Sandwichdan on the forums wanted to know when he should use Shank’s character play Thousand Cuts. I am a big fan of Shank, using him more often than Gutter, but I never seem to want to do Thousand Cuts. Once again this was one of those problems I could figure out by crunching some numbers. I’ll get to Sandwichdan’s specific question by the end, but if I’m going to explore the issue I’m really going to explore it.
First lets look at Shank in much the same way as I did Ox. Assuming that the only one that can use this ability is Shank (and Shank is fast enough that this isn’t much of a stretch), lets see how much use it is for him. First of all he can trigger it in two ways: Off of a double guild ball result or for 3 influence. Let’s look at them in turn.
Double Guild Ball
To trigger the play off of a double guild ball Shank has to give up the damage from that attack to trigger it. Looking at his playbook you can see that he will always have the option to do 3 damage instead of Thousand Cuts and he tops out at 3 damage so this is a good comparison. Because Thousand Cuts does 1 point of damage Shank gives up 2 damage to cause -2 defense. Can he make up that damage loss because of the buff from Thousand Cuts? Let’s take a look:
Looking at the chart and my raw numbers (too boring to show you) we see that first: the higher the defense the more beneficial Thousand Cuts is, and second: that it nets Shank about 1 extra damage per hit on average*. So with that in mind, if Shank can make two more attacks after triggering it then it balances out, and if he can make 3 attacks after triggering it he is up a damage over not triggering it.
Paying 3 influence
Let’s start with the above conclusion: it takes at least 2 attacks from Shank to make up for the loss of damage from Thousand Cuts. If you use 3 out of the 4 influence you can put on Shank to pay for the play, then there is no way that Shank can make up for that loss in damage. But that doesn’t mean that this should never be done. There are other players on the pitch.
So what does Shank actually lose by making the play instead of attacking that the other players have to make up?
Shank would be doing an average* of 4.8 damage with a charge and an attack and an average* of 5.7 with 3 attacks. (Aside: it keeps coming up that it is better to make extra attacks than to charge if doing damage is all we are concerned with. Might be worth exploring later.) Thousand cuts does 1 damage so we are losing out on 3.8 damage (best case scenario) by making the play. That is a lot of damage to make up for. Let’s look at how much it helps the various players that are going to be fighting (note: I did not take into account any possible bonuses from Ox, except for Ox, or Princess since that just pushes the numbers higher, but doesn’t change the difference between having Thousand cuts and not having it).
There’s a lot of info on that chart, but Ox and Boar are getting (on average*) 1 extra damage per hit and Boiler is getting about 0.7 damage per hit. And that is pretty accurate despite what defense you are looking at. So it looks like if you can get 4 attacks onto the Thousand Cuts target then you can make up for the damage lost from paying 3 influence for the character play. This seems like it would be hard to do based on the games I’ve player so far.
From what the Maths have shown me today, picking Thousand Cuts off the play book, especially if it’s the first attack from Shank or you can get another model in there, is a pretty good move. It’s not hard to turn it into a damage advantage. However, paying 3 influence to put Thousand Cuts on a player is a bad investment. It takes a lot to make up for the damage Shank loses from not spending those influence on attacks instead of the character play.
*In this article, and going forward, I have calculated a weighted average based on the 6 most common defense/armor profiles and how many of models have each profile.