E&P Experiment: Is It Skill, Luck, or Totally Random? (SHOCKING Answer!)

Hey everyone, there was a separate forum post with a lot of debate about how much of the game is skill, luck, or is totally random, so I did an experiment. The results actually shocked me. I thought it deserved its own thread. Check it out…

Original forum post: Do you think there is any skill involved in PVP battles?


Hi @NittanyLionRoar

Thanks for taking up the challenge. I’ll tag a few other clever people who might appreciate the results.

@IvyTheTerrible @ThePirateKing @Kikyo @moderators @Mr.Spock @NPNKY @JackieChanBruce

Like you, I was surprised with the initial result, so I’m really glad you did the third test with a random team (even then, it wasn’t a bad team!)

And I agree that while not statistically valid, it is still potentially indicative of the skill/luck balance within the game.

One could argue that roster is also luck driven and so even the ability to pick a good team has some element of randomness!

Perhaps an interesting addendum for someone to try would be a team in the ‘correct’ order (something like debuff, attack buff, defence debuff, hit), versus the ‘wrong’ order to show the skill of synergy.

Always appreciate your content, dude, good gaming :+1:


Well to get a better average you’d have to do more experimenting, but I think for entertainment purposes that would’ve made for a very long video :stuck_out_tongue:

It does at least show though that a properly constructed team with skills that mesh well together is pretty important :slight_smile:


Would have liked to see the deliberate effort with random team. Imagine that’s where the significant difference would have been seen. All this really seemed to show to me is that you can win a lot with a good team even if you play badly.


Everyone knows E&P is 100% skluckdom

This would have been a good one. Not everyone has a really good attack team and make do with what they have. Just as a side pairing to the last random set.

Perhaps I can do a follow-up where I do runs with random teams and see how much skill impacts those.


Really interesting @NittanyLionRoar!

echoing what JB said & what you wrapped up the video with which is that the team/ heroes you take are much more important (synergy) than necessarily the exact moves you make…

I’d be interested in seeing what the outcome would be if you used the “random team” but with “skillful board play” as a full comparison.


Interesting and entertaining video - thanks for putting in the time to do that.

I would make one theory - assuming you are using an optimal team - then the random vs “skilled” becomes a lesser factor if your team (emblems, troops - i.e. tp) is greater than your opponent. The higher the tp discrepancy the opposite way the more the difference should be able to be seen between playing randomly and playing properly. I know for a fact that I barely eke out wins at 4180 tp vs 4.6k+ GTVs, and if I make just one mistake that usually costs me the win. If I played randomly then I would be carved into tiny little pieces.

A second theory is that the disparity between random and skilled grows and shrinks according to what types of hero specials are at play. The majority of your specials are hard hitting and do not require timing (Lady Loki being a key exception. Malosi too, but he can just keep hammering and still get some sort of outcome). My whole team (other than Noor) is a constant balancing act between Grazul, Proteus, C Rigard and Lady Loki - a very passive, defensive team with no hard hitters. This means that specials can be easily wasted depending on timing and targets. Those skills that do medium to heavy damage will lose less of their effect if they are not targetted precisely.


Fascinating! So the real skill is in team selection and placement. I guess we all knew that, given that when you lose a raid with a terrible board, it you think the team should have won, a rematch usually changes it.
That is not to ignore that some players are definitely better at manipulating boards than others, but the team selection makes a big difference


I filmed my war hits for the first time (it was Crew vs Crew so we were sharing)

I’ve watched back the matches and 2 were slam dunk wins right from the off…I went Mono, got the godlike start, game over.

1 was what I’d call 50/50 and I’d have probably won anyway but I did have to manipulate the board a touch.

Then there was 2 wins I really had to scrap to get. One was my blue mono against a green tank and it had a horrid start. Watching it back I could see I was doing what I would normally do and trying to clear the board as fast and efficiently as possible to try and bring in blues. I got a little lucky but I was surprised at how much manipulation I actually had to do. I don’t really recall that from the time oddly…I knew I’d worked hard for it but actually had to work a lot harder then thought.

Final win same again with yellow, had to try and work the board and had a bit of early luck, then a barron spell and then brought it back.

Final game was my only loss and I had a much weaker but all red mono that can still do a job with a bit of luck and good play. Unfortunately didn’t get all the luck and only managed to drop the tank.

However…and this surprised me…Watching it back nothing really jumped out at me as something I’d do different. The wins were all as good as I could have played them and the loss was a loss irrespective.

It’s makes me wonder how many people actually record and watch the games back before they come on to vent???

Because the 2 games I really fought hard on were loses if I played it differently. The blue especially so as that was a horror of a start.

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5 minutes in and my current conclusion is I want your raid team.


Interesting result, and many thanks for sharing! I did notice that some of the defenses for the autoplay were a bit easier than the ones you rolled for the skilled plays. You might have done better on the skill side if you started at the same cup level as the auto-play.

I’m considering following the same experiment for a mono team.

My guess is that a mono team will widen the gap between playing tiles skillfully and random plays. Anecdotally, the AI plays terribly with a mono team and great with a rainbow team on the world map.

I just played 6 rounds the “luck” way. 6 wins.

Started at about 2,600 cups. Ended at 2821 (rank 109). I mention this just to give an idea of people I was going against.

I ran Zim18, Tarlak15, Mitz7, Alby7, GM15.

My observation: my boards were incredible. There were times where I had to hit the dragon or play at the top, over what would have been the ‘smarter play’ and it would lead to cascades that saved me and excellent replacement tiles.

I noticed the same thing when watching the OP’s video, which is why I tried it in the first place. The “luck” boards seemed to be landing and replenishing great tiles.

No science behind it, pure confirmation bias on my part, but playing the AI way led to some great boards.

Drops are not random. As every match3 puzzle game out, you have an in game algorithm manipulating the boards. You get “lucky” when the game has decided it.

I think this is a good time to share my “Psychology of Randomness” video. It’s one of my favorite videos I’ve made but I think it’s underrated because it doesn’t have as many views. But it relates a lot to this topic and I think it’s worth watching or listening to when you have a chunk of time.


I’d love see a random team with a healer. Maybe chose them from 2 lists?

That’s a nice video. The problem is 90% of the players (or maybe more) don’t have such advanced troops neither the heroes you have. I think most of you didn’t understand yet, the complains are most from FTP and CTP players that don’t have the wallets most of the higher players have.

@NittanyLionRoar Cool! Fun to see, certainly, if not terribly conclusive. Thanks for taking up the gauntlet!

In programming, there’s an adage concerning optimization: “All algorithms are fast for small n.” That is to say, sorting a list of five items will always be fast, no matter what algorithm you choose; but when sorting millions of items, it quickly becomes apparent which algorithms are faster, and which are… not.

By comparison, when you’ve got matching tiles raining down as in most of your “Luck” trial, then the gap between skilled and unskilled will not be wide. If you were really looking to demonstrate something, you’d begin with a situation where you were already at significant disadvantage of some kind, and then see how the two play styles deal with that. Fancy that?


Or to make it even more scientific -

  • use a lower tp offensive team
  • use a team where timing or target selection is more critical
  • only do a comparison where the starting board had x number or range of tiles in the strong color, to make it like for like

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