Weekly Puzzle Strike Matchup Strategies, Oct. 5-Oct. 12

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by skeller, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. skeller

    skeller Well-Known Member

    This is the weekly installment in a regular column looking at how to play with or against the week's free Puzzle Strike characters. Because the free characters tend to be played more than the other characters, understanding how they affect play is an important part of mastering online Puzzle Strike Play. This week, Rabid Schnauzer looks at Grave and DeGrey.

    Grave :cgrave:

    Worst Matchups
    Grave's toughest matchups are against characters who can either beat him in the very long game or against characters who can rush him down despite the resiliency Reversal gives him. His overall two worst matchups are likely against Setsuki :csetsuki: and Troq :ctroq:. Setsuki can generally beat even Grave's phenomenal economy if there economy ramp-up or wounding chips Double-take and Grave needs some bank help to make the long game. Troq can rush to crashing 4-gems on successive turns while slimdecking to have a better late game than Grave, and many of Grave's favorite chips are equally good for Troq.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Best Matchups
    Grave's easiest matchups are against characters who can neither rush him down nor match his economy. He has notably good matchups against Valerie :cvalerie: and Zane :czane:. Valerie lags slightly behind his economy and prolongs the game every time her Chromatic Orb hits Grave's Reversal. Zane has the problem that his Maximum Anarchy is far more likely to benefit Grave than himself, making one of his key character chips a liability.


    Against a naive Grave player, Midori's Dragon Form rush renders Reversal's counter-crash useless and tends to end the game well before Grave's econ and engine-building potential can matter. At higher skill levels this match is bank-dependent but roughly even on average.

    Worst Bank for Grave and Counter-Picking against Grave:
    Grave generally does not want to see a bank without fork chips, since that doesn't allow him to use the extra draws on his character chips for anything but bigger buys. Drawing enders (Draw Three, Now or Later, Gems to Gemonade) and ways to upgrade chips (Risky Move, Training Day, Chips for Free) give opponents access to his specialties. Grave also tends to be disadvantaged if the entire bank is low cost, since that doesn't let him bring his economic advantages into play as much.

    Against Grave, most characters will want to pull out either a fork or an expensive chip and pull in either a low cost economy ramp chip or a chip which helps their rushdown.

    Best Bank for Grave and Counterpicking for Grave
    Grave benefits immensely from being able to get an early fork. Gem Essence and Button Mashing can be huge for him as they offer both extra actions and deck-thinning. However his great economy means that he can often get One-Two Punch, Punch-Punch Kick or even Custom Combo in the first few turns. Grave also does really well with Improvisation, since two of his character chips can offer +:psblack: if improved into and two of his character chips can offer +:pschip: :pschip: if improved into and one of his character chips can remove gems from his deck to reduce the odds of a useless Improv.

    That Grave has one of the best economies in the game means that he also usually benefits more from higher-end chips than most opponents, so It's Combo Time, Master Puzzler and The Hammer are usually better for Grave than for his opponent.

    Grave will usually want to counter-pick out a training or rushdown chip and counter-pick in either Button Mashing or a high-cost chip.

    DeGrey :cdegrey:


    Worst Matchups
    Degrey's worst matchups are against characters who can either rush him down before he can slimdeck enough or who can build viable economies against Pilebunker. His two worst overall matchups are likely against Midori :cmidori: and Rook :crook:, each of whom can both increase ante and improve the gems in their hand.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Best Matchups
    DeGrey's best matchups tend to be against characters who try to build big gem economies and play for the long game. His best two matchups are probably against Geiger :cgeiger: and Menelker :cmenelker:. Geiger needs bank help to build any economy against Pilebunker and generally cannot rush DeGrey down fast enough to handle DeGrey's late-game thindecking advantage. DeGrey's thindecking means he tends to have both a better late game than Menelker, and he tends to be able to countercrash against Deathstrike Dragon to get to the late game.

    DeGrey versus Persephone :cpersephone: is a matchup which strongly favors the player who has more experience with it. Each character has the ability to prevent the other from executing their usual game plan and force them to adapt. Thus against a naive DeGrey player, Persephone can be a solid choice, despite the overall matchup being roughly even at high skill levels.

    Worst Bank for DeGrey and Counter-picking Against DeGrey
    DeGrey is unhappy if the bank doesn't have any forks, since that lessens the usefulness of Troublesome Rhetoric after the early game. The usefulness of Pilebunker can be blunted by either economic ramp chips (Sale Prices, Training Day, One of Each) or blue reactions (Self Improvement, Really Annoying). DeGrey's thindecking doesn't work so well against Stolen Purples, Chip Damage or Ouch! Chips that increase tempo can end the game before DeGrey can thindeck enough, so Risk to Riskonade is a consideration. There are a few chips which fall into more than one of these categories. Thinking Ahead is an anti-Pilebunker blue reaction which has a main that can be played as an econ ramp. Ebb or Flow is a blue reaction which can increase the tempo of the game, and Risky Move is both an econ ramp and a tempo increaser—making it probably the chip DeGrey least wants to see.

    Against DeGrey most characters will want to pull out a fork or a red chip which has an arrow and pull in either Risky Move, a :psblueshield: or Stolen Purples.

    Best Bank for DeGrey and Counter-Picking for DeGrey
    DeGrey is usually playing with a slimmer deck and an economic advantage over his opponent. This means that he usually wants high-cost puzzle chips (Roundhouse, X-Copy, Option Select, etc) and chips which can slow the tempo of the game (Mixmaster, Iron Defense, Safe Keeping). Additionally, the red arrow on No More Lies means that he plays :psfist: chips well, especially when those chips have an additional arrow on them (Color Panic, Dashing Strike, Knockdown, etc).

    DeGrey will usually want to counterpick out either an economy ramp chip or a :psblueshield: chip or one of the :psfist:s that can be problematic for him and counterpick in either a fork, a defensive chip, a high cost chip or a more favorable :psfist:.

    Free Character Head to Head:
    In a head-to-head matchup, this week's two free characters are roughly even, depending on the bank. DeGrey does have a better late game than Grave, so Grave needs to go for some early combines and try to rush, but his +:ps$: and +:pschip: :pschip: options generally give him enough economy to do that against Pilebunker.

    Overlap / Commonality:
    This week there is some overlap between the common enemies. Midori's Dragon Form rush is strong against DeGrey overall and very good against a weaker Grave player. Setsuki's lategame advantages beat Grave and with just a little bank help she can play a solid economy game against Pilebunker. So for the best advantages against this week's free characters, play :cmidori: or :csetsuki:, although :ctroq: is also likely a safe bet.

    If you want to avoid characters with unfavorable matchups against the free characters, steer clear of Geiger and Valerie. Zane is also questionable this week, as he has a difficult matchup against Grave and difficulty using Crash Potato against DeGrey's slim deck (although there isn't consensus about whether that actually disadvantages Zane in the overall matchup or not).

    As for puzzle chips and bank: both of the free characters tend to play with an economic advantage, both the free characters want forks, and both of them can have issues against either rushdown or upgrading chips. So you should probably consider counter-picking out forks and/or chips or cost 5 or more and consider counter-picking in either upgrading chips such as Risky Move and Training Day or rushdown chips such as Risk to Riskonade or Knockdown.

    Counter Counters
    This week my first choice counter-counter pick would be Jaina :cjaina:. She has favorable matchups against this week's overlapping nemeses Setsuki and Midori while her odds are at least even against Grave and Degrey. Playing with Fire and Burning Vigor let her speed up the ante to prevent them getting into the long game where their advantages come into play. Somewhat less obviously, I would also consider Persephone here.

    Persephone's matchups aren't overall as favorable as Jaina's against the free characters and the characters likely to beat the free characters, only being what I would consider outright favorable against Midori and Troq and roughly even or bank dependent against Grave, DeGrey and Setsuki. However in those three even matchups, a small advantage in skill or experience is much more likely than usual to make a big difference.

    Hope you learned as much as I did this time, next week we'll look at two more characters. Until then:
    May the chips fall your way

    Attached Files:

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