Season Opener [May 5th 2007]
Written by DX
Last updated on 2007-05-05
Ridgewood Militia [14-2-3] vs Waterbridge [2-14-3] @ Waterbridge
Ridgewood Militia Victory [1-0-0]
- Score: 8 to 3
- Strength: 4v4
- Length: 2 Hour Day
- Park: Waterbridge
- Class: Ranked War
- MVP: Dan [RM] - 6 Kills
Players [Ridgewood Militia]:
- Rob: CPS 1100
- Zach: WW Orca
- Dan: CPS 2500
- Dave: CPS 3200
- Nick: Thunderhead
- Matt: CPS 2100
- Jeff: MI Flash Flood
- Evan: XP 310? I don't remember?
Today's season opener featured two under-strength teams with even numbers. Nick was actually babysitting and brought the kid along, which both slowed his team's maneuvers down and gave away their position often. However, Waterbridge handled that disadvantage well enough to keep things hot. The Ridgewood Militia ran away with the battle late, literally. The decisive factors today were maneuvering speed, heads-up plays, and the willingness of the RM to take the Initiative by force via calculated gambles. I myself made no kills, but I did have 16 saves via the Founder Defense. Dan earned MVP for his 6 kills, which is a seriously remarkable feat for a first battle debut.
The Early Action:
The expected numbers were 6v6, however, that quickly dwindled to 4v4 when both teams started arriving at Spring St. The RM arrived together, so we walked in first while Waterbridge waited for the rest of its team. We decided on an ambush position near the north end of the bluff and waited. When Waterbridge finally was ready, they came down the East Bank to fill. We watched them fill, powerless to range them across the brook and not willing to reveal our position. Nick was babysitting and had brought his kid along rather than miss the battle. The kid talked a lot, enough to let us track the enemy as they walked down the bank towards the Grove St Bridge. We mirrored the enemy along our own bank until the dead reeds and half-grown new ones blocked our view.
Having lost visual, we climbed up to Ivy Hill to try and see them. After a few minutes, Waterbridge arrived on the main path from the direction of the bridge. Nick and Jeff split to press our right, while Matt and Evan kept advancing on the path. Now the last time we defended Ivy Hill, we got pwned. So instead of that, we ran to the left. Both splits of Waterbridge made their moves, so I brought Dan down around to our left-center, all the way down to the main path to block it. Now it was a squad battle, with Zach and Dave fighting Nick and Jeff and Dan and I fighting Matt and Evan. Since we were on the path, it became a complete stand-off, but there was action at the base of the hill.
Dan and I managed to press back Matt and Evan a few dozen feet. Matt felt it was safe to send Evan to support the other battle, not counting on the move that was to follow. While Evan hesitated, Dan and I sprinted over to tip the balance on the hill and forced Nick and Jeff to flee. Dan shot Jeff in the back as he scooped up the kid and tried to run. 1-0.
Dan and I were back covering our former position before Matt or Evan could exploit our absence. Nick, however, was making his way through the middle reeds and his presence caused us to retreat to the base of the hill. Reunited, the RM ditched the base of Ivy Hill and moved to the south end of the bluff.
Here, we waited for Waterbridge's next move. Back at full strength, they came up to our position, but did not attack. So we made a cautious mini-attack, but did not advance into the reeds like they wanted. We actually fell back to the top of the bluff. Waterbridge came up to the base, and while Nick was starting a flanking move, I sprinted over to our far right to block it. That single move foiled the whole plan and Waterbridge backed away again.
In the original positions, Jeff and Dave drew close enough to engage, with other shots being useless. Jeff's taunting didn't work, however, for this is after all the Ridgewood Militia. We thought that Jeff was purposely stalling as a cover for a pincer [two members of Waterbridge were totally MIA], so we withdrew. I sometimes hear it for being not aggressive enough in situations like that, but there's a very good reason not to attack in that case. I have to consider all the enemy options, and go with the most effective. There was no choice but to counter as if it were a pincer. No pincer materialized, but better safe than very sorry.
The Middle Action:
Just when you think I'm not aggressive enough, I throw you a curveball. Dan had an idea for a single person Distraction Ambush, where he would hide and the rest of us would draw the enemy in. I agreed to go for it, and we all ran farther up the bluff so the enemy would not see the setup.
Dan went down to hide. We stayed spread on the top of the bluff, watching the enemy advancing towards us. We formed an angled line to deal with 3v4, but there was great enemy pressure. Height helped, for Jeff and Evan had been on the main path and couldn't climb the bluff very quickly while under fire. Jeff's flanking action on us was dangerous, though, so I yelled that "we need to give Dan more time to come around" in the hope that Nick would react to a possible rear flank. We made a small push that caused Matt to fall back and Nick to sprint away. He was buying the fake flank!
However, we were too far away for Dan to spring his ambush. A four person push by Waterbridge split Dave off to the left and Zach and I to the right. Dave was hit. 1-1. The action was still too far from Dan, so Zach and I prepared to defend against a 2v4. As we retreated, Jeff and Evan advanced to block our retreat to the left. Waiting behind a row of bushes, we waited for all of the enemies to move, then sprinted to the right, effectively switching positions with Nick and Matt. Now Waterbridge was pincered between us. Dan finally was able to launch his ambush and nailed Jeff. 2-1.
Zach and I ran away, drawing 3 enemies after us. However, commotion to the rear distracted them, for Dave came back in. As Zach and I held what was now 2 enemies, Dan and Dave managed to kill the other two. 4-1. Both teams disengaged at this point. The majority of my saves came in that engagement. It was a risky gamble, but good execution of the plan paid off.
The Late Action:
We arrived at the gravel bar to refill. We finished right as Waterbridge was visible on the path and so withdrew to the Spring St Bridge. Our last attempt to defend the bridge had been a mess, so rather than that, we continued around to the East Bank. Waterbridge mirrored us on the West Bank. We beat them to the Grove St Bridge, but upon visual of them, we withdrew. Matt came out too far, so Dan chased him back to the bridge with myself in support. A battle broke out directly on the bridge, which invites mistakes, for the road next to the narrow sidewalk is OB. Dan and I made a slow push that caused Waterbridge to fall back. However, our whole team had barely crossed when Waterbridge countered suddenly. I did not see what happened, but Zach ended up dead, some enemy ended up dead, and Matt ended up on the street, which is an automatic kill for crossing an OB line. After a brief Founder time-out, Nick was cleared of a contested death, so it was 6-2.
With 10 minutes left, we walked casually up the East Bank. Waterbridge split, with Evan and Jeff taking off on the West Bank and Nick and Matt coming across the bridge. Dan and I sprinted to mirror the West Bank move, but eventually decided the enemies were taking too long and sprinted back. With 4v2, Matt and Nick fell back. Dan killed both. 8-2.
There were still a couple minutes left, but we decided to end it there, for Waterbridge could wipe out the RM and still be down 2. Right before leaving, I discussed the OB incident with Nick and we settled it as an accident. So I gave him one for a final score of 8-3.
Next war is to be 3 hours at the Goffle. A great start to the season [at least for the RM].
Analysis of the Season Opener
I feel that this is more important than the actual battle report itself. Every war is unique and teaches its own lessons. So let's get at it:
This war was not decided by the guns. This was truly a battle of skill and application of knowledge. When you have even numbers, player ability is challenged directly. I found out that the Founder Defense has limits. When you're fighting as two split squads in fast action, you can't always bail the other out of a tough situation. You've got to trust that your guys can handle themselves without a "commander". When your two new guys get separated from your two vets, you can't worry about them, since it won't change anything. All you can do is execute your part and wait.
Progressive Fluid Command
I altered the command system a bit for this war and it paid off. The RM empowers anyone with the ability to call the shots, particularly when in a squad formation. When as a group, I asked the rest for ideas when there was time. We acted on several of them. Most traditional commanders won't accept any challenges to their orders, but I encourage them. Ideas going back to the top often are more effective than the ones going down. Involving everyone in the command process gives everyone an extra stake in the battle and experience that may save them 5 minutes later. Your newest member also may come up with the best counter.
Aggression not simply for aggression's sake
One of the things I did not do is most of the attacking. I yielded before Waterbridge much more often than usual. In past years, constant aggression was one of the keys to winning. However, now I think offense can be molded into a more refined weapon when withheld only for the right moments. Waterbridge did not do a good job of attacking, something I took advantage of by "forcing" them to attack more often and where I wanted them to attack. By doing this, I confused Waterbridge's traditional definitions of what an advantage is. I will definitely write more about how offenses can be wielded more like ideas and less like physical tactics. When you put both together, you suddenly have new options as to what to do with the Initiative. Speaking of...
Make sure you actually have the initiative before acting like you do
Waterbridge made this mistake. Advancing and attacking more often than normal does not always indicate that you have the Initiative. They were lulled into a false sense of control and I loved every moment of it.
Don't be afraid to take the Initiative by sheer force.Both teams traditionally don't lose the Initiative until someone makes a mistake. However, we didn't wait for mistakes this time. The RM took it by force in two critical engagements. The first was our daring shift of positions at lightning speed to end one squad battle before the other squad could counter from their position. The second was giving Waterbridge the Initiative in order to spring our ambush. Local numerical superiority can give you true Confidence. Beware of such a feeling. We couldn't have possibly sprung it without Waterbridge acting as they did, attacking us and dropping their guard.
Read your enemies
In that ambush, Zach and I got into a tight 2v4 situation. Waterbridge did not pick up my intent - to simply swap positions with Nick and Matt, which pincered Waterbridge between the RM. When they allowed us to do that and chased us, they left a single guy in the rear, while we had both Dave and Dan there. Bad mistake.
Speed is more decisive than once thought
Speed obviously helps in just about any war, real or water, but the RM showed what you can really do with it. Quick moves open up opportunities to break a stalemate and make kills. We survived the ambush gambit with well-timed uses of speed, we overwhelmed an enemy squad 4v2 and covered the original position with a well timed use of speed.
Pay attention at all times - win the heads up plays
This was one of the mistakes made by the RM. Waterbridge rushed us right after we took the Grove St Bridge and we weren't ready for it. That was a bad lapse and we paid for it. As for Waterbridge, they weren't golden here either. When someone yells "watch out!" your reflex should not be to jump out into the street. Grove is really busy and dangerous. However, confusion does that to people when nobody knows what is going on. Many kills in general are made when someone isn't paying full attention. Usually they just don't see it coming. You've got to be alert at all times. Founders can't help you in some of those situations - when I hear "watch out!" my reflex reaction is to sprint away to avoid a potential double kill.