The strike order defines the sequence in which the player and its opponent will hit each other. That order is mainly important for the final blow (the blow that will kill the monster), to determine whether he will have the chance to hit the player before dying. It might also be of some importance with life steal.
Normal strike order
The basic rules are:
- Higher or same level monsters strike the player first, unless the player has first strike
- Lower level monsters strike after the player (so they won't be allowed to hit the player after the final blow), unless the monster has first strike
- A player with first strike will hit a monster first, unless that monster has first strike too (such as goblins and gorgons)
Many parameters affect the strike order. Here is the sequence from the highest priority to the lowest:
- Gorgon (player class) death gaze ability, Assassin swift hands, and first strike of Reflex Potion
- Monster with First Strike
- Player with First Strike
- Monster (higher or equal level as player)
- Monster (lower level as player)
- Monster Slowed
- Player with Slow Strike
As a result:
- If one combatant has a higher attack speed than the other, that combatant strikes first. A player with both a bonus and a penalty to attack speed has a normal attack speed; a monster with both has the newer attack speed. (Unless you are punished by Tikki Tooki, the monster would have slowed later on, thus having slow strike)
- If both combatants have a fast attack speed or both have a slow attack speed, the monster attacks first.
- If both combatants have a normal strike speed, then the combatant with the higher level attacks first, or in the case of a tie, the monster attacks first.
Buff, debuffs, and strike order
Any new buffs and debuffs are applied after both combatants strike.
- So if you strike a weakening monster after he strikes you, your blow will be at normal strength.
- If you strike first and remove a death protection from an animated armour, when the animated armor strikes you, its blow will be at normal strength.
The slowing and accelerating effects can be combined, altering the strike order. The platemail, which slows the player is good example: a player wearing it should in theory always strike last. However :
- First strike ability (either from the GETINDARE glyph or Rogue class feature [NOT the assassin's exploration first strike]) cancels out player's slow, resulting in normal striking speed. As such a slowed player with first strike can get a first hit against slowed enemies regardless of their level.
- Swift hands always preempts monsters, even if the Assassin is slowed.
If you strike the monster first and kill it, it won't be able to give you the Mana Burned, Poisoned, Weakened, Corrosion debuffs. However, you will still get Cursed, but only once and not twice (as it triggers when you kill or get damaged by a Curse Bearer).
From class trait, Warlord gets 30% attack bonus whenever below 50% health. Unlike any other debuff effects which is applied after the combat is done, Warlord only gets 30% attack bonus if you are below 50% health at that moment. Thus strike order matters. If your health is above 50% health and you are going to finish off your opponent with first strike or having monster be slowed, you should calculate your damage output carefully if you can win the battle without the attack bonus.
The Reflexes trait (obtained as a temporary buff from a Reflexes potion) guarantees a first strike no matter what. If the monster survives the player's initial blow it will attack the player, afterwards the player takes a second swing.
Effects that depend on the player being hit take effect after the monster hits. For instance, if a Sorcerer has the first attack against a monster, then the sequence is as follows: the Sorcerer hits the monster normally, then the monster hits, then the monster takes damage from . So, if you are relying on the damage to finish off the monster, remember that he will hit you...
Casting BURNDAYRAZ on a Retaliate: Fireball monster usually results in the monster hitting you for 50% of their attack. But if your spell is directly killing it you won't take any retaliation damage. (Dead monsters don't fight back anymore.)
Knockback damages are indulged after the normal monster's and player's damages have been dealt. So, in a similar way to Mana Shield, if you are relying on the knockback damage to finish off the monster, remember that he will hit you...
It also means that if your normal attack kills the monster, you won't knock him back. So, it won't destroy the wall or damage the monster that lies behind him.
The health you gain from Life steal occurs directly after your hit, this means strike order matters. In rare cases first strike may allow you to strike a monster for which your current health would not suffice, as due to first strike and life steal, you may heal enough to survive the hit. In contrast, if you have almost 150% health, since you can't heal above 150% health, striking slower is actually more benefical.