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Cardiology: Curious Inversion

Decision: Should You Play Curious Inversion

TL;DR:

For Steelheart's Champions, it's a hard no.  Everyone else could consider playing it, but warbands with primarily dodge-based defenses (Reavers, Ghosts, etc) and/or primarily sword-based attacks (Godsworn Hunt, Eyes of the Nine, etc) will probably get the most mileage out of it.  Orcs, Dwarves, and Sigmarites should likely pass.

Factor: Warband

The first thing you should do when you are thinking about adding Curious Inversion to your deck is to analyze the degree to which it is likely to be helpful to you in any given situation.  For example:  Champions, Orcs, Fyreslayers, and Farstriders will always be trading shields for dodges if you use Inversion defensively, so it will only benefit you when used offensively.  On the other hand, Reavers, Guard, and Thorns will always trade dodges for shields, making Inversion significantly more likely to be useful at any given point in the game. 

Offensively, most warbands have a mix of hammer and sword attacks (with the exception of Steelheart's Champions, who are hammers only), and so they will at least occasionally benefit from playing inversion on the offense.  Especially sword-heavy warbands like Reavers, Eyes of the Nine, and Godsworn Hunt benefit more than more hammer-heavy warbands like Cursebreakers or Guardians.

The following chart summarizes the number of various types of dice featured on the fighter cards of the warbands available to date.  A few things are worth noting here.  The defense characteristics of Inspired Ammis and inspired Rastus of the Cursebreakers are not affected by the defense-swap on Curious Inversion.  The same can be said of magic attacks.  Finally, it's important to keep in mind that the chart only provides a jumping-off point for evaluating the usefulness of Inversion.  Not all attacks are equal; Ironhail's Volley Gun will likely see much more use than Thundrik's Heavy Instruments.  If you find yourself never using your sword attacks, you should probably reevaluate the inclusion of Instruments in your deck.

WarbandSwordsHammersAtt DIffDodgesShieldsDef DiffTotal DIff
Garrek's Reavers218131001023
Steelheart's Champions020-2009-9-29
Sepulchral Guard201551401419
Ironskull's Boyz108208-8-6
The Chosen Axes613-708-8-15
Spiteclaw's Swarm1011-1133109
The Farstriders2781909-910
Magore's Fiends1214-236-3-5
Stormsire's Cursebreakers316-1304-4-17
Thorns of the Briar Queen141132302326
Eyes of the Nine2381574318
Zarbag's Gitz1920-12622423
Mollog's Mob13768628
The Godsworn Hunt268181311230
Ylthari's Guardians217-15761-14
Thundrk's Profiteers1620-429-7-11


On the surface, at least, Curious Inversion will probably get the most use from Thorns, Reavers, Guard, and Godsworn.  One last note: Steelheart's Champions are the only warband that has no swords or dodges on their fighter cards - Inversion is a definite pass for them.

Factor: The Perfect Swap

It's very important to remember that Curious Inversion almost always changes the attack stat and the defense stat of any given attack (exceptions being magic attacks and Cursebreaker dangle-bro defenses/guard).  Lets start by looking at the situation that provides you with the clearest advantage: an attack that starts out with swords against a defense that starts out as shields.  In this case, your percentage chance to hit will increase in the following way:


1Def2Def3Def
1 Attack Die14%10%8%
2 Attack Dice19%17%14%
3 Attack Dice19%18%17%
4 Attack Dice17%18%18%


Since attack and defense dice in Shadespire are symmetric, if you use Inversion on the defense to change your defense to shields and your opponent's attack to swords, your opponent will lose the same percentage chance to hit as you would gain when you use it on offense.  In other words, the table above represents both "perfect swap" cases. 

Those seem like pretty good numbers, but it would be better if we had something to compare.  Let's take a look at how a staple of Shadespire - Determined Effort - would affect the same attacks.


1 Sh2 Sh3 Sh
1 sword18%14%11%
2 sword15%13%11%
3 sword11%11%10%
4 sword8%9%9%  


In most cases, a "perfect swap" Inversion will outpace Determined Effort; the main exception being those attacks that start at 1-sword.  Still, a card that situationally outperforms a format standard isn't bad, as long as the situation comes up often enough. 

Factor: Imperfect Swaps

There are two other possible outcomes when both attack and defense characteristics are swapped by Curious Inversion:

  • Swords to Hammers; Dodges to Shields ("double-upgrade")
  • Hammers to Swords; Shields to Dodges ("double-downgrade")
Let's look at how each of these swaps adds up.  First, let's take a sword-based attack versus a dodge-based defense (Zarbag vs. Prog, for example), and see if it's worth it to play Inversion and force an imperfect swap.


1Def2Def3Def
1 Attack Die6%1%-1%
2 Attack Dice10%4%0%
3 Attack Dice12%6%2%
4 Attack Dice11%7%4%

Yikes - those numbers aren't nearly as good.  Here we can see that the "double-upgrade" swap is most beneficial when you roll significantly more dice than your opponent - not really a surprising result, but worth keeping in mind.  However, we should point out that there are still some cases where Inversion outperforms Determined Effort.  Additionally, in those cases were Inversion results in a reduction to hit, you can always play it defensively instead - turning the negative number into a net gain for you.

When considering the "double-downgrade" swap, the symmetry of attack and defense dice once again makes our calculations easier.  If played defensively, the double-downgrade swap will result in a net loss in accuracy for your opponent equal to the net gain you would acquire in the "double-upgrade" scenario.  In other words, the chart above works for both situations. 

Factor: Weird Swaps

We mentioned above that there are some weird edge cases where Curious Inversion will only affect either the attack roll or the defense roll, but not both.  Let's look at those, and see if Inversion is any good in those situations. 

First, let's pretend our Stormdad is trying to use Fulmination (a 2-swirly attack) against an opposing shield unit - is it worth it to play Inversion in this case?  Since the only base attacks that use magic dice all roll 2 dice, we'll not bother with a 1 die attack in this case.


1Def2Def3Def
2 Swirly5%8%9%
3 Swirly4%7%9%
4 Swirly3%6%8%


These increases are definitely less than stellar, and significantly worse than what you would expect from playing Determined Effort.  As an offensive option, you probably don't want to include Inversion if you are running heavy on magic attacks.  On a final note regarding magic attacks, this chart also reverses symmetrically to represent the accuracy your opponent will lose if you play Inversion to upgrade your dodges to shields against their magic attack.

The second scenario where Inversion works in a one-sided manner is against units that are on guard or those that are effectively on guard, like Ammis and Rastus.   In this case, you'll only be playing Inversion on your sword-based attacks, in order to increase your own accuracy.  Alternately, you could play Inversion when an opponent uses a hammer-based attack against your on-guard unit.  In either case, the accuracy will change as follows:


1 G2 G3 G
1 Attack Die6%2%1%
2 Attack Dice11%6%3%
3 Attack Dice14%10%5%
4 Attack Dice15%12%8%

Well, those numbers actually aren't too bad.  They don't represent the same advantage you get from the perfect-swap, but they still make a significant difference in your chance to hit (or your chance to avoid damage, if used defensively).

Factor: Tricks

There are a few combo-like interactions that you can take advantage of using Curious Inversion.  Obviously, stacking bonuses to hit has its place in Shadespire, but you can do that just as easily with cards like Determined Effort, so we'll largely ignore all the things you could throw on top of Inversion to simply roll more dice.

Probably the most obvious combo is to use Inversion along with Cleave attacks to reduce high-dodge models (especially Snirk/Batsquig) to defending only on crits.  You could try to do the same with Seeking weapons to target high-shield models (Stormdad, Treedad, etc), but both of the currently available Seeking weapons roll hammers to hit, making Inversion less than ideal.  Conversely, you could use Inversion to mitigate the effects of Cleave/Seeking on your best models.

You can also use Curious Inversion to counteract your opponent's Gambits to some degree.  Obviously, you can play Inversion whenever your opponent buffs up a single attack to help decrease the bonuses they are gaining.  But you can also play Inversion after your opponent plays Ephemeral Form (not that anyone does that) to turn it into a bonus for most units.  Finally, you could play Inversion in the hope of increasing your chances of successfully playing Last Chance (though you'd also be dropping your unit's defense from shields to dodges; not great unless you're trying to avoid Cleave).  These edge cases probably aren't worth considering when deciding whether or not to play Inversion, but they would be extremely amusing if they happened to pan out for you. 

Summary:

Even for those warbands that heavily favor dodge-based defenses and sword-based attacks, we wouldn't call Curious Inversion an auto-include.  However, it does provide a good situational boost to attacks and has the potential to work as a defensive aid in a pinch.  Just remember that while you get to control the effect of Inversion on attacks (Stand and Shoot notwithstanding), using it defensively is quite a bit more chaotic, unless your opponent only has hammer-based attacks.  All in all, it's an interesting card that performs about on par with most standard accuracy boosts, if used correctly. 

Comments

  1. Enjoyed reading the article on top of, very explains everything in
    Detail, the article is extremely fascinating and effective. Thank you and smart luck for the approaching articles.

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