Part 190: Hinnom - Mictlan Post-Mortem
Mictlan hasn't died quite yet, but I don't think I'm spoiling much when I tell you Incy is on the way out. In the interest of letting Schneeble catch up and giving you something to read EVERY DAY THIS WEEK (not counting days I haven't posted), here is my Mictlan retrospective.
It's pretty clear from the first forty or fifty turns why Lilli is universally considered one of the top players. Almost everything she does can be used as a model for new or middling players, from build to scripting to diplomacy and her skill is universally admired among the more experienced players as well. That said, she makes a few mistakes (I'm sure she'll be along to defend them shortly) and I'll spend the majority of my time talking about those. The first is burning out on dom3. The others I will discuss below.
I don't have much to say about Lilli's build other than it's obvious she read a REALLY GOOD guide. I love the pretender and bless choice although my preference is for an imprisoned pretender and more luck scales. That said, I also recognize that luck scales just aren't an efficient use of your build points (but I love them anyway) and Lilli certainly used well when he woke up on turn 12.
Lilli's expansion was a bit lackluster initially but it was probably good for her as it meant she could get bogged down in a war with Arcoscephale
She got very lucky in getting the King of Legends at all, let alone so early, and finding Circle Masters was also a huge stroke of luck.
Lilli did a great job overtaxing and patrolling as well, recognizing that money now is better than money later and, just as importantly, actually doing something about it.
Lilli's war Arcoscephale was masterfully fought. Even TheDemon squealed with delight and clapped like a small child when she used magic duel and shapeshifting mechanics to kill Rainbow Dash with Thanksgiving dinner.
After rolling over Arcoscephale with the Zmeywaffe, she used them to similar effect against T'ien Ch'i. An interesting note here is that just with The Biggest Poppa spamming enslave mind, Feinne/T'ien Ch'i could have stolen a majority of the Zmeywaffe, but instead Feinne just caved and Lilli rolled. What's interesting about that is Lilli did a great job exploiting the mental state of her opponents and then also ended up being super aggressive with the Zmeywaffe with me.
One of the most important things is to figure out when you have the edge and then to push until the opponent collapses. Lilli did a fantastic job with that, recognizing that Dexanth and Feinne both totally melted down and gave up and just unapologetically taking all their stuff.
So I mentioned that I thought Lilli's first mistake was burning out. The second was letting Dexanth live and going to fight Feinne (and then me). I know Lilli and I disagree on this point and frankly the burnout means she would have lost regardless, but I think for her the winning move was to kill Arco and then consolidate and set up a truly frightening blood economy. I'd made clear I wanted to kill TC and if you've been following along you'll probably agree that it's in my nature to make stupid attacks and then get a bit bogged down fighting.
Mictlan is able to set up a truly absurd blood economy, and I think Lilli could have easily been bringing in 250-350+ slaves a turn. Then she could have used the existence of my construction site to get an alliance together against me (or at the very least to stop folks from attacking her while she continued to just roll in the blood slaves). Lilli will say that I had a blood site too but it is important that you remember that I didn't know about it, wasn't searching blood and wasn't researching blood at all until she found it for me.
Then there would have been the question of who gets the construction site, but frankly once Lilli is at that question she's a great deal further along toward winning than she is as the big-bad everyone gangs up on.
Lilli's first and second mistakes combine and when I don't roll over and die for her Zmeywaffe, she quits. There are a number of smaller mistakes she makes in the few turns she's fighting me, but based on her prior absolutely ruining everyone's shit they can easily be chalked up to burnout.
When Incy took over he was at war with the other three big powers, the Zmeywaffe was scattered and Mictlan was teetering on the edge of oblivion. He did a great job with what he had, but in the end a prior diplomatic agreement did him in and there was nothing he could do about that. The war against Mictlan is a great example of just how impossible it is to fight three decent players at once.
Like everything else, Lilli is great at diplomacy. Early on, she secured the good will of the neighbors she wasn't fighting, continuously bolstered TheDemon's efforts against me in part by way of some lucrative trading with him (for example, for hammers and D gems to make mentors with her circle masters). She was done in a bit by Feinne's waffling loyalties, but otherwise, like everything else her early and mid-game diplomacy could easily serve as a dom3 how-to guide.
Where she really faltered a bit (and perhaps I should give myself some credit for this) is in arranging an alliance against me as soon as she saw I had a construction site. At the very least she could have promised Pan the construction site to kill me. Instead she ended up in a her vs the world situation which she wasn't prepared to win. That said, it's difficult to say how much of this is a diplomatic failure and how much is burnout.
Incy did an absolutely great job with diplomacy. He went from a 3v1 pile on to a simmering detente and managed to keep the spoils of Arco to boot. Using only diplo, he managed to turn what was a losing position into a potentially winning position. Unfortunately for him, it was too little too late and he wasn't ultimately able to stop the inevitable 3v1. He did, however, manage to go out in a blaze of glory.
Lilli is one of the very best players on SA. There are no weaknesses in her game. She's truly excellent early, middle and late, big picture and small, mechanics and diplomacy. To the extent there's a weakness (there isn't), it's a tendency to want to just smash everything with her pixelmans in one grand fling rather than grinding out wins. Her one really big mistake here was burning out on Dom3, and given the insanity that is an all-vet game with gemgens, you can hardly blame her. Oh, and also attacking me by herself.