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"I saw all of that dark swarm and wet my pants...I'm gonna have nightmares dammit"

World War Threeway FFA
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Date: 08/04/99 08:08
Game Type: Starcraft
Labels:Famous Reporter(1), Starcraft(1), Old Classic(1), Gorgeous(1), Great Writing(1), Funny(1)
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Report Rating: 10.0, # of Ratings: 5, Max: 10, Min: 10
Lifetime Rating for YourRoleModel: 9.3626

A few weeks ago, YourRoleModel, that's me, put forth the idea that a battle report featuring three well known race specialist players would be something that the gentle readers, that's you, of this forum wanted to read about. The response was very positive, and I was encouraged to undertake the task of planning and writing a Free For All Species War.

Dev, a very good writer on this forum, asked if he could participate with me to create the reports. Unfortunately, we could not find Dev online at the proposed meeting time. As time passed and no messages were received, Mark4, Heartcutter, [FLS]prozerran and I decided to get the show on the road.

Mark4 (purple) was chosen to represent the mighty Protoss race. Having lost a game to Mark4 the previous night, and suffering the humiliation of having my last hatchery die to 8 probes in front of Mark and three observers, you could say that I was less than inclined to cheer Mark4 on in this battle. Actually, it would've been somewhat vindicating to see those probes perish in fiery deaths. Although Mark4 contended that he had little chance, the protoss were the pre-match favorite under his command. Mark4 expressed to me that his money was on Heartcutter.

Heartcutter (yellow) was chosen to represent the tenacious Terran race. I've never played Heartcutter because I think he's afraid of me (yeah right), but I've heard conflicting reports on how great or average he is. Most of the report readers love Heartcutter, and his terran game is at least respected, if not feared, by most of us. Heartcutter expressed to me that Mark4 was his pick to win.

[FLS]prozerran (Brown), playing under BliBleh, was chosen to represent the rapacious Zerg race. You may remember FLS writing about his win on the GX server with Ultras and Defilers, among other things. Based on that stunning report, I asked FLS to represent the Zerg, knowing that he'd do more than your typical hydra doom drops. [FLS]prozerran picked Mark4 to take home first game honors.

Please take a moment to note that I didn't ask these players to participate because I thought that they were the best ever with their races. First, they stepped up to the plate when asked, and second, all three are well known on this forum for their competant play and kick ass reports.

Well you've met the contestants. Kick back in your easy chair, break out the bag of Doritos, set those Coke-Bottle glasses on your round little nose and prepare to be entertained... if you smell what YourRoleModel is cookin'?

The Setting:
Winter Conquest was agreed to by all three contestants. You can see on the map where each player started by where the abbreviation of each name is located. Heartcutter played Yellow Terran, FLS played Brown Zerg, and Mark4 played Purple Protoss. The color-coded numbers indicate expansions by each player that were held for the majority of the game. The red X labels indicate expansions that were battled over, tooth, nail, psiblade and bullet.

Early Game Antics:
Mark4 skimped on his defense early to tech up to templar, dark templar and shuttles. He started with only one gate and basically treated this game as if it was an island war at first. Heartcutter followed his standard Terran build order, but scouted with a later SCV this time. That's right, no Deon. [FLS]prozerran powered and played for catchup defense if either of his two and only two zerglings patroling the middle were to die.

Mark4 asked me to remember all of his witty quotes, and then mentioned casually, "I'll kill the first one to attack me." Yeah, and he'd probably do it with eight friggin probes too. GRRR.

Commander Heartcutter sends out his new volunteer, Peon Sanders, to scout. Peon's pretty righteous fast too, maybe the fastest SCV in the league. Sanders heads east and scouts the budding natural and main of FLS, then heads north, then west again into Protoss territory. Sadly, the fastest SCV in the game could not outrun Dragoon plasma blasts. Commander Heartcutter vowed silent revenge as a single tear trickled down his grizzled cheek.

While Heartcutter and Mark4 were teching towards their units of choice, FLS was creeping all over the eastern half of the map. In fact, FLS managed to get two main sites and two naturals running before the Terran or Protoss made their first expansion. After the game, I asked him if he felt this was dangerous, but FLS had faith in his two zergling scouts and the ability to call up 12 lings the instant the scouts died.

Eventually, Mark4 took his natural, after placing a two cannon defense there. Mark4 had faith that a templar cannon defense could hold most early attacks, and started to build a sizable army of mixed forces, the most numerous unit being dragoons.

Heartcutter had built a new Command Center, and it looked like he might float to his natural. Instead, Heartcutter has built dropships, and he Maynard transfers eight SCVs to the south central island... as Kerrigan might say, "A bold move." Heartcutter did not have too many infantry units at this point, for him anyway, but instead seemed to be concentrating on tanks and a few starports.

FLS rapidly teched for upgrades, hydras, queens, a lair and cracklings. These upgrades came one after another due to his huge influx of minerals from four sites.

So far, no one had really done anything offensively... which I suppose is somewhat typical of free for alls.

Talking Tough:
Well, I tried to watch everything, but I believe I missed the broodlings being made out of one of Mark4's templar.

Mark4 didn't take very kindly to [FLS]prozerran crossing the line that Mark had drawn in the sand, and uttered, "FLS=dead".

Around this time of the game, both Mark4 and FLS saw Heartcutter's south central island expansion. (marked X on the picture below) A dark templar and dragoon drop failed though, and so did a small hydra drop. Heart was using a two bunker, one tower, one tank defense.

Heartcutter expanded to the north central island too, while Mark4 and FLS began a battle for the southern, 6:00 main plateau. Mark4 had watched the spot with an observer, and moved several dragoons and templar south to kill the zerg forces stationed there. Unfortunately for the protoss, FLS had already teched up to somewhat upgraded adrenalings. A wave of zerg swept over the protoss forces in spite of carefully placed storms.

You'll notice the wave of blood and fangs that ingulfs the protoss warriors.

Several attempts are made by Mark4 and FLS to secure the 6:00 plateau, each attack successful until the next wave of enemy arrives. Meanwhile Heartcutter is building Battlecruisers. Mark4 had his main, the 12:00 main, and both naturals. Heartcutter hadn't taken his natural yet, but had both islands. FLS finally drove the protoss of off the southern plateau and began his fifth site.

Assessment: [FLS]prozerran is winning by quite a bit. I feel that Heartcutter has made an error by taking the center of the map and putting himself between two viscious enemies early on. Mark4 is following a strange plan of attacking past Heartcutter to FLS in the south. Another reason why FLS is in command at this point is that he has some of every zerg unit that you can get, except for Ultralisks and Defilers.

Pushing North:
About this time, FLS has massed a group of six guardians, a score of hydralisks, some queens and a few overlords to the south of Heartcutter's south central island. To help you to visualize where the events are occuring, I've tried to include minimaps with Xs where possible.

Until now, there had only been small skirmishes at the 6:00 site. [FLS]prozerran decides to finally flex his powering muscle and knock Heartcutter off the south central cliffs. Queens broodling the tanks, Guardians kill the bunkers and play games with the marines, dropped hydras mop up. [FLS]prozerran claims yet another expansion and now owns over half of the map.

Heartcutter retreats his command center, and it runs right into a large force of Mark4 goons, attack moving south to the six plateau yet again. Heartcutter loses his command center, but the SCVs have escaped in a harrowing dropship ride. The large force of goons proceeds to wipe out the FLS guardian flock.

Mark4 is determined to use the money coming from his four sites to knock FLS off of the far south plateau, but he doesn't realize that Heartcutter is massing Battlecruisers at his north central island, along with another ready to float command center.

Massive fighting ensues in the south between toss and zerg.

Heartcutter calmly watches more and more re-inforcements flood past his island, when suddenly, a yamato blast destroys a Dark Archon that's moving with the protoss forces.

I am taking a picture of FLS's fortification of the south central island when Mark4 warns Heartcutter to back off.

"Not your business Heart, walk away."

Picture this situation as a street fight for a second. Heartcutter and Mark4 are standing side by side, uneasily, staring down a much larger foe in the form of FLS... Mark4 looks out of the corner of his eye at Heartcutter, and their eyes meet. Heartcutter nods at Mark4, quickly, and Mark4 steps forward past Heartcutter to fight the larger foe...

...and just as the step is taken, Heartcutter swings a full force elbow into the bridge of Mark4's nose.

(Ok, we all know that in real life Mark has hand to hand training and lots of guns, but I was drawing a metaphor.)

Just while some of the hottest Protoss vs Zerg fighting is happening in the south, an entire fleet of Battlecruisers breaks the horizon over Mark4's 12:00 main, which is now lightly defended.

Even though the book of Heartcutter says to deny any Protoss more than two expansions, and more importantly, deny protoss gas, Heartcutter still shocked me with this move. The Terran had the least expansions in the game, and was far behind on minerals and gas. I probably would have let the two larger foes duke it out for a while longer...

...but there was Peon Sanders to avenge.

The funniest part of the Battlecruiser attack is that a Command Center and Dropship of SCVs just followed them right in, landing before the last remnants of blue goon soup had faded away.

This move forced Mark4 to lose control of his Micromanagement in the south, and his attacking army was put down with great effort by FLS, although Mark4 had succeeded in destroying the hatchery and drones before eventually losing this battle. Mark4 had just lost his largest source of income, and he decided to take a more passive role for a while, vowing to have some major impact in the game, if not win completely.

FLS had pushed north, and so had Heartcutter. The imbalance here lies in the map, because there was no north for Mark4 to push towards.

Gimmie That Island:
[FLS]prozerran still has a full half of the map at this point in the game, and by now has teched to defilers and 3/3 hydras and cracklings.

Due to the success of his first push on Heartcutter's other island, FLS tries the same thing on the North Central Island. This time, darkswarm, ensnare, and battlecruisers with yamato are involved.

The zerg actually reached the point of forcing the command center to float away before Heartcutter vaporized the defilers with yamato and, while being repaired by SCVs, destroyed the last remnants of hydras and guardians.

Time to Make Zerg Pay:
During the FLS push on Heart's other island, many battlecruisers had been plagued. Medics had been removing parasites all day, and they also removed the plague while SCVs worked their fusion cutters off repairing the fleet.

Heartcutter had been increasing his number of barracks at home, and upgrading all around. To buy his fleet some repair time, several squadrons of marines and medics marched towards the hotly contested 6:00 main.

FLS is not your typical zerg no-micro player though, and Heartcutter had to wade through lurkers, darkswarm, hydras and cracklings, along with ensnare to counteract the effects of stim. FLS lost his 6:00 natural, and over the span of about five minutes, FLS slowly fought the fearsome infantry to a halt on his plateau.

Many, many marines died that day, but more and more were enlisted. The attack had allowed the Battlecruisers to be repaired, but FLS still owned over half the map, and was producing Devourers and Mutas, Hydras and Lings. Some of the cracklings found that their duty was to serve as defiler lunch...

The minimap shows another long line of marines moving out. Not the 6:00 site again? Well, sortof. Heartcutter split off into 3 attacking groups of marines and medics. Some went to 6:00, some went to the natural expansion at the zerg main, and some attacked a newly formed gas expansion at the foot of the south central island.

The key point here is that all of these attacks were diversions for the real attack, which came from a fleet of battlecruisers onto the neglected, south-central, island infestation.

FLS had lost a key point of income, because he had already mined out three other sites. Heartcutter subsequently attempted to expand back to that island, but was driven off by Devourers and Plague. FLS scored another key victory when Heartcutter sent a pack of firebats to attack through the dark swarms, and a flock of Mutalisks descended on the Bats and annihilated them...

...wait though... what's this? A huge army of zealots tears into the Terran forces at 12:00. They keep hitting that tower, and nothing is happening... WTF? Oh yeah, the spell that time forgot... Hallucination. Never forget about Mark4, sitting, waiting. Still the small Terran defense is distracted enough to lose the expansion to a small hydra drop from the east. Heartcutter shrugs off this loss though, because the minerals were nearly gone and he managed to float the command center out of danger.

Luckless SCVs are assigned again to clean off the dripping hulls of Battlecruisers. Heartcutter has managed to keep a fair amount of the monsters alive.

At this point, I have taken 100 screen captures, and the game is over an hour long. I ask to pause the game so that I can take more pictures, and the contestants graciously allow me this indiscretion.

Heartcutter makes another push towards the south central island, and this time, takes control through use of Yamato and dropshipped infantry. It looks as though Heartcutter might be able to make a comeback against FLS at this point, but things are still pretty even, and FLS has been using his spellcasters superbly.

Never Forget Mark4!:
Mark4 strikes me as a man who keeps his promises, and in the beginning of the game, he promised that FLS was dead.

The cunning, but crippled Protoss commander had been actively scouting the map with hallucinations, and realized that FLS had nydused most of the defense forces away from the southern main in an attempt to save the zerg island.

A five shot, (double that?) reaver was cocked and loaded into a shuttle, and pointed at the 6:00 expansion. FLS never thought that the attack warnings that he was receiving were eminating from anywhere else but his island, and the he lost all of the drones and the nydus at 6:00 to The Little Reaver that Could...

The Bloodiest Battle:
By the time FLS noticed a long line of marines, firebats and medics approaching 6:00, and then he noticed to his dismay that his drones and nydus were gone, it was too late.

FLS was going to have to walk or drop his forces at six and hope for the best. The battle that ensued was the best of the game. Both commanders microed their troops into and out of the path of dark swarms... marines and firebats stimmed... queens ensnared... and the ground was thick with blood.

Without the benefit of the nydus canal, and the added benefit of drones that could have made sunkens during the fighting, FLS lost the 6:00 and the 6:00 natural to Heartcutter, who promptly defended them. I didn't use pictures of this battle because most of what you can see is orange cloud, due to all the swarm.

End Game:
A few minutes of restful silence passed, during which time, Heartcutter increased production at the last three sites that had any respectable amount of minerals. Defenses were put into place at the southern main and natural, and large amounts of infantry were built.

I would have to guess that it was about 48 to 60 marines, medics and firebats that sliced through FLS's natural and main base in less than a minute.

FLS was down to five hydras, two defilers, two empty bases and no minerals.

Mark4 became concerned that he was going to be late for the Feared Tournemant, and implored Heartcutter to attack him now or save the game.

Although Mark4 had a solid defence of spellcasters, Heartcutter tankpushed through Mark4's natural with about a dozen losses to well placed storms. Three cannons covered Mark4's choke, a handful of zealots held ready for the final battle, another handful of templar sat ready, and three dark archons sat waiting for something to mind control. The reaver and shuttle had been yamatoed out of the sky, and were no longer a factor.

Mark4 ran out of time, and asked that the game be saved. The rest of us were reluctant, knowing that the game was only minutes from being over. I put together a screenshot of some of the tank push into Mark4's main.

Heartcutter had about 40 or so infantry that I could count, existing on the map, five bunkers, towers and three tanks at Mark4's doorstep... Heartcutter admitted to having 2,000/2,000 in the bank, and I estimated that he could have mined another 4,000 minerals or so. Heartcutter additionally had five battlecruisers and I believe a science vessel. Several days passed, and the players were not able to meet for the final five minutes. This attempt was made out of respect to Mark4 not wanting to give up.

FLS will be gone for a month after tomorrow, so something had to be decided by the observer, me... After final review of the screenshots, and e-mails to all parties involved. It is clear that no amount of micromanaging templar or archons would have prevented Heartcutter from taking the last of the enemy real estate off of the map in painful, but short order.

The winner of round one: HEARTCUTTER'S TERRAN!

Lessons Learned:
A - These players are very good.
B - Attacking too far from home in a Free For All is asking for trouble.
C - When using zerg vs Heartcutter, use spellcasters. I truely believe that if Mark4 reaver drops Heartcutter's infantry somewhere, instead of FLS's nydus and drones, [FLS]prozerran could be the winner.
D - Putting this together was alot harder than my usual reports... round two won't be for at least a month when FLS returns.

Watch the MiniMap Battle:
Here is an animated GIF of the minimap of every OTHER picture that I took. Remember, Mark4=Purple, FLS=Brown, and Heartcutter=Yellow.

Watch several times, and try focusing on one color at a time... you'll get a very good idea of the positioning and attacks during the game.

I want to take a second to thank the players involved for providing a great game and being great sports. Remember, I am not trying to prove who is the best player or which is the best race. Free for alls are tricky at best. Please enjoy this for what it was meant to be, an entertaining battle for an entertaining report. Thank you.,
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