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[Guides] Attack Priorities and Aggro

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Posted on 8/24/14 1:33:30 AM | Show thread starter's posts only

Edited by ForceClosed at 11-13-2014 02:25 PM

Special thanks to TimG aka DdrNerd aka fhqqgwds or some random string of letters. TimG has helped in both the concept and the testing for most of the info in the thread.

As we continue to play Castle Clash, we understand more about the way this game ticks. Questioning, studying, and testing this game has allowed us to play with more certainty in our strategy.  Some say this game can be mastered within days, but we are still learning about some of the basic game functions after a year of playing. Small details of basic functions allow us to do profound things such as preventing the boss from gaining 100% energy, and maximizing hero synergy.

There are a few important finds I'll be mentioning in this thread. Firstly, we will talk about aggro priority - how it works and how to use it to your advantage - and secondly, we will discuss attack timing/priority. Both are technically the same, but have different effects, so I think it's best to separate the two.

Part One - Target Priority

Have you ever noticed your towers target certain heroes in a certain order when farming HBM? Have you ever noticed the boss aggros certain heroes as they die off? Well, there is a reason the game acts this way.

Target priority has been found. The game prioritizes aggro based on proximity, then order deployed.

In boss fights you may notice he will kill your heroes from the left side of your hotbar to the right (assuming all melee heroes of equal distance). This is generally because everyone spam drops the next hero in line. If you were to manually select the last hero each time before deploying, the boss would kill your team in the reverse order. Why is this useful? Because you can drop one hero as initial aggro (a revive or a throwaway hero) and the second hero you drop will always take aggro next (assuming within range).

For example: I drop Thunder god followed by Cupid then Druid then Succubus then Paladin and finally PD. After TG revives, the boss will target Cupid if he is within range. If I dropped my heroes from a distance then the boss will target the next melee hero as cupid, druid, and succubus are all beyond his attack range. Paladin will be the next hero targeted.

In raids you may notice towers target the first hero that enters its range, but then never understood who gets aggro next. If all heroes are within range, it will target the earliest deployed hero. Let's say you dropped a revive reaper followed by a paladin then a pumpkin duke. The paladin enters range first so he will get aggro even though he was dropped second. After pally dies, reaper will be the next target since he was deployed before PD. Knowing how towers pick targets will prove invaluable for hero expedition strategies.

Dungeons are typically the only place you'll find magic and cannon towers. These towers will target based on proximity then by birth. A cannon tower will target the first ground unit within range followed by the first deployed ground unit as long as it is in range. A magic tower will target the first 3 deployed units within range. If you deploy 3 heroes from a distance (out of range) and 3 heroes next to a magic tower, for the first strike it will target the nearest 3, but the following strikes will completely skip the nearest units because it prioritizes the 3 farther (now within distance), but earlier deployed units. This is useful if you want, say, SM to take slightly less damage while grinding dungeons.

Note: I used to think magic towers targeted heroes over troops because you can deploy 3 heroes followed by a few dragons and you'll notice as long as the heroes are within range, the dragon will never get touched. Now I believe this is due to the targeting system of first deployed, however I haven't tested this. Please post if you can confirm this.

I haven't tested this but I believe not only towers behave in this manner. I would assume troops and heroes also target the closest enemy followed by the earliest deployed enemy. For example: you drop a revive druid followed by a pumpkin duke, a cupid, and a thunder god. Druid enters the army camp range first so he takes aggro. After druid dies, the troops will then target the nearest enemy or the earliest deployed. If the troops are ranged then they have the ability to target any hero, however, they *should* target pumpkin duke. Melee heroes/troops will simply target the nearest enemy while ranged units will pick the first deployed enemy within its range.

Arena behaves similarly as well. Thunder god has clearly shown how targets are prioritized, and from a few trials I also found GR also demonstrates the pattern. When on offense, the first hero you place will take TG's proc. When that hero dies, TG will target the next hero you placed. It doesn't matter if the hero is level 1, level 180, has the most HP, is the fastest, if its all alone, or in a group, the enemy will always targets heroes in the order you placed them. Keep in mind TG has a range limit and cannot proc across the arena, in which case he will proc n the shrine. Reaper will target the first X heroes placed. If you place the first 4 heroes in top lane and the other 2 in bottom lane, then only the top 4 will be hit. If you place 2 heroes in top, one in middle, one on bottom, then 2 on middle, only the last 2 in the middle will not receive damage. This is useful because you may want to place high HP heroes first to absorb TG's proc, or place them in a single lane to avoid stunning your entire team. You will also want to place low HP heroes like SM last to avoid taking GR's proc. It may allow your team to get that extra proc before death for a victory.

Arena defense priority is supposedly determined by highest level first. If more than one hero is the highest level then it's believed to pick heroes based on their ID (similar to hero order in altar(check duplicates for an example)) which will determine who your TG/GR will target. *needs further investigation*

Intermediate target priority:

If you understand all the above, then you are ready for the next level of hero targeting. You may have even figured this out for yourself already!

Revive talents throw a curve ball to the targeting system. It's not so cut and dry anymore. Revive works the same in all the above game modes. I will use a text graphic to demonstrate how targeting works with revives, assuming all heroes are within range. It will be [hero deployed:life #].

Hero 1 through 6 are deployed. Hero 3 reaches the range first so he gains aggro. The order of targeting will be as follows: [3:1],[1:1],[2:1],[1:2],[2:2],[3:2],[4:1],[5:1],[4:2],[5:2],[6:1],[6:2] so as you can see the 4th hero deployed will not gain aggro until the first 3 heroes have died twice.

This is effective for players with multiple revives because you can drop weak heroes last while making sure they are first to enter the enemy range because you know they will not regain aggro until everyone else dies. This is also helpful because you can predict when to hit exit if your revived hero is expected to take aggro after another heroes revives. In the scenario above, it would be wise to exit just after hero #2 (the third hero with aggro) is about to die because hero #1 has low health and is about to get aggro again.

HBM waves always act the same. If you use tower garrison for I and J you will realize there is a specific order to their target priority. Ninja>druid>;PD>tg>SM>Dino(unsure about Dino)(This is confirmed for I but may be different for J). This will help explain why SM is so difficult to kill off at times. All heroes must die before SM will be targeted by towers. Why HBM follows this pattern isn't known, but I have a feeling it's because the developers added the heroes to the spawn list in this order. Regardless of why, it's still important to know about this priority because you may find certain designs are more effective when using garrisons or not.

Part Two - Attack Priority

Now that we understand target priority, we can look into attack priority. The way it's determined is essentially the same, but the effect can be profound.

Attack priority can be recognized best during boss fights. I believe the game runs on 200 ms ticks, or cycles, which will keep all your heroes in rythym when at the attack speed cap. I don't know for sure, but I assume that before, with 100 ms intervals (still 200ms cap), your heroes could attack on different cycles. Regardless, I've noticed heroes do in fact attack as one when at 200 ms speed cap. This leads to the question: how does the game determine who attacks first (who is calculated first) when everyone is in sync?

Deployment order determines who attacks first in boss fights

If you drop cupid as your ranged bait, eventually your team will reach the speed cap and some heroes will end up having full energy at the same time cupid is ready to proc. This means on the next attack, cupid's energy boost will be calculated first - and of course the energy will be lost due to the heroes having full energy - then the other heroes will proc and gain their 15 energy from auto attack. Now, if you drop cupid last, the heroes will proc, gain 15 energy, then gain cupid's boost.

I believe many people having issues with cupid in their team will find better runs if they drop cupid as the last hero. Imagine all the lost energy PD could have if he was dropped before cupid. This may help people lock in a perm stun.

Actually, in boss fights, having cupid dropped last is important even if you can't reach speed cap. It's highly likely your heroes will end up synced regardless of the attack rate, so even at 600 ms you should drop cupid last. For myself, I run a no stunner Nerf team which means I get stunned about once every 6 seconds. After the stun wears off, all my heroes will attack at once. This is crucial for me to drop cupid last because if everyone procs after the stun, I want to be sure they all get cupid's energy boost.

I encourage all players to drop cupid last and PD first to get the best boss fight results.

Arena isn't confirmed because I don't have any 5/5 revit stunners to test, but I believe you'll find the best results if you drop your stunner hero first during head to head matches. If arena defense priority is randomly selected each match, then you will have the best odds (assuming all else equal) if you drop your stunner first. This should give you the edge to stun first in a collision whereas dropping that hero last will almost always get stunned first. Again, I haven't tested this and there are other unknown variables, so take this with a grain of salt. Use this strategy with caution. Please report back if you can provide more insight to this topic.

Raids/dungeons don't really matter, but for the off chance your heroes are in sync and have full energy, you may want to think about dropping cupid last. Not very significant IMO.

I was able to prove a single scatter 4/5 can reduce the boss's energy enough to prevent him from a proc, even with 5 other heroes attacking. This is most likely because I dropped the scatter hero last. Strike this: (I haven't been able to officially confirm this, but based on my other findings, I believe this is the case). I am now confident enough to say attack order is calculated based on drop order. If you can reach a 200 ms rate on your scatter hero, then you'll want to drop the scatter hero last in order to reduce the enemy energy. Only the scatter hero needs to attack at 200 ms, otherwise you'll want every hero to be in sync at a lower rate for scatter to work.

Same as procs, normal attacks - and thus talent ability - are calculated based on deployment order. If you drop a scatter hero last, and all heroes are on the same attack cycle, then the boss should always be left with less than 100 energy resulting in him being unable to proc. If you have scatter 4/5+ then please give this a try and let me know the results. Be aware this only works if the timing is right with boss swings and your hero synergy.

Side notes:
-HBM I and J enemy hero priority for garrisoned towers is Ninja>Druid>;PD>SM>TG>Dino. Assuming everyone is within range, druid will always be targeted before PD, and TG always before SM, so relying on tower garrison is typically not a good strategy to remove SM unless your purple garrisons can kill everyone in one hit, lol.
-Tier 3 boss may not switch aggro when a hero revives due to his slow attack rate.
-Aggro priority also applies to TG procs in the arena as well as GR and SM.
-During arena fights, aggro priority for the defender is based on hero level since their team is spawned at the same time (unconfirmed).

OK I believe this is all for now. In summary, TL;DR, targeting priority is based on proximity>deployment order. Towers, boss, and units will target the first enemy in range, and once that dies, they will target either the closest enemy (melee units) or the earliest deployed unit (ranged). Heroes in arena are targeted by the order which you placed on the pads. Hero attack order in boss fights is determined by deployment order. PD should be dropped first to give the buff to all heroes while cupid should be dropped last to avoid wasting energy boost.

Posted on 8/24/14 1:34:52 AM | Show thread starter's posts only

Thats alot of reading that I did not read. But i bet it was impeccable

Posted on 8/24/14 1:45:30 AM | Show thread starter's posts only


Posted on 8/24/14 1:48:14 AM | Show thread starter's posts only

Wow, these are some nice information. Thanks force.

I dont believe in religion, I believe in God.
Posted on 8/24/14 1:54:41 AM | Show thread starter's posts only

1. Druid priority is to stay away from the heroes and split up.
2. PD think he's a tank.
3. Range troops rather fire into walls than turn that short corner.

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Castle Clash - Clash of Lords 2 - Deck Heroes - League of Angels: Fire Raiders - Guns N' Gear
Posted on 8/24/14 1:54:49 AM | Show thread starter's posts only

Just actually read the whole thing. I skimmed a bit at the end, but hell yeah. Good info. You should Sticky it for a bit :)

Posted on 8/24/14 2:11:00 AM | Show thread starter's posts only

if only the things you said about the arena were true. unfortunately, you cannot place all ranged heroes first and have the opposing team target them. it doesnt work like that. Im assuming your just referring to tgs proc and it prioritizing the first hero placed. I dont have any proof but im fairly certain it is random. he could proc on crystal, he could target heroes in the middle from the bottom lane, even tho you set the bottom heroes down first. also, ninja isnt a higher priority than other heroes in hbm. hes faster, aka the first within range

Posted on 8/24/14 2:22:05 AM | Show thread starter's posts only

I was able to prove a single scatter 4/5 can reduce the boss's energy enough to prevent him from a proc, even with 5 other heroes attacking. This is most likely because I dropped the scatter hero last.


If you drop a scatter hero first, and all heroes are on the same attack cycle, then the boss should always be left with less than 100 energy resulting in him being unable to proc.

With the cupid syncing the stunners in boss fights issue, would your suggestion only help if champ can proc every 3 seconds? In other words, should you only drop cupid if you can stun every 3 seconds since eventually tg/exe and champ will sync. Sorry if that was confusing.

Posted on 8/24/14 2:23:12 AM | Show thread starter's posts only

raymond00713 replied at 8-24-2014 02:11 AM
if only the things you said about the arena were true. unfortunately, you cannot place all ranged he ...

Re-read the paragraph about tg/GR in arena. I said what I meant and I meant what I said.

As for ninja, you're right he's the first within range, but sometimes a troop actually reaches range first and once the troop dies, I believe ninja is the next target. Regardless of ninja's placement within the priority, I know druid is always second followed by PD.

Prove to me that ninja isn't first priority and I'll gladly fix it.

Posted on 8/24/14 2:27:33 AM | Show thread starter's posts only

Edited by DdrNerd at 8-24-2014 01:41 AM

Hi there!  This took over a week to test and elaborate on. Quite the journey!

Raymond, you are correct that Ninja is the fastest runner, but I believe he's also high priority, being only beaten by Paladin. The order can be found by setting several legends together at the same level.

Yougotnogames, ranged heroes need fewer tiles to be in range and should take different paths, even trough walls. However, this isn't usually the case in HBM and is likely a bug or bad design.

Thanks to members of Beastly for helping me test! I could shout out individuals but I can't remember them all. Lol
It's Fhqwgads. Fu-hook-wuh-gahds!
I'm one of those cryptic types that picks a difficult name on purpose to complicate life.

I muted myself. Talk about an abuse of power, eh?