“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work…”
~ Vince Lombardi
The Underlying Foundation
Individual skill does not make up a team, it is the combined effort of all those different roles involved that does. An individual cannot make up for a team, nor can a team make up for the lack of the individual. Basically, you can consider this the Yin and Yang of PvP. Having one does not necessarily make up for the lose of the other because a team without the individual is not actually a team.
Ever heard of the saying, “A team is only as strong as its weakest link”? Well … it kind of is. Using a member with no chemistry with the other players is like having one less player on the team or even worse, having an enemy infiltrate your team. This also applies with those individually talented 1v1’ers. Having a team with highly skilled solo players does no better than a bunch of new players together. I can speak from personal experience, individual skill does NOT matter, but rather helps after the communication line has been established between the members.
Despite a team being meant to act as one whole unit, there is a lot of individual plays going on as well. Just like your body; it is one whole unit, but contains several different parts – with each having its own unique function. Similar to a body, each member is tasked with a specific “role” they must fulfill in order to attain victory.
Narrowing It Down
Wizard101 has quite a bit of team PvP options with each containing at least 2 different roles. As you go higher up from 2v2, more roles are being added or same roles are being duplicated. Call them what you may, but each team takes on at least two of these roles regardless of having the same gear setup. For example: a 3v3 team with all jade gear, must have someone be the main healer and at least one person suppressing the hammer of the other team with either dispels or de-buffs. This leaves the last member to choose whether he too wants to heal, suppress or be a balance of both. No matter the combination, each person is fundamental for the overall success of the team.
Also known as the hitter of the team, it is their duty to be able to possibly, single handedly, defeat the opposing team by utilizing their school’s arsenal of AoE (attack on everyone) spells. Hammers can be any school, but are typically elemental schools. As you increase in level spectrum, you will find more flexible school hitters rather than the common storm hitters. By level 58, every school should have access to at least one AoE spell. It is generally more efficient to have a hitter with more than one AoE to their disposal which allows them to be a greater asset for your team and a threat to the opposing team. The downside to any hammer is their vulnerability to hits due to low critical block, resist or even health. Currently, the most common hammers in team PvP are storm (this goes more for higher level PvP). As a result, hammers are usually “setup” for in the sense that the other team will change their gear and cards in order to have the greater advantage against the hammer. Many tend to discredit this strategy but really, it is nothing short of clever. Let’s face it, if you were going into war, having as much information on the enemy is vital for a successful strategy.
What comes to mind when you hear the word healer? Life! With the arrival of jade gear the healer role has become increasingly popular. Almost every well balanced team has at least one healer. If you’re wondering why matches tend to take longer now, they are why. Healers have the job of keeping the rest of the team alive. To bring to relevant context, they are the heart of the body. Without them, the team is next to dead. The most prevalent healers in the arena are the life wizards. This is not to say they can be the only ones, but they are the most efficient since it IS their school after all. Besides just healing, healers help play a role in the offensive as well as by keeping the other team’s healer(s) locked down with dispels or infections. Reducing the effectiveness of the healer is like strangling a person (try not to imagine that), they virtually have one foot in the grave. Speaking of grave, using a doom and gloom is another effective way to keep down healers while building up for a deadly blow, no pun intended.
The name says it all. A difficult object to take down. Being the tank of the team implies having a great deal of resist and health. Additionally, tanks should shield quite often to reduce the strain on the healer. Current metagame tankers pack a variety of dispels including life dispel, storm dispels and sometimes death dispels as well. Occasionally, when the going gets tough these players throw out some sort of stun to buy an extra round for their hitter or healer. Tanks are notorious for bubbling in order to escape doom and gloom. Efficient tanks include ices and deaths (using de-buffs instead of shields). Overall, a very handy player to keep in your line-up.
Once again, the name says it all. These sly foxes have the role of supporting their team’s defense and offence. Using a balance of heals, shields and blades, this role quickly increases the odds of a quick match in your favour. Supporters tend to carry life masteries around in case if their healer is locked down. They utilize small openings in the enemy defense to build up their hitter as quick as possible. There are two effective supporters: a balance, obviously, or someone who is the same school as the hitter. Both provide nothing but positive potential. Occasionally the supporters can hit to aid in knocking out the main hitter on the opposing side. Using AoEs that provide a negative effect on your opponents, such as nova would be ideal for a support wizard.
Using the 4 main roles in PvP, a team can go from zero to hero in a short span of time. Chemistry between each member is always fundamental for a good strategy. Sticking to a group of friends is a good way to increase the chemistry of a team and raise those ranks in no time! Remember, if each person sticks to their designated roles a lot can be accomplished. Continuously practicing with one another always helps the cohesion of the group since you can never be too good.
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