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Ladder Game Reviews: 8/15/2019 21:23:20

Level 62
Title : When picking the FTB is mandatory
This is a LadderGame against Jimmy, a high ranked ladder participant. In this post, I am going to share my thoughts when approaching typical ladder games like this.
Link: https://www.warzone.com/MultiPlayer?GameID=18487129

First, it might be a good idea to identify unpickable places first. Let's have a look at the board.

In the present case, North-, Central- and South-America are completely blocked by wastelands and wont play a major role anymore.
Thus, one can expect that the game will be concentrated in Europe, Asia and Africa. When such a huge area like the Americas is ruled out, one can also be sure to have immediate enemy contact and that there is no room for slow expansion in big bonuses like China. This makes the first turn bonus (FTB) in Antarctica even more attractive. Actually it would be very dangerous to ignore this FTB.

Thus, it is clear that two picks must be spent in SouthPole and Tasmania. Next, as you expect yourself or the enemy in Antarctica , Africa isn't the safest spot anymore. Also, going for the FTB requires fast income alternatives as the chances of finally getting the FTB are low. Here, a fast income alternative could be the double pick in Scandinavia. Suppose you get only one pick of the FTB, you could already threaten you enemy in turn 2 and simulataneously secure an easy income in Scandinavia.
Moreover, you have some nice options in the ongoing game: Safe expansion in Greenland, easy and fast access to Russia and finally Asia... so it could be worth a try. The only problem might be Europe though as it could counter Scandinavia in 2 turns. However, this is quite uncommon.

The conclusion was clear:
Then enemy shall not get the FTB, the enemy shall not be left alone with a double pick in Scandinavia. Simply picking Scandinavia with your 3rd, 4th and 5th pick wouldn't do the trick though. You might easily end up in getting the double pick in Scandinavia yourself. What, the problem is? In that situation the counter possibility of Europe. Earlier I mentioned the Europe counter would be unlikely. It is expansive (you need to conquer 2 territories) and you basically abstain from a bonus yourself. But, with respect to this board distribution, where there are so few alternatives, this counter would pay off.

Placing the third pick in the left over area of South-Asia, in the middle and choosing your 4th, 5th and 6th pick in Scandinavia would make things much more secure for you. Of course it can still happen that the enemy does the same and you end up with a double pick in Scandinavia, but then you know to be careful about a possible Europe counter.

So, my picks were clear. Commit

And see what happened. I didnt get my first pick, so Jimmy likely headed for the FTB as expected. I got my 3rd pick in Asia and much to my positive surprise, ended up with my 6th pick in Europe as Jimmy indeed chose the double pick Scandinavia option. Nonetheless, I am not sure whether he suspects me in Europe now. Basically he has two options at this point:
Approaching me in Australia (because he thinks he has an easy bonus income in Scandinavia) OR being over careful in Scandinavia because of that counter option. This is exactly the situation were I open a new variant in LadderBud, playing through both options.

OptionA: He threatens me in Australia
For the reasons mentioned above, this is very likely. And if he does, I get a problem: I need 5 armies to secure a bonus myself in Asia and I need at least 3 more armies for the Scandinavia counter, leaving me only 2 armies to defend my position. Moreover, I know he has first turn in turn 2. Therefore I have to move my armies in Australia to minimize the risk of getting eliminated.

OptionB: He is over careful and heads for Scandinavia.
This is what I would have done if I got his picks. The game would become difficult then. Anyway, I need to finish the South-Asia bonus and I need to move the armies in Australia to avoid the worst case discussed in OptionA. I could gain a small advantage eventually when I myself enter Southpole the following turn then


As expected, he enters full force (having deployed +5 armies in southpole), meaning that he probably isnt aware of my presence in Europe. He needs 2 armies in Scandinavia but theoretically he could do the job by deploying only 1 additional army as well. However, I expect he does will deploy 2 armies. Still, I want to attack with at least 5 armies in case he smells the rat, which means I have to deploy +4 in Europe. If he goes full force to Sweden, he has done a brilliant job: First distracting me in Southpole and then surprising me with a stack in Sweden, I would probably loose the game in this case. But thats unlikely, so I have 1 army to spare to defend my position in Australia, he has first turn. There is a small probability that he really eliminates me in Australia, but he must suspect that I deploy there, so I can risk to use only 1 army.

Predictions worked perfectly. Now I only have to make sure not to make any stupid mistakes. I could think of blockading, pressuring further into east russia, many options would work as I have the income advantage. I just have to make sure not to get eliminated in Australia and hold my position in Scandinavia. And that's exactly how it ended, Jimmy tried a last desparate counterattack in Scandinavia (what else could he do) and surrenders. No shame, he didn't use LadderBud.
Ladder Game Reviews: 8/15/2019 22:04:44

The Joey
Level 59
I love that you are doing this Malik McJuggle! May I ask what program you are using to create these images?

Edit: I see it is LadderBud, what is LadderBud and how do I get it?

Edit 2: I found your other post! Excellent job Malik, you are amazing. :)

Post: https://www.warzone.com/Forum/382873-ladderbud-improve-game-climb-top
Direct Link to LadderBud: http://www.ladderbud.de/

Edited 8/15/2019 22:28:08
Ladder Game Reviews: 8/16/2019 06:37:22

Timinator • apex 
Level 67
1: Who is Malik? :P

2: This example game is nothing you couldn't have done using your mind. with full intel this is rather simple. taking new zealing was somewhat risky too.
Ladder Game Reviews: 8/16/2019 10:59:14

Level 62
I love the analysis! I think your gameplay was faultless, and I've no complaints about your picks either.

The only thing I disagree with is that picking options were limited. Here were some other possibilities:

- A big factor in deciding whether or not to go for an FTB is whether the second bonus can be completed. If there are other opportunities for 11 or 12 income after Turn 2 which allow you to spoil that second bonus Turn 3, they need to be evaluated. Here, I would have at least looked at 1) W Russia 2) Scan 3) Ant 4) Aus 5) SE Asia (or Indonesia).

- You mention the danger of getting two out of a clustered 3-4-5 (Scan/WR/Europe) but sometimes that can be nice because you lose the fear of being eliminated from one of your starters. Here Scan + Europe would be horrible and WR + Europe would be unpleasant, but 3) WR 4) Scan 5) Central Russia was an option. Even ending up with Scan + CR is okay, because your opponent is unlikely to move to Ufa early.

- Weird but potentially good was 1) SE Asia 2) WR 3) Scan 4) Ant 5) Aus 6) W China. Even if you got your dream result against this pickset - the FTB and the Scandinavia counter - the game would be far from won.

- Another leftfield option was 1) SE Asia 2) Ant 3) Aus 4) W Africa 5) E Africa 6) W China, the idea being to hit S Africa with a large stack Turn 4 if your opponent gets the FTB. (Edit: On second thought, this pickset loses to the first one I mentioned.)

Edited 8/16/2019 11:11:38
Ladder Game Reviews: 8/18/2019 21:45:22

Level 62
I would be quietly confident in saying most top players would arrive at the top 6 picks that you've concluded to. As much as the analysis was perfect, I would be very intrigued to see your thought process for more challenging boards.

It's also worth noting that this game arguably demonstrates how much of a pickfest the 1v1 ladder can be at a high level.

Sometimes it's impossible to win them all unless you have near-perfect luck.
Ladder Game Reviews: 8/18/2019 21:54:08

Level 58
I would be quietly confident in saying most top players would arrive at the top 6 picks that you've concluded to. As much as the analysis was perfect, I would be very intrigued to see your thought process for more challenging boards.

Ehhhhhhh...... I don't believe that to be true.
Ladder Game Reviews: 8/21/2019 09:15:55

NoName 2.1
Level 60
Really thanks!
Ladder Game Reviews: 8/23/2019 17:08:15

Level 59
Excellent forum post, very helpful analysis and exactly what i was looking for. I seemed to have slowed down in my ladder progression. Keep up the good work
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