Pirate101 Beginner PvP Guide
Part 2- What to Obtain
Welcome back to the Pirate101 Beginner PvP guide! In the first installment of this guide, I discussed the most important mechanics new players should learn. Now, I’ll discuss the things that you should obtain, such as gear, practice point, power setups, and companion setups, as well as some basic strategy pointers.
#3 Obtain a working gear and practice point set
Despite skill and knowledge being the two most important factors in obtaining victory, gear is still very important for a PvP beginner. I’m of the opinion that you should obtain a certain bare minimum in gear quality before starting to seriously PvP. For instance, you can’t really learn much about your class and how to play it if all your matches are cut short because you have no shields or heals. What is this bare minimum? There are essentially 3 major categories: Attacks, Defenses, and Heals.
For the most part, the attacks you have trained will not be sufficient to kill your opponent with. (Many a PvP beginner will run 5-6 protection buffs and no attacks at all) You’ll need to supplement these trained attacks with attack(s) from your gear. I’ll discuss some of the most common/essential types below
- Assassin’s Strikes – These are a staple for melee classes. Preferably, you should have access to 2 from your gear, but you need a 1 at a bare minimum.
- Vicious / Brutal Charges – These are excellent when facing melee classes. Generally, the best place to get one (if you’re not a buccaneer) is your pet, but putting it on gear, say a robe, will do in a pinch. You should have access to at least one for the bucc matchup at a minimum.
- Super Strikes – These are generally just inferior assassins more often than not. If you’re not a buck, don’t use them. If you are a buck, you’ll generally run 0-1 from tower gear, but if you have the attacks elsewhere, they’re not necessarily essential.
- Super / Sniper Shots – You need at least one of these, whether it be a super or (ideally) a sniper shot, on a musket. Some prefer a second, generally opting to run the tower totem/hood.
- Mournsong – Witch doesn’t need to overload on attacks from gear, since they train so many already. However, most witches opt for at least 1 extra mournsong, often from tower gear, as the infinite range is very valuable.
You need to have protection from your gear. Period. No class trains anywhere near enough to consistently get away with running no defenses. In addition, no class is so efficient offensively that they can kill without using it. No matter what people have told you, using shields is not some social construct. As discussed before, certain attacks only get blocked by certain shields. There are 3 major types of protection in this game: Privateer shields, Buccaneer shields, and hides.
- Valor’s Fortress / Armor / Shield – These shields protect from all attacks in the game and are the only type to reduce incoming magic damage. Fort and shield reduces incoming damage by 50 and 25 percent, respectively, while armor blocks incoming damage equal to 5x your spell power. You should have at least 2 of these, plus your trained valor’s shield on hand before starting to PvP. Certain matchups will call for fewer, but only having one against, say, a buckler that gets a critical poison, is often a death sentence.
- Leviathan’s Call / Kraken’s Lament / Triton’s Song – These buccaneer shields are more limited versions of Valor’s Fortress and shield. Call protects from melee and shooty damage only, while Lament and Song only block melee damage. These are nowhere near essential, but having a Lament on your pet is generally a fine idea.
- Walk in Shadows / Darkness – Hides don’t directly reduce damage, but they do prevent you from being targeted, which essentially only allows aoes to target you. Since they can be used offensively too, having at least one from gear is a staple for Buccaneer, Buckler, and Musket. I’d argue that hides can be very useful for witches too, as they both prevent witch hunter from triggering on their attacks and are the best defense against the melee chains that often spell game over for the witch.
Protection can only go so far. Heals are essential in allowing you to recover and every class needs multiple sources of healing.
- Revive / Rally / Rouse – Buck, Buckler, and Musket, should, in my opinion, have a minimum of 3 of these single target heals from various sources (gear, pet, trained). Privy normally has 2 revives from gear at a minimum, while witch has 1-2 single target heals (due to their drains and how quickly they can lose the health again)
- Refresh / Regroup / Reinforce – Only privy should ideally have these in a 1v1 scenario
- Soul Shroud – Soul Shroud is a very powerful option for privy and witch, as it both heals for 200 or so each trigger and does chip damage to the target. It’s borderline essential for privy. Witch can survive without, especially since the witch hunter triggers can often result in more incoming damage
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t quickly mention pet grants. I’ve essentially discussed the power side of things, but I’ll mention the talents briefly. Melee classes need elusive on their pet (a total of elusive 3 for bucc/buckler and elusive 4 for privy) before they seriously PvP. It’s too good to not have. Relentless and Burst Fire are, imo, borderline essentials. A PvP beginner should probably have a decent pet with your class’s variant available, but it’s not like elusive where you’ll lose many matches because you lack it.
As a quick side note, a perfect gear set isn’t necessary either. While you should certainly strive for the best gear possible, once you achieve this bare minimum, you can and should start playing and practicing. Farming time is subject to diminishing marginal returns, meaning that the more time you spend farming, the less effective and impactful it becomes. For instance, obsessing over getting your third Valor’s Fortress and refusing to PvP until you get it is an ineffective use of your time. You’d be better off actually PvP’ing some at that point.
As for practice points, your decisions will vary from class to class, but I’ll go over some of the staples that any PvP beginner should have. If you want to see what’s available to you, given the amount of practice points you have, check out our practice point calculator. If you realized that you made a mistake with your practice points, never fear! There are weekly Member Benefits, and one of the possibilities is a free player reset. This benefit comes around about once a month, so keep your eyes peeled!
- Spooky 2 – Your spooky affects heals, bleeds, AOEs, and so much more. This is 100% a staple for any player
- Elusive 2 – Every class, save for arguably witch, needs Elusive 2 trained. The melee classes need an additional rank of elusive from a pet as well.
- Gunnery / Rouse / Valor’s Shield – These powers, while simple, are quintessential to have around
- Witch Hunter – Witch Hunter is overpowered. It essentially is an “I win” button against witches and has utility against all other classes
- Fast 2 – Map control is important. Being able to run further away or advance more quickly is essential to success.
- Relentless / Burst Fire – Melee classes should train relentless, while Musket should train Burst Fire.
#4 Set up your companions
Setting up your companions has two parts: picking “normal” talents (stat talents) and Epic Talents. Without going into specifics, I’ll give an overview of what types of epic and normal talents are best on certain classes of companions, as well as discuss which types of companions are most viable. If you want exact setups, you can check out class-specific PvP guides.
Choosing the proper Epic Talents on your companions is arguably the most impactful aspect of setting them up properly. Here are some tips regarding which epics to pick.
- If a unit can get First Strike 3, it should almost always be given it. All melee pirates, as well as some powerful melee companions (ones on swashbuckler teams, Contessa, Keisuke Yagi, Sarah Steele) have the ability to use hidden attacks. Being able to effectively counter them is very valuable and will be relevant in nearly any matchup.
- If a buck unit can get Vengeance Strike 3, it should almost always be given it. In addition to there being no significantly better option than Vengeance 3, buck units in tide can completely eviscerate opposing melee units with Vengeance Strike 3 stuns + chains.
- Relentless / Burst / Mojo Echo 3 aren’t very good. While increasing the chance to proc relentless is powerful, it doesn’t do so by enough to make training it worthwhile. Even if the unit in question isn’t of your class (say a swash with Baar), a combination like Relent 2 and Blade 2 is much better than Relent 3 and Blade 1, for instance. There’s generally just going to be a better option
- Repel 3 units are quite potent while facing buccaneers (Ratbeard being the prime example, since he has a reduce as well). They are must answer threats, as leaving them alive will make the late game nearly unwinnable. This will alleviate pressure from your other units.
- True Grit 2/3 and Quick Draw 3 units are very potent against musketeer pirates and companions, particularly companions with multiple guaranteed attacks or 5 range.
- Burst 2 + Tap 2 units are very powerful against privateers, with the prime example being Bonnie Anne. Their lowest stat is agility, so a unit that can hit up to 7 times per round, hit from a distance (avoiding shroud triggers), and hit through elusive rather consistently represents a win-con by itself.
- In general, this is how I’d prioritize allotting epics: 1. Powerful counter-epics (repel 3, first/draw 3, venge/grit 3) 2. Relentless/Burst/Echo 2 3. Bladestorm 2 (only if it has relentless 2 already) 4. Other epics
Normal talents are the stat talents that are unlocked every 4 levels. There are many misconceptions among beginners to PvP about how to allot these talents, so I’ll provide some pointers. Most companions have 17 of them at level 70, and 18 at 72.
All units should have the following:
- Tough 4 – This provides 510 health. If you have a single companion without tough 4, you are making a grave error.
- Rough 4 – Free damage is always good.
- Accurate 4 – Missing attacks can be very costly. This tends to be the talent that a PvP beginner will forget to give their units, as the accuracy difference isn’t as noticeable or impactful in PvE. Even in PvE, give units accurate 4.
The fourth rank 4 talent should be allotted as follows:
- Swashbucklers should be given Dodgy 4
- Defensive units (generally, ones without relentless 2) should either get Armored 4 or Dodgy 4. If the unit’s base armor is 80+, give armored. Otherwise, give dodgy
- Mojo-based units (Old Scratch is the only viable one at the moment) should get Spooky 4. Gracie debatably could be part of this category.
- All other units should be given 4 ranks of their primary stat (Strength/Agility/Will)
The final talent(s) should be allotted as follows:
- First, if the unit doesn’t have 4 ranks of their primary stat, give it the primary stat
- Then, if the unit doesn’t have Dodgy 4 already, give it dodge
What makes a viable unit?
Generally, the most viable PvP units are ones that obey most/all of the following guidelines
- Has multiple attacks and/or utility powers. The more guaranteed attacks or other powers a unit has, the longer it’s guaranteed to be useful in a match. Units like Toro are an exception, as their single power is incredibly potent and impactful. For instance, companions with only a super hit tend to be less viable since anything they do after using that hit is essentially up to luck (and other buffs you have up)
- Has relevant counterepics. Pretty much every unit you’ll use has one or more potentially useful counterepics. A unit with just Relent 2/Blade 2 (or Relent 2/Blade 2 with useless counterepics) has solely offensive utility. Good units should be multi-faceted. This also explains why a unit like Ratbeard is bad against Musketeers. His counterepics are nearly irrelevant against musketeer units
- Has at least 17 talents. Many side quest units have only 14 talents. This automatically puts them at a disadvantage. Many a PvP beginner will use their shiny new Rooster Cogburn without noticing that he has a mere 14 talents.
#5 Begin practicing and learning certain common lines of play
Now, you’ve learned most to all of the ‘facts’ that you need to know to be successful in PvP. You have the gear, and hopefully the pet you need as well. Now all that’s left is to start practicing. Your best bet is to practice against skilled players. Even though they are likely much better than you, their play decisions will highlight certain important lines of play that you can either imitate or learn to defend against.
Furthermore, you can check out their power setups (or even better, make your own, with help from this guide). Power setups can be very tricky and rng-dependent, but there are a few tips that are worth keeping in mind.
- You should always put “Key” powers in your first slot (examples include Black Fog, Highland Charge, Battle Zeal, and Tempest of Torpedoes)
- Space out your protection and heals. Drawing 3 forts and/or heals in an opening hand does no one any good.
- At the same time, make sure you have some defenses high up
- If you go to change your setup, always test it for at least 3 matches before coming to a conclusion
There are so many of these “common lines of play” that I can’t really discuss them all in full detail. You’re best off learning these through practice. However, I’ll mention a few that are particularly important.
- Shields and other buffs end after your opponent’s turn, not yours. Attacks that have a DoT aftereffect are often used on the last round of a shield in order to get full value from at least one DoT tick
- First Strike 3 doesn’t reveal all hidden attackers. Once all 3 first strike attacks are used up, hidden units are no longer revealed.
- Don’t use your buffs immediately. This isn’t like PvE, where enemies will always come to you. If you buff early, an opponent will just time them out. This is one of the biggest mistakes a PvP beginner makes.
- Apply pressure from the early game onwards. Sitting back and doing nothing isn’t a winning strategy. However, this doesn’t mean you always have to be attacking. Simply exerting potential pressure is often enough to gain an advantage.
- Guarantee kills. This means that you should always focus additional units on your target, ensuring a kill, instead of putting fewer on that unit, leaving it up to chance.
Thanks for reading! I hope this beginner PvP guide proved useful if you’re a new player,
or reinforced old concepts if you’re a returning player.
Will you try Pirate101 PvP?
Let us know in the comments!