After seven catches in a row, the Warmonger releases a Gargantuamouse in order to break your momentum. With each successive catch your probability of encountering Gaga increases. The probability of encountering Gaga increases by a fourth degree polynomial equation (re: dev Dave on FBF) as the streak progresses. After the ninth catch encountering Gaga is extremely likely.
A lot of confusion exists concerning how to tell when you will encounter Gaga: watch your streak counter, your trap effectiveness meter, etc., etc. None of these indicators has proven reliable to date. As best we understand it, the facts are these:
- Gaga is not released until after the seventh catch: reports of release after the sixth catch can be traced to missing journal entries, for example;
- Once Gaga has been released, the probability of encounter increases by the given equation with no further indicator.
The streak meter always changes color in the same pattern and the trap effectivess meter adjusts as would be expected: when Gaga shows up in the detail display after the seventh catch.
Gaga is not a Support mouse. The Warmonger will still release a Gaga after the Support mice retreat towards the end of each wave when you have defeated at least 90% of the mice in the wave.
The catch rate for Gaga with Ice Maiden and Spellbook base as reported in the forums and groups (while we wait for solid data, sigh) has been very good. Catches have also been reported with the Chrome Drillbot.
Gaga has not shown any particular preference for bait: as the purpose of Gaga is to break a streak, changing as few variables as possible makes sense.
Switching to a luck charm works well if not using a Warpath Commander Charm: with Ice Maiden, Spellbook base, Warpath Commander Charm and Lucky Golden Shield, catch rates for both Crimson Commanders and Gaga reported thus far have been very good, near to 100%. Without the Warpath Commander Charm armed, the only mouse reported caught with Ice Maiden thus far is Gaga, so it seems to make sense to switch to a luck charm.
The answer depends on the larger context in which you are hunting your Gaga. If you switch to Ice Maiden before the ninth catch, you sacrifice the chance to cause 6 mice to retreat. Whether that is desirable or not depends on whether clearing the mouse or a better chance at Gaga is a higher priority. I generally switch after the eighth or ninth catch, depending on how many of the particular mouse I have left. I will switch after the eighth or even the seventh catch in order to preserve a second chance at Gaga with the same mouse. Switching does not attract Gaga. Arming a Warpath Commander Charm, however, does seem to increase your chances of attracting Gaga, as the vast majority of reports have hunters catching either a Crimson Commander or Gaga.
Recall that Gargantuamice are released in response to a streak. Thus, the way to attract Gaga is to make streaks. What breaks streaks? FTAs, FTCs and catches of other mice. Late in each wave after 90% of the mice in the wave have been defeated, the support mice retreat, eliminating two of the mice that could break a streak. Scouts are significantly weaker than warriors and archers, so leaving scouts for last in waves one and two creates an optimal environment for Gaga hunting. Note that a full nine streak clears 21 mice, while an eight streak clears 14, for a total of 35 mice, the number of each type of mouse in wave one. Hmmmmm......
Gargantuamice drop one to six flameshards in addition to 25000 points and 4000 gold. Given that they can be neatly incorporated in to your hunting pattern, I think the answer is an unqualified yes. The Theurgy Wardens drop zero to ten flameshards and the Warmonger either 100 or 150 flameshards, with each trap taking huge numbers of flameshards to craft, so the extra flameshards are very necessary, especially in an area which is so poor in loot.