Thursday, July 24, 2014

Skylanders Eon's Elite Special Collector's Edition

What:  Skylanders Eon's Elite
Where: GameStop (US), EB Games
When: This Fall, Likely around the launch of Trap Team (October 5th, 2014)
How Much: Unknown at This Point



SANTA MONICA, Calif. - July 24, 2014  - Today at San Diego Comic-Con,  Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) announced plans to  bring "Eon's Elite," a new set of premium toys, to Skylanders® fans worldwide this fall. The limited edition Eon's Elite will introduce eight must-have collectible versions of fan-favorite Skylanders characters, beginning with Spyro and Chop Chop.

The heroes  in the "Eon's Elite" roster hail from the original Skylanders Spyro's Adventure® and have been carefully selected by Master Eon for displaying undaunted courage and commitment to defending all of Skylands.  Eon's Elite features a never-before-seen decoration with a distinct, metallic finish and a golden base that sets them apart from other Skylanders toys.  Each of these special edition toys will be offered in premium foil packaging and also features a display case with a 3D lenticular background. Additionally, when played in-game, Eon's Elite will be up to three times as powerful over other characters, which represents the biggest in-game boosts ever incorporated into a Skylanders toy to date. 
"Eon's Elite represents the most iconic characters from the original Skylanders game that started it all," said Josh Taub, senior vice president of product marketing at Activision Publishing. "These eight toys are not only premium quality but also honor the characters' strength, courage and commitment. We're excited to extend our fans' collections with this new line."
Eon's Elite characters will be available in limited quantities at GameStop and EB Games stores in North America, Australia and New Zealand, and select retailers in Europe this fall while supplies last.

Skylanders Eon's Elite Limited Edtion: Video Recap and Analysis

My Analysis

Let's break this down for you...

GameStop will be getting exclusive rights to "Eon's Elite" Skylanders.  These are special, limited edition Skylanders that are given four key improvements:

1. Metallic Finish Paint with Golden Bases
2. Premium Foil Packaging
3. Display Case with 3D lenticular background
4. Up to 3x more powerful than other Skylanders

Similarly, it is important to note that there will be 8 in this first round.  If you thought that must mean 1 per Element you would be correct.  Interestingly though, the 8 will ALL come from the original SSA Cast (Skylanders Spyro's Adventure for those of you new to my site).  

I was a bit surprised the Dark Edition left exclusivity at GameStop, and now this makes up for that loss...These figures should compete directly with the "Legendary" figures at Toys'R'Us.

I have an e-mail in to verify that these are sold individually, which I think would be correct.  There is a chance they could be packaged together to correlate to the quantity of Legendary figures TRU usually has, but I am inclined to believe the shared background is just to denote that Spyro and Chop Chop are the first two announced and available.  I would have to guess we will see a staggered release with the remaining 6, possibly going 2 at a time as with these launch characters.

Personally I am pretty excited about this concept, and if possible, I would like to land 1 to open/play and 1 to keep sealed, my usual strategy for the in game variant and special Skylanders.  I am most excited about simply knowing who the other 6 Elite will be.

What are your thoughts on these new "Eon's Elite?"  Who do you think they will be? Do you plan to pick them up?  Will you only buy if they are your favorite Skylanders?  Are you going to play them, display them, keep them sealed, or some combo of the three?  Will you buy one to open and one to keep sealed?  How do you feel about the 8 coming from SSA backgrounds?  What about being up to 3x as it good, or overkill?  Any Legendary fans irked by this?  Are you happy with them sticking to the original SSA poses, or would you have preferred a special pose for the Elite selections?

Leave a comment and let me know how you feel about this latest release.  Also, be sure to cast your vote in the new polls!

Skylanders Trap Team Dark Edition Starter Pack Reveal

More info and pictures coming soon!

Riptide Upgrade Paths and Attack Damage Numbers

Coming Soon!

Wash Buckler Upgrade Paths and Attack Damage Numbers

Coming Soon

Roller Brawl Upgrade Paths and Attack Damage Numbers

Coming Soon!

Grim Creeper Upgrade Paths and Attack Damage Skylanders SWAP Force

Friday, July 18, 2014

Skylanders Universe The Mask of Power: Lightning Rod Faces the CyclopsQueen

What: Skylanders Universe The Mask of Power #3: Lightning Rod Faces the Cyclops Queen
Where Did You Get It:
What Did It Cost: $5.99
Where Else Can I Find It: Bookstores like Barnes & Noble, Target, Walmart, Toys'R'Us

Skylanders Universe The Mask of Power #3: Lightning Rod Faces the Cyclops Queen

This video is mainly just to let you know that book #3 in the Mask of Power series is out!  I had been waiting for this one a long time and since I couldn't find it locally, I ordered it in online from Amazon.

With the storms around last night when I recorded this video, I wound up sitting down and reading the entire book...It didn't take long and I made no stops, lol.  I think this has been my favorite thus far, with #1 just behind it.  I don't intend to give you a recap as that would spoil the book for you.  I will tell you this...Lighting Rod is the featured Skylander, but there are pretty prominent roles for Drobot, Double Trouble, and Pop Fizz.

My favorite part is actually getting to tie the traits and personalities of the Skylanders in with what I know from the game.  I have to say, thus far, each has been on par with what I would expect.

For Flynn lovers, fear not, he also plays a key role in the book, as does Cali.

If you are a big time fan of Skylanders Giants (the video game that is), you will enjoy picking up some info on The Drow, Cyclopses, and more specifically King Pipsqueak (Cyclops) and Brock, as well of course as the Cyclops Queen.

You can probably land this for right around $5 in the right circumstances and if you prefer to shop local, I'd venture to guess any book store that doesn't have it, can get it in for you.  I just went with Amazon since there were some other things I wanted and had a few books on tap for my Nephew.  If you do go with Amazon any time soon, please make note that you can pick up the PowerA Stackable Tackle Box (in SWAP Force trim) for $11.99!!  That is a great deal and will help you hit that magical $35 threshold for FREE SUPER SAVER SHIPPING, even if it does take longer to process, lol.

If you are unfamiliar with the series I highly recommend it.  The books are around 140 pages, feature fairly large font, have regular illustrations, and are a quick read for adults and something kids will enjoy a few times over.  At the price point, they are hard to beat.

I will also tell you that #4 is Terrafin Battles the Boom Brothers and it will likely become my personal favorite, lol.  Despite it being "out" it is not listed with a release date, or available at other retailers...I think it will come later.  Again, main reason for this post and video is to simply let you know Book #3 is available now and to inform you of this pretty cool series if you were still unaware of it.

Skylanders at San Diego Comic-Con

Skylanders at San Diego Comic-Con


Fans Attending San Diego Comic-Con Invited to Participate in Costume Contest
at Official Skylanders Panel, with More Than $5,000 in Prizes

Skylanders, the video game that pioneered the Toys-to-Life™ genre, will descend upon San Diego Comic-Con for the first time in the franchise's history starting on July 24. Fans will be among the first in the world to get hands-on experience with Skylanders Trap Team™, the newest installment to the Skylanders franchise. To celebrate, Activision Publishing, Inc. will award more than $5000 in prizes to the best Skylanders costumes of the show. Fans now have a chance to bring their creativity to life by dressing up as one of their favorites, such as Spyro, Stealth Elf, Eruptor, Kaos or any of the characters from the Skylanders universe.

The costume contest will take place at the San Diego Comic-Con panel, "Skylanders: The Creative Process of Bringing Toys to Life," where members of the Skylanders team will offer insights into the development process of one of the world's most beloved and successful Toys-to-Life video game franchises. Panel speakers include comic book writer Ron Marz (Green Lantern, DC vs. Marvel), famed voice of Kaos Richard Horvitz (Invader Zim, Billy and Mandy), Activision's Senior Vice President of Consumer Marketing, John Coyne, and Toys for Bob's Director of Toy and Character Development, I-Wei Huang.

Prizing for the costume contest is as follows:
Grand Prize: $4,000, Runner Up: $1,000
2nd Runner Up: Collection of rare Skylanders toys
WHEN: Thursday, July 24, 2014
Media Call Time: 5:45 p.m.
Event Begins: 6:00 p.m.
WHERE:  San Diego Convention Center, Room 7AB
111 W. Harbor Dr. San Diego, CA 92101

* * * * * * * *
1ofWiisdom's Skylanders Fan Showcase

Here is the catch, I know not many of you live in the San Diego area, or can attend Comic-Con.  I certainly can't shell out thousands of dollars, offer up comic books, or giveaway a collection of rare figures (I seriously think I'd prefer that over the $4,000, haha), but I can help YOU showcase YOUR SKYLANDER COSTUMES!

If you have gone out on Halloween a few years, spent 2 months making a killer Slam Bam costume, recreating Stealth Elf's outfit, or decked yourself out as Kaos or Grim Creeper, I want to see it!

Depending on the quantity and quality of the pictures I will either feature them here, or compile them into a video.  It takes a lot of hard work to make the costumes and if you are stuck on the eastern sea board, or plains, or Gulf Coast and can't win over the panel at Comic-Con, you can at least send it in to me, let me crank out a video/post, and win over the folks viewing.

I don't have a set cut off date, and I'm not sure how many submissions I'll even receive...for now, I will play it by ear and take it from there.  So whether you suited your kids up for Halloween, or spent 9 months crafting the perfect, beautiful face to portray Kaos, send it my way and I'll share it with my segment of the Skylanders community!

You can submit the pics via Twitter, Faceboo, or Google + via the following links:

Twitter: #/1ofWiisdom
Facebook: #/1ofWiisdom
Google +:

I won't use any identifying info, but if it means a lot to your kids (or you), just tag it with a first name, YouTube name, or screen name etc.

For those who can attend Comic-Con, I hope you have a good time, take advantage of the chance to ask questions, and spend time with Trap will definitely enjoy it!
* * * * * * * *

Skylanders Frito-Lay Fire Bone Hot Dog Giveaway

Overview of the Frito-Lay Fire Bone Hot Dog Giveaway

Well, the video is a bit long, but it covers what I know...

I have not won yet, so I don't quite know the details regarding if you have to pay Shipping & Handling, how long the estimated wait time to receive a prize is etc...If you have won and know these details, please feel free to post up.

While I think the variations of Fire Bone Hot Dog are pretty cool, I am not a big fan of the methods of entry.  I realize they are trying to make things fun (I assume that is the goal anyway), but as someone with common sense who has collected and monitored feedback from you on these promotions the last few years, this leaves a LOT to be desired...especially with three variations of the winning figure that are shipped at random.

You can either find the chips and scan the back of the bag with the "blippar" app from your tablet, or smart phone, or call a toll free number.  Regardless of your method of entry, you have one per day.

Unlike previous contests (Quick Draw Rattle Shake, Halloween Fright Rider) this one features THREE VARIATIONS of Fire Bone Hot Dog.  I keep seeing people say they are white or crystal/glass...maybe I'm color blind, but it sure looks silver to me.  Each figure appears to share the exact same aesthetics minus the flames on the bone.  The three colors are: Red, Green, and Purple.

In my opinion, the Red is really similar to what the standard figure has, so Green and Purple are slightly more desirable.

There are 5,856 Treasure Hunt Fire Bone Hot Dogs available for the contest, which started July 7th, 2014 and runs until September 5th, 2014.  There is no information regarding how the color variations make up that total.  Doing the simple math we would have 1,952 of at least there is a possibility that they are equally allotted.  There is also a limit of 4 wins per household.

As usual, the chips (at least for me) are very hard to find.  I can find plenty of variety packs, just not many of the promotional Frito's credit, they got the bags out EARLY this year...I found my 2 bags last week at a local grocery store.  Nothing at Target, Walmart, or Toys'R'Us where I oddly enough had to go to find the Halloween Fright Rider bags.

You have Classic and Flavor Mix options, although I think you can rescan the same bag over-and-over, which if true is a nice touch.

I honestly think the best way to run these promotions is to let folks cut out UPCs and send them in..that method has only been tried and true for several decades now.  I know Frito-Lay means well, and I am glad to see any extracurricular activity/promotions for Skylanders, but I can't see this one ending well...and ultimately feel that once again it will result in more negative PR that positive, which is a shame.

One really cool thing they did this year is put Skylanders on the individual bags of chips!
The Flavor Mix Variety Pack has the following:
Cool Ranch featuring Anchors Away Gill Grunt
Chili Cheese featuring Big Bang Trigger Happy
Barbecue featuring Super Gulp Pop Fizz (although it is not his Super Gulp toy form ironically)

The Classic Mix Variety Pack has the following:
Cool Ranch featuring Anchors Away Gill Grunt
Nacho Cheese featuring Lava Barf Eruptor
Classic Lays featuring Mega Ram Spyro
^Don't hold me to these, I have yet to see this in person and could only find one, small image online.^

So, if you pick up the Variety Packs and don't manage to win a Fire Bone Hot Dog, you at least get some cool individually packed Skylander chips!  Sadly, the other 3 flavors in each just have standard packaging.

Now, since I know the drill and how the vast majority react, I will say this...

Quick Draw Rattle Shake is coming to stores any day now...Those who didn't win and then rushed out to buy him on ebay will regret every penny past $14.99 they shelled out (outside of big time variant collectors and Rattle Shake fans).  Quick Draw caused a lot of ruckus because he is an in-game variant.

As best I know, especially with these being referred to as "Treasure Hunts" I can only assume these are not in-game variants, but just your standard re-colors (ie Golds, Silvers, etc).  That is the first bit of good news.

The second bit of good news is that the rules clearly state that the Fire Bone Hot Dog figures are exclusive through 12/31/2014.  If they were one-and-done, I don't think this would be posted.  It leads me to believe, just like with Quick Draw Rattle Shake that we should, eventually see all 3 trickle out to retailers.  Whether this is a massive release, a store exclusive, or tied in with a promotion like the Sidekicks, we do not know.  There is also the chance that he might not come to retail stores.

That said, I assure you...your life will be fine without all 3, or even 1 of these Fire Bone Hot Dogs.  If I do not win and he doesn't become available, I will not pay more than $9.99 for any of the three.  If you are a collector, or big time Hot Dog fan, do what you will, but for most people, I encourage you not to pay scalper prices and feed the trolls.  The money you wind up spending for 1-3 of these will likely get you a very good chunk of Skylanders Trap Team, another video game, or just used for something fun and enjoyable...always keep that in mind.

My advice is to have fun with it...Enter the contest each day, have your friends do it, and hope for the best.  If you don't win, don't worry about it and wait it out.  If he hits retails stores, pick him up then...If not, save your money and buy new Skylanders for Trap Team.  That is my plan anyway...

To play without a bag, use this toll free number: 1-800-978-3765

Monday, July 14, 2014

Rattle Shake Upgrade Paths and Attack Damage Skylanders SWAP Force

Rattle Shake Base Upgrades

Rattle Shack Attack Damage Numbers

Rattle Shake Deputy's Duty Upgrade Path (Top)

Rattle Shake Coiled Ammunition Upgrade Path (Top)

Rattle Shake Bone Herder Upgrade Path (Bottom)

Rattle Shake Grave Springer Upgrade Path (Bottom)

Quickdraw Rattle Shake Full Upgrade Set
Coming Soon!

Rattle Shake starts out as a very well rounded character.  His top end and bottom end attacks deal near equal damage (17-26, 16-24).  The top end base upgrades introduce a very valuable tertiary attack in "Deputy Snake" and a charged attack, "Spring Loaded Snake" with interesting abilities (grabbing items) for the primary option.  The bottom end base upgrades feature additional compliments to Tail Sweep, the box stock attack, and bring an interesting touch with "On Brand" a jump attack.

However, the Upgrade Paths will really change the course for your Rattle Shake.  The top end comes down to a preference between the Primary and Tertiary attack, while the bottom end offers up pretty unique options, which much like Undead Swapper counterpart Night Shift, feature cool animations.

Deputy's Duty may seem pointless at first, after all you've already got it, right?  That, however, is far from the case.  Where "Deputy Snake" hits with 20-30 and then proceeds to spit venom that does 12-18 Damage 14 TIMES, by the time you've added "Nasty Sssurprise" and "Armed to the Fangs" those numbers have surged to 30-45 on Impact and 16-24 on the 14 Venom Hits.  That is a very substantial increase when you do the math.  The biggest asset may not be the cumulative damage, but rather the fact hit enemies are slowed down!  I find this to be very effective.  The snakes home in, but if you are unhappy, just toss another one out and take advantage of the acid splash on impact.

Coiled Ammunition is two fold.  "Snake Bite" poisons the first enemy "Spring Loaded Snake" hits and causes it to take damage (8-12 3x) over time.  "This Bites" is the follow up and has those "poisoned" enemies take extra damage from your primary attack at 24-36 instead of 20-30.  While I love the 45-68 on the first hit and the unique ability to pick up items along the way, there are two big downsides here.  First, only the first enemy is poisoned.  If the poison chain ran along every enemy that the snake ricocheted off of, it would be a different story.  Second, and tying in with that, the "first hit" poisoned enemy only takes 8-12 damage 3 times.  Yes, I know that they take more damage when I shoot them, but the +4/+6 is lacking when you consider that you will only have a few ticks of the clock to cash in..By then, the enemy has pursued you and you will have to retreat, or just use other attacks...likely not being a charged attack of any sort, which rules out the Coiled Ammunition Path.  I feel like if the snake ricocheted AND did maybe 5-8 hits of damage to give you a bigger window to cash in on things would be different.  As is, Deputy's Duty does more damage, 11 extra times, and SLOWS enemies...I have to give it the edge here.

The Bone Herder Upgrade Path introduces a "Goliath Bone Snake" that you charge up and release.  This summons a literal giant, bone snake from the ground that springs upward off the screen.  With Damage Numbers of 90-135, this is the "big hit" some people are drawn to...The next installment "Dances with Snakes" has you move around to conjur smaller snakes that follow the same mechanic.  These auxiliary bone snakes will do 60-90 Damage.  This one is a lot of fun, but I have found that in tough situations your likely only going to be able to get the "Goliath Bone Snake" to launch at your intended target.  If you aren't as concerned with accuracy, but rather fun, it can't be beat and when it does make contact it deals incredible damage.

The Grave Springer Path isn't quite as dramatic, but it is effective with cool artwork of its' own.  "Spurred Spring" let's you charge up quickly and spring into the heat of a fight.  This deals 40-60 damage, but is complimented with "Graveyard Smash" (contestant for best upgrade name ever) which spawns roughly 5 Tombstones when you land and inflicts 25-38 Damage.  Obviously, with 5 tombstones in play, this has a pretty nice area.  The scenario would be you have deployed your top end initiatives and then spring forward towards the target enemy and "Grave Springer" does auxiliary damage.  Put it together and you have, at minimum 65 Damage, with the possibility of 98 and additional damage/kills depending on what enemies lurk around your target.

Before we cover my suggestions, I have to stress that both top and bottom Soul Gems, "Raise the Snakes" and "The Snake-Skinned Kid" respectively have a red flag.  While the Critical Hit and Speed boosts are great and the animation/concept is unique and very fitting, there is an aesthetic change.  I will warn you in advance that both of these Soul Gems turn their respective half of Rattle Shake purple.  I actually don't mind the is menacing and somehow very "Undead," however, I also really liked his box-stock aesthetics.  Plus, being from Texas and dealing with Rattle Snakes, I have a hard time with the purple...Some of you will love it, some will hate it...most will just want the benefits of the Soul Gems and not really care.  However, amongst the hard core fans I know these aesthetic changes matter.  Rubble Rouser, Dune Bug, Pop Thorn, Prism Break, even Slam Bam's Yeti Cooling Factor have had a long track record of angst for select Portal Masters.  I am fortunate in that I have the extra Rattle Shake and could leave him Soul Gem-less.  If you have Quickdraw you are in a tough boat...Do you max out your prized variant, or do you let him go without Soul Gems to maintain his unique look?  It is up to you...I personally went with a combo, lol.

For rookie players I would suggest you go with Deputy's Duty and Bone Herder.  Deputy Duty is a compliment to both Snake's Venom and Tail Sweep (and all their other upgrades).  It comes in VERY HANDY.  Bone Herder will take some time to get good execution collectively, but I feel like the prospect of getting good with one Goliath Snake is more beneficial to rookie players than Grave Springer as you can still retreat.

For veteran players I would suggest Deputy's Duty and your choice of Grave Springer and Bone Herder.  Grave Springer may seem a bit more "dangerous" due to flying in towards your enemies, BUT just like rookies needing to perfect "Dances with Snakes" this isn't the easiest upgrade set to cash in on...

Personally, I think the ideal combo is Deputy's Duty and Grave Springer.  Deputy's Duty is a no brainer and super effective (as long as you remember to use it).  One of Rattle Shake's best moves, in my opinion, is simply hitting enemies with "Armed to the Fangs."  I like to do that, let the snake run it's course and then go about my business with the other attacks.  Grave Springer wins out for me because I can use "Ssstampede" to soften up a target, rush in with "Spurred Spring," get bonus damage from "Graveyard Smash" and then repeat the process to get out of harms way and set up the next attack.  This has a much higher hit rate than "Dance's with Snakes."  I do miss Goliath Bone Snake with this set, but I feel it is made up for with the success rate.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Skylanders SWAP Force Night Shift Upgrade Paths and Attack Damage

Night Shift Base Upgrades

Night Shift Attack Damage Numbers
(Click to Enlarge)

Legendary Night Shift Base Upgrades

Night Shift Proper Vampire (Top) Upgrade Path

Legendary Night Shift Champion Fighter (Top) Upgrade Path

Night Shift Warping Vortex (Bottom) Upgrade Path

Legendary Night Shift Underbat (Bottom) Upgrade Path

Night Shift is a very cool character and was my most anticipated swapper to upgrade.  There is a reason I tout he and Boom Jet's Double Pack so much.  I also have to say that I think the Teleport Ability is the best of all the Swappers, so that puts Night Shift and Hoot Loop in high regard.

That said, what about his upgrades?  Night Shift is one of those characters that really doesn't have to have anything past his base upgrades...they are that good.

Up top the Base Upgrades touch on the primary attack bumping damage output +4/+6 to 28-42.  The punches are quick and have a very nice range.  Don't Move, Just Stick!  is a charged version of the primary attack and offers up one of the best animations in the game as well as delivering a staggering 100-150 damage points, and the charge time for it is minimal.  Rounding the top end out we have Vampire's Bite which is a really vital addition in my opinion.  The one weakness to Night Shift is his low base health (likely to offset the "A Batty Coach" extra life/lives.  However, Vampire's Bite does nice damage (40-60) AND gives you +20 Health each time you use it!  That means you can rattle it off 10 times in a row and garner and 200 HP back in your direction!  This top end trio is really a force to be reckoned with and one of the best base upgrade sets in SWAP Force.

But, then there are the paths.  Proper Vampire is my personal pick.  Why?  It is just super functional.  The first installment, Infections Smile, deals the same 40-60/+20, but adds in enemies taking 10-15 damage 5x afterwards.  The follow up, Healthy Appetite, is what seals it.  Damage jumps to a staggering 60-90 and your health gained jumps 10 points from 20 to 30.  What is not to love?  Inflict major damage, gain +30 Health, and still have a quick, good ranged primary with a powerful primary charged attack!

That said, if you are a fan of hard hitting upgrades, or just need cash, go with Champion Fighter.  I must warn you that the gloves will change appearances here...Prize Fighter give you a chrome glove set that turns 115-173 damage, while Pay Day puts out more cash after each hit and an impressive 130-195.  The only downside (at least for some) is that Pay Day has, somewhat fittingly, replaced the chrome gloves with a high luster gold pair of gloves.  This makes PERFECT sense on Legendary Night Shift imo.

So, you basically have to pick between a super hard hitting path with slight cash bonuses in Champion Fighter and a very formidable path with health incentives in Proper Vampire.

But wait, there is more!  The top end Soul Gem, Gentlemanly, makes ALL ATTACKS do more damage!  You can see the damage numbers in the spreadsheet...very, very nice!  Oh, and by "all" they didn't disappoint or shortchange us this also applies to the bottom end upgrades!

Down low, Night Shift has another near perfect set of base upgrades.  Float Like a Vampire makes up for his teleport not doing any damage by jettisoning a projectile that does 25-38 Damage.  Foggy Movement grants +8 Speed (35-423) and you know how much I love speed upgrades!  A Batty Coach is where Night Shift takes things to a whole new level.  You may have thought the top end with a health incentive Proper Vampire and a cash producing Champion Fighter were hot tickets, but this BASE UPGRADE allows Night Shift to return from the dead...literally.  Let's say you lost your Night Shift in Nightmare Mode...fear not, A Batty Coach, brings him back!  The animation is epic and you literally get that second chance you always wish you had with your other Skylanders!  Oh, but lest we gets better!

If you are a fan of "A Batty Coach," you will no doubt want to take the Underbat Path.  While nothing flashy like the 195 damage on Pay Day, Underbat just does the know grant you 2 extra lives...WHAT?  Yep, "Round 2" will puff your health up a bit when you come back with "A Batty Coach," but "Luck of the Underbat" will let you return from death TWICE.  This is something we have never seen before in Skylanders, and regular viewers/readers should know how fond I am of the "unique" abilities of Skylanders.

If you think that is just overkill, or feel once is enough for your superior play style and you desire more damage output, you will want to take the Warping Vortex Path.  I'm not sure many people will ever even take this path because Underbat is so special, and useful, but some Story Mode purists with multiple Night Shifts will likely explore it at some point...

I have to say, it is also pretty good.  "Vortex of Doom" will appear when you teleport and pull enemies in towards the vortex.  The finishing act, "Close to Doom" adds damage to the vortex by way of 18-27 3x.  The greater asset might just be being able to dart around the arena/level, and use the vortex to set up enemies for your charged attack for quick deaths, or to get some health back with Proper Vampire.  You really can manipulate the field to your liking if you are well versed with this upgrade.  Oh, and don't forget that you also have the projectile to work with while teleporting and making vortexes!

Lastly, both paths are aided by the bottom end Soul Gem of "Grand Entrance."  This slows enemies down considerably after you have teleported and appear in front of them.  This may seem lame, or leave you wanting something epic like an explosion etc., but trust me, this is useful.  If you took Warping Vortex you now can further direct the enemies to your liking, and should you ever have incidentally teleported into a bad situation you have time to abort, or set up and adjust.  With Underbat, it lacks the direct interaction, but it will allow you to better utilize all your upgrades to avoid having to rely on Underbat and that should count for something...Not flash at all, but very functional.

All-in-all, Night Shift did not disappoint and is without a doubt one of m favorite Swappers!  He has great aesthetics, incredibly unique upgrades, paths, and abilities, and he offers up a play style all his own that no other Skylander comes close to offering.

My personal choices are Proper Vampire and Underbat.  Proper Vampire does great damage AND boots your health, which is vital with a character like Night Shift who has a lower base health line.  Underbat is just too unique to not suggest.  It is the ultimate offset for the low base health.  It will also be like a 3 strikes set up in PvP.  I will say, that if you don't play much PvP, or are content with one extra go and primarily play Story Mode and Challenges, you would be better off with Warping Vortex, which likely will not get much love due to how unique Underbat is.

For rookie players I would suggest Proper Vampire and Underbat.  It is the ideal combo for surviving.  If you are more inclined to like the flashy, hard hitting paths go with Champion Fighter up top and Warping Vortex down below.

The bottom line with Night Shift is that all his Upgrade Paths are great.  The only one that isn't incredibly unique is Warping Vortex and it is very functional.  Extra Health, Extra Cash, or Extra Lives...Night Shift has it all!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Skylanders SWAP Force Wind-Up Upgrade Paths with Attack Damage Numbers

Wind-Up Base Upgrades

Wind-Up Attack Damage Numbers

Yes, I am aware that "Windup Punch" should be listed first under Winder Path...

Wind-Up Toy Box Path

Wind-Up Winder Path

Wind-Up is a bit of a cult favorite.  He had a decent size fan base prior to being released, and those who were so fervent about him have maintained.  I think the recent single pack release will make him even more popular.

Wind-Up, despite being the character who should have been in the Tower of Time AP, is a Tech Element Newlander and ties in very well with the "tech" concept.

His Base Upgrades touch on the Primary and Secondary while introducing a Tertiary Attack.  This makes him fairly well rounded, but quite vulnerable when you make a habit of Winding Up...When "unwound" Wind-Up is really slow, hence the vulnerability.

If you are concerned with that, you will be inclined to take the Winder Path.  This is my path of choice just because I like the look of the Windup Punch.  The big draw to it is Power Crank that pulls in enemies and deals extra damage.  The logic of myself and many others is simply that this will allow Wind-Up to do what he does best, Windingup, AND totally compensate for the lack of speed thanks to the combo of Power Crank and Auto Wind Up, which winds you automatically when you take damage.  It works quite well and then you can continue to Power Crank, or use the charged attack Windup Punch to deal some very HIGH DAMAGE 120-180.  Again, my main draw was offsetting his weakness (being unwound) and just plain and simple I think the Punch is cool.

However, the Soul Gem, Spring-Loaded Crank,, takes away some of what should have made the Winder Path special.  It gives him +15 Speed, but also automatically winds him up while running.  So, if you took Toy Box , but liked to use your Wind Up abilities, when you start to flee any surviving enemies, you are simultaneously filling your meter to Wind Up again.  Granted, it is still faster (slightly anyway) by way of the Winder Path, but those who make it out to be the better path, or emphasize that aspect as a shortcoming of the Toy Box Path are wrong.

Granted, just comparing the two paths there is no doubt that Winder is superior to Toy Box in terms of helping you utilize the secondary attack Wind Up.

The catch is that the Soul Gem compensates for that deficiency and makes Toy Box a viable choice.

While Winder should have been a juggernaut for those who love to Wind Up, the Soul Gem coupled with Toy Box make you compare the numbers.  Since the only real stand alone upgrade to Winder is found in the Windup Punch you have it's very impressive 120-180.  But, while Toy Box doesn't deliver the big hit, it delivers a lot of smaller hits.  Just going with a 1-2 of 34 and 42 you are up to 78 and can fire it off again without charging up to jump to 156.  Perform Crash Cymbal while fully wound up and assume we get non-critical hits and you could have upward of 212 by the time the 6th hit rolls around.  Furthermore, you have access to an upgrade to the tertiary attack.  Holding that button will let you fire off 9 Toy Gun missiles that do 18-27 damage 8 times.

That said, it really comes down to how you like to play Wind-Up and what you prefer aesthetically.  If you like the old toys with cymbals or have an affinity for suction cup guns, take Toy Box.  If you prefer the comical wind up boxing gloves go with Winder.  On the gameplay side if you like the primary and an idea of a longer ranged weapons go with Toy Box.  If you prefer to use the Wind Up ability and like the massive damaged from charged one-hit attacks go with Winder.

For rookies I would hands down suggest Toy Box.  I am inclined, with the Soul Gem anyway, to think that it is the more well rounded path.  That said, I still like Winder, once again, primarily for the animations and instantaneous refilling of the meter.  It would have been nice to have the Soul Gem be an Armor Boost that would then keep the Winder Path dedicated to "Attack 2" and Toy Box for "Attack 1 and Attack 3," but oh well.

Bottom line, both paths are good.  The Soul Gem really does serve to offset some of the downside to not taking Winder and makes Toy Box just as good of a choice.  Ultimately I truly suggest you go with which attacks and aesthetics you personally like best and call it good.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Skylanders SWAP Force Countdown Upgrade Paths with Attack Damage Numbers

Countdown Base Upgrades

Countdown Attack Damage Numbers

Countdown Boom Buddies Forever Upgrade Path

Countdown Rocketeer Upgrade Path

Kickoff Countdown Rocketeer Upgrade Path
with thewalkthruking

Countdown was actually one of my most anticipated new Skylanders in SWAP Force.  I thought he looked pretty cool and he is reminiscent of California Raisins for some odd reason...Plus, I also think of Europe's "The Final Countdown,"  In fact, to get in the spirit for writing this I just fired the song up...

Anyway, I really do think Countdown is the bomb...sorry, but you have to admit it is somewhat punny.

That aside, (and yes, Europe's "Final Countdown" is really playing), Countdown did not disappoint.  His base upgrades ave very good and set you up for a touch choice in terms of paths.

Rocketter addresses his primary attack Rocket Blast and truly delivers.  You begin with Triple Threat that greatly increases the horizontal range of the attack.  Warhead Hands ups the damage even more, but the BIG payoff is from Mega Mortar that ups Controlled Burst to 80-120.  I still think Triple Threat is the most vital down the path as it really plays into a broader range.  You can use it to soften up hordes of enemies and then launch Mega Mortar at the stalwarts.

Boom Buddies Forever will no doubt appeal to many people.  It lets you have up to 4 Boom Buddies, ups the damage, and adds Lingering Sparks that do light damage as they run to enemies.

I have always and remain inclined to go with non-doubles paths...To make it simple think Boom Buddies Forever, Double Trouble's Conjuror, and Sonic Boom's Medea Griffin.  I don't know why, the "minaitures" just never appeal to me as much as the standard fare stuff.  That said, as mentioned in the video, Double Trouble and Sonic Boom's "mini" paths turned out to be pretty dang good.

Luckily, Countdown has all his bases covered.  I took regular Countdown down the Rocketeer Upgrade Path, LightCore Countdown down the Boom Buddies Forever Upgrade Path, and then I'll take Kickoff Countdown down Rocketeer.  Why, because it is my path of choice.

I fully endorse Rocketeer because I enjoy the increased horizontal range and damage numbers.  Plus, as mentioned, I'm still not a big fan of the minis...However, they make a lot of sense for Countdown and I will admit this...If the minis for Kickoff Countdown were little soccer ball bombs I would have a 2nd Kickoff Countdown just because of that...It would have been EPIC!

I think Rocketeer is good for those of you like me who just prefer it, those who like the Rocket Blast best, and players looking for something simple to improve Countdown.  Boom Buddies Forever is a solid path and will no doubt appeal to many...

My only complaint is not being able to control the bombs and the Lingering Sparks are a bit weak.  I would have loved to see Armor tired in with Rocketeer and Speed tied in with Boom Buddies Forever.

I was also sad that both paths were entirely one trick ponies. Rocketeer only addressed the Primary Attack and Boom Buddies Forever only addressed the Tertiary Attack.  What is my favorite attack you ask?  Bomb Head/Hefty Concussion of course!  It would have been cool to see it expanded upon, but I suppose the Soul Gem is a nice nod...and a ridiculously powerful one at that!  It is a true screen-cleaner, but be warned that you have 6 seconds of down time afterwards (and Countdown looses some memory).  Just time it accordingly and you should have no issues!

All-in-all a great addition to the Tech Element and someone I hope to see carry the torch for future games!  Both paths are solid, it just comes down to what you want to expand: Rocket Blast, or Explosive Friendship.

Currently Playing

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