Sunday, November 20, 2011

Late Heavy Bombardment: Endgame

My excommunication starts with a bang. Someone Loots 8 cards from my Vaults. Primate of Carceri launches a demand at Pele, while Pele demands on Gaffer and me simultaneously. Even though I'm excommunicated, my turn log gives me the option to concede to Pele's demand. I start up Strategic Deception to hide my legions and target Primate's 2 legions with a PCB ritual each.

I've used Dimensional Gate to position my (Infernal Juggernauted) Gorgons within range of both Pele's and Purcarp's strongholds. They both go before me, and I want to maximize my chances of killing someone this turn and reducing the field of opponents. Purcarp has a legion he could interpose, so I march instead towards Pele's stronghold in phase 1. I launch a Planar Lock at Purcarp as a consolation prize. I don't think it was a bad plan in itself, but someone opened a new fissure in Hell to kill my Gorgons and Purcarp's legion on phase 1. This really amuses me, because they're still acting against each other. They don't realize that they'll have to work together to stop me.

I get a deluge of Corruption of Essence coming my way. They interrupt one of my PCB's and my ongoing Strategic Deception. I never get a good chance to restart it. I think CE probably is the most convenient and efficient way to hurt a rival, but it's got the restriction common to all destruction rituals: it can only be used in vendetta, against an excomm, or with ritual masking. I still manage to PCB one of Primate's legions, so I do the Infernal Juggernaut and Dimensional Gate combination again, targeting a canton that did not recently open up in a fissure, which is also within range of Pele's and Purcarp's strongholds. By placing my legions in positions that threaten multiple rivals existence, I make it that much harder to guess my immediate intentions. I target two more legions with PCB.

I get Looted and the CE's continue, this time interrupting my Gate, but not my Juggernaut. The successful Juggernaut contributes to my newly stolen Stygian Guard surviving three Afflictions thrown its way. My PCB's both succeed. I Juggernaut another new legion and march the Stygian Guard towards Dorobou's stronghold, lacking the resources to Gate them. They'll get there soon enough on foot.

The ritual hate keeps coming, but it hardly matters now. I get hit with a "successful" CE that does nothing, because I have no resources left to destroy. The constant barrage does dissuade me from trying to restart Strategic Deception, so that's something. Dorobou and Primate of Carceri get into a vendetta, and I believe its sole purpose is to allow Primate passage through Dorobou's territory to get at me. The joke's on them, as I'll kill Dorobou this turn anyway, and all of his territory will go neutral. I continue demanding resources regularly and using my income as much as possible each turn, since CE makes it silly to try saving up. I continue Juggernauting my legions as I steal them.

The conclave tokes are piling up. We're at 13/15 and I haven't captured Pandemonium or killed anyone yet. I have to get down to business. On turn 45, I've killed Dorobou. I have 4 Juggernauted legions and 4 enemies. Sowing Confusion is attempted on me, but fails. The Looting continues while I'm granted a brief reprieve from CE, but since I'm still anticipating it, I didn't even try any rituals. I start up a Planar Lock on Pele now. Maybe they've all spent their stockpiles and can't afford to CE me so much any more. I continue marching and Gating around to try to kill them. I go a turn without demanding resources, as I have several powerful legions and I can keep using my orders to move them without having to pay anything.

On turn 46, two of the worst possible events (for me) happen. Back Room Dealing brings us up to 14/15 tokens, threatening to end the game abruptly in a prestige victory for someone else. Simultaneously, the Infernal Monsoons begin, significantly frustrating my plans to march around capturing strongholds. By sheer dumb luck, I have a Juggernauted legion adjacent to Pandemonium. It just captured Purcarp's stronghold and happened to pop out in the one canton that allows it to march on Pandemonium immediately, even with the monsoons. I have to do it, or I run the risk of the 15th token ending the game. I can't even do it on phase 1, as I need to create a combat card for my legion first. Fortunately, I can also kill another rival this turn, to reduce the head count further. The monsoons incidentally benefit me, because no legion is close enough to my stronghold to threaten it at a movement rate of one canton per turn. And my Dimensional Gate is now even more valuable.

I get Pandemonium and use my Juggernauts to kill more rivals, but IJ has a downside. Eventually, all of my legions are exhausted and I still haven't killed Gaffer. I throw as much Infernal Affliction at his legion as I can and Planar Lock him, as I only have to hold Pandemonium to win. If I can neutralize him as a threat, that's as good as killing him. After I kill his legion, I switch to spamming Looting the Vaults and Dark Augury on him. My first DA reveals his stats, and having seen them, I do not believe he can stop me. He concedes the game to me.

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