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In this post I wanted to cover a strategy concept, "focus fire". It's a concept that most gamers will already be familiar with, it's important in various different genres of games, also in splinterlands. Note that this post is mainly tagetted towards beginners who are struggling with coming up with efficient strategies.
I got the idea of this post when I was fighting a couple of battles where I realized that I would have lost if the enemy had made a simple change in their lineup just so there would be more focus.
So what do I mean with focus? It's simple, concentrate damage on one creature, or at least don't spread your damage too wide. In splinterlands, this would mean, don't create a lineup where all monsters would attack a different monster on the enemy team.
For example, assume both players have 3 creatures, all of these have 1 damage and 3 health. In team A, all monsters would attack the first creature, in team B, every monster would attack a different monster on the enemy team. Who would win? You guessed it, it's team A because they have more focus, which means that will secure the first kill, which means that the damage output of the enemy team will be lower than yours in the rounds to come.
The main idea
Okay, so you probably already knew all that, but let's talk a bit more about focussing fire specifically in splinterlands. In splinterlands we can attack different positioned creatures with the abilities that we choose to use. Well actually only Sneak, Snipe and Opportunity have effect in this matter. If you don't know exactly what these abilities do, check out splintercards, an awesome website to find information like this!
Now you might think it's pretty easy to create a team with a lot of focus, just don't use any of these abilities and all creatures will attack the first monster on the enemy team. This is true, in terms of focussing a specific creature this would be efficient. However, splinterlands isn't that simple. See, usually the first creature on the enemy team is going to be a tank, meaning a big part of it's job is to absorb damage. It will be a creature with high health/shield and maybe even some abilities that make him even harder to kill. This is why abilities like sneak, snipe and opportunity are interesting in the first place.
Now, your first creature will almost always attack the fist creature on the enemy team and in some games it's always a good idea to pick a reach creature in second position, which means that 2 creatures are already focusing the other players first creature. In this case, it can be a good idea to concentrate all the damage on that first creature, but you can also decide to focus on the last creature with your remaining monsters, for example, this would also be a valid strategy. It almost always depends a bit on the enemy player, the battle rules, etc.
However, the main thing to remember is that it's usually a bad idea to have a lineup where you have a sneak monster, a snipe monster and an opportunity monster because your damage will be very spread out. This was actually one of my biggest mistakes as a beginner. I taught more about mana efficiency and about having a lot of damage in general, but not about focusing on one/two specific enemy creatures.
Let's elaborate a bit by showing some examples. There might be multiple things wrong with some of these lineups, but for the sake of this post I will only focus on what's wrong in terms of creating focus fire.
In this example I wanted to discuss the lineup of the death splinter. As you can see there are 3 creatures attacking the first creature, 2 creatures are attacking my last creature and 1 creature is attacking the second creature (because of snipe). Needless to say, it's going to take a very long time before he will kill my first monster. Sure Yodin is overpowered in this case and he was pretty much chanceless, but trying to focus all his fire on the first creature might have been more efficient. At the very least remove the snipe creature and replace it with a sneak creature, just to limit the focus to 2 creatures instead of 3.
Let's take a look at a similar -but improved- situation. We are once again looking at the lineup of the death splinter. In this case, the player has limited his focus on the first and the second creature. This is already far more efficient. The fact that 3 creatures focus the healer means that it will go down immediately and it won't be able to heal my tank. That's the entire point of focusing your fire.
Everything is situational
At the end of the day, everything is situational and as long as you have a reason for your decisions, you can definitely go for it. For example, you might go with 1 sneak monster because you anticipate that the enemy player has a low health monster in last position. You might use 2 snipe creatures and a zalran efreet over 3 snipe creatures in a yodin lineup because life leech also goes well with the blast ability that yodin provides.
The thing is that you should consider the concept of focus fire when you think about your lineup. It's one of many factors to consider, but it's very important to be aware of this.
Focus fire might seem very obvious, but as a beginner it's very easy to simply ignore this concept.
This does not mean that this is the main priority when you select a team, but it's one of many important factors.
If you have any comments, advice, critique, feel free to share this with me. It's always good to learn/discuss splinterlands strategies!