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DAMAGE: newt: 1d2, grid bug: 1d1 SPEED: newt: 6, grid bug: 12 but only moves orthogonally, so not really as fast as playerAC: newt: 8 grid bug: 9EXP: newt: 1 grid bug: 4
newts have more AC (that is, less AC, more "armor") and do more damage, so are clearly more powerful. Grid bugs are slightly faster, but they can be easily blocked if the only way to the player is diagonally, and are also given an extreme tactical disadvantage- it's rare that a grid bug ever gets the chance to attack before I kill it, and even then it's not guaranteed that it does damage.
Also, the reward for killing one is also a factor: grid bugs give 4 exp, which can level up a level 1 player quickly if they appear in packs; but newts have a chance to leave a corpse, which has a chance of giving more MP (which can also raise max MP), which is exceptionally useful for spellcasters at level 1 (esp. if they start at 9 MP and just need one more max MP to cast that level 2 spell).
This is something I've always found kind of weird; the 'newt jokes' are very stereotypical, yet newts actually DO pose a real threat- for instance if a player is at 1 HP and can't run. Another contender for 'easiest enemy' would be a lichen- it also gives 4 EXP and can't do damage at all! although it CAN hold an unsuspecting player, which is why I chose the grid bug as my preferred 'easiest enemy'.
Furthermore, comics and clichés are not science: one found it funny to make a comic with dudley killed by a newt, and another one followed his example. Since the newt comics were three, someone made a post in each newt joke, linking the present one with the previous and the next, making the cliché continue.
Now it's just a newt idea.