Disguised Ping Cannon Meta?

Disguised Ping Cannon Meta?


Hey everybody,

I have been away to this game for quite a while so I spend the weekend looking into the new dynamics. My conclusion is: everything is a disguised ping cannon? The core strategy of high placed algos is to put the middle part on lock down and then just play out the sides, whomever achieves to do this first. Is this correct?

So I wanted to start this topic to discuss how to get these algorithms out of here. If there is no counter play, then that is quite unfortunate, because the previous iteration of the game had much more variation, where algos like aelgoo had quite some strength. Of course at the start of that game everybody was doing mazes, but that was before dynamic solutions where developed. But for now, let’s assume that there exists counter play, at least theoretically, and that we only have to identify what the counter play is.

The problem with a ping cannon is that you can predict exactly when and where the attack is going to, but that doesn’t mean you can do something about it. So, do you guys have ideas about how to counter the disguised ping cannon structure given that you know exactly what the opposing algorithm is doing. There is one rule: it cannot be “do the same thing but better”.

I was thinking about ramming scramblers into the corner, but scramblers are exceptionally weak against turrets, and in the corner they are too close for that. Encryptors do not affect scramblers much, and they travel so slow, they cannot spawn at the other edge of the field or they are too late. This effect of scramblers being strong everywhere but in the corner is exactly why I believe this meta is so domineering. Another idea is to use EMP’s, but there are not many suitable protected tiles in the corner due to their reduced range… so I am currently drawing a blank.

Any thought would be appreciated. Maybe we can have an interesting discussion where everybody learns something.


I am in no means an expert, and I haven’t really been here in a while, but I’ve seen this before and it is annoying.
Back in season two I noticed that my old algos had a nice little trick that was unintended that resisted massive ping attacks to the corners. The structure looked like this:
It works because the “sacrificial firewalls” take most of the damage and get destroyed, leaving a new path to the rest of your defense.
This structure also works with just filters too, as destructors are costly. My algos only used filters as this is just an example.
This structure stops working after 16 pings, as the damage to the corner firewalls is too much. You have to replace the corner firewalls after every attack immediately.
Also, another flaw is that lower numbers of pings that can’t destroy the sacrificial firewalls self destruct in the defense. It is possible to prevent this by using a filter but that would not affect t that much plus it would lower the maximum rushes the defense can withstand.
I’m still experimenting with this and I’m open to new ideas.


I only just started with season 3, but I think that with the overall structure of Terminal, it is always to your advantage to attack the corners, to avoid enemy territory as much as possible. Now my algo does avoid building an explicit cannon as much as possible, and is happy to attack other parts of the structure as well, but in the end, it still scores most of its big hits with a ping rush through the corners, and it is hard to see how that will change much with the current config! The filters and destructors are just too weak to withstand that much concentrated power, and even if it takes a little time to build up enough bits to launch the attack, it is almost always worthwhile.

My thought is that well-placed scramblers could make the only true defense against this, but would require near perfect timing and prediction, and could limit your own ability to fight back with an equally strong ping rush. I haven’t tried this yet myself!


@ReallyBadCoder The problem with this setup is EMPs can tear through those destructors. 4 unencrypted EMPs will destroy 3 destructors and 2 filters (plus 1/3 of another destructor). Thats 29 cores worth (not including the damage done to the final destructor). It will take 6 turns to get that many cores and at most 4 turns to get enough bits for 4 EMPs. You’ll be run out of cores and unable to re-build your defense and then your corner is wide open.


Yeah Ive been trying to fight these things as well, but with no real success. Once they are fully built, there is nothing really you can do. I guess you could try to attack the spot they open up for their attack.
So you either have to stop them from building up early in the match or you need to attack the corner once they open up to attack themselves. I can’t really think of anything else except for maybe scramblers, but those have been mentioned already.


I think the best way to stop ping cannons would be to destroy the cannon. My algos loose even sometimes against some emp line algos with an elo arount 1500.


OOOO, nice! It is good to be back and have these types of conversations again. Yeah, there might exist good methods to destroy the corner ping cannon structure. If that is done fast enough, before the structures get too big to chew through, that might really work. If that can be pulled of that does not spark a one-size beats all strategy, but giving some counter-play can give rise to a new generation of very different algorithms in the top 10. I am going to try to put some effort in making an algorithm like that. Making a competing top 10 algorithm that has counter-play instead of a “doing the same but better” algo sounds very exciting. It might even open the possibility for extremely dynamic algos, we’ll see. Good luck to everyone with finding counter play!


Well done @kkroep !
This match really shows how powerful your strat can be.
You really should have won this game.


O man, I couldn’t win with that large of an advantage :flushed:. Most algorithms in the top 20 are some kind of disguised ping cannon, which means that I have a pleasant matchup. My algo loses a lot to lower leveled algos though, as it is extremely vulnerable to a wide variety of attacks and mostly tailor made to combat disguised ping cannons :rofl:. Anyway, I am happy with this first attempt!