changes with excitement throughout, but because we ended up with the most deserving winner - me. You can hear more about how great I am on Riol Talk.


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Round 25
Round 27
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