Aphid Snatching RNG on Cold Blood


For many strategies revolving around the harder difficulties, aphid snatching (gathering all four non-bridge aphids within about five minutes) has been an extremely tedious process, not because it takes long to gather information or create a strategy, but because of a problem with the level itself. The enemies' positions rely completely on RNG, and even the two opposing colonies have some RNG involved while moving pheromones. You would have to restart about 30 times to get just one basic run and no alternative strategy AT ALL has been found that consistently gives a winning run. I have found absolutely no reason at all to justify this amount of randomness.

I should also say there's an alternate way to fix this by just making sure that paths to the BHA aphids are completely blocked, but the problems with that is that this would shatter strategies and set some records on the level in stone, not to mention the fact that even with these aphids, the level is still quite hard, mainly because of the other colonies and times where you have to plan out what to do beforehand, or else you'll end up just sitting in your nest at night wondering whether to go for the magnolia or if you have enough ants to cross the bridge, stuff like that.

The Issue
This strategy is only possible by rushing out of the nest with two groups of seven workers and going to gather the BHA aphids before the LBA. And of course there's already RNG because you have to decide which direction to enter the western plateau from, which depends on whether or not the northern path is guarded in whatever way. Going from the northern path is faster though, and because this post is aganist RNG, that's the perspective we'll be taking. First things first we need to camp at the NP aphids, right next to the magnolia. To do this from the northern path however, you must first go through what could be a ton of enemies, or what could be none. There should only be one enemy in each region (regions being groups of areas that enemies in that region will move to) at this time, so it all depends on, for the northeast region, whether they go south, for the northwest region, whether the go southeast (this is avoidable but you'll have to gather up ants, wasting time), and for the west region, on top of the magnolia or to the right of the entire plateau (this area is also avoidable except in combination with the enemy from the northwest region being on the southeast area).

If you do manage to get onto the northern plateau, you'll have to camp on the NP with aphid gathering off. There's always a chance that the enemy in the western region can change areas. If the area it changes to is on the magnolia OR on the SP milkweed plant, the run is dead. Soon after, another enemy spawns on the western region. I call this enemy the delayed enemy, and it can spawn in any one of the three caves and go to any area on the western region. If this is on the magnolia or on the SP, you're dead as usual. There's also the possibility that the delayed enemy goes to the same area that the previous enemy on the western region was in. In this case, one, or even both of the enemies can relocate and ruin the entire run by once again, going on the SP or magnolia. The final issue for these two milkweeds is the BHA themselves. For some reason their controls are quite buggy and they will sometimes move their pheromones even if the pinecone next to their nest is not fully harvested. This is usually fine because the BHA relocates the pheromone back to the pinecone in a few seconds, but when it doesn't, then the BHA could intercept some of your ants and easily kill the run. I didn't mention the fact that enemies can kill your ants who are returning home with aphids because that's not a problem unless the BHA could direct their pheromones to reach them and take them back. If the aphids are not in the path of the BHA harvesting sites though, your fine and you can recollect them later.

The final milkweeds to snatch aphids from on the first day are the ones next to the LBA, the EL and the WL. These two patches are, by leaps, easier to gather, but an unlucky enemy movement to other areas or a position within an area being too close to your ants' path can easily kill the run due to the fact that not gathering them in time can easily lose you a couple more workers which are essential at night to have, especially if you took long to gather the BHA aphids because of two unlucky enemies killing both returing groups. Said enemy movements could be an enemy from the area north of the EL moving to the southwest of the EL, or an enemy from the EL being too close from the border on the lake so your ants can't pass without getting killed. There's also the fact that the LBA will, for some reason, switch back to gathering the aphids just after switching to gather the magnolia, so if you send your workers out, and if your unlucky for this to happens and a returning worker gets killed, you'll have to restart which is just annoying.

The luck required just to aphid snatch on the first day is extremely irritating as the inconsistencies can misinform strategies, take up time, and destroy your sanity. I've waited a long time to find an excuse in order to make this post and now I finally have one.
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