BD Nuances: Freezing, Full-blocking, and Disables
Whether you’re going for Battledome avatars or just farming your daily loot, you’ve undoubtedly used one of these three mechanics. While freezing, full-blocking, and disabling all tend to have the same result (avoiding damage), they are actually three distinct mechanics, each with their own niche uses and weaknesses. One could even say these differences are…nuanced.
How it works:
Blocks 100% of icons dealt by your opponent, regardless of your pet’s defense stat.
Thick Smoke Bomb
For general-purpose use, I consider full-blocking to be the weakest of the three because it’s the only one that doesn’t always guarantee you’ll take zero damage. Full-blockers are basically just really strong shields, which means they don’t restrict your opponent’s weapons the way freezing and disables do. There are two types of weapons that can get damage through a full-blocker: drain weapons and reflectors. Drain weapons (like the Cursed Elixir) deal direct damage to your opponent’s HP. Since there are no icons to block, full-blockers (and shields in general) are completely ineffective against drains.
Reflection, on the other hand, does use icons, but in a rather complicated way that deserves a whole separate discussion. For now, all we need to know is that reflected icons are sometimes unblockable. This is a consequence of how the Battledome processes moves: each weapon and ability effect is applied one-at-a-time and each effect gets used exactly once. This prevents infinite reflection loops, but also creates situations where icons can be reflected after the opponent’s shields have been applied. In that case, there’s nothing left to block the reflected icons. It’s unlikely you’ll ever experience these unblockable icons outside of the higher echelons of 2P battling, but it is a weakness of full-blockers that is not shared by freezers and disables.
As much as reflection poses a threat to full-blockers, there is another interaction between the two that give full-blockers a very niche advantage over disables and freezers: You can use a reflector/full-blocker combo to reflect part of your opponent’s damage and then block the rest. This strategy is extremely useful against the toughest 1P opponents (like the Snowager on Mighty at 37,700 difficulty) because the reflected icons will use your opponent’s strength to deal hundreds of damage per icon as opposed to our pet’s strength cap of just 16 damage per icon. This reflector/full-blocker combo is central to the only viable strategy that won’t leave you Throwing Pillows for weeks or months to beat these 1P behemoths. (I don’t think anyone’s actually been successful with the reflector strategy yet, because it requires a lot of luck to get the perfect set-up, but the math says it’s possible.)
How it works:
When you freeze your opponent, they will be unable to use weapons or abilities on the following round.
Randomly Firing Freeze Ray
In terms of power, I consider freezing to be the middle of the three mechanics because it shores up the weaknesses of full-blockers (there’s no way for a frozen opponent to deal damage), but it’s still not quite as surefire as the disable you get from a Lens Flare. Because the benefits of the freeze only happen on the following round, you have to be careful about how and when you use your freezing weapon to make sure you’ll be in a position to take advantage of your frozen opponent.
Another unique feature of freezing is that there is no way to prevent yourself from being frozen. At best, you can only match your opponent’s freezer with your own. If both players use a freezer then they’ll both be frozen for the next round and neither player will be able to do anything.
NOTE: There is currently a bug in 2P that will sometimes allow a frozen pet to use weapons. Most 2P battlers will ask that players “respect the freeze” by deselecting their weapons and abilities and submitting an empty move when their pet is frozen.
How it works:
Your disable will completely negate all effects of your opponent’s weapons and abilities for that round.
Disabling is only found in the level 50 and level 200 Faerie Abilities, and the mechanic was only introduced after the Battledome underwent its revamp in late 2012. This is undoubtedly the strongest of the three mechanics discussed here. When you use your Lens Flare, it will be as though your opponent just didn’t submit any weapons or abilities that round. Any breakable items (like a Thick Smoke Bomb) disabled by Lens Flare will still be available the following round. However, any abilities disabled by Lens Flare will go on cooldown.
Unlike freezing, if both players use Lens Flare on the same round, only one player will be disabled. This is another consequence of the sequential order of the Battledome: the first Lens Flare to register will disable the second player’s Lens Flare (along with their weapons). Additionally, the player who moved second will have their own Lens Flare go on cooldown without taking effect, putting them at a significant disadvantage for the rest of the battle. This lack of counterplay for Lens Flare has led to general disgruntlement among the BD Chat and a lot of 2P battlers will ask for “no level 50/200 abilities” when looking for fights.
Fortunately, 1P challengers can’t impose rules on us so we can disable them at will. And because the user always moves first in 1P, our Lens Flare will always block the challenger’s Lens Flare. This makes Lens Flare a must-have ability for being able to grind out your daily loot without having to heal between fights. Unfortunately, to make up for this disadvantage, 1P opponents get to use their abilities as many times as they want. So even if you block their first Lens Flare you won’t be able to block their second. Or their third, or their fourth, or their fifth, or their sixth, or—well, you get the point.
While daily battles might only use Lens Flare, strategies for avatar opponents generally use all three mechanics, sometimes in a specific order. So it’s important to understand that freezing, full-blocking, and disables are three different mechanics and to use precise language when discussing them. For those who want to get into competitive 2P battling, these nuances become extremely important because freezers and full-blockers tend to be the deciding factors in most battles.