How It Should Be DoneContents:
Carnage Blender has a remarkable amount of intelligent people which makes it continuously challenging. The game has a surprisingly complex strategy which takes some time to get a good handle on and even then the constant changes keep it competitive.
To begin with I needed all the advantage I could get so I'd keep my tricks of the trade to myself. However now that I'm no longer aiming for top spot, I'm quite content to sit back and share what I know.
You don't have to read any of this, but that my friend is your loss.
The first and most important thing to acknowledge when hiring a new minion is that you are not getting an extra fighter. You're dividing your current one in two.
Of course you're not losing EXP when you hire a minion, but your future fight rewards will be divided between all of your minions making them all slightly weaker than if you had fewer.
There are however advantages to using more than one minion.
Single minions are particularly strong but four minions offer greater tactical opportunities.
A single minion character is significantly better off than a four minion character using a similar strategy in many situations. For example, a tank on a four minion team is vulnerable to ethereal chains or high dexterity opponents, whereas on a single minion character ethereal chains may cripple you, but you'll still be able to fight. Quite simply as a single minion tank you'll always be able to hit your opponents effectively. A tank on a four minion character must always be aware of the dangers of possessing a low strength or dexterity.
A mage will also suffer when its EXP is divided amongst itself and some enchanters. A mage is very reliant on the level of its direct damage compared to the level of the average opponent's anti-magic field. As a single mage you'll almost never come up against an opponent with an equal leveled anti-magic field which would block 50% of your damage. However with a mage on a four minion character this will be a regular occurrence. There are as always methods of getting around this, but few are advisable.
Single minions in a nutshell: So powerful that against anything but perhaps another single minion your stats will always be more than adequate.
My personal recommendation: If you have more net worth than most opponents, have as few minions as possible.
Four minion characters are considerably weaker than single minion characters; their stats are divided between four minions and therefore will rarely be able to compete with single minions based on their stats alone. There are methods of closing the gap, unfortunately this will often only give you an advantage over other multiple minion characters and against single minions you'll have to rely on enchanters to buy you a few extra rounds.
Four minions in a nutshell: A single minion can train in 7 different stats. A four minion team can train 28 different stats and has many options as to the order of their minions. The more choices you have to make, the more tactical options you have.
Four minion characters are about making the right choices to get a tactical advantage. A new player is best sticking to simplicity; therefore these characters would not be advisable. However, for those who know what they're doing there is no comparison. These characters will not only improve as you gain EXP, but they will improve as your knowledge of the strategy does.
This is of course assuming all things being equal, if you have superior net worth than your opponents a single minion becomes a much more reasonable option.
Before we begin devising strategies, there are a few things we have to consider.
The first thing we must consider is how exactly we are going to win. We must choose if we want to destroy our opponents, or let them destroy themselves. Do we crush them before they can strike back, or do we wait for a moment of weakness before we strike?
If you don't make this decision in the beginning your strategy will more often than not wind up a blend between the two, you'll be trying to kill quickly while hindering your attack by holding up a shield. Or you'll be defending with nothing but a big sword. Neither is ideal. Make your choice early and stick to it.
Deciding what we want to do does not seem to come as naturally as you'd think, there are far more characters on CB that do not choose than those that do. And every single person I've seen who has spent five minutes deciding to be aggressive or defensive has done extremely well.
Those who would have a balance between the two are on a fool's errand. These strategies allow a defensive strategy (designed to take the punishment that an all out offence can provide) ample time to gain the upper hand. Aggressive strategies are designed to destroy as soon as possible, if you're neither going to attempt to out gun them with all you've got or attempt to put everything you have into defending against them, you will lose against an opponent of equal skill and resources.
So, what is better? Attack or defend?
Attack is easier and necessary.
Defend is necessary.
Quite simply, neither is better than the other. Instead of which is best, it should be a choice of to which are you best suited. If you have excessive amounts of net worth you're free to attack all you'd like. If you haven't spent USD and don't spend an abundance of time in the forge then defense is for you.
To attack is to take advantage of your position of strength.
To defend is to turn a potentially losing situation into a position of strength.
Neither is better. Both are necessary.
So, instead of to attack or to defend, the question is now: Will you have superior resources to most of your opponents?
The simple structure of a fight is something quite obvious. However people often neglect to consider the basics.
50 rounds of combat.
6 rounds of ranged combat.
44 rounds of melee combat.
The consideration we must make is to reduce the value of those 22 rounds, the closer they come to the 25th round, the more of a gamble they become. Therefore it is at the least unwise to rely on the damage you can deal on say the 24th round.
This brings us to what I consider to be three areas in which our goals change dramatically, these three areas are: The kill zone, the safe zone and the danger zone.
The Kill Zone
Encompassing the first few rounds of combat the kill zone is where it is safe for us to attack with little fear of being defeated. Frequently all of the first three rounds fall into this category for archers and many mages. For such strategies the kill zone is where fights are decided. The further a fight gets away from this zone the less their chances become.
It is however rare to see a strong melee tank strategy that shows much concern for an early kill and therefore the purpose of the kill zone becomes surviving it.
The Safe Zone
These are the rounds up to the point where you can not expect to win the fight more often than not. For an aggressive strategy this ends very quickly, usually after five or six rounds you're in a lot of trouble. You may well be able to kill an opponent in less than 50 rounds, but if they have survived this long they have frequently put most of their money into their melee and their strategy is geared towards being deadly in melee and by now they'll be close to catching up to you after your head start (gained by aggressive tactics in ranged, such as the use of a strong bow).
Note: That is assuming two players of equal intelligence and resources, therefore exceptions will occur.
For defensive strategies this is where you want the fight to be decided, there is a big increase in potential damage once you get to melee (for example the use of bloodlust and cone of cold) making this the ideal time to strike.
The Danger Zone
This is exactly where you don't want to be.
For an aggressive strategy this is anything after 10 rounds your reasonable expectation of winning the fight is very low. The further into it you get the less your chances become.
For a defensive strategy this is the last five rounds. Once a fight gets to this point there is a good chance you either don't have enough of an offence, you aren't hitting your opponent very often or what offence you do have has been destroyed by something like ethereal chains.
Aggressive strategies must provide adequate defenses that they may last to the end of their kill zone whilst sparing enough resources (experience and net worth) to be able to frequently win within those precious few rounds they have. For these strategies, the safe zone is not your friend; you should put every effort into not seeing more than one round of it.
Defensive strategies must focus on surviving into the safe zone without going far into the danger zone. This is done so that when you retaliate to the onslaught that an aggressive strategy will provide, you are at the advantage, you're striking harder than they ever could, this is the justification for waiting out the kill zone without much if any retaliation.
The further you get into the safe zone against aggressive strategies the better off you are. If you start seeing the danger zone on a regular basis then it's time to seriously consider putting more into your offence.
Against defensive strategies the rule is: He who kills the fastest will be the winner. So should you be targeting other melee tanks or mages, make sure to beef up your melee offence considerably.
The number of rounds for each zone is an estimate; the exact number depends on your strategy, your weapons and the strategy and weapons of your average opponent.
There will also be exceptions to the suggested goals so don't be afraid to take advantage of any grey area, but do so at your own risk.
Four minion teams frequently have a particularly small tank or mage as their main attacking minion because if you start with a four minion team, your minion will be 25% the size of a single minion.
One of the most common methods of avoiding this unfortunate outcome is to keep your character as a single minion up to a certain point then hire your other minions.
This has the effect of giving you a four minion team that has a main minion almost as powerful as those around you.
This appears to be foolproof however there are many downsides, most obviously is the cost. The further you go the harder it will be to cough up the dough. And after a while, it will not be easy.
More importantly though is that the only way this extra muscle is permanent is if you've spent the majority of your CB playing time as a single minion. Otherwise your minion will invariably lose its edge with time; it'll gradually weaken until it's equal to your other minions.
Quite simply, unless you're targeting top spot, CB is not a game of being powerful for one moment; it's a game of trying to stay powerful the whole time whilst acknowledging that your current strength is irrelevant if it doesn't lead to more strength later on.
This strategy does not achieve this goal.
There are however alternatives. A rune of enlightenment or a tattoo of augmentation will have the effect of making your tank permanently more powerful than your other minions.
As will the use of enchantments such as ablative shield and in the case of a tank, giant strength, haste and ethereal chains.
This is how it should be done.
In the moment it's great to have a balanced strategy. You can beat up everyone near your power rating. Unfortunately this is not a good thing.
If you want to reach a high MPR, your goal should be to have as few targets as possible, but good targets.
You don't get any prize for being able to beat more people than the next guy, but if you can beat higher up people you'll soon be able to beat up those balanced strategies that were beating you yesterday. But guess what? You won't be beating them up, because they're simply not worthy targets.
It is a much stronger strategy to target only a few opponents. Again, don't focus on how you're doing right now. Focus on how strong you'll be tomorrow.
There are many tricks you learn after playing Carnage Blender for a while. Ways of getting an advantage over a seemingly superior opponent.
These are cheap. They'll win you fights but alone are not enough to define a winning strategy and are not likely to see you reach the top ten without a winning strategy.
With that said, they can come in very handy.
Here I will share some of my own tips, and I'll ask others for some of theirs.
An enchanter with 20hp is one of the most cost effective things in the game.
Put this minion where you expect your opponent to do most of their damage. If most opponents hit you hardest in melee, put him where he'll be hit on the fourth round (or later). If your opponent hits you for 100k, your enchanter has been just as effective as he would have been if you'd have trained 99,980 more HP, that's a lot of EXP.
In Fight MPR/Invisible MPR:
Your MPR is a calculation of all your trained EXP, however when you're actually in a fight these numbers are changed significantly.
An AMF against a tank is as if you never bothered to train that EXP at all.
An EC of 100k against a 50k ST/DX is wasting 50k of EC x2.
The enchanter warfare is another example of this; you've wasted a significant amount of your opponent's damage output (more often than not, more than 10%).
The key is to know what to train and how much of it to train.
Think about your likely opponents, can you cut any of them out, limiting your fight list a little, but allowing you to fight higher up? In doing so you can often avoid training AMF or EC (very rarely do I recommend the combination of the two).
Consider your average opponent and their ST/DX, how big does your EC really need to be? Does it even need to put them to 0? Or can you put the weak guys to 0 and leave the big guys with just enough that you still get twice as many hits?
Maybe even get a small fireball mage to kill off enchanters so you're not wasting a few rounds of your main attacking minion's damage?
The Meat Shield Vs The Wall:
Are these wall minions really such a good idea? Look at all the money you're spending on the AC that is quite probably only taking effect in a small percentage of fights (see the above example of Enchanter Warfare. A small amount of additional HP often makes no difference and in this case, raises your PR and drains NW away from your weapon).
Meat shields are almost as good, and they can sport a small enchantment without fear of armor penalties.
Using Only One Minion to Attack:
The more minions you use to attack the more vulnerable you become. Two tanks doubles the effectiveness of your opponents EC. AMF is also doubled against two mages. One of each leaves you vulnerable to both EC and AMF (meaning it's harder to get the in fight MPR advantage).
Also multiple tanks tend to be weak to DM.
One minion can deal the same damage as two. Stick to one, two at most. Unless you're getting creative, in which case I accept no responsibility!
Divided They Fall:
There are many suggested defenses against fireball and cone of cold mages. The most obvious being anti-magic field and guardian angel.
However the method I've always used is to train anti-magic field and ablative shield, this has the effect of continuing to divide a mage's attack between up to five targets rather than quickly getting down to one or two. When targeting one minion their damage is at 100%, when they're divided between 5, your main attacking minion is only receiving 20% of their damage before we even consider anti-magic field.
The next step is to throw in a wall or meat shield to ensure that their attack continues to be divided even after the ablative shield runs out.
A Common Mistake - Over training:
When training anything relative to other stats, make sure to know how much is too much. For example Bloodlust is capped at 20% of your strength level, archery is capped at 25% of your strength, Vampiric Aura only has effect up to the amount you hit and Guardian Angel only has effect up to the amount of damage you take minus that which is absorbed by Phantom Link. The exception to this limitation of Guardian Angel is that if your Guardian Angel isn't maxed out (i.e. significantly bellow the average damage you take) it will still have its normal effect.
- Credit to Flamey and Muon for this tip.
The Art of Defense:
Often the key to success is to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. Attacking is far more simple than defending; therefore there is a big advantage to playing defensively.
I could tell you exactly what to train in order to successfully defend against any opponent you'd like. The problem is that the game keeps changing; it'd be nothing but a temporary fix.
Instead I'll tell you how to block anything that ever comes your way.
It's as simple as understanding that everything has weakness and everything is vulnerable in some way. All you have to do is exploit these weaknesses.
Be efficient with everything. Make sure your fight list is as good as it can possibly be, don't be as slack on this point as I am. Be careful with your money, $1 here and $10k there should be considered just as significant as a 10mil purchase.
If you listen closely to what I've said here you will have a very good chance against your average opponent.
However you don't have to listen to a single word I say in order to win.
Instead all you have to do is not burden yourself by jumping to conclusions that things are not possible, anything can be done because nothing is absolute.
Everything is flawed and where there are flaws to exploit, anything can be done.
That alone is the most important bit of advice I've given you today. Don't forget it.
last edited by sgs at Sep 6 2008 - Edit How It Should Be Done
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