When I first started in the arena, I thought there were two kinds of stuns. The ones that hit me and just sort of go away, and the ones that make me miss two turns. I thought I was being forced to miss two turns because it’s so painful to hit that button that says “Stunned – Skip Turn” or whatever it says.
It baffled me that there were times when my dinosaur “shook off” the stun, and times when I didn’t even get to pick a new move. And not surprisingly, I see this question come up often in the Ludia forums as well.
So let’s dig into slowing and stunning and break it down for anyone new to the arena and trying to understand what’s going on.
The first thing we need to understand is how priority is determined. Everyone has a base speed value in their dinosaur statistics (See Dinodex for complete list and stats). The base speed value determines which dinosaur is faster. In the case of a tie, the following tiebreakers occur in the following order.
- If both dinosaurs have the same speed, the higher level dinosaur goes first.
- If both dinosaurs have the same speed and level, the highest rarity dino goes first.
- If both dinosaurs have the same speed, level, and rarity, whoever enters the action first goes first.
Rarity is the tricky one. There was a time (before rebalancing) that Stegodeus was a hair slower than Indominus Rex, meaning Indominus Rex always went first. When they changed the speed slightly on Stegodeus, it put the two neck and neck in speed and rarity (both being legendary dinosaurs). Which means, when they have the same level, whoever hits the action first wins. When they don’t have the same level, whoever has the higher level goes first.
Obviously in a mirror match, when you have two dinos with the same level that are identical, it always comes down to who hits the button faster. So a clever trick I use when I see a dino that I have on my squad at the same level, is I do as much damage as I can, and then send out my mirrored dino and hit a strike button as fast as possible. The opponent will see the animation of the same dino, but they won’t know the level is the same until it’s too late and I’ve already hit my killing move.
Note: Some moves are also instant, meaning they always take priority. You’ll see them noted with a >> by the move (as illustrated in the image). In the case of two instant moves, the same above criteria to determine whose priority move goes first happens.
Now that we understand priority, let’s talk slowing moves.
Slowing moves slow your opponent for a given duration. If you are slower than your opponent, using a slowing move will help you be faster. They’re useful especially when you are slower and need priority to hurt or knock out your opponent.
At the moment, there are two kinds of slowing moves. There are the slowing moves that slow you by 50% and the slowing moves that slow you by 33%. Most slowing moves, like Slowing Impact and Thagomizer, slow you by 50% (of your total speed) for 3 turns. The new Superiority Strike actually slows you by 33%. This distinction is important because if I use Superiority Strike on an opponent and they follow up with Thagomizer on me, I will be confused as to how I am not still faster, when they’ll likely get to go first. That’s because I slowed them by 33% and they slowed me by the greater 50%.
Now remember, everything is broken out by turns. Two players select a move, and the faster one gets to go first. That constitutes one turn. So when you slow your opponent, though it feels like you’re going twice in a row, what’s really happening is this –
Turn 1: Opponent strikes you. You slow opponent down.
Turn 2: You strike opponent. Opponent strikes you.
Even though you struck twice in a row, you did so in two different turns. The distinction is important later.
What makes Superiority Strike interesting is it only lasts one turn. So if you’re slower and you use SS, you’re guaranteed to go first the next turn (let’s call it turn two) but unless you use another slowing move, you’re going to lose priority and go second in turn three.
Now, back in my original example, the reason you see two different things happen when you are stunned is because sometimes you are faster than your opponent and sometimes you are slower.
In both cases, you lose one move but in one case you’ve already selected that move, and in the other you got to hit first and used up the move you selected already. So it looks like this:
When you are faster:
T1: You do damage. They stun you.
T2: You can’t select a move. They hit you.
When they are faster.
T1: They stun you. The move you selected doesn’t work.
T2: You both can use a move.
So when you are faster, you’re not going to be able to select a move if you get stunned.
In my opinion, this presents a HUGE competitive advantage. I always want to stun my opponent when they are faster, because they can’t respond to my next move and can’t use a move that anticipates what I am going to do next.
All Together Now
To me, the most interesting case of stunning/slowing is when a slowing move is going to run out and you stun your opponent. In this case, you appear to get THREE turns in a row. Let’s use the following example. Let’s say you are slower than your opponent, but have a move that can slow them down.
T1: Your opponent hits you hard. But using my above rule of thumb, you stun your opponent.
T2: Your opponent is stunned. You use Superiority Strike to gain priority.
T3: You slam your opponent with a hard-hitting move, hopefully knocking them out.
From turn one to turn three, you get three consecutive actions because you specifically slow your opponent down when they are stunned to gain priority. A string of moves like this can really decimate an opponent. Note, the same occurs if you know the Thagomizer or the Superiority Strike they used on you will run out this turn. So consider the following scenario.
T1: You have Tragodistis vs Stegodeus. You open with Rampage. Stegodeus uses Superiority Strike, slowing you for one turn.
T2: Stegodeus uses Rampage. You use Greater Stunning Strike.
T3: Stegodeus is stunned AND loses priority. You use Rampage.
T4 You get to go AGAIN because you have priority. You use Instant Invincibility to protect yourself from the incoming Rampage or Thagomizer.
In this case, by knowing how long you are slowed down for, you can figure out the best time to use a stun so that you get 3 consecutive hits.
Be aware of how slowing and stunning moves affect you and your team. There are some clever ways you can really capitalize on the system. Situations where two dinos have superiority strike for instance are interesting. The faster dino’s cleanse really doesn’t help when the slower dino uses Superiority Strike back and slows the faster dino. Knowing when you are going to likely be slowed and stunned, and when to best use a slow or stun is essential to doing well in the arena!
Now get out there and beat those dinos!