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TKG ARENA: The Elemental Kings» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Are you Flexible Enough to Win? rss

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Kei Nin Chan
Singapore
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Introduction

This discourse was crafted with two players in mind, and assumes that neither player has any special (spell) cards. Each player starts with 20 life points. The game ends in two ways: 1) When a player’s life points reaches zero 2) When a player runs out of cards. In the first case, the player who still has remaining life points wins the match. In the second case, the player with more remaining life points wins the match.

In this discourse, I will first discuss three general strategies that are often used, and point out the strengths and limitations of each strategy. Following that, I will explain two key factors that can make or break a player’s victory: flexibility in gameplay and observation skills. Last but not least, I will put forward my recommendation in response to the critique of the three general strategies.


General Strategy #1 — Slow and Steady (Hopefully) Wins the Game

This is a strategy that primarily utilises Solo attacks. A player who uses this strategy likely focuses on improvising and reacting to the opponent, and may not have a “big picture’ game plan in mind. Attacks may range from simply choosing the card with the largest face value to attack, or using middle-value cards such as 5 or 6 in hopes of either forcing the opponent to defend with their large face-value cards, or to minimise loss when the opponent deals a low face-value card as pseudo defence.

It is unfeasible to try to win using primarily Solo attacks. This is due to two limitations of the strategy:

1) It takes a long time to win. You would have to attack almost 20 times successfully in order to win the match. Even in the best case scenario where you successfully attack every time, this leaves your opponent with quite a lot of time and opportunities to shape his hand. He only needs to carry out around 2 Power/Super attacks to kill you and win the game before you can finish him off.

2) The chances of your opponent successfully defending from a single attack is much higher than a Twins or Triples attack, not to mention other more complex attacks. If a deck-out scenario occurs, it is very likely that you would not have been able to get enough successful hits in to win the game.

That said, this strategy is not wholly without its uses. Solo attacks are a good way of testing the waters while still possibly getting some successful hits in. If the opponent refuses to defend against a low face-value card, it is time to be cautious. He/she very likely has built or is building up one of the more complex attacks, hence the reluctance to use any single card to defend. If this happens, it seems that a good way to respond would be to just use all 5 cards in your hand as 5 solo attacks. This either forces the opponent to use a card that they don’t want to as defence, or allows you to get 5 successful hits in. It is crucial to remember that other than Power and Super attacks, in all other attack types the damage caused is equal to the number of cards used. Therefore, 5 successful Solo attacks is just as good as a successful Combo, Flash or Series attack. 



General Strategy #2 — Go Big or Go Home

This is a strategy that primarily utilises the more complex attacks such as Power and Super attacks. A player who uses this strategy typically gears every move towards the formation of such an attack, and once the attack has been carried out, the process starts again. It is very unlikely for such a player to simply react to the opponent’s moves in their gameplay; such players have a “big picture” in mind that they want to accomplish and often do not mind taking some hits in order to deal a large amount of damage to the opponent at once.

There are 3 main strengths of this strategy:

1) It is very difficult to defend against such complex attacks as Power and Super attacks. This means that you will very likely be successful in causing a lot of damage to your opponent.

2) You will only need very few successful hits in order to reduce your opponent’s life points to zero.

3) Since your opponent is very unlikely to be able to hold a pseudo defence against such attacks, they do not get a chance to clear/shape their hand. This means that in launching such attacks, you get to clear cards while your opponent does not. Therefore, it is likely that the power to bring about a deck-out scenario rests in your hands, in addition to the fact that you would have probably done more damage to the opponent than vice versa.

However, a glaring limitation of this strategy is its dependence on the luck of the draw. It is possible to imagine an extremely unfortunate scenario where all the cards you might want to draw are at the bottom of the deck. If this happens, being insistent on using this strategy would result in:

A) Quite a lot of opportunity for your opponent to force you to use cards that you do not want to use in order to defend yourself. You could take a few hits, but if you are continuously unable to draw the cards you want, eventually you WILL have to start properly defending yourself or else you will lose so many life points that you will be unable to catch up anyway.

B) You ending up discarding many potentially valuable cards. For example, imagine that I now have the cards 2, 6, 8, 8, 9 in my hand. I find some way to discard 2, and end up drawing another 8. It seems obvious now that I should definitely wait for the last 8 to achieve a Power attack, and discard the non-8 cards. However, if this scenario happens near the start of the game and the last 8 is buried at the bottom of the deck, stubbornly holding on to the three 8s would mean throwing away quite a few sets of potential Power attacks using other face values. Moreover, because the three 8s take up 3 out of the 5 cards in your hand, this also prevents you from building up attacks more complex than a Twins attack. Hence, it would be ridiculous to hold onto the three 8s for an indefinite amount of time, hoping to get that last 8; it would be much smarter to cut your losses and just do a Triplets attack after a few unsuccessful draws, especially if your opponent is slowly but surely chipping away at your life points during this time or even building up his/her hand for a more complex attack.


General Strategy #3 — The Approach of Moderate Risk

This is a strategy that primarily utilises Twins and Triplets attacks. Compared to the two strategies discussed above, it seems as though this strategy has much of the advantages and very little of the disadvantages:

1) Higher chance of a successful attack than a Solo attack.

2) You would require fewer successful hits than General Strategy #1 in order to win the game.

3) Takes less time to build up Twins or Triplets attacks as compared to the more complex attacks.

4) Much less dependent on the luck of the draw than the more complex attacks such as Power or Super attacks.

5) Very possible to build up Double or Combo attacks to increase chance of successful attacks.

All these advantages would suggest that this strategy is perhaps best as one’s default strategy in a game, as a consistent method of depleting the opponent’s life points. However, it is important to note that if the opponent is determined to use General Strategy #2 and is extremely lucky in his/her drawing of cards, this strategy is unlikely to be able to stand against that as the opponent will deal much greater damage with each successful attack and hence be swifter in depleting your life points instead.


Key Factor #1 — Flexibility in Gameplay

From the critique of the three general strategies above, it is evident that no single strategy is perfect. Hence, it would extremely unwise to depend on one strategy alone to win the game.

The main trait that differentiates the third general strategy from the other two is its flexibility in usage. For example, if you have a Triplet in hand, you are allowed the flexibility to decide if you want to wait for a Double/Power attack, or just do a Triplet attack. You can even split the cards into 3 Solo attacks if you want. This is in contrast with the scenario in which you have 6, 7, 8, 9 and are waiting for a 5 to launch a Series/Super attack. Without the 5, the other cards are only useful as Solo attacks especially if they are not of one same element.

Incorporating this flexibility in gameplay beyond just General Strategy #3 is paramount in securing yourself a victory over your opponent. Being able to use all three strategies in your game and to switch effortlessly from one strategy to another not only ensures that you remain unpredictable to your opponent, but also provides you with the means to react successfully to the various situations the opponent may try to force you into. In order to be truly flexible in gameplay though, one more key factor is necessary.


Key Factor #2 — Observation Skills

This brings us to the second key factor, and that is making use of your observation skills to be constantly vigilant of the cards being played. If the first key factor emphasises the importance of flexibility in gameplay, then this second key factor focuses on the importance of observing the game situation well enough to know when to exercise this flexibility. Observing the cards your opponent plays in the first few rounds of attack and defence allows you to get an idea of their strategy and the type of attack they are trying to build up. The earlier in the game you gain this awareness, the better you will be equipped to react to the opponent’s moves and possibly force them into situations that would be to your advantage.

In addition to observing your opponent’s cards, it is also very important to be aware of what cards you yourself have played and discarded. Knowing what cards have made their appearance already allows you to estimate the probability of drawing certain face value cards or cards of a particular element. This would aid you greatly in assessing the feasibility of engaging in General Strategy #2, so as to let you know whether you should engage in it or exercise flexibility and switch to another more feasible strategy.


Recommendation — Strike ONLY while the Iron is Hot

From my analysis above, I would suggest testing the waters with General Strategy #1 in the first or second round of the game (and any other time during the game when you are unsure about the opponent’s motives), then defaulting into General Strategy #3 and engaging in General Strategy #2 when you have the cards to do so. The reason why I would not suggest waiting for cards in order to launch the more complex attacks is because this leaves you at the mercy of the luck of the draw (as I have explained above), and correspondingly reduces the helpfulness of calculation to your victory. No matter how well you calculate the probability of getting certain cards, they still remain as probabilities and you have no way of knowing for sure that you will be able to obtain the needed cards at an opportune time. The probability of getting a certain card may be rather high, but you will still be unable to do anything if the card is buried at the bottom of the deck.


Conclusion

One thing that I wish to emphasise through this discourse is that there is no fixed strategy that will work for all game situations. My recommendation is simply one way of combining all three general strategies into what I think would be effective gameplay based on the strengths and limitations of each strategy as I have discussed above. As I have pointed out, flexibility and observation are key in deciding what strategy would work best for a current round of attack/defence. Not fixating on a particular strategy prevents you from being predicable and arms you with the means to react well to any situation the opponent throws at you. To exercise this flexibility fully, it is important to observe and keep track of the cards played by yourself and the opponent, as well as the cards you have discarded. This helps you to predict the type of attacks opponents might use, and assess the feasibility of you engaging in certain attacks based on the estimated probability of drawing certain cards.
 
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