Monday Musings: The Tattoo of Endurance (in General)
April 2 2007 1:59 PM EDT
As I was testing my Halidon Familiar yesterday, hoping against hope that its damage would provide a greater "overwhelm" of big ToEs, I started thinking a lot about the ToE in general. Recent discussions of ELB damage worked into my head as well, and I've got thoughts I'd like to share now.
For a long time, I believed that Oxcha's strength lay in his Ablative Shield. Also, Oxcha has a lot of native HP trained. At this point, I nearly fizzle his AS, so it isn't much of an issue any more. The issue is the ToE. There are so very many economies to reducing damage below a certain threshold, PL being one of the largest. Oxcha is a perfect balance of damage reduction, PL, leeching, and HP regeneration that can handle just about any attack (yes, I believe that includes Koy, it's just that they are clan comrades and so do not fight each other).
When I was using a fire familiar, the damage it would do to Oxcha was laughable. The spread nature of the FB made the blows smaller, so they did not even come close to getting over the ToE threshold. All four rounds of ranged, and I could not kill a _single_ minion on his team. The HF didn't improve things much. Arrows are reduced to below 100K damage, and that's against a target minion with little to no AC. Blows still fell well within Oxcha's PL parameters, and often under the HP regenerated by his TSA minion.
I have never understood why the ToE had a different damage reduction model from everything else in the game... The whole "threshold" and "overwhelm" idea. But overall, I always thought the ToE was pretty weak, because that overwhelm was not that hard to achieve, and once achieve, ToE teams looked pretty silly. That's not the case any more with these massive ToEs. Even just the ToE aura is powerful enough make high-AC walls well-nigh impenetrable.
Impenetrable, that is, except for archers.
Discussions abound about how amazing archery damage can get. Quite frankly, it has to. What else can touch a ToE/PL/TSA/AC stronghold? And how else can one get damage large enough to get over the ToE threshold that makes it all possible? MM can get close, but even my MM falls down against ToE/AC or ToE/MgS combinations. No damage can get over that hill except for physical ranged.
So sure, there exists a rock that can crush the ToE scissors. But it is tank-only and ranged-only. That's dull and disheartening. Once I hear back from Jonathan on my HF pth issue (I still think there should be some triples out of the poor little guy), I will switch back to an SF, thereby making the most concentrated, largest mage team in the game. A mage team with a higher PR than Oxcha. I'm pretty sure I will still barely be able to scratch him. And before anyone says his strategy is a perfect foil for mine, I will note that Oxcha's AMF is not even in the top 50 for AMF users, and he doesn't even use an MgS or an EH. Yes, Oxcha's strategy is a foil all right -- for every team that cannot land blows in excess of 2 million (and that is just about impossible for a mage, _ever_). If anything, the main aspect of my team (DM) should be a foil for his massive AS. However, it does me no good at all.
I don't have a problem with the ToE, per se, and I definitely have no problem with LittleDevil (I think the strategy is the greatest thing going). But I have an issue with the fact that such huge ToEs can leverage so many other facets of the game: PL, AC, TSA, AS... And best of all, it hardly even matters where you wear the thing! That is a HUGE advantage. A ToA has to be used on a tank. A familiar has no aura. The Runes are mainly niche products right now.
What is the point to my blathering? These are the concrete ideas I have regarding the ToE:
-- Get rid of the stepwise threshold idea for damage reduction. The blows required to get through the top ToEs are impossible for magic-based teams, and even out of reach for a lot of tanks. For any team that isn't ultra-concentrated on damage, you might as well not even show up against a large ToE.
-- Do something about the aura, at least make it a tougher choice on what minion has to wear it. Letting it be used in concert with a 400 AC wall is a big part of the problem.
-- In lieu of reducing ToE effectiveness, do something about the other things it can leverage so well: PL, TSA, AS, VA... Without the large blows, even a team that can lay down an effective offense is useless against the vast array of damage reduction, leeching, and restoring of hit point (again, unless that damage comes 2 million HP at a time).
Yes, the Monday Musings have a decidedly grumpier tone than my more mild musings of Sunday. *smile*
April 2 2007 2:11 PM EDT
This is where the VB comes into play. People have tunnel vision about it and keep focusing on AC, forgetting that it bypasses AC, Endurance, and Protection. However, this is still just a Tank option. No consultation when you want to play mage.
April 2 2007 2:16 PM EDT
I made that point about archery damage being necessary a week or so back, when you have these massive damage reductions going on. Unless Jon just loves the idea of archers, it's the reason that makes most sense when you're talking about big ranged damage and questioning it's existence.
I've only really used two tattoos for any length of time, the ToA and the ToE. Until you've started mixing the ToE up with big AC levels you don't realise quite how powerful it is. And while it is a great tattoo to use with a mage team, it is also perfect defence against mage teams; it always has been since Jon introduced the aura. My first 'proper' CB2 team was two walls and a ToE mage; it took huge magical damage to get past the damage reduction. Everything else broke on my walls.
And if you compare tattoos the ToE made it possible for me to fight up so much more higher than any other tattoo. Even fighting as a tank I could never fight as high, except recently with the changes to ranged damage.
I wish I had built this team I have right now properly (starting a single minion and building his basic stats up before hiring extra minions) I would have used the ToE. People go on about damage and offence; and those are important; but when you use them properly CB's damage reduction methods are just as overpowered. I guess the counter is that it takes a bit of thought to achieve, unlike the big damages. ;)
April 2 2007 2:21 PM EDT
I know the VB and Decay are options, I simply do not consider them viable. The VB was recently nerfed, and investing in enough Decay to make it work (and keep the mage alive long enough) is largely impractical (if you disagree, look at the largest trained Decay in the game and tell me why it is so small).
So the remaining option is archery. Great.
April 2 2007 2:22 PM EDT
I also have to add something else to this. I've played GA teams for quite some time. I know for a fact that, through every change month , one thing remains, ToE is the bane of GA. The ToE simply blocks everything known to God with only one exception, Decay. Then again, Decay just isn't enough to be a ToE foil in the slightest.
This is where I just feel that our options are limited when designing an effective team. I wish the RoBF was built with the same sort of simplicity and coherent goal as the ToA and ToE. It's a cool concept that just lacks a strategic use.
None-the-less, the ToE is a hard nut to crack. I personally don't want to see it nerfed, I just want to see everything else elevated to it's level as either a foil for it or as a foil to some other great tattoo.
Okay, letting sutekh's very well articulated thoughts give me a channel I did some exploring with my CoC, another spread DD spell.
Oxcha: Undecided's Cone of cold hit Eikima Et , Conthebes , Miacha , Hewteksun 
Koy: Undecided's Cone of cold hit Eikima Et , Conthebes , Miacha , Hewteksun 
The Alchemist: Undecided's Cone of cold hit Icicle , Mary Jane , D-Fence , Leran 
Now, to be honest, that damage isn't really that bad... until you compare it to this...
A single minion (Constant) using ToE: Undecided's Cone of cold hit Ape 
4 minion team (Galadriel), but without using ToE: Undecided's Cone of cold hit Yan Tanafres , Aelwyn , Aelwyn's familiar , Vorsan , Teletha 
Now, I didn't account -too- much for AMF, random damage (a huge CoC issue), but how can any mage compete against the ToE on 4 minion teams. I think the main issue is the aura effect. Having (with FB or CoC) to blast through 4 minions at a reduced rates takes too long, for both teams.
Not sure if this helps, and I didn't put too much effort into it, but it should give evidence from another mage that the ToE, combined with other factors, doesn't give spread mages a fair shot.
April 2 2007 2:45 PM EDT
CoC does well against ToE. You *are* half of their mpr GW. VB is great, you just really need bloodlust to go with it (which doesn't seem very popular nowadays). MM does ok, as well as ELBs obviously and even if to a lesser degree, SoDs. Also walls in general virtually never have any dex/evasion and so even when damage is reduced down to 5-10% you can get 4-5x hits on them per round. Also, having a wall has its drawbacks and sacrifices. You're sacrificing a large deal of xp/$$ into a minion that *can* be ignored with things like seekers, exbow/axbow, some DDs.
April 2 2007 2:50 PM EDT
Good points, Nerevas, except seekers, exbow, and axbow are not an option for a mage team. And I am not sure what DD you are talking about that can avoid a wall. The only concentrated magic that fires is MM, and that fires from the back. So, a wall can be placed at the back with AoIs on everyone else, and there you go: perfect "wall funnel" with no way around it for mages. Even with Decay chipping away at the front, there is NO front-firing, concentrated magic that can kill. That's why I needed to try the HF, and it turns out that ToEs laugh at poor Hal just like they laugh at anything other than massive ranged blows.
Nerevas, my MPR -is- half theirs, but you forget that my strategy is different. That CoC has over 30 million experience in it. It's not slouching. That's the reason I compared it to the damage I do (on average) against other teams without it. CoC, even being so powerful, still can't compete with such large ToE's and their auras.
April 2 2007 3:35 PM EDT
In defense of the TOE,
Generic tanks HAVE to have something to help them survive until melee.
Give with Junction they will be facing 8 (yes, eight) DD spells before even getting to swing their weapon once or 4 arrows from the uber ELB.
The TOE is the only real way to survive until melee.
Or use 4 minions and an RoS.
Sut I can beat Little Devil and yet you beat me on a regular basis, it's the rock, paper, scissors game, (and why CB is so darn good)
April 2 2007 4:17 PM EDT
edyit, I didn't know you could beat him, it's not in the battle log. So there is really no way I could have known that.
And of course you can beat him, you have what I said in my OP -- huge blows. I just made a mistake on the list of folks using that against Oxcha because I forgot about the clan inbreeding up at the top of the score ladder. *smile* I expect Mikel will be able to do the same once he buys his supporting cast.
April 2 2007 4:19 PM EDT
Rock, Paper, Scissors.
According to the Bud Light commercial (as well as common sense), rock beats paper. Scissors beat paper. Rock beats scissors.
edyit is the rock (beating LD and sometimes drawing Sut)
LD is the scissor (beating Sut but losing to edy)
Sut is stuck as the paper (losing to LD and only winning sometimes against edy)
April 2 2007 4:20 PM EDT
I agree 100% with edyit's comment.
winning the majority of the time vs me th00p (91.21% to be exact) give credit where credit is do.
April 2 2007 4:26 PM EDT
If the aura of the TOE is removed, it will be about as useful as the RBF.
Any mage should use a COI instead of wearing a TOE.
Any wall should use massive AC armor or mage armor vs using a TOE without the benefit of body armor and a cloak.
Without the aura, the TOE is close to useless.
Even a tank would be better off using a TSA and MgS and EC instead of a TOE, as you cannot use a MgS and a TOE together.
April 2 2007 4:46 PM EDT
I agree it needs an aura (it needs something to offset the fact it is not a familiar in that regard), but something should be done to make the choice of minion wearing the tattoo at least a LITTLE bit interesting. The ToA doesn't have an aura, nor is it a familiar, and yet it still has interest as a tattoo...
I agree with rock, scissors, paper. But only to a point. Look at it this way...what if there were only three main strategies, and only three ways to beat each in rock/paper/scissors fashion? That would mean there would only be three viable types of teams in the whole of CB. Any other builds would be also-rans. Maybe asking for more than three is folly, though...
The thing about the ToE is that even if I were a LOT bigger in PR, say 500K more, I still wouldn't touch Oxcha. I wouldn't get out of that ToE/PL/regen cycle with him. And this is an opponent whose PR is less than mine and whose strategy doesn't even take advantage of all the mage-busting gears. No seekers, no EH, no MgS, and a relatively small AMF. That's the point where simply saying "rock, scissors, paper!" doesn't sound like enough of an answer to me. To say that all magic simply cannot touch a large ToE team (even if the magic is part of an even-larger team) is what has me posting.
April 2 2007 6:33 PM EDT
You know what would solve this...a DD Bloodlust...call it 'Penetration'
But then if you had 2 mages with the skill...........
Yes that would be great.
I think the strat I would use would be a double penetration 2 minion team, pounding every one else with their magic missiles. Talk about being doubly effective :D
On second thought...
I didn't start it at least, you dirty minded horseguy :P
Hmmmm, now if you were using 2 CoCs, both with 'Penetration' and suddenly CB becomes an 18+ rating :)
April 3 2007 4:31 AM EDT
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