Flavours of the non-change months (in General)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] May 24 2005 6:07 AM EDT

Hi All,

Without a doubt, the most recent 'flavour of the month' strategy was the Single ToE CoC Mage. The ability to concentrate xp into just two attributes and get a massive reduction on all damage taken, contributed to making a very good and 'easy mode' character.

This was altered during the change month and I'd like to hedge a prediction at the new FotM build (unless more changes are snuck in during the next 7 days..) that will prevail until the next change month in July.

The ToA ELBow archer.

Rarer than it's earlier mage counterpart, due to the limited amount of ELBows, the Mage became a lot more common with the introduction of the TA, which hightened the imbalance as everybody had access to a ToE.

How to beat one of these monsters? It's not easy... They hit first, use a weapon that has no equal, a weapon that gives no other strategic choice in ranged combat and hits multiple times a round due to dexterity and ToA bonuses. Combined with a Skill that increases overall damage and allows this weapon to fire in all three ranged rounds.

The big bows hit for a lot of damage. The third largest hitting for 100K versus an AC of 150 (coupled with a protection of 4 and a ToE aura).

Mages get struck multiple times due to having no dex, and non ToA tanks have a hard time keeping in a dex range to actually hit.

Given time, I'm sure that large DD spells will out damage these bows and that naturally trained dexterity with armour bonuses will come close to ToA boosted Dex, but how long will this take?

While the lucky/rich few who obtain one of these prized bows (everyone can get a ToA due to the TA) can design a character to obliterate all comers.

Xiaz on Hiatus May 24 2005 6:23 AM EDT

See on CB1, most "archers" had a melee weapon equipped. As in CB1, I ran a EEEE team wearing a CoBF (now ToBF) on the 4th minion can bring one of these beasts down.

Now however, a TOA archer is not punished in any way if he doesn't wear a melee weapon, since the penalty only applies to the 'natural' ST and DX (I'm not so sure, but I assume so).

How to beat this build? There are a number, MMMM teams do well, dishing out more enough damage to kill the sole tank, and 4 minions promises you'll survive for four rounds. Another is a high DX/DB tank, by sacrificing other stats this variation of the basic tanks and actually dodge incoming arrows (expensive though). At high PR 4 minions > 1 minion imho, so think about it ;)

Manta May 24 2005 6:36 AM EDT

4 minions, all training EC, with a bit of HP, ToA, exbow and either MH or UC on the last minion.
If you are rich enough, DB on the 4 minion and another smaller exbow on the third minion.
You could be able to wipe out his strength or DX, and win in melee.

QBJohnnywas May 24 2005 6:40 AM EDT

That was pretty much SacredPeanut's strat for his char 'A Melon...'. Worked very well against tanks, but not against mages. So counter very few ELB users and leave yourself vulnerable to most other teams....

Warchild May 24 2005 6:40 AM EDT

Ok first Xiaz you are wrong the 60% dx penalty for not having a melee weapon affects all DX (trained, bonus, ToA, even Haste) this makes a pure archer nearly impossible to do, trust me i tried.

Now back to the original post you are wrong about there not being another choice for a ranged weapon. I have the largest solo archer in the game and get beat regularly by Brock, Mags' UC tank (red-headed stepchild no longer) who wields an exbow. With the changes to the specialty bows they are a force to be dealt with.

And for any team there is a way to beat any ToA tank

What you think I am going to tell you?!?!? ;-)

Ok one hint...there are actually two ways one if the tank has DM and the other if it has AMF...figure the rest out on your own

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] May 24 2005 6:41 AM EDT

*Shrugs* There are ways to slow down Archers, but they ALL involve 4+ minions, as three minions are expected to die in ranged.

If an archer decides to use a melee weapon and not take the 40% dexterity hit (or only attacking every other round), then a TBF might be worth using. Not any of the new ones though. You'ld have to TA a large existing one for it to be of any worth...

But if the bow is big enough, why waste weapon PR space? Just accecpt the dex hit and loss of rounds and take 5 rounds to kill a four minion team instead of 4. I think the dex penatly is applied to total dex, so would include dex from a ToA.

A large enough DD spell can do more damage than a large bow, but until natural dexteriy get large enough that armour bonuses outwiegh ToA dex, there is NO way a non ToA tank will equal a ToA tank dex.

"Another is a high DX/DB tank, by sacrificing other stats this variation of the basic tanks and actually dodge incoming arrows"

This would never work. A non ToA tank sacrifices other statistices to try to catch up to the ToA tanks dex, so the ToA tank makes a smaller scarifice to keep their dex larger.

4 minions might be better than one, but there's nothing to stop a single archer purchasing additonal minions as well...

Again, I don't doubt that set ups will beat ToA archers, but the age of the game favours these at the moment.

A year down the line, everyone will be complaining that FB + DM kills everyone without a massive, massive AMF (or massive natural HPs) in 1 round.

But now, flavour of the month will be ToA ELBows.

QBJohnnywas May 24 2005 6:42 AM EDT

Sorry, meant to say that was pretty much the basics of Sacred's strat.

How did ELB archers get countered in CB1? Wasn't that by creating CB2? =)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] May 24 2005 6:46 AM EDT

Manta, How much effeciency does EC run at? 40% of it's level?

Using that versus a minion that has trianed ~ 1/3 of it's xp into Str and Dexterity, plus 60% of it's tattoo's level on top...


Warchild, all you need is to up your ELB. ;) It's not in the top 5.

QBJohnnywas May 24 2005 6:47 AM EDT

There is one bonus to recent nw/pr changes: anybody buying the new ELBs in auctions will have two choices: Once they make enough money to up the bow's level (base bows remember) they will have to have a decent sized character to put it on. Even with the weapon allowance they're not going to get a bow up to the same levels as the big ones without being penalized. Or they equip it on a low level char and rise naturally. Now natural growth for an ELB archer might be fast but we might not see this flavour of the month happening this month or next. Which means it's rise might just coincide with..... Change Month!

Xiaz on Hiatus May 24 2005 6:48 AM EDT

Thanks for that Warchild, I assumed wrong. But that's a good thing to know, since I don't/won't use a ToA ;D

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] May 24 2005 6:50 AM EDT

Johnnywas bought up a very good point about Sacred's original strat for a Melon...

Every team can be designed to specifically target a single strats weakness. A mleon was a very good example for this. He own tanks far above his score/PR with this set up, but was bought back down by every mage he met.

A single ToA archer is not set up to target a single strat, but is an excellent (if not the best) all round strat. Mage and Tank killer both.

QBJohnnywas May 24 2005 7:09 AM EDT

Where tanks are concerned, in the long run it'll be decided by NW anyhow. Unless somebody boosts DB's and the pth on their weapons to a ridiculous level, the biggest ToA tank, with the biggest weapons will end up winning. If you add the biggest ToA, the most battles as challenger and time playing game to the biggest weapons you have very few challengers...

GL, your FB or anyones DD spell maybe growing larger by the day and not costing you cash, but same is true of the ToA that most fashionable tanks are wearing these days. And at the moment I don't see a DD spell overtaking Ranger's team for instance...

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] May 24 2005 7:27 AM EDT

DD's damage is linear, while the strength gained from the ToA starts to add less and less damage.

And there will come a time it's no longer viable to up the weapons X to the next point.

But these are future things, as of now, ToA +ELBow kicks sand in everyone's face.


spydah May 24 2005 8:27 AM EDT

Why all the hoopla with ELBs anyway? It's not the weapon so much as the strat. As an example, and I am not tooting my own horn here so much as attempting to be a shining example :) If I unequip my ELB on Spid, my fight list does not change, I still beat everyone except 5-6 people in the game.

Methinks the ELB is not the end all of CB, so much as a solid strat is.

Don't get me wrong, the ELB is a huge awesome ninja weapon, that any tank would benefit from, but it is not nearly as necessary as most people seem to think. Heck, even a compound works far above the PR anyone has achieved so far if they have the strat to back it up.

I don't see many 1Ts making it far in CB2, unless you have the resources of Sefton/Ranger, either of which could easily make a 1T ToA Archer that would keeeeel. 1T is where I would be had I the resources, for sure. Though, I wouldn't use a ToA had I those resources. I'd use every piece of STR/DEX enhancing EQ that exists, get AC AND ToA like stats. But I don't , so I'll plod along with my current solid strat and be happy with what I can get without the benefit of such things as camping and USD. Worked pretty well so far after all.


Xiaz on Hiatus May 24 2005 8:28 AM EDT

"Another is a high DX/DB tank, by sacrificing other stats this variation of the basic tanks and actually dodge incoming arrows"

Just to put some background information behind this. When I was playing TheDarkElf on CB1, Elbow Tank (bow at +100). I had trouble beating Shadowsparkle's "Beavertooth" character, this is all from memory, His high(er) DX and DB combo made me actually miss him with my bow. While he would strike me 2/3 times per round. yes, I was actually missing someone with something in the order of 750k DX + DX bonus.

Shadowsparkle seems to have remade a character with his strategy, check out Failure. I don't know how well it is here in CB2, but he seems to be doing fairly well.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] May 24 2005 8:48 AM EDT

It's because the ELBow doesn't have any peers spydah.

You wanna do damage in ranged, go ELBow. Yeah a compound is a nice replacement, but (especially) with the NW to PR link it's not viable to pump. There's always going to be a 'Biggest' weapon, but take melee. You have a choice between 1 handed or 2. BoNE or HM. ELS or BTh or VB. All have their place and individual use.

With ranged it's just all damage, and ELBow trumps every other bow out there.

With the recent changes A/EXBows might get some use now, but they still pale in comparison with what an equal NW ELBow puts out. Couple that XBows have nothing to boost them like archey and Bows win.

Maybe I'm 'Theory-crafting' too much. But is there one weakness, one reaosn not to choose a archery+ELBow as your choice of damage dealer?

Melee => TBF
DD => MgS
Ranged => ?

DD spells get penalised in ranged rounds. Bows get boosted. It doesn't matter how big your BoNE is if you don't last till melee to use it...

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] May 24 2005 9:01 AM EDT

I think I may be obscuring my two main concerns.

1) There is no strategic reason not to use an ELBow in ranged combat. It does more damage than any other weapon without archery. And even more with.

2) There is no drawback to ranged combat. It has no strategic penalty and in a turn based system gains from coming first.

Plus the two of these can be combined for those lucky/rich enough to own an ELBow.

Manta May 24 2005 9:17 AM EDT

On one hand, as damage dealer in range elbow is the only choice.
Ax/exbows are useful, but only as a "replacement" of EC, not to deal damage: for that, even a compound is better.

However, do not forget that an elbow is VERY expensive: for 1.6mil I bought the (now) 3rd largest compound, for the same amount you get, what, 1/3 of a base elbow?

Still, it is true that they are a powerful 'all around" weapon: if you have a tank (and money is not much of a problem), even without archery, the choices are: elbow if you want damage, an ax/exbow for stat drain, or no ranged weapon at all.

The problem to me seems not the power of elbows per se, but the lack of alternatives.
A xbow or sling of comparable power would be nice...

Warchild, Brock's characters has higher PR and MPR than yours, and it is crafted specifically to target tanks...

QBsutekh137 May 24 2005 10:24 AM EDT

Yeah, what the heck, let's talk about ToA tanks.

For a strategy to truly be competitive against a ToA (I'll tackle that first), it has to "keep pace" with the STR and DEX growth of the tank. DEX being even more crucial that STR, as the DEX gap controls hits and dodges.

The main advantage of the ToA is that it grows just as fast with a 3-4 minion team as it does with a single tank. That makes EC less useful than it already was. Before the ToA, EC could keep pace better with someone depending on GS or Haste, and could keep up with STR and DEX on a tank that was part of a trio or foursome. A single tank could always out-pace EC, which is as it should be. Against a ToA, EC is not going to be a very good counter, especially if the opposing tank can afford to throw some real experience toward the stats (i.e. not depend solely on the ToA) and jack up STR and DEX-enhancing armors a bunch.

ToAs also recently got a 50% chance of an extra hit. That means if the ToA tank used to only hit once, it got a 50% increase in damage. If it usually got doubles, a 25% increase, and so on. The 10% increase to melee across the board was a drop in the bucket compared to that change. Yes, Evasion and DBs can counter, but investing in that for every member of your team is either cost-prohibitive or skill-eating. Not to mention, the dexterity advantage is still going to let the tank land a hit or two even on those who have such a counter (unless they are also sporting a ToA). It is CB canon that a tank's main advantage is the capacity to multiple hit. That 50% chance at an extra hit has made that phenomenon even more pronounced.

My largest minion (HP-wise) has 200K hit points. That's one round against Gyaxx or Ranger. Sure, I need more armor, but I am already running a ToE on the team. How can I get more HP? AS is useless against those two because they have switched to DM. They only need 2-3 rounds to kill most anyone. Spydah is right...it is a good strategy. In the current state of the game, even with 24-hour-a-day BA usage, I will never catch Gyaxx or Ranger save through attrition on their part. It's discouraging, but it's the way it is. I'll take my wins where I can and leave the ToA/NW gang to duke it out at the top.

GL, you might notice I didn't mention the ELB specifically... That is because I think spydah has a good point that the ELB isn't really the special scenario here. He says the key is the strategy. I think "strategy" in this case is merely code for "ToA".

When I stopped on CB1, I lamented the fact that most battles had come down to having my minions knocked out nearly 1-2-3-4. It didn't matter even when I was sporting an AC of 250 backed up by a 65 Protection and the largest AS in the game. My opponents were simply too big. I was certain it would take a while for that phenomenon to be dominant at the top levels of the game, and I was right. It did take a little while -- about 4.5 months.

What's the flavour, GL? ToA! Taste the chocolatey goodness!

QBRanger May 24 2005 10:36 AM EDT

About the TOA:

Yes, I feel its very powerful, possibly the TOE of June. I will not use the arguement that well everyone can have one since its not good for every strategy. But if you have a good strat you can defeat one, not easy mind you but possible. People seem to forget I have the 2nd highest MPR in the game along with a top 5 NW. Gyaxx has the top NW and a top 50 MPR.

If you look at our strats, the best defense vs the elb is having a heavy armored Wall character. My wall with its 415k HP can last at least 3 rounds vs Gyaxx or Jochumia's elb.

Also people have been talking about using Decay vs the elb/DM characters. Its a possiblity but has to be done right.

One of the bigger problems, and Ill go against what I have said in the past, is the DM spell. It really cripples mage teams and helps tanks a great deal. The reason it cripples mages is that in order for most mage teams to have a high DD, they rely on AS for their hp. If they put xp into HP then their DD spell is lower. With DM, it forces most mage teams to spend valuable xp on HP and therefore have less DD. The lack of AMF does hurt, but with my setup, I can live through the high level DD spells and survive.

[EG] Almuric May 24 2005 10:40 AM EDT

There is absolutely nothing preventing you from switching to ToA, Sute... erm, Chet. I've thought about chatmailing you several times to ask why you hadn't.

When I switched, it hurt for a few hours and I wondered if I had done the right thing. But I unlearned stuff I didn't need and moved items around until I started winning again. Now, I'm (I think) doing better than I would have been with my TJK.

If you don't switch, it's out of pure stubbornness. Not only will you never catch Gyaxx and Ranger, you'll never be able to beat me either. My AMF is growing faster than your Fireball, and my tank stats are growing faster than yours. A tank at the upper levels has to have a ToA. Bartlett can beat me sometimes, but that's just because of PR and Tat level differences. Most of the time, I beat her.

Really, Chet, my Vorpal Blade reduces your AC to virtual uselessness. Holding on to the outdated idea that AC will help you is very 2004. Defense doesn't win in CB2, offense does. Kill the other guy before he can kill you.

It's, to a large extent, just that simple. I didn't want to get sucked back into the Archer mentality, but I guess it's just in my nature. DD spell-caster just doesn't interest me. BL tank becomes effective too late in my opinion. Come on. Join us. Drink the kool-aid. You'll feel better. We'll save you a spot on the next spaceship hidden behind a comet. :)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] May 24 2005 10:44 AM EDT

Mmmmm.... Chocolate.

The ELBow is just the icing on the cake. You don't need a multi minion team with a ToA archer, single is fine. ;)

The ToA should make melee tanks as powerful as Archers, but it's ranged going first that makes them win.

Maybe, on the whole all damage is too big at the moment. From weapons or spells.

I'm sure in a while, when (probably not mine!) FB+DM kills all teams in 1/2 rounds spells will have to be re scaled.


AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] May 24 2005 10:47 AM EDT


"Holding on to the outdated idea that AC will help you is very 2004. Defense doesn't win in CB2, offense does. Kill the other guy before he can kill you."

Far too true... Especially that which hits first in a turn based game.


And the best by far ranged damage dealer...

Special J May 24 2005 11:04 AM EDT

I am still doing quite well as a Single Mage using a ToE but with FB instead of CoC.

QBsutekh137 May 24 2005 11:26 AM EDT

Sent to almuric in CM:

I don't switch to a ToA because my tank hasn't the NW for it, and I don't plan on being a heavy NW team. ToA without NW = crap (IMO). So, my focus is on my mage, and the tank will end up getting higher armor (slow but sure) and try to protect.

Stubborness? Don't think so... Do you really think my 11 million NW with a ToA is going to let me catch Gyaxx and Ranger? The surest way of never catching someone is to do the same thing they are dooing, but poorly. *smile* Not sure what is stubborn about wanting to avoid that...

[EG] Almuric May 24 2005 11:31 AM EDT

The Kool-Aid's really good. Sure you don't want some. ;}

QBsutekh137 May 24 2005 1:08 PM EDT

I see you are willing to pay north of $110 for some sweetener for the Kool Aid? Or did I mis-read? Considering my self-imposed limitation of no USD, the Kool-Aid will have to wait, as it is pretty tasteless without the sweet ELB goodness. *smile*

[EG] Almuric May 24 2005 2:14 PM EDT

Selling all my Magic cards on ebay. I'm flush with paypal cash. Thought I might give myself a virtual treat. (Along with the new drill-press, compound miter saw, and pick-up truck I'll eventually get.) ;}

QBSefton [Black Cheetah Bazaar] May 24 2005 2:19 PM EDT

I have to admit I am a fan of elbow sweetness :)

QBsutekh137 May 24 2005 3:48 PM EDT

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