Art of board manipulation

So it is something we all need to do… manipulate the board to get the combos we need in order to win. But I think it is quite an overlooked art. Some people don’t even acknowledge any skill in this area (generally those that believe boards and/or match outcomes are predetermined). But I for one definitely believe it is both a skill and an art… and it is not a one-size fits all. The strategies you employ for mono are not the same as you employ for rainbow. And with all fast or VF defences or VF formats your strategies have to change again. So what do people find are strategies that work for them? I’ll kick it off

  • When you are facing slower opponents or when you are running mono and don’t have enough tiles in your colour or when you are running rainbow with no particular dependencies or sequences in special - your overall aim is to change as much stuff in the board as possible in order to get as much favourable stuff happening as possible. So elegant moves that start from the top and result in 3-4 downstream combos, possible bombs or diamons - that is the goal.

  • When you are facing faster opponents, when you are doing rainbow but the focus is on getting a specific colour or colours ahead of others - elegant/big is no longer your friend, but your enemy. A beautifully crafted move that results in a big shift in the board (not necessarily cascades, they could all be planned combos) may just end up triggering enough enemy specials to wipe you out (Frigg & Odin might be enough to do it). In this case - keep it simple! 3 combos are often good enough. Work from the bottom up - if you have 2 matches make the bottom one first so as you don’t have a chance of disturbing the other combo. An example is a team created around Skadi - Skadi needs 9 tiles to fire (alongside C KIril), and it is usually a win. If you can get 9 tiles straight away through simple combos, do that. Once she has used her special, keep your moves small and simple so as not to trigger more enemy specials than required. If you can’t get blue tiles in time and a C Kad/Krampus/Vanda/Garnet/BK/Sif prevents an effective Skadi special, then focus on your dispeller colors first followed by blue. Or if all is going wrong then maybe an off-color healer will keep you alive just long enough to do the rest. See the sequence in your head, and concentrate on focused tile movements. At times a hail mary is the only (possible) solution… but usually that will fail spectacularly.

  • Vertical matches usually created more movement than horiziontal… so should generally be avoided in VF or veruses fast/very fast heroes. Sequencing is also key - if you can’t stop from triggering from both Odin and Frigg try to deplete their yellow and green tiles but above all else trigger Odin first so he doesn’t get Frigg’s defence down Of course, vertical matches are very effective when you do actually want to trigger a specific hero, for example JF to fire into Myztero, or Sif into a ready dispel.

  • In a similar vein, bombs and particularly diamonds can be deadly to you in VF formats - avoid triggering them in most situations (unless you know it will give you a distinct advantage). Similarly if you are playing a game of “waiting out the clocK” (i.e. Skadi special has been triggered) then diamonds are the last thing you should be trying to utilise

  • When you have some breathing room if you have favourable tiles on your board you should try to form bigger combos - diamonds & bombs - whenever possible rather than taking the simple combos (yes this is directly opposite to one of the points above, and which one applies is very situational - play the 40% chance of a diamond and a big end-game play, or the simple match for the guaranteed critical special). Knowing the odds and knowing the different ways of setting up these combos will help in identifying different strategies.

  • I haven’t fully fleshed out the new formations, other than thinking that some don’t favour mono as much as standard does. Overall I think tile strategies favour horizontal matches over vertical (particularly for reverse) in general, but vertical matches for those specials you don’t mind charging (e.g. Freya/Bera when you have Skadi waiting)

That should be more than enough for an initial thought dump… I would love to hear how other players think/do, particularly factoring in the new meta, new heroes, new formations, new formats…

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I play a lot of mono so my goal is ideally to punch out the tank in three or four tiles; I understand it’s a high risk-high reward strategy.

With the chunky +20 tanks we have nowadays, every point counts.

So I like to look for an initial combo that might give me an edge.

Here’s an example (the enemy is irrelevant here, I’m just demonstrating the principle).

So here I can just make the yellow match.

But by triggering the yellow with the green I get a small boost of 1.1 X my normal attack.

While there’s a risk of more tiles leading to more mana, this might just be enough to kill the tank.

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Here’s a great opening board

In such situations, remember to move combos at the bottom first. Moving the combo at the top will disrupt the tiles and possibly lose the four combo at the bottom.

A point on hero line up too - where it makes no difference in terms of effects, put your heroes in the order you fire. This is particularly true of titans but helpful for bleary eyed raids too.

When a hero is already charged, dump tiles on them if there isn’t a better move.

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I usually play mono.
And as stated above that is usually all about killing the Tank fast (in war I sometimes mono on flanks if I do not have the anti tank colour) and taking advantage by ghosting through the gap. Moving the board carefully, focusing your one colour and avoiding cascades.

However, with Rainbow I would move tiles completely different, actually trying to trigger as big cascades as possible - at least in absece of obvious options where certain matches are lying on the board that can charge your desired hero.
The advantage of the big combos is that it charges a lot of mana on your heroes, while the mana gain for the opponent is less as it is subect to the diminishing effect where they gain only very litte for subsequent tile hits in the same combo.

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Unless you are facing “splashing” heroes. For example, when facing Kigston it’s good to put snipers/direct damaging heroes at the edges and healers or DoT heroes in the middle.

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Yes, there are effects that do need some thought. Jabberwock comes to mind too!

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Yep… hence the placement of Myztero in this raid:

As a perpetual noob (I’ve been playing these types of games for 10+ years and I’m still terrible at them. lol), I wholeheartedly appreciate this thread and hope it goes on forever.

Thank you!

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With @Homaclese involvement, you may just get your wish :crazy_face:

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This is huge. Whether they are charged or you’ve put yourself into a position where you want them to fire (like Taunt), making the enemy do what you want with tiles is incredibly important. Similar for riposte. If I bring Ursena it’s because I’ll fire her and dump into holy heroes who fire and commit suicide.

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Agreed with all. There are extra opportunities too:

  • dumping into a hero whose special you can counter with a hero already charged up, or whose special is ready countered (eg bera tank and all team affected by bera poison courtesy of myztero)
  • dumping into a hero whose special feeds your own special, such as any minion maker when you have a grimble or skadi ready
  • dumping into a fast hero under miners attack to get 2 self hits out of them
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Sadly Google does not translate whale for me.

I have never really put this much thought into the “how” of my strategy. Very interesting read. However, I totally agree with the idea that this is an art form. I actually employ much of what you wrote above naturally. I am a F2P player in a world where all of my teammates and opponents have rosters that substantially exceed mine. I, without expense of raid flasks, have found myself in the raid worldwide top 50. Obviously there is always some degree of board luck, but I figure based on what I hear from others that the “bad luck” generally impacts me less than most people. I actually wonder how anyone that thinks there is no board play strategy can even enjoy the game.

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Like the great man said: “Funny thing, the more I practise, the luckier I get”.

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