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"I have to admit I don't know a whole lot about this guy, cept that I obsed a few games with him, in which he's been suspiciously quiet. He seems to be very gm - perhaps a little overly so - and actually destroyed his scvs, floating his CC away over the nearest sea. Meanwhile I opted to scv dance round the closest geyser."
-|]agomar


Some Footmen Frenzy with Bill!
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Author:Who'sGotLag.IDO
IP:usrns42.XXXX
Date: 01/25/05 03:01
Game Type: Warcraft 3
Labels:none
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Report Rating: 9.3, # of Ratings: 3, Max: 10, Min: 9
Lifetime Rating for Who'sGotLag.IDO:
Footmen Frenzy (Replace me)

 

Boring Introduction

Hello and welcome to yet another Who'sGotLag.IDO battlereport.  This battlereport will be about a game played on Footmen Frenzy v3.61.  That is to say this report is based on a UMS map for WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne.  This report contains around 5.35 mb of pictures, you have been warned. 

You can skip down to the next paragraph since you will not care about what follows this sentence.  This is report number 16 for me (numerically), BUT in terms of completed reports, this is number 13.  You may ask where are the other reports and I would say incomplete or haven't started when I got bored/lazy/busy. (Yes, I keep recycling this.)

BTW. For those of you who have web browsers that can't display pictures with brackets or use Javascript, you're just outta luck.  This battlereport was designed for Internet Explorer 6.0.  Recommended minimum screen size: 800x600 pixels.

 

Some filler

Right now Footman Frenzy is stuck in a sort of dead stage as the main creators and testers are busy playing some unknown game called World of Warcraft.  We should feel sorry for these poor MMORPG players who play in another world than we do. Here's a random RPG movie that I found on collegehumor.com.

Movie is hosted externally to save bandwidth. Click on link, wait 40 seconds, then a link should appear.

 

 

 

Footman Frenzy v3.61, the newbie guide

Ok, now you are sitting here probably going "wtf is Footman Frenzy" or "I know what Footmen Frenzy is".  If you are the former it would be in your best interest if you plan on reading the rest of the report to either read the Frenzy Compendium at  the official site or my wonderful Footmen Frenzy introduction (barely updated since v2.0) if you plan on reading the rest of the report. If you just want to start the report itself, here is a handy hyperlink to speed you on your way to the report.

 

The Short Version

As was stated in the introduction, Footmen Frenzy is a UMS map for WarCraft III The Frozen Throne.  The one and only goal in this UMS is to destroy your opponent's barracks.  Your barracks spawn troops and you can buy heroes, get better unit spawns, upgrades, and items depending on how much gold you obtain by killing your opponents units.

Click me for the Long Version

 

 

Pre-game

Pre-game setup in this paragraph, move on down if you don't care.  This game was played on November 24, 2004.  This BR will be written in the first person format with situational updates...  I myself am the most wonderful and brave MehPracticeSmrf camouflaged and hidden in the southeast corner of the map.

Spread throughout the report are strategy boxes that I think are true... at the moment at least. Read them if you want to get more in depth on the issue or skip them if you don't care.

 

Some Footman Frenzy with Bill!

 

This game started at full capacity with 12 players in the 4 teams. The players are divided into teams by the corner they start in as you should be able to see above.  The Teams are numbered clockwise with Team 1 in the upper-left, Team 2 upper-right, etc.  At the beginning however MonkeyFighter dropped out due to lag and I.Hate.Lag. quit soon after randoming a Beastmaster as his hero.

I myself smiled a little as my random hero option gave me a loveable little fellow named Bill Kazmaier. For those of you who don't know, Bill K. is the secret hero.  

 

Bill Kazmaier

As said above, Bill Kazmaier is the secret hero for Footman Frenzy v3.61.  The only way to get Bill K is too random hero selection and pray you beat the odds. Minor trivia: If you wait to random a hero until after the Avalanche and Death Sheep are removed, your odds are improved a tiny bit.  Bill has boosted stats so killing him gives a larger than normal kill bonus of 512 gold instead of the normal ~266 gold. Spellwise Bill K has 3 passive aura abilities and a powerful killing ultimate.

Vampiric Aura - Percentage of attack damage done by nearby melee units and heroes is received as health.  

Vigor (Endurance) Aura - Increases the attack rate and movement speed of nearby units and heroes. 

Command Aura - Increases the attack damage of nearby units and heroes. Bill K is the only hero that has Command Aura.  

While the Vampiric Aura can help to keep melee heroes and units alive, the other 2 auras can affect ranged heroes/units as well which maybe more helpful in the long run. Which ability is chosen is depends on the needs of the moment and the future.

Call of the Gods - Kills any non-invulnerable units or heroes inside a target circle regardless of hitpoints. Once the ultimate is cast however, the Servant of the Gods comes along to kill Bill as well. As you can see in the above picture, Bill doesn't have much Intelligence and needs Mana periapts to let him use his ultimate at high levels. If enemy units or heroes keep his mana pool depleted, Bill K may be unable to use his ultimate.

I chose "Vampiric Aura" for my first ability which really wouldn't help my partners' heroes since they were ranged, but it would give all our Tier 0 Footmen a slight advantage in normal Footman vs. Footman fights.

While this happened I sent a Footman on a Tour de Map trip where he got to experience many of our enemies' attacks firsthand.  In the southwest he encountered Team 4's Halpmeh and Pandaran Brewmaster who then followed him to the middle where they encountered Team 1 who came out to meet my Footman as well.

In the first picture you can see that SBIAFB's Halpmeh has used a Scroll of Speed to increase the movement rate of all friendly troops. The Halpmeh put his first skill point into Tichmez Armorz which reduces the armor of nearby enemy units making them easier to kill.  The other 3 heroes (Falcon not mentioned yet) in the picture put their points into damage abilities and threw them in as well trying to do damage and get kills.

As it normally is the case, as soon as these two teams started fighting, the other teams then came to hit them in the side and back for easy kills. Teams pulled back, reinforcements came up and the battle swung from side to side. In the second picture you can see HUMAN_HERO's Panda using the increased movement speed to avoid Bill's chopping death while 3 teams fight above them.

In the 3rd pic eat_my_grunt's Archmage started dropping Blizzards onto our fighting units seeking to kill them all.  Fortunately supra18's CattleBruiser was standing nearby (or unfortunately for eat_my_grunt).  CattleBruiser is a dedicated hero killer and knocked the Archmage out fast. 

Meanwhile to inside Team 1's base, Hello-Friends's Dino Din pursued and killed Cybermule's Farseer with Firebolt stun and attempted Footman surroundings (attempted since he got away but took lots of damage each time until death). Soon after supra18 killed HUMAN_HERO's Panda which had healed somewhat and comeback out to fight again while Hello-Friends's Dino Din stunned and surrounded CallawayJS's Falcon.

All the previous action took place in about 1 minute of game time. Now that you've gotten a taste of what went on, I'm switching to a more skimming first person view since it would take to long to describe what everyone was doing.

 

Constructing a bigger, better hero 

With continued fighting I started leveling Bill up. I put his second skill point into Endurance Aura so our units would attack and move faster.  Bill's abilities enhanced our Tier 0 units while filby2400's Keeper of the Grove summoned Treants to toughen up our front line while his Thorns aura threw some melee damage our units received back at their attackers.  supra18's CattleBruiser roamed around our lines menacing and killing heroes who didn't notice the danger in time.

With the cash I accumulated, I started investing in "Claws of Attack +20" which obviously caused my hero to do 20 more damage.  I was trying to cheaply make an offensive self-sustaining hero which would pull in enough hit points from his attacks to negate the damage being received. Then I could spend the rest of my money on my army which would be further enhanced by my hero's Auras.

Building a Strong, Low Cost "Agility" Hero

Bill Kazmaier is a unique hero in that he is a Strength-based hero that can also act like an Agility-based hero. The combination of relatively high Strength and Agility attributes in a single hero is not present in most other heroes.

Explanation: Strength-based heroes generally have lots of hitpoints and can take a beating but generally are slower on the offensive (slower attacks and/or aren't as able to cast spells as often due to smaller mana capacity/regeneration) than other heroes. Agility-based heroes on the other hand, have much less hitpoints but are generally faster moving and attacking with more armor as well.

Bill's high Strength attributes gives him plenty of hitpoints and regeneration to keep him alive   His high Agility attributes also give him a fast attack speed which is further enhanced by Endurance Aura. Two Claws of Attack on top of that doubles the amount of damage he can deal. Working with Vampiric Aura this gives him a better chance of refilling his hitpoints and surviving on the battlefield. 

A cheaper alternative to the Claws might've been "Belts of Giant Strength", the damage enhancement would've been half as much but it would've added 250 hitpoints each for less gold. More expensive items would of course make him a better hero, but right now the point was to spend as little as possible on the hero.  

 

 

 

(7:30) Ultimates begin appearing

 

The fighting had been going on for awhile when at around 7:30 a short battle in the middle erupted between the right-side Teams and was soon joined by Team 1 from the left.  filby2400's Keeper of the Grove cast his ultimate, Tranquility, to heal our fighting troops while the battle went on.  CallawayJS's Falcon lead Team 1's entry into the this fight wearing a Infernal Cloak that burned any of his enemies that got close. The Falcon focused his attack and brought supra18's CattleBruiser down to critical levels while periodically stunning him with his Bash ability when a red beam of death shot out at the last second.  CattleBruiser's ultimate, Camato Yannon, a 1000 damage attack killed the Falcon and saved himself... for about 1 second until Cybermule's Farseer killed him with a Chain Lightning from the across the battlefield.  

My hero also reached level 6 at about this time as well but the reason my units aren't clearly visible in the picture above is because they were involved in their own skirmish in the background.  I managed to kill HUMAN_HERO's Panda before Bill became surrounded by Footmen and I decided to use his ultimate "Call of the Gods".  Unfortunately as you can see below, SBIAFB's Halpmeh decided not to cooperate and stepped out of the casting radius before the spell began.  The Servant of the Gods then showed up to kill Bill once the casting was completed and also stole poor Bill's Town Portal.  Corruption is everywhere it seems.

 

Forward "Men"! Err... Guys! 

After our armies were driven out of the middle by the other teams filby2400 and I decided to upgrade our barracks.  We both independently chose to switch to Orc armies.  I myself chose Orc to because the enhancing effects of my main abilities, Endurance and Vampiric Aura would complement the Orc racial capabilities.  High damage units that could attack more often and heal themselves when attacking would be beneficial to our forces.  filby2400 may have thought that the large number of hp that Orcs units have also benefited from his Keeper of the Grove's Thorns Aura (More hp means that much more damage that can be thrown back at attackers by the aura).  supra18 decided to invest in 2 Belts of Giant Strength, the alternative that I mentioned earlier that Bill could have gone (thereby gaining 500 hp and +20 attack), as well as a Mana Periapt so he could cast his spells more often.

Orc Tech

Orc is a good race to get when a strong line of units are needed to hold back the enemy while friendly supporting units.  Orc units typically have lots of hitpoints and their racial upgrade further increases their unit hp as well as increasing their attack damage.  

A problem that Orcs have is that most of their units don't attack at a very fast rate.  Tier 2 and above have a special racial ability of Berserk which enhances their attack rate, but increases the amount of damage they take when attacked.

Three of the four Orc tiers are also melee units which benefit from Vampiric Auras while ranged units do not.

Tier 1 : Grunts - A typical example of orc units, the Grunt is a melee unit with lots of hitpoints and a decently high damage attack  Tier 1 Orc is thought to be weak by some players due to its slow attack and spawn rate.  The slower attack rate means that there is a greater chance for other teams or players to steal kills from fighting units. Tier 1 ranged units from other armies such as Night Elf Archers and Human Riflemen can also steal kills from the Orcs, give supporting fire over the heads of melee units screening them, or harass and then run if they are confronted directly.  In head to head battles though without interference they are alright.

 

As the battles continued, Hello-Friends had been having a great deal of success with Firebolt stunning enemy heroes and surrounding them with his Footman/Grunts, killing about as many heroes as supra18's CattleBruiser.   Edenclone had earlier sent his Dark Ranger and a large Footmen army into Team 2's base but was not having much success.  Team 2 eventually killed the army and Hello-Friends stunned and killed the Dark Ranger.

Hello-Friends had tried to do the same to me a few times but I avoided him like the plague earlier, especially when Bill was alone.  Now however, he again tried the same thing and found out how hard it was to kill a hero that rapidly dealt damage and "healed" while doing it. After about 10 seconds Bill's hp did begin to drop enough to be a slight concern when filby2400 started a Tranquility which began healing Bill right up again.  Team 2 decided to back off and regroup after that as their attack group had sustained a lot of damage.

Team 4, the southwest team, was having a hard time this game with their heroes being several levels below and thus dying multiple times.  SBIAFB's Halpmeh had to keep switching back and forth between corporeal and ethereal form during battles to avoid damage.  If the Halpmeh stayed in ethereal form, it was immune to physical attacks but got hammered by spells and his low hp.  If the Halpmeh stayed in corporeal form, any hero or unit could walk by and begin beating it down.  Twice SBIAFB had to quickly switch to ethereal form to avoid CallawayJS's Falcon physical attacks and then ended up dying to the Immolation effect of the Infernal Cape as the Falcon followed him around.  HUMAN_HERO's Panda was also easy pickings for the higher level Falcon in Avatar form.

After seeing how much fun CallawayJS seemed to be having with his hero as well as how Bill kept getting mobbed by low tier units (and an empty item slot due to that thieving Servant), I decided to purchase an Infernal Cloak as well.  The Cloak would damage all non-magic immune enemies around Bill, as well as giving him an additional 5 armor.

 

(13:00) Spend that money

With the cash earned so far, players began to spend their money in different ways.  Some who had teched already went further or upgraded their existing units, others who hadn't do so already did it now, while a few others invested in their heroes.  Team 3 by now had pretty much conceded that they were probably not a contender anymore, with SBIAFB declining to bring back his hero to get killed again for a short while.

If you look in the chart above you can see that Team 3 and I have a slight lead at the moment.  Unhappily for us this situation would change in the next 90 seconds.  With Bill wearing his spiffy new cape, I sent him and a control group of Grunts to get into the middle and earn some money.  My partners came along also and we started a 3-way battle with the 2 top teams.

As we fought merrily along, 2 control groups of red Ghouls came out of Team 1's base and headed straight for my hero.  With Bill setup the way he was though I ignored them and did something else as the combination of Cloak and Bill's "healing" would make this a profitable encounter.  Unfortunately I failed to take into account Edenclone's Dark Ranger and her Life Drain spell.  On her second attempt Bill was surrounded without a Town Portal or any other escape item and succumbed to the combined assault.  

Also occurring nearby was another deathmatch between supra18's CattleBruiser and CallawayJS's Falcon.  After their last encounter the Falcon had come back for a rematch, but unfortunately for him Hello-Friends interfered and ended up killing the both of them. 

The results of the battle were that all of Team 1 gained a level except Edenclone who gained two.  Team 2 did even better with eat_my_grunt sand Hello-Friends gaining 2 and 3 levels apiece.  My Team 3 however gained 0 levels though we earned a bit of change which I invested my share into basic upgrades and filby2400 upgraded to Tier 2 Orc.

 

Orc Tier 2: Troll Berserkers

Tier 2 : Troll Berserkers - With upgrades Berserkers can be the beefiest ranged unit with the most powerful ranged attack on the battlefield.  That being said, they are frailer than their Grunt predecessors and tend to still suffer in pitched battles with melee units if they don't maneuver.  Like all ranged units they trade higher damage output for lower resilience.

They are also the lowest Orc tier to gain their racial ability, Berserk  As said before Berserk increases the attack rate of Orc units but increases the amount of damage that they take in return.

 

The battles began raging around the middle with new armies streaming in and spells being cast repeatedly.  By hanging around the middle, Edenclone's Dark Ranger was able to frequently use her ultimate, Charm, to steal units to supplement her normal and Black Arrow summoned Ghoul army.

After an aborted attempt to perform Call of the Gods, Team 3 and I decided to temporarily pull our weaker armies off the battlefield.  In the meantime, Team 1 and Edenclone especially decided to do a largely ineffective base raid on Team 2 which mostly ending up feeding them several control groups of Ghouls for little in return.  Both Edenclone and Cybermule's heroes were also eventually killed during the latter stages of this encounter.

 

(17:00) Fickle are the Tides of War

At this point Team 2 wass steadily getting stronger which was readily apparent to everyone.  The different Teams decided to deal with the problem in their own ways.  Team 1 which you can see above has advanced in tech a little decided to raid eat_my_grunt and Hello-Friends again... with a large group of Footmen and Ghouls somewhat supported by Cybermule's Raiders and CallawayJS's Falcon.  I on the other hand was subscribing to the "Kick them when they are down and wallow in their misery" plan.  We would harvest their weak units for gold and experience to try and stay level with the others.  On this note, I sent Bill to attack poor Team 4's base alone and where he killed HUMAN_HERO's Panda and was cutting through SBIAFB's Footmen with ease earning almost 1k in gold and gaining experience.  Unfortunately attacking alone is also stupid idea against a team with Archers who can mass and focus fire while escape is impossible by being surrounded by Footmen but the gold and experience wouldn't change Team 4's position much.  My rescuing army and the other members of Team 3 arrived soon after my hero was dead, but ended up getting in a good amount of kills before Cybermule and CallawayJS began interfering.  

As you'd expect, Team 1's earlier offensive had failed but Edenclone was trying another assault alone.  With 4 Ghouls being created by every unit that died under Level 4 Black Arrow, Edenclone at first glance appeared to be breaking even with Team 2 in the battle.  On closer examination though you could see that comparatively few Raiders and Huntresses were dying compared to the number of Ghouls.  The Ghouls requiring significantly higher upgrades than their enemies to stand a chance against these higher tier foes.

By the 20 minute mark, both battles had ended with Edenclone running for his life while being pursued by Hello-Friends's murderous Dino Din in the north.  To the south Team 3 and I began to pull out of Team 4's base to give them time to spawn more $$$.  CallawayJS's Falcon was getting more and more dangerous however, killing filby2400's Keeper of the Grove but supra18 and I managed to chase down the Falcon and kill him in his base entrance as he fled.  filby2400 did upgrade to Tier 3 Orc in the meantime with his accumulated gold.

Orc Tier 3: Raiders

Tier 3: Raiders - Another classic example of Orc units, the Raider has a relatively strong attack, lots of hitpoints, and a decently fast attack speed.  This is compensated for by the Raider giving a larger than normal experience and gold bonus when killed.  Raiders are also unfortunately vulnerable to Tier 4 units in general.  All Tier 4 units have Normal damage which does extra damage against the Raiders' Medium armor type.

Raiders also have a relatively small unit footprint meaning that more units can crowd in and attack at once.  This also means that more units can get packed in a single spot and be wiped out by a single spell.  A group of somewhat upgraded Raiders can easily destroy a Tier 0 Barracks if allowed to surround it and powerful area of effect weapons aren't used.

 

(20:00) Beware of Sharks Roaming the Middle

By this point in the game, supra18 and Hello-Friends heroes have built up an impressive number of hero kills between the two of them.  supra18's CattleBruiser can assassinate a hero with damage spells, while Hello-Friends's Dino Din stun and unit surround has also been very effective.  In spite of this, a terror had developed that could possibly unseat these 2 as the best hero killers.  This hero was CallawayJS's Falcon.  The Falcon did not defeat his enemies with damage spells or armies, but by overwhelming physical force combined with his high percentage Bash ability.  Equipped now with expensive items (3 Crowns of Kings, Mask of Death, and Infernal Cloak) he was further enhanced.  Earlier in the game Bill was strong enough that he would force the Falcon to run away or die every time they met in single combat before but now...

Falcon: Ultimate Brawler Hero Killer?

In the beginning of a game, the idea of a Falcon being a good hero killer can be laughable.  A Falcon's low hp and poor abilities at the moment make killing healthy heroes difficult and surviving long enough to do it even harder.  Like certain other heroes though, as a Falcon gains levels and items he rapidly increases in power.

Unlike most other hero killers which use their damage or stun spells to kill their opponents, the Falcon can use brute force.  When left alone a Falcon can overwhelm almost any hero at high levels using the combination of the his fast attack speed and passive Bash ability combined with some hp leaching item or aura.  At high levels, the Falcon's agility attributes are elevated which means that it has a powerful attack, which can be performed often, and has increased armor.  This combined with a high level Bash which frequently stuns a unit when hit means that a Falcon could possibly keep an enemy perpetually stunned and unable to do anything (even escape) until death. The percentage of stuns is only high enough to do this at Bash level 5 or 6.  The best (or worst) part about Bash is that it is considered to be a passive physical ability so magic immunity means nothing against his Bash onslaught.

Combined with a vampiric item/aura, the Falcon can absorb life while killing his foe. To truly be good however it will typically need Totems of Might/Crowns of Kings/Firehand Gloves to further increase his attack speed and making a Bash more likely to occur.  Other items such as Runed Bracers and/or Capes of Infernal Flames to reduce the effects of enemy heroes attacks and unit swarms. 

That being said, of course the Falcon is not the ultimate hero killer since other heroes' spells could kill him before he gets into range or at least delay him for awhile.  When in regular form any stun/sleep/hex/banish spell can temporarily get him off you but if he's in Avatar form he's a monster.  Outside interference such as swarms of high damage melee or ranged units could kill an Avatared or regular Falcon but would probably require Tier 4 or high damage units.

While the Falcon, CattleBruiser, and Dino Din were a dangerous enemies, they did not severely affect the amount of combat occurring in the middle.  Masses of troops continued to flow in and while the hero killers could defeat single or groups of weak enemies, groups of high tier units could still kill them.  Heroes would simply avoid the Falcon where possible but sometimes they were too slow. 

At this point in the game, every player except CallawayJS and supra18 had reached Tier 3 of their respective races.  Those 2 players were at lower tiers because of spending a higher proportion of their gold on items to improve their heroes.

 

(23:00 - 37:00) Era of Feeding

This point in the game was a rather low point in my opinion but that's just me.  During this period, large amounts of units and heroes were sent on futile attacks that mainly enriched their opponents.  The main offenders were Team 1 who repeatedly sent large armies into Team 2's base and were steadily and repeatedly annihilated while not hurting them significantly.  Both of Team 2's players heroes reached the maximum of level 18 and upgraded their armies to Tier 4 (NE Glaivethrowers and Orc Taurens) off the experience and gold from the kills.  eat_my_grunt's Night Elf army soon achieved what I call "Critical Mass" and that combined with Hello-Friends's Taurens shielding them from harm were able to make a their base nearly impenetrable.   eat_my_grunt's Archmage was also able to use his level 6 Blizzard to rapidly destroy enemy units trapped in front of their lines.  Even in Avatar form CallawayJS's Falcon was unable to make significant progress and would either retreat with heavy damage or die from the firepower.

Ranged Unit Theory: Critical Mass

When large numbers of ranged units accumulate they gather increasing power because of the amount of firepower they can deliver on attackers.  Night Elf armies are especially able to use this because of the NE racial upgrade and spell immunity of their 2 higher Tiers.  Greater range means that more units can fire on targets and fire more times before their enemies can get close enough to return damage.  Spells are generally the bane of groups of units but spell immune units don't have to worry about most ordinary area of effect spells wiping them out so they can safely group in large numbers.

How it works is that when melee units (or even ranged units if not controlled properly) attack, only the front units are effectively able to attack their enemies.  All the melee units behind the front line are just milling around waiting for a chance to attack  As opposed to this all the ranged units are free to fire on the front units who are trying to do them damage.  Critical Mass means that there are sufficient units to rapidly kill the units in the front.  When the front melee units die there is a short gap while the next bunch move up to fight (units with bad/difficult pathing only helps) during this time the next salvo of ranged fire can come in decimating this next bunch, and so on until all the attackers are dead.  Also typically if a wave of attacking melee units tries to destroy a Critical Mass of ranged units, the front edge usually die without ever harming a single enemy.  If a meat shield of strong melee units protects the ranged units, so much the better.

More in-depth babble below. Feel free to skip

Enhancing the Critical Mass

I feel that for ranged units, while unit hp is important, it is not as important as damage output unlike for melee units.  Higher damage output means that less units are required to reach Critical Mass and more units are simply a buffer against losses instead of required for survival.   Long range is also required to deal the damage effectively, but only the NE can increase their units' weapons range.

The best heroes to get for this is obviously Bill K., but what are the chances of that happening.  The next most useful heroes are the Priestess of the Moon and a Tauren Cheiftain.  If you give a Priestess with level 6 Trueshot aura  a War Drums item as well, the damage enhancement is 105% of base damage including weapons upgrades.  The Tauren Chieftain's abilities such as Endurance Aura can also increase attack speed by 40%.  Either are valuable for increasing damage output but getting 2 heroes to level 6 auras is hard of course.  

I say get the Priestess (or at least get it first) because doubling the firepower as opposed to ~40% more attacks increases damage output more.  Also important to remember is that by doubling the attack damage of units, the Priestess doubles the minimum effectiveness of any attack upgrades purchased giving  +2 instead of 1 for every single upgrade.  Just remember that when a Priestess is shadowmelded (hidden) its Auras do not work, so make sure it is always visible during the night when you need them.

Counters

Of course there are many ways to defeat a Critical Mass of ranged units.  The simple but common sense method is flanking.  With more units able to deal damage and more targets to spread their firepower on, less damage is done per attacking unit.  Another simple but obvious tactic is more units you could take this to mean a huge army but there is another way.  Resurrecting units from bodies in close proximity to the Critical Mass means they don't get damaged approaching and can immediately attack them.  Since the units are resurrected at full health and couldn't be damaged earlier (since they didn't exist) they can be a powerful reserve if your attacking units don't suck.  The most effective counters are hero ultimates which are typically channeling spells that negate spell immunity or deal physical damage.  Area of Effect channeling spells such as Stampede, Volcano, Death & Decay, etc. can annihilate huge masses of ranged units if allowed.  Invulnerable units such as Spirits of Vengeance, Animate Dead, and Big Bad Voodoo can also wreak havoc if not stopped.  These methods can be countered but require certain units, abilities, or items be available to stop the channeling or units spawned by the spell.

Another but less effective method are melee attackers such as Pitlords or various heroes that have Avatar/Metamorphosis.  A Critical Mass of ranged units should have sufficient firepower to kill these heroes before they deal too much damage.  If you aren't able to kill it, you didn't have a sufficient Critical Mass in the first place so it becomes less relevant.  A Demonhunter with high level Evasion is probably the best hero of this type due to its fast powerful splash attack, difficulty in hitting, and large amount of hitpoints.

Now you may wonder how Team 1 was not eliminated (or at least rendered irrelevant) during this time period and the answer was Team 4.  HUMAN_HERO and  SBIAFB had accumulated large numbers of Footmen and un-upgraded Huntresses and sent them northwest toward the now weakened Team 1.  Weakness is of course relative and the loss of units against eat_my_grunt and Hello-Friends was of little concern against these low tier units.

Team 3 and I concentrated on leaching off the armies moving in these attacks but avoiding direct confrontation with the top Teams.  Finally at the 37 minute mark Team 4 was eliminated from the game.  We had launched a full attack on Team 4 harvesting their units and SBIAFB with his units unable to be effective chose to surrender.  HUMAN_HERO had reached Tier 3 Night Elf by this point as well but was so far behind and alone that he decided to quit as well.

During this time period I also made 2 attempts to eliminate CallawayJS from the game.  Due to his recent aggressiveness and increasing threat, I decided to spend the money to try to remove him from the game.  I knew that he was at a low tier due to the stream of teal Footmen leaving his base earlier, so I loaded Bill up with a Tank Token and a Scepter of Shockwave.  I intended to use these items to destroy his Barracks and thereby take the Falcon out of the game.  A Steam Tank can take out a Tier 0 Barracks on its own and a Scepter can take 1/4 off its health with 2 casts speeding up its defeat.  Unfortunately on the first attempt I made Bill was intercepted by the Falcon and killed.  CallawayJS had already teched by this point to Tier 1 and was far less vulnerable than I had thought.  The second attempt was also unsuccessful even though it included 2 control groups of Raiders attempting to surround his Barracks.  Bill wasn't able to get to the barracks again and the Raiders were killed by edenclone's and Cybermule's forces.

supra18 had emptied his base out for the attack on Team 4 and afterwards about 4-5 control groups of Troll Berserkers were left standing in the empty base when CallawayJS's Falcon showed up and was soon supported by Cybermule's Farseer.  This "battle" showed why Berserkers aren't as good as NE at achieving Critical Mass due to their inferior range and vulnerability to spells.  To support his Berserkers, supra18 also sent two control groups of Raiders were also sent to surround the Avatared Falcon and who died just as pointlessly as the others giving CallawayJS about 3k in total of gold.

 

(38:00 - 48:59) Rumble in the Middle

The elimination of Team 4 marked the end of the Era of Feeding as Team 1 became more cautious in its attacks.  The era had ascended Team 2 to the strongest, yet still vulnerable position of the game.  The time afterwards was a more equitable time as both Team 1 and 3's armies steadily grew higher in Tier and better in upgrades but could not quite surmount the odds.  Battles would start off in the middle but would be drawn towards eat_my_grunt's deadly mass of Glaivethrowers.

Team 1 soon reached Tier 4 with three different melee armies gathered together (Undead Abominations, Orc Taurens, and Human Knights) by sharing money with weaker partners.  Team 3 was in a weaker state, I having reached Taurens at the beginning of this period while both my partners had Raiders.  Our upgrades were mostly inferior compared to the others but our heroes' auras kept our units somewhat in contention.  Bill's Vampiric Aura (lvl 6) combined with the Keeper's Tranquility (lvl 2) and Thorns Aura (lvl 2) balanced out our armor/hp imbalance somewhat, while the Endurance (lvl 6) and Command (lvl 3) Auras kept their attack damage closer on par with our enemies.  At one point I used Call of the Gods to take out CallawayJS's Falcon before launching a frontal assault on Team 1's base to try and take one of them out but without Bill's auras to enhance the troops, Team 1's superior upgrades won the day.

 

Orc Tier 4: Taurens

Tier 4: Taurens - With upgrades being equal, Taurens can be expected to be the Tier 4 units with the highest amount of hitpoints and attack damage levels.  Built to take damage and deal it out, these units are behemoths (both figuratively and literally).  Their large unit footprint means that they can't pack together as tight (and have worse pathing) as other units but with the added chance to Pulverize (percent chance to deal splash damage on their attacks) they can sometimes handle it.

I say sometimes because head-to-head against Human Knights this isn't always the case.  Knights come with a low percentage Bash ability and on a limited front they can outnumber the Taurens due to their smaller size.  Taurens under attack from more than 1 Knight can sometimes be kept stunned for periods negating their effectiveness.  That usually requires a Knight with hefty upgrades in their racial ability though.  Taurens can have significantly higher hp though so they are more able to stand repeated spell attacks than the lower hp Knights.

 

The skirmishes continued for awhile, with all armies continuing to upgrade but not getting a good enough position to win.  If eat_my_grunt and Hello-Friends tried to leave their base to attack either remaining Team, the Glaivethrowers would likely come under attack both from the front and back by 6 armies, destroying their force.  Likewise attacks on any other bases by the other teams weren't successful due to the threat of flanks from the Team 2.  eat_my_grunt's upgrades began to lag behind though but the cash wasn't appearing anywhere on the field...

 

(49:00) Endgame?

At the 49 minute mark a curious little orange building began constructing in the Team 2's shop area.  Unlike other buildings this little fellow was moving around and had the evil yellow glow of a Divine Shield around it.  eat_my_grunt with a 500 gold contribution from Hello-Friends had purchased an Altar of the Gods to rain destruction on his enemies.  Earlier he had scouted each Team with a Dryad and the Altar headed south towards my team.

The large concentration of Raiders must've been too much to ignore and a Starfall on steroids began to fall.  The single-use Altar had cost 15,099 gold to purchase but ended up yielding 17k in gold to eat_my_grunt.

eat_my_grunt sent 3 Glaivethrowers into our base and then Mass Teleported onto their position with his Archmage.  Fortunately due to the unyielding mass of orange units, the Archmage couldn't move into the center and only ended up bringing about 40 units (roughly 1/5 or 1/6 of his army) with the spell.  Hello-Friends was following right behind him with a control group of Taurens which just entered our base when they promptly turned around and headed home.

 

The combined assault by CallawayJS and Cybermule was repulsed by eat_my_grunt and Hello-Friends with relative ease once the Taurens managed to wedge themselves between the attacking units and the Glaivethrowers.  Around 5 control groups of Tier 4 units were killed for less than half that lost by Team 2.  The interruption did however manage to save us in Team 3 from annihilation.  By the time Team 1's attack was stopped, we had defeated the units eat_my_grunt had teleported into our base and spawned enough units and our heroes to protect our Barracks from a quick killing strike.  

Prior to the Altar's arrival I had also recruited a new hero to help with disposing of the Glaivethrowers.  A HatoUP was parked in my base and died without gaining a single drop of experience (body is next to my Barracks in the Altar pic).  After the battle eat_my_grunt bought a Paladin to aid his own troops.

HatoUP (Quick Summary)

Most people who play Frenzy know how dangerous a HatoUP is as an enemy.  A HatoUp comes with 3 useful basic abilities (Shadow Strike, Ice Shards, and Unholy Aura).  Just the speed benefit from her Unholy Aura makes a HatoUP difficult to kill and hard to avoid when being chased.  In this case however I'm getting her solely for her ultimate, Stampede.  The fact that her other abilities help my troops too is a bonus.  The reason I didn't get a Beastmaster instead is that his summons would be mostly useless against upgraded Tier 4 units until he gained quite a few levels while the HatoUP's abilities would have some benefit for my existing units.

Stampede occurs in an area around the hero, with lizards appearing from behind the direction the HatoUP is casting the spell and running in the direction she is facing.  These lizards will run in a straight line and explode on impact with the first enemy they run into.  Read the Frenzy Compendium if you want to know more.

eat_my_grunt did make a mistake here in not placing his Altar in the center of the map and getting vision for both remaining Teams.  If he had, both of us would've likely taken heavy casualties and one Team probably could've been defeated paving the way for killing the other.  In this case however when eat_my_grunt failed to Mass Teleport his entire army to our base, he likely saved his Team from being defeated as well.  Without the mass of Glaivethrowers/Dryads defending his Barracks, the swarm of Tier 4 units likely would've surrounded and killed his building.  Even if he had Mass Teleported back while they were in the base, he would've had groups of enemy forces around and inside his Critical Mass which would greatly reduce its effectiveness.

For about 5 minutes there was another series of battles in the middle, my involvement was basically running my HatoUP around behind a wall of Taurens and attempting to level her up to get her ultimate, Stampede.  During this time period Hello-Friends was still getting hero kills, Cybermule dropped a few level 3 Earthquakes on Team 2 doing some damage, and mostly everyone else just fought for gold.

 

(57:00) eat_my_grunt Pushes All In

eat_my_grunt apparently impatient to end the game loaded up his Paladin with an invisibility potion and an invulnerability potion,  before sending it into Team 1's base.  He activated first the invisibility potion than invulnerability potion in sequence.  With his invulnerable Paladin sitting in the middle of their base, he hit the Mass Teleport button on his Archmage...

Mouseover picture

As you all know when you gamble, sometimes you win or other times you lose.  Betting big amplifies the gains... and the losses.  eat_my_grunt committed about 95% of all his troops in a quick strike on Team 1's base.  As I told you earlier, Critical Mass theory is based on the idea that you are focusing the majority of your troops' attacks on the leading edge of your enemies' melee army.  Teleporting your ranged unit army into the middle of a huge mob of melee units does not qualify, especially when there are large pockets of enemies inside and around the army.  eat_my_grunt's army had the problems of no units being killed on approach, the majority of his units under simultaneous attack by superior units, and his firepower was dispersed throughout the crowd.  The result was inevitable (and funny).

Of course us in Team 3 had little idea what was going on but we knew something major had occurred due to the spike in lag.

 

(59:00) Save me, $$$! Save me!

As most players know, after you smash the majority of an enemy's army you should counter right away.  Team 1 proceeded to launch a heavy counterattack with most of the units in their base against their depleted attackers.  With eat_my_grunt's Critical Mass of Glaivethrowers lost, the defenders were in deep trouble.  Hello-Friends's Taurens were able to delay the attackers but being outnumbered about 4:1 they were steadily losing ground and the few Glaivethrowers weren't doing enough damage.  It would take a long while to spawn enough Glaives with his current upgrades.   Probably due to these reasons eat_my_grunt dug into his ample bank account and bought a "Talisman of the Gods" for 12,000 gold.

The Talisman of the Gods summoned 12 powerful Penguins for a limited time.  eat_my_grunt had them surround and kill Cybermule's Farseer that was Earthquaking Team 2's Barracks again and quickly killed him.  I don't know if they are supposed to do it, but they then spent some time standing around and not fighting next to Team 1's armies that were swarming into the base.  In desperation, eat_my_grunt sent the Penguins into Team 1's base and had them attack Edenclone's Undead Barracks.  Penguins had been modified in the last patch to be poor against buildings and were steadily worn down and killed by Cannon Towers, a Demolisher, newly spawned units, and CallawayJS's Falcon who had come back to heal.

With the dramatic failure of the Penguins to win the battle, eat_my_grunt went back to the Altar of Legends and bought Necromancers Beating, a 2 cast scroll that summons up to 75 animated dead units.  Unlike a Death Knight's ultimate however, these units are not invulnerable and can be killed.  With a combination of the animated dead units and the Archmage's Blizzard, Team 1's units managed to defeat the attackers in their base.

 

While the battle above was going on, Team 3 and I came out with a vengeance.  Our armies steadily cut through to the top of the middle (though with some difficulties) and filby2400's level 6 Force of Nature summoned 20 Treants to reinforce our line.  Eventually we ended up in position to block Team 1's reinforcements moving towards Team 2.  Behind the frontlines our heroes were able to cast spells unimpeded.  supra18's CattleBruiser was able to snipe CallawayJS's Falcon who was stuck in the crush of battle and unable to flee.  I had my HatoUP then cast Stampede (lvl 1) behind the Treant line killing some units before Hello-Friends came out of his base to thank us by stunning and killing her.  Our line was then was sandwiched by the 2 enemy armies before the battle dissolved into a melee.

filby2400 several times sent his army and 20 Treants into Team 2's base and tearing into the regenerating Glaivethrower army.  The attacks weren't enough to defeat them but they killed enough to prevent the army from getting much larger.  In desperation eat_my_grunt switched races from Night Elf to Humans and rapidly began researching their racial upgrade.  Really he didn't lose too much in NE race upgrades since the range of the Glaives wasn't that long at the time (710, meaning not a huge amount spent there).  Hello-Friends also randomed a Blood Mage to help his Dino Din in battle.

After a few more attacks by all sides, I then proceeded to block Team 1 into their base with a mass of Taurens and cast another Stampede (lvl 1) just to get some more gold before being overrun.  After breaking through the line, Team 1 formed up again and began a large push into Team 2 followed by their own yellow glowing, mobile building from the Altar of Legends.

 

(1:07:00) Endgame: Part Deux

At the entrance to Team 2's base CallawayJS activated his Altar of the Gods and removed eat_my_grunt and Hello-Friends heroes and units from the field.  Team 1 then went on to eliminate both of them from the game while Team 3 and I of course began attacking them from the rear.  Even the appearance of this old friend from my last Frenzy report could not save Hello-Friend from destruction

Moments after their defeat, Cybermule dropped out of the game undoubtedly getting lagged out by Hello-Friends leaving the game.

At this point the odds are about even in terms of armies.  CallawayJS's Knights are clearly the best upgraded units on the field (and are still going higher) while Edenclone's Abominations aren't as upgraded as CallawayJS's troops but are still a powerful force  Even with Endurance Aura enhancing my Taurens, the Abominations could still attack twice as often while dealing the same amount of damage.  Team 1 gathered up their forces and came at us en masse at our base entrance.

Although we have more players than Team 1, supra18 and filby2400 are still at Raiders whose weaker armor type takes extra damage from our enemies.  Our heroes were the ones propping up our weaker armies with Endurance, Vampiric, Command, Unholy, and Thorns Auras and Tranquility supporting our units while filby2400's Treants stiffened up our right flank.  In the picture below you can see the left flank of the line held by my Taurens... with almost all of them being stunned by CallawayJS's Knights.  

Team 1 was clearly gaining ground as Raiders collapsed under the onslaught.  To help our defense I had my HatoUp (lvl 11) turn her back to the oncoming hordes and cast Stampede (lvl 2).  Team 1 may not have noticed the Stampede happening as the only point where you could see any stampeding lizards was a tiny space on the left flank or the puff of blood and "pfft" sound of them exploding instantly elsewhere.  Steadily we began to win the battle as the exploding lizards began wearing Team 1 down.

After the attack was stopped there was a short pause before we counterattacked into Team 1's base with what troops had survived.  The battle was joined when supra18 dropped out of the game.  Maybe he thought the new holiday was a bit too much.  

Edenclone too seemed to be on some sort of holiday, throughout the game he was apparently coming and going, sharing control and taking it away.  CallawayJS ended up controlling both armies and tried to hold off our forces with Cannon Towers, a Demolisher, and a Jamie Priest to dispel the Treants but to no avail.  Even though Edenclone and CallawayJS's armies (about 2-3 control groups) managed to wipe out my 2 control groups of Taurens and 4 groups (about 3/5 of his force) of filby2400's Raiders before dying, the remainder kept coming supported by resummoned Treants and more newly spawned units.   With level 3 Tranquility rapidly healing injuries, fewer of our units were dying and Team 1's depleted forces were overrun.  CallawayJS's Falcon as strong as it was, died also when surrounded by rapidly attacking, high-damage enemies.

 

The End

 

Postgame

As I'm sure most of you have figured out, this game was lost by eat_my_grunt when he teleported into the Team 1's base.  With a good meat shield protecting his Glaivethrowers his force was near untouchable except by ultimates.  Putting a good blocking force to jam up a base entrance and then Mass Teleporting behind the shield might've been a great plan.  A flanking attack might've been simply destroyed or at the very least the units could've teleported out again if it got too dangerous.  Some of you may wonder why he didn't teleport out while in the base, one reason I think is that he couldn't simply because the game couldn't handle the lag.  Just watching that moment in the replay causes choppiness on my computer and by the time it settled down the Archmage was dead.

The other players too would've been better off if they had gotten a second hero as soon as their first hero reached level 18.  In cases where a team has only level 18 heroes, any experience earned is simply lost.

 

 

Links to scores

 

This picture has nothing to do with the report but I just like what happened in it.

 

 

No, there isn't any replay link. 

 

Link to my other reports if you are extremely bored is here.

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