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Knockback is a position changing and damaging mechanism at the same time.
What is Knockback
Knockback is a mechanism that pushes the target by one block. There are three kinds of knockback in game: player's Knockback x% trait, PISORF, and monster's Knockback trait. PISORF is largely the same with player's knockback. Monster's knockback will be described later, and only very few monsters have this trait. Knockback will push the target directly backward if it is possible, and will take damage if the tile behind the target was a wall or a monster.
Having just a small percentage of knockback differs hugely from not having it at all, because at least it can push monsters around.
How to get Knockback
Beginners will find PISORF glyph lying around. This is the only method to use knockback for beginners, but they will also find many other items, abilities or boons to have knockback trait as they unlock the contents.
Binlor Ironshield's boon, , adds Knockback 50% to the player.
Finally, Half-Dragon starts with Knockback 20%, and each 100 conversion points gives additional 20% to him.
How to use Knockback
Knockback can be used to break walls. Sometimes a player prepares Bear Mace only to find a secret subdungeon, although the player does not plan to use it as additional damage. This item is also worth to prepare in some maze-like dungeons although there is no secret sub. Advanced players can use knockback to break some walls and leave some accessible blackspaces for later on.
Knockback is also very useful to use as a damaging method. It best works when the character can obtain a lot of base damage such as being an Orc, or having a large chunk of walls around the target monster.
When the tile behind the target monster is
- A wall: the wall is destroyed, the target takes its place, and it is dealt Knockback% of your base damage as physical damage.
- A monster: first entity (cue ball) are dealt 80% of Knockback% of your base damage as physical damage, and the second will take exact same damage as a typeless damage.
- Empty: the target is moved to the empty tile.
- Indestructible tile(water/lava) or map edge: no effect
But, in checking the Specialist badge, the knockback damage is considered as a typeless damage. This is a trace that knockback had been typeless damage, but turned into a physical attack. PISORF works exactly the same with knockback 60% although it is used without a normal attack. But in checking the Specialist badge, it is considered as a physical damage unlike the knockback trait.
Positioning is very important to leverage the knockback.
These are exmples of some awful maps to push monsters. You cannot push monsters into walls, and it implies the damage output is not very good, and you cannot earn piety under Binlor Ironshield. Grey tile means a wall.
The one above is relatively better than the one below. A line is still a good chunk if you can catch the end of the line, and usually this layout have some fork in the hallways which means there is an end. WEYTWUT can be used to position an enemy at the end of a line, then you can erase the line by pushing the monster. But in some cases, especially if some tiles are water or lava, you must carry ENDISWAL to do something about it.
Also note that a narrow corridor has a very high chance to include several monsters. So knockbacking a monster deep into the corridor is not a good move; it wil blocked by another monster pretty soon. In this case you also need WEYTWUT or ENDISWAL.
This one is the worst map layout. You must carry ENDISWAL to push monsters into walls, and even then it's not efficient at all. For just damaging purpose, you'd better to find a monster to knockback the target into. Unfortunately you will frequently face this layout because using knockback will naturally lead to it.
In this situation where black tiles implies a map edge, you cannot set up a good knockback chain without the help of ENDISWAL.
Generally, ENDISWAL is nearly a must if you want to push your target into walls effectively.
One Target Monster
When you are going to use your knockback and/or PISORF as a damage source, you need a large chunk of walls around the target and a monster at the end of the chunck. Since pushing target into a monter damages it by only 80%, Empty-Wall-Wall-Wall-Wall chain does the same damage with Monster-Monster-Monster-Monster-Monster (though rounding off can make a little difference). Keep this in mind and carefully position your knockback chain to do the largest damage.
The best chain can be pulled out by pushing the target into walls as long as possible, then pushing the target into a monster after the chunk is gone. For example, Wall-Wall-Wal-Wall-Wall-Empty-Wall-Wall-Wall-Monster-Monster-Monster-... is a very nice knockback chain.
Usually, you need to push the target into an empty tile at least once. If you have both knockback and PISORF, It is best to use PISORF at that timing if your knockback% is more than 60%. Usually the character will have knockback via or Bear Mace which is 50% and 25% respectively, so PISORF is better at moving the target into an empty tile. But if you are Half-Dragon or have some greater knockback%, you'd better use your normal attack to push the monster. This will maximize the damage output.
Carefully plan your chain, and break some walls before the fight via ENDISWAL to make some empty tile to position yourself. Using PISORF or Knockback to move your target or secondary monster (which will be used to push your target into) next to the wall chunk. Building a chunk with IMAWAL by yourself is one possible method, but Binlor Ironshield hates when you do it.
Two Target Monsters
This requires some skillful play.
When you have two monsters to kill, since knockback can attack two targets at once, you can effectively kill both by Knockback and PISORF. It works even better when two targets are not equal. When you use your knockback trait, the additional knockback damage is very small compared to your normal attack.
Killing two targets with knockback attack or PISORF is very efficient because it effectively does double damage. However when you explore some blackspaces, both monsters will heal and it becomes extremely uneffective. Killing two monsters at once is practically only viable for specialized PISORF users, Rat Monarch, or at Vicious Steel. Regen-fighting is very bad here unless you are Rat Monarch.
Let's say the one you are pushing is target 1 'cue ball', and the monster behind is 'knockback target'. The optimal cue ball is monsters which
- have large health pool (because knockback attack deals more damage to the cue ball)
- deals low damage
And the optimal knockback target is monsters with
- have low health pool
- deals big damage
- have nasty traits such as Blinks, Physical resist, Mana Burn, Poisonous, Corrosion, etc.
Of course if you are using PISORF only, high damage or some traits are not a concern.
Attacking three targets at once is also possible for Rat Monarch. In this case, two monsters are cue balls and one monster is knockback target. If all three targets are equal, it effectively doubles the cue ball's health pool from the perspective of two targets; it reduces the chance the cue ball die too early. Specialized PISORF users can also attack many monsters at once, possibly more than 5.
Knockback target does not lose Death Protection or die by knockback. If you are targeting a single monster it works as a benefit, but in this case it doesn't.
Cowardly or Blinks trait activates when the monster is next to you directly after each time you attack it. This includes your normal attack and knockback attack. As result, if you knockback the monster into
- a monster or water/map edge: it runs(blinks). If the monster is still next to you after it ran(blinked), it runs(blinks) once more (not knocked back!)
- an emtpy tile or a wall block: the monster is pushed back by one block. Since it is not next to you, Cowardly trait is not activated.
But knockback target does not change even if the monster changes position.
If you are striking first, including Reflex Potion or Gorgon's deathgaze, because the trait is activated directly after you hit them, they will run or blink. Then it is knocked back. Since knockback target does not change even if the monster changes position, the original knockback target will still take damage.
Corrosion & Knockback
Knockback has some interesting and non-intuitive mechanism, that is, the knockback target takes damage equal to the damage the cue ball took no matter what. It means, the knockback target's Corrosion stacks and Physical resist has no effect on the damage. Only cue ball's corrosion and resist are in effect.
This interaction is not very meaningful for most characters, but Rat Monarch should note this interaction. A Rat Monarch equipped with knockback must know and leverage it.
- If a knockback damages a Burning monster, the damage will ignite the burn stack.
- The Avatar, the boss of Demonic Library, does not spawn ???s when hit by knockback.
- Really Big Sword applies to both PISORF and knockback.
Checking what lies behind the target
If you have knockback or PISORF, you can hover your mouse pointer on a monster to check what lies behind the monster. If the prediction on enemy's health says it will not take damage the tile behind it is an empty tile or water. If the prediction says there will be some knockback damage, the tile behind is a wall or a monster. Calculate carefully to find out whether it is wall or a monster. Note that if it is monster, then only 80% of your knockback damage is induced.
Few monsters have knockback trait. Directly after the monster hits you, you are knocked back by one tile. You don't need to be next to it. If there is a wall, the wall is destroyed by result and you take 50% more damage. If there is a monster, you are not knocked back but you take 25% more damage, and the monster behind you take the same 25% damage. Although 25% damage is 0 by rounding down, it is an attack to the monster anyway, so it can activate blink or cowardly trait. This knockback damage cannot kill you,