If you think that even after the fall and initial Decryption Gobwin Knob was outnumbered about 10-to-1 - that sounds about right to me, Jetstone had forces to wipe out 1000 GK ground units and was planning a massive capital defense battle - then the only conclusion is that Jetstone screwed up pretty hardcore letting this get that close, and Parson's plan wasn't all that good, and he got lucky.
Actually they didn't really - not in a convincing fashion. Don't forget Jetstone's original plan - believing Ansom was leading a column similar to the one he led against GK in book 1 - was to hold GK at the bridge until Haggar's column of heavies arrived and then fall back to the city. When everything went bad for GK Haggar had left, and most of the Jetstone heavies were left out in the field with insufficient move to get back to the city.
Tramennis understood the point of what was happening quickly - saving the barrage of arrows for after the mass decrypt would have been a lot smarter, but he burnt them going after wanda in the most wasteful way possible
Which wouldn't really have changed the fact it wouldn't have been hard to get a lot of the decrypted forces to relative safe positions in the Atrium even then. The best chance of getting a lucky strike was in the moments of everyone briefly incapacitated out in the open.
There were 600 archers in the battle, say half that in the tower. If, even with foolamancy, 300 archers volleying from tower was an ineffective tactic for wiping out Wanda and the handful before the mass decrypt, then Trammenis never should have tried it. He doesn't seem stupid. Why would he waste such a powerful force like that? The archers were basically spent by the time the siege started, or they would have wiped out the beseigers.
There was no way for the archers on the walls to fire into the atrium, and the ones on the tower didn't have a clear shot. Their volleys were coming close to Wanda though, so she got lucky.
The bottom line is Jetsone had enough before the battle to wipe out all the dragons with just spells and archers, and then suddenly once they landed Jetstone didn't have enough even to take out the purples - and it appeared to be because they blew 90% of their arrow ammo uselessly before the decrypt. Either they blew it on something very unlikely to work at killing Wanda for no reason when alternatives, like having the archers descend into the atrium, were available, or else it should have worked.
When the dwagons were suspended helplessly in the air like big sitting ducks and couldn't retaliate and could have been made to bear the brunt of everything the archers (including those on the walls), tower defense and casters could have chucked at them - and even then Jack thought there was the potential for enough of them to survive the turn to be able to beat a hasty retreat once GK's next turn started if they were smart.
Frankly, considering Wanda had to reveal her location to decrypt *anything*, including the dragon they hid under and Jetstone had no trouble targeting specific units before the big scrum, there's no way she should have lived through to her mass decrypt. And once she went off to the dungeon, the tactical cascade was off the table in the courtyard. At that point, the banzai charge Jetstone was just getting around to a few strips ago was on the table. The amount of time it took them to "get organized" was story useful, but silly. Duty should have compelled every Jetstone warlord in the city to lead every unit against Sylvia from the moment the first purple breathed, and, frankly, Jetstone should have been able to stomp them flat with Wanda off in the dungeon, bonuses or not. Bonuses should not be that powerful, 3000 vs. 300.
They didn't know Wanda wasn't still in the courtyard. And when were they targeting specific units? We've observed that archer type warlords - like Archer and Artemis - can pull off amazing shots when they actually are in a position to do so (and all reasonably close range). Like when they have a clear line of sight. The guys on tower had no such option. Even if they came right over to the edge and leaned over they wouldn't be in a great spot for sniping with bow and arrow.
And if Jetstone outnumbered GK that badly - and we all agree they ought to have - why did Charlie's/Slately's counterattack look a lot less lopsided? yes, they marched a column away instead. Why? Why did that fight go so badly that the Dollamancer had to order a suicide bombing? It didn't look to be going well to me. Yes, dwagons are tough, but cmon - Artemis took out seven with one stack. Why didn't Jetstone use those forces? Why didn't Charlie force them to, more units being better to kill Parson with than less?
Huh? Because it wasn't a counterattack. It was cover for another plan - Trem left with everything except the suicide squad that went in to rescue Cubbins and cover Slately going for the throne. It was never intended to take the courtyard (Ace got lucky).
Slately is dead. Trem is the heir and current Slately dies at the end of this turn. So Trem wouldn't have been able to risk himself in the battle. They don't know Wanda isn't there anymore. Artemis and her team of commandos were exceptional warriors who knew exactly what to do - the team that went with Slately didn't have a high leval archer warlord and knights with it. It looked to mainly be a couple of warlords and a bunch of stabbers and pikers.
And probably because Charlie knows his limits/has his own plan. He's not going to try and strong arm Slately like he did Haggar (and it is possible Charlie wasn't sure when the plan was made that Wanda wouldn't be back as well).
This is nonsense. To repeat myself: when Wanda's army was floating in the air, the forces and dwagons out there were not tough enough to survive the archers and casters. Clearly established and agreed to by all sides.
All sides also thought that those archers and casters and tower spells were enough to wipe out most to all of that force even if all the living units were decrypted by Wanda as they were killed. That was Jack's original plan, and his description still implied overwhelming losses. What actually happened was worse for GK in terms of hits left to absorb, because GK killed most of their dragons without Jetsone needing to waste juice / arrows.
No, not accepted by all sides since Jack had a plan to survive the turn with Wanda intact. The difference being - GK couldn't fight back. Jetstone would have been able to blast them with everything and GK - being stuck off turn - wouldn't have been able to kill the tower. And even then there was a chance Wanda would have survived to fly way when it was all done.
Plus - antiaircraft defense are made for shooting down planes. They stop being as effective if the planes can get below them. It's like saying "but the Deathstar had all those turbolasers and things on its surface, how come the x-wings survive?" - because they drop into a canyon that gets them below the worst of the anti-air defenses.
The added Jetstone infantry are meaningless - all Jetstone would have had to do was kill the decrypted siege dragons, and Gobwin Knob would have had no way of entering or destroying the barricaded tower. Furthermore, just shooting down all the regular dragons would have left the jetstone infantry by themselves fairly pathetic. A combat bonus doesn't make you survive a larger number of arrows. No, Jetstone had the shooting to kill every dragon in Spacerock twice over, give or take 20% or so, whether they were on the ground, or in the air. And they wasted it, blanketing an area with area fire blindly. If that was going to be totally ineffective at killing Wanda, they should have known it would be so and done something more effective, like moved a component downstairs to shoot at Wanda directly, forcing her to decrypt things to screen her, and otherwise taking aimed shots. They spent 90% of their shooting hitting rocks.
When in the air every archer they had would have been able to actually target and the casters would have been throwing whatever they had into it as well, plus tower defense. And Wanda would only be able to resurrect from a small pool of deceased units, there would be no growing her forces. When in an enclosed space far below only a portion of the archers where able to indirectly volley fire into the area, the tower air defenses can do nothing and the dittomancer could only have doubled the volleys like he was doing out in the field.
And you make that sound so easy - never mind the purples probably wouldn't have been on the front line when Jetstone attacked - the reds and greens would have been. And assuming they successfully killed the purples - then GK simply has to wait out the turn, which with decryption there would have been a reasonable chance of doing. Once GK has their turn again they get to fly away on any surviving dwagons, or torch the city if the reds survived while Wanda flies away. It wasn't a case of "ok, if we destroy the purples they'll be powerless to overcome this big door and it will be impossible for them to escape the perfectly sealed atrium and defeat us, and while we'll be able to pick them off at our leisure".
And again - if there was no shooting at all Wanda would already have been decrypting by the time the squad of archers got down there. So it would be a squad of low level archers vs dwagons, warlords and the growing ranks of decrypted. Not every base archer unit is Artemis or Captain Archer.
Furthermore, your assumptions about relative strength are blind, unwarranted, and contrary to evidence. Maybe the decrypted dwagons were the strongest individual units in the city, but just because bonuses are nice doesn't mean that numbers have no meaning. Please re-read the Artemis fight, which happened while Wanda was still in the city. You will observe that a single Jetstone high-level knight was weaker than a decrypted dwagon, but four high-level Jetstone knights attacking as a team were *stronger* than a decrypted dragon. Fancy that! If 50 decrypted dragons were stronger enough to conquer the whole of Erfworld on their own, than I think Gobwin Knob wouldn't have bothered making their other 8500 units. However stacking works, when you take enough units on by yourself, some of them are going to have the chance to hit you before you kill them. Numbers matter.
The stack Artemis and her knights attack was unled, or not led by anyone exception if I remember rightly.
Wanda was in the city, but not present for the decrypting. The fight might have gone differently if the knights got back up as they died to fight their fellows, yes? And how many of these high level knights led by a high level warlord with a ranged ability does Jetstone have they have? That is the whole point - numbers will eventually win, sure, the problem being if Wanda was present to be decrypting, with the bonuses she offered (even with no dance fighting) every unit you loose gets back up and starts fighting you and it is tougher than ever. In the immediate short term GK's forces would be growing - the dwagons, knight heavies and warlords are going to take out a lot of stabbers and pikers and low level warlords before the first dwagon dies (look how many appeared to have died in Slately's charge from one fire/gas combo), and those stabbers, pikers and low level warlords are going to be splitting attention from the dwagons, and more pikers and stabbers will be dying and rising.
If you can replenish your forces faster then your enemy can kill you there is a good chance you'll win. If you can replenish them fast enough to really slow how quickly your enemy is killing you, you give yourself more time to figure out something. Wanda wouldn't have been able to do either in the air, on the ground any attack by ground forces would allow her to.
The Jetstone force was a decapitation strike force meant to assassinate the ruler under surprise, with the rest of Jetstone's forces nearby and unable to assist. When that failed, they were, or should have been by the logical limitations of what they had done so far, overwhelmingly outnumbered. Getting onto the ground and adding 100 Jetstone infantry or so still leaves them massively outnumbered. Rob's created the real-time decryption to be very powerful, but it should not, and does not, mean that Wanda can charge overwhelming forces with whatever she happens to have around and win automatically. If you're killing the other guy five times faster than he's killing you, than your total combat power is decreasing faster than his even if you're gaining back the one fifth of your losses that are his losses.
Have you ever played a Total War game? A siege in them? Notice how the enemy puts a hole or two in your wall and then has to run masses of troops through a small space, usually into guys surrounding them on all sides? A bit like what faced Slately's forced when they attacked? An attack on the atrium would have cost Jetstone dearly. They might have won, but there would be a chance they wouldn't.
For one - Wanda wouldn't have been charging. Jetstone would have. And how exactly are Jetstone killing the GK forces five times faster? Again - did you observe what two breath combos did to Slately's guys charging through the breach? A lot of them died without hitting an enemy. Notice the damage a stack of purples did to the guys on the other side of a big solid door and wall? Now imagine if there was no big solid door and wall in front of masses of infantry.
But that said - there was a very real chance the Jetstone forces could have taken it, if they had charged with everything they had. Both Caesar and Trem knew this. But decryption if a very real concern. It is the big gibbly on the field that makes you doubt yourself and play too cautiously when the only option is to go all in - and with good reason.
Not one actual participant in that comic thought that Jetstone was "lost" once Wanda was in there. At risk, yes, because now they can attack you instead of being sitting ducks, and they're inside the city with the ruler. Not lost. And GK was tougher than they ought to have been by any consistent portrayal of the capabilities implied.
True - no one said they were definitely lost. Trem never said "we can absolutely do this" - he said he was going to assess and decide if the chances of victory were great enough to risk it. Caesar said if they wanted to have a chance of winning what they would need to do. Definitely no one thought Jetstone was doomed there (especially while retreat was possible) but no one was saying the GK forces were doomed either.