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Chain Theory

Chain Theory

Sep 15, 2012

Those in game could not help but notice that very often an attack between units of the same type (melee/melee , range/range) could lead to the infamous (epic) talent chain.  Though it may look like madness (and trying to map it out is madness) there is method to the chains.  I have attempted to map it but… it gets to complicated too quick to be useable so I’m going to take a different approach.  (full list of talents here)



First a little vocab-

  • Initiator– The declaration of an attack.  Some talents (as you will see) will interrupt between the declaration and actual attack.
  • Attack– A hit or a miss, yes a miss/block does count as an attack in this guide.

There are three types of actions in a chain.

1. Primary initiators

    • Normal attacks
    • Use of some attack talents (like sneak attack)
    • All movement triggered talents- Over Watch, Cheap Shot, etc.
    • All Multi-Attack Talents
  • These are actions or talents that start a chain.  (The first attack attempt)

2. Response initiators

  • All responsive attack triggered talents such as true grit and burst fire.
  • These talents are triggered after an attack has hit or missed.

3. Preemptive attacks

  • preemptive attack triggered talents (who would’ve thunk it :p)

These talents are triggered by any initiators from an enemy of the same type and allow to targeted unit to attack first.

A simple example.

  1. Unit A (a musketeer) uses a normal attack (primary)
  2. Unit B (also a musketeer) uses Quick Draw and hits (preemptive)
  3. Unit A uses true grit and misses (response)
  4. Unit B uses return fire and hits (response)
  5. Unit B uses burst fire and hits (response)
  6. Unit A’s normal attack hits (primary)

While they can get far more complicated in theory, in practice they don’t get much longer than above. Most units only have level one talents and KingsIsle has been trying to reduce the number of times a talent can be used, in order to prevent infinite loops.

  • Daisy

    Thanks for putting those in order. I tend to like my companions to be as close to the top of the chain as possible, just to make sure they are the ones that make it to the end. Do you have any exceptions of later response talents that may be more important than the pre-emptive or second chance talents?

    • Yes, some companions don’t have preemptive talents in their pool. Other than that, no. Getting the attack off first is always better but having response talents can make the chain longer. Also it seems response talents work more consistently than preemptive talents which I think is meant to offset the fact that they have more specific triggers.

  • Ruthless Luke R.

    With Kobe, first he’ll attack, then relentless, then first strike, then riposte, if he blocks. It is so cool ’cause if he crits once or twice in that chain he’ll possibly kill his opponent