So, we’ve covered most of the important parts of Chill. The last thing we’re going to cover is fake threat. When you’re trying to defend against Chill, a problem you’ll have is that you can’t trust the breach warning. In the screenshot above, I’m perfectly safe, but the game is warning me that I’m in danger of getting breached.
Why is this? Well, as it turns out, it’s hard to program the game to know exactly whether or not you can be breached, because there are a lot of weird edge cases – for example, when a player won’t have quite enough Engineers to attack with their Cauterizer, but they can get up to four Energy by clicking an Ebb Turbine. So, the devs made sure that if the game said you were safe, you were definitely, 100% safe. This is good – it means that newbies can just keep building defense until the breach warning goes away. But the downside is that if you do things the newbie way, you’ll be overdefending by a lot every turn, which is bad. If you’re overdefending by 3 health every turn that’s like losing 5B permanently.
With Chill, the game will assume that the opponent can use all of their Chill efficiently – so in the game above, AlexanderJohan had a Frostbite and a Nivo Charge for a total of 8 Chill. The game assumed that he could freeze 8 of my defense, getting me down to 13 defense, which would result in a breach. In reality, he can only freeze 6 of my defense, which means I’m safe.
A unit with Chill, like Nivo Charge or Frostbite, can only target one blocker – this means that if a Frostbite with Chill 3 wants to get full value, it needs to either find a blocker with 3 health, or find a blocker with more than 3 health and take it down with the help of another unit with Chill. And, even bigger blockers aren’t a guaranteed way to get full freeze – you have to get enough Chill to freeze them without overshooting.
So, when you’re defending, if you don’t have many blockers that match with your opponent’s Chill units, there’s a good chance that some of their threat will be ‘fake’ – they won’t actually be able to get full freeze.
We’ll start with how small blockers affect Chill first. For example, below, our opponent has Frostbites with Chill 3, but our blockers are all 1 or 2 health.
Are we safe here?
Each Frostbite can only freeze 2 health. So, you can ignore the game’s displayed 6 freeze, and count it yourself – there are 2 Frostbites that can freeze 2 health each, so your opponent has a total of 4 Chill. Their total threat, then, is 5 damage + 4 Chill = 9. You have 10 health, so they won’t be able to breach you.
A different method
Often, the game’s calculation is mostly right, and just needs a small correction. In these cases, rather than throwing out the game’s number and adding up all the Chill yourself, it’s better to start by looking at what the game is telling you and adjusting from there.
In this case, using the game’s number, our opponent has 7 + 9 = 16 threat – this would let them breach for a Tarsier, which would be bad. However, the game is assuming that our opponent’s Frostbites will each get 3 Chill. This is mostly right – we have two Walls – but the third Frostbite will have to freeze a Rhino, and so only freeze two Health. This means that they can freeze 1 less health than the game estimates. So in reality they have 16 – 1 = 15 threat, meaning they’ll be able to breach us for exact – not for a Tarsier. This is a critical difference – we don’t want to let them breach for a Tarsier, but we’re fine with them trading three Frostbites to deal two extra damage and kill some Rhinos.
This method – counting the “fake threat” or “fake freeze” and subtracting it from their total freeze – is used more often than ignoring the game’s Chill number and adding it up yourself. Either method works fine, though, and you should use the one that comes most naturally to you.
Blockers having less health than your Chill units is bad, but blockers having more health is a problem too. Take this example, where we’re trying to freeze one of our opponent’s Infusion Grids:
A lot of the time, you can’t freeze their big blockers without overshooting. When this happens, some of your Chill is wasted. In this case, you have two Chill being wasted here. If your opponent can’t freeze your bigger blockers without overshooting, that means that some of their threat is fake. Try to figure out if player 1 can get breached in this scenario:
2 Frostbites can freeze the energy matrix. 2 Frostbites freezing an energy matrix wastes 1 Chill. So our opponent’s threat is 6 damage, plus 6 Chill, minus one Fake threat – this means 6 + 6 = 12, – 1 = 11. So they can breach us for 1 damage here:
That covers everything you need to know about counting Chill. But the best way to learn it is practice – hence why I’ve included so many examples throughout the post. Let’s do one more. Try to figure out if player 1 is safe from a breach or not:
At first, doing these types of calculations in-game will be difficult. If you avoid thinking about it and over-defend, then it will continue to be difficult, because you’ll never get any practice at it.
On the other hand, if you take the time to think these situations through and defend properly, you’ll be surprised at how much faster and more consistent you get at making these types of calculations. You won’t learn much if you lose a game from over-defending, because you will barely notice that it’s happening – you’ll just slowly fall behind. On the other hand, when you miscount and lose by getting breached, you’ll notice for sure! Because of this, you’ll learn really fast if you try to defend for the bare minimum each turn.
That’s the end of my 6-part series on Chill. There’s definitely more to say, but I think that’s plenty for now. I hope it helped!