[INVESTIGATING] *Something* is wrong with Doomskulls

Platform, device version and operating system:
iPhone 7 Plus, iOS 14.current


Screenshots, video 1
In the first video above, I cast Lord of Slaughter and get the board state shown below:

By my calculation, this is 3 separate skull matches, +1 from a 4-match, +2 from a 5-match, including 13 Doomskulls. 54x3 + 3 + 65 = 230 Times 2.6 for my medal, times 0.5 for the AI’s Stoneskin, means I expect to deal 299 damage to the top troop. Since this is Lord of Slaughter, it should be entirely damage to life, also—more than enough to kill the top troop.

This is the resolution of the above screen. The top troop took a bunch of damage to armor, and only 214 damage to its life. @Jonathan helpfully figured out how the game arrived at 214 true damage, as shown below

In order to deal 214 true damage, the game needs to have ignored every single Doomskull in all three patterns. How to explain the 300 damage to armor, though, is beyond both Jonathan and me.

Screenshots, video 2
I now cast The Maraji Queen, as shown in the second video. The image below shows the board state after cast but before any matches are resolved.

This should be more than enough damage to kill the top troop.

Okay, not only did the top troop die, but the second troop somehow took 161 damage. Once again, Jonathan comes to the rescue, pointing out that my hero’s Lightning Strike triggered the entire top half of the board to explode: this leads to 12 Doomskulls and 2 regular skulls exploding, for 62 x 2.6 = 161 damage.

What you were expecting to happen, and what actually happened:
I expected Doomskull damage to be applied consistently.

  1. Why are Doomskulls not counted towards skull damage in the first video, and what is the source of the 300 damage to armor the top AI troop takes?
  2. In the second video, exploded Doomskulls deal armor damage to the second troop. But that means they were applied after skull damage was handled for the top troop, rather than as a single board-resolution step (like how Kraken et al. are limited to triggering once per board state)
  3. Doomskulls and regular skulls get a medal bonus to their damage when they are exploded. However, they do not trigger Lord of Slaughter’s third trait. Both text strings refer to “Skull damage”, not “on Skull matches”. The game code is not consistent with the game text.

How often does this happen? When did it begin happening?
I noticed this last week during the world event when Sheggra kept losing armor. This led to me recording the above videos, which show the problem(s). I have no idea when it may have begun happening.

Steps to make it happen again
I have not attempted to reproduce this systematically, since virtually everything outside of scaled content would not survive a LoS cast (and I don’t care to spend a Delve sigil on a test).


Doomskull damage is applied to troops ignoring troops traits (both attacker and defender) → that’s what i’ve seen so far with my own eyes. Doomskull damage always takes down armor 1st, no matter what traits you have on your front troop, it also ignores damage reduction, which can be seen vs eternal stonehammer (who has 100% skull damge reduction and takes 1 damage from skulls, no matter what’s your attack, but takes full 5 damage for each doomskull you hit him)

LoS damage is calculated as: 3x54 +3 = 167 x 2.6 x0.5 =214,5 true damage.
As for doomskull it leaves:
65 x 2.6 = 169 doomskull damage… but that’s still too low to take down whole armor from enemy troop. Probably some multiplies also apply here (maybe +1 doomskull damge for every skull in match above 5?)

I’ve long accepted that the poor programming (cue ‘working as intended’ tirade) resulted in the first Doomskull match resolved to blow up adjacent Doomskulls, therefore eliminating any Skull/Doomskull matches that are affected by said explosion chain, and resulting in the damage to Armor instead of Life, as observed in your video (since it’s explosion damage, not from LoS).
:blush: :vulcan_salute:

That can’t be it, though, because the game resolved three separate skull matches and there were only three on the board (or there’s another way to reach 214 damage…).

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I’m not quite seeing it yet, how did you arrive at a factor of 2.6 for event medals?

One event medal for +160% damage.


Ugh, right, I was trying to get to +260%. :sweat_smile:


So this isn’t what happened in another of Grundulum’s videos, showing all damage from a single match with a Doomskull being dealt as True damage:


Helpful stills

So as you can see, we’ve got conflicting behaviours (Doomskull included in True damage here, Doomskulls not included in original video).

It also gets multiplied by Godslayer traits etc. (and probably other bonus damage traits?), contrary to:

Agreed that it ignores damage reduction, though, e.g. Eternal Stonehammer.



Agreed on the multiple hits seemingly being counted on Life: you may want to test further with Casual PvP to remove the Medal element and so that there’s still Armor left after the hit so you avoid potential overlaps, to further narrow down the suspects.
:face_with_monocle: :vulcan_salute:


There’s a subtle difference:

1.) Video 1 has the Lightning Strike talent explode a yellow gem within the skull cluster that gets matched. Maybe this causes Doomskull damage to get processed more than once?
2.) Video 2 has the Lightning Strike talent explode a yellow gem not within the skull cluster that gets matched. All damage seems to be accounted for (skull resolution to front troop, Lightning Strike explosion damage to second troop).
3.) Your animated picture just matches 2 normal skulls with a Doomskull. All damage seems to be accounted for. It’s true damage because it came off a skull match, not from Lightning Strike.

One other observation, in video 1 true damage from skull matches apparently accounts exactly for all health lost. This would imply that all other damage dealt exactly covers the armor value of 300, with none spilling over to health. It’s possible, just very, very unlikely, there might be more going on here.


That’s a really interesting point, actually.

I also hadn’t considered that.

For those playing at home, I think this is the exploded Yellow Gem from the first video:


Go go gadget numerology! (If anyone can figure out how to get that board state to exactly 300 damage, I have a cookie emoji to offer you. If you do it with style, I’ll upgrade it to a cookie gif.)


There’s also some damage numbers visible. Unfortunately it’s more than one number in the same place, so digits overlap. As far as I can tell the first digit is a 1, the second digit is a 2 and 4, the third digit is a 6 and 0. The first digit also looks slightly bolder, so this might actually two 1 almost entirely overlapping.

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I’m pretty rusty in regards to match based skull damage, anybody able to share calculation details?


As much as I know the 3-match in the upper left is worth ((1 + 5) + (1) + (1 + 5) - 3) + 54 = 64 base damage, the 4-match in the lower right is worth ((1 + 5) + (1 + 5) + (1) + (1 + 5) - 3) + 54 = 70 base damage. What’s the match damage calculation for the blob in the middle?

That’s a match 5, with extra 3 skulls. (so an 8-match?)… so +5 and +5 for each doomskull ?
note that doomskull in top of that figure you draw isn’t matched! (the one above blue gems) It just gets exploded by other doomskulls.

so +5 from 8match, 8*5=40 for doomskulls explosions, + base unit damage 54 = 99 damage (without any medals)


I’m pretty sure critical hits (5 or more Skulls) cap out at +2.

(Doesn’t specify what happens with more than 5, but:)

(Ignore what Kafka said afterwards)

:stuck_out_tongue::man_shrugging: If it’s bugged, I don’t think it’s been fixed.

I would put it at 54 (base attack) +2 (crit) + 7 * 5 (Doomskulls) = 91, and then I guess +5 from the secondarily-exploded Doomskull at the top (as Sytro mentioned).

I will hold to you to this regardless of who solves the mystery.

Edit: nevermind, I think the bottom is wrong. Debating with my husband over this. Thanks. :laughing:

I haven’t played with the numbers yet but I do want to challenge an assumption made in the first post:

I only see two matches. Which two the game decides on may be RNG. I boxed the two matches below, and drew a line through the skulls exploded by the top left match.

Been trying to get skulls fixed for a long time. Good luck. Try paying them?

I spent too long on this. Curse you.

Anyway, I couldn’t solve it, but I will argue one point made.

There are only 12 doomskulls in the matches. If you include exploded doomskulls, there are 15.

My drawing program doesn’t allow lines, so the middle match I drew several rectangles.

Each match is in a rectangle. The exploded skulls have a line drawn through them.

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I started by going backwards:
We know that there’s 300 damage done to armor.
300 / 2.6 = 115.38
115 / 5 = 23 doomskulls

There’s only 18 doomskulls on board, so that makes this even more fun. But that specifically points to some doomskulls getting counted twice. But since we assume know there’s an error, let’s keep going.

What we know for certain:

  • Any doomskulls matched as part of a regular skull match go directly to life (as illustrated by @Jonathan here [INVESTIGATING] *Something* is wrong with Doomskulls - #8 by Jonathan)
  • There was a lightnight strike explosion close enough to trigger doomskulls.
  • There are only 18 doomskulls on the board, only 15 or which explode.
  • From the regular match, 3 extra doomskulls and 1 skull explode, for a total of 16 base damage.
  • From the lightning strike, 11 doomskulls and 3 skulls would explode, for a total of 58 base damage.

Option 1: the lightning strike triggered 2 doomskull snakes, one from the top and on from the middle. If we double 11 doomskulls + 3 skulls, that yields 22 doomskulls + 6 skulls, or 116 base damage, remarkably close to the 115.38 we’re looking for.

Option 2: As above, but with a race condition, i.e. two or more concurrent events that try to resolve but the end result of one affects the other.

  • 11 D + 3 S from one lightning strike
  • 3 D from top left resolving (first race condition)
  • 8 D + 2 S from central explosion (second race condition)
    This totals a tidy 22 D + 5 S, or 115 base damage. This would only happen if the top-left match resolved after the first lightning strike but while the second was still going on, resulting in the unmatched central doomskull being exploded twice but preventing the second lightning strike from following the snake up to the top-left and top two.