Friday, May 2, 2008

Kongai: Card Get (5/2/08)

Bit of an odd double challenge this week. You'll need to play two games din order to get your card but since they're both part of the bumper crop of awesome flash games we've had recently it's not much of a chore. But to pass the challenge you'll need to complete two different objectives in two only vaguely related games.

First, you'll have to play Castle Crashing: the Beard which is a note perfect one-button smasher. The goal here is to beat the boss's first form. Once you get the timing of the eye lasers down it's not that difficult. I'm a little pissed because I missed out on the hard badge by about 80 frames, though.

Second, you'll need to play the so freaking weird you'll have to experience it for yourself Doeo and gain 500 blue Doeos. Those are only found in Hard Mode which is truth in advertising difficult. But, fortunately, it's a cumulative total and you don't need to grab them all in one game, you can just play the first stage over and over until you grab enough. Which is what I did and it doesn't take long. There are more than 50 of the blue suckers although it's tough to nab them all so, in all, it should take about 10 or so 40 second long tries. The hardest part is sitting through the intro every time you restart. Again, came ever so close to getting my hard badge but my best score was 198 - 2 short of the 200 needed to progress - before I gave up trying to get through the game and just started running through the first level.

Your reward is the Valkyrie's Charm. Which continues the trend of items for which I have absolutely no use - just like last week's Herbal Remedy it's an Amazon only green rimmed card and, well, I still have no Amazons so it's not doing me any good. But if you do have Amazons then it'll be doing you a world of good. Valkyrie's Charm is one of those deceptively powerful cards that takes a real understanding of the game's mechanics before you realize that, hey, that +2 Speed to all your skills is rather good. Maybe not the best ever but those Amazons with low speed attacks like Andromeda or Anex or even Ashi really benefit from slotting it.

That's because speed = priority. In Kongai, what happens is that each round players pick their moves and then those moves are resolved - both characters act in the same round but not at the same time. The speed of a move determines where in the round that resolution takes place. If one move has a higher speed value than the other, it takes place first. Dealing its damage and causing all of its effects before the other character's move. That's important because if you deal enough damage to kill your opponent off, say, then they won't move at all and your card won't suffer any additional damage. Likewise, if you stun them or interrupt them then they don't get to hurt you. But, on the other hand, if your move is slower - by having a lower speed number - then you act last and your opponent has a chance to mess up what you're doing. Try getting Anex's Power Toss off before Le Morte teleport wrecks the range requirement, for example. You'd think you could punch of huge hole through the crusty old strigoi's chest with a skill that does just about enough damage to kill him off but because of priority, you can't.

As a quick note if you and your opponent use skills that have the same speed value then they resolve at the same time. You trade blows, basically. It might not look like it because of the way your client animates it and it might not always be entirely accurate because of a few oddities in the way things are handled (I have yet to replicate this so I can't say it will always happen for certain but, for example, a Helene with Enchant up attacks an Onimaru with Frenzied Strikes, 8 speed, 6x7(42) dark damage that's been buffed to 9x7(63) light. Onimaru who's been buffed with Ancestral Spirit - giving him 12/3/4 armor - counters with Sword Flurry, also 8 speed, and 5x7(35) damage but which will knock a buff off the target if it connects. Both are the same speed and should resolve at once but what I've noticed is that while Helene's 8 physical soaks up all of the damage from Flurry it still chips off enchanting so instead of landing for (9-3)x7 or a healthy 42 light damage it reverts back to dark and hits for (6-4)x7 or a piddling 14. As I said, I've yet to replicate it but it's one of those weird quirks that's worth knowing - Oni saves a lot of damage even if he's not buffed with Spirit.) but, basically, you act at the same time.

What Valkyrie's Charm does, then, by adding 2 to your speed is to make your skills have higher priority. And this changes the game in subtle ways. Ashi's Bleeding Slice, for example, would cleanly beat Constantine's Hypnotic at a modified speed of 7 instead of its normal 5. And that makes the "is he going to swirly eyes or pilebunk me" dilemma much easier to figure out - you can even just count on trading damage with Signature Slice if he's not playing the push-me, pull-you game. And creates countless other re-evalutations of what the mechanically correct move to make actually is, subtly warping match-ups more towards your favor. Since several of the Amazon cards have powerful but low priority attacks, it's a great item for them.

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