Puzzle Pirates Swordfighting FAQ

Puzzle Pirates Swordfighting Frequently Asked Questions by RobertDonald

Let me tell you why I am writing this.

A few weeks ago, I started this game. I read up all the information on swordfighting: Jack’s post, Tedv’s post, Complicated’s guide, and various other stuff. Even with all this information and my strong experience from Puzzle Fighter, there were many unanswered questions in my mind. This guide is an attempt to answer those questions.

Some of this stems from controlled experiments. Some of it stems from theory. Some of it stems from guesses. That’s probably the largest part. If anyone wishes to perform controlled experiments to either confirm or deny any of this, please do so and report the results.

My hope is that this post will bring about debate and testing on these matters.

Q. What is the delay between me breaking stuff, and my opponent getting hit?

There is both a time delay and a piece delay.

The time delay is short and effectively random. It’s probably caused by the delays between updates of the server by your client which occur every five seconds. The piece delay is one piece. That is, if your opponent breaks something and you very slowly drop the piece you are on, you will get hit after you drop ANOTHER piece.

But if you’re quickly dropping stuff with spacebar and your opponent breaks something, you might get in as much as 5 dropped pieces before you’re hit by the attack because of the time delay.

Another interesting rule is: one attack per drop. Thus, if your opponent is playing very very slowly, and you quickly break 10 separate small attacks while he drops one piece… Well, it’ll be a LONG time before your 11th attack, the large one, will hit him. It’ll be 11 of his long slow drops.

Q. What do I get when I break a 3×3? What about a 4×4?

3×3 on a single: 2×4 or 4×2 (sometimes vertical, sometimes horizontal)
3×3 on a double: 3×6
3×3 on a triple: 3×9

4×4 on a single: 3×5
4×4 on a double: 3×10

Q. How do I send a strike down someone’s 4th column?
(background: if the 4th column fills up, you lose. The game will not place strikes in the 4th column unless it has no other choice.)

There are two ways. One is to have blocks at the top of the screen. If you have a block at the very top of the screen, a strike cannot pass through it. The game will therefore not place a strike above it. So for example, if you have blocks at the very top of the screen in 1-2 and 5-6, a 2×4 strike would go through your center.

Thus, it’s generally a bad idea to leave blocks at the top of your screen. It invites an instakill.

The other way is much more important and complicated.
Suppose you do a chain. On the single, you break a 2×3. On the double, you break a 2×2. On the triple, you break a 2×5.

Now, the first 2×3 will be placed in either 1-2, 2-3, or 5-6. Let’s say it goes into 1-2. The second attack will be a 2×4, and it can only go into 5-6. The only remaining place for your third strike, which is a 2×15, is 3-4. So you send a huge strike down your opponent’s center, instakilling him.

But wait! What if the first strike was placed in 2-3? Then the second strike would be placed in 5-6, and the third strike would be… nowhere. Your third strike would be wasted.

three 2xNs: 50% chance of 4th column, 50% chance of waste.

What about if you break a 3×4 on a single, and a 3×5 on the double?
The 3×4 drops into 1-3, then the 3×10 will drop into 4-6, the only remaining space.

two 3xNs: 100% 4th column

What if you break a 2×3 on the single, then a 3×4 on the double?
If the 2×3 drops in 1-2 or 2-3, the 3×8 will have to drop through the 4th column. But if the 2×3 drops in 5-6, the 3×8 will drop in 1-3.

2xN then 3xN: 67% 4th column

Now, one of the more complicated cases:

You break a 2×2 on the single, 2×3 on the double, and 2×5 on the triple. But breaking a 2×2 on a single results in a 1×4, which only takes up one column. If it drops in 2 or 6, a column 4 sword is assured. If it drops in 1, you’ll get swords in 2-3 and 5-6. Similar for 3.

But what if it drops in 5? Then the 2×6 drops in 2-3 half the time, which leaves no space for the last sword! WASTE!

1×4 then 2xN then 2xN: 50% 4th column, 10% waste.

So put them all together, and a few more cases:
two 3xNs: . . . . . . . . . . 100% 4th column
2xN then 3xN: . . . . . . . 67% 4th column
1×4 then 3xN: . . . . . . . 60% 4th column
1×4 then 2xN then 2xN: 50% 4th column, 10% waste
three 2xNs: . . . . . . . . . 50% 4th column, 50% waste
2xN then 1×4 then 2xN: 44% 4th column, 11% waste
two 1x4s then 2xN: . . . 20% 4th column
3xN then 2xN: . . . . . . . 0% 4th column

However, all this assumes that you break no more than 1 block at each stage of the chain.
Perhaps you break more than one, as happens all the time in stick vs stick.

Q. If I break more than one block at once, without a chain, which strike is placed first?

The strike closest to the breaker is placed first. For example:

(image from Sword Fighting Combos by jacksparrow)

In this, a 2×2 and a 3×2 horizontal are broken at the same stage, the double. What happens? The 2×2 is closer to the breaker. It produces a 2×4 vertical strike. The 3×2 should produce a 6×2 horizontal strike. But the 2×4 drops first and blocks the 6×2 horizontal strike at the halfway point.

Q. What happens to wasted strikes?

If a strike cannot be placed, it is completely wasted. It does not add to the length of strikes already placed; it does not drop on top of other vertical strikes; it does not turn into sprinkles.

This can be a substantial factor in stick vs stick, since many of your larger attacks can end up completely wasted.

Q. Do horizontal blocks ever produce vertical strikes?

Jack’s post talks about horizontal strikes that are effectively longer than 6 wide (the width of the screen) but does not answer this question.

A horizontal strike that is effectively 12 wide will turn into a 12 high vertical strike. A horizontal strike that is effectively more than 12 wide will turn into more than 12 high (though this is rather larger than the screen.) Any width smaller than 12 will remain horizontal.

For example, a tripled 4×3 block will produce a 3×12 vertical strike, and a bingoed 3×2 block will produce a 2×12 vertical strike.

Q. What set of swords is the best for PvP Sea Battle and Team Brawl?

It is important to use compatible weapons, whether they be skull daggers or scimitars.
There are two criteria for compatibility:
1) Different color on the sides.
2) Different color in the center.

For example, a red-red scimitar has blue on the sides. A red-red skull dagger also has blue on the sides. These would not be good to use together in team brawl.
A compatible sword with your red-red scimitar might be, for example, a blue-orange skull dagger. This skull has red on the side (to the scimi’s blue) and blue-yellow in the center (to the scimi’s green.)

These different colors cause alternating layers on the teamed opponent’s board, making them harder to dig through and exploit for attacks.

Incidentally this is also somewhat true for people who use multiple weapons and switch between them in 2 out of 3 matches. There’s no point in switching from one scimitar to another if they have similar color weaknesses.

On another note, the value of swords like the poniard, the cleaver, and especially the stiletto goes up considerably in team brawl. However, these have problems when it comes down to the last man standing.

Q. How can I use my opponent’s attacks against him?

Sprinkle triggered and strike triggered attacks:

You can place breakers so that when your opponent sprinkles you, he will cause you to break things. It’s not too hard to turn the intial sprinkle-triggered break into a big chain with some good breaker placement.

For example, suppose you have a 2×3 green block at the bottom of 3-4, and you’re against a red-red scimitar. A red-red scimitar drops green in the center. You place a green breaker at height 4 in column 5. When your opponent sprinkles your 4th column, the block automatically breaks and causes chains due to breakers stored in columns 5 and 3.

Strike triggering is also doable in many cases, but can be tricky due to the digging effect of strikes. It’s best done against strikes that are somewhat vertically monochrome. For example, you can trigger reliably off the third column against a skull dagger at height 1 and 2 because the skull has three of the same color in its strike.

Sprinkle and strike triggering frees you up to build much higher than normal, knowing that your attack will not get buried. However, a well placed horizontal can still destroy you.

Turning your opponent’s attacks into blocks:

You generally want your opponent’s attacks to connect with what you already have, and add to your chains. This means placement of gems in anticipation of your opponent’s sprinkle pattern. For example, suppose you’re using a skull dagger against a red-red scimitar. You decide to form a little block in 1-2, but you let your opponent do half the work. The scimitar drops blue in column 1, so you put 3 blue gems vertically in column 2. Now when the scimitar sprinkles, he creates a 2×3 block. For good measure, you put, say, a green gem and a blue breaker on top of column 2. Now the blue breaker can get triggered if he sprinkles too high… or you might be able to set up the green to sprinkle trigger and break the 2×3 in a chain.

This is just an example of what can be done. However, don’t make the mistake of walling too high and expecting your opponent to fill the whole thing in. This isn’t puzzle fighter, and a heavily chained 2×3 is just as good as, or better than, a huge singled 2×9.

Q. How is Swordfighting different from Puzzle Fighter? (Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo)

– SF has no diamond.
The diamond is the piece in PF that breaks all of one color. Not having a diamond means chains in SF can more easily be buried, never to be broken. Also, PF’s regular diamonds every 25 pieces gave an emphasis on timing and speed largely lacking in SF.

– Chains in SF are multiplicative, not additive as in PF.
In PF, each chain gave an additive bonus to attack damage. In SF, it multiplies the chained attacks. This creates an emphasis on refusing to break blocks except at the end of long chains that is completely absent from PF.

– In SF, sprinkles cannot instakill.
Once it is filled to height 10, the 4th column receives no more sprinkles. (I have not yet determined whether these sprinkles are directed to other columns, or simply wasted.) This allows strategies that would be utterly ridiculous in PF, such as stacking your 4th column within one space of the top with breakers while building stuff on this sides. (This strategy is rather easy to strike trigger chains with, by the way. This is probably because the breakers don’t get destroyed by strikes.)

– In SF, gems above the top of the screen are lost forever.
This can be very annoying for PF players, though it makes no large changes to strategy. PF player might be within 1 from the top of his screen and see a gem consisting of two red breakers coming up. Thinking that they will break on each other even though one is above the top of the screen, he’ll simply drop them and die rather than moving or flipping them horizontally.

– SF has no defense.
In PF, attacks do twice as much damage as in SF (excluding chain effects and 3xN blocks.) However, people can defend from attacks by breaking stuff right before they get attacked, though defense is only half effective. SF lacks this system. Thus SF is more about gradually filling someone’s screen with trash rather than instakilling them when they don’t have defense.

– SF has no height bonus.
In PF, things broken near the top of the screen did more damage than things broken at the bottom. This forced people to live dangerously, build high, and go for instakills. SF lacks this.

– SF has strikes, PF just has sprinkles.

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