The Impact of Time Warp
on P101 PvP
Only three months ago, I predicted that RANKED PvP in Pirate101 was on a fast track to a rock, paper, scissors metagame. Well, now it’s time to revisit these predictions. Let me start off with saying: it got so much worse, so much quicker than I could have ever imagined. Where did I go wrong? Let’s analyze what’s happened to the ranked PvP metagame in these three short months.
This series will have three parts. The first two parts will focus on the two major “devolutions” of ranked PvP in the last few months. The third part will discuss potential fixes.
In the original article, I claimed that Midrange builds served as a counter to aggressive strategies, which were starting to rule PvP. While everything I said still rings true, a wrinkle to the traditional aggro builds has been added. This wrinkle is the increasing popularity of aggressive melee players having Time Warp on their pets. Time Warp is a selfish power found on pets. It’s been around for a few years now and has been used occasionally. Its increasing popularity has a serious impact on PvP.
Without Time Warp
First, Let’s look at this matchup without Time Warp in the equation. Traditionally, midrange builds ran strong defensive units, like Contessa, Emmet/Exeter, or Ratbeard. They also run an effective “beater” companion like Nausica, Peter Quint, or Chantal.
The defensive units were strong enough to prevent rushes for a few rounds (anywhere between 2-5), which was long enough for midrange builds to set up their defensives and blunt the effectiveness of an all out rush. It’s important to note that the defensive units require at least one, and possibly multiple rounds, to setup effectively.
Before Time Warp became popular, the boards were just large enough, and the aggro players’ units had just enough movement range to let the midrange player get stabilized.
With Time Warp
Now, what happens with Time Warp in the picture?
Time Warp has gotten very popular in the past few months due to how aggressive an optimized team with warp can be. Should your pet spawn in one of the first 2 rounds of the duel (rounds where it will be immobilized), it will cast Warp. Warp doubles the movement range of all of your units. Additionally, it adds 2 ranks of relentless or burst fire to your melee and ranged units, respectively. This power may seem tame, since it requires a pet to spawn in the early rounds of a duel. However, some quick math shows that this occurrence is quite common.
The likelihood of a pet spawning in the early rounds of a duel
- Let’s assume the aggro player has a loyal 2 pet (35% chance to spawn per round)
- We need the pet to spawn on round 1 or round 2. To calculate the odds of this happening, we calculate the odds that the pet doesn’t spawn on both round 1 AND round 2.
- The pet has a 65% chance (independent of all previous results) to spawn each round. Thus, the pet’s chances of not spawning on round 1 or 2, thereby allowing warp to not trigger, is 65/100 * 65/100, or 42.25%.
- Therefore, the chances it does spawn on round 1 or 2 is 100-42.25=57.75%
We then see that the standard loyal 2 pet will activate warp in a bit over 50% of duels. This is insane. Time Warp is a 3 round, strictly better highland charge, that’s available to all classes. In addition, swashbucklers can pair it with Black Fog to bypass the theoretical best counter for Time warp, htl units. The added 2 ranks of relentless also combat a buckler’s lack of team buffs, vastly increasing the odds that their units get relentless chians.
A case study of a possible match
Let’s assume that in a hypothetical midrange buck vs aggro buckler (with Time Warp) matchup, the buckler’s Warp pet spawns round one. The pet will active before the buckler’s second turn, giving the buck at most 2 turns to react (if the buck is second, they get one turn). No matter what the size of the board is, the buckler will be able to reach with all 3 of their units on their second turn (nomally, they’d be unable to reach until round 4). This means that they will be able to defeat at least one (probably 2+) companion(s), or the buck pirate. The buck is now very far behind on resources (having lost their pirate or multiple companions), and is almost certainly going to lose.
This problem is increased ten-fold when Old Scratch is added to the picture. He replaces one of the melee units (let’s say Fan in this case). Scratch’s main weaknesses, a low movement range and squishiness, are removed when under the effects of Warp and Fog. He can cast a 100% buff. His controller (who normally would need 2+ rounds to reach a favorable position to poison) can cast a 430+ damage shroud the very next round on multiple units. The other two companions can either pressure the pirate or kill a companion on two. Finally, Scratch himself can move in to purge range, as he has much higher movement. Now the opposing pirate can’t shield (for fear of purge), can’t heal (shroud), and can’t kill any units (fog). They can’t even run away effectively, because warp is still up.
Good. It absolutely should, as a strategy like this is nearly impossible to beat reliably (outside of the mirror). This is merely one example. Privateer is also capable of pulling off similarly gross things. They can use a combination of Scratch, Trees, Boon+Nausica, and time warp to deal insane amounts of damage, while making it impossible for an opponent to stabilize defensively due to the threat of purge.
Just in case you weren’t fully convinced, below is a video of this monstrosity in action. As you can see, the combination of Time Warp, Scent 3, and Black Fog closed out matches nearly instantaneously, prompting many premature flees.
With the matchup they were onced favored in (aggro) becoming more and more unfavorable (due to increasing number of people with Warp), the number of midrange players will slowly decrease. They will switch builds or classes. They have been “hated out” by the effectiveness of time warp (and the power of Scratch purge, but at this point, the purge is overkill).
This removes the natural predator of aggro builds from the equation. They will run rampant, virtually unchecked, only losing when luck gets the best of them (or if they are particulary unskilled and are facing a skilled opponent).
In part 2 of this series, I’ll be discussing the death of “fair” builds in Ranked PvP and its implications for the future.
I’d love to see your thoughts
and feedback in the comments!