Surge of Technomancy
In the September 2016 update, Pirate101 released an endgame farming destination, called the Rogue Dreadnaught. It also added a new booster pack, called the Ashes of the Armada. Both of these new additions centered around the fate of the Armada following the downfall of Kane at the end of the first arc.
These additions featured 3 new powers: Haywire Shot, Haywire Strike, and Surge of Technomancy. Ravino has an excellent guide on Haywire Shot and Strike on the Pirate101 Central forums. I urge you to read it should you want to understand these 2 powers more.
However, I believe the third power, Surge of Technomancy, is one of the least understood powers in game, from a PvP context. I’ve had multiple PvP matches that I was able to win due to an opponent’s incomplete knowledge about this potent power. In this article, I will provide all the information you’ll ever need to know about Surge of Technomancy!
How do I obtain Surge of Technomancy?
Before discussing the power itself, I’d like to note where this power can be obtained. Currently it is available on a character from 4 sources (1 for each class, except for Buccaneer), all of them from level 70+ Rogue Dreadnaught weapons:
- Witchdoctor – Haywire Heironymous Staff (2 copies)
- Musketeers – Haywire Technomancer Set (1 copy)
- Swashbucklers – Haywire Cultist set (1 copy)
- Privateers – Haywire Warmage Regalia (1 copy)
These weapons’ powers (some combination of Surge, Haywire shot, and Haywire strike) are very potent. So, they either have lower than average damage or range. Thus, these weapons will not be the best weapon in every scenario. They are at most situational.
You can also obtain this power on companions from the Ashes booster pack. The Haywire Dragoon and Haywire Battle Angel each have 1 copy.
What is Surge of Technomancy anyways?
- It has 5 range. This range is constant between ranged weapons, melee weapons, and companions.
- Surge does damage. A bit of a duh point, but it’s worth noting. After some testing, the damage done is approximately equal to the unit’s weapon power.
A more in-depth look
As you can see on the power card, the description is very brief and lacking in details. Let’s mention some less obvious, but equally important features of this power.
Interaction with Witch Hunter
Surge has a very unique interaction with Witch Hunter. I’m sure if you’ve done Pirate PvP, you know that a Witch Hunter activation reduces the incoming damage of the next magical attack by 50%.
Surge of Technomancy does, in fact, trigger Witch Hunter, even though its damage is buffed by weapon power buffs. This is not characteristic of a magical attack. The weirdest part? The attack does not get its damage reduced by 50%. It will still do normal damage.
Range and Damage (Part 2)
There are 2 more noteworthy but not obvious things about Surge’s attack range and damage
- The range is not altered in any way by blocked sight.
- It can target hidden units.
- It is not shielded by Leviathan’s Call, Kraken’s Lament, or Triton’s Song/Chorus
Why is this so important? It means that the only way to avoid Surge of Technomancy is to be 6 or more squares away from it. Furthermore, since it both triggers Witch Hunter and can target hidden units, you can use it to forcibly break a hide.
I’ve saved the best, least intuitive, and most powerful part of Surge of Technomancy for last. As stated on the card, Surge “Removes Positive Effects” (buffs). However, you may ask the questions like, “How many buffs? All of them in a certain radius or just on the target? Some, chosen randomly? The ones with the most time remaining? The least time remaining?” To elucidate things:
- Surge of Technomancy removes 1 buff, only on the target unit. Unlike Purge Magic , Surge does not remove the caster’s or any adjacent units’ buffs.
- If you mouse over the targeted unit, Surge of Technomancy removes the bottommost (read: oldest) buff on that unit. This buff can be a timed buff (like a fort or stat buff) or an untimed buff (like an absorb). To reiterate: whatever the bottommost green text is on the character’s buff list will be removed. I’ve attached a sample image below.
- Hidden will not be removed (unless it is removed by a witch hunter trigger), as it is not a buff. Buffs from placed banners can be removed, as it counts as a buff.
Why use Surge in PvP?
There are a variety of powerful weapons and companions in Pirate101. What makes running copy(ies) of Surge of Technomancy so good? The easiest answer: its utility. Surge is arguably the best utility power in the current game. It has so many uses that one is almost always guaranteed to get good value from it. I’ll note a few of them below.
- This is the most obvious application. For classes that lack a variety of small, long duration buffs (ex: Swashbucklers), use Surge to force them to save these buffs to “protect” their valuable protections buffs, or use surge to outright remove forts should they mis-sequence.
- I can’t overstate how difficult it can be for some classes to play around Surge. In the middle or late game, a player must use 2 turns to guarantee that a fort will stick and not just be removed (1 to use a small buff, 1 to actually fort). This gives you extra time to pressure the opponent, forcing them to take sub-optimal lines. In the late game, it’s entirely possible that they will have no choice but to sacrifice their fort to your surge, at which point, you are likely to win off of that tempo play alone
- Surge is also valuable against players that use Scratch buffed absorbs early on and then sit in a corner. Since the absorb is on bottom, it is removed by Surge. In this situation, if the Surge-ing unit is hidden, it will not lose its hide.
- Should you use a haywire companion with Surge, your opponent is essentially forced to focus their attention there, as the value of getting all 3 attacks off is often insurmountable. This allows your other companions to live longer and get more value.
- Since Surge is not blocked by Buccaneer shields (only by the Valor’s line), it can deal considerable damage at a range to a Buck pirate without triggering counter-chains. (And don’t forget, you’ll also probably get to snipe a 10 round strength or accuracy buff as well)
- As stated before, Surge of Technomancy is buffed by weapon power increases and does damage equal to one’s weapon power. This means that a hidden surge of technomancy does 600-800 damage before criticals are factored in. A critical and/or hidden Surge of Technomancy into an insufficiently protected target, especially when backed up Purge Magic, Ocuborous, or Assassin’s Shroud, can be game-defining. If they decide to expend a fort prematurely to play around the hidden crit surge, you gain a tempo advantage.
- All PvP players should have Witch Hunter trained or on a pet grant. It’s just too powerful to pass up on. You can take advantage of this, however. Similar to powers like Jobu’s Kiss and Mojo Strikes/Storms, Surge of Technomancy will trigger an in-range and hidden unit’s Witch Hunter. This means your opponent will have to expend additional rounds running (a tempo advantage for you) or risk losing a hide (also a tempo advantage for you).
- Furthermore, there is a tendency for players to hide when protections or other buffs are running out. They use their hide as a way to both threaten massive damage and recover/reprotect. In some situations, you may even be able to break a hide AND remove a Fort (or other large protection buff)
Surge of Technomancy still has downsides. If you use it on your pirate, you are either sacrificing weapon damage or weapon range (30-40 damage and 2-3 range, respectively). This is particularly significant in matchups where your opponent and/or their units will have high magical resist, as Haywire weapons do magical damage. For instance, using a surge melee weapon in a duel vs a Witchdoctor (who will have 100+ magic resist) will make your chains almost entirely ineffective, especially if they are protected. For ranged characters, losing weapon range is equally devastating.
The haywire companions lack the decreased weapon power and range, but they are not without their faults. The Dragoon and Angel receive a total of 6 epics. Most top PvP companions have 7-8 epics, so these units will have slightly reduced chaining potential (compensated for by their top-tier powers). Furthermore, both companions have a very low 4 movement range.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t use Surge, however. As I argued earlier: Surge is incredibly powerful, but it’s not going to be the best thing to use all of the time. Be aware of its potential and be aware of its downsides. Know how to play with it and know how to play around it. Thanks for reading!
Did this article help you understand Surge of Technomancy better?
Let us know in the comments below.