And welcome back to Tecku Talks! This week I intend to talk about balancing plants against other plants, and how develpoers can make plants more distinct from each other. As such, I have decided to examine plants that are not balanced around each other. For references sake, I have decided to coin my own term to talk about such an issue.....

Tecku Talks About: The Laserang (Laser Bean/Bloomerang) Conundrum

What is a Laserang Condundrum?

A Laser Bean/Bloomerang Condundrum, or Laserang Conundrum for short, describes a pair of plants that share similar roles or functions, but such that one plant does the job better than the other in almost any given situation. Laser Bean and Bloomerang form a Laserang Conundrum, with Laser Bean being the better choice in almost any given situation.

What a Laserang Conundrum is NOT

To make the guidelines for a Laserang Conundrum clearer, I feel it is necessary to elaborate on what does not make one. While a Laserang Conundrum may consist of the following, it does not automatically make such events a Conundrum:

- Similar DPS: Peashooter and Cabbage-pult do not form a Laserang Conundrum. While their damage output is similar, each has its own advantages. Cabbage-pult can deal with the roof and straightfoward sheilds, whereas Peashooter has Torchwood options.

- Similar Sun Cost: See above. Most Laserang Condundrums DO have similar cost, but it is not a requirement, nor an automatic factor.

- Similar Role: Squash and Chili Bean are not a condundrum. Both are insta-kills that cost 50 Sun, but they have their own niches. Squash can deal with non-eating zombie, whereas Chili Bean has the bonus of stunning a lane.

Which plant pairs ARE Laserang Conundrums

- Laser Bean and Bloomerang are very similar in their roles. They are both meant for multiple targets clustered on the same lane. However Laser Bean is almost always better. Bloomerang has a very slow rate of fire (about 3 seconds), and can only hit 3 targets. At best, with 3+ zombies, it will deal the same damage as a Repeater (3 zombies * two hits per zombie / 3 seconds between firings), and will be slightly more cost effective. Laser Bean, on the other hand, breaks even with only two zombie on the lane, and become more cost efficient wiht every zombie past it.

- Sunflower and Sun Shroom are by far the most broken pair of a Laserang Conundrum, though few people seem to see it. Sun Shroom will ALWAYS be better than Sunflower, which is absolutely terrible. If you don't agree, take a look at their cost vs ouput at each production interval:

  • 0 Sun interval: Sun Shroom costs 25 less sun. It is better here.
  • 1 Sun interval: The two are even now, as Sunflower will have made a 50 Sun batch, while Sun Shroom will have made 25. However, Sun Shroom will grow up after making this batch.
  • 2 Sun interval - Second Sun Shroom growth: the two are neck and neck, both making bathces of 50 Sun.
  • After seconds Sun Shroom growth: Sun Shroom speeds ahead, making 75 Sun per batch.

- Citron has real trouble holding its own against other high cost plants, particularly Coconut Cannon. Without any splash damage, everything is risked on an automatic shot with a very slow interval. It is only cost effective against zombies that have 35+ peas worth of health, and the odds are that most zombies will have less.

- Chomper has lost even more of its luster in PvZ2, where it now has to compete against Bonk Choy, and even worse, Snapdragon. To be cost effective at one zombie every 30 seconds, every enemy it eats would have to have 45+ peas worth of health. Not gonna happen.

Solving Laserang Conundrums

Solving a Laserang Conundrum can be one of the trickiest things to do without altering one or both of the plants. In fact, for Sun Shroom and Sunflower, it is impossible. But for the others, can it be done? Yes, but only for certain situations.

The first way is to make a new zombie that is resistant to the stronger plant, but is vunerable to the weaker one. For example, if a new zombie carried a shiny object that reflectected lasers and light, it would give Bloomerang some utility. This does not solve the universal problem, but can work as a patch job.

The other (and more lasting) way is to add in a new plant that has better synergy with the weaker one. For example, Winter Melon has much better synergy with Bonk Choy than it does Snapdragon. This makes Bonk Choy more useful in scenarios where packing ice-plants is a good idea. This idea a more permanent than the other one, as it can carry over to other realms, but only lasts as long as the new plants remains relevant.

All in all, a Laserang Conundrum can be a real mess. That's why it's very important to keep plants original as unique as possible, as well as to keep in mind while designing them that they should be effecient against at least one type of zombie crowd. I'm Tecku, and thanks for listening!

Next Time on Tecku Talks: Bowling Bulb and the Community, followed by Tecku's Top 5 Best and Worst Zombies

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