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Author Topic: Attack spells: Lightning vs Light vs Fire vs Earth  (Read 783 times)

Sailor Vulcan

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Attack spells: Lightning vs Light vs Fire vs Earth
« on: May 20, 2017, 07:44:38 PM »
So I'm curious on the community's thoughts on lightning attack spells. Not counting buffs, they tend to have higher damage output and lower daze/stun chance than light attacks, and lower damage out put than earth and fire attack spells. Additionally lightning can deal dazes/stuns (like light attacks) as opposed to earth which can deal daze/slam instead.

Lightning attacks seem weird. Why would you use them for damage output when boulders and fire attacks tend to do more damage? And if you're going for effects, then why not just use light attacks?

The best I can figure out is that lightning attacks are intended to be able to do both the things that earth/fire and light attacks do, but just not as well as either. A relatively high dice attack with a kinda decent chance of daze/stun is still pretty useful. With lightning attack spells you aren't trying to kill an enemy creature as quickly or efficiently as possible like a rock, boulder, fireball or firestream. And your main reason for casting them isn't the daze/stun like it often would be with light attacks. Rather, the daze/stun is a secondary benefit. Having one or two less dice in the attack is compensated for by the daze/stun chance. (Of course you could be casting something like lightning jolt in which case the effect is your main reason for casting it (stagger).

Comparing arc lightning with flameblast, we see that arc only has 3 dice and flameblast has 4. In addition, flameblast has a good burn chance. So flameblast has close to an equivalent of 5 dice and unavoidable for 5 mana. Arc lightning has only 3 dice, but it does have a good daze/stun chance in addition to also having unavoidable, also all for 5 mana.

As stated earlier, lightning attacks are not for killing the Mage as quickly as possible. Here is the kind of situation where I suspect lightning attacks would shine. It is the end of one of your actions. There is a powerful active creature in your zone that will maul you as soon as it has the chance. (If might be the enemy Mage it might be something else.)
However it has already taken some fairly decent damage. You throw a lightning attack spell at it in the hopes that either the attack spell will kill it or daze/stun it. If it doesn't die but gets dazed or stunned, you will be able to finish it off later. And if it dies than you don't have to worry about it anymore. Throwing two lightning attacks in a row increases the chances that you'll land a daze/stun and it probably will do more damage. And if you successfully land a condition the first time you can wait until after that creature uses its action and the daze/stun goes away and then cast the other one after that.

In summary, lightning attacks are probably best used either:

-As a way to finish off a creature when it is sufficiently low on health with a decent chance to delay it from attacking again if it survives.

OR

-When you're casting them at least a couple of times on the same target so as to increase expected damage output and the chance of landing a condition.

In contrast, fire attacks are for doing as much damage as possible to a target as quickly as possible.

Technically since a burn deals about 1.5 damage on average and a lot of fire attacks have a small chance of dealing two burns instead of just one, fire attack spells probably tend to have about 2 more expected damage output than earth attack spells. But earth attack spells often have daze or slam chance.

Hurl rock has a worse chance of daze than all light attack spells currently in the game, and it's got a better chance of dealing a condition than arc lightning, but since arc lightning has a decent but still small chance of dealing a stun condition which is more powerful than daze, that probably makes up for having a 1/6 lower chance of landing a condition.

Hurl boulder has a slightly lower chance of landing a condition then lightning bolt has, and slam is less powerful than stun but more powerful than daze. Meanwhile lightning bolt has a higher chance of daze and lower chance of stun than boulder's chance of slam is. Hurl boulder does 2 more dice than lightning bolt, but notice that lightning bolt's stun chance is one of the best in the game and also has ethereal. The excess chance of stun compared to other attacks which can deal stuns makes up for the two less dice.

As stated earlier, earth attack spells do not have as much expected damage output as fire attack spells. While earth attacks tend to have one more die than their Fire counterparts, fire attacks have a good chance of dealing burns which always gets past armor and rolls more net damage on average than a die rolled in an attack.

This concludes my analysis for now. I might write about wind vs hydro vs earth attack spells later on, but no promises! If someone else wants to write that article first feel free.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2017, 07:49:25 PM by Sailor Vulcan »
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Re: Attack spells: Lightning vs Light vs Fire vs Earth
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2017, 08:24:59 PM »
I think you hit the nail on the head. Lightning is a compromise between damage and daze/stun effects. Light attacks favor the effects, while Flame and Earth attacks favor damage. There are however a couple of misconceptions in your post that I'd like to address.

First, Burns deal 3 damage on average. Although I usually lowball it at 2.5 damage per burn in my calculations because so many Burns don't get to finish out their natural life span (due to the game ending first) which reduces the average they're actually able to do. It's impossible to know exactly how much gets shaved off of their damage potential due to the game ending first, but I think half a point is more than sufficient. This is then of course modified by the chance to actually apply a Burn, which may be what you were considering when you calculated the damage out to 1.5 per Burn, as most attacks only have around a 50% Burn chance.

Second, Lightning attacks actually have a BETTER Stun chance than Light attacks on average. It varies spell to spell of course, but usually Lightning spells have a better stun chance but a worse effect chance overall. For example, Arc Lightning will Stun on a 9+ but only Dazes on a 7-8. So it does nothing 50% of the time. Comparatively Daze and Luminous Blast both only Stun on an 11+, but they Daze on a 4-10. So they only lack an effect 25% of the time.

None of this changes your conclusion, which I agree with entirely, I just wanted to make sure all the facts were straight. Lightning spells are a nice compromise between damage and reliably awesome control effects.

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Re: Attack spells: Lightning vs Light vs Fire vs Earth
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2017, 08:28:57 PM »
I'll also note in the comparison between Earth and Flame that although Flame does deal more damage on average in the long run, the fact that all of Earth's damage is front loaded and dealt immediately is a big selling point. When you want to use an attack spell to finish off a target (which is often the case with these) it's better to deal all your damage at once and get the job done, than it is to have a DoT finish them off, no matter how good of a DoT it is.

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Re: Attack spells: Lightning vs Light vs Fire vs Earth
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2017, 03:44:53 AM »
How I see it:

Earth is harder to boost, but also harder to counter. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. The disadvantage is that I think that heavy earth spell books are not as good as any other element (air/water/fire/light) because there aren't many interacting spells. However, if you want to use only a couple attack spells each game, earth is the way to go. Aka: most beastmasters, necromancers, ... study earth magic for this reason. The effect die on earth is not something to consider mostly. You can occasionally daze/slam something but that's certainly not why you would use the spells.

Fire needs a bit of extra work, but once you have your buffs out, fire hits MUCH harder than earth, especially if you include the burn damage. That's why adramelech warlock uses way more attack spells than a warlord on average. Fire +/-X is more often than not helpfull imo. If something is fire resistent, just don't attack it with fire.

Lightning has a very awesome effect die chance that can really annoy your enemy. The damage output is not horrible, but it can become very decent. A wizard can use the lightning ring, staff of storms, (+ hawkeye) to make the spells both dangerous and control heavy. Ideally, I think the number of lightning attacks in a game is somewhere between fire and earth. Maybe not usefull every single turn but still pretty damn often. If you let the staff power up a couple of turns, a lightning attack can become absurdly strong. I think many people underestimate the power of lightning, but stun on a mage/buddy can really mess up the plans.


Light Without any buffs, I'd say most of the light spells are only usefull only on undead things. However, since PvS, there are just like lightning, more spells to buff them. Light + Alfiya is the most deadly thing there is, even deadlier than fire.


As a conclusion, I think Earth is the one to use out of school, but I think light, lightning and fire can be much better when used by a trained mage.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2017, 03:48:10 AM by Halewijn »
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Re: Attack spells: Lightning vs Light vs Fire vs Earth
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2017, 07:50:26 AM »
I think you hit the nail on the head. Lightning is a compromise between damage and daze/stun effects. Light attacks favor the effects, while Flame and Earth attacks favor damage. There are however a couple of misconceptions in your post that I'd like to address.

First, Burns deal 3 damage on average. Although I usually lowball it at 2.5 damage per burn in my calculations because so many Burns don't get to finish out their natural life span (due to the game ending first) which reduces the average they're actually able to do. It's impossible to know exactly how much gets shaved off of their damage potential due to the game ending first, but I think half a point is more than sufficient. This is then of course modified by the chance to actually apply a Burn, which may be what you were considering when you calculated the damage out to 1.5 per Burn, as most attacks only have around a 50% Burn chance.

Second, Lightning attacks actually have a BETTER Stun chance than Light attacks on average. It varies spell to spell of course, but usually Lightning spells have a better stun chance but a worse effect chance overall. For example, Arc Lightning will Stun on a 9+ but only Dazes on a 7-8. So it does nothing 50% of the time. Comparatively Daze and Luminous Blast both only Stun on an 11+, but they Daze on a 4-10. So they only lack an effect 25% of the time.

None of this changes your conclusion, which I agree with entirely, I just wanted to make sure all the facts were straight. Lightning spells are a nice compromise between damage and reliably awesome control effects.

Whoops don't know how I missed that. I remember reading somewhere that a burn deals 1.5 damage on average. As for lightning having a higher chance of stun than light but a lower chance of conditions, I'm not sure how I forgot that. :/


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Re: Attack spells: Lightning vs Light vs Fire vs Earth
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2017, 08:04:24 AM »
I rate earth over fire for the fact that fire is too easy to blunt. As quickly as fire gears up other books can take it apart.
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Re: Attack spells: Lightning vs Light vs Fire vs Earth
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2017, 09:30:30 AM »
How I see it:

Earth is harder to boost, but also harder to counter. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. The disadvantage is that I think that heavy earth spell books are not as good as any other element (air/water/fire/light) because there aren't many interacting spells. However, if you want to use only a couple attack spells each game, earth is the way to go. Aka: most beastmasters, necromancers, ... study earth magic for this reason. The effect die on earth is not something to consider mostly. You can occasionally daze/slam something but that's certainly not why you would use the spells.

Fire needs a bit of extra work, but once you have your buffs out, fire hits MUCH harder than earth, especially if you include the burn damage. That's why adramelech warlock uses way more attack spells than a warlord on average. Fire +/-X is more often than not helpfull imo. If something is fire resistent, just don't attack it with fire.

Lightning has a very awesome effect die chance that can really annoy your enemy. The damage output is not horrible, but it can become very decent. A wizard can use the lightning ring, staff of storms, (+ hawkeye) to make the spells both dangerous and control heavy. Ideally, I think the number of lightning attacks in a game is somewhere between fire and earth. Maybe not usefull every single turn but still pretty damn often. If you let the staff power up a couple of turns, a lightning attack can become absurdly strong. I think many people underestimate the power of lightning, but stun on a mage/buddy can really mess up the plans.


Light Without any buffs, I'd say most of the light spells are only usefull only on undead things. However, since PvS, there are just like lightning, more spells to buff them. Light + Alfiya is the most deadly thing there is, even deadlier than fire.


As a conclusion, I think Earth is the one to use out of school, but I think light, lightning and fire can be much better when used by a trained mage.

I like the summary, but wonder what happened to Water and Wind attacks? PvS added some new spells and buffs to water attacks. Here is my take on water attacks. Off topic a bit, but completing the look at Attack spells.

Water attacks seem to have lower damage potential than all but the light school, but have more effects than others. The current range of effects include push, daze, slam, and extinguish with high likelihood of achieving the effect. However, some are not able to target flying creatures. This school currently has the most costly attack spell in the game with the Tsunami. With  potential damage roll of 15 dice plus wall attacks along the way it can be devasting to groups of creatures. It is very effect as a counter to the fire school.

Also, another aspect of the attack analysis is the ability to effect multiple zones with an attack. We might call this the "damage reach" of an attack or something like that. Chain Lightning and Tsunami top this list followed by Dragon's Breath.
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Re: Attack spells: Lightning vs Light vs Fire vs Earth
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2017, 11:02:28 AM »
I think Wind, Hydro, and Acid spells are all in the same category as Light spells. You use them for their effect. However Push/Slam tends to be valued less by AW than Daze/Stun and thus those spells tend to have higher attack dice. Acid spells that Corrode also seem to be valued slightly less by AW, but the difference is very minor and results in a slightly higher effect chance rather than more attack dice.

The interesting thing is that player's then value these other spells more than the Light spells. Why is that? I think it's for two reasons. First, they're more reliable. I personally think players do criminally undervalue the Daze/Stun from Light attacks, but I can't argue against the fact that Daze only works 50% of the time. So yeah, half the time it is amazing by denying them an attack, but the other half of the time it is useless. And that's glossing over the fact that they can just guard instead of attacking immediately.

Second, I think people value aggro over control. Daze/Stun are entirely control effects, preventing your opponent from doing things. Corrode is entirely aggressive, reducing your opponent's armor and letting you deal more damage. Push/Slam are kind of both, making them very versatile. You can use them to control positioning and prevent your opponent from doing things, but you can also use them to increase your own damage by slamming them into walls or removing their Defenses.

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Re: Attack spells: Lightning vs Light vs Fire vs Earth
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2017, 11:32:10 AM »
I think Wind, Hydro, and Acid spells are all in the same category as Light spells. You use them for their effect. However Push/Slam tends to be valued less by AW than Daze/Stun and thus those spells tend to have higher attack dice. Acid spells that Corrode also seem to be valued slightly less by AW, but the difference is very minor and results in a slightly higher effect chance rather than more attack dice.

The interesting thing is that player's then value these other spells more than the Light spells. Why is that? I think it's for two reasons. First, they're more reliable. I personally think players do criminally undervalue the Daze/Stun from Light attacks, but I can't argue against the fact that Daze only works 50% of the time. So yeah, half the time it is amazing by denying them an attack, but the other half of the time it is useless. And that's glossing over the fact that they can just guard instead of attacking immediately.

Second, I think people value aggro over control. Daze/Stun are entirely control effects, preventing your opponent from doing things. Corrode is entirely aggressive, reducing your opponent's armor and letting you deal more damage. Push/Slam are kind of both, making them very versatile. You can use them to control positioning and prevent your opponent from doing things, but you can also use them to increase your own damage by slamming them into walls or removing their Defenses.

Huh. Interesting. I always thought it was the other way around. Everyone always says that rush decks are only good the first time they're used against you and then once you know how to deal with them they can't beat you anymore. I'm still not sure if that's actually true.


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Re: Attack spells: Lightning vs Light vs Fire vs Earth
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2017, 11:40:41 AM »
I like the summary, but wonder what happened to Water and Wind attacks?

Well, wind is purely for pushing and killing flyers. Really a niche spell. There aren't many wind spells out there yet. Water is great for push & slam but doesn't work on flyers, so in that regard they complement each other. Water is also great for battle forge & burns of course. So, yeah, I put these in the same category as light spells but for push instead of daze.
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Re: Attack spells: Lightning vs Light vs Fire vs Earth
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2017, 12:52:16 PM »
Huh. Interesting. I always thought it was the other way around. Everyone always says that rush decks are only good the first time they're used against you and then once you know how to deal with them they can't beat you anymore. I'm still not sure if that's actually true.

Says the guy who uses Mind's Eye to get in his opponent's face turn 1, lol. I agree that hyper aggression isn't that common any more and people make their books a bit more balanced, but I still think that in general when faced with the choice of dealing more damage or preventing damage, most players will lean towards dealing more. They put in a modicum of defenses because they've seen the value of them, but then that's it. Regardless, I do think the reliability factor is the bigger influence on why Light attacks are unpopular. And both comments are entirely my opinion on the subject. I don't have any hard data to actually support these ideas.

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Re: Attack spells: Lightning vs Light vs Fire vs Earth
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2017, 01:02:21 PM »
Huh. Interesting. I always thought it was the other way around. Everyone always says that rush decks are only good the first time they're used against you and then once you know how to deal with them they can't beat you anymore. I'm still not sure if that's actually true.

Says the guy who uses Mind's Eye to get in his opponent's face turn 1, lol. I agree that hyper aggression isn't that common any more and people make their books a bit more balanced, but I still think that in general when faced with the choice of dealing more damage or preventing damage, most players will lean towards dealing more. They put in a modicum of defenses because they've seen the value of them, but then that's it. Regardless, I do think the reliability factor is the bigger influence on why Light attacks are unpopular. And both comments are entirely my opinion on the subject. I don't have any hard data to actually support these ideas.
I think the best rush books can not beat the best mid game or late game books.
But that's off topic.
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Re: Attack spells: Lightning vs Light vs Fire vs Earth
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2017, 04:34:59 PM »
ב"ה
About wind, in my local meta, Wall of thorns+jet stream is more common than Wall of thorns+force push.
Even though force attack (which weren't mentioned yet) deal more damage, I've also seen lightning attacks out of school as a counter to incorporeal.

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Re: Attack spells: Lightning vs Light vs Fire vs Earth
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2017, 05:04:11 PM »
Huh. Interesting. I always thought it was the other way around. Everyone always says that rush decks are only good the first time they're used against you and then once you know how to deal with them they can't beat you anymore. I'm still not sure if that's actually true.

Says the guy who uses Mind's Eye to get in his opponent's face turn 1, lol. I agree that hyper aggression isn't that common any more and people make their books a bit more balanced, but I still think that in general when faced with the choice of dealing more damage or preventing damage, most players will lean towards dealing more. They put in a modicum of defenses because they've seen the value of them, but then that's it. Regardless, I do think the reliability factor is the bigger influence on why Light attacks are unpopular. And both comments are entirely my opinion on the subject. I don't have any hard data to actually support these ideas.

I didn't say I agreed with them. Just that it seems to be the majority opinion that rush decks are good for training but aren't very competitive at least after the first use. I suspect this is not true, but arcane duels disagrees with me and so do a number of other fairly skilled players. I think the problem is that there are not very many interesting and unique ways to kill the enemy  mage as fast as possible with only 0-1 creatures compared to longer game strategies. Either that or I just haven't been very good at coming up with ideas for such decks.
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Re: Attack spells: Lightning vs Light vs Fire vs Earth
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2017, 06:40:28 PM »
Well a rush book typically doesnt cast much economy and just aims to do dmg asap while focusing on nothing else.
A timed push book is still more of a midgame book as it has a specific window it wants to start the engagement in
For example, someone on here suggested running a paladin that deploys two knights of the red helm on turn two with banner and puts double knights courage down for a engagement on turn three.
Imo, this is a terrible idea. It's like a slightly different version of spiked anchor and that book is too easy to counter imo. As long as any good players keeps their cool, they should always best that.
Even jackamack's books were timed push books. He stopped to cast the pixie familiar vs enti and used sealed demon vs keejchen.
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