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The Battle of Strifeshadow - Part 1
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Author:Strifeshadow Legacy
Date: 11/20/01 02:11
Game Type: Strifeshadow
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Report Rating: 9.0, # of Ratings: 2, Max: 9, Min: 9
Lifetime Rating for Strifeshadow Legacy: 9.0000

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Written by DinoDin, images by Joseph

Game #1:

Map: Unrest

DinoDin (Dark Elves, top right)
Joseph (Accursed, bottom right)
Vs. Zileas (Sylvan, bottom left)
Artius (Sylvan [random], top left)

Concerning the map: Unrest is a very large map designed for 2 on 2. According to its creator, Zileas, itís ďa larger version of Forest of ColorsĒ, a very popular four player map during the beta. What this means is, it allows for a decent amount of rather safe expansion in oneís own ďbaseĒ. Here, itís a plateau for each player to begin on, with only one choke point, a ramp, leading into their base. The rest of the map is incredibly wide open and differs from Forest of Colors in that it is quit conducive to fast units such as ground skirmish and strike. This also presents very unsafe expansions beyond oneís plateau. Other parts of the map include a very low over all mine count, a very rich set of expansions along the middle belt of the map. These include two at each end that can be easily networked too with towers, or one can just begin a town hall there. The very center of the map boasts an intriguing setup thatís very rewarding. It not only has a lot of resources but is situated that if one establishes a strong foothold there you could be hard to remove. This is due to several high ground points which form four choke points into the resource area. Another important feature to note are two mines situated at the middle longitudinal point of the map between two plateaus (i.e. one for north player one for south players). Each mine also has an aether pool near it. Because the map is always right vs. left and the proximity of the mines to their respective east and west players, it can involve an intriguing territory struggle.

Early Build-up, Scouting, and First Conflict

Each player begins with the standard 3 towers. At 2:20 DinoDin builds a carver, chases down Artiusís scouting fairie. The chase ensues into Artiusís base where the carver is momentarily waylaid by one of Artiusís rangers. The carver returns to the chase, kills the fairie, and retreats to DinoDinís base with little damage. Only seconds later Joseph sends a skeletal Slasher to probe Zileasís defenses. It runs through a gas blossom trap at the entrance, and then attacks one of Zileasís aether towers. Zileas brings two rangers to dispatch the invader. Joseph attempts to retreat the slasher, but with its current life, and the ranger speed advantage, it doesnít travel far.

Only a minute later DinoDin sends out a carver to scout Artius again. The carver runs past three rangers at the baseís entrance, who immediately give chase. The carver scout searches through Artiusís base, and retreats right across the wide plain to DinoDinís base with the rangers hot on his heels. Due to the carverís heavy damage Artiusís greedily keeps his pursuers locked on. DinoDin sends out six carvers and drives them at the rangers in a flanking manoeuvre, attempting to deal more damage and cut off escape. The rangers immediately attempt to run from the threat, but the carvers have engage. Two of the three rangers are caught, and acknowledging their doom, Artius leaves them to fight. One of the seven carvers chases after the escaping ranger, and the ranger actually turns to fight him. DinoDin pulls the outlying carver back towards the group in an attempt to draw the ranger in. The main group of carvers finish off the two rangers, and attempt to aid the outlying carver. Immediately four rangers from Zileas charge into the fray from the south. The carvers engage the rangers for a second, but then they reconsider and fall back. Zileasís rangers also have engage, and the carvers are hard pressed to escape. Most of the carvers are still able to escape, but rangers from both Zileas and Artius trap one, and it dies quickly. DinoDinís remaining forces safely arrive at his base, and Zileas and Artius break off their attack. The final result is two dead, and one heavily wounded rangers for Artius, and one dead and three heavily wounded carvers for DinoDin.

All four players have expanded over all the aether pools in their safe plateaus. Artius is currently attempting to rebuild his ranger force, while his partner Zileas just completed a Nymph from his Mystic Grove. Zileas has also grabbed a critical mine to the right of his start position. Joseph has a Strifeshadow node and Spirit Beacon, and is attempting to begin an ambitious expansion north of his start position. However the one critical unit is the newly created Moag Raider standing ominously beside DinoDinís Moag pens.

The Hunt Begins

Sensing DinoDinís plans Joseph brings six slashers just to the south of DinoDinís base, prepared to strike. DinoDin brings his full force of six carvers, three raiders, and one kobold outside of his base. The kobold scouts forward searching for gas blossom traps or spirit eyes. The troops immediately engage Artiusís rangers in front of his base. DinoDin surprises Artiusís defenders and kills two rangers before the rest retreat up to Artiusís base. The kobold scout moves ahead of the troops, trying to dismantle a trap, and Artius takes the opportunity with his three other rangers with aid from a nearby weatherstone and kill the kobold. Artius is successful, but he sacrifices three rangers in order to kill the kobold. This is significant as without a worker in the attacking squad, DinoDin and Joseph canít dismantle traps. As a result Artiusís fairie begins a gas blossom in his base. The fairie completes the trap, and DinoDinís and Josephís troops quickly kill it. Three new rangers from Artius engage the troops to little avail. The invading troops run past the weatherstone and now reign free in Artiusís base. DinoDinís troops target the Sylvan defense center, while Joseph attempts to destroy the aether tower network. Aid from Zileas in the form of four rangers arrives and meets two Moag reinforcements from DinoDin at the entrance to Artiusís base. The moags engage the aiding troops briefly but retreat into Artiusís base with heavy damage. The moags join with two carvers to create more raiders, while Josephís slashers engage Zileasís rangers. Artius begins two weatherstones near his town hall immediately prior to his Defense centerís destruction. After a few seconds, DinoDin commands his raiders to deal with Zileasís rangers. Five more rangers from Zileas join in the battle. DinoDin and Joseph smite the aiding troops, losing only five slashers in the battle. At the other part of Martinís base, the two weatherstones are complete, and kill the three carvers DinoDin left there. Seeing the new static defenses, DinoDin and Joseph, take the battle as a victory, and withdraw from Artiusís base. The five Raiders slowly head south from Artiusís base, in an attempt to at least scout Zileas. Three of them cross paths with a lone Nymph from Zileas, who casts balance on them. The Raiders pause slightly, and then one dismounts. After balance wears off the troops quickly kill the nymph.

During the battle Zileas expanded to aether pools around his new mine to the right of his base. Artius is now rebuilding his damaged economy while trying to connect an expansion aether tower near his new mine to the right of his base. DinoDin has built a dark elven conclave, and an arcane catacombs. He already possesses three warlocks, two cabalists, and two chaos elementals. He is however, the only player yet to expand outside of his safe plateau. Josephís ambitious expansion is nearly at one hundred percent with several functional babbling infernos. With his huge resource pool he has an infernal hive, with two locusts already out, and has just begun an Ebon Boneworks. Heís beginning the Strifeshadow focus on his node, no doubt in order to get leaping blight for future shade tyrants.

DinoDin sends out a kobold in an attempt to expand to the left of his start position but he find Artiusís newly created mine and tower there instead. The kobold quickly dismantles the lone gas blossom present. Moags and carvers rush in from DinoDinís base and quickly squash the week expansion. DinoDinís raiders have been busy during this attack. Theyíve scouted around Zileasís section of the map, and discover his large expansion. The raiders run past two weatherstones, and take heavy damage. They regroup to the right of one of the weatherstones, out of the range of the other, and begin attacking it. Fairies, rangers, scouts, nymphs, and a chronomancer run towards the attack from Zileasís base. The defenders arrive just as the first weatherstone falls. The raiders fall back and attack the front rangers. Noticing the scouts, DinoDin pulls his raiders back towards Josephís base, hoping for his coverage. Zileasís forces pull back and south, and attack encroaching construction from Joseph. DinoDinís raiders dismount and the moags charge into Zileasís scouts as his rangers charge into Josephís building inferno. DinoDin sends his carver into fight as Zileas kills Josephís tower and casts balance on DinoDinís moags. Itís still not enough as Zileasís forces are heavily outnumbered. Zileasís fighting troops die and his open spellcasters are quickly killed by the remaining moags and carvers. The victory is certainly not decisive though as DinoDin only has one carver and two moags remaining. These troops kill Zileasís attempt at reconstructing his destroyed tower and the fairie that made it. Reinforcements, in the form of three scouts, from Zileas arrive immediately and kill the remaining moag. DinoDin then sends reinforcements of five carvers and two moags south towards the contested area between Zileas and Artius. These forces encounter two scouts traveling south from Artius and quickly eliminate them. While this occurs, Zileas kills Josephís zombie and newest tower at the battle site. The archers destroy the tower and move forward. When they encounter Josephís babbling infernos, they pull back, and the battle calms, momentarily.

The battle doesnít remain calm for long. Zileas advances his new troops consisting of five archers, a ranger, a chronomancer, and a nymph at the disputed territory. A chronomancer casts expedience on several scouts. They quickly destroy a building aether tower for Joseph. Joseph attempts to begin the tower again, and Zileas kills it again. He then withdraws his troops when Joseph brings a Tyrant into the area. Meanwhile five carvers and two moags gather just to the north of the disputed teritory from DinoDin. These troops attack a northern tower out of the range of a nearby weatherstone and the attack draws the attention of Zileasís defenders. The attackers see the defenders advancing and quickly draw back. They return an attack a tower further out. Then, spotting a lone nymph, greedily charge at her. Right before she dies, she casts balance on the assailants, and due to this, they retreat. Zileas kills two carvers during the retreat, and finally corners the remaining troops. DinoDin attempts to micro the troops, but to no avail. Due to expedience and more reinforcements from Zileas the attackers die without causing a single casualty to Zileas. During this brief fight, Artius built five scouts which raze the mine between his base and DinoDinís. DinoDin attempts to counter, and sends seven carvers. He does not manage them well and three get stuck on his plateau as a result. Three of the carvers die without killing a single scout, and the four manages to escape. In spite of the fact that Zileas and Joseph now have buildings that can almost touch each other, the battle again ends.

Both Zileas and Artius are constructing an enchanted vale, though for different reasons. Zileas wants greater spell access for his nymphs and wisps. Artius however has an Elder Oak Grove, and begins reconstructing on the new territory he just took. DinoDin begins building a Stockhouse for archers and an Atrum Basilica. Joseph has no new technology, but slowly two new juggernauts roll towards the contested territory between himself and Zileas.

Zileasís archers advance again and kill a new babbling inferno before it can complete. Joseph brings several locusts, slashers, and archers along with his juggernauts as Zileas continues to attempt to advance. The slashers engage Zileasís scouts immediately. Then a tyrant casts leaping blight twice on the enemy group, but a Nymph casts balance on the tyrant without much effect. Josephís archers advance from behind and his locusts attempt to stay in the fight, while remaining out of the range of Zileasís scouts. Zileas casts expedience on his front troops, and they quickly overwhelm the slashers. Due to lack of management the locusts attack the scouts and come into range of Zileasís weatherstone, while his rangers engage the archers of Joseph. Due to their heavy injuries, the rangers donít last long. The remaining archers and two juggernauts move on and kill the rest of Zileasís troops. Zileas is able to cast balance on the juggernauts, but they still remain effective, and Joseph manages to retreat two of his locusts. Meanwhile, several scouts from Artius, attempting to reinforce Zileas encounter several of DinoDinís Chaos elementals. The elementals retreat across the map, while DinoDin then sends a large contingent of carvers to destroy Artiusís now open expansion between DinoDinís and Artiusís base. The chaos elementals escape out of sight of Artiusís scouts, while both DinoDin and Joseph take control of their respective disputed territories.

Again Zileas returns to his struggling expansion, this time with two wisps, two chronomancers, and about a mix of half of a dozen scouts and rangers. Josephís juggernauts have continued to siege Zileasís weatherstone, and lie open. Zileas quickly takes advantage and orders his troops to dispatch of the two aggressors. They quickly smash them both while archers from Joseph attempt to intervene. Zileas then casts unleash aether on Josephís front tyrant, rendering it impotent. The front rangers die, but Zileasís scouts are quickly able to drive Joseph away from the mine. Meanwhile, Artius has gathered a large group of scouts with a single unicorn and strikes at DinoDinís carvers that were waiting at the contested northern expansion site. DinoDin quickly brings his chaos elementals, which were waiting near the middle of the map, into the fray. DinoDin attempts to use the elementals to kill the unicorn, but Artius draws it closer to his scouts, and the elementals withdraw while the carvers die rapidly. On the southern battle, Zileasís scouts encounter several babbling infernos, and decide to retract, unable to kill Josephís mining aether tower. Josephís attempt at yet another inferno is quickly squelched.

A brief pause ensues, where only the soft cry of a dying kobold appears. Then a lone bolt flied from the sky onto Artiusís heavily damaged unicorn. It dies rapidly and the Manowar that killed it with immolate retreats back into the safety of DinoDinís plateau. The scouts, seeing a vulnerable tower within range on DinoDinís plateau, advance. Another immolation bolts hits one of the front-most scouts. The scouts target the manowar, and it withdraws behind a turret. Artiusís scouts quickly come into range of the turret, and fall back. To the south, yet again another building inferno dies to Zileasís scouts. Joseph had placed and morphed two dire changelings near the new inferno, and the scout move on to them. One dies immediately, and the other after morphing and almost escaping. The battle pauses again, except one scouting wisp from Zileas gets too close to the babbling infernoes and dies. DinoDin then sends several ill-fated carvers and moags after Artiusís large group near the middle north. They die in seconds.

Zileas then attempts to draw the attention of some defending slashers near the contested zone, but to no avail. In the northern contested area Artius rebuilds the mine there, but suffers from another immolation which kills a scout. Artius then takes the archers, and switches them to flight arrows. They begin to lay siege to the buildings DinoDin has on the far western part of his plateau. A unicorn that comes too close is promptly immolated. Several stacked shrapmetals on the scouts cause them to fall back. The archers return again and finish off a gremlin turret. They move on to an aether tower, and one of DinoDinís warlocks attempts to shrapmetal them again. They quickly dodge the spell, and then Artius switches them to normal arrows. They return and finish the aether tower.

The two sides withdraw from fighting for a moment, and then we see the first two rituals of the game, cast nearly simultaneously. DinoDin creates a chaos djinns while Zileas begins casting chronomancy on a group of scouts and rangers near his contested territory. Joseph rushes his slashers into Zileas territory, hoping for the opportunity to stop his ritual, mid-casting. The time stop takes effect, and the slashers lie completely vulnerable and right next to Zileasís hungry and affected troops. The spell wears off before Zileas is able to destroy the squad, and half them rise from the dead again due to necromatic binding. Angered by the hated use of time stop, Joseph sends in a retribution force of slashers, archers, and avengers. Quickly locusts, tyrants, and juggernauts arrive to supplement his shock troops. Leaping blights, balances, and expediences fly through the battle field. Both sides withdraw, incurring heavy loses. Important though, Joseph is able to preserve all four of his juggernauts. Neither side is able to gain any ground around the contested mine.

Before that battle even finishes, Artius charges a huge group of unicorns, scouts, and rangers to the left at an expansion attempt by DinoDin. They move towards a turret and DinoDin brings forth several carvers in an attempt to defend. A manowar immolates an archer, and then Artiusís troops move within range of DinoDinís new Chaos Djinn. Another immolate strikes an archer as the scouts attempt to get within range of the Djinn. Artius then withdraws his troops from range of the Djinn, and finish of the carver defenders. They then move south to more of DinoDinís expansion in a wide open area. They smash an open aether tower in a second, and boosted by their success, advance deeper into DinoDinís territory. Both players recoil momentarily as the screen reads ďAn offensive ritual is being castĒ, which is Chronomancy again by Zileas.

Zileas gets a small group of scouts, rangers, and one chronomancer who then casts expedience on the group. Josephís juggernauts sit in a very vulnerable position and Zileas targets them. He manages to kill one during the ritualís effect, one immediately after it wears off, and nearly gets a third. Artius wastes no time after the chronomancy, and returns to killing DinoDin. DinoDin moves in a pathetic group of moags and carvers to intervene. However, they manage to draw the attention of the attacking group when three warlocks arrive and heavily shrapmetal the Sylvans. Both sides incur heavy losses in a bloody and sloppy finish. Artiusís few remaining attackers continue to sabotage DinoDinís tower network. DinoDin brings in two djinns which chase off the attackers.

Another pause follows which involves Joseph beginning another ambitious and risky expansion. This time he begins building in the super rich center of the map. DinoDinís djinns kill Artiusís nearby mine, while Zileas begins another round of chronomancy. This time he brings his troops north, and attempts to surprise Joseph with a side attack on Josephís frontal forces. They kill a few of Josephís archers, but retreat right before the ritual wears off. Joseph briefly chases the aggressor, but eventually both sides retreat to their respective bases. Right after this conflict, both of DinoDinís djinns begin sieging Artiusís base from the right side. Artius casts balance on one djinn, but without support the spell is in vain. DinoDin then withdraws his djinns after killing just one aether tower.

Having spotted Josephís center expansion with land lore, Zileas begins a chronomancy ritual yet again immediately to the south of that rich center base. The ritual wears off, but Zileas remains determined and continues to raze the infernos within. Artius sends what troops he can to assist his ally, and the base begins to fall precipitously. DinoDin brings his troops down to the center base in hopes of preserving it. Joseph however, seems unfazed by the potential loss of his expansion and takes the opportunity to lob his entire army at Zileasís base. Little to no micro seems to be involved in Josephís attack, but the size of his forces and vulnerability of Zileasís base allow him to steam roll through. Zileas retracts his attacking forces once the center expansion falls, but the numbers they encounter in his base are overwhelming. To the north, DinoDin raids Artiusís base with his elementals, managing to kill a few buildings. Then DinoDin brings in three warlocks and begins casting cataclysm, targetting one of Artiusís weatherstones. Artius orders his units to repel the aggressors, and they nearly do. The massive force of archers and slashers from Joseph smash through Zileasís rich expansion to the north of his base. Seeing the close battle between Artius and DinoDin, Joseph charges his troops north, at Artius. The huge number of slashers and spectral archers is horrifying. Seeing little need to continue the game, Zileas resigns.

After chat the ever popular ďre?Ē appears from Zileas.

To be continuedÖ

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