Turn Based PvP Comes to Ranked PvP

Pets have taken center stage in community discussions of the recent update, but another major change has come to Wizard101. A long requested feature has come to the arena, one sure to change the way PvP is played. This change is, of course, turn based PvP.

What is Turn Based PvP?

Turn Based PvP is a new style of PvP, similar to the tournaments of the same name that many pvpers are familiar with. In essence, turn based PvP eliminates most of the burden of going second. How does it accomplish this? It splits each round into two distinct phases. In phase 1 the first player chooses a spell and then casts it, while the second player waits on standby. In phase 2 the second player chooses a spell and then casts it, while the first player waits on standby. This is in contrast to the previous system which had both players choose spells at the same time and then cast them based on who was first and second.

How does it currently function?

The Turn Based system splits each round into phases. In the old pvp system both players chose spells at the same time under a 30 second timer that was shared by both players. The new system works differently. In effect- the new system splits one round into two phases.

Phase 1 (20 seconds):

Player 1 is able to discard and draw from their sideboard

Player 2 is also able to discard and draw but only until their opponent selects a spell. In effect, Player 2 is on the Player 1’s timer.

Player 1 selects their spell- Player 2’s ability to draw and discard is immediately ended upon Player 1’s selection. Player 1’s spell casts and ends the round. At this point Player 1 draws from their main deck and we enter phase 2.

Phase 2 (20 seconds):

Player 2 is able to discard and draw from their sideboard

Player 1 is also able to discard and draw but only until their opponent selects a spell. In effect, Player 1 is on the Player 2’s timer.

Player 2 selects his spell- Player 1’s ability to draw and discard is immediately ended upon Player 2’s selection. Player 2’s spell casts and ends the round. At this point Player 2 draws from their main deck and we re-enter phase 1.

Finally, note that pip gain also functions differently in turn-based PvP. In turn based PvP- Player 1 gains pips(and shadow pips) during Phase 2, while Player 2 gains pips(and shadow pips) during Phase 1. This allows you to scope your opponent’s potential as you now have knowledge on what pips they will be working with on their round.

Spell Changes

There were a number of spell changes that came alongside the switch to turn-based PvP.
Check them out below!

Mana Burn/Lord of Winter

The pip removal spells were modified to more accurately reflect their card text. Previously, Mana Burn and Lord of Winter would remove 3 pip slots instead of just 3 pips. What this meant, was that these spells could effectively remove 3 power pips(6 pips) worth of value. Now the spells have been modified to remove a total of 3 pips- either 3 white pips or a white pip and a power pip.


Multi-Dispels (including balance’s signature tri-dispels and life’s gnomes!) have received a significant modification. As we know, casting a dispel automatically applys a dispel shield on the opponent. Multi dispels used to be able to get around this mechanic- one dispel would consume the shield while the other(s) would be applied as usual. However, dispel shields now prevent all dispels from being applied, including each dispel in multi-dispels: a significant change.

Fire Beetle

Fire Beetle treasure cards (notably not item cards) have been banned in PvP for the time being. According to developer Mattnetic on twitter, the spell will return to PvP after some evaluation and adjustments. For now, Fire wizards will have to rely on their pet for the option to use Fire Beetle in PvP.

Shadow Transformation Spells

Shadow Transformation spells such as Shrike, Sentinel and Trickster have become trickier to use. Backlash now starts at 40% of your hp and can only be reduced and increased once per round. This means that your shadow spell will always deal a minimum of 10% of your health as backlash and can erase up to 70% of your health. As a result, a premature Shadow Shrike can just as easily lose you the match as win it.

Is Turn Based Balanced?

Turn Based represents a significant step forward in balancing Wizard101’s 1v1 PvP environment. I have no relevant experience in team PvP, so my opinions will be limited to 1v1. In this format, turn based almost completely removes the significant disadvantages of going second. No more will you lose all your tempo by slamming a ten pip spell into an Efreet weakness you couldn’t see coming. Running blindly into shields is a thing of the past and losing the match because of one cheap dispel is a rare occurrence.

However, PvP still has a ways to go before it stabilizes. The extreme power of shadow enhanced spells and the uneven acquisition of shadow pips can lead to some very lopsided matches that feel dependent on rng. Class balance also has to be looked at, as certain schools such as Ice are so dominant they are often referred to as “The Behemoth” in the arena. On the other hand, the once mighty Balance school struggles to find a new identity following a nerf to several of its core spells. However, we do know that more changes are coming to the arena and with developers that are actively engaged in fixing PvP, the future looks promising.

What do you think of Turn-Based PvP?
Let us know in the comments below!

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Eric Stormbringer

A Wizard101 player since 2009, Eric has always enjoyed PvP at the level cap. Known for his contributions to Storm PvP, Eric is nonetheless knowledgeable about all max level schools, tactics and gameplay styles. Eric loves analyzing the nitty gritty of spell and game mechanics, particularly as they apply to 1v1 PvP and can often be found offering feedback and suggestions on a variety of platforms.


  • I’ve come back to 1v1 after a long absence, so the new phase1 / phase 2 is weird, but nice for my storm wizard. I notice that if you discard, you don’t automatically get a main deck replacement into the empty slot. At other times, it seems you do. There seems to be a subtle rule their about how to work through your main deck. Also, it seems phase 1 can be cut short (to zero), which ssometimes seems to affect the main deck drawing too. Any thoughts?

  • Probably going to get a lot of backlash for this but I really don’t like how they edited the shadow transformation spells because not only does it affect PvP but it affects PvE as well.

    As someone who only plays PvE as a life wizard, I had a strategy built up on how to manage the Shadow Seraph spell against enemies. However, since this now affects PvE, I don’t feel as inclined to use it anymore because what’s the point of healing if you’re just going to get damaged anyway? Shouldn’t you now just be focusing on healing your teammates instead of using a fancy shadow spell that will just end up in backlash for you regardless of how much you heal?

    This is just my opinion but it’s drastically affected the way I heal others in PvE play now and how often I’m going to be using shadow transformation spells from now on.

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