Battle Analysis #1: Crystal Castle

In the Battle Analysis series I’ll do a turn by turn analysis of a pet battle. The goal is to understand the choices available and why they are made. We’ll start by introducing the teams participating in the battle.

My Team
bask bigScalded Basilisk Hatchling
1465 Health
289 Power
305 Speed
Crystal Prison, Feign Death, Thrash

The Basilisk is my all-time favorite pet. It is a semi-fast pet that can really pump out some damage when the Beast racial is activated. The reason I call it “semi-fast” is because it has 305 speed. What is considered fast by most is 325+ speed, and there are a lot of those pets around. That’s what makes the Basilisk a risky choice to use. Two of its moves (Crystal Prison and Thrash) rely on being faster than the enemy pet to get the most out of them. So if you run into a faster pet you are in a lot of trouble. Birds are the Basilisk’s worst enemy, they’re faster and Thrash is weak against them.

broom bigEnchanted Broom
1400 Health
260 Power
325 Speed
Broom, Sweep, Wind-Up

The Broom is what pet battlers call a “swap pet” or a “forced swap pet” because of the move Sweep. Sweep does 420 damage and exchanges the current enemy pet with the pet in the backline that has the lowest health. Wind-Up is a two turn ability. The first turn charges up, giving you a 10% bonus as long as it is charged. The second turn unleashes the charge for 630 damage. None of the Broom’s moves are 100% accuracy.

mong bigMongoose
1156 Health
260 Power
374 Speed
Gnaw, Survival, Dive

This one is fast. Too fast, most would say. 374 speed is the second highest speed in the game, with 390 being the highest. That speed is almost always unnecessary. Most fast pets come in at 325 speed so you have a lot more speed than them. Why is that bad? By having that much speed you give up another stat, in this case health. 1156 health is one of the lowest I’ve ever used. So why do I use the S/S Mongoose? I used to run into a lot of 357 speed rabbits. Being faster than a rabbit really messes them up. Having a Beast attack and being faster than them decimates them. Do I really see that many rabbits? Not anymore due to the current Direhorn infestation, but I keep my 374 speed Mongoose around anyways. Call me sentimental.

The Enemy Team
tonk bigDarkmoon Tonk
1627 Health
273 Power
260 Speed
Moves: Missle/Charge, Shock and Awe/Minefield, Lock On/Ion Cannon

What should I expect from the Tonk? Minefields and an Ion Cannon. All of the Tonk’s attacks are mechanical so it has a huge advantage over my Basilisk. A fast and fragile team like mine can be taken out quickly by a hard-hitter like the Tonk. Out of the three opposing pets I am most wary of this one.

crab bigEmperor Crab
1481 Health
357 Power
211 Speed
Moves: Snap/Surge, Renewing Mists/Healing Wave, Shell Shield/Whirlpool

I have a definite love/hate relationship with the P/P Emperor Crab when I use it. If you don’t have anything to take it down quick it can really hurt you with its 357 power and Healing Wave. However, if you can hit it hard and fast the 1481 hp will disappear quick. You don’t want a war of attrition with this pet. Another thing I need to watch out for is Surge. If my Basilisk gets stuck against the Surging Crab there’s no way I can get my third Thrash attack because Surge inflates its users speed. The Crab’s Aquatic attacks are weak against my Broom, but its Snap isn’t so I don’t think there’s much to exploit there.

fungal bigFungal Abomination
1546 Health
260 Power
289 Speed
Moves: Absorb/Consume, Creeping Fungus/Leech Seed, S. Shrooms/Stun Seed

This is the least frightening of the three opposing pets. I have seen it do well on a Moonlight team, but other than that I don’t find this pet to be very useful. The one thing it has going for it is its tankiness. With Absorb and Leech Seed it has some decent healing potential. Stun Seed is a decent nuke that provides a stun. In this battle I have an advantage versus the Abomination: my Mongoose is a soft counter to its Undead attacks.

Overall Strategy
Nothing too fancy here, I’m going to try and use the Mongoose’s family advantage against the Undead Abomination. All of my pets are faster than all of my opponent’s pets, while all of my opponent’s pets have more hp than all of my pets. I need to use my speed to control the flow of the battle and use my Feign, Sweep, Crystal Prison, Dive, and Survival to stay alive. I have a forced swap and my opponent has an Undead so I will do my best to use my swap to negate the Undead racial.

I expect my opponent to put down a Minefield and hit me hard with the Crab, perhaps to try and tank me with the Abomination.

Initial Selection
That’s what I know going into the fight. Now it’s time to make one of the most important decisions of the battle. What pet do I start with? My Basilisk is faster than all of the opposing pets so that’s my most likely choice. I can use Crystal Prison then Thrash and before we even start I’ve already knocked two or three hundred hp off. The problem is the Minefield that the Tonk may have. If I start with the Basilisk and Prison/Thrash and a Minefield goes down then after that I’ll either have to stick it out against the Tonk or Feign out and have my broom eat the Minefield. Or I can play head games and assume that they will swap because they think I will Feign. That starts to get complicated fast, but sometimes head games can pay off.

Another option would be to start with the Basilisk and if I’m facing the Tonk still start out with my Prison, but then immediately swap to my Enchanted Broom. Since the Broom has a speed advantage I can then Sweep away the Tonk. If my opponent really wants to throw a Minefield they will have to give up a turn by swapping the Tonk back in.

Or I could just start with the Broom, but as I mentioned earlier I would like to save the Broom for the Abomination. Negating an Undead racial is really a powerful tool as you are taking away two attacks from the Undead if you swap it at the right time.

I will start with the Basilisk. If the Tonk comes out then I have numerous choices. Let’s get down to business.

Here’s the video of the battle, you can either watch it now or read the analysis first and come back to it.

Round By Round Analysis

Round 1
thumb bas versus thumb tonk
It’s just as I thought, my opponent starts with the Tonk. I Crystal Prison and the Tonk is unable to do anything.

Round 2
thumb bas versus thumb tonk
Now I decide to play a dangerous game. I’m going to stay in against the imprisoned Tonk and get a Thrash in while the Tonk is defenseless. Next round I can bait the Tonk with the Basilisk and then Feign out, hoping it wastes the Ion Cannon. Much to my surprise my opponent swaps to the Crab. Not a bad idea, really. If you’re going to take some hits, why not take some hits with a pet that can heal. My Thrashes draw the first blood of the battle, hitting two out of three times.

Round 3
thumb bas versus thumb crab
I assume the Crab is going to heal so there’s no reason to take out my Basilisk. I Thrash and my opponent throws down Whirlpool. It may seem like a bad idea to throw down a telegraphed nuke when you know your opponent has avoids, but sometimes you can use it to force them to use those avoids. In this case I’m not sure it was a good idea. My Thrash hits two out of three.

Round 4
thumb bas versus thumb crab
There’s a Whirlpool down but thankfully I have two avoid moves: Feign Death and Dive. There’s no reason that I should swap to the Mongoose to use its Dive when my current pet can avoid the Whirlpool just fine, so I Thrash again and the Crab heals. My Thrash hits three out of three and the first one is a crit.

Round 5
thumb bas versus thumb crab
The Whirlpool is gonna hit so I Feign and Dodge the Whirlppol and the Snap.

Round 6
thumb broom versus thumb crab
After a fairly standard opening sequence with my Basilisk I now need to plan what’s next. My Broom is my current pet facing the Crab. I could go head to head with the Crab and try and “duke it out” as I often say. The Crab’s Whirpool is weak against my Broom, which gives me a slight advantage, but its Snap will hit for around 414 damage. I may be able to take it down but I would pay a price. Not feeling confident about the match-up at hand I sweep away the Crab. There was no huge advantage to saving my Sweep and fighting the Crab, so why not use a CD that essentially skips my opponent’s turn while doing some nice damage. The Sweep hits and the Crab is swapped for the Tonk.

Round 7
thumb broom versus thumb crab
The Tonk comes in and I’m still not sure what to expect as it hasn’t used an attack yet. I still haven’t taken any damage at all. I charge my Wind-Up, waiting to see what the Tonk has in store for me. It uses Shock and Awe, stunning me in the process. The good news is now I know that it doesn’t have Minefield. It’s kind of funny, I did so much planning around Minefield and the Tonk doesn’t even have it. The bad news is that I’m stunned next turn.

Round 8
thumb broom versus thumb crab
I’m stunned. I know there are no Minefields. I could do one of two things: stay in and waste a turn and attempt to take out the Tonk with my Broom or swap to my Mongoose. I still have an Ion Cannon to contend with, a Cannon that could take out about two-thirds of my Mongoose’s hp. It would be safe to keep my Broom in, due to the Magic racial the the Tonk will be able to do a maximum damage of 560. It’s unlikely that Tonk will use Cannon, especially this turn.

I didn’t mention my third option: go back to the Basilisk. Why would I do that? I’m fairly certain there’s no incoming Cannon this turn so I should be safe. I could get a Prison and a few thrashes in taking the Tonk down a bit. It might not even use the Cannon, since I would be a fool to keep my Basilisk in too long and my opponent will be expecting me to swap. I look at my Feign Death which is on CD and I won’t survive long enough to use it again. If I go in with my Basilisk I’m taking a big risk. However, if I lose my Basilisk to an Ion Cannon I will be able to take out the Tonk with my Broom. So many options, I’m going with the crazy third option.

I swap to the Basilisk, the Tonk shoots a Missile. Ouch.

Round 9
thumb bas versus thumb tonk
I use Crystal Prison, the Tonk is stunned.

Round 10
thumb bas versus thumb tonk
I Thrash the imprisoned Tonk, hitting three out of three thrashes.

Round 11
thumb bas versus thumb tonk
Now is where I’m hoping to get into my opponent’s head. Keeping in my Basilisk would be such a silly thing to do, of course I’m going to swap it. If I swap back to the Broom I can really reduce the Ion Cannon damage. I can smell them thinking from here.

I Thrash the Tonk, again hitting three out of three thrashes as I await my fate… which is death. No fancy mind games for this opponent. They saw a juicy target and unloaded, the Ion Cannon does over 1000 damage. Good call anonymous internet person.

Round 12
thumb broom versus thumb tonk
I choose the Enchanted Broom and hope to take out the Tonk unscathed. My Enchanted Broom uses the attack called Broom.

Round 13
thumb broom versus thumb tonk
The Broom unloads Wind-Up which is enough the bring the Tonk to 0 hp.

Round 14
thumb broom versus thumb tonk
I realize now that my Broom will probably not be able to take out the Tonk. Note to self: Tonks have 325 hp after rezzing, Broom hits for 308. I could get lucky, it might hit on the high side or it could crit, but most likely I’ll have to take some more damage. I could take the damage with the Mongoose or Broom, at least with the Broom I have a chance to take out the Tonk. If I swap to the Mongoose I’m giving up a turn.

I use Broom which takes the Tonk to 11 hp, so close. The Tonk uses Shock and Awe which damages but doesn’t stun me.

Round 15
thumb broom versus thumb tonk
The Broom finishes off the Tonk.

Round 16
thumb broom versus thumb tonk
My opponent brings out the Crab to replace the expired Tonk. The Broom Sweeps away the Crab in exchange for the Abomination. The poor Crab is down to 152 hp and has not done any damage so far.

Round 17
thumb broom versus thumb fun
The Abomination is here, this is what I’ve been saving the Mongoose for. I swap to the Mongoose and the Abomination uses Creeping Fungus. The Mongoose takes the Fungus hit.

Round 18
thumb monversus thumb fun
The Mongoose Gnaws and the Abomination plants the Stun Seed, which I’m not worried about thanks to my Dive. The Fungus ticks are damaging around 50 hp per turn, not much.

Round 19
thumb monversus thumb fun
My Mongoose misses the Gnaw and the Abomination Absorbs. The Absorb only hits and heals for 92 hp.

Round 20
thumb monversus thumb fun
I Dive to avoid the Stun Seed and also avoid the Absorb, the Fungus keeps ticking.

Round 21
thumb monversus thumb fun
My 80% accuracy attack part of Dive hits. The Abomination refreshes Creeping Fungus. My opponent must have expected me to swap and wanted the DoT to tick on the backline.

Round 22
thumb monversus thumb fun
The Mongoose Gnaws. The abomination Absorbs. I feel that I am coming out ahead in this exchange, there’s no need to do anything different.

Round 23
thumb monversus thumb fun
Another missed Mongoose Gnaw and another Abomination Absorb. Two 95% accuracy moves missed in one game. Now is where I run to the forums and talk about how Gnaw is broken, pet battles are broken, math is broken, and so on. I decide to just keep playing instead.

Round 24
thumb monversus thumb fun
Another Gnaw and now the Abomination plants the stun seed. These little attacks from the Mongoose have really worn down Abomination which is now at 265 hp.

Round 25
thumb monversus thumb fun
Things are looking good for me. I need to decide how to finish it. I can Gnaw, Survival, then Gnaw again and that should be it. Then I have the broom as a back-up if anything goes wrong. The other choice would be to swap to my Broom, sweep away the Abomination and negate its Undead turn, then Broom the Crab for the win, keeping my Mongoose as a back-up. I still have a Stun Seed to deal with. I also need to consider how I’m going to finish off the Crab. Broom and Gnaw are both 95% accuracy moves so that doesn’t matter in this case, but it’s always something one should be aware of.

I decide to swap to the Broom, that way the Broom can eat the stun seed. When it dies I can go straight to the Mongoose without having to swap.

I swap to the Broom, the Abomination Absorbed.

Round 26
thumb broom versus thumb fun
I Sweep, expecting my plan to work out. The Dice Gods (rng) had other plans. The Sweep misses, the Abomination uses Fungus, the Stun Seed hits. The Broom is dead. Now I have a 411 hp Abomination and a 152 hp Crab to take out with my 452 hp Mongoose, not good.
(Note: in the clip you can’t see the Stun Seed under my pet names, there is a bug where sometimes it disappears)

Round 27
thumb monversus thumb fun
I Gnaw, but it only takes the abomination to 67 hp. The Abomination casts Creeping Fungus.

Round 28
thumb monversus thumb fun
I Gnaw again, this time taking the Abomination down to 0. It Absorbs, I now have 258 hp left.

Round 29
thumb monversus thumb fun
The Abomination is on its Undead round, I have to decide whether or not to use Survival. After some quick estimations I decide that even if the Absorb and Creeping Fungus crit I still won’t die. I’m generally decent at estimating but somehow I was worried I might be off.

I cast Survival and the Abomination absorbs. It wasn’t close at all, I still had 115 hp.

Round 30
thumb mon versus thumb crab
I Gnaw and have a 95% chance of winning the battle. I hit, it’s over. The Crab did a grand total of… zero damage. Another victory for Crystal Castle!

Final Analysis
I generally think of Crystal Castle as a very fragile team, so fragile that if I miss or make a mistake I will lose. Not this time. I made some questionable calls. Playing head games with the Basilisk versus the Tonk was dangerous and I paid for it with a 1000+ hit on my poor Basilisk. I also made a mistake at the end when I cast Survival too early. If I would have missed the final Gnaw and allowed the Crab to heal I could still have potentially won if I had a Survival in my pocket. It ended up not mattering, but it still was a mistake. Why am I making a big deal about? So I learn and don’t do it again.

I had three misses to my opponent’s zero misses. Usually it’s difficult to win under those circumstances. The rng in my favor was hitting my third Thrash three out of five times and my Dive hitting. Nothing too spectacular.

So how did I manage the win under these circumstances? Due to Feign Death and Sweep being used at the right times I was able to keep the Crab from doing any damage at all. This is the 357 power Crab I was worried about before the battle started. The Crab that can put a serious hurt on anything it Snaps did zero damage.

Also, I was able to force the Mongoose versus Abomination match-up towards the end. My Mongoose has low hp, but the Abomination was hitting it for around 50 with the Fungus ticks and around 100 with the Absorb. Even 1156 hp is hard to take down at that rate.

Overall it was a close and fun battle. Both payers did okay, neither player did anything blatantly horrible. I didn’t play a perfect battle by any means, but it was good enough to get the win.

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