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Soldier School - Learn to be Useful!

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  • Direwolf
    Wow this was really helpful!!
    Fellow soldiers pls read ^-^

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  • Rezorrose
    hate buff can actually stack up to 3 for a little by itself and with CD reduction 4 or 5. Beside that your good
    Last edited by Rezorrose; 11-10-2016, 11:15 PM.

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  • Cthulhu
    would love the Solider community to finally read this so they can get themselves together and not be as salty as Candy.

    This would be Sticky material!

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  • Mirabelle
    commented on 's reply
    BogiSonder Yay! Glad I could help.

    I think GB sets can vary a lot depending on what your guild is doing, and I'm not sure I'm qualified to cover all that. >~<
    I will say that I'm a fan of Counter Strike openings and that I think Knight's Loyalty + Heaven's Breath is very effective in GB.

  • LucyWhite
    Very in-depth thank u

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  • BlueDragonSonder
    Seems good, thanks! You helped my brother! also could you tell GB skills for soldier too?

    Leave a comment:

  • Mirabelle
    IV. Ability Sets for your Role based on Class Rings

    What abilities should you bring for your role?

    We'll start with 3rd ring skills. (Below 3rd ring you should just bring whatever you can when completing story quests. Get all your 3rd ring skills and consider going straight for Ether Exchange.)

    4a. Paladin

    Devoted Strike
    Fateful Smash
    Deadly Clash OR Party-Support
    Heaven's Breath OR Mirror Guard

    Ether Exchange
    Deadly Clash
    Brave Clash OR Party-Support

    Ether Exchange
    Hard Smash
    Fateful Smash

    4b. General

    Devoted Strike
    Divine Smash
    Vanquish OR Party-Support
    Heaven's Breath OR Mirror Guard

    Ether Exchange
    (Divine) Smash
    Deadly Clash OR Party-Support

    Note: Any Smash combos with Vanquish but Divine does not combo with Clash attacks. Consider using Smash instead if you're using a Clash.

    Ether Exchange
    Divine Smash
    Dual Sword
    Fateful Smash

    4c. Royal Protector

    Vanquish OR Party-Support
    Heaven's Breath OR Mirror Guard

    Ether Exchange
    (Divine) Smash
    Deadly Clash OR Party-Support

    Note: Any Smash combos with Vanquish but Divine does not combo with Clash attacks. Consider using Smash instead if you're using a Clash.

    Ether Exchange
    Dual Impact
    Dual Sword

    Note: If you're a Soldier with low ATK compared to your DEF, DO NOT USE DUAL IMPACT. Your only good damaging attacks are Divine Smash, Antagonize, and Dual Sword. You can still use Clashes and Vanquish for their debuff effects though, of course. Just be aware that those will do less damage too.
    V. How to Play PvE Soldier Roles

    5a. How to play a Tank Soldier
    Remember that while you help with dealing damage, that's not why you're here! You're here to make the Cleric's job easier.

    Cost management is important and patient is the way to play. You shouldn't have Ether Exchange, so you can't just spam all your cooldowns as fast as possible. You'll run out of cost if you try.

    If it's early in the quest and the enemies aren't doing much damage, then you can help the party DPS and save cost by only using your damaging ability (like Antagonize). Save your Multi-Aggro-Draw and Self-Support for when you really need them.

    If you're low on cost but you need to absorb some hits, keep in mind that Battleshout and one Self-Support move use less than 1 cost per second COMBINED, so you can use those on cooldown and still gain cost slowly through natural cost gain!

    Tip: If you're using Hate-causing moves (Battleshout, Antagonize) be sure to use one of them ASAP after a boss balances the party, since that removes the Hate buff.
    Tip: Never host a room. If you're in the middle spot, the Cleric can't cast 3-person heals without hitting you, which means they can't save any heal cooldowns.
    Tip: Tank Soldiers work alone. No more than one Tank per party. Otherwise you'll be fighting for aggro.

    5b. How to play an Offtank Soldier
    Remember that while you help with dealing damage, that's not why you're here! You're here to make the quest more safe.

    Cost and cooldown management is important. Know the quest and make sure you save enough cost and your debuff/support cooldowns for when they are really needed.
    Example: Imagine you're playing an Offtank Soldier with EE, Smash, Vanquish, Deadly Clash. You're 1 wave before the boss fight, and you'd really like to debuff the boss as much as possible. If you use all of your abilities now, you'll be at 0 cost left and in bad shape for the boss fight. In this case, you should limit yourself to just Smash and Vanquish (or even just Smash) to save up enough cost so that you can do Smash -> Vanquish -> Smash -> Clash on the boss right away.

    Tip: Use your Smash combo starter on the last enemy on the wave before the boss, and then wait for your allies to finish it off. Start the boss fight with Vanquish -> Smash -> Clash. Voila! Nearly instant -4/-2 ATK/MATK debuffs.
    Tip: If you have 2 or more Heart/Secret weapons for your debuff attacks, you may not even need a Smash attack to activate combo... so you could run another debuff in place of that. :3
    Tip: Use a Balance or Debuff uni to neutralize boss buffs and reapply debuffs faster. One of my favorite sets is Ether Exchange, Balancing, Divine Smash, Vanquish. I save my uni to use Andromeda when the boss buffs. Then I use Balancing to take the boss all the way from fully buffed up to -50% ATK/MATK instantly.
    Tip: If you're using Cost Recovery or Seal Weapons, you might be able to swap Ether Exchange for a low cost move like Charisma.
    Tip: Offtanks can work well in pairs. But no more than two Offtanks per party. More than two players using debuffs is excessive.

    5c. How to play a Burst Solider
    You should only be doing this on easy quests (or Wind events if you're OP).

    If you ONLY want to do Burst damage, you're playing the wrong class. (Unless you just love hitting Archers in PvP or something. Have at it then. x3)

    One thing I'd like to mention... it's possible to swap one of your 3 attacks for a Party-Support move if you need it. For example, maybe the quest is easy aside from needing Mass Refresh against one particular wave. But this isn't a new archetype in my mind--It's a Burst Soldier with a Party-Support move.

    Tip: Before the boss fight, use your most Cost-Efficient ability as much as possible (example: Antagonize) and only use your Burst damage abilities (example: Dual Sword) when you have extra cost or need to focus a threatening monster down.
    VI. Questions I Expect to Hear

    6a. "Heaven's Breath vs Mirror Guard - Which should I pick?"
    It depends. In general, use the one you have more weapon procs for. In my opinion Mirror Guard is a bit better. Weapon procs for Mirror Guard can be very, very good. A single Heart of Reflection XL gives you 50% reflect. But Heaven's Breath with procs can be used as a big self-heal and is very effective against enemies that don't balance the party often. For boss fights I recommend saving it and precasting it just before a big hit so the Cleric can react and see that they don't have to heal you. If you use it as a heal, then it's useful even if the boss balances the party a lot!
    Example: Boss does a huge attack that balances you. You precast Heaven's Breath so that it heals you to near-full health after the attack. Boss does the same huge attack again. It Balances you and removes all the temporary health... which still leaves you at full health. You just negated damage twice and saved the Cleric two heals!

    6b. "What about this set: Ether Exchange, Battleshout/HB, Antagonize, Dual Sword? I see this a lot. Why don't you recommend this?"
    The above popular set is a hybrid of Burst and Tank. And it feels good because you have enough cost to spam your abilities, you do a lot of damage (for a Soldier), and you can protect yourself when needed.

    But don't use it. To be blunt, it's mediocre at everything.
    • It doesn't debuff enemies.
    • It doesn't do more burst damage than pure Burst Soldier or other classes with burst sets.
    • It fights for aggro but can't take hits as well as a pure Tank set. If someone else is challenging you for aggro then your Self-Support ability is far less valuable.
    • It has Ether Exchange and therefore puts some pressure on the Cleric, unlike a pure Tank build.
    6c. "What about Knight's Devotion or Knight's Loyalty? Why don't you recommend those abilities?"
    These redirect damage... not reduce it. They can be useful but they just feel bad in PvE. Their duration compared to their cooldown make them very difficult to use. Even without unison or the wave end/effect duration bug messing up your rhythm, your allies will be unprotected for about 2 seconds when you try to reapply this, and the animation startup/lag are long. These moves are excellent for PvP but dangerous and unreliable for PvE.

    6d. "What about Counter Strike? Why don't you recommend this ability?"
    This move does amazing damage for its Cost, especially with Cost Recovery. However, this is a very frustrating move to use. With this move's startup time, many attacks are too fast to react to in order to put this up in time. Even if you learn enemy timings and throw out pre-emptive Counter Strikes, a lot of enemies have a buff/debuff move or HP% move they can randomly use that will not trigger the Counter.
    Until something changes I can't recommend this move for most difficult PvE content. It's good for PvP and easy/predictable quests though.

    6e. "What about Attack Stance?"
    It's an option for a more cost-efficient Burst Soldier, and that's about it.

    6f. "What about Cheer instead of Ether Exchange?"
    It's recommended that you bring Cheer instead of Ether Exchange on Arcadia-level content (though you may want to use it on any content that's especially difficult for you). At the Arcadia level, many people have cost-restoring monsters and powerful monster utility effects that are needed to survive the quest. Not to mention the first wave can hit very hard, which makes Ether Exchange more risky than usual.

    6g. "What about this other ability?"
    It probably has a niche use but isn't worth considering most of the time. Feel free to discuss, though. nn

    6h. "Aren't you a Mage?"
    I'm a Mage main, but I play every class except Lancer. Spawns have given me many Swords and I've been playing a lot of Soldier in quests lately. Recently I cleared Heroic Stranger Arcadia (55 AP) while playing a ~190k GS Offtank set and deboofing the bejeesus out of everything.
    VII. Tl;dr Show me an oversimplified summary plz.
    Okay, okay.

    Special thanks vzReo for answering all my Soldier questions a while back.
    Special thanks Chaz for talking with me about Soldier theory. :3
    Thanks Rezorrose for Hate buff stacking info.
    Last edited by Mirabelle; 01-23-2017, 05:45 PM.

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  • Mirabelle
    started a topic Soldier School - Learn to be Useful!

    Soldier School - Learn to be Useful!


    This is a guide to playing a Soldier in PvE content such as event quests.
    If you want a beginner-level introduction to Soldier abilities, check the UL wiki or the old Soldier 101 Thread
    If you want an analysis of how to allocate your Gear Cost as a Soldier, check this thread.
    (psst... there's a tl;dr graphic at the bottom of the second post!)
    Table of Contents

    I. Common Soldier Myths
    1a. Soldiers Always Get Kicked
    1b. Tanking is Useless
    1c. DEF and MDEF are the most important things for a Tank
    II. Some Terms
    2a. Aggro
    2b. Hate
    2c. Debuffs
    2d. Party-Support Abilities
    2e. Self-Support Abilities
    III. PvE Soldier Roles
    3a. Tank Soldier
    3b. Offtank Soldier
    3c. Burst Soldier
    IV. Ability Sets
    4a. 3rd Ring Unlocked
    4b. 4th Ring Unlocked
    4c. 5th Ring Unlocked
    V. How to Play PvE Soldier Roles
    5a. How to Play Tank Soldier
    5b. How to Play Offtank Soldier
    5c. How to Play Burst Soldier
    VI. Questions
    6a. Heaven's Breath vs Mirror Guard
    6b. Other Popular Soldier Builds
    6c. Knights Devotion/Loyalty
    6d. Counter Strike
    6e. Attack Stance
    6f. Cheer instead of Ether Exchange?
    VII. Tl;dr PvE Soldier Sets Graphic

    I. Common Soldier Myths

    1a. "Everyone kicks Soldiers from rooms. It's so unfair! >=["
    There may be some Soldier bias, but listen for a minute--Soldier is the most unintuitive class to play well in PvE.

    95% of Soldiers that I see in rooms are running Burst sets or are using ability sets that make it obvious they have absolutely no idea what they are doing (Ex. Bringing Heaven's Breath and 3 Burst attacks or using Dual Impact/Rage Slash while having massively more DEF than ATK).

    Burst Soldier is almost always inferior to Burst sets from other classes (except possibly against Wind enemies), and that's totally normal. Soldiers aren't designed to be exceptional at Burst damage. So unless the quest is easy it usually makes sense to just kick Burst Soldiers from rooms and try for Burst Archers/Mages.

    When I run as a true Offtank Soldier I am almost never kicked from Paragon rooms.

    1b. "Tanking is useless because of HP% attacks and because a Tank can't protect the whole party from 5-person attacks!"
    Protecting the party is a team effort between the Cleric and the Tank and/or Offtank. If a single Soldier could block all the damage of HP% attacks and 5-person attacks then the Cleric would have nothing to do. That would be boring. x)

    The presence of a real Tank soldier in the room means that the Cleric can safely ignore healing one player, saving a lot of cost during the quest and allowing the Cleric to use a single-target heal + a 3-person heal during 5-person attacks instead of Dignity. This lets the Cleric save Dignity for when they really need it--HP% attacks.

    Example Party Line:
    ---- DPS
    ---- DPS
    ---- Cleric
    ---- DPS
    ---- DPS

    What happens when a big 5-person attack comes in and everyone takes heavy damage?
    ---- DPS
    ---- DPS
    ---- Cleric "If anyone takes damage again they might die... I have to use Dignity! :c"
    ---- DPS
    ---- DPS

    Now what happens if the boss uses a big HP% attack right after?
    ---- DPS
    ---- DPS
    ---- Cleric "Um... does anyone have unison?"
    ---- DPS
    ---- DPS

    Example Party Line with Tank:
    ---- Tank "Hi."
    ---- DPS
    ---- Cleric "Ah, hello!"
    ---- DPS
    ---- DPS

    What happens when a big 5-person attack comes in now?
    ---- Tank "Still fine here. >=]"
    ---- DPS
    ---- Cleric "The Tank can take 2 more hits just like that! So I can Area Heal the middle 3 and single heal the bottom."
    ---- DPS
    ---- DPS

    Now what happens if the boss uses a big HP% attack right after?
    ---- Tank
    ---- DPS
    ---- Cleric "I still have my Dignity! Heals for everyone! c:"
    ---- DPS
    ---- DPS

    I'll say this again later, but if you're a Tank DO NOT HOST ROOMS. You want to be in any spot but the middle spot in order to help the Cleric out. The edge is best though, of course... since that helps with 3-person attacks too.

    1c. "I need to make my DEF and MDEF as high as possible to be tanky!"
    DEF and MDEF help, but they don't help enough that you should completely neglect your offense.

    Here are the basics of how DEF and MDEF affect the damage you take:
    Divide your DEF or MDEF by 5 and that's how much damage you reduce from each physical or magical hit.
    5,000 DEF/MDEF = 1,000 damage blocked.
    50,000 DEF/MDEF = 10,000 damage blocked.
    100,000 DEF/MDEF = 20,000 damage blocked.

    DEF and MDEF matter a lot for small multi-hit moves, but not as much for big single-hits.

    Example: What's the difference between having 50k DEF and 100k DEF when you're getting hit for 22k damage 3 times?
    50k DEF/MDEF = 10k damage blocked = you took 12k damage 3 times = 36k damage. "Ouch."
    100k DEF/MDEF = 20k damage blocked = you took 2k damage 3 times = 6k damage. '"Tis but a scratch!"

    Example: What's the difference between having 50k DEF and 100k DEF when you're getting hit for 60k damage 1 time?
    50k DEF/MDEF = 10k damage blocked = you took 50k damage. "Ouch."
    100k DEF/MDEF = 20k damage blocked = you took 40k damage. "Still ouch."
    With the big hit, that's still enough damage that the Cleric needs to heal you. So it really didn't matter that much that you had 50k more DEF/MDEF.

    To stop big single hits you want Physical/Magical Reflection procs to go off, since those reduce ~30% of the damage and can stack with themselves and with Mirror Guard.
    Two Physical/Magical Reflection XL procs going off while a 3 stack Mirror Guard is up is roughly a ~90% damage reduction. You can shrug off huge hits like this!
    II. Some Terms - Aggro, Hate, Debuffs, Party-Support, and Self-Support

    2a. "What is Aggro?"
    Aggro is an invisible number that an enemy uses to determine which player to attack. Each enemy has a separate aggro counter for each player. When you attack an enemy, that enemy's aggro value for you will go up. Whichever player has the highest aggro value will be targeted. Heals also cause aggro to go up, and AOE attacks cause large amounts of aggro.

    Certain Soldier abilities that say "Enemies will target you more often" increase aggro more than other abilities. These moves are Devoted Strike, any Smash, and Dual Sword. Intrepid is a basic attack replacement that also increases aggro. According to vzReo, Intrepid gives an aggro multiplier to your next ability.

    2b. "What is Hate?"
    Hate is a buff that Antagonize and Battleshout give you. It looks like a little angry face. The Hate buff is a higher priority than Aggro for enemies choosing targets. It affects all enemies, even if you haven't damaged them.
    Note:Hate can stack up to 3 times with a cooldown reduction buff. It's usually just 2 stacks with Antagonize + Battleshout though.

    2c. "What are Debuffs?"
    Certain abilities apply Debuffs which lower the ATK or MATK of enemies, reducing the damage the enemies deal.
    The Soldier 'Clash' moves and 'Vanquish' do this.

    "Why use Debuffs?"
    In difficult content, debuffs make it so the enemies can't one-shot anyone. Enough debuffs can make certain attacks do completely negligible damage, saving the Cleric a heal and some cost.

    "How do ATK/MATK Debuffs work?"
    Each stack of debuff is -10% to that stat. (2 stacks is -20%, 5 Stacks is -50%... half damage!)

    Heart and Secret weapon skills that proc on Debuff moves increase the debuff stacks done per hit. XL adds 4 stacks. L adds 3 stacks, and so on.

    Example: A Heart of the Blade XL can proc on Sword Clash and increase the ATK debuff from 1 stack per hit to 5 stacks per hit.
    A Heart of the Blade XL double proc will add 8 stacks for a total of 9 stacks (but the game will cap the effect at 8).

    Debuff stacking is capped at 8x, for a total of -80% to the stat being debuffed.
    Interesting note: Excess debuff stacks are hidden but still exist, and will actually counteract buffs that don't clear debuffs. (Source: Using proc'd Charged Shots on Nyx, who buffs without clearing her debuffs)

    Enemy abilities (mostly belonging to event bosses) have different levels of Debuff Resistance. For example, a certain boss attack may ignore half of the debuff effect, making a -80% debuff behave like a -40% debuff.
    (And really, it has to work this way for bosses. 80% damage reduction is crazy and bosses would do nearly no damage at all when fully debuffed without this mechanic.)

    2d. "What is a Party-Support ability?"
    An ability that benefits the party when used--usually by removing status effects, debuffs, or dangerous enemy buffs.

    Mass Refresh
    Purifying Light

    2e. "What is a Self-Support ability?"
    An ability that helps you (just you) reduce damage and survive when used.

    Heaven's Breath
    Mirror Guard
    III. PvE Soldier Roles - Tank, Offtank, and Burst

    3a. "What is a Tank role?"
    • Tank players force all enemies to target them instead of their allies.
    • Tank players use a Self-Support ability to soak up damage from enemy attacks, allowing the Cleric to save heal cooldowns.
    • Tank players may debuff enemy offense, reducing damage taken by the party.
    • Tank players may use a Party-Support ability.
    A Tank set looks like this:
    Multiple-Enemy Aggro Draw (ex. Battleshout)
    Aggro Draw + Damage (ex. Antagonize)
    Self-Support (ex. Mirror Guard)
    Debuff OR Party-Support (ex. Vanquish OR Balancing)
    3b. "What is an Offtank role?"
    • Offtank players deal some damage, but their main purpose is to help the party survive.
    • Offtank players debuff enemy offense stats, reducing damage taken by the party.
    • Offtank players may use a Party-Support ability
    An Offtank set looks like this:
    Ether Exchange
    Aggro Draw + Damage (ex. Smash)
    Debuff (ex. Vanquish)
    Debuff OR Party-Support (ex. Deadly Clash OR Balancing)
    3c. "What is a Burst role?"
    • Burst players deal heavy damage in short amounts of time. Burst damage is good for focusing down threats and defeating bosses with staggered unisons.
    A Burst set looks like this:
    Ether Exchange
    Cost-Efficient Damage (ex. Antagonize)
    Burst Damage (ex. Dual Impact)
    Burst Damage (ex. Dual Sword)

    (to be continued in next post)
    Last edited by Mirabelle; 01-23-2017, 05:38 PM.