|"I knew some shenanigans were afoot."|
|Showdown in Ricochet Valley|
|Date: ||11/04/02 07:11|
|Game Type: ||Warcraft 3|
|Report Rating: , # of Ratings: 3, Max: 10, Min: 9|
Lifetime Rating for ~CattleBruiser~: 9.3900
Note: I began working on this report mere hours before patch 1.04 was released, so unfortunately you will not be able to watch this replay unless you have multiple versions of Warcraft III installed. Since the replay possibilities are shot, I decided to finish this up immediately rather than work sporadically all week and release it on Sunday. I still don't get how Ancient Protectors can now do Piercing damage... no doubt they have a rock lathe which gives their giant boulders sharp points.
|About the Map|
Ricochet Valley is a new map by ~CattleBruiser~ which has benefited from plenty of testing by the kind folks in NoHunters. It plays like a second cousin to Plunder Isle, and is designed for intimate 1 vs 1 affairs. This particular matchup took place on the final beta version of the map, which is topographically identical to the first release version.
The map is still too new to discuss the general strategies people will use, but it seems like many of the strategies that worked on Plunder Isle will also work here. You can download the map by following this link. If you would like to watch the replay of this report, you'll want to download the Beta version at the bottom of that page.
Also, squinting at the minimap while watching the replay makes it look like an evil clown.
Main bases are located at A on the overhead map. They are fairly expansive with plenty of lumber available. Each base has three points of ingress, with the downhill slope into the center considered to be the "front door".
There are faux island expansions in the opposite corners of the map (D), each with a wide entrance and a fairly narrow back door. The valley in the center also has two expansions (F) which are a little easier to defend, but are vulnerable from the overlooking cliffs. All gold mines, including the main ones, have 12,500 gold inside.
Two Goblin Merchants adorn this map (E), and they're intentionally situated along main travel paths. This makes it easy for players to stop by on their way to war -- it's much harder to catch an opponent without a Scroll of Town Portal. However, the creeps guarding the merchant wake up at night, so players should think twice about sneaking around early in the game.
With the exception of Dragons, the creeps on this map are weighted more towards the lower levels. If you just creep your half of the map (ignoring the dragons), you can get a single hero to just under level five. For the numerically inclined, this map probably has about two hundred more experience points available than Plunder Isle.
There are no creeps that are positioned to attack rallying units (unless they fly), because the Blizzard maps, Bloodvenom Falls and Petrified Forest, piss me off.
A: The main base has four groups of training-wheels creeps within walking distance. In the base itself are three gnolls that drop no treasure, much to the chagrin of every tester so far. A little farther from the base are a trio of Nerubian spiders and a small pack of wolves. The spiders are definitely the easier creeps of this pairing, but there appears to be a menacing quality to them. Most players have been observed to cheerfully solo the Level 4 Frost Wolf with Critical Strike, while waiting for backup before attacking the puny Level 3 Nerubian Warrior.
Of course, no ~CB~ map would be complete without the opportunity to steal tomes, and this one doesn't disappoint. Slightly further away from the base is a trio of murlocs. The Nightcrawler drops a low-level tome which just might be a Tome of Experience.
B: On a glacier behind the main bases is a camp of three wendigos, led by a Level 6 Elder Wendigo. This particular wendigo doesn't have the ghoul-crushing stomp power of its higher level brother, but it does have the Bash ability, which randomly stuns a single unit with extra damage. These creeps weren't intended as starting creeps, but wily players have used Sleep and Entangle effectively on the Elder Wendigo to gain a fast experience advantage over opponents.
C: Two dragon whelps, two drakes, and a Level 10 Blue Dragon populate the highest plateaus on the map. They are accessible only by a long, narrow land bridge, creating a bottleneck that is very difficult to storm. Add this to the fact that Blue Dragons have Frost Breath, which slows units, and you've got a dragon situation which is much more difficult than the one on Plunder Isle. The largest dragon drops either a Mask of Death or a Crown of Kings. Because the walkway to the dragons is doodad-irific, tower creeping them would require a flying unit to act as bait, so very early tower creeping is out of the question.
D: The corner expansions are guarded by troll groups similar to the ones at the Goblin Laboratories on Tranquil Paths. They are difficult, but not impossible, to beat without losses, but the Ice Troll Warlord drops a Tome of +2 to some random statistic. It's nearly impossible to engage in early tome-stealing here unless you're suicidal.
E: The Goblin Merchants appear at the intersections of the major travel paths, and are guarded by an eclectic squad consisting of two Skeletal Marksmen, an Ice Troll, an Ice Troll Priest, and a Frost Revenant. The only difficulty in defeating them is the relative narrowness of their campsite. If the Frost Revenant manages to cast Blizzard before the battle begins, your troops could be in a world of hurt.
F: The final set of creeps guards the gold mines in the center of the map, and are intended to be roughly the same as the plateau ogres on Plunder Isle. Each mine is controlled by a Level Five Ogre Magi and two Pandarens. In the final version of the map, the Pandarens were replaced by an Ogre Mauler and everyone's least favourite troll creep, the Frost-Armour casting Ice Troll High Priest. This was done at the behest of Jaood, who said that the old pastiche of bland creeps lacked a certain je ne sais quoi and had no soul.
So without further ado, let's move on to the game itself...
Random Night Elf, lower left
Random Night Elf, upper right
When we last saw our protagonists, Llamaboy had just beaten Jaood on Plunder Isle, using dirty Shadowmeld tactics and Starfall to defeat the Orcs. To maintain the cosmic balance, a report was now needed for a game where Jaood was the victor. In this particular match, Llamaboy had the home field advantage, having made the map, but Jaood was fairly knowledgeable about creep locations. He had tested several iterations of this map's precursor, the cramped Echo Canyon, so he wasn't at a complete disadvantage.
Both players begin in fairly similar ways. Llamaboy builds an Altar immediately, followed by a moonwell with a trained wisp. While pumping wisps, he stocks up on lumber and then constructs a Hunters' Hall and two Ancients of War in quick succession. Because Jaood had made an early remark implying an orcish presence, Llamaboy decided to solo hero with the Priestess of the Moon, knowing that Orcs don't have many long range stun options.
Jaood, however, was being sneaky, and had actually drawn Night Elves. He builds an Altar and moonwell immediately, followed by an Ancient of War, Hunter's Hall, and moonwell when the resources are available. His first hero is the Demon Hunter, and it makes a beeline for Llamaboy's base as soon as it is trained.
Llamaboy sends a scouting wisp around the edge of the map while his Priestess rides to the nearest Murlocs with a dose of Searing Arrows. The mana-burning Demon Hunter arrives in Llamaboy's base and almost destroys a moonwell under construction before the Priestess can return home. She successfully scares him off with the aid of an uprooted Ancient (since no units had been trained yet), but the already damaged moonwell falls first. Mana-wise, they come out equal, since Llamaboy responded to the Demon Hunter's mana burn by detonating a wisp in his general direction.
Back in Jaood's base, he's trained a single huntress and started weapons upgrades. The huntress discovers Llamaboy's spying wisp and brings it down to 20 hit points, before inexplicably leaving to join the returning Demon Hunter. The injured wisp finds a tree where it blends in well and becomes a permanent spy in Jaood's base.
Llamaboy must be telepathic for he too upgrades his weapons. His army is capped at a single huntress while he rebuilds his moonwells, so he continues to creep the easier creeps, heading for the Nerubian warrior next. Meanwhile, Jaood is creeping his wolves and gets a Cloak of Shadows. Though he only has a single Ancient of War, his army is larger than Llamaboy's for the present. He takes a moment to upgrade his Tree of Life, not realizing that Llamaboy had done the same just a few seconds earlier. Next in store is more creeping, as Jaood clears his Goblin Merchant and the central expansions, while Llamaboy tackles the smell Wendigos behind his base.
The status quo is maintained in both players' bases. Jaood trains a Priestess of the Moon as a second hero and puts up a second Ancient of War while continuing huntress upgrades, while Llamaboy chooses to let his money accrue because his macro is horrible. The creeping continues, and Jaood clears the other Goblin Merchant, revealing his middle-map fetish. Llamaboy has taken his similarly-sized army to the northwest to clear a corner expansion, and comes away with a Tome of Knowledge and Scroll of Healing.
Realizing that this part of the game must be incredibly boring to the observers, Jaood decides that it's high time for a full frontal assault on Llamaboy's base. He takes his seven huntress army, a Level 3 Demon Hunter, and a Level 1 Priestess to Llamaboy's main, even allowing a solo wisp to leave the base unharmed so as not to alert anyone to his presence. Llamaboy's nine huntress army is trying to creep the barren middle of the map without success and Town Portals home immediately. Although the larger army has the base advantage now, it's 2:30 in the afternoon and none of the moonwells are completely full. Llamaboy also had four archers rallying to the center when the Priestess returned home, so they would have to run home immediately.
The blue army is quick to surround the Demon Hunter with huntresses and an uprooted Ancient of War, but Jaood plays the Potion of Invulnerability card and protects his injured hero from more abuse. Lacking a target, Llamaboy focus fires on red huntresses one at a time, while Jaood retreats his Demon Hunter. In a move that surpises Llamaboy, the hero returns to the fray immediately with full health! It's always good to have itamz, especially Potions of Greater Healing.
As soon as the Demon Hunter is back in, Llamaboy's huntresses attempt to assassinate it again. The battle isn't going as well as expected for Llamaboy, because Jaood had two huntresses on their way to reinforce the army. When the Demon Hunter is forced to flee again, Llamaboy has one less huntress than Jaood and most of them are dangerously low on health. Llamaboy gives chase, but Jaood's huntresses cover the Demon Hunter's escape long enough for him to Town Portal home. The remnants of the red army that didn't teleport away are destroyed, but Llamaboy has suffered losses as well. Of his original army (which was bigger than Jaood's), he now has three archers, a huntress, and his Priestess. It wasn't a complete loss for either side because all three heros leveled up during the battle. The primary heros reached Level 4 and Jaood's neophyte Priestess made Level 2.
Night falls, and Llamaboy seems content to stay at home and rebuild. Jaood, on the other hand, sends his Demon Hunter back into the field as soon as it has healed. However, when he teleported home, he didn't seem to notice that the landscape of his base had changed slightly...
Remember the spying wisp from the beginning of the game? Well it looks as if Llamaboy decided to be devious during the last battle. He started construction on an Ancient Protector in the back of Jaood's base. The Demon Hunter teleported right next to it, but Jaood was so preoccupied with his dying Priestess that he didn't notice. Luckily for Llamaboy, Jaood doesn't resurrect his Priestess right away, so the Protector continues to go unnoticed in its vulnerable stage.
Llamaboy realizes that he doesn't have much time to take advantage of the ensuing mayhem, so he rallies his entire wounded patrol to Jaood's main base while starting a fledgling expansion in the northern central location (F). Although his army did not get to heal for very long, he hopes that the Ancient Protector will distract the enemy troops when he attacks.
The Ancient Protector finishes building before Llamaboy's army can arrive, but the army does stumble across a new expansion in the center, which is quickly cancelled. The Protector immediately begins to focus fire on the gold mine. Savouring this moment (and unaware that Protectors will never do Seige damage again), Llamaboy makes quick work of the mine and does some collateral damage before the Demon Hunter destroys it. Meanwhile, the army finally reaches Jaood's base and attacks the huntresses who were guarding the northern entrance. They retreat to the heart of the base to defend a Tree of Eternity which has been brought to half-health.
The Demon Hunter and a few huntresses defend the base with the aid of moonwells, while Llamaboy attacks with huntresses, archers, and a summoned Stone Golem. Jaood's able to survive by constantly training huntresses and by picking off archers with his Demon Hunter. With his incredible melee abilities, he even solos the Stone Golem, but the Priestess' Level 2 Searing Arrows are too much for him to handle. After successfully destroying Llamaboy's army, the Demon Hunter dies, giving the fleeing Priestess a boost to Level 5. Only one more level to go for Starfall!
There's another lull in the action as both sides rebuild. Llamaboy trains 2/2 huntresses while upgrading his Tree to a Tree of Eternity for Tier 3 mayhem, while Jaood sends his 3/1 huntresses out for a little creeping with his resurrected Priestess. He sends the wisp from his cancelled southern expansion to the northern one, but finds that it's already been taken by Llamaboy. Fearing an invasion, Llamaboy hastily builds moonwells and Protectors at his central expansion, making it mostly impregnable to attack. The invasion never materializes, because Jaood is still creeping. His wisp travels to the upper left corner, but finds that spot has been owled already. The only remaining spot without an owl is the southeastern expansion, and Llamaboy is in the process of creeping and owling it, even as Jaood moves to claim it for his own. The red army sees the enemies as they're leaving to go to the Goblin Merchant, but is smart enough not to attack. Trying to assault an army which has continuous access to a Goblin Merchant is almost as bad as fighting next to a Fountain of Health. When Llamaboy has left the area, Jaood begins building an expansion in the southeast corner, just out of view of the sentinel owl.
Meanwhile, Llamaboy is marching determinedly towards Jaood's main from the central valley again. Although it would appear to be another attack, in reality he's looking for creeps, since he's only a quarter of a bar from Level 6 and Starfall. He kills off the gnolls in Jaood's base, but still doesn't quite level. He checks the murloc nook without high hopes, but finds that Jaood hasn't crept there yet. The little murlocs are enough to reach Level 6, and the Priestess gets a Tome of Agility as a bonus. At this point, Llamaboy decides that it would be wise to hit Jaood's main again and Starfall the crap out of it.
Jaood, on the other hand, has other plans. He has stocked up his fresh Demon Hunter with healing potions and sent his entire army north to Llamaboy's main base again. This time, he has two heros, plenty of items, and huntresses that are 1 weapons upgrade stronger than Llamaboy's.
An opening volley from eight huntresses destroys one of Llamaboy's moonwells before he teleports his army home. It is much smaller than Jaood's, consisting of five huntresses and a couple archers, but it's backed by Starfall. Llamaboy casts the spell immediately upon teleporting, so Jaood has no time to mana burn the Priestess. This does end up saving the base, but Jaood's army is positioned for easy escape, and the Starfall does very little damage. Jaood merely waits until the Starfall has completed and returns to break stuff.
Llamaboy had not expected Jaood to show his cowering face again, so he had sent his army away to kill gnolls. With the surprise factor, Jaood destroys an Ancient of War before Llamaboy can react. The defenders use a Scroll of Protection, and then try to surround the enemy Priestess, hoping to nullify the Trueshot Aura. This is successful and the Priestess goes down like everyone wanted her to, but by allowing his Priestess to be a punching bag, Jaood has given his huntress army the edge. They whittle Llamaboy's army down while the Demon Hunter gains Level 5 by sniping at weak archers. Llamaboy is forced into retreat at the back of his base, leaving his last Ancient of War out front, swinging wildly.
Detonating wisps are not enough to save Llamaboy, and his army dies off one by one, leaving the Priestess alone to defend the base. Jaood has been quick to mana burn her every chance he gets, and she currently has a mana store of 1/450. Realizing the futility of the situation, she Shadowmelds in the back and the huntresses turn their attention to the Ancient of War. Since bad things always happen in pairs, Llamaboy's gold mine chooses this moment to collapse, leaving five wisps with nothing to do. Figuring that they'll die anyhow, Llamaboy sends them to heal the Ancient of War, in a last bid effort to defeat the huntresses (all of which are still alive). The Priestess almost gets surrounded again while taking potshots but luck and Shadowmeld help her to flee the base in one piece.
As luck would have it, the Priestess reappears on the outside of the base, with the huntresses in a dead end between an angry Ancient of War and an angrier Tree of Eternity. Jaood obviously sees the danger in this, as he tells his huntresses to focus fire on the last useful moonwell while frantically running his Demon Hunter to mana burn the threat. The Priestess takes the opportunity to pull the horseshoe out of her ass and Shadowmelds just before the mana burn is cast. This also makes her hold position long enough to leech mana from the moonwell (which was just out of her reach while she was running around). Before you can say "Starf", Llamaboy has clicked the magic button to rain stars down from the heavens.
Jaood is forced to evacuate, with half of his huntresses dead and the other half near death. He regroups a short distance away, while Llamaboy allows his Starfall to peter out. During the battle, he'd rebuilt an Altar and Ancient of War at his central expansion, expecting his main to be wiped out. He'd also expanded to the upper left corner.
Jaood's army production was not hurt at all by the attack, and after a quick trip to his moonwells, his entire huntress army is back in force: nine huntresses and two heros. While scouting for expansions with a huntress, he discovers Llamaboy's new production center at the middle expansion. Spying the Priestess there, Jaood suspects that Llamaboy's main is completely undefended. He commands his army to head there, in hopes of finishing off any important tech buildings. He attacks the Hunter's Hall first, spying an upgrade in progress, but could not destroy it in time. (Of course, the upgrade was just the worthless Night Vision upgrade, but Jaood didn't have to know that).
Llamaboy sent his Priestess and four huntresses to the nearest Goblin Merchant when this attack occurred, understanding that being prepared was twice as important as being on time. His plan was to stock up on mana potions and teleport back to the main base for some more fun with Starfall. As it turns out though, he had his Starfall fun right then and there...
You see, Llamaboy wanted to make sure he had enough potions to cover the cost of Starfall after one or two mana burns. Being the double-checking type, he hovers his mouse over the Starfall button to see the mana cost. Then, somehow, some way, he manages to click the Starfall button, rather than the Merchant and a nice little rain of stars falls, much to the amusement of the observers.
Needless to say, Llamaboy abandons his main base as a loss and moves his army to attack Jaood's southeastern expansion. He strikes the sole Ancient Protector first and destroys it while Jaood's army teleports in with a summoned drake at its side. Llamaboy retreats, having saved the last of his main base, but at the expense of his Tree of Eternity. It wasn't a big loss though, because he had all his army upgrades completed and apparently doesn't know how to make bears.
So once again, Llamaboy is forced to retreat to his central expansion. Jaood's army chases the cowards just long enough to keep them honest, and then sends his drake to harass the expansion before its time runs out. Unfortunately, it flies right underneath the Blue Dragon site at C and dies before damaging the base (but not before giving the Priestess Level 7, hohoho!). Jaood makes a remark about the dragons and Llamaboy realizes that they haven't been destroyed yet. He decides that his next task (besides surviving) will be to kill dragons. The goal wasn't so much to level his already buff Priestess; it was more to prevent Jaood from having any of the experience for himself. Had he been thinking more clearly, he would have realized that Jaood had an all-huntress army and was in no position to creep them himself.
Now that Llamaboy is in hiding, Jaood resumes his destruction of the main base, which had been pared down to an Altar and two moonwells. Meanwhile, Llamaboy sneaks out of his expansion to launch another attack Jaood's only expansion, hoping that new defenses haven't been erected. He has transitioned completely to archers to complement his eight 3/3 huntresses. Jaood's army is currently marking time on the northern trail, in an area of no particular significance, while his Demon Hunter has run to the store to buy some groceries.
Llamaboy charges in while the Demon Hunter is at the Goblin Merchant, and painstaking seconds are wasted as the Demon Hunter saves up enough money to buy a Town Portal Scroll. He frantically runs back to his army, but his Tree of Life falls just before he reaches them. With no target to use his scroll on, his army returns to their position on the northern trail.
But what exactly is he doing up there anyways? Well, it might have something to do with the two wisps hanging around his army, which he morphs into Ancient Protectors. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Jaood has made plans to seige Llamaboy's expansion from the top of the cliff. He has destroyed Llamaboy's main, and is unaware of (or unperturbed by) the expansion in the upper left, so Llamaboy does not have a direct route to counter attack his position. When the Ancient Protectors have completed, they hollow out a spot in the trees and root in position to attack the expansion (watch this at 8x speed in the replay -- it looks like some bizarre Pac-Man mod). Jaood has picked a great position, and the Protectors have an unimpeded view of nearly three-quarters of the expansion.
Unaware of the boulders about to be hurled onto his expansion, Llamaboy has reached a critical mass of archers and decides to creep Jaood's dragon patch. He doesn't quite have enough to completely kill all the dragons, but he does have Starfall, and logically deduces that it will help him soften up the Blue Dragon. As bold as he is stupid, he marches those archers right underneath the dragons and activates Starfall. Creeps, as everyone knows by now, were made a little more intelligent in 1.03, and they don't give a rat's ass about the archers. Llamaboy hadn't counted on his Priestess getting focus fired, and the Blue Dragon dispatches the Priestess poste-haste. Ironically, the Blue Dragon died to the last wave of Starfall less than a second after the Priestess died, so she didn't even gain its experience. And that's when Llamaboy noticed that his expansion was under attack.
Llamaboy is powerless to help his expansion at the moment, but luckily his Altar is out of range of the Protectors. Hoping to seed mayhem, he sends his heroless army to Jaood's main base. They begin attacking an Ancient of War, but flee as soon as Jaood's army teleports home. The bulk of the red army returns to their firebase in the north, but Jaood's Demon Hunter chases after the retreating archers and kills one, leveling up to Level 6 and Metamorphosis. Oh lordy!
Llamaboy's army falls back to the center while Jaood gets back into position on the ridge. The Ancient Protectors, having killed everything in range, consume more trees and get into a better position to hit the rest of the expansion. It's here that Llamaboy's lack of macro pays off. Since he hasn't made many units, he has plenty of money in the bank and quickly fortifies his last working expansion while also expanding to the other central expansion.
Suddenly, Jaood notices that lights are flashing at Llamaboy's Altar. This could only mean that he's heroless! He orders his army back into the valley hoping to contain and destroy the blue army in his death trap, with Protectors on the ridge and huntresses at the gate. Of course, Llamaboy used "warpten" because his Priestess resurrected just in time for the coming battle.
Jaood's huntress army arrives to find a batch of equally upgraded huntresses and archers. Llamaboy is at a slight disadvantage because he can't use his Protector-tainted moonwells, but his Trueshot Aura is better than Jaood's, adding two points of damage to each unit. The Demon Hunter arrives from the other direction (apparently with his pet stag) and the battle commences!
Jaood pulls out all the stops on this battle, and his bloodlusted fury forces Llamaboy to retreat into his base, at the risk of being trapped underneath the Protectors. While his army fights, Jaood uses his Demon Hunter ultimate and also mana burns the Priestess. He then attacks the last remaining Protector in the base, which is just out of reach of the ones up on the cliff.
Llamaboy realizes the futility of attacking an enraged Demon Hunter, so focuses instead on killing off all his support. When Jaood finally looks up from his personal feud with the Protector, he finds all the huntresses and his own Priestess dead and gone. He retreats to the cover of his Protectors on the ridge, but ultimately he's snagged by an errant moon glaive and perishes.
The match is essentially over now, because Jaood is out of money. Llamaboy has lost most of his tech buildings, but has two expansions still mining. Jaood uproots his Tree of Eternity and sends it to the southeast, but it's intercepted halfway by a vengeful pack of huntresses and archers (who had accompanied the Priestess to collect the treasure from her embarassing dragon incident).
The only thing left for Jaood to do is to go out in style. He sends his last two huntresses back to the middle for a kamikaze attack (followed by a ballista, but it lags behind and gets destroyed). The Ancient of War uproots and teaches those naughty huntresses a lesson until Llamaboy's army can return from the field.
This report is the third in a new series of reports by "Halp Halp, i'm beng reprssed!" Productions, an offshoot of CattleBattle Productions. Please see the author's previous report for his philosophy on this new series.