About the Maps!
Special - Heavy Chain
Overall, there is not too much to say about this map itself. The important "unavoidable" areas start as multi-element while the territories near the towers have high value. There are no particularly special masses, with no magical squares, towers, or gems.
That said, the Special for these weeks is "No Fire or Earth creatures", so I guess the excitement(?) comes from there.
Ranking - Odd Circle
A one-way map like the previous Ranking's map, though with 6 territories for each element, it is somewhat bigger. That said, as a one-way map, all of the usual one-way map rules go. It is easy to land on enemy territory, Holy Word can be inescapable, and such. On top of that, there is a Tower on this map, meaning it only takes one Magical Leap to be able to attack any territory. Because of these reasons, Urchin and Slug are not as impervious compared to other maps. Also, if you ever run out of items........
-Special (3 Players, Heavy Chain)
Me: Neutral Book
Opponent 1: Neutral Book
Opponent 2: Water + Wind Book
While the special condition is interesting, it also sets the Meta REALLLL obvious. That's my only problem.
For instance, you know that there are only three elements, Water, Wind, and Neutral.
- Burning Hail - Extremely effective, for obvious reasons
- Elemental Wrath - For people that use Neutral to escape Burning Hail
- Mass Phantasm - Vs. Burning Hail and Elemental Wrath
- Banishing Ray - Same reason as Elemental Wrath
- Turn to the Wall - Vs. creatures like Aqua Duke that cannot be damaged by Spells, vs. Armored Dragon
- Saint - Vs. Neutral
And behold, one opponent was Water + Wind, and the other was another Neutral... and he had Turn to the Wall, Burning Hail, and Saint too.
All in all, Opponent 1 and my Burning Hail only really ended up slowing down Opponent 2's initial progress. After using Burning Hail up (it is a pain trying to keep multiple copies in the hand constantly), he was pretty free to do what he wanted. Because he was loaded with defensive items, his territories weren't really compromised afterwards. I did Metamorphosis his Warlock Disk though, because it negates Borgess.
As for Opponent 1, he did not really end up invading that much either, if I recall correctly. The main reason is that Borgess + Items made it hard or impossible to defeat my Creatures, and Storm Shield protected Opponent 2. Compared to my Book, his seemed to have a focus on Support Creatures like Bandit and Nil-Vana. He also drew a Saint, which worried me, but before he was able to use it, I drew Squeeze and was able to destroy it. On the other hand, I ended up placing two Saints on the map, which he could not really do anything about. He did eventually draw Burning Heart though, which could take out Saint... though he would also lose a Creature.
I did let him use a couple of Turn to the Walls at the beginning, but once he started saving them up, I Metamorphosis-ed it so Decoy and Saint would not be petrified.
As for me, I was not able to invade with any Creatures other than Saint either, for the same reasons as Opponent 1. Because of Opponent 2's Gremlin's Eye, I could not use Angry Mask to take out a neighboring Level 5, but thanks to the delay he suffered from Burning Hail, I was simply able to reach the Goal quicker than him with 4 Wind territories with one Borgess and one Halfling as Level 5.
-Ranking (4 Players, Odd Circle)
Me: Curse + Dark World Water Book
Opponent 1: Water Book
Opponent 2: Assemble Cards Book
Opponent 3: Neutral Book
My Book simply involves using Peace and Metal Form to make my Creatures as impervious to battles as possible, as this map's one-way path and Tower makes it easy to get invaded. While Peace can't take tolls, I did not want to use Energy Field, because it can get abused by the opponent early on. Dark World further makes it difficult to remove the curses, though I felt that there weren't many people that used negative curses on this type of map anyways. Since I rely mainly on the curses to handle combat, I only have a few items, Angry Mask and Gremlin's Eye. Armor doesn't work with Metal Form, so those aren't really options. Gremlin's Eye can handle Napalm Arrow and Murasame and most Scrolls that get pass Metal Form, Angry Mask is one of my few offensive options and can allow a MHP40 to survive a boosted Spark Ball.
Oh, and Ghost Ship really is useful.
Opponent 2 was an Assemble Book, but he severely lacked offensive options. It looks like he tried to focus on using the Creatures that do not Down, such as Nimbus, Bird Maiden, and Pixie, but because of that, he did not really have anything that could invade a decent territory. On top of that, he did not have impressionable offensive weapons. He used Assemble Card in what may be considered the right way, using it mainly to draw and with the +500G as the side-effect, but he never recovered after landing on a Level 4 Rock Titan (yes, he could not deal out 70 damage), even though he later pulled off Assemble Card and built a last-ditch effort Level 4.
Opponent 3 is probably the only one that had invasive power. Sky Gear, Rock Titan, Vorpal Sword, Aura Strike.
Opponent 1 had the best luck out of all of us and was poised to win, as he took control over most of the Water territories. Along with Breeze Spirit's help, I believe he at one point had a 4 Chain for Water territories?
But me? 2 Chain for Wind, 2 Chain for Water, 1 Chain for Fire, 1 Chain for Earth. Terrible. Thankfully, I did not intend to let normal attacks hit my creatures, so I technically did not need to focus on Chaining Water to win.
However, two luck-based events and 1 good play from me allowed me to win.
- Player 3 landed on my Chain 1 Level 4 territory and could not defeat it because I had Gremlin's Eye. This was originally his territory, which was Rock Titan (not sure why he leveled that up), but by a playing error from Opponent 1, Opponent 1 suicide-killed Rock Titan with Scolopendra, allowing my neighboring creature to move right on it. Opponent 1 placed Deep-Sea Dragon next to it, preparing to attack, but I was able to switch it to Gluey Slug.
- Player 1 landed on my Level 4 Gelatinous Wall... which was on a Wind territory. But because of Metal Form, nothing could be done about it. This happened on the same turn as the above, which surprised me. That said, because of my lack of Chains, it still took me a few turns to get my Gain past the Goal.
- I used Peace on one of Opponent 1's territories in front of me. Thanks to Scylla in my hand, I didn't really need to, but Opponent 2 actually then landed on that territory I casted Peace on. If Opponent 1 got the toll from that Level 5, he would have won his next turn. Sometimes, you need to "help" your opponent to make sure he doesn't help another opponent win.
Erosion generally is awesome, though quite a bit more picky than a simple Shatter or Squeeze. I rarely, if ever, see others using it.
-Ranking (4 Players, Odd Circle)
Me: Tiny Army Gremlin Book
Opponent 1: Gremlin Book
Opponent 2: Earth Book
Opponent 3: Mirror World Water + Wind Book
I wanted to use Gremlin + Mirror Hoplon. And Gremlin has MHP30, so I decided to also use other MHP30 Wind creatures (Nightmare, Caladrius, Sylph, etc) and stuffed in a couple of Tiny Armies.
And what do you know, Opponent 1 had generally the same Book concept. Though he didn't do Tiny Army. Instead, it looked like he also tried using Samhain in the same Book, though I feel that is a bit too ambitious. He also had Turn to the Wall + Battering Ram.
Opponent 2 has a general Earth Book. Not much to say, though the Vortex he used was a powerful protection under Mirror World.
Opponent 3 has Mirror World and Shapeshifter, aside from normal Water + Wind stuff. Mirror World definitely made a whole mess of the field, but he had no way of getting rid of Vortex, meaning Opponent 1 was able to level up pretty safely. He also ended up last, with one reason I think is because he was too aggressive early on. He easily used his items to take my level 1 Wind territories, even casting Vortex and invading. After he ran out of items, he started losing those territories. In the late game, his only high-level territory was taken out by Turn to the Wall + Battering Ram, which the items he finally drew could not protect from.
In the end, it became a showdown between Me and Opponent 2.
Opponent 1 did some bothersome invasions, but he was not really able to create high-level territories. The only one he did create was Gremlin, which got killed by Mirror World. He was able to take Opponent 3's Level 5 though. Also, near the end, it looked like he did not want to affect the match much anymore, because he could not win anyways? He could have paralyzed my Living Glove with Nike, which would then be killed by Opponent 3's neighboring Harlequin, though he didn't.
Opponent 3, as I said, seemed to have been too aggressive too early. His method of taking territories was also negated by Vortex as well as simply not working because all of the creatures at that point were the only ones on the map.
I was actually only able to catch up to Opponent 2 thanks to Tiny Army. I had to do a lot of manual territory element changes in the Water territory zone, since I was pushed out of the Wind ones early.
At the end, Opponent 2 had enough Gain to win, so I had Gremlin + Angry Mask take a Level 1 territory from him, dropping him below the Goal point. On hindsight, he rolled a really small number and could not reach the Tower anyways, so I should have leveled up to reach the Goal mark. At this point, I had two Towers left to pass before completing a Lap, but lacked the Gain to win with the sub-bonus from passing one Tower, after all. Though hindsight is hindsight.
Anyways, Opponent 2's slow dice led him to an empty Earth territory, meaning he regained the +1 Chain that I just cut off. The only way to stop him was directly land on his level 1 (Turn to the Wall-ed) Wall of Stone, which would die from Mirror World and cut his Chain again down. So I rolled the dice... and got a huge number, allowing me to pass two Towers and gain the Lap Bonus... And win. I was so focused on stopping Opponent 2, I didn't think about the possibility of rolling a large number and just winning.
Oh, and Nightmare did kinda do something, forcing Opponent 3 to use Burning Heart in order to defend his Typhon from Nightmare + Eagle Rapier.
Also, because there were three players that used Wind, I changed my Sylph to Garuda, which did delay Tiny Army for a bit, but he had 100/100 at the one point Opponent 1 decided to use Nike on him.