Guest Fyora League Review - Drazu
Guest Fyora League Review - Drazu
This article was written on August 13th, 2014. The Battledome may be subject to change after the date of publication.
What's up, battlers. This is Alex, or Drazu, guest writing this Guest Fyora League Review article. This article will focus in on a league that has recently been created (by Greg or Neoskulltula, the creator of League 97) and tested by a few battlers already in a tournament that took place late July. This is a review on things I like or dislike about this experimental "Fyora League" metagame. Now, this review is really just first impressions, since the league does not have a large following at this point. This means that the kinds of sets and styles I have seen are limited to just a few other battlers. However, from the few sets I've had, both competitive and friendly, I've developed several opinions and thoughts on different aspects of the league. But first, when commenting on a league, you have to first consider what its purpose is and what its goals are in terms of the kinds of battles it's trying to provide.
Cost - The Battler Fyora League is Meant For
I need to make sure this is as clear as it can be; this is not a league for those with light pockets. This is for the hard-hitters. I'll talk a little bit about how some mid-level HT weapons have value in this league, but overall, if you're looking to fight with a weapon like Brynns Legendary Sword of Wraith Smiting or other 12-14 icon constants, you're going to have some really lengthy battles. During the planning for this league the length was decided based on how many turns it'd take to KO using the anagram-level (~18 icon average) constants. So even if you were to find other people using the Fyora league build that also use a small budget, you wouldn't be using an ideal format. If you're just starting out in the battledome, I highly suggest getting involved in League 97 battling - then maybe in the future when you're starting to purchase some of those bigger HT-level weapons, a transition to Fyora League might be the way to go.
The Stat Build
Fyora League is an odd build. 300 HP, 20 Strength and 35 Defense. It is essentially the L97 build except with 203 more hit points. The reason this build is needed is because the league's goal is to simulate big pet battling. It has to simulate a fight where much more powerful weapons, such as Sword of Skardsen or even Seasonal Attack Pea, can be used while still having a lengthy fight. People may complain that this league is a hassle to train for. It indeed takes a lot longer than L97; depending on your speed of training it might take three months, more or less. But I think that you shouldn't really compare the training time to L97. Compare it to a 3500/750/750 build, since that's the only other build where you can have the weapons and the match-length of Fyora League. Though, the weapons part is a bit unique but I'll get into that soon. Point is, for the kind of battling you're going to experience in this League the training time is really small. It's three months or ten years, you decide!
Length of Battles
This format does look ahead into the future when it comes to length. Unlike L97, this League takes into account the return of stances. For awhile now we've known about the images found for each of the stances we all knew and loved back in the old Battledome. This means that we assume it is on the list of updates to be done. When that update will happen nobody knows; it most likely won't be for a long time. But one day down the road the dome will change and stances will become an important factor in how long these kinds of matches will go. So what does that mean right now? It means Fyora league matches might take a little longer than the ideal length intended in the build. And this was experienced in the fights that I've had so far.
In my first few sets of Fyora League battling I experienced both extremes when it comes to the length of a match. There were fights where my opponent and I were both being heavily offensive, and the match would last approximately 12 turns or so, which is a pretty good length to have in a match. However, there was one battle in particular where both of our defensive combinations worked pretty well against both of our sets, and towards the end of the match we were only slowly chipping away damage each turn. That fight lasted about 25 turns, and lasted about half an hour. I argue that match was decided earlier in the fight and that my opponent should've just recognized that I wasn't going to make the mistake of trying anything too risky, but I digress. That match was good because it gave me a sense of the extreme of how long a fight in this league can really go when both players put out great defensive efforts. But a fight like that has only happened once so far out of around 20 fights total I've done. So don't take this as me saying the fights are going to be half-hour endurance matches all the time. Most of the time they're about 15 minutes, or 10 if both battlers don't take a minute or so to decide on a single move. So when it comes to length, I say that right now, it's a "B+". It's decent BUT when you consider the fact that this is meant for the return of stances, I think the build is right where it should be. The length of a match would be perfect with stances reintroduced. So in a way it's good that the lengths of the battles right now are a little long. It's on the right track to achieving the length it is meant for.
The Metagame: Rules and Restrictions
Now for the discussion of what I think about the metagame itself. First off, here's what the rules and restrictions are and why they are there: First off, freezers are ALLOWED unless both battlers agree NOT to use them. Normally freezers are banned because of the league builds; people would have to heal extremely early otherwise a freeze could have the match last just a couple of turns. However, Fyora League is at the length where this is not an issue, so freezers are allowed. This is one bit I didn't know about during my first battle in Fyora League, so as one can imagine I had quite a rude awakening to that fact. But obviously now that I know that fact, and now that I've been using freezers myself, I've come to like that rule. It adds in another strategic element to watch for and consider.
Visual approximation of Drazu's first Fyora League fight vs. Pisha1
Next, certain multi-healers are banned. These weapons are: Wand of the Dark Faerie, Illusens Staff, Rod of Dark Nova, and Everlasting Crystal Apple. Now, RoDN and ECA are conditional. When stances come back, those two weapons will be tested and most likely allowed. This is because as things stand right now, a 30hp multiheal is just too powerful for one constant to keep up with; however, when stances are back that sort of heal will be more balanced as weapons will have the ability to do more damage. WoDF and I-Staff, however, are banned until a reliable counter for them is released. WoDF would be able to heal 75 hit points whenever the user is at or below 75hp. That is simply too powerful for any constants to overcome. I-Staff would heal 60 hit points when at or below 60hp, less but still simply too overpowered. Just as a reminder for people, the strength boost in this league is 1.25 damage per icon, which means the average damage dealt from a weapon like Sword of Skardsen would be around 23, and that's if the attack went unblocked.
What do you MEAN I can't be invincible?
There are two weapons that are banned due to them just being constants with no good counters to them being available yet. These two weapons are Grapes of Wrath and Super Attack Pea. Until effective counters to them are released, they are under the category of being overpowered and restricted from the league. This is a rule I also agree with; in order for there to be a good metagame there has to be a way to effectively counter everything.
Now, this next restriction is one that really defines the league, and in my opinion, saves the metagame from being a complete offensive slugfest. All anagram clones are banned. The keyword is "clones" so the original anagram sword, Sword of Skardsen, is allowed. But Reif, Ari, Thigl, Thare, and Tawre are all banned. This is the best restriction this league could have. Without it, there's almost no use trying to use any shields because you could have any icon type combination being used against you in big numbers. But now the HT-level field is cut down to a level where shields are relevant and people can more easily try to predict what weapon could be used. Also, with this rule each and every HT-level constant now has effective advantages and disadvantages.
To begin, there are several HT-level constants you'll commonly see in this metagame: Sword of Skardsen, Kelpbeards Trident, Pirate Captains Cutlass,and Skarls Hasty Mace. If paired wisely with other things you could probably see things that haven't seen too much relevance because of the anagram clones, such as the Commemorative Battle Faerie Axe, Twin Faerie Blades, or Glittery Faerie Dust. I really do like the balance that line up has when it comes to their advantages and disadvantages. Kelpbeards Trident is a solid constant, but it gets completely blocked by Faerie Tabard, gets 5 Water and 5 Physical blocked from Hubrid Nox Memorial Shield, and will always have 5 icons blocked from Fan of Swords. Sword of Skardsen has the added benefit of getting all of its elemental icons past HNMS, but instead has to worry about dual duties like Ring of the Lost and Hanso Charisma Charm in addition to its HT-shield counter, Ghostkershield. These are all things I've had to consider in my strategy and have seen in other people's strategies so far. But some things I haven't seen yet and also appear to have use in this league (and I should say that I haven't seen these things mostly because I'm only fighting against 4 or 5 people right now as this league is just starting out). These include weapons like Glittery Faerie Dust and Skarls Hasty Mace.
We're relevant? WE'RE RELEVANT!
Glittery Faerie Dust is the weapon that the opponent can't possibly predict and block effectively every time. (Just like the anagram clones' effect before they were banned.) However this time by doing this you are sacrificing a little bit of your total offense. However that sacrifice can be well worth it if you're in a defensive portion of a battle. Skarls Hasty Mace is a weapon available to a lot of people due to its price tag being quite a bit less than the 18-icon weapons. With the relatively recent release of Fan of Swords, the Mace has been quietly made a bit more relevant and more competitive against the other HT constants. This is because, in addition to having a great icon combination of Earth and Air, it uses no physical icons. This means that, against an opposing Fan of Swords, Skarls Hasty Mace would actually average more icons than almost any other HT constant. SoS's average hit would only see its 15 dark icons get past FoS, KBT an even worse 13-ish water icons. But SHM averages around 16 icons and every one of them would surpass the physical defense FoS has to offer. This seems pretty niche but SHM also has that small chance of dishing out a huge hit in the 20's. The point is, mid-level HT battlers could see themselves keeping up better than expected in this league due to the lack of physical offense SHM has, along with the great offensive icon type combination it has (that can no longer be mimicked by a Sword of Ari / Sword of Thare combination!).
The balance in the league goes further into the upper HT and high-end category. Ghostkersword's icon types and powerful hits make it a very good choice of constant but still has chunks taken out every now and then by certain shields, and it can be overpowered still by a few bigger constants. Sword of White Lies can be used but obviously has HNMS to worry about. The big constants you can expect the richer battlers to use in the elite weaponry category include Attack Pea and Seasonal Attack Pea. Attack Pea users can expect a great monotype attack to bust through a ton of defensive combos, but fear the powerful reflector, Ultra Dual Shovel, as that can turn into a big margin of victory for the shovel user. Seasonal Attack Pea is the most powerful constant one can use in Fyora League, however Pirate Captains Hat will shut it down completely, and reflections from Kings Lens and (again) Ultra Dual Shovel will still turns things around in favor of the other player.
By now you are probably getting annoyed with me going in-depth and talking about almost all the constants. There are a lot more weapons I could talk about but here is the main point of it all (and the TL;DR); This league has an amazing amount of variety when it comes to what kind of constants to use. But they all have their ways of being countered - the richer player obviously still has access to the bigger and better weapons but there is no weapon that is completely overpowered, no weapon that lacks a counter.
I'm going to talk about healers now, and it'll obviously be brief compared to the constants section as there are less options here. The main thing that I want to talk about is Crisp Blue Tunic versus a full healer such as Leaded Elemental Vial. This league's HP total, 300, I think is the perfect spot for these two healers to be perfectly balanced. When one battler is using LEV, and the other CBT, there are things that can happen that make either healer the better choice. First, CBT's advantages are the fact that, if the battler doesn't know you have it OR does not manage their own HP well, the 100 HP drain in combination with a constant's attack can KO the opponent right then and there. If the LEV user is at, say 105 HP or some number like that, and that player knows the other has CBT, that player can just heal early and when that turn is said and done the heal is relatively the same. The LEV user would heal 195 hp, and the CBT user would do 100 damage and heal 100 hp (a net total of 200), which makes their total HP at the end of the heal turn about the same thing. But of course this scenario would favour the CBT user most of the time, as the early heal could happen when the LEV user is at 120 hp. In the case of an early heal the CBT user could have the lead anywhere from 1 to 25 hp or so depending on certain factors. But the big downfall of CBT is when the CBT user drains and attacks and the LEV user survives it, or the LEV user drops to 95 hp or so and the CBT can't be used until that person heals. Regardless off which one happens, that LEV user can heal up to LEV's full potential and the CBT user can find themselves down by almost 100.
...Not much you can do to get out of this one.
That is why 300 hp is such a great spot for the balance between LEV and CBT - normally the heals cancel each other out if both players heal when they're around 100 HP remaining. But then there is a scenario where the CBT user wins the turn it is used, and then another scenario where the LEV user puts themselves in a position where they probably have the win locked up due to the large lead they'd have post-heal. So overall, when it comes to healers, I'm very happy once again regarding to the balance of Fyora League.
Overall Thoughts: Why I Think it's More Fun Than L97
Personally, I think Fyora League is much more fun than L97. This is because of one of the things I mentioned earlier. There is a lot more variety when it comes to constants, shields, and overall strategies you can run into in Fyora League. In L97, The weapons used mostly consist of: PKilns, RBDs, BTSs, HHat, KHat, and FTab. In Fyora League you can see effective use of SoS, KBT, PCC, SHM, AP, SAP, G-Sword, SoWL, Gbomb, RoTL, HCC, HNMS, FTab, GShield, FoS, HPB, MMoM, FPot, SRay, TDK, MSkull , UDS, PCH, KLens, GFD, SoL, and FSS. The list goes on. And they are weapons that are good outside of the league in uncapped fights as well, not made relevant only due to the existence of their respective user-created metagame. In addition to that, some of the weapons you saw in my list there are unpredictable and quite honestly are just FUN weapons to use and go up against. Faerie Slingshot, the constant that can be lame or be really freaking scary. Sword of Lameness, the weapon that can attack, freeze, full heal or do nothing (I can confirm that even though the league build mimics 3500hp big pet fighting, SoL is not overpowered. I've gone against it in maybe 5-7 fights now and it's never had a timely full-heal more than once per fight yet) along with constants that can just do more or less damage like SHM, G-Sword or even SoS and its physical icon count possibilities. There's no relevant weapon even like that in L97.
The only problem I see with Fyora League right now is that there just isn't a lot of people at that build at the moment, meaning I'm going up against the same people each time. What will make it more fun is having more people take the time to train up to 300hp and getting in on this league and this metagame. With 300/20/35 being such an odd and uneven build, I take it a lot of people are holding off until the league takes off or is tested out and deemed worth the trip. Take this as the invitation and the confirmation that yes, this league is worth the trip.
One Last Thought
This is just added here at the end because I didn't know where else to put it, this league is also good because, with the challenge glitch basically bringing all actual big pet fighting to a halt, this provides a format where most of the weapons I listed can actually be used frequently now; they're not getting much 2p action anywhere else any more because of the glitch. (Right now they're either being resold or used as gallery pieces) The build can easily be transferred over to a side with no significant Neopoint cost, so that battling in this league can continue despite the glitch still being around. So for awhile this league might even be our only option for fighting with our regular weaponry. However, even in the future when the challenge glitch is fixed, I'll still be fighting in this league because with the anagram clones banned along with some other overpowered weaponry, this league is truly one of a kind.
This article was written by: Drazu