Wed, 4 August 2010
You goldbricks have it easy these days! Back in my day we didn't have such amazing leadership! If you wanted to be inspired to do better in battle, you had to wait for the angels to belt out a Glorious Anthem or go on a Crusade! That's not even military! Back then, the army was more of a militia, real men working to keep back the goblin horde or fend off those prissy little elvish buggers. We used whatever we could find on our way to each hard-fought victory.
And then came the Onslaught. By the gods those were great days. The first of the Daru Warchiefs stepped up then, infusing all of us soldiers with a sort of holy strength. There were Mobilizations going on all over the place, keeping us ever vigilant and increasing our numbers. The Aven Brigadier took command, but he was partial to his fellow Aven. The really great thing was the formation of the Catapult Squads under the Catapult Masters. They were able to take out enemies at extreme long range, removing threats before they were close enough to hurt us.
Other places had other attempts at military organization as well. Over on Mirrodin, the Auriok Steelshapers could outfit their armies with better equipment, but without the better equipment he was basically useless. In the time of the Coldsnap, after the great Ice Age, the Field Marshals taught combat tactics, allowing their soldiers to take out their enemies before taking a single hit. During the chaos of the Time Spiral, Benalish Commanders stuck in time somehow managed to call in more recruits. They didn't so much make their troops better as much as they used those troops to make themselves better, but they were still effective leaders.
Then came what's now known as the M10 Age. Rhox Pikemasters came up from the southern regions to share their skill with the long-handled blade. Veteran Armorsmiths and Swordsmiths offered us tempered steel to strengthen our armor plates and sharpen our dulled blades. But then came the saving grace for soldiers everywhere. The Watch. More specifically, the Captain of the Watch. The one I met was a woman, but don't let that fool you. Everywhere she went, she was accompanied by her three-man retinue of guards. Without her, they were pretty useless except to help out the Catapult Squads, but when they were by her side, they were vicious. In fact, all of us felt more powerful by her side. We never feared a counterattack, because not only did she see everything on the battlefield, but she somehow made us see it all too, keeping us ever vigilant.
But you maggots didn't come here for a history lesson, did you? No, you wanted to fight! Some of you might think you're tough, and some of you might actually be tough. Some of you just joined so you could stab goblins without getting in trouble! But you're not all going to make it! To give you a taste of the trials to come, you're going to sit in as the higher-ups take our best unit, Sgt. Chewie's Howling Commandos, and make some improvements! Let's take a look at the unit as it stands now before anyone gets cut:
Sgt. Chewie's Howling Commandos
As you can see if you've got any sort of strategic mind at all, this is a well-oiled combat machine. The Commandos have Captains of the Watch, Daru Warchiefs, and even a Field Marshal to make them all more effective fighters. There's even a highly experienced Frontline Strategist, who can turn even the most terrible battle into an amazing rout.
They are fully capable of calling in reinforcements of any sort for any reason. Knight-captains have a small retinue of soldiers, Stormfront Riders drop off a soldier every time they blink out existence, and Benalish Commanders can reach through time to recruit. If Kithkin are needed, the Patrol Signalers can bring in more, or we can rely on the Cenn's Enlistment procedures. Darien, King of Kjeldor has his own army that he is more than willing to send in for assistance. And if all else fails, there's the old standby of calling for a Mobilization of the troops.
But the real stars of this unit are the Catapult Squads and their Masters. The sheer number of reinforcements leads to a veritable barrage of catapult fire for any potential attackers. The Patrol Signalers can also help out here, lending a hand to the Catapult Squad and then signaling for more troops. There's even a Gustcloak Savior attached to the unit, specifically for helping the troops draw an enemy into range, vanish (leaving the enemy in the open and confused), and man the catapults to knock it down. The troops are capable of staging a Unified Strike to take down attacking enemies, using the unique Prismatic Strands to protect themselves, project a Roar of the Kha to give them more strength and abilities, and even utilize a Spirit Loop to keep themselves in the battle.
But an army that doesn't change is an army that doesn't win! We can't just stagnate! Our enemies are constantly trying to adapt to our tactics, so we should change those tactics to further thwart them! Let's see what the brass has in store! That's our Field Marshal talking now, and the Frontline Strategist is across from him.
"We need to take the Nomads' Assembly into consideration! Those Kor are highly skilled and vicious in battle. They have agreed to match the number of troops on the battlefield, and there are always two waves of the assembly! And while we're discussing the Kor, don't forget the recently signed Conqueror's Pledge, which guarantees us at least a small number of Kor soldiers!"
"Personally, I think we have too many of those Knight-Captains of Eos. The third one that came in a while back just isn't pulling his weight with the other two already there. I think he should be transferred to a new unit where his skills can actually be put to use."
"And if you'll notice, that so-called Intrepid Hero has been less than spectacular. He shouldn't even be a soldier, but more of a lone warrior type of thing, since he very rarely works with the rest of the unit anyway. I move to have both him and the extra Knight-Captain stationed at the training facility to share their talents with new recruits. Now, what about tactical changes?"
"I think the use of the Unified Strike is outdated and predictable. Our enemies have come to expect it and can use it against us. Perhaps if we want to remove enemy threats we should move towards using the latest magical technology of Oblivion Rings. They're able to handle more diverse threats and can take out those powerful Planeswalkers we've encountered from time to time."
"I see your point, but surely having more troops at our disposal makes the Unified Strike more effective. I don't think we should abandon it so easily. Perhaps if we instruct the troops to use the O-Rings for a while and see how they fare compared to the tried-and-true Strike, we can get a better idea of which is more effective and adapt our strategies accordingly."
"No, the Unified Strike is still a very narrow tactic that only works in certain situations, while there is always a use for a well-timed Oblivion Ring. Just because we can pull off a Unified Strike more easily does not change the fact that it just isn't versatile. Let's switch over to the O-Rings, and if by some miracle a Strike would be a better tactic, we'll revise later. Now, I have this piece of equipment recently recovered from some ruins in Zendikar. As far as we can tell, it's a Basilisk Collar, which increases both the life expectancy and deadliness of the wearer. I think we should integrate this with the use of the Spirit Loop to study the effects. How about splitting the use of both right down the middle?"
"Agreed. It performs the same function and adds something extra without losing any real value, so let's do it. I also think that, since his passing, using the Roar of the Kha is having the opposite effect on the troops. And since it's not as effective as we'd like, I suggest we just stop using it. If such a time comes that we feel like we need it again, we can always reintegrate it. Is that good enough for now?"
"I think it is. Let's hit the mess tent. Let's remind the new recruits here about the full changes made to the unit before we eat."
+1 Nomad's Assembly
+1 Conqueror's Pledge
-1 Intrepid Hero
-1 Knight-Captain of Eos
-2 Unified Strike
+2 Oblivion Ring
-1 Spirit Loop
+1 Basilisk Collar
-2 Roar of the Kha
Sgt. Chewie's Howling Commandos
There you have it, maggots! I hope you took something from this little discussion! If you didn't, then you're not gonna last long here in the Dominarian Armed Forces! You should have figured out some strategy! They found an artifact that does everything one of the standard issue enchantments can do and then some, so they're going to integrate it into battle. If there's a gain in abilities without a loss somewhere else, and cost isn't an issue, then that's a fine strategic move. Also, even though there will be more soldiers available to perform a Unified Strike, a narrow maneuver is still a narrow maneuver no matter how easy it might be to pull off. If an Oblivion Ring is more useful on a broad scale, then that's what should be used. And finally, men and even tactics that aren't pulling their weight or aren't as useful as hoped for should be dismissed! If having the third Knight-Captain of Eos in the unit is a waste of resources then let's shuffle him off to a place where he can serve the most good.
And that's just what we'll do with any of you maggots that prove to be a waste of space! Lesson over, now drop and give me twenty!
Category:60 Card Challenge -- posted at: 10:44am EST