A Gatling Gun Formation
A gatling gun is a gun firing bullet in rapid succession. As the title suggest, this is a formation which primarily utilize Ranged monster card to shoot a rapid succession of high-damage attack against opponent defense.
Compared to Melee and Magic monster card, Ranged monster always been a riskier choice in most battle. Ranged monster are very vulnerable in two senses; first they unable to attack on the 1st row, second most of them have a low health characteristic. But Ranged Attack also have its own advantage. Beside its ability to shoot from backrow, most of them required less mana compare to Magic monster in term of damage output. The question now will be how we can put enough protection to these vulnerable monsters?
It's out of question for battle with higher mana caps (above 25 mana caps). You would have enough mana to spread around tanker monster. But it would be more challenging at mid and lower mana caps battle, which also means less players would employ Ranged monster at those mana caps. This is a missed opportunity that can be turned into powerful formation.
The dilemma always come in protecting Ranged monster. It’s to find balance between reinforcing your front-line, thus making sure your Ranged monster won’t succumb from shifting to front row; or directly protecting your Ranged monster from Snipe, Opportunity, or Sneak attack. At mid mana caps (between 18 to 24 mana caps), you won’t have all the resource to deflect incoming attacks from all sides, without sacrificing your damage output. If you can defend all the side, then drive them in to one side. One side which means into one monster. Yes! It’s only possible with that one ability. The Taunt ability!! It’s a very precious ability which allow you to divert all incoming attack into one monster!
It’s quite rare ability since currently there’s only 6 (six) monster with such ability, and yet halves of them area Legendary level monster. In addition, it’s expensive enough as the lowest monster card would cost you 8 (eight) mana. Let’s cut it out into conclusion that only two monster currently accessible to all players, it is Mycelic Respawn and Shiledbearer. An our choice would fall to Shieldbearer.
Shieldbearer is very formidable, it has a high health (8 point) with decent shield (4 point). This is a good composition to sustain melee, ranged, or magic attack. In addition, Shieldbearer is a life splinter, which have a great selection of Ranged monster card with affordable mana (explanation comes later). Shieldbearer will take role as sole tanker, absorbing all the damage, while the rest of Ranged monster shoot from behind. And then we have two remaining role to be set up, that is the Summoner and the Ranged monster itself. Before we continue, please remember that this formation based on Level 1 monster formation and only works for mid mana caps (between 18 to 24 mana caps).
- Set up The Summoner
Your shieldbearer are not all that tanky. The higher the mana caps mean the higher the damage output your opponent may cause, which mean it will be more dangerous for shieldbearer to absorb all the damage at once. At mid mana cap, without any summoner support, your opponent will most likely will give between 6 – 8 damage output. For example let’s say their formation consist of Serpent of Eld - 7 mana / 3 melee, Deeplurker - 6 mana / 3 melee, and Water Elemental - 5 mana / 2 ranged. This means your Shieldbearer would only survive at least up to 3rd Round, and might be less if their attack is boosted.
So, then your Ranged monster need to be an effective gatling gun within two round, being an efficient damage doer at low mana cost. And it’s up to the summoner to boost their damage output. Life splinter have General Sloan, a summoner which able to boost Ranged Attack damage for 4 mana cost (though I found that Dragon Splinter’s summoner, Selenia Sky, also have the same abilities which cost only 3 mana! But it is an expensive legendary card). There then we have set spent 12 mana for set up the summoner and the tank.
- Set up The Monster
General Sloan will really turn all your Ranged monster into glass canon! You have several monster selection:
- At 2 mana cost, you may use Herbalist, Silvershield Archer, or Xenith Archer. All of them have 1 ranged damage (become 2 after boosted with General Sloan). This make their damage to mana ratio 1:1.
- At 3 mana cost, neutral monster Grenadier have 2 ranged damage, which will make you the same position as above.
- At 4 mana cost, you may use Venari Crystalsmith or Peacebringer. Venari Crystalsmith will be our main attention here. Venari might have only 1 ranged damage (become 2 after boosted), but she had Tank Heal ability which is very. This ability allows Shieldbearer to heal 3 health every turn, which if effectively utilize will give Shieldbearer a total 15 health until 3rd Round. In addition to 2 damage and 3 heal, Venari have 4 health which can play as backup tank right behind Shieldbearer.
*Notes: The 3 heal only effective if Shieldbearer have 9 max health. If its health reduced to 8 health, the heal will only heal 2 health. So, you should be cautious with health debuff from enemy’s summoner.
- At 6 mana cost, we have Pelacor Arbalest which have a double strike ability. After boosted, pelacor will cause 2 times 3 damage. It’s 3 damage output are important as backup plan to counter enemy monster with Shield ability.
Before we continue, what is the weakness of this formation?
The strategy and formation will only work if all the projectile land accurately. And yet most of the Ranged monster already mentioned above only have at most 2 speeds. Water Splinter formation with their high speed and powerful front-line melee (Serpent of Eld or Diemonshark), supported with speed boost ability (for example Kelya Frendul), could make you frustrated. In addition, any minor armor boost ability will extend your battle round which make it more dangerous for Shieldbearer. So far, Water splinter is the most threatening opponent.
So here’s some of the fight I have with those formation:
- The first battle is a 16 mana cap battle. My formation focused with the 2 essential units only, Shieldbearer and Venari. Our opponent have Deeplurker and Kulu Swimhunter. My opponent damage output are 5 at most, while I backed by Venari 3 heal. This low damage burn has allow my Shieldbearer to survive until 4th Round. This is a close fight actually. If only my monster a little bit faster, I might have a chance to obliterate the Deeplurker, or at least heal to survive this round. But too bad, I don’t get the first strike.
- The second battle is a 20 mana cap battle against Death Splinter. By the 2nd round, I already destroyed both of enemies’ canon fodder. The Riftwing is very bothersome. I miss shoot against the Riftwing, while it stand with 7 health. What more worrying is my Venari heal only 2 health to Shieldbearer. Only after 3rd Round the Riftwing is taken down. At the start of 4th Round, it is high gamble. My opponent monster are all have 3 speed, giving them enough opportunity to avoid attack. Luckily I’m able to take down the next 2 monster, and then the fate is sealed for the Silent Sha-vi.
- The third battle is a little bit more riskier at 29 mana cap against Fire Splinter. With Tarsa as summoner, the opponent melee monster are greatly boosted. I emerge victorius thanks to Scavo Hireling’s armor repair. At the start of 3rd round, the opponent Living Lava already at 1 health. This highlighting the contribution given by Pelacor 3 damage to counter monster with Shield Ability. after that not much threat coming, as my healing and repair are both negating Serpentine Sky and Tenyii Striker Attack. The start of 4th round are quite dangerous, Serpentine Sky strike first and finally destroy Shieldbearer. Without Taunt ability, Tenyii had all the opportunity to Sneak attack my Pelacor. Luckily all my Ranged attack first and able to push Tenyii to first row.