In Part 2 of the Arena Guide Series we will look at Speed Tuning. Before we get into what that means and how to do it we touch on turn order and describe how the Attack Bar (ATB) works. Developing an understanding of ATB and Speed Tuning is central to playing Summoner’s War optimally.
This one is a no brainer. The order that your units move in is critical to winning AO. Simply put, you want your Buffers and Debuffers to move before your Damage Dealers (DD).
Attack Bar Mechanics
The single most important game mechanic that any player should understand is how the Attack Bar (ATB) works. ATB determines which team moves first and the specific turn order of monsters. Often times moving first is enough to win the battle. In other cases, you purposely let the enemy team move first but are prepared for it so you still win. To understand ATB is to understand how turn order is decided in battle. First we will need to define a few terms:
- Attack Bar (ATB): The blue bar underneath your monster’s health bars.
- Though the part you see in-game goes from 0 to 100%, there is actually a hidden overfill bar going from 100% to 300% so that total ATB goes from 0-300%.
- To my knowledge it has not been proven that the cap is 300%, however for our purposes it serves as a functional estimate.
- The hidden ATB is why sometimes it looks like you should move next but an enemy monster cuts in between.
- Base Speed: This is the white SPD number in your monster stat page (red box above).
- Rune Speed: This is the green SPD number in your monster stat page (blue box above).
- Battle Speed: This is your monsters actual speed in battle, calculated as:
- Battle Speed = ((Base Speed) * (1 + Speed Lead % + Speed Totem %) + Rune Speed) * (Speed Buff)
- Example 1A: Assume we use the Seara with no Speed lead and no Speed totem.
- Then Seara will have a Battle Speed of ((100) (1 + .0 +.0) + 104) (1.0) = 204.
- Example 2A: Now assume we have Seara’s leader skill (+24% SPD), a max level Sky Tribe Totem (+15% SPD) and a Speed buff (+30% SPD).
- Then Seara will have a Battle Speed of ((100) (1 + .24 +.15) + 104) (1.3) = 315.9 or roughly 316.
- Battle Counter: A hidden counter in Summoner’s War that starts at 0 and increases by 1 until the battle ends.
- ATB Tick: Each time the Battle Counter increments, every monster’s ATB will increase by 7% of their Battle Speed.
- Example 1B: Using Example 1A, Seara’s Battle Speed of 204 translates to an ATB Tick of (204)(.07) = 14.28 or roughly 14% every Battle Counter increment.
- Example 2B: Using Example 2A, Seara’s Battle Speed of 316 translates to an ATB Tick of (316)(.07) = 22.12 or roughly 22% every Battle Counter increment.
In general, a battle will proceed as follows:
- Every monster starts with 0 ATB
- The battle counter will increment until a monster’s ATB is over 100%. If multiple monsters are over 100%, monster X with the highest ATB will get a turn.
- Monster X moves.
- Steps 2 and 3 repeat until the battle ends.
Note that in step 2 it is not the case that the monster who reaches 100% ATB first will move first. We will follow two simulated battles through each Battle Counter increment to see how ATB works in practice. The first simulation will show your teams ATB Ticks and eventual turn order assuming the enemy team does not get to move. The second simulation will show how an enemy monster can “steal a turn”, as is commonly said.
In this simulation yellow highlighting indicates that your monster gets a turn. Relevant Battle Counter (BC) ticks are explained:
- BC6: Tiana moves first because she is the only monster above 100% ATB. She buffs Winds of Change, resetting her own ATB to 0 and giving all allies, including herself, +30% ATB.
- BC7: Tiana’s ATB is at her ATB Tick plus 30% which is 46.8% and her allies ATB is their ATBs at BC6 plus their ATB Ticks plus 30%. Now there are multiple monsters over 100% ATB but Galleon has the highest ATB at 128 so he moves.
- BC8: Zaiross moves.
- BC9: Julie moves.
In this simulation green highlighting indicates that your monster gets a turn while red highlighting indicates the enemy monster gets a turn. Relevant BC ticks are explained:
- BC5: Orion moves first since he is the only monster above 100% ATB. He buffs Harmless Prank, resetting his own ATB to 0 and giving all allies, including himself, 30% ATB.
- BC6: Orion’s ATB is his ATB tick plus 30% which is 50.3% and his allies ATB is their ATB at BC5 plus their ATB Ticks plus 30%. The enemy team’s ATB at BC6 is simply their ATB at BC5 plus their ATB Ticks. Galleon has the highest ATB so he moves.
- BC7: The enemy chloe moves because she has the highest ATB.
- BC8: Seara attacks into Chloe buff.
- BC9: Taor attacks into Chloe buff.
Note that Seara passed 100% ATB before Chloe at BC6. However Chloe’s ATB Tick was large enough to pass Seara’s total ATB at BC7, thus stealing a turn.
We saw in Simulation 2 that it’s possible for the enemy team to ruin your attack strategy by cutting in between at a critical moment. Why did this happen and how can you avoid it? If your monster’s Speeds are “too far apart” from each other or if your team is “too slow” to keep up with your ATB buffer. This is the problem that Speed Tuning addresses.
To prevent Simulation 2 and other similar disasters, like Veromos moving between Galleon and your damage dealers, you want to keep the Battle Speed of your units very close to each other, this is what is meant by Speed Tuning. The three general Speed Tuning options and their pros and cons are:
- Fast Invincibility Buffer (Chloe team): You want your Chloe to have first move to protect your other units until their ATB fills. This strategy works very well for early-mid game players using single target DD.
- Pros: Has lower rune requirements than the other two options since only your Chloe needs to be fast.
- Cons: Susceptible to enemy Buff Strippers. Also makes your AO effectively 3v4 since Chloe herself contributes very little after she buffs first turn. This in turn makes this strategy weak to enemy Chloe’s or Will runes since you cannot afford to give another slot to a Buff Stripper. Additionally if you fail to kill high threat targets on turn one against a faster team you will likely lose since your slow units will not move often enough before they get picked off.
- Slower Will Shield runes: You give the enemy first turn and protect your team with Will runes on all units and at least one set of Shield runes. This strategy usually includes a buff stripper at higher Arena Grades for more reliable wins.
- Pros: Has lower SPD requirements than Option 3 and generally has higher and faster win rate than Option 1 since you do not have a dead slot with Chloe.
- Cons: Susceptible to Buff Strippers and is harder to achieve for early-mid game players since having every unit on Will runes requires a stable N10 team.
- Fast ATB Buffer: You want your ATB Booster to be first to move and you need your other units to be fast enough to ensure that the enemy defense cannot interrupt your combo.
- Pros: The most desirable option since it has the least counter play potential aside from being faster than you. There are a lot of options for ATB Boosters, many of them providing high utility in the form of buffs, defense break or stuns. When Speed Tuned correctly you will always be able to get your full combo off. Assuming your ATB Booster is faster, you should have near 100% win rate.
- Cons: Has the highest rune requirements. You need your ATB Booster to be faster than the enemies fastest unit and as your ATB Booster gets faster your Damage Dealers (DD) will also have to be fast enough to keep up while maintaining enough offensive stats to actually kill. And if you get outsped chances are you will lose
Speed Tuning without ATB Boost
When you use a strategy without an ATB Booster you are allowing the enemy team to move before you attempt your combo. This makes Speed Tuning without an ATB Booster very straight forward since you don’t have strict minimum SPD requirements for your units.
If you are using Chloe, make her fast and make your other three monsters are as close in Battle Speed as possible while maintaining turn order. If you are using a Will Shield team without an ATB Booster, make sure all four of your monsters are as close in Battle Speed as possible while maintaining turn order.
Speed Tuning with ATB Boost
This is where things get interesting. When using an ATB Booster you have to make sure the slowest unit in your team is “close enough” in SPD. So how close is close enough?
Common ATB Boosters and combinations of ATB Boosters, their ATB Boost amount and the minimum SPD requirement for the slowest member of your team are given below. Note that all SPD is based on Battle Speed and not monster stat page SPD. Also these percentages represent worst case scenarios where the enemy ATB Boost is exactly one speed under your own ATB Boost.
- Bernard, Wayne (+30% ATB, SPD Buff): Slowest monster faster than 74% of +ATB Buffer.
- Purian, Frigate (+50% ATB): Slowest monster faster than 72% of +ATB Buffer.
- Olivine, Verdehile (+40% ATB): Slowest monster faster than 77% of +ATB Buffer.
- Orion, Draco, Kabilla, Tiana, Velajuel (+30% ATB): Slowest monster faster than 83% of +ATB Buffer.
- Bastet (+25% ATB): Slowest monster faster than 86% of Bastet.
- Megan (+20% ATB): Slowest monster faster than 89% of Megan.
- Bernard and Megan (Bernard faster than Megan): Megan faster 74% of Bernard’s SPD, slowest monster faster than 64% of Bernard.
- Bernard and Bastet (Bernard faster than Bastet): Bastet faster than 74% of Bernard’s SPD, slowest monster faster than 62% of Bastet.
- Bernard and Orion (Bernard faster than Orion): Orion faster than 74% of Bernard’s SPD, slowest monster faster than 59% of Orion.
- Kabilla and Frigate: Frigate faster than 77% Kabilla SPD, slowest monster faster than 53% of Kabilla’s SPD.
In practice the enemy ATB Boost will rarely be that close to your own in SPD so you have some wiggle room to be a tad bit slower than the requirements above. As you get higher in Arena Grade the wiggle room gets tightened.
Arena Guide Series
Tighten up your Arena game by reading the other guides in this Arena series:
- Arena Guide Part 1 – Basics
- Arena Guide Part 2 – Speed Tuning
- Arena Guide Part 3 – Arena Offense Utility
- Arena Guide Part 4 – Arena Offense Teams
- Arena Guide Part 5 – The Best AO Monsters
This stuff can be pretty complex. If you have any questions or suggestions, leave a comment below and I’ll reply ASAP!