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Swap-In Damage killing a dinosaur is an insurmountable value swing and a zero-interaction, intolerable mechanic

My last game I was faced with a one-two punch of a Critical Phorurex Lethal R&R Swap-Out into a Dracoceratops Swap-In Rend which collectively 100-0’d my 4000 HP Indoraptor with no ability to respond in any way to it. My opponent was literally playing solitaire as they stole my turn and my dinosaur and collected a free win. This is the most egregious example I have ever encountered but it is representative of the current experience I am having in PvP. I am on the verge of quitting this game because of what my experience in this game has devolved into over the past couple months in low Aviary, but that’s a separate although related issue.

There are theoretical counters to Swap-In strategies in the game in the form of Swap Prevent, but while those dinosaurs have Swap Prevent budgeted into their kit, Swap Immunity/Resist seems tacked onto every relevant dinosaur for free. And the worst offenders of Swap-In damage (Phorurex, Dracoceratops, Dracoceratosaurus, etc.) all have some form of Swap Resist, so if the opponent can’t 100-0 that dinosaur in one round you are forcing them to endure another guaranteed value cycle from the Swap-In player. So not only has the player anticipated they will come up against these strategies and planned accordingly, they are still being forced into an uphill situation. I cannot fathom why the countered are permitted to soft-counter their own counter.

Swap-Ins are problematic in general because they do their damage (or other things) before the other player can respond. With every other mechanic, a player either has the option to respond to something, or can immediately anticipate an attack, status, or etc. from the dinosaur’s kit. Swap-In abilities violate this concept. Some aren’t so bad, but the offensive ones are absolutely ridiculous.

Furthermore, there is zero gameplay when Swap-In damage kills a dinosaur. It’s an insurmountable value swing, because not only are you killing their dinosaur, you’re now also taking turns away from them in a way they couldn’t react to. It’s compounding value. When a Swap-In kill occurs, that player is taking up to 3 unanswerable actions. Swapping > Killing Dinosaur > taking another turn if they outspeed the next dinosaur or have a Priority move (Phorurex is fun.)

The damage ability of note is usually some kind of Rend, which is itself also problematic because you have a %max health nuke that is intended to cut down high-HP opponents. An anti-tank ability should not be a universal execute against every single dinosaur in the game that does not specifically have Rend Resistance. In my personal opinion, thematically, Rend should be a %current health nuke. It is intended for high-HP opponents. This ensures lots of value when used as it should be used, and punishment for attempts to use it as an execute. But this thread is not about Rend, so let me get back on track.

The last thing I want to discuss is the invisible and free value of information deficit. When a player has lost six games in a row to Swap-In shenanigans that they couldn’t respond to, they are going to play every subsequent match with the expectation that an opponent is going to switch to Phorurex next turn to collect a free win, and their decisions are going to be subpar every turn that this does not happen, but they have no choice but to risk playing inefficiently or lose on the spot if they do get Swapped-In on.

In closing, Swap-In Damage goes beyond simply being too strong. It breaks PvP conventions in so many ways. It needs to be reworked or countermeasures need to be introduced. And these counters need to be hard counters that specifically respond to Swap mechanics occurring. Personally, I feel that dinosaurs possessing Swap-In abilities should be disclosed to the opponent at the start of the match. It’s possible that Swap-In damage should be unable to kill a dinosaur (think Dodo Swap-Out.) so that the opponent doesn’t have a turn stolen from them. My final idea for now is Swap Immunity should be completely removed from the game; if you’re trying to Swap Out against an anti-Swap dinosaur, it should be an unfavorable dice roll for the player attempting the swap. They are the countered party and the mechanic needs to reflect that.

I’m reaching a point where I don’t want to play this game anymore due to horrible PvP experiences, with this unmitigated, unanswerable, uncounterable Swap-In meta being a big reason for that.

Thank you for entertaining my rant.


Thank you! I’ve been saying this for a while now.


Swap in and RATS are the main reason I barely play anymore. I hate them in ways words cant describe.


I have an idea

So let’s say your creature(X) is battling your opponent’s creature(Y). X has an advantage over Y as Y will be dead in a hit. Although Y is faster than X, X has a priority move ready to go. Then Y, unsurprisingly, swaps out into Creature L. Creature L has a swap in move. Naturally L would go first. My proposal however is that X’s priority move hits L before L hits it so that priority moves can have a much bigger effect on the meta.

Of course it does have some disadvantages so Imma just leave it here

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“If you can’t Strat it, Rat it!”
“If you can’t Take it, Drake it!”

The fact that their are sayings (and in the case of my puppet show literal SONGS) about the Ridiculously Aggravating Tactic (R.A.T) should tell you everything lol.

Back in the day Draco actually had swap in shattering rampage, I still remember the day I unlocked Spyx and brought it out, only to have it insta killed from full health to death inn a single swap in…it was broken as heck.

I personally don’t think they should have ever brought in swap attacks, I think if it was limited to only status effects like stuns or speed increases or nulls it wouldnt be as bad.

Ratting is basically the game mechanic version of a sucker punch.


Oh im sure you could describe it, but they wont pass the forum rules :wink:


I would take that and expand it so that by default all swap in moves have normal priority. Ones that aren’t really problematic or need to activate first to protect the swapper (e.g. swap in distraction, swap in Invincibility) could then be given priority on an individual basis (after all, we already have priority swap in moves with stuff like Critical Ambush), while moves like Swap In Stunning Strike and Swap In Savagery could be preceeded by other moves (including priority moves). It doesn’t solve the problem of players lacking knowledge of their opponent having these moves, but it does remove their “super priority” so that many more moves can counter them if you DO anticipate a swap - and Swap In attacks really don’t need both of these advantages. This would also require swappers to invest more into speed.


Any game mechanic that either takes control from the player, or leaves them feeling helpless is almost always frowned upon…kinda like the early days of Rogues in World of Warcraft, where they could chain stuns together and perpetually stun lock a class while they kill them.

Blizzard got around this issue by adding diminishing returns on stuns used in quick succession, making them last less and less time the more they are used.

Perhaps they could add diminishing returns to swap attacks? first one does 100% of its damage, next does 67% and so forth, then after a certain amount of turns goes back up and resets to 100% again.
Probably wont be overly popular with those who rely heavily on ratting, but sometimes its better to give someone what they NEED, rather than what they WANT :slight_smile:

Tmo all creatures with severe swap in damage should be turn locked at least 2 turns without the option to cleanse that off in any way. That way it gives the opponent a chance to kill it (even if that creature can pull a (priority) rampage right off the bat after swapping in) and it prevents the everlasting swap out swap in kills that have absolutely nothing to do with battling…. That’s called slaughter.

Creatures that only swap in an effect (stun/dodge/distract etc or) or even a minor damage or counter attack should be able to cleanse that lock off as it’s not nearly as gamebreaking as the rend attacks


Swap in damage as whole needs to be overhauled. It is and always has been broken, as described perfectly by OP. There are many routes that could be taken:

  • Lessen the swap damage overall (.5x of attack max, or 20% rend)
  • Lessen the amount of damage done each time it’s used (per @Stiffeno )
  • Change the move order so instant moves (basically) go first (per @Mudkipz )
  • Show us what cards the opponent has (not my favorite but would alleviate the information deficit problem)
  • Remove swap resistances from any creature with a swap in attack

ANY of these would be a welcome change. Give people the tools to properly counter this broken swap in functionality, or at least provide some proper counters other than “guess what my opponent is going to swap to next”. Would much prefer an actual strategy game over this guess-fest.


Swaps are largely balanced, as the SISers tend to be weak field fighters. With all of the new anti-swap mechanics and creatures it’s balanced.

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Thats true. The only unfair part is the fact that you can’t know with certainty if and when you’re opponent is going to use a SIA, but many SIAers are balanced overall. No one is saying that something like Sinoceratops is OP, just that mechanically speaking SIAs are poor game design and could be improved. And they do enable certain dinos to become too strong.

Been saying this for ages, since the rat’s first dynasty, with swap in rampage… And they only make it worse by adding more and more “swap inners” with damage… As you said, we just have to look at how swap resistance and on escape abilities play a huge role on 90% of the top creatures today… And that’s also horrible, cause it threw the game into complete ramdomness… Like, you have 67% chance to swap out. If you fail you are pinned, stunned, damaged and lose your turn. Good luck!

I am sorry, but I love the irony of someone with the screen name of Sir_Swap_A_Lot stating that swaps are just fine. Not on either side of this one, just thought it was funny. :laughing:


Also saying that normal moves may take regular priority over swap-in-attackers like @Mudkipz , but couldn’t we also create moves specifically designed to counter swap-in attacks? As in abilities that only activate when the swap-in creature does damage, like this one:

I named it ‘Aware’ as ‘Alert’ is already taken, and the fact that whatever creatures have ‘Aware’ abilities seem to know when the swap-in intruder can do damage.
This is just an example, combine this mechanic with other effects if you like.
What do you think of it?


I think this is a good mechanic. The only problem with it is just that: it’s a NEW mechanic. New dinos that have these abilities will Counter swappers well, but other dinos still won’t be able to, and therefore still won’t have a place in the meta. That just compounds the power creep problem of only new dinos or newly buffed dinos being viable in the meta. On the other hand, if SIAs are given normal priority, then every dino in the game gains potential ways to counter swappers without having to be changed at all themselves.

Don’t get me wrong, I think this would be a fantastic new kind of ability to add to the game. I just think we need more universal changes to how swapping works.


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They need to add Giga, Stegoceras(type of Pachycephalosaur), Plateosaurus, Albertosaurus, Guanlong, and Nigersaurus as well.

This message is from last year.

That message is gonna get hidden unless you change your wording (the caps one) just warning :see_no_evil: