When describing what I love about combat in Nova Blitz I often point to a famous scene in The Princess Bride where the hero challenges the princess’s captor, Vizzini, to a battle of wits. The hero places cups of wine in front of Vizzini and himself and explains that one of the cups has been poisoned. Vizzini, arrogant in his own intellect, accepts the challenge, then delivers the following monologue while contemplating which cup to drink.
“All I have to do is divine from what I know of you: are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet or his enemy’s? Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me…”
This continues for quite some time as Vizzini comes up with an endless stream of increasingly outlandish reasons to switch his decision back and forth between which cup he will drink.
I often feel like Vizzini when evaluating a Nova Blitz combat situation. The best play for me depends so much on what my opponent has chosen to do, and the only way to outsmart them is to get into their head.
Take this seemingly simple scenario:
I have a 2/2 Unstable Cyborg in play and my opponent has a 3/3 Zombie. We are both at full health. In most cases, my opponent’s best play is to block my Cyborg since his 3/3 unit will survive the battle while my 2/2 will not. Because that is the best move, I assume that my opponent is likely to make it and therefore I shouldn’t attack. However, I also know that they know I’m probably not going to attack into such an apparent block, which means that they don’t need to make the block and should attack instead. And if they attack, then I may as well also attack to get that extra 2 damage in. But my opponent knows that I know that he knows that — BOOM (turn timer runs out)
It’s a good thing there is a turn timer, otherwise I might just keep going and going like Vizzini.
Bluffing correctly on the offense can be quite valuable. You can get a few extra points of damage in by units that your opponent didn’t expect to attack. Those few points can be the difference between life and death in the late game. If you’re fairly certain your opponent isn’t going to attack due to the threat of your powerful defensive units like Armored Blockade or Devout Sentinel, you might want to use them to attack instead. Your opponent will never see it coming! Alternatively, units with powerful attack triggers, like Captain Marcos and Deathmark Witch, are so expected to attack that making a key block with them can really catch your opponent off guard.
It really helps to get to know the patterns and tendencies of your opponent. Some players tend to take more risks than others, and if you have played with a person long enough you start to gauge whether they are going to make those risky plays. For example, I know that Jeff from our team is much more likely to make a risky attack than our playtesters Gavi and Alex, so I tend to use that to my advantage against each of them. That is, I will continue to do so until they read this article….
Your feedback makes a difference! forums!Let us know on the