Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hero Academy: Using a Knight's knockback against itself

When playing against enemy knights, be aware that their knockback is often an impediment to them dishing out damage.

Here is a situation I found myself in recently.



I am playing the White Dark Elves, we're near the end of the game.  Based on my current game state my Wraith needs 2 swings to kill the Wizard.

My goal for this turn will be to kill the Wizard, munch on him and survive retaliation from the Knight. This is going to require 5 actions:
1. Move
2. Move
3. Wraith Attack
4. Wraith Attack
5. Nom

I'll abbreviate this as M-M-A-A-Nom

My first move is obviously to get closer.


But after my first move, from which direction should I attack?  2a or 2b?  Instinctively many players would attack from 2a.  First, there is a bias to position yourself closer to your side of the battlefield, closer to potential reinforcements, etc.  Secondly, since you are trying to avoid the Knight, without thinking about it too much, 2a sounds like a reasonable place to go since it seems "farthest" from the Knight. Here is a shot of what my Wraith would look like if I attack from 2a.


At the end of this, I'm going to be standing with one open space between my Wraith and the Knight. The Knight has a sword and deals 300 damage per swing.  As we can see, my Wraith will have 895 health and since Wraiths have no armor, the Knight only needs 3 swings to kill me.  Now if my opponent takes a naive approach and walks straight up to me and swings, trying to kill me, the Knight will fail because of the knockback.  Since every swing will knock my Wraith back, my Wraith will survive the round.  (M-A*-M-A*-M where A* represents attacks that caused a knockback)  However, my opponent may be a bit clever and position the Knight south of my Wraith and use the wall to negate the knockback.



As you can see from this diagram, moving into position 2a allows a clever opponent to use the wall to get the full 3 swings on my Wraith to kill it.  M-M-A-A-A

To circumvent this, position 2b is actually the correct attack angle. If I attack from position 2b, the Knight no longer has a good angle to attack in a way that negates his own knockback.



With my Wraith in this position, the Knight's knockback will always work against him.  If the Knight approaches from either the west or the north (or a truly silly attack from the east) then every other attack will cause a knockback, pushing my Wraith away, forcing the Knight to walk forward to close the gap before he can swing again.
1. Move
2. Attack (Knockback)
3. Move
4. Attack (Knockback)
5. Move

The Knight could try to attack from the south but that still doesn't give the Knight enough swings within 5 actions.  M-M-A*-M-A

Hope this little tip helps!  See you all in game!

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