Set Reading Saturday: Breachproof? Or high economy?

We’ll be looking at this set from the perspective of player 2:

Set Sat 4.png

So, a few things jump out. One is Mobile Animus, not because it’s a high impact unit, but because it’s one of the new units. It’s a red tech fix, but pretty unremarkable besides that. It will mostly be useful with units like Amporilla, Shadowfang, Wincer, and so on – powerful units that require only one or three Red. In general it’s worth keeping tech fix units like Mobile Animus in mind for if you see a good reason to want one more Red, but besides that you can safely ignore them when deciding on a strategy.

The next units I notice are the two absorbers, Defense Grid and Colossus. D-grid is a better absorber overall than Colossus, so I would tend to assume that if an absorber gets bought, it’ll be defense grid. But it’s hard not to notice that there are no other blue units besides Defense Grid, and D-Grid is a unit that really hurts from a lack of Blue support, because you can quickly run out of Wall supplies. So, it could be that a Colossus absorb strategy is best, just to avoid making that third Blastforge that won’t be able to do very much. That said, Colossus is also suffering from a lack of support. So, right now our best guess is a high econ strategy using either Defense Grid or Colossus for absorb – probably Defense Grid.

The next thing to do is to look over at the other units. There’s Trinity Drone and Asteri Cannon, meaning that Green is looking good. Trinity Drone being present also means that a breachproof strategy is possible, since you can convert your breach-vulnerable Drones into more robust Trinity Drones. However, breachproof with just Trinity Drone plus Asteri Cannon would be laughable against Defense Grid plus Plexo Cell – breachproof in general will have a very hard time winning against six absorb. Luckily, there’s one more breachproof attacker in the set – Iceblade Golem! Iceblade Golem is a powerful breachproof attacker that can make breachproof work even against big absorbers, due to its Chill ability. It can freeze Defense Grid, denying absorb, and can also freeze Plexo Cells, preventing them from blocking before they die. If your opponent went Colossus, they can also freeze that.

The main weakness of Iceblade breachproof strategies is that they’re vulnerable to early attack, since with early attack your opponent can get in and kill your Animus. However, we’re thinking of using breachproof to counter a high economy strategy here, meaning we wouldn’t have to worry about being under early pressure. So, breachproof with Trinity Drones and Iceblades should effectively beat a defensive strategy, since we’ll have the freedom to build up a large Iceblade count against a high economy strategy, and use that Iceblade count to deny absorb and generally ruin our opponent’s day.

So, that means we’ve decided on breachproof, using Trinity Drones and Iceblades, as being the best strategy. Just kidding. Prismata is a game where it pays to push yourself to think one step further ahead. In this case, we’ve decided that Iceblade breachproof would beat a high economy strategy – but we need to ask, can anything beat Iceblade breachproof?

We’ve already mentioned that Iceblade breachproof is vulnerable to early attack, but there’s no Red support in the set, so a fast Animus is out of the question. The only non-Iceblade attacker in the set is Asteri Cannon. So, the natural strategy to consider is Asteri Cannon breachproof (plus Gauss Cannons when those fit better), forgoing the Animus and two Blastforges. Asteri Cannon breachproof – a breachproof strategy using Trinity Drones for economy, and Asteri and Gauss Cannons for attack – should beat Iceblade breachproof, since there won’t be much for the Iceblades to freeze, and getting our attack going faster should let us kill the opponent’s Animus quickly.

Now let’s ask, can anything beat Asteri Cannon breachproof? Well, high economy would beat it, but if we’re going for Asteri breachproof we would have a very easy time switching over to Iceblades if our opponent went high economy. There’s nothing else that seems like it could beat Asteri Cannon breachproof, so the plan is to go for Asteri breachproof, only going for Iceblades if our opponent goes for a high economy build (aka third Engineer).

Now, let’s say both us and our opponent are going for Asteri breachproof. What’s the best way to play it? Deciding on economy size can be difficult in breachproof mirrors – on the one hand, since neither player will be absorbing, getting attack out fast is good. On the other hand, the strength of breachproof is in the fact that you can use your economy to make high health attackers – breachproof¬†rewards going as big as possible. And if we commit to attack too fast, our opponent can still absorb on a Wall for a while. Lastly, we need to turn our Drones into Trinity Drones anyway, so we want to get our Trinity Drones early, and we want to get them as smoothly as possible (without wasting Energy).

In general, breachproof mirrors tend towards being medium economy. So, as player 2 I’d recommend going for natural Conduit, and focus on turning my Drones into Trinity Drones first, and making attack later. I would consider making one Blastforge for Walls if my opponent went for early attack, just to absorb for a while early on when absorbing is still easy to do. I would expect player 1 to go for Fast Conduit, taking advantage of Galvani Drone to smooth out their build:

Set Sat 4.1.png
Without Galvani Drone player 1 would be in a tough spot in this set.

On the other hand, if they went third Engineer, I’d still go for natural Conduit and make Trinities, but I’d be aiming to end up on two Blastforges and one Animus and make two Iceblade Golems per turn:

Set Sat 4.2.png
Here player 1 went third Engineer and player 2 punished with Iceblades.

Breachproof mirrors are difficult to manage. Assuming it did end up as a breachproof mirror, most likely the winner would be determined by who set up their build to get Asteri Cannons smoothly, and based on other small decisions like whether to make a single Blastforge (in order to absorb for a few turns) or not.

-307th

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