PROTOPLASM is a powerful burst 4-damage attacker that can act as a 4 hp defender instead if necessary. Oh, and it's ALSO PROMPT. 
Panel[edit | edit source]
Strategy[edit | edit source]
The main strength of Protoplasm is counterattacking: it lets players absorb 3 damage immediately through Prompt while allowing them to produce an additional 4 on the same turn, which translates to huge Breach potential in games with low economies.
Comparison to similar Absorb[edit | edit source]
While it doesn't actually Absorb, continuous use gives a similar defense. Such use gives continuous Attack as well. It can be thus compared to an unit that turns part of the user's economy (Plus its base cost) into an Absorber and 4 Attackers. Since its cost equals the production of 7 Drones, 2 Conduits and an Animus (Though consuming units is a large advantage), costing total 35, and efficient Attack is around 6.5 in , the portion of the cost left for Absorber component is about 9 plus its buy cost, at worst. This may not seem good, but at high inflation the inmediate Attack is more critical while Drones lose worth, and Protoplasm delivers it as needed.
There's also a simpler comparison as well. Having a Doomed Wall grants Absorb, while additional ones in later turns would not. Buying 1 per turn while soaking on the previous one means 3 Absorb (Recover next turn) then 4 Soak, each turn. Protoplasm, for a similar cost and use, means 3 Soak then 4 Attack (Gain next turn). With Attack being worth more than Block ussually, it stands as an efficient unit in such cases.
When to use Protoplasm[edit | edit source]
Protoplasm is often considered one of the most situational units of the game, somewhat comparable to Tia Thurnax in that in some setups against an unprepared opponent a well-timed Protoplasm will almost win a game on its own. The conditions to meet are fairly strict though:
- Protoplasm should always block last and absorb 3 with its prompt. If you sacrifice it to absorb instead on a larger unit such as a Centurion, then you payed 7 just for 4 defense and some temporary threat, which is very inefficient. If the opposing player doesn't have enough attack, or can hold back their attack in a way that prevents absorbing properly with Protoplasm (for instance using Scorchillas), it may also be a bad choice, but not as much as non-fragile absorbers since if not damaged it can just absorb next turn instead without a difference (except that turn's Protoplasm instance, as you can't absorb on both at once).
- The opposing player should have a small economy, with little or no access to blue. Mustering 4 additional points of defense on the spot is a challenge with a 12 drones mono-red economy, usually requiring leaving drones on defense, but it's less of a problem with a bigger econ (especially with access to blue units with high absorb). It is worth keeping in mind that getting damage out of the Protoplasm requires sacrificing it, so while it represents instant burst it won't help increasing damage in the long term: if the opponent can buy defense for the Protoplasm and do something else with their turn, it is likely not a good choice.
- Players should prepare to buy one Protoplasm every turn. The reasoning for this is twofold: first Protoplasm is a fragile blocker (similar to Feral Warden), which is equivalent in practice to a standard blue blocker if and only if players can keep buying it every turn. Second, given an opponent with access to the same resources as oneself, their best option for countering a Protoplasm will often be to get a Protoplasm of their own. This buying of Protoplasm to counter Protoplasm will usually go back and forth for several turns, and the first one unable to continue while not getting breached will likely lose the game.
To sum things up, the case in which Protoplasm will look best is against an opponent trying to execute a red rush on a low economy (like any of the Shadowfang rushes). In most other situations it will probably lose to better absorb and defense from blue units such as Doomed Wall (if the only blue defense is Wall then Protoplasm is probably still good).
Stacking Protoplasms[edit | edit source]
A seemingly interesting strategy when considering Protoplasm would be to use it to block and not sacrifice it immediately after, continuing to buy other Protoplasms and increase the Breach potential. While this can be successful in precise cases because of the offensive finesse provided (for instance if the opponent tries to defend using Barriers or Plexo Cells), it generally won't accomplish much, for the same reason stacking Pixies is generally not a valid strategy: all your opponent has to do is keep buying the same amount of static defense every turn, and when you eventually decide to use your Protoplasm stack it will end up doing the thing as if you instead sacrificed them one by one.