Black Death Sword and Sprinkle Placement Guide
Hello and welcome to the Black Death Sword and Sprinkle Placement Guide. Black Death has always been famous for its swordfighting talent and today we are willing to share some of the knowledge we have learned about the mechanics of swordfighting that have been kept secret for quite some time. In this guide we will cover why swords and sprinkles land where they do. Using this knowledge you will be able to accurately predict either where your attack will hit your opponent, or where your opponent may attack you next. However, some of the information provided here may be a bit hard to understand at first and it is our belief that you will probably need to be a decent swordfighter to be able to fully take advantage of this knowledge. That being said, this guide is not only directed towards the advanced swordfighters in the community, as now that you will be able to understand why swords or sprinkles land where they do you may also be able to use that to help increase your skill.
How Vertical Swords Are Created
First we'll explain how vertical swords are created. When you build a gem that is taller than it is wide, it creates a vertical sword. Also, if you break a gem that is equal in both height and width it will send a vertical sword. All vertical sword's lengths are greater than their width. This is why there are no square vertical swords that hit your opponent. 2x2 gems singled become 1x4 swords and 3x3 gems singled become 2x4 swords. The maximum width a sword can be is 3 blocks wide. If a gem is built wider than 3 spaces, you subtract 1 block from it's width and add it to it's length. Eg. A 4x5 block becomes a 3x6 sword. When you combo a gem you multiply the swords length by the size of the combo. Doubling a 2x3 gem creates a 2x6 sword. Back to the first example of if you double a 4x5 gem, first the gem becomes a 3x6 gem and then doubled become a 3x12 sword.
If you break a gem that is wider than it is tall it creates a horizontal sword. Horizontal swords are explained in the horizontal placement section found further below. However, there are special cases where a horizontal sword will turn into a vertical sword. If at least half of a horizontal sword cannot enter into the opponent's screen, then the horizontal sword will turn into a vertical sword of the same length. This will be described in greater detail in the appropriate horizontal section.
The Underlying Mechanisms
There are two basic mechanisms underlying sword placement. Two underlying queues for all swords dropped on the screen. Both queues are shared between opponents. Both in 1vs1 and multiplayer brawls. This means that not only do your opponents get the same pieces as you, their swords also count as a turn in the sword pattern explained below.
First: Each sword follows a successive order across the screen, starting in column 2.
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 1
Second: Swords alternate right handed, and left handed.
R, L, R, L, R, L
Right handed meaning if they're horizontal they come in from the right side of the screen. Or if they're vertical, when they're blocked by either another sword or a 'gem', they move right of the obstacle until it finds a place it can land. Left handed meaning the opposite. Namely that a left handed horizontal will come in from the left, and vertical it will move left through the pattern to avoid obstacles (avoiding obstacles will be described in greater detail below).
Vertical Sword Placement Rules
Not only is vertical sword placement based on those two underlying mechanisms, it also follows 6 main rules explained below that help guide when and where a sword can land in certain situations.
1. How Swords Avoid Obstacles
As hinted earlier, swords may sometimes be unable to land in the desired column because an obstacle is present. Obstacles may include other swords, gems on the opponent's screen, or the 4th column which swords attempt to avoid. The solution is that a sword will try to move to the left or to the right to find another column that it can successfully land in.
The concept is easy to understand. If the sword is a 'right-handed' sword, it will first attempt to move right one column and check if it can land there. If it can't land there, then it will move one more column to the right and repeat the process. If it is a 'left-handed' sword then it will begin checking to the left to find an available column to drop in. If a 'right-handed' sword checks every column to the right and is still unable to find a column to drop in, then it will begin checking to the left. The same goes for 'left-handed' swords but with reversed directions.
2. Swords Falling on Top of Each Other
Vertical swords can never fall on top of another vertical sword. If a sword is going to fall on top of another sword, it will move over across the screen either left or right depending on whether it's a right or left handed sword. After it finds a place to land, the next swords will fall just as they would if the other sword didn't have to be moved, except now maybe they too will be landing on top of a sword and may also have to be moved.
3. Swords Forced to Land In a Column
Vertical swords cannot land in column 4 unless there is no other open spaces the sword can drop in, and the sword can fit into the space where part of it or all of it lands in column 4. (eg. A 2xN in column 1/2 and a 2xN in column 5/6 with one more 2xN still having to land. The last 2xN can only fit in column 3/4, so that's where it drops. 3xN's can be forced to land in column 4 if another sword sent at the same time lands completely in column 1,2, and/or 3. No matter what, part of the sword would have to land in column 4.
4. Solid Blocks at the Very Top of the Screen
If there is any solid block at the very top of the screen (top of gem in row 13) where the sword should land, and the sword is completely blocked from entering the screen at all, it will move left or right to avoid the obstacle based on whether it's a right or left handed sword.
5. Solid Blocks Stopping Full Sword From Landing
Individual swords also try to maximize the damage they deal. If there is a gem on the opponent's screen where the sword intends to land that prevents the entire sword from falling, it will begin looking for a column where the whole sword can enter the screen. If the sword finds that it cannot land anywhere on the screen completely, it searches through the pattern until it finds the place where the largest amount of the sword can fit on the screen. However, the sword will not land with any part of it in column 4 unless it has no other possible place to go. (See rule 3 for this case)
The example I will use is having a 2x2 built on the very bottom of the defending screen in columns 3 and 4. The attacker then sends a sword 12 rows tall that is intended to land in column 2/3. Should the sword land in column 2/3 it would fall partially on the 2x2 and be stopped 2 rows up allowing only only 11 rows of the full 12 to enter the screen. In order to maximize your attack, the sword is then forced to move left or right until it can completely land on the defending screen. In this case, if it were the first sword of the game, the vertical sword would move through the pattern to an empty column 5/6 where it can fit fully on the screen and drop there.
6. Wasted Swords
There are a number of situations in the swordfighting puzzle where 'wastage' will occur. Wastage can happen two ways. The first way is partial wastage. This occurs any time a vertical or horizontal sword cannot entirely enter the opponent's screen. Any part of the sword that cannot fit onto the screen will simply disappear and be 'wasted'. The second way is full wastage. This occurs when a sword has absolutely no where to land, as defined by the previous given sword rules. Because the sword is unable to enter the opponent's screen in any row or column, it will also just disappear and be 'wasted'. It will not hit the opponent at a later turn when it would be possible for it to enter the screen.
The Sword Drop Patterns
There is an individual drop pattern for each size of vertical sword. These patterns vary in length depending on the width of the sword. It is important to remember that sending any sword will advance the index one spot forward for all of the patterns.
Below you will see two drop sequences for each size of sword. The first sequence is the theoretical order which is where the sword would land if it wasn't bound by any of the other 5 vertical placement laws described above. However, when the sword falls it is bound to adhere the vertical placement laws. Specifically this means that the swords must avoid falling in column 4. The second sequence you will see is what the actual result will be when the sword avoids column 4.
An asterisk (*) will be used to signify when a sword moved out of order to avoid column 4.
1x4s will drop in the following order
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 1 (theoretical order)
2, 3, 5*, 5, 6, 1, repeated... (actual result avoiding column 4)
- The third sword will always be a right handed sword, so it will always avoid column 4 by moving to the right into column 5.
2xNs will drop in the following order
2/3 3/4 4/5 5/6 1/2 2/3 3/4 4/5 5/6 1/2 (theoretical order)
2/3 2/3* 5/6* 5/6 1/2 2/3 5/6* 2/3* 5/6 1/2, repeated... (actual result avoiding column 4)
- The second sword is a left handed sword, so it avoids dropping 3/4 by moving to the left to 2/3. The third sword is a right handed sword, and avoids dropping 4/5 by moving to the right to 5/6. Sword seven is a right handed sword, and avoids dropping 3/4 by moving to the right to 5/6. Sword eight is a left handed sword, and avoids dropping in 4/5 by moving to the left to 2/3.
3xNs will drop in the following order
2/3/4 3/4/5 4/5/6 1/2/3 (theoretical order)
1/2/3* 1/2/3* 1/2/3* 1/2/3, repeated... (actual result avoiding column 4)
I realize that a single 3xN can only drop in 1/2/3 to avoid column 4, but bear with me as I explain what is happening behind the scenes.
- Sword one is a right handed sword but it cannot land anywhere to the right without dropping in column 4, so it then keeps moving left until it lands in 1/2/3. Sword two is a left handed sword and moves left through the order to 1/2/3. Sword three is a right handed sword but again cannot land to the right without dropping in column 4, so it too then keeps going left until it lands in 1/2/3.
Combos do not affect the order of swords in the queue.
As each successive sword in the combo breaks, it is inserted into the next spot of both the column placement queue, and the handedness queue.
That is to say, for example; In a triple, any sword generated by the first breaker broken will be inserted first into the queue, followed by any sword generated by the second breaker, followed by any sword generated by the third breaker.
How Horizontal Swords Are Created
First we'll explain how horizontal swords are created. If the attacking player builds a gem on their screen that is wider than it is tall, it creates a horizontal sword. Because horizontal swords enter from the side we define it's length by how far it enters into the screen and it's width as how many rows it hits. Horizontal swords are a minimum of 2 blocks wide a maximum of 3 blocks wide. If a horizontal gem is more than 3 rows tall, you subtract 1 block from the horizontal width and add 1 block to it's length. Eg. A 6x4 gem becomes a 7x3 horizontal.
Just like vertical swords, you multiply a horizontal sword's length by the size of a combo. A 3x2 gem doubled becomes a 6x2 horizontal sword. If we go back to the first example and double the 6x4 gem, first the gem becomes a 7x3 and then doubled becomes a 14x3. As you know the swordfighting board is only 6 blocks wide, therefore the maximum length a horizontal sword can enter into the screen is 6 spaces regardless of it's actual length. However, horizontal swords are affected by one notable rule. As rule 3 of the horizontal placement laws describes below, if at least half of a horizontal sword cannot enter the screen it will become a vertical sword. This means that any horizontal sword that reaches a length of 12 blocks will automatically turn into a vertical sword because the screen is only 6 blocks wide. It is important to note that while horizontal swords can turn into vertical ones, vertical swords will never change into horizontal swords for any reason.
Horizontal Placement Rules
Just as vertical swords are subject to 6 main vertical sword placement laws, there are 3 horizontal placement laws that will affect where a horizontal will enter the opponent's screen.
1. No Gems on Opponent's Screen
If there are no 'gems' (2x2's, 2x3's, ...etc.. solid blocks) on your opponent's screen, it is based on how high the highest block on the defending person's screen is, the turn right before the horizontal enters the screen. The top of the horizontal will enter 2 rows below the highest piece on the defending screen.
2. Gems on Opponent's Screen
However, if there is a 'gem' (solid block) on the defending screen, the horizontal changes so that the top of the horizontal lands 3 rows below the bottom of the very lowest gem.
3. Horizontals Turned Vertical
As mentioned above, there are some situations where horizontal swords will actually turn into vertical swords. This will happen when at least half of the horizontal sword cannot enter the screen unimpeded. This is why all horizontal swords that reach a length of 12 will automatically turn into vertical swords because they can only enter the screen a maximum of 6 spaces in from the sides. Gems on the opponent's screen can also affect this. For example, if column's 5 and 6 on the opponent's board were entirely filled with a solid gem, any horizontal sword of at least 8 blocks long would turn vertical because at maximum it could only enter 4 spaces into the screen (meaning at least half of the horizontal sword would not be able to enter the screen).
In other odd cases a horizontal sword may be unable to enter the opponent's screen from either sides of their board. An example of this would be having 2 gems screen-high on both sides of the opponent board. As you know, horizontals cannot go through gems therefore the sword cannot possibly enter the screen horizontally. If this happens, the horizontal sword turns vertical. It should also be noted that in absolutely no cases can a horizontal sword enter in row 13. If the only possible place a sword could enter the screen is partially in column 13 then the sword will be forced vertical.
Horizontal Entrance Tables
I wrote these up for everyone so they can easily see the pattern that horizontals follow. Note for the patterns including 'gems', the horizontal may be forced to move up or down depending on whether or not something is in the way, for example... a 2x2 in row 1/2 on the far right would just make the horizontal switch sides, however 2 2x2's on both sides will force the horizontal to move up.
|Height1||Rows (No gems)||Rows (With gems)|
|2 wide||3 wide||2 wide||3 wide|
1 A height of X refers to row X, or X blocks up from the bottom. If there are no gems, the height is the row number of the highest block on the defending player's screen. If there are gems, the height is the row number of the bottom of the lowest gem on the defending player's screen. Once again, the game checks this the turn before the horizontal enters the screen.
2 It is impossible to have the bottom of the gem in row 13, hence the N/A.
Which Side the Horizontal Enters From
Horizontals enter from the side of the screen based on whether it's a right or left handed sword. If it's right handed it enters from the right side, and if it's left handed it enters from the left. If a horizontal is the very first sword of the game sent, it will enter on the right.
Therefore, if the number of swords you have sent is even, horizontals should enter from the right, and if it's odd they should enter from the left. This is unless there is a 'gem' or another horizontal or vertical sword in the way. In this case it switches sides and checks if it can enter at the same height from the opposite direction. This will not change the back and forth pattern though, so if it has to switch sides from hitting the right side to hitting the left side, the next horizontal will still hit the left side again as it would if the first horizontal had been allowed to enter on the right. If there is a 'gem(s)' stopping it from entering at that height on both sides, it checks back and forth ( right - left ... in order based on which side it was originally supposed to enter), then drops down another level and again checks both sides. If it cannot enter the screen any lower, it goes higher then it was originally supposed to hit in the same manner checking back and forth, but going up 1 row each time instead of going down. You can block a horizontal from entering at all or fully entering by completing a 'gem' in it's path on the turn where you see the horizontal flashing at the side.
Two Horizontals Entering From the Same Side
If you manage to send two horizontals that should enter from the same side, and the first horizontal lands high enough up that the second horizontal can enter below it, then the second horizontal acts like the first horizontal is a gem. If in fact that 'new gem' is the lowest gem on the screen, it will land 3 rows beneath it just as it would if there really was a gem there.
Horizontals Count as a Turn in the Pattern
As stated above, horizontals also count as one of the turns in the vertical sword pattern. So if you send a horizontal very first it would make the first 1x4 sent over, the second sword sent, go into column 3, the second number in the pattern. Also, looking back on an old forum thread I saw that someone had posted that horizontals always land before vertical swords, so I thought I should clear this up. This is untrue, horizontal swords do not always land before vertical swords. All swords enter the screen in the same order that they are broken in on the attacking side. This includes horizontal and vertical swords, this is why sometimes a vertical sword will enter first and the horizontal will crash into its side, and sometime the horizontal will hit first and the vertical will fall on top of it.
It is impossible to instakill using only a horizontal sword. This means a horizontal will never hit so high up that the top of the horizontal is in row 13. It is possible for it to land in row 12 and below, but in order for part of a horizontal to hit in either row 11 or 12 it would have to have been forced to move up.
This will explain the method of calculating the number of sprinkles sent in an attack and also their placement on the opponent's screen.
The number of sprinkles sent over to the opponent's screen is calculated by a specific formula. If the attack is a combo, then the formula is applied to each individual step in the combo and the results are summed up. The formula is the number of blocks in that group (each breaker also counts as one block) divided by 2 and then floored, then multiplied by the combo size.
The example I will use will be to single 3 blocks, double 4 blocks, and triple 5 blocks. When the attack is separated into each individual combo-step then you'll have a group of 3(Single), 4(Double), and 5(Triple). Now you must divide the number of blocks in each group by two. The 3 is now 1.5, the 4 becomes 2, and the 5 is 2.5. You then floor each of the results. This simply means that for any group that has half a block, just remove the .5. The 1.5 is now 1, 2 will stay 2, and 2.5 becomes 2. For the final step, just multiply each group by it's respective combo size and add the numbers together to get the total amount of sprinkles sent. 1 singled is 1, 2 doubled is 4, and 2 tripled is 6. 1 + 4 + 6 = 11. Therefore, this particular attack would send 11 sprinkles.
The side in which sprinkle attacks start on also goes back and forth (right, left, right, left, right, left... etc) The first sprinkle of the game always lands on the right. Note that also like swords, both opponent's drops count towards the side the sprinkle will fall on. (eg. You send a sprinkle and it will fall on the right, opponent sends a sprinkle it will land on your left, then you send another sprinkle it will land on the right again.) The difference between the back and forth mechanism between swords and sprinkles is that each sword sent is assigned either left or right handed switching back and forth. However, not each sprinkle sent is assigned to fall on the left or the right, but instead the entire attack (All of the sprinkles sent over in the same turn) is assigned to be either a left side or right side attack.
If the sprinkle is supposed to start on the right side, it drops a block, moves to the left and drops, moves to the left and drops and so on. If it starts from the left side, it does the exact same except it drops then moves to the right.
Sprinkles attempt to fall evenly across the board. If a column is already entirely filled to the top, the sprinkles will still act as if they landed in that column. They will not move to another open column to maximize the number of sprinkles that actually land on the opponent's screen.
Finally, sprinkles cannot land any higher in column 4 than 10 rows up. This makes it impossible to actually instakill someone with sprinkles. If column 4 on the opponent's screen is already filled 10 rows high, the sprinkles will act the same as they would if it was a different column that was entirely filled to the top. This means they too will not move to land in another open column, they will just be wasted.
This concludes the Black Death Sword and Sprinkle Placement Guide. You now know every bit of information used to define the placement of a sword or sprinkle. You are encouraged to test these rules out for yourself and to continue expanding the knowledge bank of the swordfighting community. All of the information presented here is 100% true to the best of our knowledge, but we're all human too.
The majority of credit goes to the members of the Black Death crew on the Midnight Ocean who tested and discovered these rules. We would also like to extend a thank you to Poochy for putting the horizontal entrance table into an easy to understand and visually pleasing table. The rest of the credit goes to the members of the swordfighting community. Those from the past, who instructed us and inspired our love for swordfighting. Those from the present for whom this guide is written. And for those from the future, who will keep the passion alive when we are gone.
Thank you for taking the time to read this extensive guide. We know at times it can be confusing or overwhelming, but we hope that you were able to gain valuable knowledge from it.