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Soldier School - Learn to be Useful!

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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.

  • Harukage
    Hey! For all of you that don't want to read the entire guide (it's super in depth, and I recommend you do), I've condensed it into this smaller guide. It retains almost all of the info, just simplified.
    Main Role: Your job is to tank the damage, and allow for the healer to heal the rest, and use more cost effective abilities. You should attempt to stay on the EDGES of the formation, NOT the middle. How Do DEF & MDEF Work? They help, but NOT enough replace your offense. DEF and MDEF block 20% of...

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  • SubZer0
    commented on 's reply
    Dont take it from me bc I haven’t played soldier in months but...
    If you want to use antagonize+dual sword cost allocate and go tankier
    If ya wanna go antagonize/rage slash+ dual impact
    Keep the build ig but I don’t think 8 armors total will cut it

  • psydeus
    I just got around the forums lately so i have some questions.

    I'm originally a mage(180k gs, 80k matk, lvl 106). and i wanted to make it a soldier when needed simply because the items i got on the previous spawns are mostly not that useful for mage(tons of physical testament swords, the sword that gives swift smash, sword with brave blade(physical testament with added effect of increasing ability power of skills like divine smash), and 2 SSR collab blue monsters(Rider and the magical girl that gives counter heal buff). so I thought this would be nice to play with soldier for a bit.

    My question now is this, my mage is build with 6/4/4/6 (going 7/4/4/7 for the mage) at the moment. Can I still make a somewhat decent soldier with that cost allocation? My soldier gets to 175k gs(50k atk, 67k def and is not royal protector yet). If so, what role should it be? pretty sure i can't go full tank because of my helm and armor cost though.
    Last edited by psydeus; 08-23-2017, 01:31 AM.

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  • Chaz
    commented on 's reply
    I find that my 8584 build makes use of all the skills quite nicely.

  • HotMessExpress
    commented on 's reply
    Yeah max armor and weapons for antag/dual/etc. Max weapons and monsters for rage/impact/etc.


  • Verdungo
    commented on 's reply
    My alt soldier is 7/7/7/3. Defenses alone dont cut it anymore.

  • Shadow_Umbreon
    Looking back at this thread, I don't think you put how to build soldier class, isn't it 5/8/8/5 or smth?

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  • McKraken
    Now that I have a new phone and can post again.
    I believe I have a good perspective.
    I'm a tank specialist. I've been playing the class since the 8o's
    Ive been playing ul with my main as tank for two years this October. I was lucky enough to be a baby in a top 200 guild a few rounds ago.
    It's a great guide and it helped me evolve but I have some thoughts. I just came up as a f2p tank and im about to hit 120. As a f2p guy you have to spend some gems to shift cost around to suit what gear you happen to get or farm for. I was running. 6/3/6/5 and that was versatile.
    Ant and dual being my bread and butter. Loyalty for gb.
    I ran hb as a panic button or the paly heal. Both way to cost heavy. Seems I usually run ee to keep up with aggro against some of you whales. I ALWAYS spec for the quest. Now aggro mitigation is dmg mitigation pure and simple. The last colab we just had was a prime example.
    I could take a score hit and pop intrepid at the start of every round and save millions in dmg collectively for my party. Just a free taunt and pure defense while the party sings the praises of the 185 tank they were nervous about. For that build and I'm close to settling on it. But i get a new slot at 120 so...the build is...6/3/6/6.
    I have more versatility now to spec for so many different events. So for the nine man recently? I run that 6/3/6/6 set up. Ee, mirror, divine and vanquish.
    If i had time i would debuff. But a full set of reflect armour and stacked reflect procs...I would hit at least a 5-10 (i know it caps) mirror and sit stunned while reflecting way more dmg back then I ever could swinging a sword fully debuffed. I'm talking the lvl of dmg the dps was doing i was popping 100-160 k in reflect when he would do his chain attack. Whole party is whiped, I'm at 10k hp with a lvl 7 mirror up, the boss is max buff. I would take ten hits with my hp under 15k while hitting him for 100k a pop per chain attack. Again...that little 185 f2p tank you were skeptical about in the paragon lobby. The sweet spot for me was hitting 51k mdef with all the refleck armour.

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  • Zakrella
    commented on 's reply
    You can indeed run 6b into arcadia as wel,l though if you are just coming into it I would recommend you use cheer instead of EE and deal with your cost using uni.

    As for battle shout I feel that you should treat this just as you would treat any other form of utility, is it required to deal with a specific boss/mob mechanic? Certain bosses (sorry I can only think of Benki off the top of my head) stack debuffs onto just one target which will be the tank more often then not. In another scenario battle shout maybe needed to quickly establish aggro in a quest that starts with multiple strong enemies. The point is, this slot should go to whichever support ability is most appropriate for the quest.

    I feel that the beauty of the 6b build is that when used by an experienced soldier who is:
    - aware of the mechanics that need to dealt with in the quest,
    - aware of what their party is capable of,
    - able to manage their aggro,
    - able to manage their cost
    - and able to handle the damage (whether they have to adjust their gear beforehand or not)

    it allows them to do their job and to contribute to the groups damage (which is great because some bosses really do put your group's DPS against the clock).
    I wouldn't recommend this build to a beginner but at the same time I would not dismiss it as a non-viable way to play in a guide.

    -Side Note-
    You can totally clear arcadia under lvl 120 if you organise yourself and some friends/guildies, having a game plan and splitting the responsibility between a group of people can make a goal considerably easier to accomplish.

  • Mirabelle
    commented on 's reply
    If I'm understanding correctly, your issues with the Tank/Offtank sets are that they don't do enough damage and run out of cost too quickly.

    The mindsets of Tank and Offtank are not about doing damage. They do some, but the primary focus is to help the party survive. If the quest is easy enough that you only need to worry about dealing damage, then a Burst set or Burst/Tank like 6b works fine! (I prefer Burst over BurstTank because if the quest is easy, you don't need Battleshout or HB.)

    As for having enough Cost with a Tank set, keep in mind that you only have two spammable abilities: Battleshout and Intrepid. Antagonize actually eats a lot of cost if you use it on cooldown. If you only use Antagonize to fill the gaps between Battleshout's Hate buff, you will gain plenty of cost while retaining enemy focus over non-Soldier classes. Early in the quest I actually like to purposely whiff Antagonize on an enemy that's about to die in order to gain the Hate buff without spending any cost. Your Self-Support move should only be used when absolutely necessary. (Often I only cast Mirror/HB twice per quest... usually at the boss fight). I also use one or two Cost Recovery weapons, so those may help you out as well. If you play slow and steady you'll find you can throw in extra Antagonizes when your cost is running high.

    There's a similar cost mentality with Offtank--only bother with Vanquish when it's needed or you have extra cost.

    I hope you give those sets a try again some time!

  • Sircrow
    I've tried it. Doesn't really work for me. Instead I use the one 6b mentions and it works great for me on paragon level content. Not having enough cost to draw aggro and not doing enough damage are the problems I frequently find with your build sets. As a burst tank hybrid, I get more enemies aggro'd on me, and I do above average damage.
    Last edited by Sircrow; 02-02-2017, 11:59 PM. Reason: Mixed up arcadia with paragon. Anyone whos under 120 shouldnt even be trying arcadia, and im lvl 109

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  • HotMessExpress
    commented on 's reply
    Vanquish is semi-useful until you can proc it

  • Mirabelle
    commented on 's reply
    I recommend using some reset scrolls to take just enough cost out of monsters that you are able to equip a 6th weapon and 6th body armor. You could take even more out for a 6th helmet, if you can afford it. :3

    Or if your helmets aren't very good, you could take points of out those instead of monsters. This will make you a little less tanky and a little more offensive.

    Or you could grind to 120 to unlock the 7th slot, and then reset with that 7th slot in mind.

  • Rezorrose
    So I looked over my gear and I'm running 5/5/5/5 and I'm on Lv 106 is ok or should I try to fix it

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