Hey there you lovely Battle Mages! We're back today with another issue of the Ruleset Strategy Series!
Today we're talking about one of my favorite rulesets, and one that I win 80% of the time. In this ruleset, there are many ways you can outsmart your opponent by tilting the advantages toward your favor. Forget everything you thought you knew about Health; today we're talking about Equalizer.
The initial Health of all Monsters is equal to that of the Monster on either team with the highest base Health.
At first glance, the wording of this one can be a bit strange. The important thing to remember is that every monster on the battlefield will start an Equalizer battle with the exact same Health. Everyone's Health is brought up to the Health of the highest Health monster on the battlefield.
Equalizer gives me an opportunity to use monsters that would normally die very quickly under regular battle conditions. But you must remember that your opponent enjoys this same benefit, so you must think a few steps ahead of them, and you have a few crucial choices to make about your strategy.
Choice #1 - High Health or Quick Win?
The first thing you must quickly ask yourself in an Equalizer battle is how you are hoping to emerge victorious. I have noticed that victories in this ruleset come in two main ways: High Health or quick win. If you're focusing on Health, chances are you won't be able to bring your opponent's team down quickly or easily, so you must then rely on the abundance of Health points in your own monsters. If you're focusing on the quick win, you'll want to use abilities like Double Strike and Retaliate with an emphasis on monsters with substantial attack power. Neither of these approaches is 100% better or worse than the other, but to be successful, you must commit to one them.
High Health - When taking the Health approach, you really only need one monster with ridiculously high Health. After you have wisely placed the one (which will almost always come with a hefty mana cost) you can fill the rest of your team with monsters based on combinations, attack and defense. But remember, when you use Magnor or the Kraken to boost the Health of your entire team, you'll also be boosting the Health of the enemy's team in this ruleset.
Quick Win - There are many benefits to taking this approach in the Equalizer ruleset. I always enjoy the Equalizer battles in which neither player used a single high-Health monster. These battle never make it past a few rounds, and if you knew what was coming, you'll almost always win in these conditions. For a quick win, I like to ignore the Health aspect and focus instead on certain abilities. These abilities include anything that increases either damage or frequency of attacks. I'm talking about Blast, Enrage, Double Strike, Retaliate, etc.
Choice #2 - Healing or Damaging?
Another point that I must think about in an Equalizer battle is how much healing I'd like to incorporate into my team. As the game has gotten more complicated, healing has grown to mean several different things.
Opportunity - Opportunity monsters typically have lower Health, so when used in an Equalizer battle, they have extra advantage. They'll start as high as anyone else on the field, and only get healthier the more other monsters die.
Life Leech - This is one of my favorite tricks to winning at Equalizer. Like with Opportunity, many Life Leech monsters begin with lower Health in normal battles. In Equalizer, Life Leech is extra powerful because of the Health points at which they'll begin the battle. Think about it this way: There is a great deal more life on the field to be leeched. I'd recommend always using a monster with Life Leech in these battles if you can. It really helps if you can also throw in a monster with the Shatter ability, because chances are they will be repairing Armor (as I will advise you to do in the next point).
Repair - If you can slow down the rate at which your monsters lose Health and allow yourself a few more crucial attack chances, you'll probably come out on top in Equalizer. Repair is a great way to do this, especially if you're repairing the Armor of a monster with the Shield ability.
Multiple Tank Heal - Using excessive tank healing is fine in the Equalizer ruleset, as long as you make sure that your strongest attackers are protected enough to take an entire round of pummeling without being killed. Tank Healers tend to take away from your overall attack strength, so it's important to choose the right number of them. Basically, if you're using 2 tank healers, they better be enough to make your tank nearly indestructible.
Choice #3 - Risk Hurting Yourself to Help Your Enemy?
This is a little complicated. One of you must be the one who plays the card with the highest Health, and whoever does will generally be at a lesser advantage through the battle. This does not necessarily mean that they will lose, but it almost always means that the enemy is benefitting from the Equalizer ruleset more than they are. I like to be in control of this, and I can do that by very clearly deciding to be the one who plays the highest Health monster or the one who doesn't. I want to leave as little as possible to chance, because anything can happen when you get into the slippery territory of helping your enemy.
If I'm going to play the monster with the highest Health in an Equalizer battle, I'll play something with 12-15 health to make absolute certain that it will be the healthiest monster on the board. That way, I get to control the game. To make up for the extra assistance that I have then provided to my opponent, I must balance the scales with several monsters whose main weakness is their low Health. By doing this, I can build a team of low mana monsters whose Health is boosted up to that of my one big card. It almost always pays to use this method for a 15 Health Exploding Dwarf or a 12 Health Fallen Specter, cards that usually only have a single Health point and typically die quickly. When I play the Exploding Dwarf in combination with Magnor, my Exploding Dwarf has 15 Health, and when I play the Ancient Lich in combination with the Dark Ha'on, my life-leeching Ancient Lich is boosted to Health 13.
The Most Important Thing
Considering that everyone essentially gains Health in these battles, here's the bottom line: If possible, you should gain more Health as a result of the ruleset than your opponent. If you were to tally the combined new Health of your team and subtract from it the combined original Health of your team, you get X. If your X is greater than your opponent's X, then chances are you will win the battle.
Some Equalizer Cards I Like
Here are some cards that I find myself using frequently in this ruleset. I'll offer a brief explanation of why I like each of them. Please consider that there are many correct answers to every problem in Splinterlands; that's what makes it a brilliant game. If you have favorite cards of your own in the Equalizer ruleset, let me know in the comments so future readers of this strategy guide can benefit from your advice. Thanks! Let's get into it.
The Dwarf may not be the absolute best card to use strategically in this ruleset, but it sure is one of the most fun choices, and that's what Splinterlands is all about: Having fun. When I can lead off a Fire team with a 15 Health Exploding Dwarf that blows a huge chunk out of my enemy's team in the first 20 seconds of the battle, I'm left smiling and satisfied. It doesn't always work out the way that you plan, so again, don't expect a certain win just because you use this monster in this ruleset. All of its abilities need to work in combination just right, and it does far more damage at higher Leagues where it has the Retaliate and Trample abilities.
I always look for opportunities to use the Life Leech ability in the Equalizer ruleset, and the Vampire is usually perfect for that. The reasons for this perfection are twofold. First, he starts with just 1 Health, meaning that under normal conditions, the Vampire relies on the blood of damaged monsters to actually gain Health. Since the addition of Opportunity ability, it has become increasingly difficult to keep 1 Health Range attackers alive. That problem is out the window in Equalizer. Second, the Vampire has the Life Leech ability at level 1. This means that you can completely dominate an Equalizer battle even in the Bronze League by playing the Vampire in conjunction with a high-Health monster such as Undead Rex, who has a 5 Melee attack at level 1. Or better yet, you can let your opponent play the high-Health monsters and enjoy the greatest benefit from the ruleset, as I described above.
Bila the Radiant
For the same reason that I chose the Vampire, in the Life Splinter I always reach for the one card that has the Life Leech ability. Bila may be Legendary and more difficult for lower level players to get their hands one, but she is well worth it in this ruleset. Her Life Leech comes with a powerful Magic attack. With a Ranged Life Leech, you must first dispose of your enemy's armor, but because Magic attacks bypass Armor, Bila can get to the Life Leeching right away. I play with her at the max level generally (Magic attack 4) so every round she gains 2 Health from Life Leech, covering any damage that she may receive from Magic Reflect. When correctly buried in the back middle of the team, I have seen Bila get to 30 Health and higher in some of these battles.
The Wood Nymph is a low mana tank healer that increases the Health of every friendly monster through the Strengthen ability. She also normally starts battles (outside Equalizer) with only 2-4 Health. If paired for example with the Unicorn Mustang, her Health will start instead at 10-13, then increasing by one more from the Strengthen ability. Additionally, the Nymph has a nice little Magic attack to cut away at the Health of the enemy's tank while it's healing yours.
The Pirate Captain is always a great addition to any team, except maybe in the Noxious Fumes or Earthquake rulesets, but I especially like it in Equalizer. Its a hard-hitting Sniper with low mana and low Health, making it perfect for ROE (return on Equalizer).
This thing is a terrifying beast, and while I don't remember to play it often enough, I'm demolished by it whenever I see it on my enemy's side in a battle. Double Strike as a native ability with not 1, but 2 forms of attack. That's right, the Vigilator attacks 4 times per round. Anything you can do to drastically increase its Health (like using it in the Equalizer ruleset) will help you get a win. If you can summon it with Selenia Sky, even better, because it's Range attack power will be boosted by 1.
In most rulesets, the Enchanted Defender is one of my go-to back row monsters. Since there are not many Sneakers who attack with Magic, its 1 Health is usually safe in the way back, and Melee Sneakers are torn up by the Thorns every time they attack. With the mana cost of 4, it's also never much of a commitment, which allows you to focus on the front power of your team. In Equalizer, the card changes to a tank. I'm often able to play this card in Equalizer with 9 Armor and 14-15 Health (with the Kraken or Magnor). If you throw in a Tank Heal and a Repair, a tank like that can be tough to beat, and while they're trying, you can destroy their back line by using Opportunity and Snipe.
That's about all I've got for today! I hope these tips have been helpful for you in the Equalizer ruleset, and I wish you luck out there on the battlefield!
Previous Editions of the RuleSet Strategy Series
- Back to Basics
- Healed Out
- Heavy Hitters
- Silenced Summoners
- Aim True
- Super Sneak
- Melee Mayhem
- Keep Your Distance
- Weak Magic
- Up Close and Personal
- Lost magic
- Target Practice
- Fog of War
- Armored Up
- Reverse Speed
- Close Range
- Broken Arrows