Monday, 2 June 2014

Board manipulation - 3

Cascade 101

What is a cascade?

It's an idea that instead of clearing the orbs in one single step, you (deliberately) separate them into multiple steps.

Like this:

Is that important? Sort of.

There are two main reasons for me to build a cascade. The first one is that building a cascade can save me a few move. Sometimes the positions of orb are restricted, so instead of arranging every orb to a "nice" location, building a cascade can utilize spaces and have less unpredicted move on the board. Typical cascade would be like this:

The second is that cascade can give you more combo from skyfall - it's about probability. It's useful when you are running Kirin team missing one critical orb, or using a Anubis team but your board only have 7 set of combo.

Utilizing a cascade - orb restriction

If you are playing a multi-colored team - congratulations! You should be fucking familiar with a situation that the three orbs you need to activate your leader skill does not appear in the position you want.

Consider this case.

I want to  match this three yellow orb. The conventional way is the move the yellow up at the bottom up. In fact, I can also bring the yellow orb down without moving them. If I can clear the orbs below them, they will drop onto the floor level and match with the yellow orb on the right.

Put it in another way, I moved the floor of the two rightmost column UP by clearing the two vertical combos.

This is the movement in action:

This can be done in many occasion to save you many times to move around the orbs. Note that this only add an extra way when you consider your path - if you can join the orbs FASTER and EASIER you should try to avoid this because it is easy to mess up the cascade and is logically hard to image the board in your mind sometimes.

Building cascade improve the chance of getting skyfall combo because step clearing the board mean that it checks the board line by line whenever a combo is eliminated. If a skyfall has 1/6 (~17%) chance to give you an extra combo, checking that 4 times raise it to ~50%. Not to mention cascade can also cause another cascade!

To build a cascade, it is better to start from the bottom because that checks more orbs when the cascade starts eliminating orbs. To begin, you can start by convert a normal one step combo into two, like:

Or move your next combo so that it cuts through your built combo: (I wasn't aware of a yellow orb at the bottom when I start moving the orbs so I have to deliberately move that away just to have a cascade, that's a usual situation that have to deal with when building cascade.)


Building a cascade from bottom require a good imagination in your mind and observation of the board. I have a little trick that might help you to "imagine" how the step works. Think in this way - every time you eliminate some orbs at the bottom, the floor moves upward.

Let's say the first combo you made is the green orb. Now the "floor" moves upward, and is denoted as light orbs.

Now every orb at the floor will align after the green orbs are eliminated. We can safely place orb on the new floor because they must match and eliminated.

The floor moves upward as we placed another combo. We can continue this process to build a high step cascade.

And that is! This is the link to the above orb pattern.

While building a cascade, pay attention to extra orb the in the mountain of combos. Take a look the rightmost dark orb - that orb is not eliminated because the dark combo matched the leftmost 3 at the step of the blue orb. In most case this will break the whole cascade on top of the remained orb. Be very careful!!

The another key while building a cascade is diagonal move.

Most of the time you need diagonal move to put orbs into corners without disturbing the made combo. Like the red orb at the lower right corner in the sample above of from the dawnglare simulator. Usually I will leave the corner orb untouched and move other matching orbs (2 red orbs in this case) to build the cascade. Sometimes it is not efficient to do so - you may lose time that you can make 2 extra combo just to move the two red orbs down. That's why building cascade is not a solution for any board.

I think that's all I can think of right now. Please leave a comment for anything I missed or suggestions in building cascade/combo!

Happy cascade'ing!