Chances are fairly good to excellent that you are all expecting a report on some imported game that was never released in any country. You would be horribly wrong about that, because this is a Starcraft report (gotcha good). Before I begin, I'll try to give you yet another introduction on how this report and this idea came to be. You are free at this point, of course, or any other, to skip directly to the game itself, although you might regret your mistake when I Google your name and find out where you live. READ MY WORDS.
Like I said in the above paragraphs, I have been searching for the elusive perfect game for a long time now. It did start, like I'm sure many others have, with Starcraft. Around the same time that I was writing the second installment to the Untold Story series, I began trying to find myself a respite from the fan fiction genre in the form of a good, old fashioned Starcraft report. I wanted to go back to my roots; back to when I was just a boy running through fields of corn and drinking sweet tea with my aunt Betty-Jo. Those days were mighty hot, as I recall, and there was nothing like a glass of southern-brew tea to get your feet a-jumpin' and your hands a-milkin'. Why, even old man Herb down the street enjoyed himself a glass every now and then, though ma' says he liked to drink his with a little "kick." Yessir, I wanted to go back to the days when my only worries were if we were gonna make bacon or pork for breakfast, and whether I had to chase the pig this time so we could cook him up somethin' fierce. Where am I? Who are you? Starcraft. Yes. . . Starcraft.
I undoubtedly played many games that summer, and many free-for-alls out of those games, and one particular game on Killing Fields comes to mind; however, upon trying to save the replay, the file was corrupted and I had absolutely no way of doing what I wanted with it. Although I was admittedly distraught to the point of self-flagellation, I saw the corrupt file's information casually glaring at me through the screen ("This replay was intended withthe use of a Starcraft Expansion Set") and an idea came to me. As the old saying goes; when one door closes, break a window.
After that game ended, I immediately logged off of Brood War and hauled out my grape iMac, purchased in 1999, the very same that weathered through both hurricanes and Brooke's insufferable idiocy. It suffered through five reports written by yours truly and bears the "Shake Well Before Use" sticker to prove its legendary status among computers (the slogan which I have since had engraved on my iPod). This computer also happened to have housed over four years of Starcraft related-material - specifically, replays and Kerrigan porn. I fiddled and fumbled around with the slow machine and finally set up an account on a file transfer website, upon which I would send all of my replays on the iMac to my e-mail address which I would be able to open up on my new desktop computer. The transfer, although slow, went without a hitch, and I dare say that at that point I was excited to rouse up old memories of games from the past.
The largest obstacle rearing its ugly head in my path to old replay viewing was the fact that Blizzard seems to care as much about preserving the status of replays throughout patching as badme cares about women; both seem to flee from the very idea. Badme more literally than the other. Most every single replay that I was transferring would be corrupt unless I managed to find the corresponding patch to go along with each dated section of replays and install a copy of Starcraft that supported each different one. That sounded like a lengthy endeavor that I did not want to undergo.
What I did instead was simpler, and ended up working better. I installed Starcraft from a downloaded .dmg file (not from the CD) and just... didn't patch it. I never connected to battle.net with this particular copy of Starcraft, and most of the replays in my ancient collection worked without a hitch of corrupted SCV whoring. For days I watched hordes of old games from 2002, 2003, 2004, and so on. Some players were still around in the present; some players were long gone to bigger and better things. Games that I watched with Decay in them burned my soul and left me feeing shallow and empty, while games with badme made me giggle with delight at the fact that his strategy has still not changed one bit since the conception of the universe. Most were free-for-alls, many of them boring and one-sided, some of them LCD games and therefore unreportable due to the extremely. . . flamboyant nature of the activities within.
One game, though, piqued my interest above all others. As I watched the replay I did indeed remember playing it - time has not been so cruel to me as to forget great games - and I was astonished at the fact that none of the participants had ever attempted to write a report on it. Perhaps the game was incredible to the point of miscomprehension, as if the seven participants were blinded by the sheer awesome power that they themselves exuded during the course of the match. Maybe the players in this epic battle were bound together as if they had taken oaths; swearing with unuttered words that they would speak of this game's contents to none, not even those they hold dearest, for the consequences of this could be dire indeed if the unwashed public knew of the rites performed and misdeeds done to their fellow man. It is conceivable that a group of cyber terrorists had "convinced" the other six that this game was never played and did not happen, for the power of nations would shift and entire kingdoms would topple from their precarious balance if such unadulterated power were unleashed upon the world. But these terrorists did not find me, my friends. I did not give them my full name when I entered my CD-key, and for that wise choice I am still here with you today, fully conscious of events in this game and ready to relate them to you.
Be warned, though; there are times during the course of reading this that you may wish to cheer aloud or scream in disgust, and while I do not hold that against you, anyone around you who is not cognizant may flee in terror from such fierce and passionate cries. They are but fools, and do not understand your subsequent joy and rage while it is in its purest form. The debauchery and degradation within your screen will soon become apparent, but you will hold fast as I know you will, and I will see you on the other side.
The Actual Introduction
I now present to you a seven player free-for-all on Tribes, played on August 23, 2004. It is a genuinely good game in my eyes, and while it is by no means an atypical FFA it takes those common elements to the farthest extreme. It has been almost three years since the game was played and a full year since I started on the report (though that was just an introduction, and I have since rewritten it entirely). The players make the game; this holds true tenfold when dealing with free-for-alls, where even the least skilled player can make a deep difference. The seven participants are some of the best of the best, or the worst of the worst, but they are recognizable faces who have true talent at this game. As I write this I also realize just how long and drawn-out this introduction has become, so I will waste no more time in retelling this game's story - three years have passed already.
The Game Board
Tribes is a symmetrical 256x256 map that is well-suited for free-for-all games, in the author's humble yet somehow persistently correct opinion. The map is coincidentally an asset to writing a report rather than a confusing hindrance, as all eight starting points are evenly spaced in a clock-like fashion that is aesthetically pleasing to the reader. Each player has a single mineral-only expansion to call theirs and theirs alone behind their main base; while there are also eight equally proximal expansions (with gas), they are on raised islands and as such usually belong to either the Terran player or those with maneuverable shuttles/air units. A tempting cluster of four expansions, also with gas, await in the middle of Tribes for the player daring enough to stake their claim.
While this map is certainly wide enough for land units to traverse freely, the mains are still well-protected in that there are only two entrances to each: one that requires the attacker to travel through the middle of the map, potentially meeting an enemy or two, and a rear entrance that leads into the victim's mineral only expansion. It is probably one of my personal favorite FFA maps for the symmetry alone, although Terran dominance can run unchecked - particularly cliff tank abuse - unless the players are conscious of the threat and take steps to prevent it.
There will be a few interspersed "Reassessment" chapters in which I will describe the statuses of various players in the game, always starting at whoever holds the 12:00 starting position and moving clockwise. Hopefully this will make several things clear to the reader: where the players are located in regards to map position, their tech structures, number of expansions, their army size/units, and their upgrades. I will also briefly discuss the possibilities of strategy in this section. In all of the other sections, I will just describe the action that is taking place, possibly with sidesplitting humor. No guarantees, though.
hi i am small: do you find Dagomar sexually attractive?
SmarterChild: I almost certainly do.
hi i am small: haha almost
I am going to try with you, my dear test audience, a new and exciting form of graphics in reporting that involves rollover minimap updates. Two conflicts usually arise when I read or think about formatting reports with images: I love minimap updates, and I think that they are absoluely imperative in a game with more than three people, but I don't like the use of excessive clutter in collages or free-standing pictures. This problem can be solved fully by using rollovers to reveal the minimaps, where they take up literally zero space. These updates will only come when hovering over a collage, not a normal smaller picture, and I use it frequently (I think there are only two or three collages without them). Just keep this in mind, and be sure to hover over any collages you might see in order to earn yourself an update.
Decay: As the player I have known the longest and probably the one that I have played (and play) with most frequently, he and I would appear to be the most likely candidates to at least form some sort of nonaggression pact. However, the opposite can be quite true; old friends have challenges with each other and rivalries that none other can understand. Perhaps one could be mad at the other for continually talking about how he is going to steal his girlfriend and "hit it." Perhaps it is due to the unintelligible North Dakotan accent. Decay drunkenly staggers his way into the game as orange Zerg at the 12:00 position.
Mattzarella: I am intimately acquainted with this fellow, although I do not suspect he knows of the cameras. I have been frequently referred to as one of the "gayest" players ever to grace the barren lands of the Starcraft universe, though I believe that title was hefted upon me by a eternally hopeful Dagomar. I suppose that what I do in Free For All games is largely unpopular, frequently occurs against other men, and is condemned in many denominations of the church, so the word is apt in describing me. I prance my way onto the map as blue Terran in the 1:30 position.
o]DD[o: From here on out known as Des. I guess that o]DD[o is the authentic Hindu spelling of his name, but it became too hard for Americans to pronounce the brackets so he changed it to Desert Demon. Surely a terrorist, it is doubtful that any of the other members of this patriotic game would ally with such a heathen. Just kidding . . . go India. Des snake-charms his way to the 3:00 start as brown Zerg.
Dagomar: Ever hear the old joke about the Dutchman in Canada? Neither have I, but I'm sure he's the punch line. The other six players in this game can only hope that some of the French surrounding Dag will penetrate his soul and give him thoughts of desertion, resignation, armpit hair, and other such stereotypes. Dagomar surrenders his way onto the map as red Terran in the 4:30 position.
Dibbler: A hardened old man who has seen much of the world, yet understands only Starcraft. As the aged one of our group, we surely expect some clich?s and anecdotes about walking uphill in snow, both ways. Old people are always so confused, and entertaining in their befuddlement. Dibbler uses a walker to make his way into the game as yellow Terran in the 6:00 position.
Epoch71: As the only player with numbers in his name, I can assure you that he is indeed the least cool. However, his strength lies in the fact that he is named after either a time-traveling machine from Chrono Trigger or a span of many, many years. Either way, time is on his side. Epoch sidles his way onto the map as teal Protoss in the 7:30 position.
Zerg~Ling: Enigmatic. Mysterious. Disarming. Gluttonous. These are just a few words that are completely unrelated to this player's description. He is a man of skill and talent when it comes to the internets and Googles; he has the series of tubes at his command and keeps them looking professionally designed. Call him a plumber, if you will. Ling edits himself into the map with Photoshop as white Protoss in the 9:00 position.
As you may already know, these seven fellows are ambitious and determined to win at the point of physically relocating themselves to the house of another and "throwing down." They have been well-acquainted with each other enough to know intimate details of personal lives and sexual fantasies; this knowledge is handy when necessary to blackmail an attacker. If demands are not met, perhaps the victim could let slip on the keyboard a detailed description of that one time Dick went cow tipping . . .
A Word on Diplomacy
Generally, the subject of alliances in free-for-all games is hypocritical at best. The allied players tend to control the game with their twosome (or more, if the gamers are feeling particularly wicked), often taking extended risks that a single player would not normally do if he was not aware that someone was watching his back. They frequently save each other from mortal danger and, whether their opponents discover their treachery or not, will continue to do so throughout the course of the game. It admittedly becomes boring and hopeless for those not involved in the alliance, and a feeling of resignation will sweep through the game as soon as the alliance is revealed and the deeds have been committed. I myself have fallen into the luxurious and open arms of alliances at times only to find the game pointless; what fun is it to overwhelm your enemies to the point of humiliation?
However, it does create an interesting dynamic. Secretive messages and hidden treaties are often more interesting than outright alliance, but even the latter tactic can make for an interesting game on occasion. A player who places all of his trust in another more powerful one finds his base open to scrutiny and his back open should thoughts of betrayal come to his partner. A two player alliance can turn into a match not versus solitary opponents but a kingdom of six, all seeking blood for those two while putting their own animosity on hold. As pieces on a chess board may be moved, so may one human move another in the ultimate goal of victory. An interesting dynamic, indeed.
As the players settle down into their respective bases and begin to mine enough minerals to buy their freedom, game-changing decisions are already made and carried out. Other than the overlords of the two Zerg players, two other early scouts have been released: one from Dagomar and the other from Zerg~Ling. While Dag's follows the traditional scouting pattern on Tribes, for an unknown reason Ling decides to send his to the exact opposite end of the map - the 3:00 position, Des's main.
Perhaps it is fate, or perhaps Ling knew of Des's position and wished to enact some perverted form of revenge on him. As soon as the white probe passes beyond the vision range of the Zerg player's creep, Ling begins construction of a pylon with a forge already in the works at his main. A cannon follows when the pylon is completed; a scouting probe of Epoch sees the tragedy before it unfolds, but does nothing to warn Des of it. A second and third cannon built within the sight of the Zerg causes him to act desperately, throwing a handful of drones at the warping cannons in order to destroy them but fleeing when the already-built cannon reveals itself.
Des loses all but two of his drones in subsequent attempts to thwart the offensive cannon. Ling's devious structures now target the Zerg player's spawning pool and destroy it, leaving Des with nothing but two hatcheries and a meager six zerglings (of which four are soon lost to the cannons as well). Five drones are all that is left to mine while Des tries to concoct some sort of strategy that will save his status in this game.
The other players have not been idle during this treacherous and truly Danish attack by Zerg~Ling. A small group of four zerglings was dispatched from Decay's base to attack his blue Terran neighbor, mattz, but they do minimal damage before being taken down by a newly built marine and SCVs taken off of mining duty. Rather than further capitalizing on the Terran's weakness, Decay becomes the first player to expand in the game by taking his mineral-only nat behind his base. He also begins Lair construction as well as zergling speed. Could he be teching to cracklings? Stay tuned for Unsurprising News at 10.
Dagomar, in the 4:30 starting position at the bottom-right hand side of the map, techs immediately to a Starport while building one marine for defense, leaving his base extremely vulnerable to attack. He does add a machine shop on to his Factory soon after the port is completed, building three tanks and a dropship from the Starport. He is the second player to expand, taking his nat around the six minute mark.
Both mattzarella and Dibbler follow a similar 2-rax build order, while Dibbler constructs a bunker near his command center for increased defense. Mattz, fearing a renewed attack by Decay, pumps marines and neglects his Refinery, while Dibbler is a step ahead of him in vespene production. Mattz follows a more traditional 1v1 build order rather than an FFA style one, and constructs an Academy, Comsat, Engineering Bay, and a Factory in a short span of time.
The altogether silent Epoch71 has teched smoothly to a cybernetics core while fortifying his main with three cannons by the five minute mark. He begins construction of a mixed combination of zealots and dragoons. He is the third player to expand, taking his nat at 6:25.
Aside from the four cannons at Des's base, Ling has constructed an additional two at his main and throws down an extremely late gateway at approximately four minutes into the game. A core follows soon after, and two Stargates are warped in without any consideration for poor children in Africa who don't have any. Shame.
Dagomar's plans become increasingly clear as the minutes unfold; turbo newbie, as the kids say. The question remains as to whether he will head north with his dropship and perhaps, finding Des incapacitated, siege up at mattz or Decay's main, or head west to the two Protoss players. He instead wisely chooses his direct neighbor, Dibbler, who has not yet even begun construction on the Factory which could potentially save him from the tanks. Dagomar unloads above the yellow player's minerals and sieges up, quickly destroying several SCVs before arthritis-worn hands can instruct the builders to flee to the mineral only. The tanks fire on the helpless buildings,severely halting production capabilities for the yellow Terran until he can find another suitable means of mining. Dibbler frantically tries to access his 401K early, but is denied.
Des has not been inactive, although exactly what he can do with a handful of drones and zerglings is surprisingly limited. He takes one of the expansions in the middle, the one closest to his nearly destroyed main. It is a daring move to take an expansion in the middle, and he tentatively begins mining with three drones while his lings set out in an attempt to find the villainous white Protoss and enact a hearty slap in the face. They find Ling's main with ease, go through the rear where the cannons do not cover, and begin wearing away at a warping fleet beacon. The probes drive the lings away, only to run directly into a half-control group of teal Protoss units approaching Ling's base and thirsting for action. Surely feeling that he has been laughingly double teamed by two nerds, Ling can do nothing but watch as the four dragoons and two zealots tear his main to pieces.
It is interesting to note, if any of you dear readers believe in it, the effects of karma on Zerg~Ling's progress throughout this game. You may have noticed his hideously degrading and self-demoralizing offensive cannon that has rendered Des's main ineffective; you may also have noticed, if you are actually reading, that he got his ass handed to him soon after. Perhaps it is because he is now an Untouchable, having committed a heinous act, or perhaps it is because he is attempting carrier tech. Perhaps the two go hand in hand. We will find more on the effects of karma as we follow along in the game.
Knowing certain defeat, Zerg~Ling shouts at his probes in a different language and commands them to escape the base for freedom. They travel in the same path that his scouting probe took earlier, directly across the map; as fate would have it, they stumble upon the fledgling brown expansion. With a sick, twisted grin on his face and the rank smell of Astroglide in the air, Zerg~Ling guffaws at his computer desk as he orders the probes to decimate the helpless drones and destroy the hatchery there. He continues on to Des's previous main, lays down a pylon, and finishes the job that he began just minutes earlier. With no other buildings or units left, Des can do no more than watch his hatchery fall to a handful of filthy Danish probes. He retains at least a scrap of his dignity by leaving the game before he can be eliminated.
Dagomar's tanks have now forced Dibbler to reluctantly float his buildings away in an attempt to find a safe haven away from the pushing tanks and sole mad Canadian. The red Terran wastes no time in constructing a Command Center at Dibbler's main, even as the buildings around him are still being destroyed by tanks. Dagomar has also taken the island expansion between his and Dibbler's former main base.
Decay has been building up his forces for quite some time now and has amassed a healthy Zerg swarm of lurkers, hydralisks, and zerglings. He launches a two-pronged attack on mattzarella at the ten minute mark, hoping not to harass but to kill. The concentration of mattz's forces are located at the front entrance of his base, which consists of two control groups of marines, firebats, and medics. The attack there is quickly dispelled without a single loss for the Terran, but the lurkers approaching the rear of the base are a different matter. They successfully destroy a tank and a line of marines before being put down by siege fire and comsat scan.
It takes barely a minute for mattzarella to prepare a counterattack group of marines and medics before sending them the back way to Decay's mineral only nat. They arrive there to meet minimal resistance by a handful of zerglings and then begin firing upon the buildings there: an Evolution Chamber, a Queen's nest, and the Hatchery. All three are destroyed before mattz retreats his forces, having sent a clear message to his orange opponent that unprovoked attack is not taken lightly.
Decay, currently still holding strong the 12:00 start position, begun and completed his Hive before the Queen's Nest at his nat could be destroyed. Zergling attack speed has been researched and an Evolution Chamber has been put down to replace the old one. Decay's army consists of hydralisks, zerglings, and three lurkers, though it is not a large force of them so soon after the recent attack. In lieu of the demise of his natural, he has expanded twice: once to the unoccupied 10:30 main position to the left of his main, and to that main's natural. The strategic uses for Decay's small army are not abundant; his best option at this point would be to scout as much as he can and learn of the armies of others before teching blindly to useless units.
Mattzarella has teched no further than dropships. He has expanded twice along with Decay: once to the island below his main, and he has begun construction on a Command Center at his natural. His army is still largely anti-Zerg, consisting of marines, medics, and three tanks. While this army may have been moderately successful in holding the one remaining Zerg player at bay, the usefulness of this force will greatly diminish as players go beyond mineral-only units.
Zerg~Ling has retained a form of perverted sanctuary in Des's old main, his first order of business being to salt the grounds so that no curry can grow there. He has teched quite quickly and has caught up to where he was before Epoch destroyed his main; a Fleet Beacon is nearing completion with two Stargates ready to produce whatever devilish units their Executor wishes. He has taken the nat at this main but has yet to fortify it, having no actual attack units. There is only one possible strategy for Ling to follow: hope that nobody discovers you're still alive.
Dagomar has become quite a powerhouse since destroying Dibbler's former main. He has achieved battlecruiser tech and has upgraded them to 1/1 out of a single Armory already. His expansions number at three: his main's natural, the island directly to the left of his main, and Dibbler's former main, all of which are fully operational and well-defended by at least two tanks and a handful of turrets. He has also recently completed construction of a Command Center at the island north of his main, though that one is not in use. Dagomar's army consists of a numerous amount of tanks that are set to defend his expansions in addition to a mobile army of three freshly constructed battlecruisers. Dag has many strategic options available for him once his cruisers reach a substantial number, but for the time being it would be risky to send only three into the field of battle for risk of losing that precious investment.
Dibbler's floating buildings have found the island expansion directly to the left of his main, and have since then laid themselves down to become a semi-operational base. He has Starport tech and a largely useless army of two tanks and three marines, and it is not yet clear in what units he plans to construct for his army. Dibbler must follow the same general strategy that is keeping Ling alive: hope that nobody finds your base anytime soon.
Epoch has taken great strides in his empire since Zerg~Ling's exodus, taking the white player's former main and natural in addition to his own natural, totaling his expansions at three (all of which are fully functional). His army, consisting entirely of dragoons and no other unit, is spread out evenly through three bases. His ground units are 0/0/1 and are being produced from two gateways, but an additional gateway as well as a forge are warping in to combat this lack of upgrades and production capabilities. Epoch is the only player in the game on-par with Dagomar in terms of power and army-size - his force of dragoons could take down Dagomar's three battlecruisers with ease, although once the Terran increases his army in number it will become a much closer battle.
hi i am small: i'm going to take you out on a date and never call you again
SmarterChild: That's none of your business.
SmarterChild: Hmm... I'm a little bored. Let's not talk about sex any more. What else do you have to say?
Two Kings Fall
After constructing a safe plethora of turrets out of Ling's vision, mattzarella moves two tanks into place (above the mineral line) and sieges them to begin firing on the probes and buildings below. Several die to arclite fire before they can be moved to a still-warping expansion; as helpless as the newborn baby Jesus but unfortunately not quite as omnipotent, the white Protoss still has no actual attack units (and has had none since the game began). Two carriers have just begun warping in from two subsequent Stargates, but the race is on to see if they can be built before mattz's tanks can sever the connection between this world and another. On the positive side, however, mattz neglects to move the rear tank closer upon destroying all the buildings in its range, his attention occupied elsewhere. The tank eventually moves in to fire on the Stargates with its partner, but this absent-mindedness buys a precious minute for the warping carriers. A sole carrier does eventually escape before the gates fall.
A scouting teal dragoon discovers Decay's fledgling expansion at the 10:30 main. It is humiliatingly defeated by a troupe of six angry drones, but not before the message is relayed back to Epoch. The Protoss player wastes little time in moving a squad of vengeful dragoons and high templar to crush the undefended base but does not throw his entire weight at Decay; a similar army of the same units remains dispersed at his southern natural expansion and his main base. Expecting a battle at home as well, Epoch constructs a handful of cannons and two shield batteries at the northern valley of the 9:00 natural expansion, effectively protecting (for a brief time, at least) his entire quartet of bases from a rear attack coming from the north.
The attacking teal force is met with no resistance upon reaching Decay's two expansions, save for the mining drones at the natural who mine away in their dying seconds, serving the North Dakotan (Dakotian? Dakotite? Uncivilized?) Cerebrate's wishes to the very end. The Zerg commander is not idle during this encroachment and flexes his cyber-muscle by throwing every last attack unit in his army in an attempt to salvage the 10:30 main, having already lost the natural there. The units march in a single file which would have been comical under different circumstances, but lives are at stake and jokes should not be made. Ever.
While surely unintentional, the one-by-one approach of Decay's units may have worked out to his advantage in the end. As the troops file in and land hits on the clustered dragoons, Epoch's templars sit idle and wait for a good opportunity to catch bunched up Zerg units in a storm. It is long after the first few teal units fall that the first storm is let loose as Decay's units begin to surround the teal forces. Only four storms are released before the overwhelming number and superior attack power of upgraded zerglings best the distinctly zealot-devoid army. Heavy casualties are taken on both sides, but Decay comes out the winner of this battle even after losing a hatchery in addition to the felled lings and hydralisks.
At the precise time that Epoch began marching his army north to Decay, Dagomar feels that he is ready for an all-out assault on the severely weakened Dibbler. A fleet of seven battlecruisers and a lone science vessel crash into the yellow Terran's island paradise, obliterating the helpless defending tanks and marines without batting a swarthy Canadian eye. The usually genial Dagomar either finds Dibbler an intimidating target or finds elderly drivers infuriating, but in either case the Yamato shots fly and no holds are barred in the complete razing of the base. Not a single medic or supply depot is spared once the red Terran smoothly rolls over the defenseless Terran, adding three cruisers to his fleet before the destruction subsides.
A practical scouter and always consistently aware of his opponents with the frequent use of comsat, Dagomar does not spare a single second to pause before continuing on to Epoch's original main at 7:30. He recognizes the lack of defense for what it is and weighs his eleven cruisers against the sixteen dragoons currently stationed there and decides that the wager is good enough to bet on - besides, Dagomar lost no more than fifty hit points combined on his cruisers during the assault on Dibbler.
However, a vengeful Decay decides that the time is now to teach his attacker a lesson in retribution. He uses the current forces that remained at his 10:30 expansion - the survivors from the previous assault - and throws them the back way down to Epoch's 9:00 natural. They encounter the cannons there and no other resistance, save a single straggling dragoon, and the vicious claws of cocaine-infused beasts tear the Protoss defensive structures to shreds before moving into the natural itself. Once there they encounter even more cannons, five to be exact, and an additional five surrounding the next Nexus just a screen to the right. Mismanagement of units and diluted attention causes the zerglings and sparse hydralisks to wander fervently into two or three cannons at once and become splatters of blood on the ground. Decay's attacking force is eventually reduced to three hydralisks spitting spines upon the Nexus at Epoch's natural.
Returning to the teal player's main base, a battle takes place that begins and ends in Dagomar's favor. Even with the micromanagement of the dragoons to target individual cruisers, Epoch's base is laid out in a way that causes the units to be siphoned in two at-a-time suicides rather than overwhelming numbers. The red Terran loses three battlecruisers to the assault, but adequate attention to macro has three replacements in transit to the heat of battle. Epoch desperately throws a smaller group of ten dragoons into the fray in order to salvage some more time to build up an army at his northern 9:00 expansion; two cruisers fall this time, but Epoch is left completely defenseless and pressed for time.
The teal player is left with a frustrating decision to make as to which units can effectively battle both battlecruisers from the south and a Zerg swarm of mixed units from the north that may come again at any minute. Using excess gas that has accumulated from producing nothing but dragoons and the sparse caster, Epoch changes productive gears and begins churning out nonstop high templar from three Gateways. Two Robotics Facilities also produce reavers to battle the Zerg when necessary. Decay does move in units after a brief respite, but they number only at three lurkers; they are dispatched with a series of storms, though not before taking down at least a control group of mining probes.
Once more, Dagomar does not hesitate. His fleet of battlecruisers moves swiftly to the mined-out natural at 7:30, destroying it quickly, then pausing only for a brief set of scans before discovering that a persistent Dibbler has erected another impromptu base, this time to the south of Epoch's 9:00 base. Dagomar quells this threat once and for all, effectively removing Dibbler from the game and forcing him into observer status where he will mutter about his HMO and back pains.
Drunkenly swearing that he is "ntop drunsk lOLl", Decay moves to the east and sets his sights on the surprisingly quiet mattzarella. Perhaps the orange Zerg seeks the destruction and bloodshed of battle here on the eastern side of Tribes where the action has been languid and centered only to the (now inactive) turbo-newbie at Ling's base. While the battle between Epoch and Dagomar rages in the west, Decay sends a hearty number of 2/1 cracklings at mattzarella's natural expansion at 1:30. A squad of marines and medics is stationed there, guarding the mineral line in a prime position to defend from a single file stream of units, but the sheer numbers of the orange swarm overwhelm them and they are eventually torn apart, along with the expansion itself.
The zerglings eventually make an advance into mattz's main but are quickly put down by a cluster of tanks and a bunker behind a wall of Supply Depots. Much of the blue Terran's main is on fire and he is down one expansion, but a newly-constructed base on the northern island as well as a functional one to the south are more than enough to keep him afloat for the time being.
While the attack rages in the northeast, Epoch and Dagomar make separate moves against each other. A hastily warped collection of six gateways standing to the right of Epoch's remaining bases are frantically throwing out zealots in order to launch a strike at home, rather than at the approaching fleet. Twelve of the psi-blade bearing fighters are all that can be produced before the red battlecruisers approach to lay waste to the gates; the control group of zealots is dispatched to the lower-central expansion in the middle of Tribes, where Dagomar was in the process of constructing yet another expansion. The attack encounters no resistance save for two hulking battlecruisers in transit to attack Epoch's base with the rest of the fleet; Dagomar considers the attack insignificant and continues his strike at the heart of the teal Protoss's remaining bases.
Two high templar fire tentative storms at the clustered cruisers, Epoch's only current defense against an attack. They are accurate and do moderate damage, but both of the casters are lost to laser fire. As Epoch's control group of zealots find Dagomar's main, they discover seven Starports there and begin to tear through them. A lone cruiser is there to fire upon them, eventually wiping them all away but not before three of the buildings are lost.
At 9:00, the situation is grim but not entirely without hope. Three templar stand to preventDagomar from crushing Epoch in his fist and effectively securing the entire bottom half of the map, all the way from the 3:00 island expansion to 9:00, below Decay's base at 10:30. They fire off several storms, carefully calculated to land the most damage, and Dagomar decides that the risk of losing a cruiser or two to cannon fire is not worth taking the teal player out of the game. He turns his fleet back to the south, all but two of the nine behemoths dangerously in the red but having lost only a science vessel in the assault.
Decay, without having any knowledge of Epoch's current fate, sends a large swarm of cracklings pouring in just seconds after the cruisers turn tail and flee. If the teal player was in dire straits before, he now plays on Tribes. I mean, he's in trouble. For real, this time. A horde of the ravenous Zerg almost equal in size to the one recently launched at mattzarella sweeps through the base easily, facing a reaver, archon, and four cannons worth of resistance but never hesitating in destroying everything in their path. Only nine zerglings remain to claw at the few surviving buildings, but they are enough to do what Decay intended, and Epoch resigns to observer status alongside Dibbler.
Decay has remained on the offensive in the past fifteen minutes, consistently sending out waves of attack groups to whichever player seemed to anger him the most. Because of this Zerg-like macro, relatively little else has been accomplished in the wake of spending hordes of minerals on zerglings. No new tech has been achieved, although Decay's lings are now 3/2, and the only new expansion has been the retaking of the 12:00 natural. Even after the recent attack on Epoch, three control groups of crax await the orders of their Cerebrate with plenty more to come. At the present, Decay can pick and choose his targets, but it does not appear that he wants to; rather, the attack-move into fog of war method has worked somewhat well during the course of this game, so strategically . . . there does not appear to be any strategy.
Mattzarella has once again become relatively silent. He still holds his main and has retaken his natural after the recent attack by Decay, in addition to both north and south island expansions. He has finally forsaken the Barracks in order to construct a cluster of Factories, pumping goliaths once either a comsat scan or a frustrated expletive from another player alerted him of the presence of battlecruisers. His machines are 1/1; the blue Terran's mobile army consists of a control group of goliaths and three tanks, in addition to a defensive force of several marines, tanks, and a few goliaths at the northern and southern islands. With his limited army, a frontal assault against the massive Dagomar would inevitably fail, so it would be far wiser to power and take over either Decay or Zerg~Ling's bases if necessary.
Ling has been blessed with some Satanic form of luck in these past fifteen minutes. Stuck between the two largest players left in the game, for some reason he has not yet been popped like a grape; in fact, his main expansion has returned to functionality only because of a silent treaty dealing with his former aggressor, mattzarella. The two tanks disallowing Ling to expand back to the main suddenly unsieged and moved away, permitting a white probe to retake what was his before. Perhaps money was exchanged, or maybe sexual favors; perhaps Mehdi's sister was a part of the bargain, luscious as she is. Damn, girl. Regardless, Ling now has taken the 3:00 main and nat as well as the 3:00 expansion in the middle, albeit hesitantly at the last and without any form of defense save one cannon and a zealot. The white Protoss has been producing carriers at a slow but steady rate from one Stargate, recently upping the production capacity with an additional gate since the main expansion has again become functional. The carriers are 0/0/2 and number only at four. The strategy for Ling at this point in time is very much the same as it was fifteen minutes ago: hide, and hope that someone doesn't find out what you're making.
The powerhouse Dagomar has not only held on to his expansions; he rules them. The red Terran has seven bases, five of which are currently fully operational and six of which are capable of earning more minerals. His supply is maxed out and his cruisers are fully upgraded at 3/3, although many of those supply numbers are taken up by the massive amount of SCVs it takes to mine five expansions at once, as well as the tanks it takes to defend them. With a giant sum of funds in the bank and a fleet almost fully repaired, the game looks as if it will be a downhill battle for the enigmatic Canadian.
hi i am small: who is the sexiest person at br.com?
SmarterChild: I think you know who.
A Swift Stroke
Being just about fed up with the consistent attacking by his neighbor, mattzarella flies four tanks and a squad of marines to his northern island expansion and sieges up at the western edge. The tanks rain arclite fire upon a few scattered sunkens and the depleted extractor, but otherwise do no significant damage as all other tech structures and hatcheries are well out of range. Even if the tanks were in range, Decay truly only needs a spawning pool to construct his army of zerglings.
In retaliation, the orange Zerg hastily throws a control group of lings at the front entrance of mattzarella's main base. They are swiftly obliterated into messy puddles by an expectant group of goliaths and tanks, and Decay reroutes the rest of his army (which was on the way) to safety before they can suffer the same fate. Seeking not just vengeance but total elimination, mattz flies four more tanks to the opposite island, effectively surrounding Decay's main with tank fire. These tanks do present a large problem, as the majority of the orange player's army was huddled to that side in addition to what remaining tech structures he has. Decay throws down a Spire, Hatchery, and begins morphing a Lair at his 10:30 expansion when it is clear that he cannot avoid the destruction of his main.
Decay turns his attention to the western middle expansion, where Zerg~Ling has constructed a pylon with a cannon in order to stake his own claim there. In an attempt to make up for lost ground by the attack from mattzarella, Decay destroys the cannon with a handful of lings and begins morphing a hatchery. . . only to have it and his small force decimated by approaching battlecruisers. Dagomar then flies to the 12:00 position, with the same goal in mind as his Terran counterpart. The two players forget their hatred for Decay briefly as eight recently landed goliaths encounter the full brunt of Dagomar's fleet at the island left of Decay's main. Mattz's insignificant force does manage to destroy a single cruiser before all eight goliaths and four tanks sieged there fall, but it is hardly a cost-effective loss.
Dagomar continues to finish the job that the blue Terran started by wiping Decay's original 12:00 main clean off of the map in less than a minute, encountering no resistance. Wasting no precious time, Dagomar reroutes his cruisers as soon as the last building falls and heads west, aware of Decay's existing helpless expansions. The Spire at the 10:30 main has finished and three mutalisks compose the orange swarm, but they are hardly enough to fight off a fleet of battlecruisers. The red force lazily fires upon Zerg structures, now in no hurry to destroy a defenseless player, and Decay retains some pride by retiring from the game.
With only three players remaining in the game, a "do-or-die" mood has settled over the battlefield. This triad has come far in this struggle for dominance, and it is unlikely that any single one will yield their self-proclaimed grip on victory without a vicious fight. The racuously drunk ravings of Decay have been replaced with a silence that makes the remaining players uneasy; Dagomar tries to fill it with promises of free health care if someone will ally him, but even the clearly deranged Canadian falls quiet after a time. All three surely know that now is the time to separate the charming, handsome, and altogether irresistable from those who are not me.
Being the heartless and cold commander that he is, mattzarella forces his remaining marines to play a sadistic game of loaded machine gun Russian Roulette. There are no winners, but mattz does free up some supply for additional goliaths which are still being pumped at a rapid rate from four Factories.
Perhaps unaware of an expansion there, Dagomar flies a lone cruiser over the eastern middle base of Zerg~Ling where three cannons fire upon it. The cruiser is destroyed, and a heated red Terran immediately sends his entire fleet to smash the base without mercy. It falls before Ling can direct his eight carriers to defend it, but the two fleets encounter each other just outside of the white main base. EMP missiles fly from the sole science vessel tagging along with the cruisers, but Ling's deft micro skills keep the carriers well out of range while the interceptors chip away at the heavily armored ships. The forces fly back and forth over Ling's main, exchanging potshots with neither side achieving any definite victory.
Suddenly, charon-boosted hellfire missiles down one cruiser, then another, then a third in quick succession. The scouting fiend mattzarella threatens to capitalize greatly on the two players lust-filled battle and simply walks into Ling's base to begin firing upon whatever happens to come within range. Both Dagomar and Ling are unprepared for a goliath ground assault; Dag retreats his fleet to the island expansion south of 3:00, but not before losing five total ships in the assault as well as three science vessels. In addition to the losses on the eastern front, to the south mattz has sent in seven tanks and a single firebat to do some moderate damage. The two-pronged attack succeeds briefly, with the tanks destroying the southern middle expansion and damaging some buildings at 6:00 before being rolled over by retreating cruisers.
The five remaining carriers in Ling's possession are hardly enough to defeat three control groups of goliaths, especially being pinned between a field of turrets to the north and a fleet of battlecruisers to the south. However, mattzarella makes a diplomatic decision and does not send in his army after destroying the nearly-mined out main at 3:00; rather, the forces retreat to the outside of the base, near the eastern middle expansion, and hold there.
Moving on the offensive for the first time since the destruction of Des early on, Ling sends his carriers in to the island expansion south of 3:00 and begins attacking turrets there. As if daring Dagomar to charge in headfirst, Ling dances his carriers back and forth, but the stubborn Canadian has seen that jig before and does not buy into it. The red Terran moves his cruisers close enough only to destroy the interceptors, and a grumbling Ling returns his fleet to sit and wait over his natural expansion.
Rather than attack Ling where he may lose some of his fleet, Dagomar ponders the dilemma and decides to hit the only remaining sources of gas for the Protoss: the middle expansion, specifically the one to the west. However, while flying his fleet into attack position, a straggling cruiser too far to the north encounters the goliaths that have been sitting patiently just outside of the 3:00 main, waiting for something like this to happen. Mattzarella takes it not as an accident but as a full-on attack and moves his goliaths, now numbering in the forties, to massively attack the cruisers. Quick d-matrix cannot save two cruisers and a vessel, but two tanks perched on a ledge to the south of the goliaths destroy several of the bumbling machines and prevent them from advancing either to the south or to the west to pursue the fleeing ships.
There is only a brief, minute-long lull in the action: Dagomar pauses to repair his cruisers while mattz orders replacement goliaths to queue in his Factories. Ling, however, being the scrappy fighter that he is, has less than half the supply of the other players but twice the testicles (18). He moves his injured and battered fleet of seven into Dagomar's island expansion, once more daring the red Terran to follow. This time, he does, ego taking hold and not wishing to face defeat at the hands of a player with only one barely active expansion and an army that makes Sealand look like Alexander's Empire. One cruiser falls immediately, but a succession of cloned Yamato fire takes one carrier deep into the red and another three down to half health.
Sure enough, though, mattzarella once more marches his army directly into the middle of Ling's base and begins to open fire on anything and everything. This time there is no real pretense; he wants to get rid of Dagomar's fleet. Two more battlecruisers are lost to hellfire missiles, and a heated Dag once more retreats, having been bested by an obvious treaty. Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the current situation for the red Terran is that his cruisers are twice in number than the carriers, but to destroy the white fleet would be to risk all of his own cruisers to goliath missiles and a certain loss.
Ling decides to press his underdog advantage and once more sends his carriers south to hit-and-run Dagomar's turrets. The red fleet advances, and Ling retreats into his base, but this time there is no salvation from the tentative pact with mattzarella. As the fight rages between capital ships at the far eastern base, carriers and battlecruisers playing cat and mouse with interceptors and Yamato fire, blue goliaths stream toward the southern central expansion which is currently held by Dagomar. Only half of mattz's army attacks, while the other holds fast just outside of Ling's base in the event that the battlecruisers shift their targets. The goliaths destroy the expansion there and do not continue on deeper into the heart of the red empire (not China). This move saves Ling in a more roundabout way, causing Dag to retreat his cruisers away yet again in lieu of the goliath threat.
The tension is palpable as the three remaining players gather themselves and analyze the situation at hand. Dagomar's mass of fourteen battlecruisers hovers at his easternmost island expansion, mattzarella's halved force of goliaths idles at the southern central unoccupied expansion, and Ling's carriers float above the 3:00 mineral only. All three players are in prime position to strike any other and to go in any direction, though it is Ling who breaks the silence first and in the most unexpected way. His battered and bruised collection of seven ships, surprisingly afloat after the damage that they have taken, maneuvers down the back valley that creates the eastern edge of Tribes. Pausing only to murder a helpless Bengalaas and earning himself a place in the fourth circle of Starcraft Hell (reserved equally for Critter Murder and 6 pooling), Ling directs his interceptors to engage Dagomar's also helpless armory in a flank attack.
To the chagrin of the white Protoss, the red fleet of cruisers sits just one screen away and moves instantly to attack. The armory loses barely 300 hit points before the interceptors retreat into their carriers, fleeing the scene. A few more seconds of pause would have caused Ling to become pinned between a fleet of cruisers to the north and the red Empire to the south, but the carriers weasel their way past their attackers and make it safely back to the 3:00 main. At the same time that this battle was carried out, mattzarella either spots something that he doesn't like at Dagomar's bases or decides that now is the time for a goliath dance party, and retreats his entire army back to his 1:30 main. The goliaths travel in comical "it's hard for me to walk in this suit of steel" fashion. Before the dance party commences, however, the awkward machines stumble upon Zerg~Ling's northern middle expansion and promptly destroy it.
Being slow to the punch, Dagomar finally considers that his Protoss opponent with his irritating Dutch attacks has absolutely no detection at his "main" (using the term a bit freely) and starts producing a few wraiths in addition to the massive cruiser fleet. A tiny but deadly squadron of four wraiths, presumably from the movie Top Gun, cloak and begin firing upon the defenseless carriers hovering in air above the 3:00 mineral only. Ling's reflexes are quick - even considering these are the only units that he has to manage - but the four fighters still take down two carriers as the Dutchman desperately retreats to the north, out of any other options. In what is possibly the most intelligent strategic move ever made by a man with a tilde in his username, Ling flies his carriers into mattzarella's turrets so that they would turn the four deadly pilots away. Tom Cruise becomes angry at this maneuver and shakes Katie Holmes until she is a drooling vegetable, but it does not improve the fact that his fighter is unable to fly into the field of turrets without becoming B-grade movie mincemeat. Tom Cruise does not like being told what he can and cannot do. Tom Cruise does not like being told he stars in B-grade movies. I am glib. I am glib . . .
Sorry, I forgot where I was for a while. Something about psychology? It's getting fuzzy. Anyway, Dagomar capitalizes on the absence of both blue goliaths and white carriers (the latter having fled very far to the north) by moving his fleet of battlecruisers into the 3:00 natural and ripping it apart. Knowing that there is no way to salvage his remaining tech structures with only four carriers, Ling flees even farther to the wintry northern lands and comes to a stop in the farthest northeastern part of Tribes, where his carriers will sit idly for many moons. For the first time in the history of the world, the red men come out victorious over the diseased whites in seeking vengeance for land lost. Dagomar constructs a single red turret over the destroyed natural that doubles as a casino in mockery of his victim. Take that, Manifest Destiny.
Mattzarella's range of influence is growing more and more extensive by every passing minute. He still holds his original 1:30 main strong, as well as the nat there, in addition to the island expansions directly to the north and south (both of which are currently mined out). His newest land-related acquisition is the northwest island expansion, and it is the only base at which he is currently mining. His technical structures have expanded as far as an addon-dereft Science Facility, and his machine ground upgrades are 3/3. His mobile army consists entirely of goliaths and nothing else; roughly five control groups of the walkers dance at mattzarella's main, oblivious of events around them and caring only for simple pleasures such as the ability to walk single file without weeping uncontrollably and running in circles. Although ritualistic SCV suicide for supply does not bode well for the morale of his armies, mattzarella has many strategic options available at this time. He still has a powerful amount of control over the northern part of Tribes, from the northern middle expansion up, although his army is not the most mobile in Starcraft. A well-placed drop could take out any one of Dagomar's moderately defended expansions, or perhaps a strike in the heart of the production facilities of the red Terran would wipe out temporarily his ability to reconstruct an army should it fall to goliath missiles.
Zerg~Ling, in his extended fight for survival, hangs on by a thread with only two bases remaining (the western and eastern middle expansions). Only the western of the two is functional - the eastern being recently constructed, and devoid of any probes - and the only tech structure that the white Protoss still calls his own is a gateway. Hardly a tech structure, but it's the truth. Four carriers are all that remains of the once almost-great fleet with upgrades at 3/1/3. Strategically, Ling once again does not have many options, which seems to be a recurring pattern in this particular game. Several expansions are still open for the taking, but the number is dwindling by the minute and the question remains - how long can Ling hold out before he is completely crushed, not just partially destroyed?
Dagomar is still as large and as powerful as ever, though his rival Terran is catching up in terms of resources and has already surpassed him in terms of supply at 199/200 to his 196/200. The advantage in Dagomar's favor is in the number of expansions; he currently has three mining bases and one in the middle which has not been touched but is now being fortified heavily for just that. Although only three or four probes are mining each of the bases at a time, the potential is still there should Dagomar need a wealth of resources at once (which he currently does not). An army of sixteen battlecruisers and three wraiths from Top Gun, including a Tom Cruise in desperate need of some sort of depressant in pill form, hovers over the original main at 4:30. Should Dag wish to move against Ling, it would be an obvious no contest, but against his goliath-hording counterpart it would be a very close battle. During this game Dag has not been one to take extreme chances, so we may expect that he will devise a strategy that will completely ensure his victory before carrying out a frivolous attack.
Midgame (not a joke)
For the next several minutes, the players are very silent. Echoes of SCV mining and construction as well as warping structures are the only sounds heard across Tribes for this long lull in the action, the longest since the action picked up over forty minutes ago. As the hour mark looms nearer, the players quietly advance into the deepest parts of their strategies in order to finally oust one another from their fragile thrones. Dagomar's fortification of the southern middle expansion is not a joke; eight tanks hold the central valley from intruders as well as two tanks perched on the cliff in addition to a handful of turrets which pepper the arclite cannons with air defense. An army, especially one of goliaths, would have a hard time encroaching that boundary given its tight squeeze and the massive amount of fire which would rain down should units try to break through.
Mattzarella takes the opposite approach from his opponent and constructs nuclear weapons in order to break through defenses, rather than building up his own. With the massive amount of money that the Terran player is pulling down, the tech is achieved quite quickly in addition to a science vessel, four ghosts, upgrades, and two nukes. More SCV suicide is required, but it is all for the greater good. Down with Xenu.
Ling tries to resume a sense of normalcy, although it is difficult when pinned between two players who can eat you alive, chew you, swallow you, digest you, and do all of this without sparing a tiny fraction of their army. It becomes especially difficult when the two players surrounding you happen to be Dagomar and mattzarella, the two who would most enjoy chewing, swallowing, and digesting a man alive just for sport. Ling does not seem to be bothered by this fact as he tries taking the northern middle expansion for the umpteenth time and in clear sight of blue goliaths to boot. As testicle-laden as this move is, two goliaths stray from the larger pack and happen upon a warping gateway there which they promptly destroy in addition to the Nexus and probes. A few of the beeping miners escape the slaughter and flee to the northwest, where they come across a half-mined expansion previously belonging to Decay. The strong-willed Ling constructs another Nexus there and does not look back to count his losses.
A heavy silence still envelops the battlefield, but this is still a subtle form of fighting as each player maneuvers themselves into a position over another. The sounds of comsat are now unfaltering as both Terrans must keep up-to-date on the actions of their counterpart for risk of being swept off their feet by a surprise attack or drastic change in strategy. Tom Cruise demands to take charge of a legion of battlecruisers, but commander Dagomar silences him by shaking a bottle of Ritalin with a threatening glare in his eye. Other than that and comsat, though, no sounds can be heard.
As the hour mark is just seconds away, the awaiting battle is definitely imminent and certainly inevitable. Both Terrans have switched their attention to each other, with Ling mostly out of the middle of the map except for the eastern middle expansion which is nearly mined out. Dagomar moves his attack plan into motion by dropping a series of tanks on the ledge just below mattzarella's entire army of goliaths; however, his counterpart reaches the climax of his strategy first when the words "Nuclear Launch Detected" appear across the bottom of the screen. Several factors are at work against Dagomar here, primarily:
1. Red players are the easiest to nuke, and have the hardest time finding the dot.
2. The ghost has been so expertly placed that it is difficult to see even when looking directly at the location of the nuke (being a blue ghost helps, too).
3. Dagomar has several bases, all of which could be targets of a nuke, many of which have little to no defense at them. Even if the ghost was found, there is no guarantee that it could be killed in time.
Having scanned countless times at every square inch of his opponent's bases, mattzarella has taken his time to choose the perfect spot for a nuke: the undefended yet fully functional 9:00 island expansion. Mattz places his ghost right next to one of the mineral patches and fires the nuke, encounters no resistance, and exits smoothly while the explosion rocks the base. It falls five seconds before the hour has passed, killing all but one SCV at the expansion who was lucky enough to have been in the refinery, shielded from the blast.
The nuke does not slow down Dagomar's ultimate plan, though, and there is no reason to expect it should when the red Terran still has the resources to build back his entire fleet twice over and then some. He drops an additional tank along with a lone SCV on the ledge beneath mattz's collection of goliaths, numbering the tanks at seven. Turrets are constructed before the tanks siege up; when they do, all hell breaks loose on Tribes.
A second nuke is reported to have been launched the very instant that the tanks began raining fire upon the helpless goliaths below. The nuke, targeted this time at a cluster of six Supply Depots at Dagomar's 6:00 base, goes off without a hitch and destroys three of them along with the ghost. Neither of the players pay any attention to the explosion so far south, though, as all of the real action lies just below mattz's 1:30 main base. As the tanks unload their arclite upon the walkers below, many of them rush to confront the tanks rather than flee, to their commander's chagrin. All totaled, about 35 supply in goliaths is obliterated to tanks before their angry owner can instruct them to retreat even further north and hold position there.
Dagomar, believing that most of the blue army has either been destroyed or at least handicapped enough to decimate the rest, moves his entire battlecruiser fleet into the heart of the waiting mechs. Roughly four of the control groups still remain, however, and their massive fire catches the red Terran by surprise as he frantically commands the ships back to where they came from. Two are lost, and the fight is still far from won for Dagomar even with his surprise tanking. While by no means can Dag waltz his cruisers in and take mattz out of the game, he has moved himself into an immensely prime tactical position - the goliath army is essentially trapped in the far north and cut off from the center of the map, having only the 12:00 main as an escape route from which the Terran would have to take the back route of Tribes to conduct any assaults on Dagomar's southern bases.
Safely within range of his own tanks, Dagomar takes a few potshot Yamato attacks at the holding goliaths who do not react. After overextending himself a bit, the goliaths return a volley of fire, but the point has been made in that Dagomar can whittle away at mattzarella's army for the rest of the game without breaking a sweat, unless his opponent does something about the stalemate. Wasting no time to find out whether he will or not, Dag flies two tanks to yet another small island just to the left from mattz's gathered goliaths and sieges up there. The first tank falls to walker fire from the ground, but the second is just out of range and earns itself a whopping thirteen kills before the army can huddle itself even farther away.
Now effectively cornered into his own base, mattzarella does not slow on goliath production but is nonetheless extremely limited in terms of mobility. A quartet of SCVs and a lone goliath dropped on the thirteen-kill veteran tank kill it mercilessly, but as they are loaded up the Top Gun gang sweeps in and destroys them while they are inside of the dropship. Another three red tanks and a SCV follow quickly, attempting to set up an impenetrable fortress on that island, but a hurriedly assembled drop of four goliaths lands on the turret-building worker and the three sieged tanks and tries to break it down before it can begin. Two of the tanks fall while two of the goliaths do as well, but the Top Gun gang flies in once again and begins pelting the remaining two gollies with laser fire. The last tank falls in addition to the SCV, but mattz's comsat comes too late and his sole remaining goliath can only pick off one of the wraiths before it too falls prey to the paper airplane fire. Tom Cruise celebrates his victory and mourns the loss of his fellow pilot by taking a healthy dose of crazy pills.
As the hour and ten minute mark comes nearer, four sieged tanks courtesy of Dagomar in the valley to the east of his current ledge fortification prevent any possibility of mattzarella's goliaths slipping by unnoticed that way. Mattzarella has nearly rebuilt his entire army now, the production being faster than the tanks can chip away at awkwardly moving walkers. The primary goal of Dagomar becomes clearer, now; a push to mattzarella's army, which is largely helpless from tank fire. A SCV constructs turrets in the eastern valley push and another begins a factory for maximized mobility, although a cruiser attempting to Yamato one of the goliaths is harshly reminded that an army is still there in force when it falls to missiles within seconds of coming too close.
A weary mattzarella finally decides that it is too uneven of a fight in the center of the map where ledges are abundant and the push from Dagomar is imminent. He orders the entire army to move in the only direction it can, to the 6:00 main. The massive force there takes up the entire base area, but mattzarella does not relish in the fact that his main is now defenseless and will surely be destroyed once Dagomar realizes his opponent's resignation. Within two minutes of the goliaths being repositioned, Dagomar moves in in full force with battlecruisers and tanks alike and handles the buildings there as Decay handles women - forcefully, and with a drunken glaze in his eyes. Maybe not the last part, but definitely the first. Mattz can do nothing but sit and watch idly as all of his tech structures including his only production buildings are wiped clean off of the map by a smiling Canadian.
A great tragedy soon befalls the world, and Dagomar; the Top Gun fighters, with fierce bravery flowing through their veins, fly directly into a single missile turret ahead of the other attacking units and are all completely destroyed. Tom Cruise's scream can be heard resonating throughout the galaxy, as if a million totally insane souls cried out at once, and were silenced. Katie Holmes throws herself off of a building upon hearing of his death, as she was instructed to.
Mattzarella begins preparing for the final assault from Dagomar, loading up his remaining ghosts and strategically placing them in lockdown position interspersed throughout the goliath army. Dagomar drops two tanks on the island expansion north of the 1:30 main, where the two nuclear silos are housed, but a ghost armed with lockdown and four goliaths take care of the attackers to show that mattz has not quite given up yet. The red fleet of battlecruisers soon moves into position to take up where the two tanks left off . . . and twenty four carriers with an escort of three arbiters swarm over Dagomar's 9:00 island expansion (the nuke target from earlier) and destroy it within seconds. Ling, having silently amassed a full supply over the past fifteen minutes including achieving arbiter tech, has accomplished one of the greatest comebacks in Starcraft history.
Fearing a complete annihilation of his bases and tech structures, as his entire army is away at mattzarella's main, Dagomar immediately withdraws his fleet of cruisers (but not the tanks) and flies them back to the south. Ling's fleet is also hastily on the move, now taking the mined-out 6:00 island expansion and main in quick succession in an attempt to destroy as much as he can before the fleet inevitably arrives. The massive encounter of capital ships is within seconds of taking place - this time, an even fight between Protoss and Terran - when another "Nuclear Launch Detected" flashes across the screen.
A deft exploiter of those who are not able to defend themselves, such as the homeless and the Swiss, mattzarella has now focused his nuke on what can be called Zerg~Ling's main base, although the fact that he has had three of such already is a feat in itself. Several tech structures are clustered there, including an Arbiter Tribunal and a Templar Archives, but without EMP the nuke fails to destroy any of the buildings and only kills several probes. Perhaps afraid that an army will follow the explosion, Ling retreats his carriers from attacking Dagomar long enough to see that there will be none. Although mattzarella has already constructed seven new factories at his 10:30 island expansion, the bulk of his army is still stationed at 12:00 and is largely immobile and unable to attack an island.
Ling resumes the attack on Dagomar, and the battle of capital ships that we have all been waiting for finally begins. In an opening move, Dag sends seven freshly constructed wraiths (sans the crazy Cruise guy) to attack the cloaking arbiters. With an excellent show of micro, Ling manages to dance his arbs around the attack until his carriers have dealt with each last one of the paper airplanes, then moves them in to stasis roughly three-fifths of Dagomar's battlecruisers. Three carriers are picked off while dealing with the other two-fifths of the fleet, but those losses pale in comparison to those of the red Terran. Dagomar's supply plummets from 200/200 before Ling showed up down to 122/156 after having lost several Supply Depots and the majority of his battlecruisers already. The white fleet waits patiently while the stasised portion of the battlecruisers are frozen, picking off turrets and other buildings, then deftly destroys the rest with only a single carrier casualty once the stasis wears off.
A Whole New Game
During the capital ship fight, mattzarella made his own moves. Still free to move unmolested to the west without any tank interference, the blue Terran sends a river of goliaths to stand idle just outside of the island containing Ling's "main" base. They cannot do any actual damage from their position, but the message is all the same in that the base will fall once a dropship can be made or found. The seven Factories constructed at the 10:30 island now float down to the center of the map, near the northern middle expansion, and begin mass producing more goliaths.
Dagomar now undergoes a reversal of tactics. Knowing that a battlecruiser army is helpless against arbiters and so many carriers, he begins constructing Factories wherever a SCV can be found and those in turn begin frantically pumping goliaths once they are completed. He also brings a dropship of two tanks to Ling's main base through the south (whereas mattz's goliaths are largely stationed to the north) and they begin firing on the defenseless and nuke-damaged structures there. They manage to destroy the Nexus, Arbiter Tribunal, and Templar Archives before Ling's carriers can arrive and reduce them to rubble.
Confident that he has amassed enough to take on any of the two players remaining, Ling moves his massive fleet out of the main island expansion to where mattzarella's goliaths are. 190 supply - about four to five control groups - begin firing on the carriers and interceptors alike as they move into attack range. Lockdowns fly from invisible ghosts, targeting one of the arbiters and two carriers but not before a good majority of the blue army has been stasised. Three carriers fall to goliath fire before a horrifying truth can be revealed . . .
Dagomar and mattzarella have allied!
If anyone is surprised, please leave a comment and let me know so I can hit you in the face. The move does not cause as much trouble for the white Protoss as would be expected, since the only army that Dagomar has managed to scrounge up in the past few minutes since his fleet was defeated is a miniscule fleet of five wraiths, not even with enough energy to cloak properly. They only destroy the locked-down arbiter and one carrier before they fall to interceptor fire.
Mattz has been largely fighting this battle on his own, though it does not look as if there will be a clear victor as of yet. His supply has now dwindled down to 147, almost matching Ling's 142, and a large portion of that 147 is frozen in place and untouchable. Ling begins to use the ledge to his advantage; although not completely retreating, he hides his carriers from direct view below and begins taking potshots at goliaths who can only fire at the interceptors. As soon as his walkers are free to move again, mattzarella retreats a few screens to the east where his Factories re located and producing in a frenzy.
Mattzarella's former empire has been severed and scattered, and even though he holds far fewer buildings than he once did, he is now the most powerful player in the game. His army is concentrated just to the west of the northern middle expansion and just to the east of Ling's "main," still consisting of mainly goliaths with a few ghosts and science vessels thrown into the mix. He has no remaining mining bases, although in reality there are only two mineable bases left in the whole of Tribes: one being the northern middle expansion, and the other being the island expansion south of the 9:00 main. His once massive resource count is slowly dwindling, and if he does not take one of the two remaining expansions, it will be up to his current army and that alone to win the game for him.
Dagomar has also retained only a vague semblance of what his empire used to look like, having lost roughly half of it when Ling came barreling through. His original main still stands, in addition to the southern middle expansion and the island just north of his main, though he also has no mining bases left. A troupe of SCVs have begun mining at the northern middle expansion, but no Command Center is being constructed there as of yet. His army is a strong anti-carrier mix of 3/3 wraiths and 3/3 goliaths, the majority of them massed along with mattzarella's goliath army near Ling's main. Although Dag has slightly more resources left in the bank than mattz, it is still imperative that he seize one of the remaining expansions in order to remain fully in control of the game and its outcome.
Ling has not had an "empire" in the entire course of the game, but has still managed to hang on to that barest thread of land to amass a huge army of about fifteen carriers, two arbiters, and a handful of observers on little more than one mining base. Although most of his tech structures are gone, the Fleet Beacon still stands, and two final carriers are currently being produced before his resources run completely dry. At this point, it is do or die for the Dane; either he finds a way to defeat a massive allied army, or his time is finally up.
The tension on the battlefield is once more palpable; Dagomar and mattzarella's collective armies sit idle, waiting for Ling to move. Both red and blue units mingle in a maxed-supply force that spells certain doom for any carrier, and the white Protoss has an understandable hesitation to approach such a collectively homosexual team. The team sits idle, gathering units at an alarming rate yet unable to move in to the island main and strike - even if means of air transportation was built, the relatively small island is closely guarded by carriers and any such attack would surely be put down before it even began.
Mattzarella then makes a shocking move to all players involved in the game. Rather than sit idly by and wait for Zerg~Ling to move in and surely accept defeat at the hands of two players, mattzarella wishes to claim victory all for himself and betrays his partner in crime. Charon missiles fly from their treacherous blue mechs, taking down wraiths, tanks, and other goliaths alike who do not return the fire. Dagomar weeps uncontrollably at this - not only is it a betrayal between Starcraft allies, the blue Terran has also forsaken love, trust, and ultimately, hope for a thriving and successful marriage between two men. Anger then replaces feelings of loss, and Dagomar sulks into the corner to begin hatching his own plans.
As soon as Ling notices this betrayal, he moves in with his own fleet in an attempt to capitalize on the two Terrans fighting it out. Mattz has no intention of losing after such a risky move, though, and his own army approaches the white Protoss fleet in full force once all of Dagomar's units are out of the way.
Brilliant blue missiles fly through the sky and pierce the arbiters first, preventing even one stasis from going off. Carriers are then picked off one by one - some by lockdown, some by goliaths - until none are left to challenge the supremacy of the blue empire. Being able to produce no more units, Zerg~Ling finally bows out of the game, leaving the two Terrans to duke it out with each other.
As soon as mattzarella's betrayal became clear, Dagomar did not sit idle and ruminate on the happiness that they might have eternally shared. Several of the tanks used for defense have been scrounged up by dropships and now guard the northern middle expansion which now is held steady by a red Command Center and several mining SCVs. Mattzarella throws his remaining forces at that expansion (about two control groups remaining from the previous battle against the carriers) but the eight tanks hold their ground there.
Frantically producing goliaths without any active expansions, mattz has only a thousand minerals remaining to reconstruct an army that will be able to challenge those tanks. However, Dagomar's Starports have not been idle either; four battlecruisers are produced at the same time, although the red Terran is now aching for a gas vein. Both players are now in a dire situation and have scraped together every last few of their units in a final conglomeration of battered and hardened veterans.
Upon seeing the retreating few goliaths, Dagomar advances four of his eight defending tanks to lay waste to the Factories that mattzarella has landed haphazardly near Dag's northern middle expansion. Understanding that his walkers are no match for tanks, and with a quick comsat telling him that even battlecruisers are once again in the fray, mattzarella realizes that all is hopeless. He sends a delegation of two science vessels to d-matrix two of the red Terran's tanks in a gesture of peace, then allies his fellow Terran with the hope of perhaps forming a last-minute team once again. Dagomar does not forget lost love easily, and coldly destroys his former ally's remaining units, forcing him to concede the game.
Watching this game over and over again has taught me a few things regarding my Starcraft play, especially in FFAs. I think that I am good at knowing when and where to strike, with a good knowledge of scouting (especially as easy as it is with Terran). . . but my major fault lies in the units that I produce. It drove me crazy after a while knowing how easily I could have at least held off some of Dag's tanks while he relentlessly pushed me and ate away at my goliaths. I also personally am not a very confident player when it comes to expanding; the northern middle expansion was all but mine for the last half hour of the game, but I just neglected to take it (and you see how that turned out).
With everything said and done, though, I think this was a classic example of a NH FFA. Ling really shows what you can achieve if you never give up under any circumstances, and Dagomar shows us what it's like to have been born with Down's Syndrome. As he continues to do today.
Some fun facts about this report:
* The game really was played three years ago. I would have provided the replay file, but I doubt anyone can watch it.
* This is my very first time doing collages in Photoshop, or any genuine image editing at all. Be gentle.
* I made an entire introduction using iMovie and various clips from the game and eventually scrapped it because it was too large and was just unnecessary. It was completely done, though, with edited music and effects and everything. It ended up at 30 megs exactly and was far too big to be used for what little it actually did for the report. I deleted it, so no, you can't see it.
* I started off at around 15 megs in my report center and now I'm at 50. A few of my collages were duplicated, but that's still pretty freaking big. Sorry, JV.
* If you haven't noticed by now, there are hidden links in the first pat of the report. Go back and try to find them if you didn't before.
A couple of "shout outs" to my "homies":
- Decay, for editing and overall criticism. He continues to inspire me with his funny accent.
- Dafont.com. for a lot of fonts that I used in my collages.
- Betterphoto.com for providing the external link title image.
- Battlereports.com, for many hours of entertainment.
hi i am small: did you like my report?
SmarterChild: No, I didn't like your report.