III. Status Points (Stats) and Tips for Unit Building

Units have status points that dictate what they can do. In The Proving Ground, you'll see the following:

  • Strength (red fist icon), in TBSF, strength (str) serves as both your units’ health and attack power. As a unit is injured or gets closer to death, the potency of its attack also diminishes. The unit falls unconscious when this stat reaches 0. In a fight, try to keep this high as long as possible, or you won't be able to hurt your enemy.
  • Armor (blue shield), this stat serves as a defense rating for the unit, it is also a secondary kind of health*. This protects str. When a unit is attacked by an enemy's str, damage to the receiving unit's is calculated as (str of attacker - targeted unit's armor = damage to target unit's str).

Ex. Unit A has 9 str and attacks Unit B which has 7 armor. 9-7=2; 7-2=5. Unit B's strength will be reduced by 2 (from 7 to 5) after being attacked.

Armor can also be attacked directly and reduced, making a unit more vulnerable to direct attacks on str. When armor is higher than str, the attacking unit suffers a 10% miss chance for every point armor is higher than str.

Ex. Unit A has 3 str, Unit B has 6 armor. Unit A suffers a 30% (3-6 = -3 x10% miss) miss chance or has a 70% chance to hit Unit B for 1 damage.

This stat is good to keep high for defensive purposes only. (As opposed to str which also serves an offensive purpose)

  • Break (grey cracked/broken shield), this stat is the amount of damage a unit can do when attacking the armor of an enemy. It reduces the enemy's armor according to said amount. Unlike strength, the potency of break remains constant all throughout a match.
  • Willpower (yellow star) this is a resource stat in the TBSF, willpower (wp) is used for special abilities, and to boost attack or movement when the unit also has Exertion.
  • Exertion (green chain), this stat dictates how much willpower a unit can use to boost its attack or move. With 2 exertion and 2 willpower a unit can move 2 extra tiles or do 2 more damage. Another option would be to move 1 extra tile and do 1 extra damage. You are not restricted to using willpower for only one action per turn. However, you can only boost each action for as much willpower you have left and what your exertion allows.
  • Lastly, Rank (purple lightning bolt), this represents the unit's rank, and the level of its special ability. Right now advanced classes are at rank 1 and this cannot yet be modified. Basic units gain 1 rank once their stats reach the limit/cap, at which point they are promoted to an advanced class of choice. Only advanced units have an active skill. To promote a unit, upgrade the base unit’s stats to max.

A. Tips for Successful Stat Building

Trained he was, with finely honed skills, keen mind, adequate brawn and fearless brow…a Viking to be feared.

TBSF allows players to customize their units (above their base stats), for up to a limit of 10-13 points (depending on their rank). At the current beta phase, base units have a limit of 10, rank 1 units have a cap/limit of 11 points. In the future, advanced classes can reach up to rank 3, increasing the power of their special ability, but also increasing its cost.

Based on the status descriptions above, here are a few useful tips.

When distributing points, try to keep in mind what you want the unit to do. Ask yourself, what role will this unit be playing on the battlefield? Are you going to play that unit to do as much armor reducing to enemies as possible? Will it be chasing a faraway target? Will that unit protect and 'tank' for the team? Those are the questions you'll be asking yourself even when you've gotten experience.

The answer to these questions will guide you as you build your characters. If you want a high armor breaking unit, you'll put points into break. If you want a finisher once the armor on an enemy is reduced, you'll put more points into strength. If you want to be really mobile and use abilities, you'll want willpower and exertion.

Now that's out of the way, let me set down super simple do's and dont's

Don't leave your characters with less than 6 health, even if they have really high armor.

Why? Some units’ attack/abilities can ignore armor and a 6 health unit can die in 2 turns. With so little str they also have a hard time hitting hard when you want them to.

Do add exertion if you have a lot of willpower.

Why? You'll most probably die before being able to use 6 willpower if you don't spend it in bigger chunks, which is what exertion does. Skystrikers are a clear example of this. They have 6 willpower, this store of willpower will never be used (at least at rank 1) on 6 Rain of Arrows (their ability). Maximize their potential by giving them some exertion.

Have several units with more than 1 armor break.

Why? Once your strength drops below enemy armor, you’ll be hard pressed to kill anything, which is why it’s important to keep breaking as your strength also drops. If you have 2 units that do good break, but your enemy kills 1, he’s just reduced your armor break effectiveness by 50% (a very large amount).

Do try to plan a unit to have as many uses as possible, for as long as possible.

With a balanced stat build/distribution, having str and armor higher rather than lower, makes it easier for you to play, because your stuff lasts longer and can hit harder. In addition, if at any point that team member can no longer fulfill its primary intended role, at least it can still contribute to the team effort.

Bottomline: make having your unit maimed or left at 1str still cost your enemy. Half the battle is won having gone in prepared.

And last I suppose, if you want to experiment and deviate from any of the above, try not to counter more than one.

There are some quirky builds that could work, but countering more than one of these points can really make a unit that your opponent feels he can ignore. For example, let's look at a full armor and full willpower provoker with no additional str, exertion or break. This kind of unit, while it does take forever to kill, can't contribute to the team effort of bringing down enemies. He can't soften them up by breaking armor, he has a hard time getting into position because of no exertion for movement, and he has a hard time attacking str. All he can do is use Malice (his taunt ability) 6 times. Being able to do only one thing is often something an opponent can exploit, because it's easy to predict.
Anyhow, at the end of it all, it’s your decision. Do as you will.

B. Information Collection and Movement Range

It's important to know that you can see how far your opponent can move when playing, by clicking on his units. Be sure to click on your enemy's units so you can see where he can reach and if he can reach you. This is very useful for knowing where to position your units while moving them. Yellow squares indicate move range extended by willpower. For note, the natural move range (in squares) of units is as follows, Shieldbangers (3), Warriors (4), axemen (4), archers (3). Natural movement is indicated by blue squares.

Besides knowing how your opponent can move and planning accordingly, you can also see what stat/s a certain unit is strong in. This helps you understand what your opponent wants to use that unit for, and what strategy your opponent is employing. This is very useful and can help you decide what unit you may need to kill or what you can leave alone for now.

For example,
Player A's provoker is rank 1 and has 17 armor and 8str, 2 exertion (judging by the yellow movement range), and 4 willpower (based on the banner stat above his head). If we were familiar enough or had a list of his un-upgraded stats, we would know that he spent 1 pt on str, 6 pts. on armor, 2 on exertion, and 2 on willpower, for a total of 11 pts (limit). It's easy to tell that player A wants to use his provoker as a tank or sponge to absorb damage, and wants him get into position to taunt with that willpower/exertion.
Knowing this, we also know that he spent nothing on Break, so the provoker can only break 1 armor at a time. With this information, we can totally avoid or disregard the provoker (forcing him to spend more willpower walking). Because the provoker’s str is not very high he cannot do a lot of damage. He also cannot break armor to be able to attack str later on. If we leave the provoker for the last unit or for later on, we make things easier for us as the battle rages on.

C. Spending Willpower

With sheer will he charged through the lines, broke through his foe’s shield, and with deft skill, slew the giant in a single blow…and was forever remembered for the heroic feat.

Willpower (and exertion) is an important resource during a fight because it allows your units to use skills, hit harder (to either armor or str) or move farther. This obviously makes your units more flexible and able to cope with more situations. Willpower, though, generally does not regenerate during battle unless a unit takes no action for a turn (rest). Because of this, how you spend willpower can be the decisive difference between victory and defeat.

In my experience, the best usage of willpower is to spread its use over the entirety of the match. If a unit is left with more than 2 willpower when the match ends, or keeps dying with 3 or 4 willpower remaining, it's a sign that they have too much invested in willpower. Those points can be reinvested to improve their survivability/natural attack (str/brk).

Essentially, spending willpower for anything is always directed toward creating a burst of offensive action. (Only very rarely is it used to escape)

  1. It is used to do that extra str damage to maim/kill the enemy
  2. To break extra armor to make the enemy more susceptible to an attack that comes after.
  3. To position so that you can reach an enemy that needs to be attacked.

Advanced Willpower Concept

When willpower use does not achieve any of these in the same turn or the next, that willpower may as well be taken as wasted, and creates a turn disadvantage (the mechanics of this will be tackled later, just remember this for now). Wasted willpower does not contribute to creating a turn advantage offensively, and points invested for that willpower in the stat build are lost (where they could have increased the durability or attack potential of said unit by a turn or 2).

This means, we should not use willpower to move arbitrarily and missed attacks using willpower are the same as putting ourselves at a (turn) disadvantage. This disadvantage is at least equivalent to their build opportunity cost. (how much stronger we could have been for survival/str/break).

If we miss with an attack boosted by willpower, the disadvantage is not only this opportunity cost, but also the turn wasted where we could have reduced enemy armor, and even more if we put our unit in harm’s way and it gets attacked.

As an alternative to spending willpower evenly over the course of the fight, one can use willpower at the start of the match to gain the advantage (to be a turn or a ‘turn and a half ahead’). However, the person with more willpower at the end of the match also has an advantage. Since these alternatives cancel/even each other out, my opinions is that spending willpower evenly is the best option. This allows you to deal with as many situations that may arise as possible, also granting you a myriad of choices, which is better than having fewer or none.

If we spend all our willpower at the start, our options are limited at the end. If we save all our willpower for the end, we limit our actions during the early/midgame and the enemy team could be stronger than our own during the endgame. There are of course exceptions to this…

Especially versus a low exertion army, if you can cripple the entire enemy team using willpower in a cycle or 2 (rotation of all unit's turns). You have very little to worry about since your opponent is close to death, and can't hurt you even if he can get your armor low.

.D The Horn

And the through the air resounded the echo of dread…the horn blared eerily…a grim reminder of friend or foe vanquished underfoot.

The Horn was a feature added during the latter part of TBS:F beta. You’ll see it as the ornate horn hanging at the top of your screen during battle. The feat of killing/knocking out an enemy unit fills the horn with a charge, seen as the yellow stars that fill up. The number above the horn are the charges on the opponent’s horn. To use the horn, click on the BIG star button on the left near the bell of the horn (where the sound should come out). In the future, horns will have different abilities that can be activated using the charges. For now, the horn in the game grants the unit you are currently using 1 willpower per charge.

This means that as you kill enemy units, you also create options and a possible advantage because of the horn. Should the need arise at a point later in the battle, you’ll have extra willpower to spend if need be. Just remember, your opponent also has access to the same! So be sure to account for enemy units he or she has that have 0 willpower, since they can charge those units and reach/attack you by using the horn. This also means we can take into account spending willpower from the horn during the game and spend maybe 1 or 2 more early in the game, banking on being able to kill 1 or 2 enemy units by the time we need the horn’s charge.

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