Gem Matching Strategy (the difference between good players and OK ones)

I know it’s not sexy topic, but I feel like it’s one of the most important aspects of the game when it comes to top level play (think Guild Wars).

If you’ve ever wondered why someone plays the same team as you but gets better results, the answer is almost always “gem matching strategy”.

While this video doesn’t cover every single thing you should be considering, it should give you a really solid foundation to build upon.

Hope you guys find it helpful, and let me know what other tactics you think I missed!


Last minute of the video, I would never recommend relying on entangle for protecting you from Doomskulls. Its not worth it.

Even when entangled, Doomskulls will still do +5 damage per ds, generate mana from the ds exploding, invite potential cascade drops that can generate even more mana, and can still trigger on skull match effects (where as normal skulls would be nullified from entangle).

In the video, you got lucky that dodge prevented that damage. TINA would have applied her 3rd trait of 50% of her armor to skull damage + 10 doomskull damage if it actually hit.

There’s a good reason why entangle just isn’t a defense for Brown day in Guild Wars.


My reply below is not with a proper understanding of how TINA’s bonus damage specifically applies when entangled. While the point I’m making in the video is still very much a good tip for everyone, the specific scenario I was demoing it with was actually awful.

I’ll leave up my incorrect reply to take my public lashings :laughing:

You’re right and you’re wrong.

Yes, doomskulls of course apply their bonus damage through entangle (I’ve killed many a troop with a dozen doomskulls while entangled).

But no, leaving that Tina completely free to hit me with skulls and praying one doesn’t fall into place for them (even with careful gem matching, you don’t know what’s falling from the sky) isn’t the right call.

My hero had no alignment, there were no 4/5 matches with gems or abilities, and TPK wasn’t full mana so I couldn’t even try a transform to save me.

When you’re in this scenario you have two options: attempt to control the scenario (what I show in the video) or trust the game isn’t going to drop a skull on their turn.

In this scenario, there wasn’t a million brown gems that I was converting, just a couple. I could see that I was giving them no loops, and at WORST I’d expect to take two entangled skull hits. Even a beast like TINA isn’t going to kill me when it’s entangled in that scenario.

The resulting skull explosion COULD yield trouble, but they were low mana with no mana generation so I’m not worried about them getting full.

The clear and present danger was that if I took a single skull hit, I’m losing the only damage source I had left, and likely losing.

If your choices are “control the scenario” or “pray”, I choose control every time.

If the board looked different I’d agree with you, but it didn’t for this example.

To the contrary, I think this is a very important topic that is hard to talk about abstractly. Gameplay discussion here focuses on the teambuilding aspects of the game to the exclusion of match-3 fundamentals. I think your video is a great idea.

That being said, I tend to side with Idle on the entangle question. On the specific point you guys discussed, there’s a critical question that would decide if the move you did was the right one: did you know for a fact that the AI was going to make the top doomskull match?

If there was a chance that the AI was going to make the bottom doomskull match, then it was a mistake. They make that match, then it would have cascaded to another doomskull match on the right side of the screen, and you were in a world of pain.

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So I get what you guys are saying now, and I learned something about how TINA’s armor bonus is applied to skulls by playing around with it since I didn’t understand clearly.

Regular 3-match of skulls w/entangled TINA = no damage at all
Any bonus damage (critical hit or doomskull included) = full armor bonus added to damage

…NOW I get what you guys are talking about, and I apologize for my error.

The point I’m making in the video is still accurate as far as how you can abuse the AI…but not at all true with the example I gave in the video. Had I known TINA’s extra damage worked that way I’d have used a different example all-together to make the same point.

Thank you @TheIdleOne + @Mana_Surgeon


I would turn red to brown.

May I suggest when doing videos like this or tutorial videos in general, reduce the game speed to normal so that new people can see and understand what your doing when you take your action. New people may not be able to follow the quickness of the board it understand why things you weren’t showing them are going boom because TPK is on the team.