The Master of Me–Day 5: The Big Splash

Lo-Tron DEMANDS MORE POWER: Analysis of the Splash, particularly my (his) favorite unit, Tanker Truck, and why 2 Repair units are better that 1!

By Lester Tisdale On March 06, 2012 Posted In Other

As I said before in my previous MM post, I have 6 slots to fill with the “other guys.” I’ll break down what this force needs, what I have chosen to splash, and why.

The Current Situation

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My list aside from the 6 empties is as follows:

2 x Spitter
2 x Elite Spitter
2 x Cthulabite
1 x Grinder Tank
1 x Oppressor (Glass)
1 x Ral Kurrilik

And that’s it. Let’s look at what we have here. A common strike team for me would be Elite Spitter, Spitter and Grinder Tank, getting 3*4 with marker. I feel like that’s only worth hitting low def buildings or monsters with defense 5, probably who are near a Cthulabite, but even if not, or if they have 6 defense and are near a Cthulabite, that is a 66% chance to hit, not good, but Marker makes that significantly better. I’m actually VERY poor at maths and the knowledge of maths, so I’m not going to actually attempt to give you guys an OVERALL percentage of hitting with Marker; I’d risk being wrong and sounding like a fool; let’s just say, it’s a LOT more likely to hit than not. I’m feeling something like 75%. That’s a number I’m ok with, but this strike team is not at all ideal.

The problem with Cthul units outside of having towers is how unlikely they are to really DO anything aside from Multishot units. Maybe I’m just not as experienced with them as I am with Invaders, who really never have trouble hitting the opponent’s monster, or maybe I have my strike team wrong, I don’t know. Maybe I should clarify: by “strike team” I mean the most basic and commonly used combo of dudes to blast with. Even though they have the best generic debuff, weaken, they are missing the most important and arguably most ridiculous debuff, Armor Piercing. This is new to me; as I said, I’ve played primarily Invaders for a long time now.

Another thing missing from this list is threat range. These units have AWFUL threat range in comparison to many other agendas. I will need to splash something to get at monsters and units deep within my opponent’s side of the board.

I for one am a fan of Amplify. A big fan. Amplify can be a total game-changer, and so can a unit with Hazardous. Both of these needs are met by the same unit, and I generally splash it in every single force. It’s not necesary in all forces, but it makes its home here for a few reasons. Actually, two of them. Yeah, I like it that much with this monster. I’ll talk about that in a second.

The last thing this list needs is some utility and monster support. Morphers are fragile, Lo-Tron more so because he is a Pentamorph. As fragile as he seems though, he has one thing awesome going for him: he is mechanical, which means he can repair via a repair vehicle or a UCI MRV. I will indeed splash both of those, in order to stave off as much damage as I possibly can.

The Splashes

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Nautilus Blaster

Smug. Face. Nauty. Face.

No doubt there are a number of options for making my strike team more efficient, but none impress me as much as Nautilus Blaster. This unit is possibly the best 1 cost grunt unit in the game, now that Fire Kami and Robo Brontox got the nerf bat. I see it splashed even more than Tornadus, the Interceptor C-type combo and all the Explosion and Tow units combined. Seriously. It is just in EVERY force that wants to blast at all. And the reason is because it doesn’t have to lead, offers a boost and long range, can move through water (although slowly), and, when leading, nets an extra power die. With Cthulabite, it is sickening. Getting it close enough to do some heavy damage can be tricky, but on maps with teleporters or zip-zones (whatever they are called), it’s relatively easy. This guy is in for good.

Tornadus

With the reach issue, I feel like there is only a couple of good answers. I have room for either, but not both, unless I cut my favorite unit in the game (not nautilus blaster, he’s just the best, not my favorite!). Tornadus is the between it and Interceptor // Elite C-Type in my opinion. For the same cost, I get more versatility: 2 boost on both blast and brawl, extensive reach, flight, and even hoist. Since I’ll be securing at least one Posh Apartment and a Newspaper Office, it might even cost my force LESS to use than EC in the early turns. These are the turns where abilities like this are extremely effective at totally taking control of tempo. Mid game strikes to the middle or a hiding monster are easier with her, even at full cost. Late game, getting to a turtler should be easier anyway, what with the swarm of units this agenda generates, that throwing a Tornadus in to fight from the spawn point can really push that last fling damage. Combined with my monster’s Weapon Master blasts and Juggernaut, the end game should come to a quick halt. This unit does everything I want it to. In the past I have been against splashing it, but I feel like in a force with a morpher monster, it is totally worth it.

Tanker Truck

I feel like if there ever was a unit I could call absolutely necessary in almost every force, it would be this guy. And it happens to be my favorite unit. The reason I like it is maybe not as clear as you would think. Yes, Amplify is nice on a 1 cost unit, it has 5 speed and so goes farther than all other in-faction 1-cost units, and has Hazardous. Hazardous is particularly good for a Toss monster. I’ve been using it rather effectively both offensively and defensively with Quantum Deimos-9 for a few months now, and one thing has become clear to me: the opponent has to play around this unit more than they do similar ones, that is, utility or disruption units that are often auto-includes, (ie anything with Tow, Explosion, Amplify etc…).

Here’s a comparison to those units. Firstly, anyone who has played with or against Protectors knows how much Earth Avatars do for that force. They have to be dealt with. If left unchecked, they will win the game be pushing their user into such a state of efficiency it’s ridiculous. And they are hard to deal with, because they are in the backfield and have 4-5 defense vs blasts most of the time.This unit is most comparable, in my opinion, because it always comes out to play, whereas the commonly splashed ones simply sit there and intimidate the opponent. Another similar unit would be Robo Brontox because it comes out and has to be out for it’s abilities to work, but getting rid of it doesn’t mean as much as getting rid of the Earth Avatar. Similar, but not as much.

Spadefin Skimmer, Pteradactix, Marauder, Tornadus, Glass Robo Squix, Glass Oppressor, Airborne Ape, etc… This category of unit CAN come out before it needs to, but generally, just sitting there in your reserves is enough to make your opponent play differently than they otherwise would. I don’t like this idea, but it is necessary. The Tanker Truck can sometimes do this, say, if your opponent is thinking of coming to your side.

What I find happens though, is that I just use this unit for amplify and it only costs 2 to spawn and move with most monsters. With Lo-Tron, it generally costs 1-0 to spawn and 1-0 to move. This can mean a perfectly free Amplify or Hazardous unit playing offense and defense. Both abilities support my monster, and the cost of removing the unit is so much greater than that of using it; I just don’t see why most people don’t include it. I have gotten down to the nitty-gritty, spawned this and moved it, and the opponent has a choice: stay around me and lose the game, stay around me and kill the unit, potentially still losing the game because of loss of tempo, or run away. I don’t really care which they choose, they were forced to choose to do one of these things for such a small price. Not to mention, spontaneous power-ups can get fierce late in the game.

Anyway, my favorite unit in the game, hands down. It gives monsters like Krakenoctus and Quantum Cthugrosh some game, and buffs monsters with Toss like Quantum Deimos or Lo-Tron so much, I cannot ignore it, nor will I, ever. That being said, I would never run it in Collaborators or Protectors, because they have better options overall for that type of thing. Though, for Hazardous alone it could be worth it… I hope I’ve changed some of your minds, or at least have gotten you to think a little deeper about this unit that maybe you had previously. It’s almost worth an entire post… Nah, I’ll leave that up to Jeff.

YES. LOVE ME.

I include 2 in this force. I may reduce it to 1 if I feel they aren’t doing what I want them to, but for now, they are.

REPAIR

The last thing I need in this force is Repair. I decided to splash both the Repair Vehicle and UCI MRV. Jeff talked about this decision in a comment he posted in a previous MM day. To quote:

I’m always torn between RV vs MRV with Lo-tron. Spending 4-5A instead of 3-4A grants HOVER and significantly better defense… and 4-5A is still ahead in terms of resources to heal vs resources spent by the opponent to deal damage. I like the less costly RV as “back-up” to discourage your opponent from tow’ing your MRV more than I like a second MRV. It feels like the best REPAIR-unit configuration, what you are using.

This is exactly why I am running these units. They act as appropriate back-up for each other. I said in my response, something along the lines of “I usually spawn the MRV and have full range of repair, unless I am right next to my spawn zones, where I will usually spawn the Repair Vehicle and Repair for 3 a-dice or less (Discount and Intel). When that fails, is is Tow/Halted, I have a more mobile backup or vice-versa. I really think this is key for this monster to be effective… 2 Repair Vehicles alone don’t do it, 2 MRV’s could, but I want a cheaper option when I need it.

Updates

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I’m really excited to start playing with my new unit list! I think I’ll start with the Email tournament, but I’m not sure yet. If anyone is looking to get a game in, I generally get online at 11-12 PM EST and stay on for a while. I post on TC that I’m on Vassal, and get on Vassal, waiting. If I don’t respond immediately, please be patient. I check the window quite often.

One thing I think I’ll do it make room for less Hazards and more Spire. Those hazard tiles bite back a bit more than I thought they would, and Spire still offers all the glory of a big Toss, but with less repercussion. Perhaps EPP too; I’ve always been a big fan of that building, but it is dangerous being a morpher and lurking around it. Also, I need more Music Production as it is my only way of forward spawning and is so easy to knock down! My new building list:

4 x Music Producer
2 x Posh Apartments
2 x Newspaper Office
1 x Radio Telescope
1 x Statue of Liberty
1 x Tokyo Triumph
1 x Insurance Company HQ

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Well, that’s for today. Please let me know what you think. I need to get some more games in. PM if interested.

  1. MARKER math for Grinder Tank is really awkward to figure out, but there is a pretty good rule-of-thumb… try to make it the 4th unit you include in the shot, and it generally will always be better than including another “boost-dice support” unit.

    Here’s a quick MARKER breakdown, Spitter vs Grinder:

    Spitter trio:
    3A 6B vs 4 — 95%
    3A 6B vs 5 — 88%
    3A 6B vs 6 — 75%
    3A 6B vs 7 — 58%
    Spitter duo + Grinder:
    3A 4B vs 4 — 83% (97%) +2
    3A 4B vs 5 — 66% (88%) +0
    3A 4B vs 6 — 45% (70%) -5
    3A 4B vs 7 — 26% (45%) -13

    As you say, it’s a marginal boon on the overkill shot and worse when you aim at a DEF 6+ target. It takes at least 2A “already in play” to add a fourth unit to the shot… but if you have just 1A out (grunt Spitter of Grinder), you can roll 4A 4B:

    Spitter duo + Grinder:
    4A 4B vs 4 — 89% (99%) +4
    4A 4B vs 5 — 76% (94%) +6
    4A 4B vs 6 — 58% (82%) +7
    4A 4B vs 7 — 39% (63%) +5

    Whenever you can only get only 3 units to the target and have anything already spawned, the 4-5A 4B MARKER shot will always be better odds. It’s this kind of shot that makes Grinder Tank so good.

    1. Yes, I knew you would give me this! Thanks a lot, this really helps for me to put it into perspective.

      What are your thoughts on Tanker Truck? I assume you have a lot to say about that unit, but maybe not. I’d like to have your input on that one…

      1. I’m to the point where when I start a force, the first 2 units in it are two Tanker Trucks. They may not stay in the build as I make room for other things I feel I really need, but it’s just a tremendous tool. I’ve even included them in Collaborator forces over grunt Robo Brontox because of the extra speed — Riverside Rampage and Smashville in particular favor Tanker Truck over Robo Brontox.

        Cheap HAZARDOUS helps protect a power base or just make “high ground” no longer safe. Cheap AMPLIFY helps set said base when there aren’t enough enemy units in kill range to really gather dice that way…something that tends to happen against some of the steamroller monsters like Xixorax, Qondo, Tectomoc, Tyrannix, etc. So in a lot of ways, Tanker Truck is geared toward undermining a certain type of monster that wants to come right at your base.

        I find Tanker Truck’s AMPLIFY useful even against control players. When you can secure the ISB and roll two Tanker Trucks onto point elsewhere as well, opponents just cannot shut down your power-up potential. At worst you have one Tanker Truck left on point.

        In particular HERE with Lo-tron I think it becomes the thing you do with 2A extra dice on unit turns. Roll out on point, and it’s difficult vs the Cthulabite machine to ever justify targetting the TAnker Trucks instead of your blast teams. You end up getting a pretty decent base “on the cheap” without needing the morphers to stay on secure duty (which they cannot do once you start fighting) and without having to position your Spitters etc even more awkwardly than normal.

        SPEED 5 cost 1 makes Tanker Truck never a mistake include — at worst it is always going to be a decent securing/screening unit. I can even make the argument for a third Tanker Truck for players who choose certain maps and like spawning up more than suppressing enemy units.

    2. Something I tend to do with Grinder Tank is just run the elite — at cost 2 it’s a lot harder to roll out on an earlier turn, but whenever I can include it on a shot it’s always going to be wise by default. With the grunt, you have to know your math or at least have some rules-of-thumb straight in your head. I actually think the grunt is probably the better include for anyone who understands efficiency AND doesn’t have a hang-up about throwing more than the minimum A-dice into an attack.