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Monday, September 21, 2015

Road to Champion: A Witchdoctor's Secrets


Stubborn Duncan Freeman recently reached the rank of Champion after dedicating himself to over 300 PvP matches and experiencing and attempting to counter just about ever type of strategy out there. He's easily one of the most well-versed PvP players around and now he's going to be sharing some tips with you. This is the second of five guest posts in the September Guest Post Series.

With the newest Pirate101 feature, Ranked PvP, there have been some strong arguments on which class has the greatest advantage in PvP. Witchdoctor wasn't in good standing according to other players. I am here to debunk that; you are about to read some of my secrets in Ranked PvP.


Know Your Powers

The first important thing in Ranked PvP is to know your powers/abilities, their restrictions, and their advantages. Witchdoctor has a huge arsenal of very useful powers and knowing them is a step one towards victory. Most Witchdoctor powers are not that special by themselves, but when used in proper combination with other powers, their value can increase drastically. Here are some examples and a couple of other classes and gear power that I use in addition to my own.

Ocuboros

Deals damage and reduces spell power by half. This power can be cast only in normal and diagonal paths. Since this power targets an area rather than an enemy, hidden units can be affected by it. Objects in its path are also destroyed and it is not restricted by a player's visibility. 

Davy Jones' Reach

Useful low damage power. It doesn't deal a lot, but it is an AoE spell that debuffs an opponent's critical rating. Like Ocuboros, it is not restricted by a player's visibility, only range. This spell can't be centered on a hidden unit.

Purge Magic

Removes all buffs in a 3x3 square area. This includes all shields and protection powers, even Valor's Armor. I suggest usage of this power only when you are in position to defeat an enemy who is buffed/stacked with shields. Only then do I justify the removal of my buffs too, since that is what the power does.

Widow's Touch

I place this in the first row inside my deck. Very useful against charging units (Buccaneer players, Pete, Goronado, Nausica, etc.). This power can be cast anywhere on the map and it is not restricted by a player's visibility.

Raise Barricade

For high-level pirates, this is five-square-long Metal Barricade with over 1000 hit points. It blocks line of sight. Placing this near ranged opponents can be fatal for them. It can be quite an obstacle to melee units too when placed in horizontally or vertically. Barricades can't be jumped over.  

Summons

By this I mean Terror-Cotta Troupe and Scorpion Swarm obtained from gear items. Once summoned, Terror-Cotta Troupe warriors occupy nine squares. Each of of them have Hold the Line 3, Brutal Charge, Leviathan's Call, Blade Storm, and Explode. If you want to lower your enemy's morale, here is your answer. Now take that combined with Scorpion Swarm that also summons nine units, and you will have advantage by number, which should not be taken lightly in Ranked PvP.


Know Your Enemies

Knowing an enemy's arsenal can be quite helpful. I played with almost all classes and their companions. Knowing an opponent's moves can sometimes allow you to predict those moves and thus manipulate the course of the battle. Once I failed to recognize Ensign Emmett's true potential and it cost me a match, even if all the right cards were in my hand. If you don't know anything about you opponent's class and its companions I suggest you search them online during the combat. 

Learn Power Flaws and Exploit Them

Sometimes powers have flaws in their design. Lets take Valor's Armor as an example. When Hidden units hit another unit under absorb and don't deal any damage, the hidden unit will remain hidden but the attacked unit will be affected with all side effects i.e. the unit under absorb will be wounded from Backstab. The other flaw with Valor's Armor is that Double Tap, Blade Storm, and Mojo Rising won't activate when if the enemy lands a critical attack and doesn't deal any damage. That is why I place Valor's Armor on my companion with First Strike 3. When attacked, he will reveal hidden enemies and avoid any additional hits induced by critical attacks.



My PvP Playstyle

I will try to explain my choice of companions, gear, and strategy, which differs depending on which type of opponent I face - range or melee.

Companions

I used different companions over the time, but found three of them that were a perfect match for my playstyle. 

Ratbeard - He has First Strike 3 which is must-have rank 3 talent against opponents who uses hidden a lot. I also gave him Hold the Line 3; you need to stop charging units by all means if you want to survive as a Witchdoctor and that is why Hold the Line is a very valuable talent to have on your companion. Ratbeard has four power, one of which gives him 25% resist to Stabby, Slashy and Smashy weapons. The other three powers give you guaranteed hits along with some effects.

Bonnie Anne - A high-range unit with a heal is exactly what I need. I always keep her near me. With Overwatch 3, any enemy that approaches can end up with accuracy debuff. She can also heal any teammate on the board. When preparing to attack, her Scatterblast with dodge reduction can be quite helpful.

Nausica - This one is a thorn in the opponent's side. I usually stack her with damage protection powers and send her on the crusade. She has three guarenteed criticals. Her hits along with Double Tap and Burst Fire can be quite deadly.


Gear

I mostly farmed for my gear, though there is one piece from the Empire Bundle and if you don't have that, you can use Phule's Mask as a substitute.


Strategy

Against Melee Players

Witchdoctor is very fragile when it comes to close combat. That is why I am using a "fortress" strategy. In order to protect myself, I have to be placed one square away from the corner, otherwise there will be gaps. From here I am mostly protecting Ratbead and casting summons. If a hidden unit approaches and hits Ratbeard, he will reveal them before the damage is done. When an opponent decides to smash the barricade, there is a high chance that one of the summons will take that spot and thus become a living shield. Once all companions are defeated, I boost and protect Nausica and use her criticals to defeat the opponents themselves. If a Buccaneer uses Highland Charge before you are able to barricade yourself, summon Terror-Cotta warriors or place Ratbeard in front because they can hold off the attack for the time being.

Against Ranged Players

The key is to meddle with the opponent's line of sight. If he can't see you then he can't hit you. Easy as that. This is great strategy against Witchdoctors and Musketeers. After this move, you can easily build up your companions and approach the enemy without fear that you will trigger Overwatch. Now if you add summons to this, he is basically finished before the match even starts.

A big thanks to Duncan for taking the time to share some tips! I hope you learned as much as I did, even for classes other than Witchdoctor. Duncan runs a blog where he shares his farming tips and advice, which you can visit HERE. Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!

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