Strategy Theorycrafting 7

Breaking Point by the Numbers: Then and Now [v1.2.0]

Over the past few months, Breaking Point has been a fairly controversial item that many have considered overpowered (a.k.a. “OP”). Despite its slight reduction in power during the Ardan release (v1.1.7; January), it still dominated many games. With the release of Celeste [v1.2.0] several days ago, Breaking Point received a drastic revision and many have asked, “Is it still good?” My initial hypothesis was “no,” but as I created mathematical combat simulations to prove this out, I discovered it’s much better than I anticipated. In fact, I would even consider it fairly well balanced now and still a great choice when opponents are building tanky and team fights are lengthy.

For all of the following calculations and simulations, I’m using a level 12 Petal –  base attack speed and weapon power of 136% and 140, respectively – as the aggressor. The target is level 12 and has base armor and health values – 80 and 1542, respectively – that are an average from all heroes currently in existence. For each simulation, I will indicate which additional offensive and/or defensive items are involved.

The Pre-v1.1.7 Breaking Point

In this first simulation, the only item equipped by the aggressor is a pre-v1.1.7 Breaking Point and the defender has only base defense and health:

Breaking Point pre-v1.1.7
Breaking Point pre-v1.1.7

Going from left to right, you’ll see the complete process by which the damage of an attack is calculated. Here’s an explanation of what you’re seeing:

  • [Grey] # of attacks
  • The timestamp of each attack.
  • The number of Breaking Point stacks (acquired at a rate of 1 per second while in combat)
  • [Purple] The weapon power (WP) bonus from Breaking Point (BP), which was 12 per stack before v1.1.7
  • [Purple] The total weapon power.
  • [Blue] Critical strike damage, which isn’t applicable here since there’s 0% chance to critical strike
  • Total raw damage (before armor mitigates part of it)
  • The post-mitigation damage (against the aforementioned 80 base armor)
  • [Pink] The effects of armor shred. This is reserved for Bonesaw, so this won’t come into play here.
  • [Orange] The effects of armor pierce. You’ll see this increase at a rate of 5% per stack and then see the final damage output for the attack.
  • A running total of the damage created over the course of the simulation. Once this value exceeds the health of the target, you’ll see the word “dead” appear as bookends on either side of the row.

Now that the basics are out of the way, let’s talk about what this means. The pre-v.1.1.7 Breaking Point could kill an average hero in 13 attacks or 6.82 seconds. To kill an entire team of similar opponents, it would take around 26 attacks or 14.20 seconds, with each opponent dying more quickly than the one before.

The v1.1.7 Breaking Point

In v1.1.7, they “nerfed” Breaking Point for ranged heroes, making it so each stack only increased weapon power by 9 (instead of 12). However, the 5% armor pierce per stack remained the same. Here’s the outcome:

Breaking Point v1.1.7
Breaking Point v1.1.7

Yes, your eyes are working correctly. It took the same amount of time to kill someone. However, notice the running totals; the pre-v1.1.7 Breaking Point did do around 100 more damage in the same amount of time. If you were to have the v1.1.7 breaking point try to similarly eliminate an entire team, it only took around 1 additional second to ace (15.34 seconds total). All in all, this didn’t really feel like a nerf. This is why Breaking Points still ran rampant during the 1.1.7 era.

The v1.2.0 Breaking Point

Now, let’s fast forward to today (v1.2.0). The newest iteration of Breaking Point retains the 9 weapon power bonus per stack (for ranged heroes), but replaced the 5% armor pierce per stack with 5% chance to critical strike and 5% bonus critical strike damage. Let’s see how this plays out:

Breaking Point v.1.20
Breaking Point v.1.20

There’s a few things i want you to observe here:

  • First, in order to factor in critical strike damage effectively, I had to amortize the potential damage of all attacks. It’s very possible that all of your attacks will be critical strikes. It’s also possible that none of them are critical strikes. By using amortization, I’m calculating based on balanced odds and I felt it was the best way to approach the problem of probabilities.
  • It takes about half a second longer to make the same first kill with the newest Breaking Point. Additionally, the three-man kill comes in at 15.34 seconds, which is the same as it was in v1.1.7.
  • The beginning damage of the new Breaking Point is weaker than the old one. Believe it or not, this has little to do with the change from armor pierce bonuses to critical strike bonuses. The previous iterations of Breaking Point used to be +40% attack speed and +15 weapon power (without any stacks). In the new Breaking Point, they removed the +15 weapon power, leaving you only with the weapon speed. Basically, if you aren’t able to build stacks with the new Breaking Point, you’re left with a very expensive Blazing Salvo.
  • The v1.2.0 Breaking Point overtakes the damage of the old Breaking Point at around 10 stacks, at which point it does more damage. At 20 stacks, the new Breaking Point is doing a whomping 800 points of raw weapon damage. The 80 armor does reduce this by a sizable amount – down to 444 damage – but that’s still much better than the 335 of damage from the old Breaking Point that is doing 100% pierce damage (a.k.a. “true damage”).

A few additional things I observed that are not shown here:

  • The old Breaking Point becomes better than the new one when the target has 139 or more armor – yes, my simulations can get very specific. This doesn’t mean you should avoid buying the new Breaking Point if your targets have high armor. The key criteria still remains: are team fights lasting long enough to make effective usage of Breaking Point stacks? After doing some math, if you’re not building 8 stacks (or more) during a team fight, you probably want to go with a different tier 3 weapon.
  • The new Breaking Point is much more susceptible to mitigation by armor. This is one reason why I feel like the item is much more balanced now. With v1.1.7 and earlier, you were better off buying heavy health items (e.g. Crucible) than buying heavy armor items (e.g. Metal Jacket). With v1.2.0 you can actually build a Metal Jacket and get a ton of mileage out of it. Admittedly, if you’re a melee hero, building (and using) an Atlas Pauldron is probably the most effective tool against Breaking Points in general.
  • That being said, Bonesaw is often Breaking Point’s best friend. It can shred the armor that Breaking Point is susceptible to and is very complementary. Once again, the key is that the fights are lasting long enough to warrant a Breaking Point.


Last but not least, one little dark secret that many people might not realize: Bonesaw is actually the most efficient killer of all the tier 3 weapon items… and always has been! The major differences are:

  1. Bonesaw’s armor shredding stacks build per hit and can max out within a couple of short seconds. Breaking point is slower at building stacks and can only build a single stack per second (no matter how many times you hit your opponent during that second).
  2. Unlike Breaking Point, Bonesaw stacks do not transfer between opponents nor can the stacks get nearly as high. When you start on a new target, you have to shred their armor from scratch, whereas with Breaking Point it keeps building stacks from where it left off.
  3. Unlike Breaking Point, armor shredded by Bonesaw acts as a “debuff” on the opponent rather than a bonus that is specific to only that player. This means that any of your teammates attacking the target whose armor you’ve shredded can also reap the benefits .

In closing, I’ll leave you with the damage chart for Bonesaw and let you do you do your own analysis as homework. Enjoy!







  • Reply
    Mar 04, 2015 8:05 pm

    The analysis is beautiful. I believe BP is a very character depending item. from my experience, u really need ranged characters (melee has the stacks falls short too quickly), that aren’t too squishy (so they can stay in fight instead of hit and run). Which leave you adagio, petal, and not really great for saw, making BP a somewhat narrow choice.
    BS in the other hand is just pure fun, especially vs Kraken or turrets. Great for both ranged and melee. Makes you really want to coordinate and focus your atks but is extremely hard to do when playing with strangers.

    • Reply
      Mar 05, 2015 2:22 pm

      Actually, in situations where the enemy team is building tanky and team fights are lasting more than 6-8 seconds, I’ve been building Breaking Point on Krul and decimating teams with it. In fact, there was one game where I was paired with a Celeste and an Ardan, so the other team built shield defenses (and rightly so). When I upgraded my Blazing Salvo to a Breaking Point it took them by surprise in the next team fights and we won the game as a result of it. I was getting to 10-14 stacks each time.

      I also had a game recently where I built a Bonesaw on Taka and wish I had built a Breaking Point instead since the enemy team was building high health.

      • Reply
        Mar 05, 2015 9:18 pm

        Very nice! From my experience with krul, his stacks starts to fall whenever u are chasing someone (with or without stutter step) and also when u switch target. Does the same thing happen to you? or am i doing something wrong?

  • Reply
    Mar 03, 2015 7:11 pm

    This is sooo awesome!

    Another difference I’d like the point out: When Breaking Point added weapon & armor pierce, it’s power grew quadratically. When it switched to weapon, crit chance, and crit damage, its power now grows cubically. This means the growth curve is flatter in the beginning, but picks up more momentum later.

    This is generally a nerf, because it means your early-fight damage is even weaker, making it difficult to zone or eliminate an enemy threat earlier.

    • Reply
      Mar 03, 2015 10:27 pm

      Gadianton always has very in-depth statistical analysis! He’s really quite talented! This has been a WIP for awhile, so I’m glad you enjoy the final masterpiece!

      The Breaking Point changes do bring in a “random” factor, which is hard to discuss (crit chance). I’m glad it was crit chance AND crit damage. Even in its current form some people are turning their noses up to it.

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