The fabled “Damage Curve.” I’ve seen the term a lot on the site, but didn’t quite have a firm grasp on what exactly was meant by it until I read the Day 14 challenge. Now I get it, and I’m a little worried … because another thing I’ve seen talked about a lot as important is “the ability to do two from distance.” And Gakura doesn’t have the ability to do much from distance other than Swat. And even that’s only one damage to the opposing monster. But maybe he has some other ways of shifting that damage curve in his favor. Let’s give it a look….
(It’s “The Big Three”…. Get it?… Never mind….)
- Health: Ultra Gakura has 12 health, six in each form. That’s solid. In most matches, I’ll start with a de facto lead just because of this, which gives me a little more cushion to be aggressive when it’s called for, which with Gakura is, you know, always.
- Healing: As a Nature monster, Gakura can heal by brawling High Occupancy Buildings. I’ve got Sports Arenas, which have defense of 6 and energy of 4, and Apartment Buildings (not currently in my list, but could be), which have defense of 4 and energy of 2. Actually, it would probably be a good idea to have maybe two of each on the board; the Sports Arenas for when I’ve got A-Dice to spare and could use the extra P-Dice, and the Apartment Buildings for when I absolutely need that point of health back and want to try to save some A-Dice for a back-to-back.
He can also heal with Munch on the Green Fury Vans’ Brawl, but as I’ve mentioned before, trying to set that up will usually mean giving up an opportunity to do something better.
- Super Damage: Ummm… Kinda. Sometimes.
- When Gak’s in the Alpha, he can’t do double damage unless his opponent is next to a building. When that’s the case, though, he can use Demolish to knock down a building and do one damage to the monster, then Blitz the opposing monster to do another. If the Building has Live Wire (e.g., EPP, Tokyo Triumph), then the potential for three is there.
- In the Ultra, the bad news is that he can’t do three on the Brawl. The good news is that he doesn’t need a building to do two. Lightning Attack on the brawl gets me that just fine, thanks, and with Energy Drain and Power Drain twice, it’s a pretty serious two at that.
- In both of these cases, I need to roll the dice twice, so I’m going to be looking for at least 90% odds whenever I can get them. Two rolls at 90% odds gives an 81% chance of two hits; two at 92.2% gets me up to an 85% chance of doubling up, and 95% on an individual attack gets me over 90% for the double. These will be important numbers for me to keep in mind.
Little Help Here?
How can my units help with the damage curve? The Radicals have the best units in the game, so they’ve got to be able to chip in, right? Right:
- Dino-Blast: For damage to the opposing monster, I couldn’t ask for much better than to put together a team of my Spikodon and Bellowers (1 Grunt and 1 Elite). If the opposing monster is out in the open, I can target him directly, otherwise I’ll target a unit adjacent to him and get the monster damage (and maybe also do some crowd control) with the Spikodon’s Explosion trigger. The three of them bring a minimum of 3*6 at long range to the party, which is a 3-in-4 chance of hitting a DEF 6 monster. Using both of the Spikodon’s available A-Dice makes this a 5-in-6 chance. Not bad for units.
- Removing screens: Well, using that team is a pretty good way to remove a screen. Also, my Pteradactixes can help with that effort by using Tow. Depending on the situation, it might be worth it to Tow a unit in among screening units to set up a more effective Explosion or Chain Reaction.
Oh, macro-level strategies. That’s totally different.
Anyway, since I normally find myself across the board from Destroyers, let’s work through this process on a couple of them. First, Ultra Gorghadra, whom I normally beat:
- What both monsters have:
—12 Health. Gakura’s is split 6–6, while Gorgy has 7 in the Alpha and 5 in the Ultra.
- What Gorghadra has that Gakura doesn’t:
—Super Damage on all three attacks in the Hyper form.
—A Defense of 7 in the Hyper form.
—Chain Reaction. I have it in units, but it’s qualitatively different bringing it attached to a monster attack.
- What Gakura has that Gorgy is missing:
—Jump. Gorgy’s a pedestrian, and might need a few buildings clear to get freedom of movement. I’ll be sure to sprinkle some Live Wire buildings in his way as much as possible. Of course, I’ll be happy to come across and clear them for him.
—Access to Healing. Not a lot, but I’ll plan to have at least a few Sports Arenas and/or Apartment Buildings on the board.
—Better Units. That Spikodon-Bellower combination I mentioned above is better than anything the Planet Eaters have.
Since we both have the same total damage, the curve is going to be determined by who can do the most. Let’s say I’m able to do 2 damage 80% of the time with Gakura, and 1 damage 75% of the time with the units. That’s about 1.2 per turn if I’m not going back-to-back. But I want to go back-to-back as much as I can. Let’s say over the course of the game, I’m able to take two monster turns for every unit turn. That makes the average 1.3 per turn.
Gorghadra, on the other hand, will not be able to back-to-back as often, but when he does, it’ll be tough to deal with. So for argument’s sake, I’ll assume three monster turns for every two unit turns. Let’s say he can do 2 damage 90% of the time in the Ultra, and 1.5 75% of the time in the Alpha, and he splits his time between each evenly. If his units do 1 damage every other turn, that makes his damage/turn about 1.1.
So what does it mean for my macro strategy? The most important thing I see in that list is Ultra Gorghadra’s super damage, which means a major part of my strategy needs to be getting rid of him as fast as I can when he appears, as Annhilate shifts the damage curve heavily in his favor. I want the smallest possible number of monster turns possible for Ultra Gorgy. So this implies a few things:
- I want a lot of buildings on the board when he comes out, so maybe I want to hyper up early and go after the Alpha with my Ultra’s Lightning Attack rather than Alpha’s Blitz/Demolish combo. When Gorgy hypers up, I flex down to have the opportunity to use buildings for 3 or more damage.
- I want to have a lot of P-Dice when Ultra Gorghadra comes out. That 7 DEF is formidable, and I can’t afford a miss. So I should either plan on running the Insurance Scam (even as the second player) or find a good spot early for a Super Stomp with the Alpha. I’ll also have to reload after I pay the 4 to hyper up.
- This also means that the Insurance Company HQ might be a good building for me to keep secured, even after I run the scam.
- I want to keep that Spikodon-Bellower team forward and Gakura on Gorgy’s side of the map. I’m going to be destroying buildings; they might as well be his.
- And I’m finally going to admit it. I need a different map. I’m leaning toward Mean Streets right now because there are very few safe places to stand, but I’ll have to think about it more. I’ll announce it in a later post.
What about vs. Mucustos? My favorite opponent has been smacking me around lately with the Mega; let’s see if we can figure out why:
- What both monsters have:
—12 Health. Again. Mega Mucustos has 7 in the Alpha and 5 in the Hyper, like Ultra Gorghadra.
—6 Defense in both forms.
- What Mucustos has that Gakura doesn’t:
—A big blast, with two triggers in each form. Crunch in the Alpha is almost a guaranteed 2, and Grind on the Mega is a good chance at 2, with an outside possibility of 3. Power Strike in the Mega is also nasty; I’ve discussed how important P-Dice are for Gakura.
—Summon for post-move screening.
- What Gakura has that Mucustos is missing:
—Access to Healing. Again, not a lot, but every little bit helps. CORRECTION: Mucustos (and the rest of the Savage Swarm monsters) can heal by brawling a nuclear power plant. Thanks to DaveZee for the reminder (see the comments below).
—Unit Buffing. This is starting to make me think that replacing the Green Fury Vans with my Frontline Apes is a good idea. Between Gang and Gakura’s blue Berserk, they can bring a mess of B-Dice. If I can keep my Air Kami with them, they’ll be able to move more effectively, and Distract will help with their 3 Defense.
Here, Mucustos’s blast in either form is the big threat. Let’s go ahead and leave my estimated damage/turn at 1.3. Mucustos wants to back-to-back a lot, too, so that he can Blast as much as possible. For him, I’ll assume two monster turns for every unit turn, like with Gakura. Let’s say he can do 2 damage 95% of the time in the Alpha, and 2 damage 75% of the time in the Mega. If his units do 1 damage every other turn, that makes his damage/turn about 1.3, same as Gakura’s. Here’s how I’m planning to deal with/take advantage of this.
- A board with lots of buildings will help deny him a place to stand and shoot safely. Remember that using buildings to screen doesn’t help him too much when I’m in the Alpha because of Demolish.
- I need to be sure I get across the board as fast as possible to get in his face. If there’s space between us, I’m going to be eating an average of 2 damage per monster turn. Beacon can help with this, so against Mucustos (or, presumably, any big blaster), the Radio Telescope will be more important to me than the Insurance Company HQ. The Oil Refinery is probably another good building to secure.
- Unit support will be key. Whether that means the Frontline Apes with the Air Kami, or the Spikodon-Bellower team, I’ll want the units trying to do 1 damage per turn.
- I’ll definitely want to scatter Sports Arenas and Apartment Buildings around the board here, as healing will be even more important. The Apartment Buildings should go on my side, since the Destroyers get a bonus P-Die for destroying them.
This was really my first conscious exploration of the damage curve, and it was eye-opening. As I’m learning more and exploring more options, I have a lot more to think about during each game. I’m also finding myself getting better at seeing what my opponent might be able to do in response to each of my different options. All of this is making me a better player, step by step, and I’m looking forward to getting to work on Day 15!