We have a guest report from our champion recounting the experience of Kumite VI this past weekend. Read and enjoy!
William T. Sherman
Cmdr, 69th Tennessee Infantry Regiment (Union)
Nashville, TN 37203
The President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington, DC 20006
Please find enclosed our detailed report regarding the military exercise (Codename: Kumite VI) in Jackson, MI dated 22 April. It is our hope that we participate in as many future exercises as the war effort allows. Maintaining our war readiness is imperative to the success of future engagements with the enemy.
Gen. Phineas and I arrived at Jackson in the late afternoon of 21 April, following the long carriage ride from Nashville, during which we honed our stratagems for the impending action. After obtaining required refreshment, we proceeded to our accommodations acquired through Gen. Rush which were spacious and suited our needs perfectly.
21 April, 1900 hrs – An evening of preparation
We found the local watering hole to be an altogether suitable location to recuperate from our journey and size up our competition before the ensuing exercises. The staff was energetic and polite and the food was flavorful. The generals were a colorful and jocular bunch, particularly our host, Admiral Fierogut. The Admiral had prepared us with scouting reports on the city, and arranged all of the extraordinary venues for the weekend’s events.
After refreshing ourselves, we retired to our accommodations for rest and recuperation and to prepare for the following day. I vehemently and categorically deny any and all rumors about debauchery, and I assure you that they are completely without merit and that a proper decorum was kept at all times.
I had decided to avert from my tendency toward land destruction and focus on an air raid strategy that was altogether new to me. Skeptical of the balloons of our fathers, I eschewed the goblin brigades and decided forthwith to focus on cheap evasive creatures that could harass ground-based armies until a proper bomb can be assembled and dropped to end the enemy’s command. My greatest anxiety was heavy artillery and the attrition of fighting men that would come from facing it; soldiers being required for my air superiority strategy to function. Gen. Rush is well-practiced in the use of artillery and is as formidable as Doolittle when it comes to air raids, and I enlisted his aid. This, paired with my long discussions with Gen. Phineas helped to refine my strategy for the morrow.
22 April, 1100 hrs – The day of reckoning
I arrived at the venue with equal parts excitement and optimism. The public house hosting the affair was cozy and sheltered well against a blustery spring day in Michigan. The generals beginning to assemble there carried an impressive array of battle experience, and it was sure to be a great test of my skills. Gen. Fornication Thomas was there, proud as a peacock, with his retinue in tow. He had arranged a local artist of great fame to attend and adorn our soldiers for battle. The combatants were rightly keen to meet her. The air was abuzz with the excited generals greeting one another and making last-minute changes to their armies as the fateful hour approached. I felt focused and confident in my army’s skills. Cry “havoc!”, and let slip the dogs of war!
22 April, 1217 hrs – First contact
“No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy”
In the day’s first engagement, I was to face off against Gen. Karg, with a R/G Berserk army. My troops fly. His troops on the ground are more heavily armed than mine. I retreated from the first skirmish after ape, ape, ape in his first 3 turns. My troops were still sluggish with sleep and were not prepared for the jungle savagery that was being unleashed. I made it through the second skirmish after my opponent was denied any forests over a long period of time. In the third skirmish, it was a war of attrition and a race to the finish, a race I was on track to win. Both generals committed all reserves and it was down to battle luck to decide the contest. Gen. Karg found a bloodlust before I found anything of use, and my army was forced to retreat from the field in defeat.
I had sideboarded poorly, and I learned a valuable lesson in this engagement. Why in God’s name did I have Blue Elemental Blasts in my sideboard if I wasn’t going to bring them in as a 1-mana answer to Lightning Bolts, and Kird Apes, and Shivan Dragon? As with any failure, it was a learning experience, and I would not make the same mistake twice.
22 April, 1315 hrs – An army unprotected
My second engagement of the day was to be at the hands of the Postmaster General. Hailing from Pittsburgh, he had brought with him an army from the earliest days of our nation. As they mustered onto the field of battle, they were resplendent in their uniforms from the Revolution, and they had character. Unfortunately for his army, they were also poorly equipped for battle in these conditions. They had no protection from wind or rain or the blustery Michigan spring day.
The Postmaster General’s army, as beautiful as they were, fell back after two skirmishes unable to continue the fight.
22 April, 1418 hrs – The hammer of the Gods
In my third engagement, I was to face Gen. Burke. The gentleman’s ground forces were absolutely massive. His army was a GWB collection of Ernhams and Juzams, along with disruption and removal. I had to trust in the value of my cheaper fliers. It was a slugfest, with skirmishes that went first one way, then another.
Gen. Burke seemed to have the upper hand in the third skirmish with a Juzam tank on the battlefield that outclassed my efreet fighter/bomber. But he had tapped off his white mana. With no threat of being sent to the farm, I was able to confidently double-pump and then Berserk my Dib to drop an 18-damage bomb directly on the General’s command tent and force him to retreat from the field. My confidence in my army’s ability to overcome larger ground forces was bolstered. The battle luck, it seemed, had turned my way. The day was looking brighter.
22 April, 1516 hrs – A prodigal admiral returns
I sat on the field of battle, with only the sounds of the wind in the grass and the cicadas for company. Where, pray tell, was my opponent for this engagement? Was my army to fight their own shadows? I left the field of battle to find my honorable opponent.
I found him at the sand bar, refueling his ships after the first 3 engagements. Admiral Merrill was a local gentleman who hailed from Jackson, and had come out of a long retirement just for these battle exercises. His army was actually a navy and it seemed I had imagined the battlefield completely wrong. We would be fighting on the waves this afternoon.
The admiral’s merfolk and Dandans, coupled with tempo to keep my troops off-balance, was a difficult nut to crack for my army. My buffs would largely fall into empty space as my attackers were repeatedly whisked from the battlefield and back onto the deck of my carrier, which was under constant threat from Dandan and unblockable merfolk. It was a strategy that had me on my heels for three full skirmishes. But my troops were able to prevail by what felt like the narrowest of margins and we moved on to the next opponent.
22 April, 1614 hrs – Fire from the sky
My opponent for the penultimate engagement of the day was to be Gen. Twan, who had arrived together with the Postmaster General from Pittsburgh the previous day. Gen. Twan was sporting an army full of powerful artillery as I’d feared I would meet the day before.
I squeaked out a win in the first skirmish, and immediately transformed my army into something with more resilience that could withstand the attrition that comes with a sustained artillery bombardment. My combo pieces came out, and a supplement of ground troops came in. My hopes on the day hinged on presenting as wide a front as possible and overcoming the constant stream of fire from my opponent’s cannons.
In the decisive skirmish, Gen. Twan opened a wide lead on the backs of his apes and he launched a blast from the sky that should have been fatal. But I’d learned from my mistake earlier in the day and had a blue blast that countered his blitz. And then Old Man of the Sea hopped on top of an ape and I went to work reducing my deficit. For three turns I was dead to another bolt. And for three turns Gen. Twan was not able to find the resources he needed. With a great deal of luck, and by turning his own troops against him, I’d stabilized the battlefield, and won the day.
22 April, 1715 hrs – A familiar adversary
On my final engagement of the day, I sat across the battlefield from none other than the honorable Gen. Rush, who had assisted me with my strategy (and had humbled my army in 3 consecutive skirmishes) the previous evening. But today was a new day. The day’s experience had molded me into a wiser commander, and I was ready to face the challenge.
Gen. Rush was up to his old RUG tricks. Nearly as much artillery as Gen Twan before him, but with air forces of his own, his army represented a balanced stance that would be difficult to overcome.
It was a scrappy affair, with my blue blast countering a falling star that would have decimated my army; and a surprise turnaround with a lowly sprite that blocked and killed an Erhnam with backup from a Pendelhaven and a Giant Growth; and with more air forces than Gen. Rush could muster, my army ultimately prevailed. I had scored 5 victories in 6 engagements, for a top 8 finish and the best of my career. Luck had fallen my way in some close games and it could just as easily have been a 3-3 finish.
Mr. President, these military exercises have been a powerful experience for me. I’ve learned from my mistakes and I’ll carry this episode with me for the rest of my days. I’d like to extend my gratitude toward all those who made these exercises possible, Generals Fierogut and Fornication Thomas, and the public house that played host to this gathering of honorable folks.
And now we will take these lessons learned and apply them directly to the unfortunate Confederates that stand our way. Onward, to Savannah!
Cmdr William T. Sherman