Heya all! Few days ago I got a request from some players for sPvP tips, to learn the basics and avoid common mistakes. I'm definitely not a "pro" player, but I had my fair share of sPvP experience, enough to recognize good plays that won games and mistakes that lost them. Here's a short list of the most important things you should DO and NOT DO when playing Conquest sPvP.
- Begin with a build from MetaBattle if you are new to sPvP. The difference between a good build and a bad one is the same as day and night! By playing proper builds you will have much more fun, you'll gradually learn their strengths and weaknesses, and in due time you'll become able to create your own custom builds (which hopefully won't suck).
- Frequently look at the minimap, especially if you are on the move and must choose where to go next. Map awareness is incredibly important to win games, as much as build and player skill. Many of the following tips are based on the assumption you have been looking at the minimap. Not doing that is like driving at night on a tree-lined road with your lights off.
- Coordinate with your team. Before game starts, state in team chat (/t) where you plan to go. If you see opponents moving to assault a point, quickly warn your team about the danger. If you are bukering a position and two enemies are coming for you, ask for assistance. If you plan to kill lord, inform your team in advance so they can join you. And ofc read the chat! Communication also wins games.
- Read kill messages in the bottom right corner. They give useful information on who is about to respawn and how a fight is resolving. Going far is not a such smart move if two enemies are about to respawn, nor is joining a fight mid if two allies there have just been stomped.
- Fight on points (and some other info) (I know, this is VERY basic stuff). Decapping/neutralizing a point takes 5 seconds. Capping a neutral point takes a whopping 13 seconds, nearly three times as much! The number of players on point does not speed up the capture: even if you have FIVE people capping, it will still take 13 seconds. If two or more players from opposite teams are on the same point, the status won't change. For this reason it's very important to fight on points, especially if you are defending: if you leave the point for just 5 seconds it will be neutralized!
- Check for undefended points, especially if you are playing a build with decent mobility. You need five mere seconds to decap a point, but the opponent will take nearly three times as much to get it back. When you play Thief, this is one of your main roles: go far, decap, and flee as soon as someone comes for you... or just full cap if the enemy is blind!
- Before joining a fight, assess the situation. Winning team fights is incredibly important, but that doesn't mean you should blindly rush to any fight you see on the map. If the battle is already lost, go somewhere else instead of dying in vain, or wait to regroup if you realize you are outnumbered everywhere. If your team is clearly winning, immediately assault another point to capitalize on your advantage.
- Try to stay alive as much as possible. There are situations when sacrificing yourself to hold a point for as long as possible can be beneficial, but most of the times you'll want to keep yourself alive. If you realize you can't win, just get the hell out of there and move to another point! Always remember that dying means you will be out of the game for at least 30 seconds.
- To prevent enemy resurrection in team battles you can: apply poison on the downed foe, which will slow resurrection rare by its allies and potentially even counter hard rez such as Battle Standard (240s cd elite wasted yay!); disable the resurrector with cc (check for stability first); push/pull the downed enemy away, when you can't disable the resurrector because of stability. If nothing else is available, the best option is usually to cleave or AoE on both foes, while someone else on your team is trying to stomp.
- Leave downed opponents to slowly bleed. If they do not threaten you, do not prevent point capture, and they have no allies nearby to resurrect them, you can just leave downed opponents to slowly bleed to death. This will keep them out of the game for a longer time. During the WTS2015 final, Orange Logo recovered from a HUGE disadvantage to Abjured by downing four opponents and leaving them bleed while they capped everything!
- When downed, don't try to heal yourself or resist stomp if there is no hope. Opposite side of previous tip: if you are downed outside of capture point and there are no allies around that could rez you, just let yourself die. On the other hand, if you can move around while downed (Thief, Ele, and partially Mesmer) try to be as annoying as possible to contest the point and force your enemy to stomp! (thx /u/Cptnfiskedritt !)
- Never run in zergs. It may work in low level games, but smart opponents will just avoid your zerg and go cap the other points instead. The key to winning conquest games is splitting in a smart way. Courtyard is of course the exception to this, since it's a deathmatch and you should stick together (but not too much... AoE hurts, you know).
- Do not stand on home for the whole game. Decent opponents will just ignore your point and fight 5v4 (winning) on the other two points. There are times when it's important to defend a point at all costs, but standing home for ten minutes is not a good strategy. Mid is usually a better position to bunker, but get ready to move as soon as you realize your opponents are ignoring your point.
- Never duel a bunker 1v1 on its point, unless you are confident that your build can decap or kill the bunker relatively quickly. You'll be wasting a lot of time, and chances are you may have been the decisive factor in a team battle elsewhere.
- When an ally and an opponent are both down, gauge the situation and check the health bars. If you have access to stability, it's often better to prioritize stomps on Warrior, Guardian, Ranger, Engi, Necro. Other times it's usually better to resurrect. The correct action changes from time to time, so don't always rush to stomp because you want the kill, and don't always resurrect because you want to help your ally. On the same page, do not try to rez when there are two enemies ready to smash your face as soon as you try.
Map Specific tips
- Skyhammer and Courtyard maps require specific builds to be played effectively, and can become very frustrating if you or your team are not properly equipped. Think thrice before selecting them!
- In Forest of Niflhel, do NOT kill the beast at start. NEVER. Opponents will cap mid and immediately gain a big advantage. Killing beast is something you do only when you are close to 500, when you safely control two points, or when you happen to run next to it with another ally on your way to mid, so you can blast it in 5 seconds max.
- In Battle of Khylo, use your treb only if you see or expect a team battle somewhere, or a lone ally is defending a point 1v2. Good times to use it are at game start and when you respawn, since you will be already close by. Repairing the treb is a long business and I personally don't think it's worth it, unless there's a Mesmer with portal that can do it quickly.
- In Battle of Khylo, if you have a power build, volounteer to kill enemy treb in case they are using it effectively. You can either kill the user and then the treb, or directly destroy the treb and then run. Some builds are better than others at taking it out, with the best being staff Ele, for obvious reasons.
- In Legacy of the Foefire, go to kill lord only if you have at least 350 points, or you are very confident you will get to that much. Nothing is more useless than ending at 482 after killing the lord, while opponents got control of all points!
- In Legacy of the Foefire, gaining control of mid is a big advantage. The point is huge, which allows a bunker to run around and stay alive for an incredibly long time.
- In Temple of the Silent Storm, the key buffs are Stillness (spawning at 11:30, 8:30, 5:30, and 2:30) and Tranquility (8:30 and 2:30). They are important, but do not overcommit to them! Getting Tranquility is useless if opponents are ready to immediately recap two points. Ferocity can be safely ignored, unless you pass by and have nothing better to do.
- In Spirit Watch, remember to focus on points! Orb is very tempting and can be nice to gain further advantage, but only if you already control at least two other points. It can also be used to neutralize a point occupied by a bunker, but going 2v1 is usually just as good. Pick up the orb only if your build has some tankiness and an ally close by, or you won't last ten steps! Orb slows you by 40% and prevents stealth, swiftness, invulnerability, and teleport, but passive speed buffs coming from signets, traits, or runes will still work (thanks /u/DantesS_P !). However, make sure to not ignore orb completely either: having three people trying to get it is BAD, but letting an opponent freelying running the orb can be just as bad!
- In Skyhammer, take that damn cannon, even if you must 2v1 for it! Leaving it in enemy hands for the whole game translates in 97.6% chance to lose. You can dodge the blast (not block it), but it fires every 8-10 seconds and the effect is so devastating that even a 2v1 becomes a big challenge when hammer is against you!
- In Skyhammer, builds that involve push, pulls, fear, and stability are MUCH more effective that others, since they allow instant kills if used properly. This is especially important for Skyhammer cannon control, because the place is tiny and filled with disappearing platforms. Since build templates are not available in the game yet, I usually just switch to Turret Engi when Skyhammer is randomized; other good options are Necro Terrormancer, Guardian Medihammer, Mesmer with greatsword and focus, Engi Tri-toolkit, and possibily others.
- Courtyard is currently the only Deathmatch map in the game, and as such it requires completely different strategies. It's very important to stay close to your team to support each other, focus on finishing downed enemies, and quickly resurrecting downed allies. Things that work well in Courtyard: Area of Effect (gogogogo Staff Ele), tankiness, team buffs and condition removal, hard resurrection skills, snares to peel the enemies, ranged weapons.