Lab Rats and the Battledomers Who Love Them
*Disclaimer: Prolonged Lab Ray use can severely damage your pet... the authors take no responsibility for what happens when you do this!!! Please train your pets in a responsible and safe manner.
Lab rats are easy to spot; they have high strength, low defence, and amazingly high hit points that are only equaled by their shockingly low levels and poor self-esteem. It’s hard to know your place in Neopia when you can go to sleep as a Green Grundo and wake up as a Spotted Koi. First we’ll talk about the advantages that lab rats offer to a Battledomer, we’ll discuss a lab rat’s weaknesses and how to cope with them, and finally we’ll talk about the most terrible of all lab ray side effects... ugly pets.
Benefits of the lab
The lab ray has long been stigmatized as a lazy way to train, but no one can doubt that it helps. Lab ray data varies from study to study but in general a year of labbing is good for adding about 200 hit points and 70 strength stats to your pet, while taking away a handful of defence stats and 10 or 15 levels. The hit points alone will save you anywhere from 1,600,000 neopoints a year in codestones to 15,000,000 NP if you feed Sneggs for hit points. I won’t mention all of the spiffy clothes and paint jobs that come from having a lab pet because this is a Battledome article. *cough* It’s probably not a good idea to only use the lab ray. Eventually you will have 700 strength and you’ll want 700 defence to go along with it; if you didn’t plan ahead, then fixing it can cost you dearly. We recommend using the lab ray in combination with a regular training regiment and healthy diet. This way you can make up for any of those silly minus 3 defence zaps right away instead of letting them pile up on you.
Using your strength to your advantage
First of all, don’t waste your neopoints on dual-duty weapons; Amulet of Inevitable Betrayal, Golden Compass, Scarab Ring, and Sword of the Dead are great weapons to own but you’re really not getting your NP’s worth out of their defence icons. Instead paying that extra NP for defence icons, you should just invest in something that does more attack icons. Scarab Ring can attack 6 icons and defend 6, but you would be better off with an Unstable Slime that attacks with 7 for the same price. You always want to focus on maximizing your attack. Take a look at bombs too: Sand Snowballs, Honey Potion, or Rainbow Clockwork Grundo (depending on your budget). You’ll have room to carry these in your sets because of all of the defence items that you don’t need.
Making up for your defence disadvantage
Generally speaking, a lab rat will have a healthy amount of hit points, which really helps from a defence perspective. Yes, you’ll take more damage because you can’t defend well, but your pet will be able to handle it. If you absolutely need to defend, then you should consider percentage based shields. Items like the Yooyuball Goal Net Shield or Winged Scarab can block a 100% of an icon type; this way you’ll block the same amount of icons with low defense as you would with high defence. Downsize! is a must too; it will always protect you from 50% of an attack (regardless of your defence), and you should make an effort to get the Sink and Burrow faerie abilities. They block a wide range of icons and you can make it through a lot of 1 player battles with just those as your defence.
The healer problem
Having higher than average hit points is a big advantage and makes your choice of a healer very important. A percentage based healer is going to help you more than someone with fewer hit points. No matter what your pet’s species, you can use a Blue Scorchstone or Greater Healing Scroll during your early Battledome career. Once you get over 100 hit points, though, it’s time to start thinking about percentage species healers, and that causes trouble when you never know what your pet is going to be from day to day. If you’re a dedicated labber, then a Bag of Healing Dust or a Leaded Elemental Vial will set you free; but for the average Neopians we’ll have to use species healers while we save. Typically the plan is to deal with whatever species you have until a plot, big tournament, or you’re after a Defenders of Neopia challenger. For these important battles you can purchase single use 100% healers (or the right healing potion for your hit points), or if you need to do a lot of 1-player battling, you can morph into a species with a good healer then take your chances with the lab or just wait until the war is over to start labbing again.
Several pet species offer good species healers; Elephantes, Kacheeks, and Gelerts are probably the most common (and cheapest). Unis and Lennies have cheap morphing potions, but the healers are lot more expensive. Far and away the best plan is to purchase a Kacheek Life Potion and find a friend with Kacheek Flour. This is also a service provided by many Battledome guilds as it lets you get a species healer without wasting the NP for a morphing potion. If you have something to offer as collateral, you can usually find a helpful person on the Battledome Chat too that will help you go Kacheek.
Personally I’ve always been an Elephante fan, so I spring for the Elephante Morphing Potions and Elephante Transmogrification Potions, but they are beginning to get more expensive (maybe because I’ve used so many of them :P). Keep in mind that there is an avatar for using a morphing potion and another avatar for using a transmogrification potion, so that makes the cost less painful. If you can’t stand having a mutant Elephante, just pick up a Turnip Tonic (which changes your pet to blue, yellow, red, or green) or shop around for a cheaper paintbrush like Cloud or Christmas.