Finding My Oasis – Day 0

In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it. – Lao Tzu

Profile photo of Steven By Steven On February 21, 2012 Posted In Other

I’ve been incredibly inspired by the past few months of Mastering Monsterpocalypse. The end of Spazz’s Day 31 was the final push needed to get me to take a step away from all of the other things at Covenant and really flesh out, for the first time, how best to play Aquosia. This will be an interesting journey, given that I have been playing her for so long, but perhaps much can be gained from another look at the very foundations of my favorite monster. I sincerely request that everyone reading will help me in my decisions. I’ve grown tunneled in my vision of what she is and how she plays, and wish for that to be challenged.

I'm baaack, and I'm betta than eva.

 

Of course Day 0 has to start with the grand question. I’m unwilling to do a dual-monster Mastering Monsterpocalypse, so this waffle needs to get eaten right away. There’s the Ultra..

I'm standard, but beautiful. I have a distinct playstyle with Annihilate and Quick.

 

And then there’s the Mega…

I can blast for 2 from long range and make my own screens. I have Jump!

 

And so we have the eternal dilemma. Which of these two forms will be taken on this journey? Ultra with 6 DEF, 5 Health, or Mega with 5 DEF, 6 Health? Ultra with Annihilate Swats and Quick, or Mega with Weapon Master blasts and Jump? 5 Hyper cost Ultra or 4 Hyper cost Mega? I’ll be up all night pondering the validity of each, and it’s up to someone out there to bring me sanity. Please…quickly…

  1. Well, working in a game store has taught me that when in intense debate with no visible way out. We have these amazing decision making cubes to assist.

    Grab an A Die

    Mega is Misses, Ultra is Strikes. Bam! Done!

  2. I always think of Aquosia as the much prettier but less overtly powerful version of Mucustos. What she loses in monster-to-monster comparison, she makes up for with better/faster units. I’ve always felt like the key to playing her is to play her in a way that makes Mucustos look bad.

    I’m voting for Mega here. I feel she has more game.

    1. When in doubt, listen to The Theorist. I can’t speak for his overall aptitude for playing Monpoc, but his insight into the figures and forms is top notch.

      Also, since no one else has mentioned it that I can tell, Jump turns every monster into a capable power attacker. Many times, the threat of a power attack is more valuable than actually making a power attack, as the threat alone can make your opponents have to make tough decisions. And, as I am sure you already know, the top tier matches can be won just by forcing the other player to make tough decision after tough decision.

      1. I find that pedestrian status generally means you must be willing to take unsafe positions that offer power attack trades, since it can be difficult/impossible to find safe ground in a forward position (even with TRANSPORT to help). I also find that pedestrian status makes the enemy monster much safer in moving forward — giving them play options they couldn’t otherwise make.

        Ultra gives the opposing monster more options, and must stand in her backfield. The opponent must pretty much invite her across by not blocking her path… otherwise she has to take her mere 10 health out into the middle and get hit first. She really doesn’t quite have a game she can play to win outside of being the best power-attacker (offensively) within Protectors.

        Mega bays her opponent with the JUMP threat, and can take some positions Ultra never could to try and attack first. Being able to land damage first is very critical when you do not hit harder than your opponent and do not have a health/healing buffer. In timed and untimed, she’s better at getting in this first hit without getting hit for more as reply.

        I’m surprised that you included “I can’t speak for his overall aptitude for playing MonPoc”, Phil. What you wanted to say stood just fine without that bit, making it feel to me like a dig. I have my share of wins vs everybody on here, so what gives?

      2. It wasn’t meant to be a dig, but a statement of fact. I have never played you, nor do I follow tournament that I am not involved in. Anyways, if everyone knows your a great player, why does it matter whether I can attest to it or not?

        Otherwise, again, great insights into the limitations of the Ultra and the strengths of the Mega.

        Of course, there is one major weakness of the Mega: defense. I have played more than a few matches where a 5 defense monster got eaten alive by a unit swarm. Hell, I have done 8 damage and killed two forms in a single turn with Osheroth’s alpha vs a 5 def monster. Higher def monsters weather a unit or morpher swarm much more easily.

      3. Fair enough! I didn’t realize we had a 2nd Phil on here — but you should hop on VASSAL sometime, and let’s correct this atrocity!

        Ordinarily I’d agree on lower defense being worse than higher defense — but not here, because Mega has +1 health. Even if there is a turn where Mega Aquosia gets hit for 2 damage by units (instead of the 1 Ultra would take) or she walks into an easy 1 unit damage that Ultra wouldn’t take, she’s still even in health with Ultra after that turn.

        What the health buffer does is equalize the resources that are needed to kill Mega — and since this can mean splitting dice on a unit turn for 2 iffy shots to do it, you can actually look at that turn as a low odds turn for the opponent. They have to land BOTH shots to do to you what only 1 damage would do to the Ultra.

        I have never really written an article about it, but 1 health is better than 1 defense. With DEF, your fate is out of your hands. You count on the slightly better stat saving you by causing a miss — when the opponent rolls exactly 1 under your defense, your defense saves you. It’s a rare thing to see… usually a miss is more than 1 under your defense. On the other hand, your health buys you turns where your monster isn’t dead yet — it is a tool you can utilize because you KNOW that it doesn’t matter if they land the attack.

      4. Sorry for the confusion. I am the Phillip from Kentucky, and the big tournament I typically go to is GenCon. I might try to make MonCon this year; I needed an excuse to take my new truck on a road trip anyway :-)

        I will have to disagree with you on the “health is better than def” front, though. I would take the defense every time. My main concern is not just one turn where a 5 def monster takes an extra damage in one turn, but where the 5 def monster takes an extra damage or two multiple times.

        I play cthul about as often as anything else, so let’s talk mollok brutes (2), corruptor, and cthulibite. If I have just one of these on the board, and can summon and spawn and move the rest into position, then that’s 3 or 4 white, and 5 or 6 blue, and -2 def. For a 6 def monster, that would be a little too risky for trying to split the attack, so that’s just 1 damage. But for a 5 def monster, the odds are in my favor that if I split that into two attacks, one or both will hit.

        Again, in one turn, this doesn’t matter that much. But now, in this situation, aquosia has to choose between clearing those units out, retreating, or trying to do damage to my monster. And if she doesn’t clear out my units before their next turn, I am coming at her with even more brutes for 2-3 damage on my next unit turn! The Ultra, on the other hand, would shurg off the one damage, and move on. Ok, she would probably be stuck behind my unit barracade for a bit.

        Anyway, while this is just one scenario, it is not unique to cthul. There are plenty of playable builds where you can get -1 or -2 def and lots and lots of blue dice in a single turn. Especially monsters with berserk.

        Again, this is also about the ease of forcing a monster into a tough decision. 5 def monsters might take 2 damage in a unit turn where a higher def monster would only take a single damage, but this situation can also put that monster in a predicament, choosing between clearing those units, or moving forward knowing that the little buggers are still back there.

      5. If choosing Mega Aquosia made Alpha also DEF 5, I would agree that Ultra’s DEF 6 was important to avoiding unit damage. For a portion of the game, Alpha’s DEF 6 will guard her on turns where units loom threateningly. Keep in mind, we are only talking though about Mega’s 6 health — the odds on units landing 2 then 2 again vs Mega are astronomically low. The only situation where I feel she could have that happen would be on a teleporter map, where I would expect her to lose regardless of hyper-form.

        A lot of players prefer DEF over HEALTH. I wasn’t really speaking even to my own preference, actually. From a “resources spent” analysis, they are roughly equivolent — with a timely miss creating health (or a 2 damage unit turn erasing health) to make them basically identical. A point of DEF does absolutely nothing unless it directly causes a miss. Next time you play a game note which attacks on your monster missed by exactly 1 point. There’s a good chance that your monster’s DEF won’t have helped you at all, outside of encouraging your opponent to spend 1 more P-die per attack to hit you.

        And for the record I’d take HEALTH 7 DEF 5 over HEALTH 5 DEF 7 pretty much any day of the week. It takes a resources push to go thru health quickly — 2 damage unit turns or back-to-back monster turns that burn the P-dice pool. It doesn’t take much to walk through minimal health, often just 2 monster turns and a unit turn (dealing 1) in the middle.

      6. “A point of DEF does absolutely nothing unless it directly causes a miss.”

        Are you telling me that you make exactly the same unit decision on a 5 DEF opponent as a 6 DEF? And likewise, a 7 or 8 DEF opponent? Cause, obviously, 5 DEF and 6 DEF are the same, and 6 and 7 are the same, so therefore, 5 and 7 are the same.

        Please excuse the hyperbole, but I do very different things with my units against, say, Ultra Zor Maxim as I do against, say Kondo. Even the difference of 5 and 6 def will make me decide to do one big attack with my units instead of, say, two or three seperate attacks, especially if I am lowering the def with a skill.

        Also, while the alpha should be considered along side the hyper forms, Aquosia is not a flexer. Therefore, once in hyper, she will want to stay hyper if possible (or she may have to if necessary). To me, that makes the question of DEF even more critical.

  3. Steven, I lean towards the Mega with the lower Hyper cost and higher health. I believe she’s your girl! I also think her being more mobile in addition to her having a fantastic blast, she’s a force to be reckoned with.

    In a way she reminds me of a certain Blue Ninja I ran for MM.:)

  4. One of the things that you often notice when comparing two monsters is that one monster has some noticably better skills than the other. In comparing the two hyper forms of Aquosia I thought that the Annihilate made the Ultra easy choice, but the Mega has super damage potential in all forms of attacks as well!

    Better health, lower hyper, long range blast attacks and a movement ability – my vote is for the mega.

  5. It’s easy to make arguments for both sides, but I’m inclined toward Ultra.

    Mega’s most appealing traits, in my opinion, is the greater mobility and lower hyper cost. Jump is almost as good as flight for a monster, the only thing it can’t do is let you stop on hazards. She’s also just faster.

    Ultra, however, has Quick, better attack stats (*3 on Power instead of *2 is what sold me here), and being from an agenda who regularly lowers defense on unit turns, 6 defense feels better than 5 even if the health scores adjust accordingly. Of course, your lack of healing can negate that last point.

    I think the most important reasons to take Ultra over Mega is the Quick and the Annihilate. Mega has the potential to do damage just as well as Ultra can, but Ultra’s super damage is guaranteed. Of course, perhaps that’s a reason not to take her. People may get sloppy against Crunch or Overload but they won’t against Annihilate.

    1. I think the best thing about Mega Aquosia is 2 damage at long-range AND the ability to screen (via TRANSPORT) on the same monster. You can jump into a partial (and therefore useless) pocket, complete the pocket (making it useful) with TRANSPORT, then land significant damage… hopefully with enough dice to take another turn afterward.

      Ultra seems more of a counter-attacker. She lands 2-brawls back-to-back, and/or throws then screens one side to limit reply options. As Aquosia doesn’t heal and has such low health, counter-attacking is not even in play as a viable option against a lot of monsters. QUICK is nice… it generally means 1A extra for power up or 1A extra toward odds (around 3-5% if you play conservatively).

      I feel like Mega can make better use of TRANSPORT than Ultra, and I also feel like she can retreat better to make use of alpha’s red QUICK. A lot of what makes Aquosia unique is best seen in the Mega.

  6. Personally I’ve played both and much prefer the Ultra. As Phil mentioned, the higher b-dice on a the power attack is a great selling point for me… and as for Hyper cost… don’t flex! I just find the Ultra, in general, more fun to play. But I like peds. And three legged dogs.

      1. I’ve said it before I think that 5P (or any hyper cost) is not a static burden. When you barely have 5P or don’t have it, it’s enormous. As you move to 10P, that 5P starts looking pretty small. Monsters with high hyper-cost tend to utilize some trickery to minimize the cost — hyper and gather then go to units, power up hyper and hold dice to power up again, or just let alpha die to avoid paying anything at all. Some monsters like Mega Defender X and Mega Dajan gain the ability to safely brawl an EPP when they hyper, and have terribly good efficiency with their best attack. MZM’s hyper-cost 6 is offset very well by the fact his blast really only needs the base 7A 4B to have a decent chance to hit.

        Don’t get me wrong, there are some monsters in the field that I think get held back from serious contention by their high hyper cost. But it’s not killer.

        The difference here? For 1P more (Ultra over Mega), you maybe gain 1A (QUICK if you won’t need to step) and cost the opponent 2-3A (kill an enemy unit via SWAT instead of blast). That makes the costs about the same… and is why I think Mega’s JUMP and potential range of 7 the difference makers in the decision.

      2. MZM is a terrible monster to talk about when it comes to hyper costs, as is any Collaborator. They have the most ridiculous power-basing units in the game with Satellite Support, Cloak, and UN to get Amplify units onto zones from across the map turn 1. I just finished a game with Marcus where, even if I disrupted everything I could, he still had a 5-7P power up every single activation using UCI. So for MZM, getting 6P to hyper is a cakewalk and his ridiculous blast stat makes it easy to justify.

        Better to look at someone like Mega Crustaceor who depends on power attacks and, while Invaders have Power Gorge and Amplify, they’re still not going to be generating huge amounts of power if your opponent is bent on stopping you. He can do things to mitigate the cost, but when the choice is either “Hyper and do something” or “Hyper and wait to recuperate the cost” I’ll go with the former every time.

      3. Ironically you have chosen Mega Crustaceor, who has a very battle-capable alpha. He’s a monster that can just let alpha die off instead of paying his hyper cost. An opponent pushing the fight too hard finds they are paying their hyper-cost but Crusty isn’t needing to do the same. As a health-5 guy, he’s one of the monsters where he rarely hypers up unless he gets to 10P early where it’s not all his p-dice.

      4. While Crusty may not “need” to, my point is that he doesn’t have the option. I’m not talking about a monster being required to hyper to succeed, but Crusty loses options because he can’t access that hyper form at times when it might be convenient because of the higher cost. It certainly doesn’t discount him as a threat, but he’s a better example than MZM who, even with a higher hyper cost, typically has no trouble at all getting into his Hyper form.

        Ultimately it boils down to this: the higher the Hyper cost, the fewer the options. A 3-cost Hyper can flex back and forth without a problem. A 5+ cost Hyper simply cannot easily do the same without a very solid powerbase. I’m not saying that it can’t be done, but simply that it’s much easier to regularly access a 3 or 4 cost hyper than it is a 5 cost. If you don’t ever want to pay to Hyper (and for some monsters that’s totally appropriate), then it’s of no consequence whatsoever, but I think having the option is important.

      5. If you are trying to convince me that a higher hyper cost is worse than a lower hyper cost, consider my opinion won.

        Definitely not being able to hyper and pounce on an attack for lack of P-dice (or A-dice) is always going to be frustrating, and a mathematically (and otherwise) skilled opponent will taunt you by resting 1A or 1P past what you would need to get at them. The game certainly CAN be about options, and early into the game being able to hyper up is generally the difference between good offense and no offense.

        Where I think the big point to be made on hyper-costs is this though — it actually is very difficult to stop an opponent from building P-dice, so long as they have wisely built their force and city to help ensure they will be able to gather P-dice quickly. You can punish them in other ways (hyper-aggro and damage them, kill their units, make a huge power base yourself… whatever you can that seems to equalize/better what they are doing) — but you can’t really stop them. Some maps don’t even have negative zones, and those are only so effective.

        A typical alpha-form lasts through two to four attacks, and generally hyper-flexes once or twice before dying. With hyper-cost 3, this is is 3-6P and maybe 9P spent hypering up. With hyper-cost 6, this is going to be AT BEST 6P to hyper-flex just one time… the alpha form will have to do some fighting, or you can expect to be behind in health the turn your hyper-form appears.

        We could also look at it in terms of damage price. Ultra Aquosia spends 5P to deal +1 damage. Mega spends 4P to deal +1 damage, but generally only when blasting/brawling. The price for Mega may be cheaper, but once you add QUICK and the enemy unit kill (2-3A from them and 1P back to you), Ultra is actually ahead by 3-4A over Mega.

        Ultra Aquosia needs 6P to consider a hyper, but generally will for any play unless a strong case can be made for a back-to-back or making the same play in alpha for less damage.

        Mega Aquosia needs only 4P to consider a hyper, but really is only going to blast or jump in to get to the play. On power attack turns, it is all but a given that the 4P gets kept and the attack is made with alpha form.

        Mega Aquosia seems to have all the options, IMO. It’s not really her hyper-cost alone doing it, and in a way it isn’t her hyper-cost at all. Even if Ultra had hyper-cost 4, I’d consider the Mega to be the better form. It can hyper into higher damage at lower P-dice, and it can get to more plays (and has more plays) than Ultra does.

      6. High hyper cost monsters I usually play until the Alpha is dead, thus avoiding the hyper up cost altogether. It seems to work fairly well for me, maybe even better than low hyper cost monsters I that I flex with… Tec and G-Tron would be the exceptions to this, but the more I play Tec, the less I like him… perhaps because of the necessity to flex. G-Tron it doesn’t bother me as much because I can power up for so much every turn it is irrelevant.

      7. As long as you have the ability to generate p-dice, a 5p-dice hyper cost should not be prohibitive. It might make you consider hypering more carefully, however. Of course, my main exposure to a 5 hyper cost is in the form of Mega Galaxius; not one to flex often, due to scary exposure problems for the alpha in a nice block if I do.

        Personally, the flexibility of Annihilate is a great selling point, although having a movement ability and the ability to do 2 damage from range, while creating your own screen is good, too. The kicker to me is the higher b-dice on power attacks. I would go Ultra for the Annihilate Swats.

  7. Ultra.

    1. Mega may be slightly more competitive, but I think Ultra’s just more all-around interesting. Sometimes long-range blasty monsters bore me.

    2. She’s blue. How could any hyper form of a water monster EVER be anything other than blue? Yellow?? What the heck is IN that water, anyway?

    1. I’m curious about the use of the words “more all-round interesting”, especially here since all three forms of Aquosia are similar to each other. Ultra really doesn’t do anything fancy at all — every really spectacular sequence is likely to come from Mega jumping around and using TRANSPORT in otherwise unreachable places, likely a power attack then screen-up followed by another monster turn. Ultra has trouble doing more than SWAT for 2 at any point in the game.

      I do like Ultra’s come from behind potential. ANNIHILATE is not to be underestimated if it becomes a fight in the open.

    2. @Theorist: I see what you mean. There are more similarities than differences, certainly. I think what makes Ultra more interesting in my mind is that her tool box seems broader. While Mega has access to super damage in all 3 attack styles, only one is certain. Since it’s coupled to a long-range blast, I think she’ll want to park, screen, blast, repeat. At least it’s not long range plus radar.

      1. Just 2-blast at long-range from Mega Aquosia (or 2-SWAT from Ultra) is not that likely to ever win a game — she’s got to be a bit more clever than that. The reasons? Her health/def and the fact she cannot heal. If she just trades hits for 2, she loses… and a lot of the field can do that with her. At some point, TRANSPORT has to win it for her. Whether it’s a suddenly disrupted base, a general overrun of Protector units, a key screen that stops equal reply, or whatnot… she needs that power to do something cool.

        And Mega has the best chance of making that happen.

  8. Speaking as a self-proclaimed pedestrian champion, I would pick Ultra. I find the play style the Ultra brings much more fun and challenging. Personally, I would get sick of playing the Mega quicker (heh,heh) than I would the Ultra. In short, date the Mega but marry the Ultra.

    1. Ummm I guess everyone hasn’t realize that movement Is the number one criterium for monster goodness, or that blasting is superior to power attacking, or that lower hyper costs are better than higher. Don’t get me wrong, Ultra Aquosia might be cooler, but mega is certainly better. If the Ultra could jump or even Climb I’d have to consider it, but it doesn’t so… The choice is wether you want your monster to be more “unique” or “good.”

      1. Steven isn’t asking for the better, he’s asking which to journey with. He’s already a master in his own right, so we think he can make Ultra Aquosia sing.

  9. What I keep coming back to is the fact that I’ve played Ultra 80% of my time with Aquosia, and taken her to both MonCons. It might be worthwhile to see what Mega has to offer, once and for all, so that I don’t keep waffling so hard.

    Man I would miss those 2 damage swats.

    The good news is that I have a repaint of the Mega that looks great! I’ll post up Day 1 shortly…once I roll that die. You guys are wonderful for all the advice! Hopefully there’s more like it on each day.

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