|"I've never played Heartcutter because I think he's afraid of me." |
|World War Threeway FFA - Round II|
|Date: ||10/05/99 11:10|
|Game Type: ||Starcraft|
|Labels:||Famous Reporter(1), Starcraft(1), Old Classic(1), Gorgeous(1), Great Writing(1), Series(1)|
|Report Rating: , # of Ratings: 6, Max: 10, Min: 10|
Lifetime Rating for YourRoleModel: 9.3626
"Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated." - YourRoleModel
This is not a short battle report. If you didn't enjoy "The Training of Private Vegas" by ~Cattlebruiser because it took more than 10 minutes to read, stop now. There are plenty of other reports to read on the site that are short.
OK, you are still here... another thing that might piss you off is that I have alot of large collages in here. There were just FAR too many glorious battles to depict. To compensate for the loading time, I have aspired to make these pictures as cool as possible. Go to the bathroom, go grab a soda, whatever, come back and come back ready to read about a Free For All that eclipsed Round 1. I am dead serious... this was a stunning game. I honestly wonder if I can do it justice with any combination of words or pictures... but here goes my best try... until Round3 (if necessary).
If you haven't read round one of this series yet, there are several links to it. Search my name with the search engine and read World War Threeway FFA.
I am pleased to bring to you Round Two, of the widely acclaimed, "World War Three Way FFA" series. For those of you who havent read PART 1, this series is a three way free for all between three players who are respected for their play with their chosen race. The first round was won in epic fashion by Heartcutter's Terran forces. If Heartcutter wins this round, it's over, because the contest is won by the first player with two wins. Can anyone esle say, TARGET? I knew you could.
You may know him better as BliBleh or BigPenis... but [FLS]prozerran has distinguished himself as one of the most unorthadox players in NoHunters. Apparently FLS stands for Fashion Learning School. They claim to "play with style", and prozerran lives up to that motto. A player with few weaknesses tactically, FLS is vulnerable to bouts of confidence failures and late game breakdowns in managing Macro. Listen to me... as if I could beat him. HA! Expect to see all of those clever tricks that you may have read about but never used practically in a game from FLS.
Possibly one of the most determined protoss players on the battlenet, Mark4 never quits during a game. I've had the honor of playing with Mark4 several times in 2 vs 2 competition before he (please don't let this be permanent) retired. I recall one game where Kadabra and E-Minor took advantage of my lack of skill and crushed me during the midgame. Mark4 wouldn't surrender, even in the face of hopeless odds, and he asked me why I quit when all I had was a force of eight marines and two tanks left on his mined out base... even though the enemies had the whole map. Ask Pitt sometime how hard it is to make Mark4 stay dead... I think Mark4 is a technically sound player, with a well rounded game, but what makes him better than most of the players in nohunters is pure determination and "never say die" attitude. This reputation was solidified when, in Part I of this series, Mark4 stepped his last foot out of the grave to deliver a deadly reaver drop to FLS, helping Heartcutter to ensure the win.
Heartcutter has got to be one of the most intimidating terran players that still plays on BattleNet. I don't know where he stands in relation to some of the best players in the world, but I can assure you that they wouldn't walk all over him. Heartcutter says that he has beaten Maynard in a 2 vs 2 game, and he claims that he lost to Jolly. Apparently, winning round one of this series brought Jolly's angry attention upon this "upstart" of ours. Although :+:Jolly:+: won, under Heartcutter's command, the terran dominion is to be feared by most players. Tell THAT to Judge Judy! (obscure reference to "TheToothbrush" from BNet forums)
Heartcutter knew that he'd be a target this game, and he knew that a map where all of the main bases are on islands weren't conducive to ground pushes. Heartcutter expressed his sentiments just as I was laying down the rules of the game. You can't play without rules right?
The map - POLARIS PRIME
Heartcutter - Yellow Terran - Lower Left
BliBleh ( [FLS]prozerran ) - Blue Zerg - Upper Right
Mark4 - Teal Protoss - Upper Left
As you can see on the minimap to the left, Mark4 started out with the worst position. Both Heartcutter and FLS could freely expand towards the lower right, but Mark4 could not expand in that direction and still defend himself well. Still, this was a 6 player map, and if Mark4 could secure three bases of operations, he should be in good shape to take more by force.
Preparing for War
A brief but beautiful peace greets the dawn over the abandoned space station called Polaris Prime. The peace would soon be shattered though, as the combattants from the World War Three Way Free For All descend upon this quiet station to bring...
Heartcutter knew he'd be a marked man anyway, so he decided to take a large risk early on. Heartcutter built a depot on his eighth SCV, then powered SCVs until his minerals were quite saturated. Heartcutter then built a Command Center on the northern portion of his platform. Unknowingly, he'd be floating north towards Mark4 and potential early reaver drops, but Heartcutter took the chance.
Mark4 started with his standard protoss on islands build order. The build order changes a bit depending on whether or not Mark4 want's to get early templar. This time, Mark4 DID want early templar, and started with: pylon, gas, gate, core, pylon, robotics bay, and citadel. While the other two debate eloquently over which player might win, Mark4 is just very happy that he got the race he picked before the game started.
[FLS]prozerran went with the most viable zerg option on island maps... a double lair with overlord upgrades for drop attacks and expanding. Shortly into the game, it looked like FLS was pumping hydras for an early drop... or early expansion defense. Hmm.
Mark4: Earning his Expansion
The Protoss commander is in high spirits. Deep inside, he has confidence that he will fight will all of his heart and overcome all of his obstacles. Did it really matter to Mark4 that he got the worst position? No. Pushing any doubts or excuses aside, the noble descendent of Auir prepares for his upcoming victory.
While Heartcutter expanded unmolested to the expansion node north of his bottom left location, and FLS later expanded south from his top right location with little trouble, Mark4 had to expand into a dangerous 12:00 location, right next to [FLS]prozerran. Our dauntless protoss commander expanded carefully with a pylon, gateway and cannon first, then scouted FLS with a shuttle that was nearly destroyed by hydras. Mark4 quickly relocated some templar and reavers to his 12:00 site and prepared for the worst.
Sure enough, [FLS]prozerran goes balls out and shows Mark4 that he isn't going to let an expansion stand so close to the zerg main base. For the next five to ten minutes, the two warriors go back and forth. FLS performs repeated hydra drops, the first several managing to destroy the nexus there, but not removing Mark4 from his perch. FLS finds success vs the reavers in what can only be described as one of the most amazing moves I have ever seen. A large group of hydras begins to aproach a reaver that is retreating while it loads a scarab. Just in time, a single hydra continues to attack move foward while all of the rest of the hydras stop just out of scarab range. A scarab is fired into the still moving hydra while the rest of the hydras hurry forward and kill the reaver with ONLY ONE LOSS! Mark4 did have several successful shots with his reavers, but they were hardly as cost effective as they should have been, so Mark4 switched to more templar. The templar had much more success, and eventually forced the zerg to abandon this early offensive.
Below, I have an image of some of the better photographic moments of this battle:
Shouldn't Someone Attack Heartcutter?
The commander of the Terran Dominion forces is playing as if he has nothing to lose... and he doesn't. Heartcutter grins evilly at the thought that no one is giving him a snowball's chance in hell of winning this one. As he stares out of the viewing deck of his command center, spinning his "heartcutting" knife from hand to hand, Heartcutter looks to his second in command and whispers a single order, "I want mobility!"
...and Heartcutter is expanding again. This time, everyone's favorite Terran Commander is moving north again to take the middle left resource node. Mark4 would probably do something about this, but he's busily murdering hydras. FLS expands south again to the right central resource node, but he's several minutes and many workers behind Heartcutter in expanding on both occasions. Mark4 had to work for his expansion, and remains one behind the other two players. There is no way they are going to let Heartcutter win the game this easily right? Right?
Well, Mark4 has always been a vengeful sort towards FLS, and he walks several dragoons, a templar, and flies two reavers in a shuttle from his 12:00 expansion to the expansion just south of FLS's main. The attack fails miserably because the tempar is killed, and a flock of mutalisks flies in to make short work of the protoss forces. FLS has teched to Hive level at home, and is quickly working towards the powerful zerg spellcasters and airforce.
Heartcutter has several starports and two factories pumping air, anti-air, and a few tanks at home. All of Heartcutter's expansions are fortified with two bunkers, tanks and a few towers. Soon, Heartcutter expands unmolested AGAIN to the 6:00 expansion site, but he never does seem to get this site up and fully running... perhaps he's waiting to move SCVs from another site rather than eat up more supply with workers.
Finally... FINALLY! [FLS]prozerran begins hit and run attacks on Heartcutter's gas and workers with a flock of mutalisks. Heartcutter tries to intercept the mutalisks with large squadrons of goliaths, but the mutas are in and out very quickly. Finally, a full squadron of 12 cloaked wraiths catches the mutalisks and chases them away. Heartcutter has two armories working on air upgrades at every opportunity, and his wraiths are already at +1/+1.
Granted, we aren't very far into the game yet, but the question remains... has Heartcutter been given too much of a free reign up until this point?
The Brief Calm
Heartcutter sets up several factories at the 6:00 expansion site, throws in his normal bunker defense for good measure, and begins to prepare a horde of anti-air units... goliaths, wraiths, a few science vessels, and finally works on battle cruisers.
[FLS]prozerran takes every expansion along the eastern front except for the bottom right starting location. Additionally, FLS begins morphing a large force of guardians, adding hydras and mutalisks to the mix... and they are gathering just to the southeast of Mark4's valued 12:00 expansion.
Mark4 has expanded to the south of his main, and now holds a little triangle of three bases in the top left corner of the map. Mark4 has pumped huge amounts of dragoons from his 12:00 site. It looks like he may try to control the center of the map with his all purpose land units. In addition, many templar and a few reavers are situated at each base, making for a solid defense. The protoss ground units also benefit from a few upgrades...
On the map to the left, you can see Mark4, teal, in the upper left. Mark4 has a large army at this point. Heartcutter, yellow, is preparing a squad of goliaths and wraiths to move against FLS. FLS, blue, is morphing a large air strike against Mark4's 12:00 location. Heartcutter is definitely ahead in all categories at this point in the game, and once again he is making the unit that he refers to as, "an all round ass kicker"... THE BATTLECRUISER.
The question is, how will [FLS]prozerran respond to Heartcutter? He has the means to fight and even instant transportation set up in the form of Nydus canals at every base.
There is dead calm on Polaris Prime, but the silence seems to know that it is living in it's last moments. War, like you've never before experienced, is about to spring shut it's gruesome jaws around silence's fragile neck. *s-ss-snappp*
When a swarm of guardians, mutalisks, hydralisks, and some zerglings pounded into his base at 12:00, Mark4 had to be wondering if maybe [FLS]prozerran was just a tiny little bit PISSED about the Mark4 reaver drop at the end of game one.
Maybe you should have tried killing him with kindness that game instead Mark? Oh well.
FLS found his attention diverted as goliaths, then wraiths ran over the southernmost zerg expansion. The zerg commander tried to fight a war on two fronts, but his defense of his base, and his attack on Mark4's expansion were both suffering. Mark4 was losing troops, but killed zerg in a very good ratio. Storm was everywhere and corsairs were driving off the zerg air forces dispite being hit with Devourer acid spores... FLS tried to use ensnare and more troops as they were ready, but, eventually, a blooded and battered Protoss force emerged victorious.
Heartcutter found FLS similarly unprepared for an assult on the next FLS land based expansion. (Heartcutter skipped past the island at 3:00 for now.) Battlecruisers were ordered into the mix at this point, and FLS couldn't prevent the fall the second of his formerly four sites. With his main nearly mined out, the poor zerg were down to only one running expansion... OUCH! Oh yeah, and Mark4 just killed the majority of the zerg swarm... DOUBLE OUCH!!
This battle, one of the bloodiest of the game, set FLS back quite a bit. Personally, I would have stopped my attack on Mark4 when Heartcutter hit and tried to repel any Protoss or Terran attacks out of my remaining bases... FLS softened up Mark4, but had the zerg pulled back, it could have been Heartcutter softening up Mark4 for FLS instead. FLS even offered "GG?" after this battle... because he is about one Heartcutter stray glance away from death.
...but it's not over yet...
Take a close look at the following picture and you will have a good idea of the units, spells and images of the battle that I just described:
Terran vs Toss
Mark4 stands resolutely, wiping the blood off of his mouth. He stares across the battlefield and sees it littered with dead zerg and the bodies of his noble protoss. His forces have earned a brief rest, he's earned his time to rebuild, the protoss...
Over the horizon screams a squadron of wraiths, murdering the templar in one burst each... but that's not all... the ground begins to shake from the afterburners of a fleet of mighty Battlecruisers.
Mark4 is such an incredible multitasker that he manages to type, "not a fucxking agains" while fighting a hopeless battle to save his 12:00 expansion from an entire 12 ship fleet of +3 attack/ +2 armor battlecruisers. His struggles aren't helped by the fact that Heartcutter had his wraith squadron fly in and assassinate every templar that Mark4 had available at his front lines after comstating for observers. Mark4 did have a few cannons for detection, but they were destroyed in the FLS assault.
It wasn't long before the 12:00 expansion returned to dust. Mark4 managed to take a few cruisers down with the expansion. He would have a chance for more as Heartcutter simply moved on towards Mark4's main base. Mark4 had increased production of templar and dragoons in hopes of discouraging Heartcutter from finishing him off.
Heartcutter used D-Matrix and Yamato as his primary means of stopping storm abuse, but Mark4 rarely lost a unit without getting off an attack or at least one storm. Every protoss warrior grimly accepted that they are going to die, but that they won't die alone. Heartcutter's fleet was of similar character, and the battlecruisers pushed on. After serveral 500 hit point capital ships were lost, Heartcutter destroyed Mark4's main. The protoss commander rebuilt what he needed at his last remaining site, just south of his former main. Templar moved to the safest locations and dragoons dug in for the assault.
Protoss Character and Queen's Cowardice
BliBleh, or FLS as you prefer, had begun to rise up out of the wreckage of his destroyed expansions. In unconventional fashion, an entire fleet of fully upgraded queens began to burst forth from larvae eggs. The zerg defiler was also produced in large quantities, and creep began to flow at every site along the right hand side of the map.
The Terran Battlecruiser fleet was continuously produced from four starports, but Heartcutter's income dwindled down to two active sites, one at 9:00, and one at 6:00... the one at 6:00 is safely defended by goliaths and had just began production.
It is about at this point that Heartcutter looked as if he could beat both of his opponents even if they allied against him... although looks apparently were deceiving.
Mark4 lamented another FFA loss as he secretly began an expansion attempt in the center of the map. Remember kiddies, Mark4 isn't dead until you've killed his last building or functional unit.
FLS begins a series of hit and run attacks with his queens on every terran ground unit on the entire eastern half of the map. Stray goliaths, scvs, tanks, whatever it was, now it's a broodling. As that broodling army made it's way to the 6:00 site, FLS used the broodling's vision to allow for another "cloned" broodling on the 10 goliaths and several tanks that are defending. The broodling swarm took down several towers and depots before being eliminated by Heartcutter, who had his attention on Mark4. The zerg commander was not finished yet though. Defilers and crackings evict Heartcutter from his much needed 6:00 position while the terran commander continues his drive to break this FFA down into a one on one against [FLS]prozerran.
The remaining forces of the once glorious Protoss Army stared grimly at the Battlecruiser Fleet that broke over the horizon to the north. The yamato cannons fired, vaporizing the heroic templar where they stood. Lazer blasts began to tear apart the northern outskirts of the last Protoss Stronghold. Dragoon warriors moved forward, ready to die yet again. Mark4 ordered them to focus fire at an isolated cruiser, then, as the cruiser was given a defensive matrix by a nearby shuttle, the templar stormed the rest of the fleet repeatedly. Templar and dragoons died, but more storms fell... Suddenly, two battlecruisers erupted in a shower of metal and death. Focused fire from dragoons brought down another capital ship. By extensively micro-ing his troops, Mark4 had staved off destruction for now.
Heartcutter had lost all but two cruisers, which retreated north, badly wounded. More dragoons were called forth from Aiur, but so too were four more Battlecruisers from the south. Another science vessel flew with the fleet to assist, but Mark4 performed the same trick. He attacked the stronger of the cruisers, drawing a matrix to it, then killed the weaker cruiser instead. More storms filled the air... yamato cannons fired.
Mark4 ordered his troops to fight! FIGHT! FIGHT!
...but there were no more troops.
Heartcutter received a report from his fleet commander that the Protoss forces were beaten. He ordered his fleet to continue to erradicate the Protoss Technical Stuctures. I was fortunate enough to get pictures of the battle, but the sheer number of storms distorted the screen capture device:
Mark4 however, was still clinging to life... he was frantically trying to get troops or cannons to shoot down a single wraith that was attacking his desperate central expansion attempt. Suddenly, cracklings swarmed over the base. It seems that [FLS]prozerran decided he would rather face a difficult fight with Heartcutter than try to play the politics of Free For All with a weakened enemy like Mark4. Personally, I may have let Mark4 live. Heartcutter was nearly out of minerals at his last actively mining expansion. Mark4 was in between Terran and Zerg, holding one of Heartcutter's only viable choices for expansion. Perhaps Mark4's reaver drop in game one was paying a different consequence now.
Mark4 tried to expand again to one of the small, mineral only expansions, refusing to give up. A queen mockingly ensnared all of the probes there twice, then, minutes later, that expansion was also destroyed by cracklings.
Grudgingly, Mark4 accepted my offer of shared vision and bowed honorably out of the game with three pylons and an observer left. I am sure that Mark4 was still trying to think of a way he could win the game with just an observer, but apparently, nothing came to mind.
And Then There Were Two
FLS had destroyed Heartcutter's 6:00 expansion site. Heartcutter was out of minerals at every site and down to 600 in the bank. Many command centers were available to expand, but Heartcutter only has his fleet of about 10 Battlecruisers left.
I took a moment to take stock of the zerg forces at the five zerg bases along the eastern front. Hydras, cracklings, defilers, queens, scourge... the game was over, and FLS had won.
FLS:I have to go soon, I am going to surrender.
FLS:It's over. Should I just quit?
Mark4 & YourRoleModel:Um,... Maybe you should stay and fight this out...
Intermission: Go potty now!
At this point, the game was well over an hour long. FLS has the advantage, but he doesn't know it, and if Heartcutter can actually secure another expansion for any amount of time, the scales could tip back in his favor.
So far, Heartcutter had only produced 157 units. Many of those units were SCVs or groups of four marines in the eight or so bunkers that Heartcutter had established early on. Of those units, Heartcutter had lost about 70. Some were wraiths or goliaths, dying to zerg offensives at 6:00, but many of those casualties were Battlecruisers. With no money flowing, Heartcutter had a very small force of weakened cruisers left.
Mark4, of course, had lost 209 of 210 units. He took 126 units with him to the grave, and at least half of those units were heavy air units like guardians, devourers, science vessels and cruisers. Mark4 may be pissed at himself for losing, but he couldn't have done more with the units he had.
FLS had out produced everyone in units of course. He had produced 528 units, killed 117, and lost 239. At least half of the 299 units that he had left were actually fighting units or spellcasters. Will [FLS]prozerran realize this soon enough to win?
Several days passed, during which time several people asked me who won the game. When I didn't say, many of them bet that Mark4 is going to win...
After all, Mark4 WAS still trying to think of ways to micromanage a single observer to victory.
FLS vs Heartcutter: One on One
Both combattants knew that they must continue the pressure... and besides, FLS was hungry and wanted to eat dinner.
Heartcutter had floated a few barracks and a command center into the middle before intermission. He created two bunkers near his center and filled them with firebats because he suspected cracklings and swarm. In order to buy himself some additional time, Heart sent 6 Cruisers to the zerg expansion at 4:00. Always comstatting first, Heartcutter used his knowledge to yamato a defiler and nydus canal before another defiler hit most of the fleet with plague. Every ship was critical now, and they retreated from the plague.
FLS was using his queens on assassination and mass parasite missions. They would fly in among the SCVs, taking a few hits, ensnare, mass broodling, and get the heck out. While this was occurring, FLS prepared a drop to circle north around the center, and attacked from the other side.
To distract Heartcutter, zerglings were ordered to rip into the terran base at 7:30, which had long since been mined out, but still held some key structures.
Heartcutter ignored the attack and sent his fleet towards 3:00. When the fleet, somewhat battered still, was about halfway there, FLS attacked the middle from the west. The fleet turned around as the hydras foolishly destroyed barracks instead of command centers and SCVs.
Finally the fleet arrived, and by sending a lone cruiser forward to absorb the plagues and yamato the defiler, Heartcutter was able to win this fight. One of the other keys to his victory was repairing the cruisers while they were fighting. Just after this battle, more SCVs were ferried in from other sites to the center of the map... Heartcutter's last chance for victory.
While Heartcutter focused on the production of his fleet and the defense of his base, he brought every available SCV into the center and eventually was able to oversaturate the mineral sites at the south center. Eventually, Heartcutter had researched Restoration and was clearing the parasites too.
FLS tried a plan of hitting Heartcutter in more places than his slow cruisers could be at one time. A flock of guardians morphed at the site of Mark4's last stand vs Heartcutter. FLS began mining at the depleted 12:00 site too, but none of his expansions were saturated. Perhaps his focus was too much on the battle.
Heartcutter must have anticipated this and split up his fleet. Some of his fleet began to destroy the bottom right zerg expansions while the rest headed for the zerg main. Heartcutter also expanded to one of the other sites in the mineral rich middle.
While guardians tore through Heartcutter's western bases from the north, cruisers with d-matrix hit FLS in the south east. Unfortunately for FLS, he was still using the sites that Heartcutter was destroying, and zerg buildings can't fly. While all of this was going on, queens made short work of the defenders and workers at Heart's new, northcentral expansion.
To top it all off... devourers, mutalisks, and queens met the vessels and cruisers that had headed northeast.
Oh yeah, and somewhere in the middle of all of this, FLS infested a command center.
WHEW!!! Forget trying to explain all this... just look at this picture and the Xs on the map.
Even killing many supply depots did not slow the terran juggernaut enough. FLS had lost control of his economy. The zerg offensives became weaker and weaker. Infested terrans weren't going to turn back destiny.
With more of the same powerful tactics, Heartcutter forced his way into each zerg base and destroyed it. FLS took a parting shot by unloading zerglings on Heartcutter's main base... the guardians had long since perished to a few wraiths.
In the end, with only the center remaining intact, Heartcutter fired the final shots into the zerg Hive.
Your Winner of the Match and Series:
A - When three 1400 players go at it with the big units, you are bound to have a good game.
B - Always attack the strongest enemy in a Free For All in the most cost effective manner while you still have the chance.
C - FLS wasn't able to power troops, attack, and still get his economy up and running fully. If he had been able to do that, we'd have a game three coming up.
D - Mark4 is still trying to figure out how he can come back and win this game... that's how much he never quits.
E - Heartcutter may not be among the best in the world, but he can sure hold his own.
F - In the end 1225 units had been produced. Heartcutter had killed 718 of those units while only producing 246.
I have enjoyed bringing you many reports like this one, but you won't be seeing any more YRM reports done in this style. While I wanted to use consistancy to establish an identity, I think it's time to venture off this path. I don't feel that I can ever exceed this report without a total rebirth into some other look and feel. I hope that you all have enjoyed your read, and thanks to all of you who have been so supportive of my previous efforts.
Thank you to Mark4, BliBleh, and Heartcutter again. You guys are great sports, you are hard to defeat, you take risks and win and lose in grand fashion. It isn't easy to be swept from a series, and Heartcutter is sure to continue to be a public target as his fame increases. I hope that Mark4 and FLS come back to NOHUNTERS on occasion. When you see any of these players, if you appreciated their effort, let them know, online, here, or in Shockwave's forum.
Have a nice day,