Round 86 - The TBA Story

JJbrosandjl

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156
Note: I’ve tried my best to remain as factually accurate as possible. However, if you believe that I’ve made a genuine mistake, please feel free to PM me and I will issue a correction ASAP.

From Humble Beginnings

I made the mistake of asking in a Facebook group chat if anyone was interested in playing in the new round of Bushtarion. Only Mateen and Koeniej responded, but that was enough to set up an initial alliance. A few days into the round, TBA slowly formed by accepting literally any player that applied. No route planning meant we started with four robos, one striker, one SA, one puppet master, one PB, one PoM, one dragon, one vamp, and one generic / intel rusher (Steve_God). Such a late-game focused route setup combined with an average start date of three days into the round meant we were the whipping boys of the flak wars and early game. Defending against PBs with basics was not super fun, as Steve_God’s 30 million hippies were our only line of defense for days. In our darkest moment, LAFiN decided to log in after being zeroed and offline for 28 hours. Our excitement of finally getting LETs was short-lived when LAFiN decided to run his freshly minted automatons into a wall of PBs. He logged off immediately and was not seen for another 28 hours. Thankfully, the abundance of bots meant we were happy to just sit back and take land hits, knowing we could easily steal it back. This was when we decided to officially change our name to “The Bot Assassins.”

After bleeding land for well over a week, we were finally starting to catch up on route techs. We decided to try and launch a group attack on Discworld to get some revenge for our lost acres. On the morning of our planned DW attack, we were ambushed by Late Bloomers. We quickly decided to switch our target to Late Bloomers instead. We sent our SA player on a solo attack. After he drew seven defenders, we launched our main wave. The first two waves were not very successful, but by waves three and four, we were gaining substantial acres. After the fourth wave, we reached an agreement that we would stop hitting them so that we could both join the resistance together against Interlude if something were to happen down the road. A lot of fun was had on both sides, and we remained on good terms with each other. Unfortunately, Late Bloomers never really recovered from this initial war.

Resistance 1.0

On December 14, Stevey from P2W reached out to us about joining the resistance. We were tiny, but of course eager to offer any help we could. One day later, we swapped out Steve_God for Razorwolf. Steve_God hadn’t logged in for a few days, and Razorwolf was a high-ranking solo at the time. It also helped that he was an extremist player with gurus, something that we desperately needed since our only PoM was relatively behind. A few days later, we replaced LAFiN with Vivi. Vivi’s solo triangle had been playing with TBA for around a week at that point. Unfortunately, Vivi’s most active PNAP made the decision to quit the game, which meant Vivi had to find an alliance as soon as possible since most other solos were already taken. Given that Vivi had already been in our discord channel, it seemed natural for him to join us instead of LO (who only had 11 members at the time).

The resistance at this point consisted of P2W, LO, DW, TBA, LB and some solos. Unfortunately, DW continued to hit LB as resistance talks were happening, which ultimately forced them to drop out of the resistance and effectively disband. MBGA was also absent from the resistance because P2W refused to work with MBGA and vice versa, so we were stuck with a band of all the smaller alliances, who didn’t have many troops to begin with. It was around this time when OH issued a declaration of neutrality on discord, stating that they would not hit IL or MBGA in the event of a resistance, as long as IL and MBGA did not hit them. The resistance found themselves in an awkward situation as it meant that none of us would get any protection under this neutrality agreement. Our understanding was that if any of the smaller alliances participated in the resistance, OH would probably retal on behalf of IL. Within five minutes, P2W, LO and TBA quickly decided that we might as well try to eliminate OH instead, while MBGA kept IL busy. If you weren’t with us, you were clearly against us.

An Inconvenient Truce

While our attacks on OH were underway, we got word that MBGA entered into a truce with IL until the following Monday. Apparently, MBGA did it to buy time for key devs (including SAs), but we never really learned why IL agreed to the truce. This was a disaster scenario for the resistance. The rank one alliance (IL) started hitting the rank four alliance (LO). The rank two alliance (MBGA) started hitting the rank five alliance (P2W). The natural progression would mean that the rank three alliance (OH) would probably just hit us, who were sitting in rank six. The situation quickly evolved from a resistance against IL (with a quick detour to kill OH first), to the top three alliances ganging up on the smaller alliances. Up until this point, TBA were happy to just ride on the coattails of the bigger alliances. However, with the resistance clearly at risk and mass incoming from OH likely imminent, I decided to try and step in to do some damage control.

The existing resistance was always going to struggle without MBGA’s involvement. MBGA had the most troops, and without them, the odds of us taking down IL were slim to none. At the time, Jesse from P2W and QS from MBGA refused to work together against IL. With our backs against the wall, I proposed an alternative solution. P2W did not want LO and TBA working together with MBGA but using MBGA’s troops against IL was clearly beneficial for all other alliances involved. I asked P2W for permission to form a new resistance with MBGA (without P2W), but promised that if MGBA ever became rank one, I would honor the original P2W/LO/TBA alliance and 3v1 MBGA. Meanwhile, I spoke to MrSux0rs about OH remaining completely neutral to all parties involved with the resistance, not just the top two alliances. With full neutrality with OH secured, a new resistance consisting of MBGA, LO, TBA and Discworld was formed.

“I’ve Lost Control”

Our plan was to start the resistance as soon as the truce between MBGA and IL expired on Monday, December 20. Oddly enough, on Sunday morning, TBA were inexplicably massed by ten players from DW. I asked Asmo in the resistance Whatsapp channel to ask his alliance members to recall, but unfortunately they never did. It is difficult for us to believe that such a coordinated attack was unsanctioned by their leader, but Asmo’s only explanation to me was that he “lost control.” As this mass attack was a gross violation of the NAP between alliances in the resistance, everyone quickly moved to eliminate DW as fast as they could. OH joined in as well, after they were informed that DW was no longer involved with the resistance. Discworld quickly folded under the combined pressure of both OH and the resistance, and ultimately disbanded later in the round. With Discworld out of the equation, we needed a replacement alliance in the resistance. After discussing at length with both P2W and MBGA, an agreement was reached for P2W to join the resistance as well, provided that Jesse and QS were never in the same Whatsapp channel. With that, the resistance officially kicked off on December 20th with MBGA, LO, P2W and TBA.

Resistance 2.0

The initial waves were planned by splitting up IDs and assigning them to alliances based on their relative size. MBGA took six ids, while the other alliances took three each. Progress was slow and steady with the resistance getting a few land hits per wave, before MBGA lost a huge BR. It appeared that IL’s strategy was to primarily block MBGA while letting the other alliances through. MBGA started picking up on this and urged for a change in strategy. Koeniej from our alliance suggested a new strategy where we paired up alliances for each target. Koeniej and I planned a few waves under this new strategy, and it seemed to work a lot better, with us getting many more land hits per wave.

Image 1.jpg

Unfortunately, this new strategy proved to be too cumbersome for other alliances involved, so we decided to go back to just simply assigning ids. Despite all the complaining from IL, the original goal of the resistance was to stop once IL was similar to MBGA in size. Clearly IL and MBGA had the best chance of winning the round, so it made sense to let those two fight it out for as long as possible. We simply wanted to even the playing field a little bit.
 
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JJbrosandjl

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The OH Backstabs

At one point, representatives from MBGA (primarily Lanky) and LO both approached me and suggested that we should stop the resistance after the next wave. We started having serious discussions about when we should put the resistance on hold so that MBGA and IL could have their 1v1. We decided to launch our next resistance wave but agreed to reevaluate depending on the success of that wave. Little did we know, OH had planned a retal attack on TBA which launched while we were ETA 1. OH decided to break their neutrality agreement and seemingly sided with IL. Given that OH was still the rank three alliance, they had a substantial troop lead over the other alliances in the resistance (excluding MBGA). The combined troop score of IL + OH was actually only 15% lower than the combined troop score of the four resistance alliances, at the moment when OH decided to jump in. Now that OH decided to take sides with the rank one alliance, the resistance had no choice but to target both. Our strategy overall was to leave MBGA alone with IL for a few days while P2W, LO and TBA ganged up on OH. The faster we eliminated OH as a threat, the faster we could go back to resisting IL.

During this time, I reached out to several OH members to try and better understand their perspectives. I had a productive conversation with Glitch_Doctor who insisted that we misinterpreted OH’s initial statement of neutrality and that their intention was to stay out of the resistance politics completely. It sounded like OH jumped in because they were worried that the resistance could continue indefinitely, and felt it was unfair against IL. I assured them that the resistance would find a natural stopping point soon and proposed that if OH stayed out of it until Christmas, that point is likely to come sooner rather than later. We reached a rough mutual understanding that OH would leave the resistance alone until Christmas truce so that we could all focus on IL. Of course, they went back on their word again and decided to hit us when eleven of our players had their troops out, as we were about to enter Christmas truce. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. It was at this point that we decided that OH needed to die at all costs.

To Delete, or Not to Delete, that is the Question

Christmas truce was a much-needed respite for all of TBA’s members. A lot of players started to feel the fatigue from the game, especially those who were involved with resistance planning. I realized that most players who joined TBA did so with the intention of playing FTF and had no interest in sustaining this level of activity. Personally, I had intended to quit before Christmas, as my only goal this round was to participate in a successful resistance. We decided to conduct a poll and see who wanted to go full FTW, who wanted to continue FTF, and who wanted to disband and quit. All options were considered seriously. Elle and Mightypoo were the only two in TBA who wanted to go FTW. There were a few others who were willing to go with the flow, but most were leaning towards either forming a solo chain or quitting altogether. At the same time I was approached by IoF who expressed an interest in joining TBA. I had played with IoF quite a few times and felt that he would be an incredible asset to the alliance. The biggest issue with TBA was that we had a lot of newer players, so every single offensive and defensive maneuver took a lot of time and effort from the organizers. If we were able to bring in someone else who could help organize, especially in the Euro timezone, perhaps we could continue playing FTF without the main organizers burning out.

At this point, I had a rough roadmap of how TBA could ultimately achieve rank one. The plan was to kill OH and IL with the resistance, 3v1 MBGA with LO and P2W, try to kill P2W 1v1, and then fight LO 1v1 for the win. Obviously, a lot had to go right for this plan to work, but the alliance agreed that it was worth a shot. We might as well try our best and see what happens. With IoF joining, we collectively decided to continue playing, but that the organizers would delegate more responsibilities to others in the alliance. So, to the chagrin of my wife (and probably the wives and girlfriends of many others in TBA), we decided to see out the rest round.

Of course, P2W was not happy with IoF joining TBA. Jesse threatened to permanently quit the resistance, despite my assurances that IoF joining us had nothing to do with TBA wanting to backstab P2W (which was 100% true). This was simply a case of two friends wanting to play together again. After much complaining about the IoF situation from both Jesse and QS, we ultimately moved past it and the resistance was able to continue.

Resistance 3.0

Resistance activities resumed after the Christmas break. Shortly after, IL decided to collectively hit sleep mode. Twigley went on the podcast to (unconvincingly) convince others that they were in sleep mode for two weeks. We speculated that IL would only be in sleep for three days or one week, as two weeks seemed unnecessarily long. The resistance alliances agreed that it made sense to wait for IL to exit sleep mode. Fighting each other would just be giving IL what they wanted, especially if they could exit sleep and quickly tip the balance (and likely become the net beneficiaries of any wars to come). LO, P2W and TBA did agree, however, that if we passed the one week mark without IL exiting sleep, it probably gave us enough time to hit MBGA 3v1. Therefore, our strategy was to just delay as long as possible, to see what IL were truly up to.

During the week while IL was in sleep, I started noticing that Jesse and QS seemed to be getting much closer. I was told near the beginning of the round that QS and Jesse would never work together this round, but they were now constantly texting each other and even giving each other boosts and helping each other get land. About five days into IL’s sleep mode, I heard from a source that MBGA was planning an attack on TBA, and that P2W would hit LO at the same time. This was hardly surprising to us, as Jesse had suggested a day earlier that they might end up warring LO 1v1 at some point. Jesse also suggested that they could “pretend” to hit us with MBGA, and then pull at the last second so we could kill MBGA. Both of those statements were pretty big red flags, so I was not surprised to hear that MBGA and P2W were now working together. I alerted Rob of this very credible threat, so both of our alliances decided to fully plant in preparation for this attack.
 

JJbrosandjl

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Jan 1, 2008
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156
The MBGA Sneak Attack

The next morning, Lanky and Loz announced in the resistance channel that MBGA was officially withdrawing from the resistance. A few ticks later, MBGA launched on TBA. Oddly enough, P2W never launched on LO. I heard conflicting accounts on why P2W dropped out of the attack and never figured out the truth. Some speculated that Jesse just wanted to backstab QS and never intended to hit LO in the first place. Others speculated that P2W meant to hit LO, but simply couldn’t get organized in time for the first wave. Given that MBGA’s attack on TBA only lasted for one wave, it’s impossible to tell. Either way, we now suspected that P2W couldn’t be trusted.

When MBGA launched on TBA, I immediately messaged QS to ask him what was going on. He insisted that he had no part in planning the attack, and that he was trying his best to call it off. MBGA decided to stay on one of their reals, and ended up losing 12.5 trillion in exchange for killing only 3.7 trillion. Despite that demoralizing defeat, MBGA still had a substantial troop lead on us, so TBA had absolutely zero interest in participating in any prolonged skirmish, especially with IL still in sleep mode. We were incredibly land fat at the time, so our strategy was to just buy as much time as possible. We managed to convince QS not to send any more attacks on TBA. Thankfully, that seemed to be the right decision in hindsight, as IL players were scheduled to exit sleep the very next day. I am convinced that if MBGA and TBA continued our war, most IL players would not have deleted. While that may have made for a more entertaining round, it certainly was not in the best interest of TBA.

QS told me that he can stop his alliance from attacking me, but that he couldn’t stop them from attacking LO. It was a precarious situation for us. On one hand, we needed to stand by our allies. On the other hand, if we retaliated for LO, we risked dragging MBGA back into a war that we had no interest in joining. Sure enough, MBGA started hitting LO. Our alliance decided to retaliate “without my permission” so that I could have plausible deniability in case anything happened. Surely enough, our attacks on MBGA were enough to get them to recall from LO. QS pranked me on to ask me why we were retaliating for LO, but I just said I had no idea what was going on. We recalled all of our attacks on MBGA (the vast majority of them were fake anyway), and everyone went back to the status quo, waiting for IL to exit sleep.

The next day, we started seeing IL members start to delete their IDs. Before we could even take time to celebrate the resistance’s victory, we realized we unexpectedly became the rank one alliance, as one of MBGA’s striker players had deleted. We were hoping to stay in rank two for at least a few more days, but the extra score from our land grabs from IL were enough to push us into the lead. LO and P2W no longer felt the need to help us attack MBGA, as we were now the biggest alliance by overall score. We were generally happy fighting MBGA 1v1, even with a substantial troop disadvantage, because we were helped by a few factors. First, one of our players had solicited help from a few of the big solos. While the solos generally could not be trusted, we knew that whichever alliance went on the offensive had a huge advantage, because the solos generally liked to attack the alliance on the receiving end of incoming attacks. Second, we got information that six players in MBGA already formed NAP rings with each other, and could end up leaving the alliance. If we attacked and maintained pressure, there was a likelihood that some of the players could end up leaving. We knew that MBGA were too active and had too many troops for us to do substantial damage without taking significant risks. But our goal was to just send waves consistently until either MBGA lost land to solos or some of their players quit.

TBA vs. MBGA

Our first wave on MBGA was only moderately successful, with a few land grabs here and there. During our second attack, MBGA planned a retal that stole more land from us than they lost. At some point during these attacks, QS told me he handed leadership over to Leeroy, which was also confirmed by Leeroy himself. Leeroy was interested in negotiating a ceasefire, so that we could both work together to take down the big solos. I was skeptical about Leeroy, and wasn’t sure that we could trust MBGA. However, I was happy to pretend to negotiate to buy time for my alliance as we continued to plan attacks on MBGA. I simply blamed my alliance mates for wanting revenge, as MBGA had broken our truce a few days earlier. This caused a further rift between QS and Leeroy, since QS blamed Leeroy’s rash actions a few days earlier as the reason for TBA attacking MBGA. At some point, QS decided that he wanted to hit sleep mode. For what it’s worth, I did not believe for a single second that he would actually do it. I was convinced that he was just saying he would hit sleep to buy time for his alliance. I had suggested to him that he should hit sleep and ask one of his alliance members to kick him so that he could get GD after he exited sleep. To everyone’s surprise, that is exactly what he ended up doing.

We launched our fourth wave on MBGA, which was a complete failure. Our planner had failed to take into account ETA modifiers, so the mobs were mismatched all over the place. We decided to issue a mass recall. As we were trying to get organized to resend, someone noticed that a few players had left MBGA. I immediately tried to speak to QS and Lanky to find out what was going on. Apparently, QS hit sleep mode and had pranked Lanky to kick him from the alliance. This caused a chain reaction which led to several MBGA players leaving at the same time. While some point to QS as the sole reason behind MBGA disbanding, I would argue that six players in the alliance having NAP triangles set up well in advance was indicative that those players were likely going to leave at some point anyway. Clearly QS accelerated the process, but he seemed to just be a very convenient scapegoat. Funnily enough, QS’s plan failed because no one ended up kicking him from the alliance when he entered sleep.

The rest of the night was a mad scramble for land. MBGA players hit sleep mode left and right, with all the other alliances jumping in to try and get as much land as possible from them. Around an hour and a half in, QS realized that he was actually able to leave his alliance while in sleep mode and asked if he would be able to join TBA. I want to set the record straight once and for all. QS did not spy for TBA. QS did not join TBA directly from MBGA. QS did not apply to TBA prior to leaving MBGA. None of this was preplanned. Below is a picture of QS’s news page proving that he was able to leave his alliance while nine ticks into sleep mode, which was the first time he ever brought up the possibility of joining TBA.

Image 2.jpg

QS told me that Scorpio had joined P2W, and that others from MBGA would likely follow suit. To be perfectly honest, TBA did not have a spot for QS at the time, nor were we interested in recruiting him as a player. We knew that accepting him would put a huge target on our backs. However, news of Scorpio, the biggest harrier player in the game, joining P2W was extremely concerning to us, given our armor-heavy route setup. Especially if other MBGA players were to join P2W, we would not stand any chance in a prolonged war. QS, as the largest VD player in the game, would provide us with much-needed LET flak for our robos. I asked a few players within the alliance to see if they would be interested in giving up a spot for QS. Elle was the most natural substitute for QS, given she was a thug player and also night cover. None of us wanted Elle to leave, so we all agreed that Elle and QS would swap back prior to the end of the round. Accepted QS into TBA was clearly a controversial decision. However, from our standpoint, QS was a solo player, MBGA clearly was gone for good, and we really needed him to win the rest of the round. We figured the resistance would likely come for us anyway, with or without QS, so why not position ourselves in the best way possible?
 

JJbrosandjl

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Jan 1, 2008
Messages
156
TBA vs. New Resistance

At this point, we were rank one by a decent margin, but only due to our high land fat. By the next morning, TBA had a troop score of 200bn, P2W had a troop score of 166bn, and LO had a troop score of 167bn. If you include the MBGA solos, as well as the big solo chain who was opportunistically hitting us, the would-be resistance would have a troop score that is over 2.5x that of TBA’s. This troop advantage was even larger than the prior resistance had over IL. MBGA disbanding was especially awful for us because their players could continue to hit us, but their score is often ignored when calculating the size of the resistance. During this time, we were fairly confident that resistance talks were progressing, but we couldn’t be sure. I did some digging with my contacts in LO and P2W, and it became painfully clear that a resistance would be imminent.

With that in mind, we decided to use the element of surprise and strike P2W on Wednesday night. The intention was to hopefully throw them off their rhythm and get a few kills, so that the resistance would be somewhat more manageable. The waves on P2W were moderately successful. We got a few land grabs but did not manage to kill any players. The next morning (around 4 am local time for me), P2W, LO and the MBGA solos launched their first joint attack against TBA. Our goal in defense was simple. We wanted to block P2W as much as possible, while giving up land to LO whenever necessary. We just wanted to frustrate the P2W players as best we could during the day, and use our timezone advantage to hit them at night. The first day ended with P2W losing a big BR on one of our players, knocking their troop score down substantially.

With this in mind, we went in for the kill and continued to wave P2W Thursday night. We continued this strategy on Friday, defending against P2W while letting LO through. On Friday night, there was some debate about whether or not we should even hit P2W. Our preference was to keep the pressure on, but we were pretty concerned about a retal from the others in the resistance. Ultimately, we decided that we would wait an hour longer than usual before sending on P2W and keep some of our LETs home. Despite our precautionary measures, our worst fear proved to be correct. P2W were all awake waiting for us, and retaliated in full force with LO and the rest of the resistance. As soon as the resistance sent on us, I got a message from Jesse saying “a wise fisherman once told me, don’t ever let your fish get to [sic] far out before you start realing [sic].” Unfortunately for P2W, we only gave up two land grabs to their well-planned retal (to LO and the solos). P2W got nothing from us but gave up three land hits to our CG player. With P2W’s master plan foiled, we went back in full force. We ended up taking a large fight at Jesse, which killed the majority of LETs that P2W had left. Up until the very last second, we were convinced that the defense on Jesse was fake, as he had sent out and never recalled. Unfortunately (or fortunately for us), it appears that even though Jesse wasn’t at the fight, the rest of his alliance was, and they all died valiantly together. There was sparse defending from P2W for the remainder of the night while we took whatever land they had remaining.

TBA vs. LO-led Resistance

After P2W died, we had a period of temporary peace. During this time, IoF started on a random rampage on all solos within our range, regardless of their safelist status. There were many solos who got quite big during this period, as all the top alliances had been focused on fighting each other. We managed to kill a good number of the solos, which helped us grow to an even larger size. During this time, Younge approached me with an offer to replace QS. He felt that the right thing to do was to remove QS from our alliance and take all of his acres. He later rescinded that offer. There was absolutely no way we would have taken him up on that offer anyway, but it would have been funny to poach someone from LO after we already had someone join from both MBGA and P2W (imagine the outrage!).

At this juncture, we had a careful debate about what to do next. With P2W pretty much out of the picture, LO and the MBGA solos looked to be the only remaining threats. If we managed to kill LO, the round would pretty much be secured. I was personally a little hesitant to start a war with LO, as I was going to be on vacation that weekend, but IoF and Mateen both offered to plan while I was gone, so we went ahead with the offensive.

LO proved to be a much tougher nut to crack than we expected. We barely caught any of them offline. We killed one of their thug players during a morning retal (sorry Charlie!), and killed a PoM at night, but for the most part, we made little progress in killing their troops. By Friday morning, they started to come back in full force. LO continued their strategy of sending one real and two fakes. While we had a plan of dealing with that type of incoming, soon we found the number of people sending on these resistance waves to be overwhelming. LO was somehow able to get broad participation from not only the MBGA solos, other solos like Maikesh and Edd, but also players in TakeTwo and P2W. We soon realized that even if all twelve of our members were online defending, we could never take the fight. So we decided to just real their fakes and fake their reals, in an effort to kill as much of their flak as possible. As an alliance that was just trying to buy as much time as possible, we were incredibly thankful for Alci’s generosity when he decided to send two ETA 2 mobs at us, which forced a full recall from the resistance. If only that happened more often…

A devastating moment occurred for us when our biggest robo died unnecessarily to the resistance. Our plan was to mid-tick all of our incomings so that we could have a better idea of what LETs were there. Our member zer0, who had been refreshing the entire time so was well aware that 30 players were on the way to destroy him, didn’t manage to send out. No one had even bother to prank him since he had sent defense to others and was clearly refreshing. Unfortunately, his death not only meant that one of our biggest players was now dead, but almost meant that all of our enemy RPG and striker players got a juicy amount of bounty. It was at this point when we were genuinely worried about how long we could hold on for.

On Friday night, all of our players were extremely tired, especially our organizers. Our strategy of blocking LO and attacking them at night was still working (LO was still down 20k acres since the resistance started), but we were also bleeding a ton of land to solos. At our weakest moment, one of our biggest players Mightypoo threatened to sleep mode and/or quit the alliance. He kept on asking us to replace him, but clearly if we replaced him with any other player in the game, we would be at a huge disadvantage. Mightypoo was UC (to his credit, he was contactable for the most critical day of the P2W/LO resistance, which ended up saving our butts), which already made him a liability. His reasoning for going UC was that we should just let him die if he gets incoming, and that we shouldn’t bother defending. But in an alliance with only 12 players (and half of us dead), I’m not sure that was an option that we could even afford. We decided collectively that if Mightypoo wanted to hit sleep mode, maybe it was best we all hit sleep mode for a few days, to disrupt the momentum of the resistance.

After much deliberation, we decided to try to hit LO for one more night. If we could do enough damage to LO, maybe we could convince them to agree to a temporary ceasefire. The plan (somewhat) worked. We killed their large vampire player (along with many of Younge’s harriers) and stole a few ticks of land. At around 5 am on Saturday my time, I reached out to Rob to discuss a potential ceasefire. Clearly the resistance was hurting both TBA and LO, and continuing down that path didn’t seem too attractive for either party. Ultimately we decided on a gentlemen’s agreement to take a temporary breather. No official truce or NAP agreement was signed. I viewed it as a pseudo cold war with mutual assured destruction in the event of another large-scale conflict. This was also the first time that the idea of a single, large BR at the end of the round was floated. We both figured it would be a good idea and would generate a lot of excitement for the community, but decided we would officially revisit the idea at a later date.
 

JJbrosandjl

Harvester
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
Messages
156
Temporary Peace

With LO temporarily out of the picture, we now had time to deal with the solos. Priority number one was killing Edd, who constantly harassed us by sending three fakes and one real at random hours during the day. Killing Edd was extremely difficult due to his activity. Catching Edd offline with Vivi was probably my most satisfying moment all round. Due to the sheer amount of gargantua he had, we only managed to land on him twice, but the damage was done. Edd would never be as big of a threat as he once was.

Another bright spot of these few days was catching all three large MBGA solos going into sleep mode. I sent a tractor to dodge (what was later revealed to be real) RPG defense from Lanky and caught Loz going into sleep mode. I ended up making around one trillion in profit due to bounty, and eliminating another big threat to TBA. With most of the large threats gone, we decided to turn our attention to the big solo chain.

During this time, we kept on hearing whispers of another resistance forming. We got occasional rushes from P2W and TakeTwo, so clearly they were still gunning for us. Even though there was only one week left in the round, a combined resistance consisting of LO, OH, TT, P2W and solos would have been more than enough to take us down. My number one priority became trying to prevent another resistance from forming at all costs. After speaking to members in LO and OH, I felt a little bit more comfortable that they weren’t going to directly resist us. I also struck a deal with the MBGA solos that we could hit the big solos together if it meant they wouldn’t participate in any further resisting. Even though the MBGA solos were smaller now, they had a lot of contacts in the Bushtarion community, and could easily spearhead another resistance. Ultimately, Lanky agreed that his solo triangle would help us take down the rank one and two solos in exchange for being on our safelist. While I’m sure many of the TBA members would have loved to see Lanky, Loz and John dead, it was more important to dissuade them from participating in any potential resistances.

TBA vs. Three Big Solos

With TBA in a much more secure position, we started focusing 100% of our attention on the three big solos. Our plan was to hit the solos at the same time during the early UK morning on Saturday. We had to hit them during the weekends because our SA player couldn’t participate in any late night hits during the week. We were hoping to catch them offline, but of course, they all managed to log on. To our surprise, Polo actually took a fight, taking almost 18.5 trillion in troop damage (we broke even with bounty and bribes), while the SA took a land hit. The SA hit sleep mode while all of our troops were returning. We were convinced that he just hit sleep mode for the rest of the round (I don’t think anyone could have caught him in score), so mad respect for both him and Polo for fighting until the end.

We continued our onslaught against the solos, but we had to keep a bunch of troops home during the day to deal with annoying harrier + thief rushes. Progress was slow, with us stealing a few ticks of land from the SA every day (Polo’s AR was too high for us to do anything unfortunately). We knew that in order to knock them off of rank one, we needed to force them to fight or force Polo to take a land hit. But the reality is, at this point, with less than three days left in the round, barring a miracle, there was almost no way we could do enough damage to Polo and Ola to knock them off of the top ranks. We knew we had to just focus on getting as much land as possible on a single player, and pray that we do enough to push them to rank one. We ultimately chose Mateen to be that player. It was important for us to not pick a robo player (too susceptible to harrier + thief rushes), and to not pick a thug player (dies too easily during big BRs). Mateen had the most troop score and good anti-rush protection, so he seemed like the natural choice.

The AR mod for both Ola and Polo remained fairly high, so it was hard for us to find a fight without getting massacred. What further complicated things was that I was the only armour stripper in the alliance (we had no RPG players and no harrier players), and I couldn’t be at two places at once. After spending hours deliberating on excel, Mateen and I concluded that the only decent fight we could get was if our extremist player was there and that we forced a fight on the last tick. Given how active Polo and Ola were, we couldn’t simply LET rush with ETA 4 units because they would just send out. So we decided to try a strategy where we would send stealth geos a tick before, then send ETA 4 at the end of tick, to force a fight on the last tick. This strategy worked, and we forced another fight at Polo. Both sides took heavy losses, but this was enough to knock Ola down from rank one.

We now had the problem of trying to get a land grab from Polo. Polo’s AR mod remained fairly high, and his SD/stunbot combo made it difficult for us to land, even with CGs. With the round ending in less than 24 hours, we knew we only had one more shot at a fight before we would lose that opportunity forever. Our strategy for the final day was to fake Polo and try to get as many grabs on Jesse and Ola as possible on Mateen. If we couldn’t get through on Polo, we would just try to get land grabs from other places (perhaps even Edd or LO) and pray Mateen had enough to surpass Polo in score.

We planned another wave for around midnight UK time the day before the round ended. Expectations were fairly low, as we mostly just wanted to test the AR mod (and perhaps get another cheeky grab from the SA). Incredibly, we got through on both players with no defense. We had finally caught them offline on the very last day. We couldn’t believe our luck! We managed to pretty much zero Polo across three ticks (but no land). By the time we went back for land, Polo logged on and was able to buy some TDs. Unfortunately, the TDs were not nearly enough to stop Mateen’s 1 billion flak mob. With the solos dead, we felt pretty comfortable that someone in TBA would end up rank one.

Round End at Last

On the last day, we were just all trying to get as much land as possible before the “party” at the end of the round. Mateen, Jim and Koen actually arranged a mass suicided against SAS in the final hours of the round, so that I could get rank one. I personally couldn’t care less who won the round. Mateen and Koen were equally as deserving, and it would have been nice for Jim to get a win as well. But despite my protests, all three players chose to suicide so that I could surpass them in valuation. Thanks guys, for your sacrifice. It means a lot to me, not because a personal win is particularly meaningful, but because it is emblematic of the selfless mentality that everyone in our alliance had all round, and I’m really glad that carried through until the very end.

Charlie had sent out an invitation to the entire active Bushtarion player base a few days earlier about a party at QS’s id, encouraging everyone to send. We weren’t sure how many people would actually send on us, but we were pretty confident we were going to lose the final BR. However, we had achieved every goal we had set out to achieve, namely being the rank one alliance and having the rank one player by round end, so we were more than happy to take a fight. By the time the party started, 69 players had sent at QS.

Image 3.png

We wanted to make sure that everyone online was at the fight, as long as we didn’t risk giving up the rank one player position at the end. Unfortunately, Twigley seemed pretty salty about our win and decided to spoil the party by sending an arsonist and thief rush at me. This forced a couple people to recall and defend me, so they missed the big BR.

To no one’s surprise, TBA got massacred, but we now have a BR for the ages.

Image 4.png
Note: Allied is the resistance. Hostile is TBA. PC to Charlie_B
 
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JJbrosandjl

Harvester
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
Messages
156
Conclusion

Throughout the round, we’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism. Cryo, for instance, has accused us of getting carried to rank one by all the other alliances in the resistance. While there is probably some truth in that statement (I am very thankful for all of the partners that we’ve worked with along the way), I don’t think this is particularly fair. This was a political victory, sure, but we’ve also won our fair share of wars along the way. I think I speak for everyone in TBA that we are tremendously proud of everything that we were able to accomplish both offensively and defensively, and the following screenshot speaks volumes about what we did during the round.

Image 5.png

At the end of the day, we weren’t necessarily the most skilled alliance, but we had tenacity and grit. We accomplished a lot with a group of relatively new players (and a few veterans of course!), and I’m hoping that our fighting spirit is what others will remember most from this round. There were days where we would spend 12 hours fighting the resistance, but would still have all twelve members go back on the offensive at night. We genuinely enjoyed the game, even when we were getting destroyed by the resistance.

Image 6.jpg

To anyone else who insists that the best alliance did not win this round (particularly the Interlude players), maybe you are right. Maybe the best 12 players did not win this round. But shouldn’t that be a good thing? Maybe the TBA story will inspire others to go FTW, even if they don’t feel like they have a particularly FTW group. The beauty of this game is that anything can happen - even scrubs like us can win the round. That is something that we should all embrace, perhaps even celebrate, as a community.

Special Thanks
  • Mateen – My right hand man during the entire round. We really couldn’t have done it without you. Completely useless route for the first half of the round, but I guess you redeemed yourself by becoming the biggest player by the end
  • Koeniej – Another amazing player who I’m glad I had the opportunity to play with again. One of our main organizers. My go-to guy for strategic advice
  • Jim – Despite all the crap I give him, he’s improved a lot as a player this round. Deserved to finish top two or three if he didn’t suicide on the last BR of the round. Great work buddy, really proud of you.
  • Zer0 – Had some unfortunate moments in the round (getting zeroed by Marvin and getting caught by the resistance despite being online for the incoming), but that shouldn’t take away from his contributions to the alliance. Ended up developing to be one of our organizers by the end of the round.
  • Calvin – Our least active player, but one of our most critical. This was his first serious round, but he really showed up big as our only PoM. 24/7 contactable, always followed instructions perfectly. Without him, we probably would have taken a lot more land hits.
  • Viggers – As one of our UC UK players, missed a lot of the action during our mid-round wars. Our joke was that every time Viggers woke up, another alliance was dead. That being said, he was critical in almost every single big fight towards the end of the round. Without our striker / SA combo, I don’t think we could have taken down the solos.
  • Mightypoo – He clearly frustrated a lot of people in the alliance by pretty much going completely AFK for the last two weeks. However, this was one of his first rounds, and he was really only looking for a home to play FTF, so we were asking a lot of him. He had some amazingly clutch moments during the round to save us against OH and the resistance, so I feel like he did genuinely earn the win.
  • Razorwolf – He joined us as a replacement for Steve_God and was a complete monster. I lulled him into a false sense of security by promising that he wouldn’t have to be contactable. Little did he know, he would be waking up every 30 minutes to harrier and apache rushes by the end of the round
  • Vivi – One of the best players I’ve played with. Was constantly out for blood and relentless in his attacks. Somehow managed to go the entire round without getting zeroed (he got on and sent out with only 10 seconds to spare against Edd!). A bit of an asshole, but at least he was our asshole.
  • IoF – Really glad we got to play another round together. Amazing player and good friend. Enjoys sending out sneaky attacks at 4 am while I’m sleeping to players on the safe list, but I’ll look past that
  • QS – Clearly a very controversial figure in the community, but he contributed a lot to our win. He does his fair share of complaining, but always responds to pranks and is always there on both offense and defense. He’s was very thankful to us for letting him join, and honestly, we are pretty thankful that we did
  • Elle – One of the TBA members who was with us until pretty much the very end. Gave up her spot to QS so that we could have a better chance at winning. Selfless player and pleasure to have around. Best of luck next round with KhaoS!
  • Norm – One of my biggest regrets in the round. Clearly there was some miscommunication on both sides. He was a critical part of our alliance during the early days, and I’m really sad that he didn’t leave on good terms. I hope he comes back to the game soon.
  • LAFiN – Was he even playing this round? I barely saw him. In all seriousness, thanks for everything in the early game. Hope we get to play again together soon.
  • Steve_God – Steve was literally our only line of defense for about five days. If he was online, some of us were safe. If he was ever offline (which was, unfortunately, a big part of the day), we took land hits left and right. He was also extremely resourceful, providing us with links to various calculators and plug-ins. All of us learned a lot from him!
  • Podunk / Marvin / AzLev – We had a few solos who played with us during the round who helped us with attacks here and there. Thanks for all of your help along the way. You guys were an important part of our win
  • Treedude – Rob and I had a great working relationship throughout the round, even when we were on opposing sides of the battlefield. Thank you for being such a great partner and an honorable enemy
  • Jesse – We’ve had our disagreements, but I did want to at least thank you for being a good partner during the resistance. I enjoyed our back and forth during the P2W / TBA wars. Best of luck in the future
  • Lanky / Loz – Great to work with during the original resistance. We ended up spending more time working against each other than working with each other, but I enjoyed every moment of it. Cheers to helping keep the spirit of the game alive together
  • Polo / Ola / Jesse – Thanks for putting up a great fight and for not hitting sleep mode
  • Macky – For helping us throughout the round at various points <3

Thank You

The final person I want to thank is you, the reader. I know this story is probably too long for 95% of the player base. We had originally intended to keep this story internal to TBA, but figured that there was no harm in sharing with everyone.

If you read through the entire thing, you were likely an important part of the round. Thank you for making the round so memorable for everyone in TBA. I hope the round was as fun for you as it was for us.

P.S. RIP Norm
 
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IceOfFire

Garden Designer
Joined
Dec 14, 2007
Messages
932
Really enjoyed the read JJ, thanks for taking the time to write this up.

Thanks to all TBA, really enjoyed the round with you guys.
 

Podunk

Head Gardener
Joined
Dec 14, 2007
Messages
340
Location
Oregon, US
Great writeup! Pretty wild way to end up R1, but you all deserved it! I appreciated being kept in the loop a bit on the alliance politics side of things this round as a solo. Always nice to get in on some of the banter.
 
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