Don't Hate on Crits!

Ian O'Brien

Hi Underworlders!

As a precursor to our upcoming Shadespire video content, we thought we'd start with some articles on Shadespire, so here is the first! Before we start tackling subjects like deckbuilding, gameplay tips, or anything else, I wanted to talk to you about something that I know has turned some players off this game: critical hits/defenses.



Crits don't kill people...

I've heard people say things like "Crits ruin the game", "Crits add too much randomness", "crits are too swingy", and so on.Let's take a look at these claims in detail.

(For the purposes of this article we're not going to factor in the effect of crits on certain rolls like Shadeglass  Sword's +1 damage, or ignoring pushbacks; we're mostly looking at the odds of certain outcomes and debunking the fact that "crits are swingy")

When you make a roll, there are a certain number of outcomes, each with a certain chance of happening based on a combination of what you and your opponent roll. Here's a table of results, using a 2-sword attacker as an example:


You can see that from the outset, a 2-sword attacker has a 44%~ chance of missing outright, and a 56%~ chance of landing a potential hit. Now let's factor in the defender's roll, using a 1-dodge character as an example:



So as you can see, a 2-sword attacker has a 44%~ chance to hit a 1-dodge defender. 

So what's the summary of all this? Well, there's nothing magic here. The point of it is: the fact that crits exist only serve to alter the odds, they do not in and of themselves cause huge swings in luck.


...Odds do

But don't take my word for it. Here's the same charts, except with the crits replaced with a sword and a dodge respectively:

That's right folks - with crits removed from the dice, the odds of a 2-sword character hitting are just under 41% - that's a whopping 3% drop. 

The takeaway here is this; the odds of success or failure of an attack are fixed, before you roll. If your opponent rolls a single critical hit and kills your guy despite you rolling a dodge, remember that there were a lot of other dice rolls that would have resulted in the same outcome. You could have rolled no dodge. You could have rolled 1 dodge and he could have rolled two swords. Though this hit was a crit, there were many other combinations of dice that would have also had an identical outcome.

Put another way, more simply: crits do not add more randomness to the game, they simply change the percentages.

So don't hate the crits, guys - they're just a modifier to the underlying maths, they're not magical!


A little post-script...

Those of you who are more mathematically inclined may be saying things like "well, if we use different combinations of dice your examples will change" and you would be right. However, the point being made here will still be the same - "rolling a crit" isn't some huge statistical anomaly, it is just one of the many results that lead to a specific outcome. What is relevant to your games of Shadespire is this; the crit mechanic shifts the maths in favour of the guy who rolls less dice when the dice numbers are similar (eg 1 dice vs 2 dice) but as the dice numbers drift apart (eg an attacker rolling 4 dice with Total Offence vs a 1-dodge defender) the crit mechanic starts to favour the higher dice pool.


We hope you enjoyed this article - please feel free to show it to anyone who bemoans the inclusion of crits in a competitive game!



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