AFH Strategy: Bag o' Tricks (December 2009)

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AFH Strategy: Bag o' Tricks (December 2009)

Post by stupac2 » Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:42 pm

Rethinking the Bag o' Tricks for Speed by stupac2

Inspired by salien's post here, I wanted to go more in-depth on the comparison between the Bag o' Tricks and Ice Sickle versus the Haiku Katana and Pilgrim Shield. The latter is the standard weapon/offhand combination in SC speed runs, and the former is the only sensible replacement. The problem is that comparing the damage done as well as the MP returns is kind of tricky. I'm going to assume a moxie class so that myst and muscle are about the same, and I'll just call them M. Bander weight will be B. I'm also going to assume 70% combat rate and a 2-day 550-turn run, as well as a perfect spell-slinging setup. All right, so let's do this.

First, the tl;dr: The BoT with an Ice Sickle seems optimal under the conditions I assume, but it remains unproven.

BoT+Sickle:

Stats: 3.75, plus 0-300/day from the BoT's ML. Assuming you use it 5 times (saving one +item from worms/rats, which is doable but somewhat tricky) that's an extra 350 stats from the BoT (more if you time it well, since you lose 30% to noncombats here).

MP: Total gained = 11*550 = 6050.

Additionally, the BoT gets you 15% extra meat/turn. A while ago Darth estimated meat gains per ascension, and an extra 15% comes to 6467 on his assumptions. Since his run was likely longer than one now and that length usually comes at the cost of combats, let's round that down to 6000 extra meat. With seltzer that's an extra 750 MP, for a total of 6800 gained.

Damage: Damage is tricky. I'll do my best.

Geyser: 1.5*(40+.35*M+10+L) 10 is from flavour, L is level from intrinsic. I'm more concerned with how this plays late-game, early game casting stream a bunch worked fine in Type II, so I'm going to pick level 10 and M = 50. So this is 115.5 damage per cast of geyser, for 6 MP.

Stream: 1.5*(3.5+M/10+10) = 27.75 damage/cast from spell damage alone. Also you'll take 9 damage from splashback for every cast. Damage from the bander will be B/2-B, for an average of 0.75*B. If we assume 36-lb bander for easy math, that's an additional 27 damage, for 54.75 damage/cast for 2 MP and 9 damage to yourself (if you're running flavour).

MP for combat: As you can see, your combat strategy is going to dictate how much MP you'll get per turn. Let's see how much damage you'll need to do in, say, the airship. The monsters have ~100 HP normally, and if you're going all-out you'll be running 40+30+15+15+20 = 120 ML (gown at 40 because that's average over moxie days).

So that's 220 HP. So you can kill with 4 streams, 2 geysers, 5 cannons, or some combination of those. 4 streams is optimal, although I personally found casting geyser was necessary because of jala's MP regen. You could also fiddle with not using flavour, it would probably require an extra cast of stream (1 geyser, 3 streams), but save you 18 HP/round. If you're a DB you'll get smust, which means 4-5 casts shouldn't be problematic. Of course, 3 casts of stream is equal to 1 of geyser, so you may as well just cast geyser twice and end combat faster. If you do that you'll be losing 1 MP/turn. If you're casting 5 streams you're looking at losing 3 MP/turn (2*5+3+1) since you'll need noodles and smust to not get hit constantly.

Out of all of these casting geyser twice with jala on (so noodles is unnecessary) was the method I preferred, so that's what we'll assume, for 12 MP/combat.

Bottom line: Out of 550 turns at 70% combat you'll be spending about 4620 MP in combat. But that's ignoring extra buffs. Flavour is 8 MP/40 turns, jaba is 8 MP/10 turns, and jala is 3 MP/10 turns. These buffs add another 715 MP, bringing it to 5335 MP.

But this overestimates things, since any non-hot elemental monster will only take 1 geyser to kill. These include the cyrpt, much of spookyraven, the entire battlefield, and various monsters in locations around the game. Estimate 90 turns for all of those (you're spending a lot of time in the ballroom), and that's 540 MP saved, bringing your total for combat down to 4795.

So it looks like late-game the best you can hope for is being MP-neutral, as long as you're not fighting elemental monsters. The upside is you can end combat in as few as two clicks (if Jala is healing all the damage monsters do to you just cast geyser twice), and easily in 3. That's a lot fewer than the HK, making this significantly less fiddly. The downside is this is extremely dependent on the bander, as soon as you switch to another familiar you're a lot less effective. Since basically all of those turns are with a fairy, using a slimeling will help you significantly (both the MP and the damage), and the feast being equipped will help a bit too. Additionally since you're presumably running a bit less ML during these times combats will be less difficult.

Finals, for those keeping score:
Stats: 3.75/turn + 350/run
MP: ~2000 net.
HP: 62 HP/turn (for 2 casts of geyser)
Misc: 10% items, 15% meat, fast and easy combat with bander.


HK+PS:

Stats: 3/turn from the PS.

Damage: Since HK's regen is based on your bonus weapon damage, we need to figure that out first. So we'll assume the same stuff as before. 1.5*(MAX(50-Monster Defense),0) + 16 + 15 + 7 + 10). Since the monster's defense is always going to be greater than your muscle, this reduces to the weapon power and bonus weapon damage only (where I'm assuming major/minor claws and rage in addition to PS's bonus), or 72 damage/cast. Shieldbutt adds an additional 36 damage/cast. The bander, after giving smust, gives the same 27 as it did with stream. So this is 108 damage first cast, and 135 afterward. That's enough to kill in two hits at 100 ML pretty much every time. Although it will likely require a third hit during most of the MacGuffin/war (in my experience this is the case).

MP: Unfortunately the spring raindrop's exact mechanism is not known (there is a lot of data on it here). Fortunately we don't need to know the exact formula. I took 136 data points with the exact setup here (HK in mainhand, PS in offhand, rage and both claws, as well as high ML). I found that the HP gain/turn averaged 19.67 and the MP averaged 19.26, varying between 12 and 30. So we'll go with a 20 MP/combat averave, which gives us 7700 total.

But we need to include all those casts of rage, which is 8 MP/10 turns. Over 550 turns that's 440 MP, for a net of 7260.

MP from combat: We have two combat situations in the late game, shieldbutt->raindrop->shieldbutt, or noodles->raindrop->shieldbutt->shieldbutt->stream/shieldbutt. In the former case that's 10 MP/combat, in the latter it's 16. Assuming 550 turns at 70% combats again, that's 3850 total for the former, 6160 for the latter. To take the easy way out we'll assume a 50-50 distribution on these, that's 5005 total on combat.

So that's 2255 net MP from the katana.

Finals:
Stats: 3/turn
MP: ~2300 net.
HP: 31/turn
Misc: Extra HP and weapons drops from PS.


Final Summary:

Code: Select all

         |     BoT+Sickle    |       HK+PS      |    Difference  |
Stats    |       1800        |       1160       |       +640     |
Total MP |       6800        |       7260       |       -460     |
Net MP   |      ~2000        |      ~2300       |       -300     |
HP       |     62/turn       |      31/turn     |     +31/turn   |
Misc     |10% items, 15% meat|50% weaps/15% Musc|       NA       |



Final Discussion

While this comparison is a bit tricky without comparing actual in-run numbers from similar ascensions against each other, it looks like you're trading about 300 stats from the sickle and 350 from the bag for about 300 MP. That MP is worth 2,400 meat in seltzers, not a whole lot. Additionally, because you're getting so many extra stats you could drop antiphon after some period, which costs 3.8 MP/stat. You would need to cast it only 9 fewer times to make up the MP difference, which is only 90*0.7 = 63 fewer stats, more than made up for by the gains. So by casting antiphon fewer times (especially late in the game) you can very easily erase the MP gap while getting far more stats.

The end result is that you're trading 300 MP for a bunch of stats and 10% items (plus more +items if you can time the buff right). The downside is the strategy is unproven, and any small error in this analysis could drastically affect the conclusion (several times I ran the numbers with slightly varying assumptions and found the BoT did much worse).


How about other scenarios?

The BoT would be a hands-down favorite in other situations, such as a myst run (although a myst run might be able to get away with sickle/PS). Additionally, pulling a scarf could make the BoT even more appealing as it's more stats and more damage (both from the bonus spell and the 15% myst). HCB lead-ins could become more popular if the BoT is viable and turncounts drop just a bit more. The extra stats might reduce reliance on puttying ascii. And in any run longer than 2 days I'd say the BoT is very serviceable, the downside is the much larger skillset needed.


So which one wins?

They're quite even. In fact, the BoT/sickle seems better, but as it has yet to be tried in Type I I view it as a riskier strategy. Which one you choose depends mostly on personal preference, it seems. But the idea that the BoT is completely inferior should be dead.


Would you ever use a BoT?

In Type II definitely, it worked pretty well there. But you were running less ML and had no other choice. In type I it appears better, and if my analysis here is accurate, it might be optimal (resulting in slightly faster runs due to about 6 fewer turns powerleveling). But it's a sight risk since it's unproven, and most of my alternate analyses swung in the direction of "very not worth it", meaning any flaw in an assumption here could be fatal.


The most bottomest line:

"Quite possibly better but unproven". Until someone does a Type I run using the BoT/Sickle setup, it will remain tantalizing but unproven tech.
Last edited by stupac2 on Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:38 pm, edited 21 times in total.

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Post by salien » Sat Dec 12, 2009 4:00 pm

Some notes:

-BoT gives MP on non-combat turns also, which (given that my logs are all 66%-74% combat) is quite a boost.
-Scarf adds a lot of damage to cannon and geyser (not to stream obviously), which I didn't even think of during my type 2 run, but !Jim did.
-This isn't scientific at all, but over a half-dozen HK ascensions, I averaged 21 MP per spring raindrop cast. The simplified math I did for MP was to assume ~600 turns, 70% combats, so 420 combats. That put BoT at 6600 MP gained, HK at 8820. (Those HK numbers include running tenacity, as I think it's a net positive MP gain, maybe.)

If you want to compare on a per-combat basis, you can distribute the noncombat MP from the BoT; just value it at ~15.71 MP/combat (for 70% combat rate).
Last edited by salien on Sat Dec 12, 2009 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by stupac2 » Sat Dec 12, 2009 4:14 pm

Noncombats are a very good point.

I don't really like a scarf pull on Type I, but the extra 30 damage might be worth it, considering you'll have the sickle and the BoT for early ML.

I'm currently spading the HK's return, but 21 seems about right to me. We'll see once this spading is done and a non-stupid formula is found.

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Post by kevbob » Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:58 pm

stupac2 wrote:I don't really like a scarf pull on Type I, but the extra 30 damage might be worth it, considering you'll have the sickle and the BoT for early ML.


i don't want to thread-jack or whatnot, and this may be a retarded question altogether, but is HCB S not still a decent lead in, or does Air trump it? (trumpet!)

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Post by lostcalpolydude » Thu Dec 17, 2009 5:07 pm

Since eating key pies currently requires 6 canned air, I think HCO is the only serious way to go (maybe NotJim will come and explain how on a 2/540 run you don't need all that air, but you want 3 air on day 1 for sure). There's no way to know before your run starts if 3 SBW is the best way to fill your liver, since it depends on things like ration results, any lunchboxes you open, and stuff like that.

Also, this thread made me realize that leftover rations are not useless after all. They'll be useful if any more Type 2 stuff happens in the next year.
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Post by stupac2 » Thu Dec 17, 2009 5:53 pm

kevbob wrote:i don't want to thread-jack or whatnot, and this may be a retarded question altogether, but is HCB S not still a decent lead in, or does Air trump it? (trumpet!)


HCB S can work, but as lost says you really want the air, especially on day 1 (to make sure you can putty your asciis). You could probably finagle it into the Sickle/BoT plan and have it come out nearly as good, but I'm not positive it would work.

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Post by Kelemvor » Thu Dec 17, 2009 7:44 pm

Is vcrisis a factor at all?

I'm guessing it's fairly marginal, but with few defense skills, at low levels the HP regen and straight stats (as opposed to from ML) from the PS might make crisis a little easier.

Of course, if skills are a limiting factor, you're going to have to pick HK/PS anyway, since you won't have a spellslinging skillset.

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Post by stupac2 » Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:43 pm

Crisis is way easy at low levels already. Combat doesn't get hard at all until you get a stick/gown on.

Plus with the slime +HP, hodgman, gnome, and PM +%HP, fortitude, power ballad, and now the new crimbo buff, you can get a fucking ton of HP from the get-go. If losing the PS means casting power ballad a few times before you get your stick on, so be it.

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Post by stupac2 » Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:24 pm

So I massively fucked this up by forgetting to include the MP needed to cast jala, jaba, and flavour. I also somehow did 6600-5400 = 1800 instead of 1400. Fixing both of those drastically change my conclusions to be more in line with what everyone originally assumed, they're not that close. It turns out that 21*.7 > 12, and that's hard to recover from.

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Post by deusnoctum » Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:25 am

stupac2 wrote:I also somehow did 6600-5400 = 1800 instead of 1400.


I know my mathing is usually more statistics-oriented, but isn't that actually 1200?

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Post by stupac2 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:02 am

EVEN WORSE. Jesus, wtf is my problem with simple subtraction?

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Post by Kelemvor » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:24 am

Also very marginal, perhaps not worth mentioning: you can also open the BoT every combat for an extra 60 damage, which saves you a bit of mp (I think, it's early and I'm lazy).

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Post by stupac2 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:34 am

60 is every third, it's like 20 if you do it every combat.

I'm thinking I might say that half of all combats only take 1 wave to nudge an assumption in the BoT's favor. Right now my combat assumptions are very unfavorable for it.

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Post by salien » Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:28 pm

Yeah, there's other things about your BoT assumptions I'd do differently. For instance, when you're killing with 2 geysers, casting noodles/smust/whatever doesn't really make sense, except when doing pirates or flyering. Noodles would only save you from taking one hit, and you're already healing 62 HP.

VCrisis does change things a bit, as the HK does make it a lot easier; the V mask is definitely a debatable pull in a 2-day run anyway, though. I would definitely do a scarf over the mask for a BoT run (the 15% myst buff actually gets to matter, even!).

As for the free BoT damage, it actually doubles for each charge, so using it every combat is only 15 damage (1 charge) vs. 60 for every 3 combats (3 charges). Still, it's easy enough to do (unless you're saving one to be an item buff; that's actually really tricky to do, since there's no easy way to empty the bag of charges without triggering chihuahua), so you may as well, but I don't think it's worth taking into account in this comparison.

It doesn't look like you accounted for the cost of Rage or Tenacity in the HK MP calculations? My 21 Raindrop average was definitely obtained with those 2 active, though it's possible Tenacity doesn't contribute enough to actually be worth running (though I did find the extra damage to matter at least occasionally). That's either 0.8 or 1.4 MP per turn cost, or 440 or 770 MP total.

As for elemental monsters, it's worth remembering that the cyrpt is always a ton of turns, as is the battlefield. Those alone are probably, oh, 70 turns with one less geyser needed, which saves you 420 MP.

You also didn't really address the items and meat from the BoT in your final analysis; the items is obviously helpful in various places, and both of them lead to a decent amount of meat over an entire run (autoselling items). Someone once calculated your average meat drops over a run, but I forget what it was; I wouldn't be at all surprised if a constant +15% netted you a couple thousand meat.

So, adding that all together: skipping noodles half of the time (577 MP) + cost of rage (440 MP) + elemental effects (420 MP) + 2K meat (250 MP) = 1687. That cuts the MP difference in half.

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Post by stupac2 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:37 pm

Thanks for doing that, elemental monsters was something I thought of and decided to take into account retardedly (basically assume you only need 1 cast half the time, taking 25% off your combat costs). Your way is better. I'll add those in.

But no, I wasn't running tenacity. Since you were and it very likely could make a 1 MP/turn difference, I'll revert to using my actual 20 MP average, which will take another 400 (or whatever, I'll calculate in a sec) off.

I plan to post this in GD once it's de-suck-ified. It might actually be interesting to say "don't pull V mask if you're doing this, pull scarf) because the 1.15*M could help. Running glittery mascara might be worth it too, but I'm going to leave both off for now.

ETA: meat drops are also a good point. Darth calculated that before, somewhere, I'll go find it. ETA: Found it! Knowing it was in a radio thread helped.

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Post by lostcalpolydude » Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:48 pm

VCrisis does change things a bit, as the HK does make it a lot easier; the V mask is definitely a debatable pull in a 2-day run anyway, though. I would definitely do a scarf over the mask for a BoT run (the 15% myst buff actually gets to matter, even!).

Vivala mask saves at least 3 turns on day 1 and probably 2 more on day 2, minus a turn of leveling to make up for the stats, so call it 4 turns saved. Plus the stats that it gives. I have a hard time seeing the extra MP from the scarf saving that many extra turns compared to a vivala mask.
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Post by stupac2 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:09 pm

Could some more people give their take on the analysis? I'd like to post this in G-D soonish and want to make sure it's not fucked up (still...).

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Post by Eigenbasis » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:05 pm

Assume 55k meat drops over a run with 30% passives - that means ~42,300 meat base, so BoT nets you ~6346 meat. Assume that all of that meat goes in to seltzer, and that's an extra 793 MP (you could safely round to 800).

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Post by stupac2 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:09 pm

Eigenbasis wrote:Assume 55k meat drops over a run with 30% passives - that means ~42,300 meat base, so BoT nets you ~6346 meat. Assume that all of that meat goes in to seltzer, and that's an extra 793 MP (you could safely round to 800).


I have that in there now, but I assumed less due to runs being longer back when that was posted.

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Post by Eleron » Sat Dec 19, 2009 1:21 pm

Could you expand or move the "finals" bits by making a final, nice and simple table in the conclusions, showing the MP gained, MP used, net MP, stat gained and other stuff that matters for the alternatives? Could you guess at how the differences extend to other scenarios than 550-turn 2-day moxie in the discussion?

I also think it would be nice to conclude something about two alternate, viable strategies with differences between them, like you discuss a bit earlier, instead of ending with a two sections of figurative shrugging. If you get 650 stats and +10% items for 300 MP, that's pretty damn sweet, and something I'd plaster all over the conclusion instead of briefly mentioning it in the text.

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Post by salien » Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:26 pm

lostcalpolydude wrote:Vivala mask saves at least 3 turns on day 1 and probably 2 more on day 2, minus a turn of leveling to make up for the stats, so call it 4 turns saved. Plus the stats that it gives. I have a hard time seeing the extra MP from the scarf saving that many extra turns compared to a vivala mask.


I dunno, those numbers seem to be assuming you get no poppers. I was more thinking of the fact that you can't easily crisis while running the BoT, since your crit rate is lower and you don't have as much bonus melee running. Also, if you abandon crisis, Saucegeyser won't give the occasional stat bonus off a crit that Shieldbutt does.

I dunno, stat accessories are a tricky area anyway, between V mask, carny, scarf, stick...

stupac2 wrote:But no, I wasn't running tenacity. Since you were and it very likely could make a 1 MP/turn difference, I'll revert to using my actual 20 MP average, which will take another 400 (or whatever, I'll calculate in a sec) off.


It only costs 330 MP to run tenacity, so if it's the difference between 20 MP/combat and 21 MP/combat (385 MP gained) and makes combat a bit easier on edge cases, why not run it? Doesn't significantly change the final analysis, just thought I'd mention it.

Also, in the first post, you say wave a number of places where I think you mean geyser.

Otherwise, looking very nice; thanks for doing all this analysis!

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