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Author Topic: Damage Threshold, an idea...  (Read 3406 times)

The Dude

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Damage Threshold, an idea...
« on: April 13, 2013, 12:45:59 AM »
I'm not too bad at the game of Mage Wars. This is not a brag, but rather a subjective fact. After playing a friend on the forums a few times, I have come to really realize this potential. But I wanted to know why I was good. I was applying my theories of mobility, strength, and tempo, but I felt that there was something a little more that I was doing... and I figured out. Such an inherent factor should be so obvious, and yet, it's not. The fact was I was rolling more dice than him. He was indeed a player of great caliber, but I was rolling an average of 4 dice to his one. This, I feel, won me the three games I played. Yes, before you naysayers shout "Nay!", Think about it. Why is solo Warlock so good? Because his damage threshold is incredible. Why is Dog Rush so good? Damage Threshold. Rolling 5 dice on average does more damage than rolling three dice.

I mean, look at the law of averages. If you do something enough times, every outcome will come up. In order to mitigate rolling blanks, we need to only do one thing (and it doesn't include dice cleansing or dice cups). Roll more dice. You can make riskier plays in high roll stunning with the d12, but in the end, what wins you the game is damage. Use your tempo advantage to roll more dice. It's why my belief that the Earth Wizard is just better than Air/fire Wizard. Sure, they all have their merits, but in the end, Hurl boulder and Iron Golem deal an incredible amount of damage for the small cost of 5 spell points. Granted, Golem is slow and nonliving, but with a battle forge and two mage wands (once one gets dissolved), giving him charge at the right time is incredible.

So, getting to my main point, more players need to incorporate a Damage threshold to win games. What is damage threshold? It is the the average amount of damage you want to be doing each round to the mage when you gain tempo. For my earth wizard, it's at least thirteen dice of damage a turn. This keeps the opponent on their toes, and you dealing damage. Is that all you need to do? No, of course not, but you need to use your tactical cards to put you in a place for you to deal the most damage in the least amount of time. Attack spells are important to every mage (even the Priestess), as are melee attacks, and in order to utilize them most effectively, I have found that pushing that last fifteen damage is made a lot easier with attack spells. Spending the points is well worth doing the damage, especially if it's not expected. Oh, and one more thing, Battle Fury. A well timed battle fury will just end the game. I was playing priestess with the vampiress opening, and because I was able to battle fury at the right time, I didn't need to worry about my priestess dying, although she only had about 6 life left with 3 creatures left to attack her, because I had a well timed, surprise battle fury, that, coupled with 4 hands of bim shalla, did 18 dice of damage when I needed it most.

This is a thought that I would like to expound on, but as I have only been thinking about it for a few days, I would really love some feedback and constructive thoughts on this theory. I do believe this to be accurate, because every game I have won was because I was rolling more dice than opponent in order to deal more average damage, thus allowing me to nail my opponent before he did the same to me. Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts, and I hope you enjoyed!
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Intangible0

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Re: Damage Threshold, an idea...
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2013, 04:49:49 AM »
I hope I don't sound like a jerk when I say:
Duuuuuuh :-P

I do see the point in your post though Padawon. Rolling more dice usually is the key to victory in most games but in Mage Wars there are a lot of other potential values out there to keep track of. Armor starts to get less useful after 4 points (depending on if they have piercing or not), status affects are too random, and battlefield control (looking at you wizard) can only get you so far before you need to start shifting to more damage output. While healing is actually viable in this game and mana siphoning can botch another mage's strategy they won't win you the game. It's not like in magic where a player will just concede because they have not hope, in Mage Wars there's always that chance to come back.

I'd like to take it one step further though. Execution of actions makes or breaks the game. This is the case for all strategies but whether or not you get to role those dice are also a key factor in success or death. Rolling 9 dice for damage isn't any good if they avoid the attack. Long range creatures are practically worthless if in close combat. Swarms aren't any good if the creatures get blown away by a massive area of effect spell.

Staying on top of your opponents game with unavoidable attacks and well timed swarms is necessary if they start to wise up to your brute force. This is one reason I really like the FM. She doesn't have as much of  an aggravated assault as your Warlock or Equipment priestess but her attacks can still excel if she's also not getting hit. I've personally destroyed other mages with the fire lashing prince of darkness and loved every minute of it, and while some of the other players were really upset by the "lack of strategy" involved there were plenty of times when I could see my own weaknesses and how one spell could undo me for a few turns. Of course I planned for those weaknesses and that's why I smote with absolute clarity.

I guess what I'm trying to point out is that building a spell book with saturated dice rolling isn't necessarily the best route. I love the idea of hurling boulders non-stop at fleshy targets but there are ways around this plan of attack. That is, unless you prepare for those countermeasures. ;-)
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The Dude

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Re: Damage Threshold, an idea...
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2013, 08:49:39 AM »
Notice I said it's not the only thing you need to think about, but it is important. Chipping away at life with 3 3 dice attacks is going to be a lot more action efficient to heal than a 16 dice dice attack would be. And you aren't taking into account perfect strike or sniper shot, both of which are ran in my book, and both of which make any attack I do unavoidable. Yes, tempo is more important than damage threshold, but if you aren't damaging the opponent, then you are not winning, no matter how action efficient you are.

The idea was to create a base amount of dice you should be attacking with when you gain tempo advantage, not just rolling more dice, although I do see where you are coming from.
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Tacullu64

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Re: Damage Threshold, an idea...
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2013, 12:47:56 PM »
I think your damage threshold idea is an excellent subject to discuss. It is a deeper topic than it might first appear. It goes without saying you should roll as many dice as possible. Or does it? What is damage threshold?

To me damage threshold is the minimum amount if dice I can sustain once I gain tempo. By this I mean the number of dice I can roll turn after turn until the job is done. Now it might be that your opponent neutralizes some of your damage dice and your damage output goes down, but for the purpose of damage threshold i'm thinking of what i can do without running out of steam. Even if your opponent neutralizes some of your dice each turn as long as you're rolling them he has to account for them, and he is using actions fending off your attack instead of attacking. I think the worst thing you can do once you gain tempo is give it up. It may get to the point were you think you can finish off your opponent in the next round if you give it every thing you got, but I would not call that maximizing my damage threshold, I'd call it going for broke. If you fail you may have just given the tempo back.

I think before you play your first game with a spellbook you should have an idea of what your damage threshold will be. I also think that number can vary wildly depending on mage, spellbook and strategy. I think you also have to be prepared to not meet your desired damage threshold and have ways to make adjustments. You are not playing the game in a vacuum. Your opponent will have influence on the effective dice you can roll a turn, unless you are playing a goldfish. So in summary, while I want to maximize my damage dice, damage threshold is the minimum I can roll turn after turn without running out of resources. It's also important to recognize that your damage threshold and effective dice rolled could be different.

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Re: Damage Threshold, an idea...
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2013, 04:51:12 PM »
That's a good way to think about a damage threshold Tacullu64. I've seen a number of new players not consider sustainable damage enough. They'll stay in a damage race that they're clearly losing without doing anything about it, or just not get a high enough damage threshold. They'll be throwing a number of attacks at me, but the total damage output is low enough that I can pretty much ignore it. They could have avoided that situation by summoning more creatures or buffing the ones they had more effectively.

I tend to think about the game more from the perspective of threats and pressure, and the amount of damage I can bring to bear impacts how powerful those threats are and how effective that pressure can be. My damage threshold is a consequence of which threats I play and how I apply pressure.
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Shad0w

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Re: Damage Threshold, an idea...
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2013, 12:37:50 PM »
This is a good enough topic to get a sticky with the other tactics threads.
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ringkichard

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Re: Damage Threshold, an idea...
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2013, 11:58:52 PM »
I was thinking about damage in general, and wasted damage in particular.
It seems like there are two ways to waste damage:
  • You can do more damage to a creature than it has health
  • You can do less damage to a creature than it has health

By that I mean that if you use your pet Steelclaw to do 8 damage to a Bitterwood Fox, you've wasted 4 damage to overkill.
But if you do 3 damage to a Bitterwood Fox, and never do any more, you've wasted those 3 damage, too.

For attrition strategies, you want to prevent wasted damage, and you have to match your agro to the circumstance. If you waste a Battle Fury doing 18 dice to a Fox, you've blundered.

But, on the other hand, for beatdown style assassinations, there is no way to fall into category #1. You can never do too much damage to your opponent's mage; it ends the game in victory.

So I like the concept of damage threshold, but it needs to be put in the proper context, think. Tempo alone isn't enough, you need to be in the right circumstance: going for the kill.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 12:00:40 AM by ringkichard »
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piousflea

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Re: Damage Threshold, an idea...
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2013, 01:54:33 PM »
While the OP's description of rolling 18 dice with Hand+Battle Fury has since been nerfed, the concent of a "kill threshold" remains one of the most important concepts in the game.

When my Mage is running around the board with 18 damage out of 32 health, that health number (14 hp remaining) helps to tell me how easily I can be killed.
  • If I have no Armor, no Aegis, and no facedown enchants, you can throw Hurl Boulder x 2 with a ~56% chance of killing me in a single round.
  • If I have Armor +4, Aegis 1, and a facedown Healing Charm, you cannot kill me in one round with Boulders alone.
  • If you have three Butchers and a Sniper all in range to hit me, and you have the mana for two Boulders, I am still within the "kill threshold" despite Armor and Aegis.

The existence of a "kill threshold" really limits my tactical options. If you are also within "kill threshold", the advantage goes to whoever has initiative or is able to kill in the least # of actions. However, if only one player is within "kill threshold", he's playing at an incredible disadvantage. All of his moves must be defensive in nature, or else he will probably lose the game this round.

Because of this, getting your opponent within the "kill threshold" while being far away from it yourself, is the next best thing to killing him outright. This is a crucially important concept for the early game. If both players have 32+ health, it is impossible to do that much damage in one round. However, every point of damage you do, every Rot and Burn and Ghoul Rot, and every creature within attack range puts that Mage closer to the "kill threshold".

Ultimately, the first 31 damage don't really matter - a Mage with 1 health can still hit you just as hard as a Mage with 32 health. However, the first 20-ish damage force the Mage to change his gameplay (from not being afraid of death, to being very afraid of death) and this gets you in position to finish him off.


Kill threshold also matters for individual creatures, especially the expensive ones. If you are rolling 5+4+3 dice against Brogan (4 AC, 11 HP) it is very unlikely to kill him in a single round of attacks (~6.3 damage per round), but very likely to kill him in two rounds of attacks. This means that an opponent who wants to keep Brogan alive will need to heal him every round - for either 5 or 9 mana depending on how well you rolled last round. That's a huge mana investment to offset free melee attacks.

On the other hand, a Steelclaw Grizzly (3 AC, 15 HP) is likely to take 3 rounds to kill, which gives your opponent time to take other actions instead of constantly healing his big creature.

Charmyna

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Re: Damage Threshold, an idea...
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2013, 12:46:17 AM »
While the OP's description of rolling 18 dice with Hand+Battle Fury has since been nerfed, the concent of a "kill threshold" remains one of the most important concepts in the game.

When my Mage is running around the board with 18 damage out of 32 health, that health number (14 hp remaining) helps to tell me how easily I can be killed.
  • If I have no Armor, no Aegis, and no facedown enchants, you can throw Hurl Boulder x 2 with a ~56% chance of killing me in a single round.
  • If I have Armor +4, Aegis 1, and a facedown Healing Charm, you cannot kill me in one round with Boulders alone.
  • If you have three Butchers and a Sniper all in range to hit me, and you have the mana for two Boulders, I am still within the "kill threshold" despite Armor and Aegis.

The existence of a "kill threshold" really limits my tactical options. If you are also within "kill threshold", the advantage goes to whoever has initiative or is able to kill in the least # of actions. However, if only one player is within "kill threshold", he's playing at an incredible disadvantage. All of his moves must be defensive in nature, or else he will probably lose the game this round.

Because of this, getting your opponent within the "kill threshold" while being far away from it yourself, is the next best thing to killing him outright. This is a crucially important concept for the early game. If both players have 32+ health, it is impossible to do that much damage in one round. However, every point of damage you do, every Rot and Burn and Ghoul Rot, and every creature within attack range puts that Mage closer to the "kill threshold".

Ultimately, the first 31 damage don't really matter - a Mage with 1 health can still hit you just as hard as a Mage with 32 health. However, the first 20-ish damage force the Mage to change his gameplay (from not being afraid of death, to being very afraid of death) and this gets you in position to finish him off.


Kill threshold also matters for individual creatures, especially the expensive ones. If you are rolling 5+4+3 dice against Brogan (4 AC, 11 HP) it is very unlikely to kill him in a single round of attacks (~6.3 damage per round), but very likely to kill him in two rounds of attacks. This means that an opponent who wants to keep Brogan alive will need to heal him every round - for either 5 or 9 mana depending on how well you rolled last round. That's a huge mana investment to offset free melee attacks.

On the other hand, a Steelclaw Grizzly (3 AC, 15 HP) is likely to take 3 rounds to kill, which gives your opponent time to take other actions instead of constantly healing his big creature.

Thx for these very good thoughts! I totally agree that damage threshold is a great concept of thinking and helps understanding why in a board status that seemed promising surprisingly  the tide turns.
I do also agree that the grizzly is a great creature and one thing that makes him so good is the point you just mentioned. His base stats are really good which allows him to survive longer than most other creatures even without healing (or if facing deathlock) and still doing an impressive amount of damage per round.
Btw, I have to give credit to reddawn for enlightning me that base stats really are something to worry about :).
« Last Edit: August 02, 2013, 12:48:07 AM by Charmyna »