Round 39

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Round 39
Winner 🥇
Player: Cobber
Dominion: Engineer Robotic Candiru Army
Race: Human
Second 🥈
Name: Craghack
Dominion: Construct 9001 Moon Shrines
Race: Goblin
Third 🥉
Name: DaveTheGoliath
Dominion: John Hamry Bonham
Race: Lycanthrope
General
Changes: Round 39/Changes
Valhalla: Link

Notes[edit]

Round 39 was the third Draft Round. The Captains were selected by the previous Draft Round Captains and the new Captains selected their Vice Captains during Round 38. The Draft itself was carried out privately and then announced on the Riol Talk Podcast featuring most of the Captains and hosted by AGFX with assistance from Rio and Merf.

The teams were as follows:

Captain Crazy Elf (#3) Grapes of Math (#1) DanTheMan (#9) Cronel (#8) B (#11) Volv (#2) Downrightdave (#12) Swamp Fox (#10)
Co-Captain Wurstmeyer Rio Gothia Faith Rury Chunk Zedijar Mithrandir
Second Round Ivetza Mulla Erix Soup Lamb Bobbo InternetFett Merf
Third Round Allegorical Unfather Rush Damdred Sugarjon Esthera Tidnab McGeeal
Fourth Round Cerbrus Psychosophy Asanka Saccora Craghack jboy Disco Mannowrath
Fifth Round AGFX Rompar Zar Warpig Slice DavetheGoliath Weaser Sharkey
Sixth Round Scruffier Martinum Sizzler Oceanu MattyVanHalen Sloxxor Palaiyot Blafiora
Seventh Round Jaerock Yeeeow Scratch Kale Cosula MeeSAX Rush2008 NaUj
Eighth Round Jmerc KJ6378 ForPony! Freeze Dean Allison Noren Exrio
Ninth Round Sly Delvecchio SatansArsonMilitia Bombtek Tonks M4nus Zooj (Empty) (Empty)

Top 100 Results[edit]

Round 39 top 100

Round 39 - Realm #11 Win Story[edit]

Editor's Note: The allegations of cheating contained within this story have been repeatedly debunked by the Rules Committee, and should not be read as truth.


Pre-round
After having put together a team of great people (see B’s draft considerations here), we started to make plans on races and strategies to play. Bigger teams of 8-9 players per realm allow for a lot of versatility in race choice (*cough* bring back larger realms *cough*) and therefore we were expecting a lot of FA competition. Especially with teams like Swamp Fox’s and Crazy Elf’s, who had a very strong combinations of fast attackers on paper (Wurst + Ivetza + Allegorical, Swamp + Mith + Merf). This led us to choosing to go with 3 fast attackers ourself:

  • Jon – Lizardfolk
  • Rury – Lycanthrope
  • Lamb – FW


It was also a safe assumption IMO that we would not see a runaway this round. Because of the extra competitiveness in a draft round, it was likely that the many fast attackers would try to hit/suicide eachtother as soon as someone would look like running away. Therefore we also had to line up some mid/slow races that could take over after the FA game would be done. We went with:

  • MattyVanHalen – Undead (of course 😉)
  • M4anus – Nox
  • B – Dwarf


Inspired by mcgeeal’s explorer win last round and the strength of fast exploring in general, we also decided to throw a FE in the mix with Craghack playing Goblin.
Having a plan with your attackers and explorer is nice and all, but those guys are not going anywhere without some proper (bl)ops support. So we lined up our support guys like this:

  • Slicer – Dark Elf
  • Dean – Nox
  • Cosula – WE


Realm assignment came and we were happy to find out that Poige and Skubasteve landed with us. “Best randomer ever” is what Rury said when he saw that Poige, a regular pack mate of his, landed with us. In hindsight, knowing how the round would end, I would say that draft realms should not be allowed to get randomers (maybe only if they were already lacking a player, like Dave’s and Swamp’s team), but that’s something we didn’t think about before the round, so all we could do now was to play the hand we were dealt 😉 Skubasteve was willing to play a Nox blopsplorer, while Poige would slot in with the mid/slow speed people playing a Human converter.

Early round
Rury and Jon settled for a rather standard 750-800 acres OOP strategy, while Lamb went for one of those fancy large starts on 800+ acres. In order to get as good as possible of a start, we always made sure that in the hours before one of the FAs was meant to hit, that there was at least 1 or 2 of the blopsplorers online to help with target searching. This paid off big time, since we were often one of the first realms to find targets, that would then go on to be hit by other FAs for sloppy seconds or thirds.

Our prediction of there being many FAs was spot on and the competition for our fast guys early on consisted of (in no particular order):

  • Ozzy Osbourne (Chunk/Lizardfolk) and Notorious PIG (Bobbo/FW) in #2
  • Those nerds (Blafiora/Liz) and Look at my grade (Merf/Lyc) in #10
  • Missionary (Jota/FW), Every Corporate HR (Nate/Lyc) and VCR Repairman (Mris/Liz) in #5
  • Sexcast (Ivetza/Lyc) and Open Domination (Allegorical/Liz) in #3
  • Groundhog Dave (Downrightdave/Halfer) and Jungle B (Disco/Liz) in #12


Despite dominating the top OP charts with our three guys early on, unfortunately the wheels of our FA setup started falling off earlier than desired. At some point on day 2, Merf was getting quite strong. While we were busy calculating his numbers vs us, we kind of missed the other guy in #10, Those Nerds, who was able to hit Lamb safely. As things go early in the round, one hit often leads to a double and a triple, and I think this might have been one of the first times where Harm’s legendary “I’m here for the gang bang” GIF was put to use.

2024-03-19 02:15:25 Look at my grade point average! Look at it! (#10) invaded fellow dominion Playing in Mega Playground (#11) and captured 49 land.
2024-03-19 02:10:41 VCR Repairman (#5) invaded fellow dominion Playing in Mega Playground (#11) and captured 58 land.
2024-03-19 00:59:53 Those nerds are a threat to our way of life (#10) invaded fellow dominion Playing in Mega Playground (#11) and captured 64 land.
2024-03-18 19:59:55 Victorious on the battlefield, Playing in Mega Playground (#11) conquered 64 land from Amy Swinehouse (#2).

This sucked big time for Lamb, who was probably looking like the strongest FA at that point. Not much later on that day, Merf was able to get a hit on Rury. This was a pity, because we could’ve actually prevented this hit: we knew exactly how many draftees Rury had to stack in order to be able to prevent the hit (assassination was not yet enabled at this point), but due to him being very busy with work these days, I think he missed the messages in Discord and continued spending his draftees on troops for 1 or 2 hours too long. Getting hit was obviously not great, but things were looking a bit better when our ops support crew struck again: Craghack found an underdefended target in #7 (Genkidama/Elda), which allowed Rury to get a great bounce-back hit – with great land types – immediately after getting hit. Despite bouncing back quickly, work really started taking its toll on Rury. The next day he wasn’t able to stay up to date with the DP requirement and continued training OP, while he actually needed DP. This left him vulnerable to being hit all-in and obviously our competition was not going to pass on this opportunity.

2024-03-21 04:01:06 Every Corporate HR Department, Ever. (#5) invaded fellow dominion Monopolize Scooby 🍖 and gain control over all 🐕 (#11) and captured 73 land.
2024-03-21 03:59:58 VCR Repairman (#5) invaded fellow dominion Monopolize Scooby 🍖 and gain control over all 🐕 (#11) and captured 83 land.
2024-03-20 21:59:48 Those nerds are a threat to our way of life (#10) invaded fellow dominion Monopolize Scooby 🍖 and gain control over all 🐕 (#11) and captured 93 land.
2024-03-19 19:59:56 Victorious on the battlefield, Monopolize Scooby 🍖 and gain control over all 🐕 (#11) conquered 67 land from Genkidama (#7).
2024-03-19 14:59:53 Look at my grade point average! Look at it! (#10) invaded fellow dominion Monopolize Scooby 🍖 and gain control over all 🐕 (#11) and captured 76 land.

With Lamb and Rury out of the race, Jon was our only fast attacker left. He had been half a step behind the main attackers at this point, but he was still in the race. In the meantime, the Lyc in #3 (Sexcast/Ivetza) was able to find consecutive hits for 67, 83 and 85 acres in a ~24 hrs period and was looking to pull away from the rest. After all the land came in, he was not only sitting on 2000+ acres, but he also had a 200 acres lead on all the other fast attackers and he was training 25% more OP/DP than other FAs: he was training almost 1200 OP/DP per hour, while all other FA were below 1000 OP/DP per hour.

Training potential.png

I don’t know if realm #5 was looking at the same figures as we were, but they made the decision to have their Liz (VCR Repairman/Mris) suicide Ivetza and reel him back in the pack. Crazy Elf described this as a “random sui”, but looking at the numbers about, I would say this was a great tactical suicide that saved us from an early runaway.

2024-03-24 11:45:46 VCR Repairman (#5) invaded Sexcast Merfstorbation through the bloody peRiods (#3) and captured 137 land.
2024-03-23 11:56:58 Sexcast Merfstorbation through the bloody peRiods (#3) invaded The Jungle B (#12) and captured 83 land.
2024-03-22 23:59:51 Sexcast Merfstorbation through the bloody peRiods (#3) invaded You want to do it on the moon? (#10) and captured 85 land.
2024-03-21 07:01:31 Sexcast Merfstorbation through the bloody peRiods (#3) invaded LostinVranslation (#12) and captured 68 land.

A few days after this decisive sui it was an open battle again between FAs. Instead of having one large attacker, we had 5-6 guys all over 2000 acres and very close to eachother in terms of both OP/DP and land, including our own Jon. At the same time, some of the early converters and mid speed races were starting to pick up some pace, including the Dwarves in #5, #9 and #11, the Merfolk in #10 and the two unusual converting Lyc and Liz in #1.

The 5-6 fast attackers went head to head vs eachother until at a certain point there were realistically only 3 of them left: Look at my Grade/Merf in #10, Ozzy/Chunk in #2 and Jon in our realm. Merf was the first one that looked like pulling away from the others after, but after grabbing a good chunk of land he decided to sit for a while with the Fountain of Youth and built 350 DMs. We were afraid for what was to come there, as he was the most “efficient” fast attacker at that point, with the best wonder in the game. But then he did something that only a tactical mastermind like Merf can do: he started bottomfeeding! The DMs + the BFs slowed him down quite a bit, which in the end reduced the FA battle into a 1vs1 between Chunk and Jon.

For me this must have been the toughest period in the round. We reached a point in the round where finding hits for Jon was becoming really hard, but again our great ops support crew played a very important role here. When we were looking for potential targets for Jon every 12 hours, I would bounty the complete list of ~20 people in Jons range and hope that we could find something. These were the moments where I reminded Jon and the others about one of the things Rio mentioned in a podcast or somewhere on Discord: “Top OP will always find targets”. So, with that thought in mind, we set out to look for targets among all the kingdoms in range. A hell of a job, one would say. But what surprised me time and time again, was that our ops crew was able to get fully updated ops on 20 or so kingdoms with a couple of minutes. The most difficult part was not getting the ops, but it was to check if these guys were actually hittable: what’s their current dp? What do they have incoming? What does Jon have incoming? When does their Ares drop? I have lost more sleep this round trying to help Jon find targets, than on things related to my own kingdom.

The effort that everyone of us put into keeping Jon up there paid off on several occasions though. One of the occasions that was exemplary of the teamwork within our realm was when managed to hit Those Nerds/Blafiora in #10. Blafiora was not able to compete with the other FA any more at this point, was training mostly (suicide) OP, but was also trying to grow a bit with easy bottomfeeds. At some point he made a hit and we saw he was hittable by Jon. It was pretty damn close, we had him by ~80-100 points after he released/spent his draftees in the hour that were planning to hit him. Jon had to send all his Chams and we had to hit him that hour, because the hour after Blafiora had some DP incoming. There was a problem though: if we were to pull the trigger on Blafiora, Jon would be open to Every Corporate HR/Nate in #5, who on his turn could break him by 56 points. Not a big difference, but with all Chams (= spies) out Jon couldn’t rely on his draftees and Nate had the better investing potential. So we actually needed Nate to send first. Rury predicted that he was likely to hit that same hour, we started to get ready: Jon had the invade screen prepared and ready to pull the trigger; Rury was keeping an eye on Those Nerds #10’s NW to see whether it would drop, suggesting he might be releasing wizards; I was refreshing Town Crier every second to see if Every Corporate HR would send. I wasn’t actually expecting him to send, because I didn’t see who he could’ve been a target for him, but surprisingly enough I saw his name pop in the TC with a bit more than 30 seconds to go until the hour change. So Jon was clear to go and after Rury checked Those Nerds’ NW for one last time, Jon pulled the trigger and he made the hit 11 seconds after Nate, comfortably in time before hour change as well (26 seconds to go).

2024-03-31 19:59:34 Victorious on the battlefield, Rig the 2044 election (#11) conquered 130 land from Those nerds are a threat to our way of life (#10).
2024-03-31 19:59:23 Every Corporate HR Department, Ever. (#5) invaded Kobbz (#2) and captured 95 land.

After this, Jon was able to keep going for another week. Another week in which we were constantly looking for targets, more and more often relying on Ares drops. There have been a few occasions where we would have a list of potential Ares drop to check every new hour: “Ok guys, Gobbo #1 has Ares drop in 2hrs, then Kingdom X in realm #Y has his Ares drop in 3hrs, two guys have Ares drop in 5hrs”, etc etc. Busy days for everyone. Sometimes we succeeded in finding an Ares drop, but one time, when the mid/slow races were already catching up to Chunk and Jon, it didn’t work out, Jon bounced unfortunately and that was pretty much the end of the FA game. Despite the bounce, Jon played a great round as the main FA in the game and we were happy we could provide him the Ferrari we promised him before the start of the round 😀

2024-04-07 21:00:59 Sadly, the forces of Rig the 2044 election (#11) were beaten back by B is really more of a C- (#9).
2024-04-04 12:00:19 Victorious on the battlefield, Rig the 2044 election (#11) conquered 125 land from Open Domination (#3).

Mid round
As soon as the FA game ended, it was pretty clear that there were three main contenders for the win:

  • Mithrandir - GIMME’ HEAD TILL I’M DEAD (#10) – Merfolk
  • Lud – Mad Merf and Glory (#12) – Human
  • Poige - Engineer Robotic Candiru Army (#11) - Human


Mith was the favourite for the win by quite a big margin, so it made complete sense when #12 decided to go after him. Realm #10 declared war on realm #9 and it seemed like they were aiming to snare hit Gothia (Volv is named after a gay wizard), a Spirit who was actually starting to look pretty good. The war declaration 5 hours before the hit gave their intentions away, which gave #12 time to prepare a double on Mith. On our turn, we also prepared to join the party and Poige dropped some Spearmen (Human’s spec OP) in order to threaten #12 Human. Interestingly, when the hour of the hit came, Mithrandir hit very early in the tick, which gave #12 plenty of time to make a double on him in the same hour, not having to worry about a retal by Mith on the return. The early hit puzzled us a bit: why, assuming Gothia was snared anyway, send so early in the hour and give some much time to #12 to do a counter move in the same hour? Maybe Gothia wasn’t actually snared and they needed to hit him before he would recast Ares, but if he was snared, this may unfortunately go down as one of the classic Mith-stakes. Anyway, Mith hit early and #12 went for the double, knowing very well that Poige had pushed enough OP in order to hit Lud, but they decided it was worth the risk. Which was probably true, looking at how this exchange between the three top kingdoms brought them closer to eachother:

  • Mith, the clear favourite for the win, eating two hits for a net loss of ~300 acres
  • Lud, the second best kingdom by then, net gained ~0 acres
  • Poige, the “worst” of the three top kingdoms, net gained ~700 acres


2024-04-16 17:29:28 Victorious on the battlefield, Engineer Robotic Candiru Army (#11) conquered 360 land from Mad Merf and Glory (#12).
2024-04-16 09:45:29 The Dan Who Knew Too Little (#12) invaded GIMME’ HEAD TILL I’M DEAD (#10) and captured 364 land.
2024-04-16 09:42:18 Mad Merf and Glory (#12) invaded GIMME’ HEAD TILL I’M DEAD (#10) and captured 352 land.
2024-04-16 09:04:47 GIMME’ HEAD TILL I’M DEAD (#10) invaded Volv is named after a gay wizard (#9) and captured 226 land.

During the same day, two other events took place, which would prove to be rather important later in the round. Dan (More like DownSyndromeDave #9) decided to suicide #12 Icekin (Weaser/The Dan Who Knew Too Little), which probably hurt his own chances to win or #12’s chance to have two very strong kingdoms in the running later in the game. Myself, the Dwarf in #11 (Build an army of OD bots), was able to capitalise on the sui, giving me the kind of boost that a mid/slow races needs in order to go from “one of the many” mid/slow contender to “one of the main” mid/slow contenders. I wasn’t really going to compete for the win still, but I could be useful later on as support for Poige.

2024-04-16 12:04:48 Victorious on the battlefield, Build an army of OD bots (#11) conquered 202 land from More like DownSyndromeDave (#9).
2024-04-16 11:59:56 More like DownSyndromeDave (#9) invaded The Dan Who Knew Too Little (#12) and captured 279 land.

A couple of days later Mith was trying to bounce back from the double with two quick hits, one on the Spirit in #9 and another on the Liz explorer in #1 (Say 🐶 be 🧊/Kj6379). On the second hit, he didn’t leave great DP, which gave Lud the opportunity to drop some OP spec and be able to hit him. When we saw the spec drop, we were not really sure what to do. Poige did not have the OP to follow Lud on a hit on Mith, but he could drop some specs in order to put pressure on Lud instead. At this point we were asking ourself the question if it was smart to drop the specs. It could lead to Lud not making the hit on Mith, because he didn’t want to get hit by Poige. So a spec drop would essentially give Mith a free pass. Do we want to give Mith a free pass? He had been playing risky the whole round, but he was still strong and if he’d started to play more safely, he would still be the main threat for the win. Do we not drop the specs instead and let Lud make the hit? That didn’t sound like a great choice either. In the end we decided to drop the specs and see what Lud would do. Mith was still strong, but he was in a one-man realm, while Lud still had Weaser with him. And in the end Mith is Mith, and a new Mith-stake is probably already around the corner 🤭

2024-04-18 03:58:55 GIMME’ HEAD TILL I’M DEAD (#10) invaded Say 🐶 be 🧊 (#1) and captured 134 land.
2024-04-17 14:59:16 GIMME’ HEAD TILL I’M DEAD (#10) invaded Volv is named after a gay wizard (#9) and captured 234 land.

After all of these events, a few days followed in which the three main contenders mostly grew from underdefended or Ares-dropped explorers. A key moment in this period was a happy little mistake by #12 Goblin (ZarFaith : A Tale Of Two Kitties/Palaiyot), when he made a hit on 2 Thy 1 Cup #3 (Crazy Elf). He left himself a bit underdefended there and immediately both Mithrandir and Poige were able to capitalise. This was a key moment, because Lud was arguably the main contender at this point, but was not able to benefit from this situation because obviously ZarFaith was in his own realm.

2024-04-19 19:59:51 Victorious on the battlefield, Engineer Robotic Candiru Army (#11) conquered 236 land from ZarFaith : A Tale of Two Kitties (#12).
2024-04-19 17:58:19 GIMME’ HEAD TILL I’M DEAD (#10) invaded ZarFaith : A Tale of Two Kitties (#12) and captured 256 land.
2024-04-19 16:58:04 ZarFaith : A Tale of Two Kitties (#12) invaded 2 Thy 1 Cup (#3) and captured 223 land.

Cheating not cheating
Then came the moment that Mith made another risky send. First, Poige managed to hit WhiteSnakes on a Plane in #7 (Candarius). Mith followed on that hit 10 hours later, while Poige had already dropped Spearmen in order to maintain high OP (instead of spending the plat on buildings). This allowed him to get a hit on Mith, who despite the double a few days earlier, was still looking in a good shape.

2024-04-23 05:57:56 Victorious on the battlefield, Engineer Robotic Candiru Army (#11) conquered 393 land from GIMME’ HEAD TILL I’M DEAD (#10).
2024-04-22 21:57:54 GIMME’ HEAD TILL I’M DEAD (#10) invaded WhiteSnakes on a Plane (#7) and captured 351 land.
2024-04-22 11:59:49 Victorious on the battlefield, Engineer Robotic Candiru Army (#11) conquered 391 land from WhiteSnakes on a Plane (#7).

Surprisingly, 14hrs after being hit by Poige, Mith made yet another hit. This time both Poige and Lud were able to hit him, but none of them dared to make the first move, because the one to go first could leave himself open to the other. Lud really wanted to make a move on Mith here, which led to him starting to send messages to some people in our realm. First it started with showing the possible scenarios: "Poige hits Mith, Lud hits Mith, B is a happy Dwarf" vs "Poige hits Mith, Lud hits Poige, B suis Lud. I don't like this scenario". Then it became more pushy, really making it clear that he won't hit Poige if he'd make the first move. We were not going to make the first move here, because Lud could hit Poige relatively safely with some flex and that was a risk we were not willing to take. By not making the first move, we would allow Mith a free pass again, but by now it was pretty clear that Mith was playing pretty loose, so we were not so scared to let him live one more time. After Mith's troops returned, Lud seemed pretty disappointed that we chose not to send: "I TOLD YOU. I WASN'T GOING TO HIT HIM" (him = Poige) he said, after which he started saying that we had put him in a spot where he couldn't win himself and now he had to decide who he wanted to win the round: "The fact that he's put me in this spot, means I AM going to hit him now" (again, him = Poige). Followed by "He's doing his own thing and it's going to cost him this round. I will make sure of it". This last threat was just lame and is what pushed me into contacting Fett about the messages, asking if stuff like this is allowed. Saying several times that he wasn't going to hit Poige in my opinion could go down as alliancing (breaking rule 3c), while threatening to ruin Poige's round and give Mith the win, could go down as showing intention to break rule 3d. In the end, the Rules Committee decided not to take further action. Not a surprise, since they rarely enforce the rules on top contenders. But I actually didn't mind that they didn’t do anything. The goal of "reporting" Lud (I never filed an official report on him btw) was not to actually get him locked or whatever. The goal was to make him think twice about his plans to ruin Poige's round. If he'd known through Fett, who was in his realm, that his messages were being looked into, he would maybe reconsider doing something stupid, which in the end would increase our own chances to win. That was the only goal of reporting him, increasing our odds to win. Despite Lud’s messages being lame and annoying, I can imagine where they came from. Maybe the disappointment about a potential win slipping through his fingers, led to him sending these messages. It's okay, we're all competitive after all and sometimes we do certain things in the heat of the moment.

2024-04-23 19:04:20 GIMME’ HEAD TILL I’M DEAD (#10) invaded WhiteSnakes on a Plane (#7) and captured 350 land.

The +800 acres plan
After Mith got his acres in safely, he started building tons of temples. That wasn't necessarily a bad move, but the timing and magnitude of the temples drop didn't seem optimal. Mith needed DP, so pushing temples first, while having to train defense after, kind of removes the surprise effect of a sudden mod drop on potential targets. It was even more confusing when he also rezoned Hills to Swamps for more Temples, while he needed DP. At this point we didn't know what he was planning, so we came to the conclusion this must be one of Merf's tactical mastermind moves, moves that mortals like us don't understand. After those temples Mith started training DP as expected and we were wondering what would happen next. Mith needed a while until he could make a safe hit, but by then his OP wouldn't be enough to realistically find a target. Poige and Lud would have much better numbers than him by then. Surprisingly - though it should have not been a surprise any more by now - Mith made a hit and left himself open once again to both Poige and Lud. This was the moment that we saw the opportunity to make a round winning move. Up until this point in the round there was no good opportunity for me as Dwarf to make suicide on Mith or Lud. A sui on one of the two would have allowed the other to pick up some easy acres from the sui, so despite that it had been possible, it was not like we would've increased our chances for the win with a sui. People were probably looking at my sui potential and it maybe even influenced some of their moves, but I had never even considered a sui up until that point. This time the situation was different. Mith had already been hit 3 times and was about to get hit again, so it was safe to assume that he was not going to be that big of a threat for the win any more. Based on what happened the day before, we knew Lud would not make the first move on Mith. At the same time, we knew he would be more than willing to make a hit on Poige, so we started running some numbers and came up with a plan that would put Poige well ahead of the other two. Poige would hit Mith for 450 acres, knowing very well that Lud would then go on to hit him for 500+ and it wouldn't even be a sui or so. If I would then make a sui on Lud for ~500 acres, the top 3 contenders would look like this after all their land came in:

  • Poige ~8600 acres
  • Mith ~7800 acres
  • Lud ~7800 acres


A +800 acres lead for Poige over his two main competitors, with better OP/DP and eco as well (if I remember correctly). This seemed like a favourable scenario for us, so we decided to go for it and things went pretty much as planned. I was expecting to lose a lot of land after the sui, but funny enough I only ate three hits and in the end even net gained 38 acres out of the whole thing. The reason I didn't get hit more often was probably because the WE in #8 (Captain Falcon/Soup) had quite a bit of OP and was probably keeping a few people home. It was a pity that the Icer in #12 was one of the three people that hit me. He had just made a hit ~18hrs earlier and I was hoping that after casualties and a drop in WPA he wouldn't be able to hit me safely, but unfortunately he could, keeping him in the race for a bit longer as a potential sui threat against Poige. Before my land came in from the sui, there was a window of a couple of hours for both Lud and Mith to make a safe BF on me and decrease their gap to Poige from 800 to 400-500 acres, but fortunately they didn't consider it. To finish off what was already a great day at the office for our realm, Rury also managed to find me a hit on a underdefended Goblin in #8 (Captain Insano/Damdred) all in. We needed Ares to drop though in order to make the hit safely and we saw Ares would be down in 2 ticks. At the same time, we also saw Damdred posting in Dom chat, so I was like "he is online, no way we can pull this off, he'll just recast his spells in time". Still, Dean, Jon and myself got on voice chat to prepare the Ares drop hit. At :58 he hadn't recasted yet, so there was still a little bit of hope we could pull it off. After the tick we Rev'd again, saw Ares was off and I pulled the trigger 11 seconds into the tick. Perfect way to bounce back a bit after a making a sui for the win ~15hrs earlier. Immediately after the hit, ZarFaith #12 took ops to see if he could suicide me. He was always checking me towards the end of the round any time I sent, wishfully thinking that I left myself open to him. But as always, we knew exactly what his OP was and I was always making sure I could defend him before making a hit.

2024-04-25 22:00:11 Victorious on the battlefield, Build an army of OD bots (#11) conquered 225 land from Captain Insano (#8).
2024-04-25 11:07:30 Cronel thinks chaos is a personality trait (#9) invaded fellow dominion Build an army of OD bots (#11) and captured 281 land.
2024-04-25 10:59:35 The Dan Who Knew Too Little (#12) invaded fellow dominion Build an army of OD bots (#11) and captured 296 land.
2024-04-25 10:38:41 Captain O Captain! My Captain! (#8) invaded fellow dominion Build an army of OD bots (#11) and captured 367 land.
2024-04-25 07:59:53 Victorious on the battlefield, Build an army of OD bots (#11) conquered 491 land from Mad Merf and Glory (#12).
2024-04-25 06:59:43 Mad Merf and Glory (#12) invaded fellow dominion Engineer Robotic Candiru Army (#11) and captured 537 land.
2024-04-25 05:59:53 Victorious on the battlefield, Engineer Robotic Candiru Army (#11) conquered 465 land from GIMME’ HEAD TILL I’M DEAD (#10).
2024-04-25 04:03:49 GIMME’ HEAD TILL I’M DEAD (#10) invaded Jeff "Ironwood" Hudson (#4) and captured 206 land.

Spears
The last 3 days of the round were all about securing the win. Poige had by far the best military and eco. I think his peasant count peaked at 80-85k this round, at times more than some explorers in his range. With so many peasants and no one really able to threaten him, he could happily continue dropping Spearmen and build temples until he would find a hit, while the people in his range were forced to train only DP for days. Including the attackers (Mith and Lud) who at times were pretty close to being hit all in with an Ares drop or a snare. When I think back about this round, one thing that will immediately pop in mind is "Spears". It’s one of the things that Poige said very often during the whole round: "Wonder if I should drop some Spears here for 9hr hit", "Might drop some Spears here and see how he reacts", "Will automate some Spears overnight to keep the pressure on", etc. By the end of the round he had 80.000+ offensive specs. I think many people that were in Poige's range in the last couple of days will still have nightmares about Spearmen after the round.

In the last 24-48 hours we were looking for a last hit for Poige. There was one occasion where we saw Mith dropped his Ares for 6 minutes, but Poige was asleep and we didn't bother to wake him up. We looked again at Mith's Ares 12 and 24hrs after, but he started casting it more frequently. With 30hrs or so to go into the round, we tried to do a snare hit on Mith, but two of our guys with the highest spy ratio were sleeping and by the time they woke up, Mith had joined EG and they were not in range any more. A bit of a pity, but we had already won by now and 10k+ acres was already a pretty solid finish.

In the last 18 hours of the round I tried to find a final hit for myself in order to secure a top 10 finish, which actually would've been too good to be true. I was already happy with a 7k+ finish after suiciding for Poige's win. If I would've added a top 10 finish on top of that, it would've been crazy. There was actually an opportunity to get a last hit in, but with one hour to go before attacking would be disabled, it was only the Dwarf in #8 (Captain O Captain! My Captain!/Warpig) and myself sitting home. We were both waiting for the other to go first, because the one to go first could've been hit by the other. In hindsight it turned out we were both targeting someone else, but obviously we didn't know it before attacking was disabled. For a split second I considered sending a message to Warpig to subtly let him know I had no interest in hitting him, but was I really going to do the same thing that I blamed Lud for earlier in the round? Of course not ;) A top 10 finish would've been nice, but the win was the most important thing and we had already secured that one.

The Golden Throne
One thing that we didn’t mention so far in this round win story is the Golden Throne. ForPony! expressed his doubts about the usefulness / efficacy of this wonder, so let’s have a look at some numbers. In the end Poige accumulated 2000+ prestige, which is the highest value since round 30. But what is even more impressive is that he did it as a converter, who only started attacking on day 16 (!) of the round. Jon has been leading the prestige rankings for a while early on and myself also ended 7th for prestige as a converter that was hit three times along the way. Below are a few of our best hits in terms of prestige gains. Gaining something between 150 and 200 prestige on a hit late in the round, which translates to +1.5-2% OP and +1.5-2% pop, doesn’t sound too bad to me, ForPony! 😉

Engineer Robotic Candiru Army (#11) gained 187 prestige.
Build an army of OD bots (#11) gained 178 prestige.
Engineer Robotic Candiru Army (#11) gained 172 prestige.
Engineer Robotic Candiru Army (#11) gained 169 prestige.
Engineer Robotic Candiru Army (#11) gained 160 prestige.
Build an army of OD bots (#11) gained 152 prestige.
Build an army of OD bots (#11) gained 147 prestige.

Final words
Before the round I saw some things being posted on Discord showing that my team was one of the weakest based on some kind of "objective rankings". There were also a few teams who were saying things like "we are going to win" or "this round is ours", especially realm #10. Realm #12 did a cheeky little thing with the realm name before OOP, where they reacted to our name (“Step-by-step guide to take over the world”), by changing their name to something like "step 1. #12 is going to win; step 2. accept that #12 has won". All these things served as great motivation going into the round. It made me eager to put in the extra effort, to miss that extra hour of sleep, if it meant that I could help my team winning and beating all the big mouths out there. In the end we pulled it off and even if it was a very demanding and exhausting round, it was more than worth it!

One last thing I wanted to touch upon is something that caught my attention in the post-round discussions. After attacking is disabled, people usually declare war on the winning realm to congratulate them with the win, after which the post-round discussions start to take place on Discord. It caught my attention that during this period, Dave specifically congratulated his brother on three occasions (in-game and on Discord), but never congratulated our realm as a whole.

2024-05-02 12:22:17 Congratulations Jon! (#12) has declared WAR on Update Bucket List; ✅ off “World Domination” (#11).

I asked Jon if I was maybe reading too much into it. Slice suggested he was maybe just really proud of his brother, but Jon said something like “I don’t know my brother like this”, which to me suggests that he was a bit salty about our win. On one hand, I understand that, I might’ve felt the same if our realm didn’t win. On the other hand, it’s a bit unexpected from him, since I’ve always thought of Dave as a really nice guy, from what I see from him in the pods and on Discord. So I don’t know what led to him being so salty about our win. But whatever, it doesn’t really matter any more. The round is over, the win is the books and from my point of view at least, there are no hard feelings towards anyone in #12 or anyone else 😊

Last but not least, special thanks to everyone that was part of Team B! You were all great teammates and I hope that this round win story shows how much of a teamwork this win was. It was a pleasure being the captain of this great group of people and I hope to meet you guys again in future rounds!


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