Aphonia's Guide to Blademaster PVP[Final]
Hi, this is Aphonia, a blademaster in the US servers and the leader of team GE.
I'm ranked number 1 in blademaster rankings in the Hermes Korean Server, but probably around 20 in the Kasias Korean server. Gonna test how far I can get in Kasias Blademaster Rankings this summer since I'll be in Korea. I probably won't be able to join the global server because I gotta take care of military business, but I'll probably come when military's all taken care of.
Now, I've gotten a couple of requests for a guide/skill build for blademaster PVP, so here we go:
- Fast movespeed
- Decent combo connectors
- One of the strongest stunlock combos
- Good class-specific buff (30 secs of +ms/as goodness)
- Very bad skill judgement(meaning bm's dont have many invincibility/superarmor/semi-superarmor moves)
- Strength growth is indeed very high, but overall low skill % damage causes
blademasters to have low-average damage output overall
- No dot(damage over time) that goes through armor, no enchants to increase damage output
- Almost no guard breaking moves
- Low physical defence for a melee class, abysmal magic defence
I guess bm's are op in the US servers right now because many don't know
how to deal with blademaster's movespeed, but in the KR servers, blademasters move
at a blindingly fast speed compared to the US servers and blademaster's still considered
a low-average job for pvp.
Skill Build and Explanations
There are no set skill build, but many blademasters follow a generic skill build
with some deviations. I will explain the skill build at lvl 63, the current max lvl.
Master these skills (no ifs or buts):
Evasive Dash: Need I say more?
Primary damage dealing move, use soley as a combo connector. Superarmor startup frames, but not noticeable.
Good skill, invincible startup frames(when you turn your body) and apercent chance to guard break/stun opponent! Increased skill level decreases startup delay; you can def. notice that lvl 20 press kick activates way faster than lvl 1 press kick. Use as stunlock combo starter into tachyon or grab
Block into counterattack. Pretty cool skill design, insane damage, but really really slow recovery. The actuall skill consists of 3 hits: normal-stun-stun so if the opponent is fast enough he can use evasive dash/attack on the first normal hit to negate the stun effect of counter. Stunlock combo starter into tachyon or grab
Insane damage stunlock combo. Use only after landing the stun on press kick or counter smash. Using after shining cutter is iffy... You can use break cancel to cancel the last hit to continue into a grab combo. Superarmor while active.
Small invincible frame, mid-range stun move. Use it primarily to counterattack (use the invinc frame to negate opponent's attack, and land the actual hit). Chain into press kick-tachyon or press kick-grab.
Iffy guard break, but good range. Max this as maxing it increases range. Pretty significant recovery time too, so work hard on getting this to hit.
You can cancel various moves with right click
Cancel Attack Dash
You can cancel your regular attack and move without delay, use primarily for chasing
Back End Upper
Primary combo starter. Invincible frames going back and coming out. Did I mention that you can play mind games with it? By controlling your pov, you can actually move forwards twice/different directions. Chain into press kick-assault smash. All in all the move that I use the most as a blademaster.
Primary damage dealing move. In addition to chaining this from back upper, use it to launch grounded opponents. If charged, it gains guard frames while moving forwards, but damage decreases significantly. Use the charged version after landing rising attack or evasive attack.
Guaranteed 3 hits, can connect to air juggle with assault smash/bash. You can do a lot of things with fighter grab.
Deep Wind Smash
Small invincible frame on startup, no armor while running, superarmor on recovery. Best secondary damage dealer, and downs opponents too. If you're good with control, you can hit opponents 5-7 times before downing them.
All passives except for the 45 lvl passive and critical chance, since crit can easily be gotten by gear.
Preference (1-max depending on your preference):
If you use your normal attack a lot, max, if not, don't max
Guaranteed hit if thrust kick hits, launches opponents into air. Good combo connector, and decent damage, I gave around 9. Increased level increases launch height, so you might want to find a height that you're comfortable with.
Round Swing 1
Superarmor frames(very unreliable), increased range when maxed. Has slight stun; use break cancel towards the other direction-grab.
Rapid Attack 1
Slightly longer range than normal attacks, decent damage.
Increases +ms/as as you level, if ms is important to you(it is really important to me), max it. If not, spend more points to increasing your damage.
1 Point Wonders:
Back Hit Grab
Good countering move. Has Guard judgement+grab judgement.
Smaller recovery than counter smash, you can cancel into normal attack if you successfully block.
Storm Wheel Wind
Full superarmor, no armor on the recovery tho. Easily countered if opponent has evasive attack/dash.
Full superarmor, even on recovery. If you get 3 charges, it can guard break too. However, you cannot move while casting this, so you're vulnerable to ranged moves/shadow dash.
Ground Cutter 1,2,3
Decent ranged skill, not worth putting any more points though. Ground cutter 3 can down the opponent, but in pro matches people rarely get hit.
Rapid attack 2,3: Just 1 please.
Bash 2,(maybe bash 3): Just 1 please.
Put 3 into this, since this is the minimum height required to connect that juggle. If you want to be safe with low as, put around 5. Slow activation/recovery, so only use during combo!
General combo escaping and recovering from a downed state. Activates pretty fast, but has recovery frames that opponents can take advantage.
Any prereqs should not be maxed, only put skill points required to lvl up the skill that you need.
Some people like to put points in upper swing 1/2; do so if you like and take off points from grab. I personally never used that skill as it takes up too much sp to be effective.
Armor: All 60 lvl P-Rare grade armor is recommended. Some may go for the 54 lvl Hell Set P-rare
that increases shining cutter+1 and assault smash+1, but only go for 2 pieces.
I currently have (head, chest, pants, shoulder) 60 P-rare armor and (gloves shoes) 54
Hell set for the added skills.
Accessories: rare grades of Crit, Str, Grp // Hp+ Mp+ Water
Weapon: Go with normal weapon (with additional hit chance) on one hand and crit on the other.
Rare grade or P-rare, rare grade is fine for pvp because there are no difference between
rare and p-rare weapons except for the pve damage and the elemental damage.
Souls/Gsouls: Probably hit once obt ends. These can be bought with real money, and is pretty much
necessary for pvp. Other people will probably sell it for in-game money though,
so you don't have to spend real money to get a set.
The option for blademasters will be
(Head / Shoulders / Chest / Leggings / Gloves / Shoes)
(Int or HPr[Int or HPr] / AS[AS] / Cd reduction[Cd] / MS[MS] / AS[AS] / MS[MS])
G-soul options are indicated in brackets .
6 armor judgements(the edge of your character will be colored):
Invincibilityz(white outline): Cannot get hit/grabbed
Superarmor(red outline): Motion does not cancel at all, but you can get grabbed
Guard(no outline): Motion does not get cancelled normally, but can be grabbed and can be cancelled
by guard breaking skills
Semi-superarmor(blue outline): Motion gets cancelled if hit by semi-superarmor breaking moves, can
Crouch(no outline): Motion does not get cancelled by projectiles, but gets cancelled by melee hits.
No armor(no outline): Motion gets cancelled if you get hit.
Semi-superarmor break: cancels semi-superarmor moves by opponent
Stun: Stuns opponent for a sec or so
Grab: Grabs opponent, cancels up to superarmor moves
Guard break: Breaks opponent's guards
A skill can have more than 1 attack judgements and only 1 armor judgement; for example choke flat of taoists has stun+guard break+semi-superarmor break for the attack judgement and invincible for the armor judgement. Back end upper for fighters have semi-superarmor break attack judgement and invincible for armor judgement.
All skills have 3 distinct parts: Startup-attack animation-recovery. Knowing when your armor judgement helps to properly guard enemy attacks when executing your own skills and knowing enemy recovery times for skills are important in taking advantage in general. Blademasters have an easier time counterattacking on enemy recovery frames because they have the high ms. The startup/attack/recovery times are different for each skill, so learn them all.
Example 1: Press Kick
Startup - (turns body, invincible armor judgement)
Attack animation - (the blue kick, no armor judgement, guard break/stun attack judgement)
Recovery - (very quick recovery, no armor judgement)
Example 2: Shadow Dash
Startup - (dashes forward, turns invisible. invincible armor judgement)
Attack animation - (turns visible, grabs if you successfully time your click, no armor judgement, grab
Recovery - (no recovery if grabbed, pretty heavy recovery if failed to grab, rolls forward, no armor
judgement, no attack judgement)
Example 3: Tao Stinger
Startup - (reels the staff backwards preparing to dash, invincible armor judgement)
Attack animation - (dashes forward, semi-superarmor armor judgement, semi-superarmor-break and
stun attack judgement)
Recovery - (almost no recovery if hit, short recovery if missed, no armor judgement on recovery)
Knowing your and your opponent's recoveries and skill judgement is key. Always try to use skills with quick activation after a skill with long recovery.
Now, the opponent has two different moves that can be used to escape from your ground combo or juggle. They are the evasive dash(shift+direction while being hit) and evasive attack(rm+lm while being hit). They both have a cooldown of 24 seconds, and cannot be reduced by cooldown reduction stats(which will be available on souls and auspices). Obviously, utilizing these two evasions is key to being good at PvP.
Evasive attack can only be used on the ground, and knocks back/downs the opponent. The animation is different for all classes, but for all classes there are no startup frames, there are invincible action frames, and a slight recovery frame in which you have no armor.
Evasive dash can be used both on ground and in air, thus making it the more important than the evasive attack. Certain classes can change the direction of evasive dash, opening up a new route to counterattack.
Since you can only properly execute a ground combo when both the evasive attack/dash of the opponents are on cooldown, it is hard to execute a ground combo if your skill levels are similar. Thus, air juggles are the more dominant way of executing combos, since it is necessary to take out only the evasive dash of the opponent to execute an air juggle. Each class has certain moves that can be used to air juggle; stun into grab is the most common way, and picking up the opponent from the ground is another common way of starting an air juggle.
Finally, you can do something that's called a stunlock combo. Each hit of this combo has the stun property, meaning that opponents cannot use evasive dash or attack. However, to compensate, they are often very short(3-4skills long) and deal significantly less damage then regular combos. For blademasters, they have a really good stunlock combo that is about equal to 7-8 seconds of air juggles, but other classes do not have such good stunlock combos.
Now, downing the opponent is really important as a blademaster or a combo character in general, because ground combos pick up the opponent from the ground and don't give him a chance to use evasive attack. There are 2 moves that can be used to get up: rising attack and the roll/standup. Both have a cooldown of 10 seconds; if both abilities are on cooldown and the opponent gets downed, he will need around 3 seconds for your char to get up naturally. This is a really good timing for you to do a ground combo, forcing your opponent to use his evasive dash.
Furthermore, the roll takes a bit of time to execute, allowing you to go into a ground combo if you're quick enough, and the rising attack is almost instant but has a significant recovery that you can take advantage of if you expect your opponent to use rising attack. Mixing up your strategies is therefore important; sometimes go straight into a ground combo and sometimes try to fake your opponents' rising attack so you can go into a stunlock combo or grab.
Combos are the core damage dealing mechanisms of blademasters. The thing to keep in mind is that after 7 hits, damage will decrease, down to 30% of the damage normally dealt when combo count is around 20. Thus, since only the first 7 hits will hit for the full amount of damage, it is important to concentrate the damage dealing moves to the front of the combo. Remember that the primary damage dealers are assault smash/thrust kick for blademasters.
Back upper -> press kick -> assault smash -> Bash 1, 2 -> Thrust kick/gain -> grab.
Grab -> assault smash -> 1 normal hit -> Thrust kick/gain -> Bash 1, 2 -> 3 normal hits -> grab
Bash 1, 2 -> Thrust kick/gain -> 3 normal hits -> assault smash -> grab
Assault smash -> 1 normal hit -> Thrust kick/gain -> bash 1, 2 -> 3 normal hits -> grab
Check my channel http://www.youtube.com/2010dchoi for some more basic combos.
PvP skill chaining
Now, if you've read the pvp basics section, you should know that each skill has a recovery frame that can be utilized by opponents. Therefore, you would want to primarily use skills with small recovery frames, small startup frames, and have some sort of decent armor judgement.
For blademasters, the primary skills that are used close range are:
- Back end upper -> press kick
Invincible time on back upper continues to invinc time on press kick, almost no recovery
- Back end upper -> thrust kick -> cancel shining cutter
Invinc time on back upper - superarmor on thrust kick - cancel into invinc time on shining
cutter. Shining cutter has a bit of recovery though, be cautious about using it
- Back end upper -> cancel counter smash
Invinc -> guard, be cautious because counter smash has a massive recovery if not hit.
- Back end upper -> target guard
Different from counter smash because back upper cannot be cancelled; but lower risk than
counter smash because its recovery is small.
- Back end upper -> storm wheel wind or moonlight cutter
Invinc -> full superarmor, use to take opponent's hit safely without getting cancelled
- Back end upper -> grab/backhit grab
Invinc -> grab judgement attack, grab allows for subsequent combos while backhit
grab is more defensive.
Another important thing to note in skill chaining is cancelling. You can cancel some skill animations and go into another skill without delay(recovery frames of first skill). By convention, action skills are cancelled by command skills and vice versa, but this is not always the case. Each class has different cancelling skill chains, so practice. Blademasters rely on back end upper -> cancel into any action skill chain.
For blademasters, there are a couple of different pvp styles.
First, there's the "charge" style, where you basically get close to the opponent as fast as you can and disrupt his moves with the normal attack (yes, blademaster's normal left click attack is the fastest with shadow's normal left click) and the skill chains that I described above. The key here is to never let your opponent catch their breath. I found this style to be particularly useful against shadow/assassin/rangers.
The second style is the "fake" style, where blademaster stays just out of the opponent's range, and uses his superior movespeed and precise timing on target guard/counter smash to lure out opponent's moves and attak on the recovery. This style requires in depth knowledge of your opponent's class as well as your own class, since you need to properly utilize your invincible moves and need to know when the recovery times of the opponents are. I personally use the "fake" style in most of my matches, and I'd say most other top ranking blademasters pvp based on the "fake" style, changing only to the "charge" style briefly to mix things up a bit.
However, just keep in mind that pvp style is ever evolving; if some different style fits you, go on and develop that style.
PvP matches in KR server