I feel like this is new behavior in V23, so I apologize if I’m reporting something that isn’t new, is working as expected, etc. but as I’ve said, I’ve noticed this quite a bit since the last update, and since Cyprian is a fixture on my raid offense, I observe the behavior of Perfect Riposte pretty often.
I was raiding today and had just put up PR on my middle three heroes, leaving the wings uncovered. I sent some tiles into Atomos to trigger his special, hoping it would do enough to kill him without having to worry about the “immortal” part. He fired off, and I was happy to see his turn counter go away in the middle of his lengthy special animation (meaning that he was going to die from counterattack damage). But then I was surprised to see Valen come out of the attack unscathed.
Here’s my guess at what’s happening:
Atomos fires off and deals damage left to right (just like his animation).
He hits Rigard and deals damage.
He hits Sonya and deals damage, and she returns damage to him.
He hits Cyprian and deals damage, and he returns damage to him.
He hits Triton and deals damage, and he returns damage to him, bringing his health to 0.
He is dead, so he deals no damage to Valen.
The text of Atomos’ special reads
Deals 150% damage to all enemies.
It seems fortuitous for Valen to escape damage. Unfortunately I healed Valen before he was hit again, so I don’t know if this is just a display issue and he did take damage, or if he really wasn’t hit.
Also, I believe that this behavior occurs for all AOE, not just Atomos (because he needs another nerf). [Edit: confirmed for Anzogh and Grimm, as well.] So for an Azlar or Elena, where the animation hits all heroes at the same time, the damage is still dealt left to right; the hero’s health is recalculated after each hit, and if the hero takes enough counterattack damage to die, the attack deals no damage to the rightmost hero(es). I was just lucky enough to take a video of this battle, so that’s what I have on record.
I don’t recall what happens for a secondary effect, like a fire DOT. Maybe someone else can do that research. I also don’t know if this is true when attacking a defense with counterattack up, but maybe that’s because (unlike the computer) I know enough not to throw an AOE at buffed heroes, so I just haven’t observed it.
I also imagine that this is related to the mana issue being reported in V23. It seems like in this latest version, the order of operations under the cover has been changed, and the display and actual game mechanics are not in sync.
Strategy side note
Given that Valen+18 is the weakest hero in my raiding party, putting him at the rightmost spot allows me to offer him additional protection because of this behavior. If I can get PR up, he is less likely to be touched by AOE, which keeps him alive longer, which gives me more chances to use his special to help Triton hit like a truck.