Monday, February 29, 2016

Blade & Soul - Newbie tips for Arena PvP (1v1 and 3v3) by bruceleroy99

So I've been playing a lot of arena lately on my BM (mostly 3s, but some 1v1), and there's a few things I've learned that would've been great to know when I first started out to not get wrecked as hard. Some of the specific class details may be wrong, so feel free to correct me in the comments if so, but hopefully these help people tear their hair out less than I did when they're trying to learn.

For reference I have a 45 BM that's gold in 1v1 and 3s and a summoner that's also gold in both but only in the mid 20s (lolop). My knowledge of classes is limited for assassins and destroyers, but the people I do 3s with play FM, BD, and KFM and they've helped me pick them apart a bit.

General tips

#1 - learn the abilities of your class and how to use your evasion skills
Knowing WHAT you can do (especially what abilities pierce defense / parry and have resist buffs) and learning how and what abilities to evade are easily the most effective thing you can do to get better early on. If you're not using Q/E (like me, an idiot) to evade abilities you are going to lose against better players more often than not. If you use your resist all damage and status effects buff while the opponent is CC'd you're leaving yourself open for punishment.

If you're going to ignore this whole point because I'm an idiot and you totally know 100% how to play your class, at least do me a favor and look at the bottom of your skills in the skill tree and make sure you understand the ones that have either Parry / Defense Penetration or Resist Debuff / Damage on them, you'd be surprised which ones have it tagged but not listed on the ability itself.

For each class these are the basics that I've seen be generally very effective in most situations (especially in 3s):
  • assassin - be patient, stay in stealth, and just wear the enemy down (extremely effective for wasting enemy interferes in 3s)
  • blade dancer - spin all day, burst enemies when their escape is down with lightning draw and learn to animation cancel your LMB/F
  • blade master - chain your cc, burst enemies when their escape is down with lightning draw + LMB/RMB
  • destroyer - learn to animation cancel your attacks (autos?)
  • force master - ice ball to break + cancel defenses, then kite for days and burn people down
  • kung fu master - counter / evade until your opponent, chain your stuns until they die
  • summoner - roll your face on the keyboard
#2 - all CC is not created equal, learn to chain
Retreat gets players out of knockdown, daze, and unconscious, so typically those are less powerful. Stuns and grapples tend to be more effective (generally speaking) because players have to use their big escape skill (I call it their tab, since that's what it is for a few classes) which has a long CD. In lower ranks you can get players to use their tab to escape early and then punish them with your burst while they sit there helpless. Non-assassins have a slightly easier time doing this as they can parry stun a lot of things.

#3 - learn to recognize other classes escapes, and learn when to use yours
All classes have a skill that gets you out of stuns, and can also be specced to escape grabs / grapples / phantom grips, but they have a long cooldown (~30s). Burning this escape is huge, and leaves your opponents usually unable to do anything if you are able to use another stun / grab / grapple / PG again quickly. On the other hand, you need to learn when to use your big escape versus not. Using it to escape a knockdown is probably gonna be a bad time, unless maybe you're using it to get up instantly and finish someone off right there.

For the most part, when players have a gold outline they are using their big escape skill, although there are a few exceptions. Here's a list of what other classes skills look like:
  • assassin - backflip + flash bomb (blinds you)
  • blade dance / blade master / force master / kung fu master - spiral upwards from the ground with arms out
  • destroyer - spin attack with axe (not to be confused with their normal spin, look for the gold outline)
  • summoner - looks like a backflip
#4 - learn when NOT to attack
This was actually my biggest frustration early on. Learning when not to attack people is almost as important as knowing when to attack them. I think all classes have a reactive counter, so knowing when they're using them can go a long way to making sure you don't get yourself stunned or heal them.

All of the melee classes except assassins have a standing attack counter that can parry (when you attack in < 0.5s after they use the ability) and stun you, almost at will (usually they're a 1-2s channel with an equal or lesser CD). For BD / destro, they parry when they're spinning, but it costs them focus. For BM / KFM they put their hands / weapons up and go "HA" (apparently they find whatever they're doing hilarious), and using an ability that pierces + blocks their defensive abilities leaves them wide open to attack for a bit.

Assassins and summoners both get a reactive stealth counter, but they're on a longer CD (6s?). Assassins do some voodoo hand-wavey shit, and summoners put up a giant dandelion (seriously though, why the hell do they get a stealth?). FMs apparently just get bent.

On top of these standing counters, there's also ground counters that melee classes get that makes it look like the person on the ground is cringing a bit with their hands up. Attacking them during this will let them get up, so watch out for it.

Lastly, there are other reactive defensive abilities that are hard to deal with if you don't know when they're happening. If you're not prepared, you'll end up burning all your burst or CC and see a bunch of RESIST messages, the worst part of which is often times it heals opponents as well. Here's what they look like for other classes:
  • BDs / BMs - a single sword circles them (not to be confused with when they have swords floating behind them by their head or there are multiple circling them), for BMs it resists ranged attacks but for BDs it also resists status effects and damage.
  • KFM - snowflake above their head, causes them to ice block when hit
  • FM - snowflake above their head, causes them to ice block when hit, also has a more elaborate looking ice block ability that can heal them when they are hit, and an AoE projectile resistance buff (can be specced to a ground location which looks like a big blue dome or an AoE around them which looks like sparkly green lights)
  • destro - they light themselves on fire and run around and shit on your face
  • summoner / assassin - both have fog clouds they can stand in to resist projectiles and status effects
#5 - learn how to counter grabs / grapple
This is a bit trickier because I'm not very good at it, but for the classes that have a grab / grapple / phantom grip there is a specific moment when you need to hit counterattack. If you're like me, you started out in PvP just mashing all the abilities that were up, not knowing you had to do this, and then wondering why your counter did absolutely nothing. The skills themselves are hard enough to not be in the middle of spamming another ability, let alone time correctly or even see that the counter timing is coming.

Here's some (all?) of the timing for when to hit counter [thanks to u/hamletswords]
  • blade dancer - hit it right before the sword that flies up into the air lands in the back of your head.
  • destroyer - they sort of lean back before they throw you, you want to escape then. They don't have to do that though (the bots don't) which doesn't give you an opportunity to counter
  • KFM- again they kind of lean back or change position a bit, this time before they headbutt you. Also again, they don't have to do it so you can't always counter
  • FM- there's very little tell, but most of them will throw you right away, so apparently it sometimes works to 2 right after being grabbed

Tips specifically for 3v3

#1 - learn when to assist
Unless your team is 3 summoners or you have an assassin that can stay permastealthed and 1v3 the other team, chances are you'll actually need to learn to utilize your interference chance well. Knowing when your opponents and your team have their tab escapes up is the fine line between bursting someone 100-0 and having the same done to your team. Watch for tab (and other) escapes, then try to pop in and use a stun and delete your opponent, but be careful they're not going to completely resist everything you try to do.

While there are times that an interference will just end with you dying without any chance of doing good (eg a fiery spinning destro and a BD in lightning draw with their resist buff up), learning to time a defensive interference can quickly turn the tides. There's been many a time I've stopped the ever-infuriating perma-stealthed assassin by popping in and charging + knocking them up while they're trying to do their knockup combo on my teammate. Also, don't be afraid to pop in just to use a cooldown to heal yourself (or your teammate). If you're low on health it could be very beneficial to find a safe time to heal. 10% of your health can easily be the difference between winning and losing.

#2 - don't be afraid to tag out
I've seen so many people get bursted to death with 2 swaps and 3 intereferences left because they wanted to stay in and be the hero. If you just got knocked from full to half health because your tab escape is down and you are out of focus, swap someone else in.

#3 - learn what your teammates can do
Whilst CC is generally useful overall and not a bad thing to use, it can sometimes be detrimental. Making targets airborne is probably the biggest point of contention. Summoners and FMs can do a ton of damage while people are knocked up, whereas pretty much everyone else can't do squat. Using a knockdown or daze on a stunned opponent is also usually a big no-no, so be careful with spamming CC all the time.

#4 - respec if you need to while your teammates are fighting
Yes, you can respec mid-fight, which is especially useful if you're a FM or destro and are low HP and can spec for your huge heal.

Ok, that's about it for now. I'll try and edit / update this if people find it useful. Feel free to comment if there's anything blatantly wrong, or even just if you found it useful =)


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