Stay Healthy and Plague Free!
Hey fans, it’s Mismagically back with the 3rd installment in the Wizard101 Battle Frontier series highlighting the schools of magic and their effects on team play. Today’s article is a very special one as it highlights probably the school I like the most: Death! That’s right, those shifty necromancers who have given Morganthe all their wisdom and power so she could rewrite the spiral, but failed on the final stand at the Shadow Palace when she failed to realize the limits to even “infinite” power. Hopefully, you’ll do better in 4v4 than she did – she got beat 4 times simultaneously! Let us dive into some of the focus points of Death’s strength, aka the things that makes Death one of the most fearsome schools to face in team play.
Disclaimer: This article may cover some very controversial topics, seeing as Death has some of the best utility spells in the game. I welcome all controversy, but let us try to keep it civil in the comments section. Thanks!
Focus Point #1: They have some of the best utility spells in the game.
I want to highlight this first and foremost, because the main issue most people have with facing death (especially Jades) is getting past the myriad of utility spells at a necromancer’s arsenal. We’ve got Bad Juju, Virulent Plague, regular Plague, Strangle, Infection, Mass Infection, Feints, Beguile, Doom & Gloom, etc. that just unfortunately exist to make any opponent(s) reasonably unhappy. A lot of these spells are also reasonably cheap in pips, the most expensive of the lot costing a mere 3 pips. That’s a lot of hampering that can be done in games where we start rounds with 5-7 pips. How can you fight this barrage of plagues?
- Use empower/dark pact/wands/low pip spells: All of these will help remove weaknesses in the blink of an eye, but that’s only true if they stack. If they don’t stack, then you are better off hitting with them on anyway, as you’ll never be able to outpace them. Empower is my preferred method out of the 3 because it also leaves you pips; same with Dark Pact although the TC for that is almost seldom seen in the Bazaar, but does drop in various places in Wintertusk if you’d like to farm for it. Notice how I didn’t say cleanse. Cleanse Charm is virtually useless against a dedicated plague spammer since they will often have someone cover their negative charm with another unfortunate effect. Or worse, they’ll wheel out storm dispels to prevent you from using cleanse in the first place.
- (For infections) – Use low pip heals: To get rid of a barrage of infections, same principle applies as with weaknesses. Low pip heals like sprite and sprite swarm to get them off. The only hiccup is that there are very few ways to stack infections, so odds are you’ll have to spend a few rounds digging out from under them. (The only way to reliably stack infections is with Mass infection TC and that’s a pretty hard to find a drop, not to mention it is no auction).
Focus Point #2: They have a built in bluff within their utility spells.
A lot of their utility spells will gain a significant amount of power if the player in question is great at bluffing. Sure, it doesn’t take brains to spam beguile every 2 rounds or so, but advanced players will be wary to such tactics (as would fans of my Beguile article) and attack fairly inconsistently and unpredictably. However, if the necromancer in question is good at bluffing, he/she might draw out an unexpected opening by getting you to attack into a beguile or a Bad Juju. Since the threat of these two spells in particular looms over the head of anyone going second, there’s a woven in seed of doubt into the school. You’ll be on your guard, constantly thinking: “Can I attack now?” “Will I get beguiled?” Here’s how to navigate this psychological warfare:
- Watch pips: As always, the pip count will be your friend. At 1-2 pips, most death wizards aren’t much threat; jade ones will likely use Empower to build pips, Life Dispel or (insert mastery school dispel here) to stop a perceived attack or heal, or they’ll use Smokescreen in efforts to stall. Importantly, they’re not using beguile or juju unless they happen to have used Simplify or Elucidate on them to put them in sideboard (which is basically non-existent). If you can weather the plagues/infections until then, the 1-2 pip mark is your opening.
- Assess the situation, and if you think you have a shot, go for it: Look at the playing field and make a choice. If you are facing a jade death whose team is almost dead, then odds are they probably will heal rather than want to mess you up. If you’re facing an offensive death, they might go for a Scarecrow or Deer Knight to snag some last minute damage before their demise. Many experienced spammers try incredibly hard to not go below 3 pips by heavily utilizing empower, so some cases, you’ll simply have to risk it. If it pans out, great! If not, well, live and learn.
Focus Point #3: They have the best healing mechanisms/counter healing mechanisms under Doom & Gloom.
This one is geared toward mostly non jade builds, but it’s still never the less true about all necromancers. The unique nature of a good portion of their spells siphon health from their targets, which heals them pretty well under a Doom & Gloom spell, compared to how well their opponent can heal off that damage they just endured. While there are life wizards out there with insanely good heal boosts that can do well under Doom, aside from the fact that a large part of those popular uber heal builds relies heavily on Hoard of the Hydra Pack gear, they still don’t provide the tempo shift that death wizards can do using their drain spells. The same goes for the counter measures, such as using Death Seraph TC (an absolute favorite – I wish a mutate of this would come out so badly that I’d train Seraph for it. haha) which leaves a -65% Mass Infection in play afterwards. How can you stop the necromancers from literally sucking the fun out of your victory road? Here’s how:
- Use death shields: Deer Knight is the only DOT you’ll ever see in 4v4 play from necromancers. Skeletal Dragon is too many pips for being easily triage’d off, and I’ve never seen poison used in 4v4 since you can do AOE damage for just 1 more pip. That means your biggest threat is going to be Scarecrow. A simple death shield goes a long way from stopping the straw-stuffed menace from reaping your life force for its master!
- Carry extra bubbles for when Doom is put into play: This is a generally good measure even for your own Doom usage in case it backfires (other team gets a lucky critical or something when you anticipated the end of the match). Carrying extra bubbles will be instrumental from changing the bubble from second and healing in the same round, as most teams from first will not let a Sanctuary for example, stay up very long. Of course, there are plenty of ways to bluff in this method too (hint: new bubble usage).
As the Death Oni once said: “Surrender, and know the cold hand of despair.” Let us now go over some ways to stave off that cold hand of despair.
Strategy #1: “Strangle” them to “Death.”
Fancy word play aside, this is probably the best way to handle both jade and offensive builds of ANY necromancer. The jade builds hate it especially because removing that dispel is either going to mean wasting a cleanse, empower, or a plague. For the offensive builds, this sets them back a turn from hitting, making them vulnerable. Since pets are almost completely devoid of talents that actively remove a death dispel, it’s in my opinion, the best tool for the job.
Make it count!
Strategy #2: Attack them early, and often if there aren’t any seriously pressing matters.
Especially if I am second, I take note of any opposing necromancers to be on watch for juju, beguile, and etc. I also make them my primary targets for any death dispels as I mentioned earlier, but also the primary target for any attacks depending on the other schools at play. Barring any storm/fire wizards, I would recommend hammering on the death wizards before they set up and regain all the health you took from them as damage through Scarecrow, or get to buried under the weaknesses from the jade variants. This will also help you avoid beguile by forcing you to target them using single hit spells and not risking your team’s safety. The above spells are just some of the many things that have done me in as a Jade Death, with very little setup mind you (Shrike, Aura, a blade or two or Feint, etc.) Once you get a jade death on the defensive for healing, you’ve neutralized their utility spell usage for the while, since they can’t benefit from Death Siphons spells since odds are, they won’t be carrying any.
That’s all for this edition of the Battle Frontier! Now, go try to stay alive out there! Come back for the next exciting article which will go over the Balance School!