I apply the concepts of economics to Myth strategy, discussing Myth strategy as a series of resources and resource transactions.
Alright so this is just my take on myth strategy and what I felt was the best, most scientific way to rationalize it. I wrote this to help bring more awareness about myth strategy. To be a great myth player, you must understand strategy very well, and to understand strategy is to understand what I like to call "Myth Economics." It is not that this strategic knowledge has never been known before, it is just a new way to conceptualize it, in order to explain it, and a fancy name that I gave it.
The Resources of Myth
So people are probably wondering, what the hell do I mean by "Myth Economics." Well, if you look at myth as having a series of resources, I think it is a bit easier to explain some things. In myth, you have finite resources, and the winner of the game is just a matter of who can allocate their resources most efficiently. So what are the resources of myth? Well that is not hard, let's list them:
Resource #1: Health. Your army's health (the kind of units you trade for, i.e. the assets at your disposal, can also come into play here)
Resource #2: Land. The land on the map that you control (I sometimes like to call this real-estate)
Resource #3: Game objectives (flags, balls, targets, etc.)
Resource #4: Time (the ticking game clock)
Something also important to understand is the relationship of renewable resources vs non-renewable resources. Most of myth's resources are non-renewable. What I mean by that, is that you start with a fixed amount of the resource in the beginning, and once you trade it away you cannot get it back. For example, the 4th resource of time is always a non-renewable resource. It is shared by both teams, and it is being depleted at a constant pace (obviously.) Resource #2 is always renewable, if you lose land control, you can always get it back. Resource #1 is generally a non-renewable resource, the only exception is whatever healing, or reinforcement capabilities (lichen, shuffle) you may have in the game (these would be very limited and rare however.) Resource #3 is also usually a non-renewable resource, depending on the game-type (the only exceptions are stb, lmoth, terries, captures. On very rare instances you could also say BC could be renewable due to healing effects, such as kg bc with hgh, and pg bc to a lesser degree, but those are obviously very limited and rare.) In the cases of renewable resources, it does not matter what your score is in game objectives throughout the game, it only matters at the end when the game clock runs out (certain contingencies may apply such as getting 6-flagged.) I know you all know this stuff, I am just applying this whole myth economics concept for everyone to see.
The Transactions of Myth
Now moving on, you can trade one commodity for another if you so choose to, in what I like to call a series of "transactions." The most common transaction in myth is trading resource #1 for #1, which means to say, trading your army's health, for the opposing army's health, in just typical BC style fighting. There is of course many other transactions you can do. In fact, you will soon see that there is a transaction for every combination of those 4 resources, thus there are 16 possible kinds of transactions. So let's list our 16 transactions, and analyze them in a bit more detail.
First, here is a table numbering our 16 theoretical transactions from left to right, top to bottom for reference, so we can list them out.
Transaction #1: Trading health for health. So as I already mentioned this is the most common kind of transaction, just simple fighting in the game trading army health amongst both teams.
Transaction #2: Trading health for land. So that just means you want to push the enemy to gain more ground, but are going to get bitten along the way.
Transaction #3: Trading health for game objective. So that just means you want to take some hits in order to tag a flag, kill a target, or so forth. Pretty simple.
Transaction #4: Trading health for time. So you are trying to delay your opponent by taking some hits.
Transaction #5: Trading land for health. This means you are falling back and giving up land to your opponent to prevent taking some hits.
Transaction #6: Trading land for land. This one is a bit confusing, but basically it means you are giving up land somewhere on the map, so that you can gain land somewhere else on the map.
Transaction #7: Trading land for game objective. Give up real-estate in order to kill or protect targets. I think you are starting to get the point now.
Transaction #8: Trading land for time. This is pretty common, you are giving up land to slow your opponent down and delay them for time.
Transaction #9: Trading game objective for health. So you are giving up a flag (hopefully it's just territories) so your units can stay alive.
Transaction #10: Trading game objective for land. So you are giving up some time on the flag in a desert koth game, so that you can flank around the opponent.
Transaction #11: Trading game objective for game objective. It's a shootout.
Transaction #12: Trading game objective for time. Giving up a flag in FR so you can surround the last flag you need for a win. This one is a bit of a stretch.
Transaction #13: Trading time for health. Again, you are falling back to prevent taking fire.
Transaction #14: Trading time for land. You are pushing slowly to gain ground, giving up some time. That new ground you now control can be used to buy back that time later in the game when it is more valuable. Think of it as an investment, earning interest. See "The Relationship of Time vs Land" below for more on this.
Transaction #15: Trading time for game objective. You stop contesting a flag in sudden death because you already won without it.
Transaction #16: Trading time for time. Both teams are trying to run out the clock.
The whole point of transactions is to acquire positive gains-from-trade, or surplus, from your opponent. Meaning, you gained more from the transaction than they did, or that its result will benefit you more than the opponent. The simplest example of this, is in a #1 transaction, the amount of additional damage you dealt over the opponent, is your gain from trade. That one is easily quantifiable, but usually these things are not easily put into numbers. When deciding which transactions to pursue or not, that is when you weigh the whole risk vs rewards thing in your mind. These little decisions and transactions is what separates good players from bad players.
The Relationship of Time vs Land
Okay so you may have noticed reading through the transaction's section that there were some repeats, and I may have made this whole thing a little more complex than it needed to be. You probably noticed some kind of correlation between time and land. Well, you are right. I want to explain the relationship between time and land first, because it is the most important. All of the land between the opponent, and his game objectives, IS time. Why? Because even if your units just magically disappeared, he would still need to spend time to move his units across the aforementioned land, to get to the game objective. That means that any land you control between the opponent and his game objectives is like having cold hard cash that you can use to pay for more time. Likewise, any land the opponent controls between you and your game objectives is like cash for him, so you don't want him to have any cash. So not ALL land on the map is going to give you time, but in most cases, most of it is, and that land is liquid capital that can be instantly converted into time.
Now, because the game clock is constantly ticking away, depleting everyone resources for time, that means this "time-land" is becoming exponentially more important as the game goes on, and the clock runs down. The game clock represents the maximum amount of time that is theoretically available to control, and the amount of land on the map represents the maximum amount of time that is actually available (how long it takes for units to run from one side of the map to the other, i.e. the maximum amount of time that can be controlled.) So the game clock doesn't start becoming really important until the game clock approaches this maximum amount of time that can be controlled on the map. At which point, the amount of time either team controls on the map, starts becoming a greater and greater fraction of the remaining game time, making it more and more important. Land that you control vs what the enemy controls, tells you how much of that time in the game clock, is your time, and how much is the enemy's time. Each team's control of time is relatively independent of each other, so if both teams control 100% of the time on the game clock, that means neither team will accomplish anything further with the game-type.
Now, you may think this is common sense, but I can't begin to tell you how many idiots (yes, talking about 4 ball mythers even) will be in a game like ctf, and their team will have the opposing team backed up on their own home flag, which is often also on a hill. So this means that they control the whole map, right? They got all the time in the world, right? Well instead of having enough discipline to just chillax and run the timer out before rushing in for a guaranteed win-or-tie scenario, they push with 6 minutes or some bullshit left on the clock, end up losing the fight, and the opposing team of course ends up winning the game (yes, this happens in important tournament matches as well). That is not the only kind of situation either, land is easily the most underrated resource in this game. Generally speaking, if you can push someone to gain more ground without having to give up much, then you should do it. I feel like the art of pushing is sometimes a lost art. Pushing doesn't mean fighting, it means removing all options for your opponent except to either A: fall back, or B: start dying. As has been talked about before, this is a kind of risk vs reward thing. You want to make the risk overwhelming for them when compared to the little reward, so you are in essence making the decision to fall back for them. As I mentioned before, pushing for control of the map becomes more and more important as the game clock runs down, meaning it makes it more and more worth it to give up something else such as health, in order to acquire it.
The Relationships of Resources
As explained in the transaction's section, all of these resources have a relationship with each other. The game objective is the primary resource, and of course the most important. It always determines whether or not you win or lose. All of the other resources indirectly influence this resource however, so they hold certain importance as well. If I was cool enough to draw a graph to illustrate this, I would put 4 points to represent each resource, and double-sided arrows going from each resource to every other resource, representing each possible transaction. But finally, I would put red arrows on the ones pointing away from the game-objective resource, because those are generally bad transactions. So the resources are kind of bouncing around each other, only to find themselves caught finally in the game-objective resource. I hope that makes sense.
More on Land
So why list land and time separately if they are the same thing? Well time is land, but land is not always time. The reason land is not exactly time, is because control of the corners of the map for example, is not going to give you any more time (unless there is a game objective there). Also, control of land has a kind of different use besides just time, and that is to give you additional angles of attack and room to maneuver, while simultaneously smothering your opponent's angles of attack, and room to maneuver. Controlling ¾ of the land on a map, is like controlling ¾ of the board in a game of chess. Your opponent has little room to move or attack, and you have all kinds of opportunities to attack, and more room to create even more opportunities to attack.
More on Game Objectives
We all know that we never want to give up game objectives to the enemy, but this myth economics kind of further puts our intuition into logical sense. Most game objectives are non-renewable resources, and they are also the key to winning a game, so transactions 9 through 12 are particularly the last thing you want to do on a non-renewable resource game objective (obviously.)
The game objective resource is the primary resource, the end-game, the key to winning or losing. Every other resource mentioned here is allocated with acquiring more of this resource in mind. In the case of a non-renewable game objective, you will pretty much never trade this resource away for anything else. Instead, everything else will be traded away for this resource. On renewable resource game-types, you only care about having more of this resource at the end of the game, so you may give up a terries flag if it will keep some units alive, because keeping units alive will help you achieve the objective at the end when it counts.
More on Army Health
This does not just mean how green your unit's health bars are, it also means how "healthy" your army is as a whole. In other words, what kind of unit trade your team has, what unit assets you have, and so forth. If you lost all your dorfs in that kg game, even though the rest of your army is healthy, you obviously become prone to being rushed. Dorfs are not front-line troops, they are assets to be used conservatively. They will save your ass just by their mere existence. Of course, all of your units are assets in some way or another. Keep in mind that on renewable resource game-types, your army health indirectly influences the game objective, so it becomes even more important.
Alright so as I said before, this is just my take on myth strategy. I wrote this specifically because I want myth players appreciate the full value of land-control on the map, its relationship with time, and how it can set up other big plays, and other general strategy concepts. The land on the map is a resource just like the other resources, and your strategic goal is to acquire as much of every resource as possible, and allocate them in the most efficient manner as possible. So I hope people starts thinking about this, all of it working together to reach an orgasmic climax in acquiring the most of the primary game-objective resource, and winning the game.
I may update this in the future because I kind of wrote it quickly, and perhaps not all of my thoughts flowed very well, or were coherent. I hope you enjoyed it, and maybe even learned something from it. Happy mything.