Stack&rush for the win!

Stack&rush for the win!


Is it just vs me… or all top algos just mainly stack&rush with 15-25 bits … :frowning:

It is not fun to play vs 7*EMPs


Yes it is unfortunately the current meta. We will have to think of some counter strategy to get those stack&rush side cannon things off the leaderboard. :woman_shrugging:


So the way I see most of Terminal strategy recently is that the most interesting areas for ideas are more about defense! The only reason this style of high-power attack can work is if the algo can defend itself for long enough to build up that much power. The answer to beat them then is to make early attacks that can undermine whatever defensive structure they have. Alternatively, it is to find better ways to defend against their attacks.

@Demorf, what do you think of my current new line of EMP attacking algos? Although they might get up to 7 EMP’s sometimes, they generally aren’t doing too hot if they can’t find a better way to attack earlier on. And on the same line of reasoning, my attacks are generally foiled by playing an extra filter that I didn’t expect, or by getting stopped by an opponent EMP or scrambler, since it generally takes only a small disturbance for an EMP attack to be completely ruined. And since I am only doing EMP attacks, I very much rely on having a rock-solid defense to ever be able to attack!


To be frank, I am a bit disappointed, that’s why i made this post.
I stared playing actively 2 weeks a go, and so far I was mostly focusing as you mentioned,
to make the perfect defence, and just hold of on minor attacks. And that got me up the leaderboard step by step.
Then when I got the chance to face the top 5 algoes there were no “smart attacks” any more …
just stack for 15-30 bits … and send the out the door.
May be it is just my perspective, as I hopefully mitigated most of the other possible attacks.
But I don’t see the logic in 7 EMPs… that you have no control over, but obviously works.


The way the game is designed right now, there is no such thing as a “perfect” defense, i.e. one that is capable of stopping any attack. This is a good thing, as it makes for shorter, more exciting games rather than a war of attrition. What you have to try to build instead is an effective defense, one that will stop or mitigate small attacks, sometimes defeat larger attacks, and not be too expensive to rebuild when it gets destroyed. There are a bunch of fun tactics to build such a defense: closed defenses to force ping stacks to self destruct, pathing such that emp stacks can only destroy a small part of your defense and then are forced to damage your health rather than your pieces, and continuously changing your defense in order to prevent your opponent from knowing what to expect.

These large attacks are a risky strategy for the attacker. If the attack doesn’t go through, that’s a lot of bits/turns wasted. Even if the attack goes through, it may not be worth it if the attack consists of emps and they don’t deal much damage to the defender’s structures.

As far as offensive strategy goes, I kind of agree that the meta is now pretty well figured out. Large, precisely calculated ping stacks/two-stage ping stacks are the bread and butter attack of my algo. But, I would still say that these are “smart” attacks because they are usually the smallest attack that will be effective.

Overall I think right now the meta is in a reasonably good place which promotes exciting high risk/reward attacks. This meta also gives an advantage to algos which try to predict and react to their opponent rather than executing a fixed strategy, which is a good thing too since building more flexible algorithms is a hard thing to do.


Sorry to hear that you’re a bit disappointed, @Demorf.

The rule change this season gave us all a way to buff defenses, so it makes sense that the average attack is stacking larger number of units.

Past seasons all had some veterans with pretty mature simulators who haven’t been active so far this season. I’d be curious to know what amount of simulation is being done across the top 10 algos.

In a lot of ways, this reminds me more of Season 1, where you could achieve reasonable success with a “static” algo strategy.


I agree with @n-sanders it does remind me of season 1. In season 1 there were a lot of static mazes way up on the leaderboard, those now seem to have been replaced by those side EMP strategies.
I do however see some creative new innovations this season.
I am very impressed by your algo @n-sanders, being very dynamic.
I also focused on making my algo more dynamic allowing for games like these:
And I also like @acshikh’s new idea of placing EMPs, clearing the way for a bunch of scramblers to score.
I think there is a lot of potential, especially when people like @paprikadobi return. I would love to see zero in action again.


If it makes you feel any better, the existence of upgrades makes 7 emps much less unstoppable than they were last season.

Edit: example:
This is one to watch if you like massive bit attacks. To be fair to IWannaWin, his newer version wins.


Talking about making more interesting algos, for the last couple of days I have been trying to recreate zero, the winning algo of season 3, as I always found it very interesting.
This is what I came up with so far, which is nothing really close to zero or anything but still interesting so I guess I wanted to share it.
Here are some interesting replays of that algo: