Friday, February 27, 2015

Skylanders Trap Team: Blades Upgrade Paths and Attack Damage Numbers

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Blades was one of my most anticipated new Skylanders.  He has great aesthetics and unique moves that are almost a new interpretation on a cross between Warnado and Flashwing.  I will say this though, and I think 99% of fans will agree with me…There is one big disappointment with Blades.  What is it you ask?  Simple, he doesn’t fly!  When I looked forward to Blades (an Air Element Dragon) the last thing on my mind was that he wouldn’t fly.  I just assumed he would and wondered what kind of cool attacks would get tied in with that.  His attacks are good, I just still have trouble getting past the fact he doesn’t fly.  My solution would be to tie flight in with the Cyclone Swirl…Press “ATK 3” to fly, then tap “ATK 1” for a flying wing slice and “ATK 2” for the Cyclone Swirl (both executed while flying).  I mean, think how cool it would be to be in flight and spawn the Cyclone Swirl?  Anyway, it is what it is, and despite the lack of flight, Blades is still a pretty cool character.

Blades Base Upgrades

His Base Upgrades begin with Cyclone Swirl that gives instant access to his tertiary attack.  Next up, we address his Primary Attack (Wing Slice) and get “Sharpened Wings” that bump up the damage  “Shard Harder” (who named that one, lol?), provides a logical quantitative and distance based upgrade to the Blade Shards.  “Wind at Your Back” upgrades the Tertiary Attack by having it follow you and dealing extra damage.  I am not sure about this one…I almost think I would prefer the cyclone to remain stationary allowing me to use it as a defensive stalemate while I can reposition for a better attack angle, to prolong my life, or to simply retreat.  It is nice that if follows you, but there are times I see it being more advantageous to my playstyle if it was in fact stationary.  In all honesty, I’d ditch this upgrade and let this be the “Dragon Flight” where Blades can fly with increased Speed and Armor.  However, since that isn’t the case, I would prefer a Speed, or Armor Boost opposed to being followed.  Actually, thinking about it further, I would vastly prefer the Cyclone to seek out the nearest enemies as opposed to follow me!  Some will disagree, but I truly believe my play style would benefit from either A-Stationary Cyclones, or B-An enemy seeking Cyclone.

Wind Wielder (Cyclone Swirl Upgrades)
via Legendary Blades

Wind Wilder didn’t really appeal to me as much as Shard Shooter.  However, since Blades has a Legendary version, it falls into place to pursue!  “Follow Like the Wind” is somewhat forgettable in that you basically just have the Cyclone follow closer…Turns are still an issue, but it tails you much better for those that prefer this type of Cyclone.  The more practical thing here is that it also spins the shards faster…This basically means where things use to be a leisurely “Hit….Hit…Hit…” they now “Hit-Hit-Hit!”  There are pros and cons to this, but for most players this is a definitive advantage.  The path ends with “Shielding Swirl” that makes the Cyclone’s diameter greater AND can deflect enemy projectiles.  I can’t showcase that at the Academy, but it will no doubt “sometimes” be quite the asset!  Nestled in the midst of these 2 upgrades is “Crushing Cyclones” (I honestly pictured twin, fist shaped Cyclones (think Lightning Rod eqsue)).  What this does is really amplify the damage from your other attacks!  The one catch is that you must have that said enemy INSIDE the cyclone.  On the edge, or outside and you deal standard damage.  This really makes the path worth pursuing, even for those not impressed by a closer following, larger Cyclone that sometimes deflects projectiles!

Shard Shooter (Blade Shard Upgrades)
via Blades

I will be honest, if I had only 1 Blades, this is the path I would take.  The Cyclone is cool, but with a character like Blade I just prefer the straight forward approach.  “Slice Shards” gives the primary “Wing Slice” a chance to shoot a Blade Shard.  This is nice bonus damage, but really picks up later.  “Cutting Edge” has Shards do increased damage.  “Shard Shrapnel” is one of those seems lame, looks lame upgrades that is usually only appreciated once a player has seen it in the heat of battle.  It is a small bit of damage, but runs roughly 4x and that of course makes it significant.  My only complaint with this path is that I would really have liked for “Slice Shards” to stay its course, but also slightly up the damage from the primary attack Wing Slice.

Blades Attack Damage Numbers
(Click to Enlarge)


Overall, I still struggle to accept that Blades can’t fly, but the fact that is unique and has great aesthetic appeal helps to soften the blow.  He takes tried and true attacks from other characters, but makes them fully his own.  For those who prefer a simple “go in and hit” tactic, you will want to take Shard Shooter.  The residual damage with the Shrapnel is quite nice and will be much appreciated.  Players liking a more complex, or defensive approach will like Wind Wielder.  Obviously, you can make this more simple and take Wind Wielder for the Cyclone, or Shard Shooter for the Shards.  Crushing Cyclones may deal the most impressive damage, but keep in mind you have to stay put for those tough, close quarters enemies.  The plus side is that you can possibly deflect ranged attacks while dealing with the attacking minions.  Shard Shooter lets you more freely roam as you don’t have to rely so much on the Cyclones.  I like my freedom, I’ll give the “edge” to Shard Shooter for now!  Blades is someone, much like Warnado (who I am still waiting to receive a proper S2 figure) who could really become a beast with a good Wow Pow Attack!

Currently Playing

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