When I look at this power, I first suspect that it should be overpowered. Not only can she snatch victories from opponents, she can also tumble them down two levels at once! Moreover, she is immune to corner-L and double builds to a certain degree. However, during my first play I realised that it is not that convenient to move her whirlpools (though I won that match). So how to harness her power and drown her opponents at the endless abysses?
At the end of your turn, you may place a whirlpool on any unoccupied space on the board. Whirlpool tokens built on or removed are returned to you. A worker cannot win by moving onto a whirlpool if the other whirlpool is on the board in an unoccupied space. Instead, the worker is forced to the other whirlpool and may win as if it moved up to that space.
Whirlpools are accessible to both players. However, if you use a whirlpool, it counts as moving up. Still, players can win by exiting a whirlpool on level 3.
In the early game, there’s not really much Charybdis can do, but there’s also not much the opponent can do (Charybdis is tough to beat). A strategy that usually works well for Charybdis is just to start building towers and whenever there is a level 3, place the first whirlpool there. No player has access to that square but if in the following turns Charybdis places the other whirlpool only next to her workers, this creates a winning threat. The opponent has two choices:
- If the opponent defends by building over your lower level whirlpool, you can just threaten the same win by placing the whirlpool in another square. Don’t forget that while you are doing this, you also build a block somewhere. This means that you can progressively improve the game while your opponent tries to defend your threats.
- If the opponent defends by building over your level 3 whirlpool (best choice in most cases), completing the tower, then your lower level whirlpool might not be useful anymore and it is probably better if you build over that whirlpool in the following turns.
A common mistake done while playing with Charybdis, is to place the whirlpools neighboring the opponent’s workers. This is bad almost in every situation as you don’t want to give your opponent the opportunity to use your whirlpools. For example, the strategy of placing the whirlpool over a level 3 wouldn’t work since your opponent could also win by moving into the whirlpool. In these kinds of situations, what I recommend is that you immediately build over the whirlpool so that you can win it back and your opponent no longer has access to it.
Let us consider the following example (denote the whirlpools by W):
Charybdis has just played by placing the whirlpool in A5 (not the best move but it serves for this example). The opponent can only defend by moving to A4. That way Charybdis can build on C5 and place a whirlpool on D4. Now no matter how the opponent responds (assuming a Mortal), Charybdis wins by moving to D4 (and then being teleported to E4).
Now imagine it was Charybdis to play and the position (similar) was the following:
It is not useful to place the whirlpool in E4 since the opponent could just win by moving to A5 (that’s what you get for letting your opponent have access to your whirlpools). Instead what Charybdis should do is to build in A5 (to gain her whirlpool back) by and place whirlpool on E4 (and for now no one has access to E4). If the opponent doesn’t recognize the danger of the position, Charybdis would not only defend, but also win by moving to C4 and place whirlpool on D5. She will win by moving to D5.
By now you should be familiar with the mentioned strategy and the opponent might think: “Ok, that is cool, but I can cope with that”. The great thing about Charybdis is that this isn’t the only possible strategy. When you reach the mid game, there is another strategy you should be aware of. Put into words, the strategy consists of driving your opponent away by “forcing” (here forcing in the sense that it would be his only good option) him to a bad square. There are two variants for this strategy:
- Threaten to win while defending
- Place a whirlpool in a square your opponent would like to go
It is easier to understand if we see an example for each case: The first one is very common and it’s part of the reason why it isn’t easy to win against Charybdis. Suppose it is Charybdis to play (denote the whirlpools by W).
The position seems very good for the opponent (notice that only Charybdis controls the whirlpool in the corner E5) but looks can be deceiving. By moving to B3, building on A2 and placing a whirlpool there, Charybdis not only threatens to win (by moving to A5) but it also ruins the opponent’s “wonderful” position. The opponent has two options, but both seem to lead to disaster. If he domes A2 (by moving to B2), then Charybdis’s position is very comfortable. If he moves to A2, being teleported to A5, Charybdis loses access to A5, but the compensation is enormous (for example, she could next move to A3 and threaten to win in A2).
Now let’s see an example for the other strategy. Suppose it is Charybdis to move (and denote the whirlpools by W).
Threatening to win in A2 could be easily defended, but not if you're facing Charybdis. She moves to C3, buils on A2 and places a whirlpool on B2. The only way for the opponent to defend A2 is by B2, but not now. If you move to A2, you get teleported to A5. Notice that yet again this strategy only works because the opponent is not neighboring the other whirlpool (otherwise he would move to A5, get teleported to B2, and dome B2).
There is still one remaining strategy which consists of teleporting yourself to a comfortable position of level 2s. The following example give a suggestion of how this could be done (suppose it is Charybdis to play and denote the whirlpools by W):
By moving to C3, building and placing a whirlpool on B2, Charybdis can move to A5, get teleported to B2, build A1, and win in A1.
There is still another simple yet very strong strategy. This strategy consists of creating a square which is only adjacent to Charybdis or a dome and to place the whirlpool in that square. For example, Charybdis in B2, domes in A2 and B1, and the whirlpool in A1. Why is this strategy so strong? While there is this formation, no player will be able to enter the other end of the whirlpool because they wouldn’t be able to finish the turn, and only Charybdis can enter the whirlpool via the protected square. This is especially strong because everytime the opponent creates a winning threat, Charybdis just places the whirlpool in the winning square and not only is the opponent no longer threatening to win but is Charybdis the one who will win if nothing is done. Such position is even better than the usual because the opponent cannot even enter the whirlpool, but have to build a dome in that square! Although if the “protected whirlpool” was not neighbored by domes, the opponent could perhaps enter the whirlpool, get teleported to a bad square, but be able to win with the other worker.
The whirlpool can even be used to stop the opponent from moving to specific squares. Consider the following position and ask yourself, “How will the opponent win if Charybdis never moves the B2 worker and always places the whirlpool on any possible threat of the opponent?”
All the mentioned strategies until now are applicable at this phase of the game. There may still be other ways to use Charybdis’s whirlpools, but I leave that for you to imagine.
Charybdis can only move to a space neighboring Aphrodite, making it very hard to have full access to the whirlpools. Aphrodite should win this game with not too much effort.
Since Apollo has control over the opponent’s workers, it is easy for him to not only drive Charybdis away from the whirlpools but also to get his workers close. Similar with Scylla. For this reason, it can be a pain to use the usual strategies. It can still be possible to play this with Charybdis, though.
If there is a block under the whirlpools, Ares can remove the block and the whirlpool. This might seem appealing but it will still be extremely difficult for Ares.
Charybdis may enter in the whirlpool at any time (as long as she is not moving up in order to enter). This means that Athena might not be as effective as she usually is and Charybdis is a good choice to defeat her.
It might seem that Charybdis can’t cope with the building streak, but these matches are actually quite balanced.
Charybdis is initially much better (so are most gods against Gaea), but if you let her get the two workers, you might be doomed. For example, if Gaea has 4 workers, she might “sacrifice” a worker by letting it deliberately over a whirlpool so that both players don’t have power but Gaea has an extra worker.
Having an extra worker against Charybdis can be of great value (see Gaea), especially for Hydra. This factor gives these powers something extra to play with, but it could still not be enough.
Charybdis’s strategies “force” Harpies to build domes. This is bad for Harpies since they like an open board. Furthermore, there are some "technicalities" you should be aware of when playing this matchup. The whirlpool only works if you move there (not if you are forced there) and if you do get teleported, you then get forced by Harpies. The last sentence is applicable to other matchups with forcing gods, e.g. Apollo, Charon and Siren. Charybdis is the correct power to choose in this matchup.
The fact that Hermes has high mobility, makes it more difficult for Charybdis to place her whirlpools in a desirable square. Nevertheless, Charybdis surprises everyone by still being better here.
Usually you have to have (at least) 2 workers at level 2 before you can win. Against Charybdis this is not the case and Hypnus’s power might not be that effective.
Whenever Limus gets to be neighboring a whirlpool, she has full control over that whirlpool in the sense that you cannot build next to Limus so that whirlpool will be there as long as Limus wants. This means that you have to be extra careful with Charybdis. Still, that might just not be enough and Charybdis will have a hard time (still Charybdis can surprise you).
Charybdis not being a fast/offensive power gives some time to Morpheus to collect blocks. And Morpheus doesn’t really care about those whirlpools. When he has enough blocks, he can go for the attack and threaten to win in several squares. Charybdis can’t cope with this! In conclusion, Morpheus is better in this matchup (but still with possibilities for Charybdis).
If Pan moves to a whirlpool, this counts as moving up which means that he will not be able to use his condition when entering (or leaving) a whirlpool. Charybdis should win with not too much difficulty.
Triton’s mobility is not the same as Hermes’s and this will be a difficult match for Charybdis. For example, Triton might enter a whirlpool in a level 3, get teleported, move away from the whirlpool, enter the (non level 3) whirlpool again, and win!
If Zeus moves into a whirlpool, gets teleported to the other, and builds under himself, the whirlpool is removed. However, Charybdis should have a comfortable game against Zeus.
The takeaway is that only you should be controlling the whirlpools. If you don’t, then most of the strategies won’t work and I would recommend that you get rid of that whirlpool (by building on that square). Due to the numerous strategies Charybdis has at her hand, she is definitely a very strong power, and you should play with extra care.
Tier ranking: A
Charybdis adds a new and interesting dynamic to the game. Once you play with her, you will see that her power is pretty cool.