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The Math behind 5.0

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Hey guys, Whitesushi here. Patch 5.0 brought about a multitude of changes to which I would like to discuss in this post. The topics I hope to cover include but are not limited to energy damage changes, first shot Rio, some challenge the horde related maffs and some tips for the mode itself. The post is broken down into several sections clearly labeled so do feel free to skip to the sections you are most interested in.

Before we jump in, quick plug for my google spreadsheet which houses a collection of information on game mechanics as well as several calculators which I will be using throughout this post.


Energy Damage Changes

According to the patch notes

Increased the effectiveness of Energy Damage against Elemental Husks from 67% to 75%

This means that if your weapon does 100 damage to physical husks, it will now do 75 damage to elemental husks after the patch as opposed to 67 damage previously. That's an approximately 12% increase in damage towards elemental husks using energy weapons as a result of this buff but what do the numbers mean? Sometime ago, I made a post covering the differences between Physical and Energy with the conclusion being that

Essentially, you need 74% of enemies to be elemental for the energy weapon to be generally better

If we were to follow through our math once again with the new numbers, it would look something like this since the energy weapon now does 90 (100 * 1.2 * 0.75) damage to elemental husks

144 * ( 1 - a ) + 72a = 120 * ( 1 - a ) + 90a 144 - 144a + 72a = 120 - 120a + 90a 144 - 72a = 120 - 30a 24 = 42a a = 0.5714 

This means that as it is, as long as over 57% of your shots are on elemental husks, energy weapon is going to outperform physical in general. That said though, this comparison isn't that relevant. Most people are going to end up running either

  • 1 Energy + 1 Physical
  • 3 Specific Elements + 1 Physical

Physical is almost always going to be there and remain a strong choice in your arsenal simply because it does 20% (144 / 120 – 1) more damage in situations like

  • Against Lobbers & Blasters which don't have an element
  • Physical only waves

But how well does energy compare to straight up counter-element weapons at the moment? To find out, I enlisted the help of my calculator located within my spreadsheet. I created 2 weapons with only 20% damage perks (to simulate having energy/ element) and obviously, the damage differences came out to 25%. Next, I increased the %DMG perk for the energy variant until the damage differences came to 0 and found that was at 40% DMG. In other words, the difference is only around 1.5 perks on your weapon, making energy a highly competitive perk. Ultimately, min-maxers are still going to opt for 3 elements + 1 physical but given how the game lacks challenging content (unless you are one of those crazy people pushing challenge 28+ on Horde Bash at the moment), going energy + physical is a highly viable option.

Now before I close off this section, I would just like to clarify a common misconception I've been reading around the Fortnite discord communities and occasionally on Reddit. Reclaimer's bonus doesn't increase this 75% to 95% but rather acts as a %DMG perk towards only energy weapons. In other words, if you are not trying to tap into boosting some form of energy based ability, it is simply better to just run a Berserker/MGR or Deadeye for their 24% DMG support instead.


First Shot Rio

Let's be honest here, the first thing that popped to mind when I saw her kit was

Is this going to be better than Urban Assault?

I mean just look at her, they have almost the same set of skills and buffs to abilities. Here's a table for your reference

Hero Fire Rate Reload Deb. Shots Others Ability
Urban Assault 50% 30% 45% 29% Recoil Keep Out!!! Nades
First Shot 50% 30% 27% Guaranteed Crit on first shot War Cry

Now before we go into the comparison, let's just talk about her guaranteed crit. It reads

The first bullet fired after reloading an assault rifle critically hits enemies. Removed on weapon switch.

On the surface, you might think that you should run double critical hit damage and drop critical hit rating altogether. However, that will prove to be poor decisions and here's why… Let's say you have a Silenced Specter and this weapon has a base damage of 19, base critical chance of 20 and base critical damage of 75. With the perk, it means that the player would do

  • Base * (1 + Crit Chance * Crit Damage) on 29 shots and Base * (1 + Crit Damage) on 1 shot
  • We also throw in a Sergeant Jonesy support

In a table, it looks something like

Perks Normal Damage Perk Damage Total Damage
CRIT + CRITD 44.72 * 29 = 1296.83 72.58 1369.41
CRITD + CRITD 34.846 * 29 = 1010.54 98.23 1108.77

As you can see, crit rating + crit damage wins outright, not even close in fact. But at what magazine size cap would the later setup be optimal? I ran the numbers and found that to be under or equals to 3. (Of course, this will fluctuate a little depending on your weapon's base critical stats but ultimately it will be +- 1) This means that once the weapon has 4 rounds in it, going double critical hit damage is a DPS loss. Just look at all the Assault Rifles in the game, none of them even has a magazine size of under 10. In other words, you shouldn't try to run double critical hit damage to build around this perk

Oh and please don't tell me you are going to reload after every shot to tap onto that bonus although there are weapons that do it really fast (hint : S?l?n?e? S?e?t?r)

– Moving on to the comparison-

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Let's say I have a Silenced Specter with CRIT/?/CRITD/DMG to afflicted rolls. Just at face value, going reload is a DPS loss due to opportunity cost from stacking reload perk on top of Rio's innate reload as seen here. However, that's minute and I'm just pointing it out for the people curious. That said, what do the numbers actually mean? Let's assume that I have this Silenced Specter. It has

  • Some element
  • CRIT/MAG/CRITD/DMG to Afflicted as its perks

We also use

  • Sergeant Jonesy in support
  • and has a 70% headshot accuracy

A table for the DPS values would look something like

Hero DPS Warcry DPS Total DPS (factoring in Warcry uptime)
Urban Assault 1816.9 1816.9
First Strike 1614.3 2265.5 1722.8

Well it appears that Urban Assault still comes ahead by 5.46% in terms of DPS. Even factoring in the guaranteed perk, the Urban Assault would be ahead by 3.26% DPS. Honestly though, this is likely the only class that ever came so close without relying on "gimmick" abilities cough Bulletstorm cough. Perhaps the difference is so small that Rio is better since she has access to War Cry which is a substantial buff for the entire party when it comes down to boss fights or just tight waves


Challenge the Horde maffs

Next up, let's talk about this event. It is pointed out in the patch notes that

  • Alert quota is 10 per day (meaning you can only get 10 skill points and road trip tickets)
  • Missions are on average 8 x 4 = 32 minutes long

Most of the trees have about slightly over 20 nodes so if you have some free points already, it would take the player about 2 days of playing 5.33 hours per day. Well that's a lot of time to be honest. We also know that the number of tickets depend on the tier you are farming on with the highest being 120 (4) and lowest being 50 (1).

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Either way, below I'd setup my favorite table for a scenario game to help you guys better understand the numbers

Type of player Games/day Tier Expected hrs/day Days to finish HB Tickets in 30 days Probability of getting event Legendary of choice
Super Casual 1 2 0.53 18 2160 (4 Llamas) 20.44%
A new player who enjoys the game 4 2 2.13 5 8640 (17 Llamas) 62.16%
Someone still in Canny? 3 3 1.6 6 9180 (18 LLamas) 64.26%
Really don't have time 2 4 1.07 9 7200 (14 Llamas) 55.08%
Me 5 4 2.67 4 18000 (36 Llamas) 87.23%
Efficient Boi 10 4 5.33 2 36000 (72 Llamas) 98.37%
Trying to finish HB in a single day 18 4 9.6 1 36000 (72 Llamas) 98.37%
Trying to max out Twine skill tree 20 4 10.67 1 36000 (72 Llamas) 98.37%

There are probably a lot more combinations I can think of so I have this calculator included in my google spreadsheet for people who want to plug their own numbers in and play around with. Anyway if we just examine 3 players who farms 3 games every single day but in the different tiers, over the course of 30 days

  • Tier 2 player earns 6480 tickets, 12 Llamas
  • Tier 3 player earns 9180 tickets, 18 Llamas
  • Tier 4 player earns 10800 tickets, 21 Llamas

That's about 3~6 llamas for every tier higher even though all 3 players put in the same amount of time farming each day. That said, you don't really need all the event items, I mean they are obviously not giving legendary survivors like Fortnitemares last year so there isn't a point opening that many llamas. Furthermore, the questline itself offers you a choice of hero so you can pick up the one you want


Challenge the Horde tips

Last but not least, I'm here to drop you guys some tips for this event. I've made it to Tier 4 challenge 15 so far and while it's not the furthest (AlluraSC made it to 33 I think), I have a decent understanding of how the rounds are played. Anyway, let's dive right in

  1. Build a pyramid. Pyramids are amazing and now you can even place traps on its slopes to damage husks smashing it. Ultimately, it is for dealing with Smashers so they charge right over it. Pyramids also make it easy to navigate and look around the base as opposed to a reversed pyramid. You can refer to this image but note this was from the previous Horde Bash a year ago

  2. Go for the bottom tree. Even with all the changes stated in the patch notes, the top tree still offers far too little resources as compared to the bottom one. You can use the skill tree guide from the previous event as reference since its pretty much the same. Trap materials are amazing in this mode

  3. Have a solid Gas Trap. By solid, I mean perk it correctly and upgrade its perks. This trap is going to come a long way when it comes to letting you have an easier time or just pushing challenge waves if you are into that. Personally, I recommend DMG + DMG + RLD + RLD because it gives more DPS than DMG + DMG + DMG + RLD and offers better consistency from higher uptime as a result of more reload. However strictly numbers speaking, the CRIT + RLD + DMG + CRITD setup would offer about 8% higher DPS than my recommendation

  4. What about heroes? If you are playing with a coordinated group, AoE heroes are pretty pointless since you will be melting everything with your gas trap and boy can you over-kill on those with 3 other players hopefully doing the same thing or just dumping you their mats. Might as well pick up that DPS hero to pick off Sploders/Smashers/Bosses. However with pugs as I have experienced, they tend to blow up funnels. In such cases, AoE heroes are amazing and I've personally tried Dragon Scorch, Master Grenadier, Cobalt Commando, all to amazing results

  5. Gadget choices? Hover Turret is amazing because not only does it do a lot of damage for when you are getting swarmed, you can use it aggressively to push the enemy spawn and finish kill waves faster. The rest is really up to you since the game isn't challenging enough for it to matter but if you are having trouble, Slow Field is amazing. Supply Crate doesn't feel impactful this time round due to how much resources they are feeding us

  6. When it comes to completing the Horde Bash questline, you can complete lower challenges by finishing a higher mission. For example if your quest requires you to finish challenge 1 in a power 15 zone, doing a PL 76 zone would complete that as well. Basically, just do the highest tier you can do since those give most tickets and you can complete your questline in the process

  7. If you ever get those pesky Smasher waves and is over-run, ignore the Smashers and focus on the other husks. Smashers don't damage your objective but other husks do so if you clear the rest out, it doesn't really matter even with 30 Smashers running around. Of course, you can always just re-roll your game if you don't like dealing with a certain enemy type

  8. Try playing with people with zone appropriate stats. I tried to do PL76 with my friends in Plankerton and was having a hard time due to the lack of F.O.R.T stats and how my gas traps were simply not doing much damage. Queuing into public lobbies alone quickly resolved this issue and even challenge 15 was a breeze just throwing gas traps around

  9. Weapon sharing can prove significant. If you don't have a good weapon yourself, don't be afraid to ask your teammates for one. Just drop them the resources for them to craft it. You not only get to contribute more to the defense with a better weapon, you also get the opportunity to try a new weapon out hopefully

  10. This isn't confirmed but from experience, the element you get on your second wave is "locked in" meaning you get the same element for the rest of your waves. This lets you better plan your structures so you don't play into elemental weaknesses

  11. Bonus tip, while in your staging area, your flag/console is on the opposite side from your base where enemies would spawn in game

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The Conclusion

There were a lot of good changes made this update. While Horde Bash isn't the best event in terms of rewards farming (Survive the Storm holds the crown for that), it is personally the event I have the most fun with. There's something about going all out on building without having to worry about resources that makes the mode feel amazing to play. That said, I think we covered the patch adequately in this post namely addressing that

  • Energy is now a decent contender to running 3 separately elements
  • First Shot Rio is definitely up there with the Urban Assault Headhunter
  • Even the casual-est of casuals should be able to complete the HB questline before the event ends

Last but not least, thank you guys for reading through this lengthy wall of text. Let me know what you guys think about the event in the comments and also any tip and tricks you would like to share. I plan to cover all the ability changes in a separate post since it would make this one way too long.

TL;DR Energy is only behind counter-element by about 1.5 perks, First Shot Rio is almost as good if not better than UAH and it would take you 18 days of playing 32 minutes a day to finish the Horde Bash questline


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