A while back I wrote a post to celebrate going 6-for-6 in a war. @yelnats_24 asked about my selection process, and I thought it’d be fun to make some notes about that at some point. With the last war occurring over Memorial Day weekend, I finally had time to do it. I hope this will help some people guide their thinking about war. I’d also be very happy to receive any feedback or criticism.
N.B. this was a FIELD AID war - the type of war definitely affects my selections. In Field Aid, in particular, kills are at a premium. That is, you pretty much have to be able to get through the tank quickly, and in general I think single-target strikers are more valuable than massive damage AoE attackers (since they’re more likely to generate an irreversible kill).
From left to right:
Team Power: 3,551
Max Wu Kong
Team Power: 3,409
Really this choice was pretty easy - it was the only team with a green tank in the point range I look at, so it was the best opportunity to employ my red team. Also, this is a tank that Falcon is particularly well suited for. So I opted for a 3/2 stack against the tank and one of the flanks. All my reds fire at the same time, so once I charge them, the tank is probably dead. Note I spaced them so that Hel can’t lock down all my reds at once. I also put my most important hero in a corner, where he’s least likely to be hit by Hel.
I stacked against Hel rather than Colen for several reasons. I fear her more, and a red / yellow makes me strong or neutral against the center three (whereas, stacking against Colen makes my minor stack weak against the tank). I felt this was a good time to use WK, as BT can’t miss and Danza can’t 2/3rd of the time (at least, I think - if he can ‘miss’ a freeze that’s only good). Also, if I do get mana locked, I can still rely on improved tile damage if I get Wu’s buff up first.
Result: victory - the fight went as planned; I was able to get a good set of specials charged against Kashhrek’s non threatening special, tore down his shield and killed him, Danza contributed swords, and by the time Hel fired I was already in good shape. Wu Kong’s buff definitely played a role, and the superior tile damage helped immensely to make up for the fact that my team actually doesn’t hit that hard.
Team Power: 3,978
4.60 Mother North
Max Little John
Team Power: 3,671
Despite a high team power, I feel this team made two mistakes: the next door blues, and the fact that Boril has no manashield ability (and arguably maybe shouldn’t be the tank on this team). I intended to exploit that with another 3/2 stack, featuring strong green tiles. My minor stack is strong against the non-blue flank (and again neutral against the tank - a happy bonus).
The hero abilities I want to bring as counters are clear: with an AoE corner and two hit three heroes, I felt it was time to line up my only riposter. I also brought a fast dispeller as four of my opponents buff. My mana control synergy is imperfect, but kind of dictated by the colors I’m bringing.
Result: victory - I got through Boril before he fired, which made the fight pretty easy. Little John landed his mana slow, crushing the slow heroes, neither of which got to fire - Proteus was ready to go before they were. By the time they fired, it was trivial to absorb the hits from the left side of the formation - they both died on riposte. Honestly I don’t think my counter was any special brilliance - anyone would have identified it. It was there, I exploited it, and things went well.
Team Power: 3,826
3.70 Santa Claus
Team Power: 3,466
As we’re still in the first half and my bench is reasonably deep, my options are still good and I’ve employed another standard 3/2 stack. I am again strong and neutral against the tank, but my minor stack isn’t as good as some of the previous matches. Both flanks present a problem: my major stack is weak against Greg, though my minor stack is strong against him. And I’m double neutral against the other one. Plus he can block my many status ailments. I honestly wasn’t sure which flank I’d go after first, figuring I’d assess the board state when the time came.
That said, I have a few factors in my favor. Frida’s elemental debuff mitigates the blue tiles’ weakness against Greg, if I charge my two red slow heroes and fire them before Colen dies the fight is probably over.
Result: victory - I had a meh starting board, which allowed Khagan to fire. Luckily, Frida’s hit three perfectly wiped that out a turn or two later, while also removing the tank. I did get my reds charged and was amazed to find Colen still alive. I fired, even though Aeron shielded himself and the corner; I didn’t feel I could wait. Greg was down after a few turns of Colen’s burn, at which point the board dictated turning towards Aeron. I got him shortly after he fired his shield again, taking out their Frida a turn later. Kunchen fired, but too late. The fight was over - though I was down to two heroes I had plenty of ghosting space.
Team Power: 3,806
Max Li Xiu
Team Power: 3,533
This was my only realistic opportunity to use my yellow team, so I trotted them out, very happy that Kunchen did not yet have Manashield. The options for the rest of the team were motley. I felt a dispeller was necessary, but didn’t want to bring Sabina given her color is weak against the tank and her average speed. I figured Sonya was a good alternative, mostly because of her fast speed, with her color against the double red flanks being a small benefit. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel I was able to bring a second blue to the party. Instead, I settled on Wilbur for the last spot. I’m always a bit nervous about bringing him, especially in FO wars, but figured his buff would counter Kunchen and Gormek well and that I’d hopefully have Sonya ready at the right times to remove the gifted Spirit Link. That said, I was definitely NOT in love with this team. I especially don’t like having no healer(except Onatel’s elemental link).
Result: victory - as hoped, Kunchen’s lack of a manashield was indeed huge. He fired once, but he couldn’t hold back my yellows once I charged them. I was also able to prep Sonya and hold her until Boldtusk fired, at which point I fired Wilbur and then Sonya, wiping all their buffs out. Onatel basically dominated the raid from that point, feasting on siphoned mana and holding both sides almost entirely special-less. I honestly think I got decently lucky in this fight - a lot could have gone wrong.
Team Power: 3,826
This is the same team I fought with flag three
Team Power: 3,463
I rarely fight the same team twice in a war, since I generally use my best counter the first time around, but this was the best option on the field for my second squad of blue hitters (I didn’t send Sonya a blue teammate in the last flag so I could stack three here). Really I’m only stacked strong against the tank. From there it’s not great: my primary and secondary stacks are weak / neutral against the left flank and neutral / weak against the right. But I figured having two healers and Triton’s buff may give me enough time to work things out.
Result: victory - it was ugly, and I probably got luckier in this fight than any other. I actually got through Khagan before he fired, but then - as expected - I had no great way to attack either flank. Merlin’s special was huge, and it allowed me to block Aeron once at a key moment, when his shield and heal would have otherwise probably undone a lot of my work and made it unlikely I could take him out (before something good happened for my opponent, like another special or field aid). In truth, I would have been happy to remove the tank or half the team, but worked hard and garnered a victory. I got lucky, but think I deserve some credit for correctly bringing robust healing, which allowed me enough time to re-work the board.
Team Power: 3,889
Team Power: 3,657
I was waiting for this matchup the entire war. Someone got to them in the first half before I could, but I have a basically ideal counter to this blue heavy team: Evelyn to flip Perseus’ shield, and Mitsuko to reflect the three blue strikers in the middle. IF I can charge her in time. I wanted a third green, given how blue heavy my opponent was, but I felt a 3.60 Melendor was too big a step down in power.
Result: victory - Perseus fired twice, hitting Rigard both times, killing him with the second one. That left me in a bad position, but as planned, Mitsuko greatly assisted in killing both flanks. The combination of Buddy’s minions and Evelyn’s elemental link heal was not insignificant, and I kept grinding, winning a pretty bloody war of attrition and wrapping up a perfect six-for-six.
Having recorded this, thought about it, and written it out, I see rather clearly that a lot of selection was more about exploiting mistakes and weaknesses in my opponent’s defenses than my own individual brilliance (lol). I think, given the field and roster, many others would have made similarly efficacious decisions.
Even so, I think I deserve some credit. My average opponent had a team power of 3,813, while my average attack team was only 3,533 - in my opinion a large disparity, especially in field aid. Ultimately, my six perfect one shots resulted in 6.9 average teams killed (my points scored divided by 1,500 divided by the number of opponents).
Thanks for reading and taking this journey with me!