question on SS. if you down the middle person with one SS that had the strongest color, will the enemy's strongest color then change to the top color of the surviving characters? or stay the same regardless of who is left alive?
This is something I did a lot of testing on back when I still played. What trips people up is that there are two types of 'strongest color' abilities. One that tiebreaks deterministically, and the other type tiebreaks randomly.
Take Surgical Strike, one of the few abilities that tiebreakers deterministically. Suppose your opponent is Professor X (blue), X Force (green), and Thor 4* (red) and they're all exactly the same level, using Surgical Strike will always destroy the tile color of whoever is in center (on the team selection screen) because in the guy in the middle gets the tiebreaker. This is why you never see inconsistent results with Surgical Strike, as in if you use Surgical Strike in the identical situation twice, it will always produce exactly the same thing. You don't randomly destroy blue tiles this time and red tiles the next time unless something has changed to the enemy team status.
Unfortunately, most of the 'strongest color' abilities in this game tiebreaks randomly. Suppose you're the aforementioned opposing team and this time you fire off Master Plan. Master Plan tiebreaks randomly amongst those that tie for highest color, so Master Plan can generate red, blue, or green AP. It is easiest to see this with some variant of Winfinite with either a low level Prof X + Mystique + same level 3*, or another 4* that's tied in level with Professor X as it'd be very obvious that you're producing AP on 2 colors randomly.
There is no way to tell if an ability works like Surgical Strike versus Master Plan besides trial and error though most abilities tiebreak randomly which is responsible for the confusion in the first place. Note that this is also why they can't give you a 'strongest color' indicator because it is often a random color amongst the eligible colors.
Another thing that trips people up is that during the fix for excessive high level match damage for 1-3*s at very high levels, D3 simply made 1-3* not gain any match damage in certain level intervals. Of course, similar to the first issue, there's absolutely no way for you to know which levels they do not gain any match damage. The only reason I know this is because you can take the "Reinforcement" guys in a heroic event (20 levels higher than normal 3*s) and have the heroic roster 3* that's 20 levels lower still tank everything on a tie, which implies that extra 20 levels added no damage. This is a bigger problem back when scaling existed because you could be going into a fight against say a level 241 3* and a level 240* and find that level 241 3* owns the tiebreaker, and then next fight they scaled to level 246 3* and level 245 3* but the level 245 3* owns the tiebreaker since, unknown to you, level 246 is a level where 3* gains no match damage. As I understand scaling is removed so at least you won't be surprised a second time when you hit one of the mystery levels where the opponent gains no match damage.
Great addition. Want to help me add a list of abilities that use determined strongest color vs. random and I can add that?
I know that SS and XPool's Countdown for What both use determined, and seems like Master plan and I think also Blade's Nightstalker are random. What others are there?