Effects, specials and stacking


I find how the specials work and how they stack a bit inconsistent. I’m going to write down how I think it’s working. Please add and correct. I will edit this post during discussion so in the end I hope it’s accurate.

First: I distinguish between four different attack
Standard (the defensive attacks by heroes)
Troop (the offensive attacks by switching tiles)
Special (special attack from heroes

Ghosting (troops attack that doesn’t hit heroes). This is strictly not a different type of attack but some effects works differently in this situation.

In many cases it is not necessary to distinguish between different attacks. I think it is the devs intention to work towards making the rules apply consistently with all types.

General buff to defence. Affects all attacks indirectly. Defence number can be seen in card. The buff adds to that defence value.

Same as defence+ but lowers defence.

Attack+ (This is edited after discussion with @Mai)

The card’s value for attack is raised by the percentage given by the effect. For instance my boldtusk adds 48% to the value of the card’s attack. Of some reason this value doesn’t seem to be used when special attacks are done. Instead it affects special ability by adding to the percentage of the special attack. Example: my Lianna does 512% damage with special. If 48% buff is active her special does 560% damage. This is in reality a buff less than 10% damage and not 48%.

I suppose buffed value on the card is used for standard and troops attack but haven’t confirmed this in testing yet.

Affects all attacks but I’m not sure how consistent. See above about attack+. I haven’t tested this yet.

Lowered accuracy
Affects standard, troop and the part of special attacks that do HP damage. Special effects except HP damage is not affected by lowered accuracy.

Lowered accuracy means there’s a chance the HP damage will miss the target and not do any damage at all.

When heroes miss special attacks this way they retain half mana. When troops attacks miss their target they no mana is gained by the defending or the attacking hero.

As far I know Wu’s special also lowers accuracy and has the same mechanic as other specials with this ability. This is mentioned because it has specifically been said that Wu’a special might be different (maybe it was different in earlier versions of the game).

General rule is that effects that do the same thing doesn’t stack. This is also implied by these specials having the same icon when active on a hero.

Exceptions from the rule are specials that has very similar effects but not exactly the same. These also have different icons.

Athenas special defence+ stacks with others like gormek.
Brienne’s special attack+ stacks with others like boldtusk.
Wu’s special attack+ also stacks with others like Justice.
Kadilen’s defence+ for specials stacks with other general defence+ I presume.

Mana glitch?

There’s a better and easier way to deal with this: different icons stack, same icons replace each other.

That’s not only true for buff and debuff, it’s also true for damage per round.

I find your different attack division confusing and unnecessary. Basically you have only 2 types of attacks/skills: Normal tile damage (in raid opponents will do a variation of this one, the AI’s rounds mechanic) and Special skill and attack damage.

The main difference is: Normal tile damage is done by matching tiles (or rounds in AI side of it) and generates mana. Special skill and attack damage do not generate mana, instead require 100% mana that will be consumed after activation of it.

Normal and Special attack will be influenced by everything, unless stated otherwise. Special attacks won’t take into consideration the strong/weak mechanic of colors, UNLESS stated. As this moment the only two are Hel (special does extra damage to Holy) and Athena (special does extra damage to Fire).

Ghosting is not a type of attack, it’s a condition of missing or not hitting an attack.

Misses are due a lost of accuracy/precision. Every hero has 100% precision by default. It only happens to attacks and not buff, debuffs, heals, dispel, so only affect the damage side of it. If your special is half damage, half debuff/buff, the debuff/buff will still be applied regardless of misses. Example, when Hel misses, all 3 heroes still get the silence, same goes for Gormek debuff defense. Attacks that hit all opponents or attack with splash damage either miss all or hit all.

When there’s no target (ghosting), that lost attack is fully converted to mana and it actually give a higher percent of mana than it would have if you hit something. When you miss against a target, that miss won’t generate mana to neither player or oponent, it also won’t work against the weak spot on titans.

When you hit tiles on a spot shared by two targets, your damage is divided by 2 and both receive same damage and mana. (Just adding.)

Once again I find the list very confusing and repetitive. Special skills effect, you have 5 types:

  • Buff and debuffs that affect the card status of your hero. Such as more/less attack, defense, accuracy, HP and critical chance. At this moment only troops affect critical and HP. The value can be a fixed amount or vary depending on the mechanic, it can also only apply to a color or attack type.
  • HP modifiers. More HP aka heals, less HP aka damage and damage per round (that works as a debuff). Damage comes in 3 types: damage to all targets, to a single target and splash damage (full damage to the target and half of that amount to all enemies exactly at its sides, usually 2 more, but it can be 4). It affects the HP but it’s limited by the max HP stated in the hero card. This is not a status change (the max HP is the same), but an internal variation of that value. Troops can improve the heals recieved.
  • Mana modifiers. There’s a few variations, such silence (prevention of gaining mana), more/less mana generation and more/less x% of the total mana (you lose or gain mana). Everyone has the same mana, a 0-100% bar, but different heroes have different mana gain status (such as low, average and fast) that affect how much mana you generate per hit of tiles (or round in the AI case).
  • Dispels. They can erase debuffs to status, mana and HP of your heros and buffs to status and mana of the opponent. Usually only one or the other, the big exception being antidotes.
  • Special mechanic modifier. Special items that can shuffle the board, affect opponents round attacks (AI mechanic) and ressurect a dead target, these can only be achieved by using special items. Reflect damage and Share damage, these only special heros have, they affect the way you receive damage, by either reflecting a % or sharing with all heroes. If you prefer you could say that the mechanic of getting hit and modifying the buff/debuff is in here.

*The target system I explained in damage also work for the other types.

Items work exactly like a special attack and are included in the list above. As previously stated, same types can stack as long as they have different “icons”, even if the target of that modifier is the same status. The ones that don’t stack can’t also be altered, so they don’t add up, but replace each other. Buffs with a internal punishment cannot be dispel or altered neither.

Different skills can be a sum of different effects, Gormek, for example, is a HP modifier type splash damage with a status modifier debuff (less defense). Li Xiu is a HP modifier type all targets damage with a side of mana modifier (it reduces the current mana by %). Brienne is a full status modifier (more attack with a special increase mechanic modifier). Athena is a splash damage HP modifier with a side of status modifier and mechanic modifier. Throne is a full splash damage HP modifier. Melendore is a HP modifier type heal with a side of dispel (for opponents buffs). And so on.

Any change to defense, precision and attack will affect all damages, included the special attack damage, unless stated otherwise. That can be hard to see for lower % increases due the (2-3% damage variation for more or less), but is very clear when used with huge modifiers such as Brienne, Athena and Wu Kong.

None of the new cards brought any new mechanic, but ratter use existent ones in a different way. For example, if they release a heal per round buff, the mechanic for it already exists in the inverse type (damage per round), it’s just a new option. Same goes for any new heroes that might increase critical, it already exists, just have no heroes that uses it. Even silence isn’t really a new mechanic, it’s only a reduce mana gain all the way to zero.

In a coding point of view, making a skill that will, for exemple, “increase the critical chance by x% and extra y% every time you get hit” is not really a new mechanic, is he same ones we have now with different values. If you can see it, if you can think like a developer and see the “code logic”, you’ll be able to fully grasp the possibilities and how the skills work.

You’ll also be able to see how different bugs are actually all coming from a root problem. Like all Hel’s bugs are related to mana modifiers mechanics, not surprisingly other mana modifier heros are also being affected like Li Xiu. That’s because the base for both is the same mechanic.


Well written! Thorough and clear! :slight_smile:


thanks for the write up mai. I don’t agree though that a list of the available specials are less easy to read rather than going through a set of rules and then applying them. Especially since they have changed several times just the last weeks.

If I want to know how defence buff works I would rather look that one up than going through the rules of different icons and so on. I’m not saying, as you do, that one is better than the other, rather that both has there place.

The rules you have stated is also a form of how it is supposed to work rather than factual results. It is true that specials with the same icon doesn’t stack but devs have themselves called the fact that Athenas special stacks “a bug” which they haven’t done for briennas or Wu.

According to you stated rules damage buff should affect special attacks but I haven’t been able to verify this and that is why I’m ask about this in my post.

Just the spell blind has the last weeks changed several times: first not affected special at all, hen affected all specials - both hp and other (for instance it was for a while possible to miss healing), then just affection hp attack, a miss made the hero lose all mana just as a hit would then changed to leaving half mana when missing.


This is actual damage:

Enemy Darkling Scout unknown
Hits: 413-429
Hits -34%d: 565-596 (+136-183)
Hit -34%d, +185%a: 972 (+543-559)
Hit +185%a: 701 (+272-288)

The hits are my Hel’s special. It’s undeniable they do affect it. I’ve made plenty of tries, I can share a LOT more data against a lot of different heros in different situations.

And I’m aware of that “Athena shouldn’t stack with other skills”, doesn’t change the fact that it all stack CURRENTLY. Who cares if it’s a bug or not? Currently that’s the system in place, a bug or not. My “rules”, which are not mine to begin with, are not what is SUPPOSE to be, is what the game allows and what actually happens.

I’m not saying a list is better than the other, I’m saying that rather learning a single one, you can learn the big picture and understand them all and what you should be doing or not regarding them. If you ignore the big picture and stay stuck at one case only, you might actually struggle to understand how it will work with others.

You don’t know me or how I work, but I take this stuff very seriously and spend a LOT of time writing it down and checking stuff. I actually checked all of it, one by one. I sacrificed about 500 trophies to fight someone over and over and over and gather data on top of data, just to flee and restart again the whole day.

I can tell you exactly the ones I didn’t test yet, the reflect one, the share life one and the more mana green guy. The rest I’ve tested in at least one color and type.

And of course things change, I’m not saying these are eternal. But this is the current state of it, unless they made sneak changes that I’m not aware. I’m always paying attention to what happen in my raids fight anyway, and I didn’t noticed any change (other than a few glitches).

Last, I’m not saying I know everything, I can see the patterns very clearly, since I and my boyfriend make silly mobile games now and then (nothing like this, but the big part of it is to study and try a lot of games). Seeing patterns don’t mean I know the math behind it though, I can take so guesses, some very spot on (I predict something and I prove it by testing out), still I have my limits.

Anyway, the damage you do is EXACTLY the attack in the card (with a 2-3% variation), then putting the color thing, critical and opponent defense on the mix. So you should ALWAYS turn the buffs ON before hitting. So learn which hero does the highest damage and make sure he’s the last on to hit, after the ones that will increase attack and decrease defense.


It’s good that you are serious. I like good testing and for me a forum is meant to be used to share our findings. I am aware of how the game is supposed to work, but as we have all experienced many times it is not always the case that it does. That’s why I think the forum is a good place to make a thread when not feeling sure about a result.

In this case, as I wrote from the start, I was unsure about the special with attack buff.

I realise from your numbers that I expected much higher effect from +48% added attack (Boldtusk) and because of this thought it wasn’t affecting at all.

These are my numbers. I’m using lianna on prov 13-6 attacking the yellow worm.

According to card Lianna has 698 damage without buffs and 1029 with boldtusk special activated.

Her special does 512% damage.

Attacks without buff:

With buff:

To me this is not the results I would expect from doing 5268 (512% of 1029) instead of 3574 (512% of 698).

In first case the creature seems to have a defence that results in -65% damage.

In the other case it’s defence results in - 75% damage.

I don’t find that these result are according to the supposed rules or what the card says.

My results more look like the added 48% attack is actually added to the 512% the special does and not the damage power which he card says. The result is consistent with lianna doing 560% special damage (512+48) of the unbuffed damage of 698.

Btw, I am a bit surprised that you didn’t get how it actually makes a difference that devs called Athenas stacking a bug since that would actually mean that her special is not supposed to stack, which would be a direct exception to the rule about similar icons, but we can have that discussion at another time.


It’s not that I don’t care what the devs said, is that it don’t change the reality of how it work. A bug or not, it does stack. So I’ll take advantage of it.

The reason the buff didn’t work as you expected is that defense is not a solid minus X damage. I talked about that in another thread, let me find it and I will link it here.

There you go: Questions about xp and heroes power

And, I wanna point out that I predicted Ares! Lol I predicted his critical buff and healing in my first answer.


Nice prediction :slight_smile:

No I understand how defence works and that is not the case here. I’m taking about higher damage and not higher defence. The targets in my example has the exact same defence

If you look at my numbers you can see I’m not expecting a solid minus from defence. I’m expecting it to work as you described it in the post you linked.


Yes, my math does not yet account for attacks buffs, the effect is way less then expected. By like 400 damage in your case. What I’m saying is that def is not as “simple”, he affects damage in a weird and exponencial way, and somehow that equation highly diminished your damage as it gets higher. I was just trying to point out that the reason things are weird is def.

You can see that here:
Enemy Darkling Scout unknown
Hits: 413-429
Hits -34%d: 565-596 (+136-183)
Hit -34%d, +185%a: 972 (+543-559)
Hit +185%a: 701 (+272-288)

The buff in that normal unaffected defense gave me 300 more damage, but decreasing it by -34%, the buff doubles my initial damage, adding 550 more.

If you add the buffs/debuff separatedly it is 450, together it’s 550. Def is the one diminishing you damage. Even if it doesn’t change itself, it reacts differently to different amounts of attack.

I do not know what’s the equation here, but whatever it is, the attack buff happens before it is solved, so the def, even being the same, affected the outcome. Understand what I mean?


Hi Mai,

There might be a hidden number how defence works against different number of damage. it would be interesting to see normal attack with buff and without against same target.

But so far I’m not sure that the defence percentage actually varies when doing different damage. My theory of how the damage buff is counted for specials works for your numbers also without defence being weird.

I don’t know your level on Hel but it comes close with my level (maxed on 3rd ascension) that does 626 damage, 315% special (8/8).

Below is your numbers with my comments
Enemy Darkling Scout unknown

Hits: 413-429

  • a 421 hit equals a defence that result in about 21,3% damage done.

Hit +185%a: 701 (+272-288)

  • estimated damage without defence = 626 * (315% + 185%) = 3130. Expected damage against defence = 3130 * 21,3% = 670 damage.

In the example above I don’t know your level and I haven’t counted in troops so a slight variation is expected.

My estimated damage of your buffed special, 670, not exactly your 701 but quite close given I don’t have all the numbers and a small data set. With the example with my lianna the difference between expects result and empirical data is less than 0,5%.