Interview of Skuns453Lirik902 - finalist of the 2015 PBEM Duel Tournament(Community)Interested in getting some insights into the strategies of some of the best players of AoW3? Want to know what they think are the best combos and units? This is the third of a series of 4 interviews with the players who qualified for the final phase of the 2015 PBEM Duel Tournament. This article and the 4th one will present the finalist and the winner of this 32 players tournament.

An Article by Hiliadan

Skuns453Lirik902 is currently ranked #33 with 947 points on the Battlefield. His best ranking ever reached was #25 but he never crossed the threshold of 1000 points and is thus not yet considered a "Veteran" player, unlike Fistandantilus (see his interview in our previous article) or gabthegab, the winner of the tournament (who is actually "Master"). You might think he got to the final phase by accident and that's partly true since he did not face the strong No Life or Pothead Pixie but instead fought Blackcat (ranked #34) on round 3 of his 8-players sub-tournament because the two players dropped out of the tournament, and then the winner of the sub-tournament, Sjow, quitted too so Skuns was promoted to the final phase unexpectedly (see interview of Sjow). But that would be underestimating Skuns! Rated as a "Strong" player by xlnt and the top player gabthegab himself, Skuns is capable of beating top 8 players like Fistandantilus or Jonny Thunder. His high number of defeats (Skuns has also a win ratio of 23% - the worst in the top 40 -) is partly explained by his willingness to confront top players like cbower, SeeR, DarkRider, xlnt, Jean de Metz, etc. Unlike other players with high win ratio but few "high level encounters", Skuns faced the best and was sometimes not yet ready for them.
Skuns has a special affection for Frostling Necromancer, a combo he played 7 (or 8, a report is not clear) out of his 17 matches reported on the Battlefield. He tried it on the final against gab but was outplayed by his opponent's Dwarf Necromancer. In his other matches, he played almost all the classes (see his interview below for some explanations why), except Sorcerer, but seemed to have less success than when playing Necro.

The three other players qualified for the final phase all answered the same questions which the Battlefield team asked them and their answers have been already released (except for gabthegab, for which they will be soon). You can find the interview of Sjow in an article already published and Fistandantilus in last week's article.

Skuns453Lirik902's latest results  (many matches against top players... and many defeats!

1/ First a little background on your IRL (if it’s not secret!): where are you from and how old are you?
Skuns453Lirik902: I live in Russia, Nighny Novgorod city. And I'm 32 years old.

2/ When did you start playing AoW and AoW3?
Skuns453Lirik902: I started playing AoW3 about 2 years ago. I had never played previous parts of this series.

3/ Do you usually play AoW3 in single player, PBEM or multiplayer?
Skuns453Lirik902: When I started playing to AoW3, I was interested only in single player games. But once I finished all the missions of the basic game campaigns with all DLCs , it was the saddest day because the great journey had ended. I tried to play single player scenarios but after going through one of them, I realized that it was too boring.   Then I tried to play live multiplayer games. But with my bad internet connection, I was able to play only PBEM games. I played some matches and I liked it. However, I later fixed the problem with my internet connection and was able to play live multiplayer games. I started multiplayer with matches with the AI to practice. But I soon realised two things: 1) It's too harsh and too uninteresting to play against the AI with autocombat; 2) Almost all sessions were protected by passwords and I had no idea where to find them out.  So I continue to play PBEM games.  
Sorry for such an extensive explanation.  May be I should be more concise.

4/ How did you choose your combos during the tournament?

Skuns453Lirik902: From the start of the tournament, I did not quite understand correctly the rules of the tourney. I thought that it was not allowed to repeat combos during the tournament.   So I started the tourney with my strongest combo. 
Also, as it turned out, I was completely unprepared for the tournament with its specific difficulties (after playing Single-player mode). And I had to adapt with all of this in a very short period of time.    
So after my first tourney match I tried to find a new combo which could be as strong as my first one. These attempts were conducted in the tournament and outside it. 
Later I found out how wrong I was concerning tourney rules.  But for some reason it did not become easier to play.   Almost all opponents had their own strategy. Each of them brought to me their own difficulties.
[Editor's note: see more stats on the top combos in the meta statistics of the Battlefield]

5/ What is your favourite class/race and why? With what specialisations?
Skuns453Lirik902: My favourite class/race is Necromancer Frostlings. Necro - because it's not only the most powerful class, but it also has no morale penalties with any race even when you are evil [Editor's note: Necro's cities are not affected by Morale and thus by Race Happiness so the fact that you raze cities of that race or declare war to independents of that race do not penalize your cities as a Necro, though you do get Race Happiness penalties].   Also only Necro has 2 T4 unit, with the Archon Titan who could be easily converted (before PBEM mod [Editor's note: Skuns is refering to the PBEM & Single Player balance mod]).   And Necro is not Necro without Stiffen Limbs and Whispers of the Fallen.  Frostlings - because their starting army is the most powerful (for me) despite some weaknesses. With specialisations: Destruction and Fire. One of them has also master upgrade specs to have +5 addition Research Points.

6/ In your opinion, what are some of the best units by tier?

Skuns453Lirik902: T1 - Wisp (can floating and teleport), Spider Babies (especially Hunter and Vampire; can evolve), Tigran Cheetah (have the ability Pounce, very weak, but dangerous)
T2 - Pikemen like the Frostling Royal Guards (but some of them are T1) with their First Strike, Mammoth and Mammoth Riders (has some weakness, but also powerful melee strike, almost like for a T3)
T3 - Troll, Shadow Stalker (unkillable ), Shamans (especially Orcs and Tigrans), Draconian Flyers, Death Bringers 
T4 - all Dragons (especially Obsidian and Golden), Manticore Riders (especially Tigran), Dread Reapers (not so strong, but very dangerous), Juggernaut (devastating), all Eldritchs

7/ What was the hardest match you played in this tournament?
Skuns453Lirik902:The hardest match for me was most likely the first match against XLNT   In this match I lost my cities very early. And maybe if xlnt had not been afraid of my AI partner he could have won [Editor's note: when he hosted the game, Skuns did not understand the settings and set up a 2vs2 with 1 AI allied to each human; it was later decided to let xlnt and him continue the game like this; that's not normal Duel tournament settings]. But he lost many turns in vain while my Necro army grew. And his chances to win became smaller and smaller. 
But during the match with Jonny Thunder, there were also some hard moments. My main forces were sent to his throne. And my throne was almost not protected. I saw that his small mobility army was sent to my back but I had no such mobile units to catch and kill them. But I didn't expect that he would sacrifice all his stacks to kill my leader.   And I was so lucky that he lacked one turn to capture my throne when my leader was into the Void.

8/ What results do you expect for the 3 players in the final phase?
Skuns453Lirik902: I think that the result of final phase will be: 1) Gab; 2) Fist; 3) Me (without a single victory   .
[Editor's note: in the end, gab won as expected but Skuns beat Fistandantilus twice and thus ended up 2nd]

Roster of the final phase of the 2015 PBEM Duel Tournament

9/ Any advice for players who would like to improve?
Skuns453Lirik902: Only for PBEM! If you doubt in your skills, then you should investigate the classes with mind control specs first. And don't forget - never wage war with Dwellings.

If you're interested by more information about competitive plays, please check this piece of news: videos of competitive games

Created on: 08.04.2017 at 09:43:59

Comments on the article

Published on 2017-04-09 01:16:20
| Interview of Skuns453Lirik902 - finalist of the 2015 PBEM Duel Tournament

@Hiliadan Thanks a lot.  Especially for the fact that you show my bad position in the ranking  :'(  It's a shame for Hall of Fame   
As for my session against Jonny Thunder, I must clarify something. 
I had killed his leader without losses because it was his mistake. But then he made unexpected  and successful!!  :'( suicidal attempt - he attacked 3 of my strong stacks by his not so strong 2 stacks with one intention: to kill my leader  And it was very clever decision - he lost all his main units, but his flying stack with 2 strong units was closely from my throne  :'( Many turns before it I had problems with gold and hadn't possibilities to build any units to defend my capital. There was only one T1 shooter against Jonny's stack from one T3 and one T2 units. 
Finally, one turn before his defeat, both of our leaders were into the Void. I had no chances to do anything to protect my capital :'( So I played my last turn with 2 strong, but already unuseful stacks  And at the next turn I found out that I won   While Jonny's leader had 1 turn before its returning from the Void his throne was captured by the strong neutral army from the cosmic event.  

Published on 2017-04-09 01:30:26
| Interview of Skuns453Lirik902 - finalist of the 2015 PBEM Duel Tournament

As for my ranking, since last summer I was not so active player and I hadn't many 1vs1 sessions which are more quick and may bring points more often than other sessions 

Published on 2017-04-14 11:52:16

Congrats Skuns!

I remember our 1st game - lots of running around the map
After you beat me i decided i want you to win the Tournament because you were not only playing the units and fights and what i call the "technical" part of the game but also the strategy level where 1 unit placed on the correct tile can win the game.

Published on 2017-04-14 20:46:04
| Interview of Skuns453Lirik902 - finalist of the 2015 PBEM Duel Tournament

@xlnt  Thanks, my friend