Beginner's strategy guide : defending threat or breachproof

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Beginner's strategy guide : defending threat or breachproof[edit | edit source]

In this article, I will present the concept of threat, and the two major ways to deal with it : defense, and breachproof.

What is threat ?[edit | edit source]

Threat is the number you can see next to the sword symbol during your turn. It corresponds to the sum of all the attacking values of units your opponent controls during your turn. As it is impossible to add damage the turn you buy a unit, this number is an accurate maximum damage value that your opponent can throw at you the following turn, and thus if your defense overcomes this value, even by 1 point, you will be guaranteed safe from breach.

Is that really threat ?[edit | edit source]

Threat, however, is not always an accurate representation of the damage you will be taking next turn. Usually, a beginner will defend for threat + 1 (or more), but on the turn being attacked, he will realize that he has, in fact, a lot of his defenses still up and still had room to spare. This is called overdefending, and is usually a very bad thing, as the resources you have spent overdefending could be better used by growing your economy or buying attackers. This happens because there are different kinds of threats, and mastering them will let you make sure you do not overdefend (or, at least, not so often).

  • Fake threat : the threat number is dumb. Some units have a condition to attack, like Perforator which needs R or Drake which needs to click a Blastforge. Well, if a single Animus powers 3 Perforators, then one of them will not be able to attack, thus 1 one this threat is fake. And if your opponent has no more Blastforge to click, then 2 of his threat is fake. It is a common occurence that part of your opponent threat is fake, so you should pay some attention and subtract fake threat to the displayed number while trying to defend.
  • Dying threat : sometimes, some of your opponent's attacking units are used to defend your own attack. The most usual example is Rhino : by being Prompt, he is often used as soak against attacks. But if it is used in this way, it can't attack on the following turn (but will still count for the displayed threat). Therefore, a dying Rhino should not be counted as threat. This also works if your attack depowers attacking units (like killing the last Engineer of your opponent who has Electrovore, or sniping with Apollo the Animus that powered Perforators). Be careful with dying threat, though : be sure that your attack actually kills or shuts off the threatening unit no matter how your opponent defends (Usual example is if he absorbs on a Rhino instead of a Wall, this Rhino is not a dying threat).
  • Fake freeze threat : I will make an article on how to deal with freeze threat as it is a whole topic, but it is worth mentioning fake freeze threat. As freeze effects are single target, the whole lot cannot be dispatched for maximum efficiency. For example, if your opponent has Nivo Charge and your highest health defender is a Wall, then your opponent actual freeze threat is the health of your Wall, meaning 2 of the 5 is actually fake freeze threat. This also happens with Frobites freezing Rhinos, and so on. Special mention to Vai Mauronax with its 7 freeze threat that most often is partly fake, especially condidering that if Vai freezes, then 1 non-freeze threat is also fake.
  • Absorber threat : Some absorbers, like Omega Splitter, can be clicked for damage. Usually, your opponent will want to keep them on defense, as absorbing has bigger value than attacking. So you might have the feeling that you have overdefended because they did not attack with it. However, that is usually real threat and needs to be defended to avoid a breach, as often you opponent can afford clicking the absorber if it means he can breach. Playing with this kind of threat is an advanced strategy called gambiting and is pretty dangerous, yet it can reap some good value. This will be the topic of a further article.
  • Real threat : Basically, every other kind of threat is real and should be defended properly as it can be converted to damage.

Ignoring threat : the breachproof way[edit | edit source]

What I have presented so far is the standard way of playing Prismata : defend and attack, don't get breached, try to breach your opponent. The first one who manages to do it is the winner.

However, sometimes, certain sets offer another possibility : focus on attacking with high health units like Gauss Cannons while completely ignoring your own defense. This is called Breachproof (or BP). Your opponent will have a hard time killing your beefy units, while still needing to defend his own side.

Pros and cons[edit | edit source]

On the good side, all your efforts are concentrated on the attack, you don't have to bother with defense. Your opponent's damage might stack but you high health units can withstand it. During the early phases of the game, you will have the upper hand and your attacking units will stack faster than your opponent can kill. Also, if you ever breach your opponent, then you will be ahead in the race thanks to the resilience of your units compared to vulnerable ones like Tarsiers.

On the bad side, however, when you do opt for this line of play, you also forfeit the most important aspect of Prismata I have mentioned in the first guide : absorbing. Each damage your opponent does is permanent and at some point, you may not even have enough damage to get over the absorb barrier anymore. If that happens, then the game is over for you. Also, the cost of breachproof attackers is higher than the cost of non breachproof ones, so even impaired by the need of defending, the non breachproof player may still build enough damage to deal with your units. Last but not least, you let your opponents pick their targets, so all frail units (namely Drones) are not going to stay around for long.

Breachproof targets[edit | edit source]

Whether you decide yourself to go BP or not, once your opponent does it then you have the freedom of targetting whichever unit you want (except those newly built which possess a golden armor). You should focus on non BP units (Tarsiers, even Steelsplitters) and your opponent's economy : Drones, or advanced BP Drones like Trinity Drones or Thorium Dynamo. It is tempting to go for the BP attacking units like Gauss Cannon to reduce the pressure on yourself instead of the BP economy, but in the end, it will simply let your opponent build more of them while you keep killing them. Once there is no more economy units, focus on the highest damage/health ratio. Special mention to Io Kronus : focus on them when they are going to attack, not when they are reloading.

Going breachproof[edit | edit source]

Going breachproof is often using G resource, but some other non-G units are also considered good in BP (Iceblade Golem, Militia ...). Deciding whether you go BP or not depends heavily on the set, and Set Reading will be the topic of another article. Basically, high health attackers and advanced drones are an argument in favor of it, whereas high value absorbers and high efficiency non-BP attackers are arguments against it.

Breachproof All-ins[edit | edit source]

Sometimes, the way to go is to build BP attackers without the support of BP economy. Once your drones are killed, you rely on the attackers you've built and hope it will be enough. The most notable unit for this kind of strategy is Venge Cannon which will convert as many Drones as possible into Venges, then put more pressure clicking the Venges. If you suspect your opponent is doing this (buying a lot of conduits and drones and stacking G), try to aggress him to reduce the number of Venges he will build. That strategy becomes more effective the longer you let him build his army. Be aware also that he can build a lot of damage in a single turn when he decides to convert to Venges, so get ready to defend at any time.

A close second to the Venge all-in is the Iceblade Golem all-in. The basic idea is high threat due to the freezing ability so it quickly becomes hard to defend. This strategy is not as all-in as the Venges, because your opponent can still opt to mix some defense. To counter this strategy, you need at least 6 damage to be able to kill the Iceblades. It may then be tricky to decide whether to go for the Iceblades to relieve some pressure or not, but keep in mind that if you attack an Iceblade, it becomes the best soak unit in the game, so usually, you prefer going for his defenses and force him to rebuild them instead of getting more Iceblades.

Semi breachproof[edit | edit source]

There's a third way to go BP : you defend for a while and at the same time you build BP attackers and/or economy, and at some point, you stop defending and go full BP. This can be your choice when there are good options for BP, but also decent absorb or soak, like Infusion Grid. This will be developed in the article on Set reading.

Breachproof transitions[edit | edit source]

You may not decide at the beginning to go BP. You may not even have considered going BP at all. But if at some point, you realize that you are getting breached no matter what, and you don't have many Tarsiers and the likes of non BP units, then you may transition your build to BP, by buying BP units and economy. You should still try to defend as long as you can while doing your transition. When you get breached, some of your units will go down quickly, but you will still have a part that will be able to race your opponent if you also breach him.

And believe it or not, you can also do the opposite ! Ok, that's a very rare occurrence; I think it happened only once or twice during my games, but if you go BP and your opponent start dealing damage to your units without killing them, you can surprise him by actually putting up some defense in the nick of time. Then, you play normally as if you never went BP. As an advantage, you have soaked some damage on your BP units. Well, that's a beginner's guide which is getting quite heavy already, so you probably have better things to pay attention to than this anecdote :)

Did you know ?[edit | edit source]

While I am on the subject of defense, by pressing Q while defending, the IA makes the defense for you ! This is called Q defense and it is quite accurate: it will use the best absorber as your absorber, and will prioritize low value units as soak. You also can Ctrl + Click on a unit if you want to use Q defense with a specific unit as an absorber. I still recommend against using it at the beginning as it is good to have a feeling of how a defense goes, but it is still a pretty handy tool. And while I'm at it, Q can also be used during your turn to click all your Drones in one go. Q is such a cool feature !

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