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Guide to Team Dueling v1.0

Discussion in 'PvP' started by TienJe, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. TienJe

    TienJe IncGamers Member

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    Guide to Team Dueling v1.1

    Guide to Team Dueling v1.1

    I’m slapping together a fast introduction to the strategies and tactics for team dueling. Every realm and every team has different styles of play, so I’m hoping to discuss just the overarching themes and motifs, rather than delving into how each character and how each team should match up.

    General Concepts

    I think it makes the most sense to first outline a few concepts that can be used to analyze the way teams will match-up. Unless you understand the strengths/weaknesses of the two opposing teams, you won’t be able to properly formulate your strategies.

    Consider these points:

    • Range: This includes both the actual distance and the strength with which the teams can attack from. The longer and stronger a team’s attacks, the more willing they will be to attack from a distance and draw out the fight. This naturally forces those teams fighting zons to attack quickly, and explains why it’s so important to protect necros in typical 4v4 matchups with barb/nec/druid/trapper teams.
    • Damage Output (Spiking): This is basically how much damage a coordinated team can inflict on a single target. The higher a team’s damage output (I’ll use DPS for damage per second from now on), the more adept it will be at overwhelming and attacking. Wind druids (with amp) are one (if not THE) highest DPS characters in the game, which makes them extremely important participants in any attack.
    • Stunning Ability: Boiled down, stunning drastically increases the efficiency of a team’s attacks. In most duels, a majority of the time is spent trying to land an attack. In team duels, stunners can catalyze kills by holding a target in place and eliminating missed shots. Stunning also is extremely important in defense, as it can stop an attacking character outright.
    • Area Control: This is the ability of a team to hold and to take ground. The better a team’s ability to control space, the less it will feel pressured by the opposing team, and the more influence it can exert on the opponents’ movements. Trappers and barbs with leap are extremely good at controlling space, making them excellent defenders and protectors during spikes.
    • Resilience: This is the “tankability” of a team’s members – basically how much damage they can take and survive. It’s inevitable that players will take damage, and properly played teams will be able to turn disadvantageous situations into advantageous ones very quickly, making even perfectly coordinated attacks risky. The resilience of teams will allow them to take greater risks, which gives them more opportunities to strike the definitive blow.
    • Mobility: This is just how quickly a team can move, either on foot or via teleport. The faster a team is, the better they can react to changes in situations, the quicker their attacks can be, and easier they can escape pressure. Spiking a target before the opposing team has time to react is the best way to play.

    Team Modes

    Because the dynamics between teams dominate the match-ups between the individual characters, duelers will find themselves doing things “out of character” when viewed from a 1v1 lens. You’ll see necros jumping onto druids, trappers running away from druids, etc. Every dueler needs to leave behind its typical 1v1 strategies and understand the role it plays in the team. The players’ roles will change depending on the “mode” the team is in – that is, what position the team currently occupies – and will need to coordinate with one another to be effective.

    The “modes” are very intuitive, and are as follows:

    • Neutral: When neither team is in an advantageous position, with both parrying each other’s attacks, jabbing and changing angles, and looking for openings and stranded targets to jump.
    • Attacking: When one team is on the offensive, often triggered by the stunner catching an opposing player in a lock, or when one team has more remaining members in the fight. Can also be triggered at the onset of a duel by a disadvantage in range.
    • Defending When one team is on the defensive, often triggered by the opposing team catching one of your own members, or when you are outnumbered. Teams with longer range will regularly fall into this mode.

    Team modes can switch in an instant, and SHOULD switch multiple times over the course of a duel. Pay close attention to your teammates and keep an eye on what’s going on at every point of contact between the two teams so that you can react quickly.

    Character-specific Strategies

    Strategies for each team member should work synergistically with its partners’, and best leverage its own relative strengths. I’ll cover just the classic team dueling characters here to save time. Again, every team will have its own style, but this is what I (and my friends) have converged to.

    First, a quick list of the relevant characters:

    • Barb: Uninterruptable short-ranged attacker| AoE stunner | BO enhances team resilience
    • Necro: Long-ranged attacker | Curses for enhancing team DPS
    • Druid: Short-ranged attacker | Oak enhances team resilience
    • Trapper: Medium-ranged attacker | Focused stunner
    • Bowzon: Long-ranged attacker | Extremely high DPS, even from long range

    Based on the way each character attacks and defends, they will naturally have certain targets they are better at dealing with. The ordering of the targets is not meant to be concrete, but a general guideline. Always go after the most immediate threat or target (the one that’s attacking your teammate or a stunned opponent for example), but use the list to guide you when there are multiple targets. Go after a lower-ranked target if there are no openings on the higher priority ones.

    The strategies are outlined below, and will be broken down by the “mode” the team is operating in:

    Barb

    Barb WW is one of the strongest attacks in the game (when coupled with amp) and is uninterruptable, meaning it should be the first one leaping in the fray and the last one to leave whenever there is an immobilized target. Leap acts as a good AoE stunner, and is a significant deterrent to any attacking team.

    Target priority

    1. Bowzon
    2. Necro
    3. Trapper
    4. Druid
    5. Barb

    Strategies

    • Neutral Mode: Dodge long-range missiles and traps while looking for openings to jump in. Float around and change angles, but stay within 2 screens of your team so that you can quickly snap back to them if the trapper stuns a target or someone attempts to break through to your more delicate teammates. Preemptively leap whenever you aren’t moving.
    • Attacking Mode: Look for stunned targets (if you have a trapper) or preoccupied opponents to jump on. When a barb attacks, other short-ranged attackers will often be reluctant to jump in and try to save their teammate, so try pick on the long-ranged attackers first (follow the target order). If you have other teammates with strong attacks, you can serve as a stunner and leap, but note that barbs should always play the role of a damage dealer. Once you’ve started attacking, don’t switch to a different target until it escapes or dies, and keep attacking even if an opposing stunner appears.
    • Defending Mode: Leap by the teammate being attacked to stop opposing short-ranged spikers. Whirl at the attackers if there is no danger of being overwhelmed. Focus on protecting your teammate, so don’t stop leaping to whirl if it will leave attackers free to pounce on your teammate.

    Necro

    Necro’s attacks are unresistable and deal hefty damage, but the most important aspect of its attacks are that they are long-ranged. In most team duels, the necro will be have the longest range of all other characters, making it pivotal during when the teams are in neutral modes. Necro curses also drastically increase the damage of its party members. The team that loses the necro first will be forced into attacking, often from a disadvantaged position, and also lose the ability to amp/LR. In classic 4v4’s, necros are like the kings of chess – not too strong in their own right, but absolutely indispensible.

    Target priority

    1. Bowzon
    2. Barb
    3. Trapper
    4. Necro
    5. Druid

    Strategies

    • Neutral Mode: At the onset of each duel (and very frequently throughout), use the corners of your screen to curse the other team. Curses are very often what determines whether a target dies or escapes, or whether it’s even safe to jump in the first place, so the necro must make sure the other team remains cursed at all times. Don’t be afraid to apply curses liberally – it may seem like a waste of casts, but consider only a small portion of your casted bone skills will make contact anyway. Between casting curses, float around the opposing team from a distance and throw bone spirits/teeth in their direction, following the target priorities to choose your targets. Steer clear of opposing stunners, and stay within two screens your team members. Note that necros will often be the only character that can deal significant damage to a barb from long distance, so save your team HP by taking care of it.
    • Attacking Mode: As a teleporting long-range attacker, necros are able to easily switch targets, and should always be on the lookout to do so if the situation is right. Like with the barb and the druid, the necro should keep an eye out for stunned targets. Use bone prison to keep the target from WSGing out, and then pounce if its safe. If the situation is messy, attack the stunned character from a safe distance. Its attack is relatively weak compared to WW or nados with amp, so the necro should leave the spiking to the barb or druid if they are present and play a supplementary role. If primary strikers are present on your team, switch to attacking the secondary targets that come to save their partner once they’ve picked up the target. Use bone prison/golem on the barb to soak up WW and protect your teammates, and throw spears at trappers to break up their MB.
    • Defending Mode: Defend by staying close the teammate the opposing team is attacking, and cast bone spirits and teeth preemptively, switching to spear once they show up on your screen. Again, use prison/golem if the spiker is a barb, but note that you may trap your own teammate in the process, so talk it through with your teammates beforehand. If the spikers are slow to jump, shoot spears/spirit at the stunner to break them off your teammate.

    Druid

    With minion stack, druids can pounce on targets without taking damage, and their nados are unblockable, which make them even stronger attackers than barbs in advantageous situations. Druids however are easily stunned and fairly delicate once their oak sage dies, so they need to be more careful in selecting in which situations they will attack.

    Target priority

    1. Bowzon
    2. Necro
    3. Druid
    4. Trapper
    5. Barb

    Strategies

    • Neutral Mode: Float around with your teammates and support them with oak sage. Stay next to any present stunners so that you can quickly jump on an immobilized target if the opportunity arises. Use minions to shield delicate teammates from missiles.
    • Attacking Mode: Like with the barb, look for and attack stunned or preoccupied targets. Because druids are very easily stunned and overwhelmed, keep an eye out for opposing teammates coming in to save the target and escape before you the situation turns nasty.
    • Defending Mode: Because druids are easily stunned, they need to be careful in how they defend their teammates, and cannot just rush in like a barb. If you see a teammate getting stunned, teleport close to them and start casting nados over them to act as a deterrent – if you get lucky you’ll actually claim the lives of a few attackers in the process. Nados are extremely difficult to aim, so pounce on a spiker if you see the opportunity to do so without getting stunned yourself. Just make sure not to get caught yourself.

    Trapper

    Trappers are the best stunners in the game, able to completely immobilize a character when traps come into play. Well-placed traps proper coordination with the team will allow trappers to stun 2+ characters all at once, making them essential to attacking and defending.

    Target priority

    1. Bowzon
    2. Barb
    3. Druid
    4. Necro
    5. Trapper

    Strategies

    • Neutral Mode: Float around and use the corners of your screen to cast traps at the opponents. Change angles and don’t move more than 2 screens at a time (unless you’re being attacked) so that your traps don’t disappear and you can keep up pressure. Look for targets that get left behind as the other team shifts to escape your traps and extend out to trap them if your team is close enough to support you.
    • Attacking Mode: Stun targets following the order listed above, but don’t chase one if it leaves the range of the rest of your team. After you catch a target in MB, wait as long as you can for one of your teammates to pick up the lock and start spiking. Once they start attacking, the swirly + attacks will stun them sufficiently without your MB, so if you see another opponent trying to save its teammate, switch targets (following the order again) to protect your own teammates from being blindsided. Don’t be frustrated if your teammates don’t catch every one of your locks.
    • Defending Mode: Figure out which of your teammates is in danger and place traps around him/her. Train your teammates to escape in your direction so that you can assist them. Focus on stunning the spikers, but throw a couple MBs at the stunner if there are no attackers present. Spread swirlies among the attackers as much as you can so that the traps will put them into recovery animation. If you stun the spikers, they become prey for the rest of your team and you can very easily switch into the attacking role.

    Bowzon

    Bowzons are at the top of everyone else’s target priority lists, and for good reason. They have the ability to deal an insane amount of damage to both a single target and over a wide area, giving any team with a bowzon the advantage in range attacks and allowing them to play more defensively. They are also very fragile however, so they will very frequently be the target of coordinated team attacks.

    Target priority
    1. Trapper
    2. Barb
    3. Bowzon
    4. Druid
    5. Necro

    Strategies

    • Neutral Mode: Pretty self explanatory – just shoot GA and MS at the opposing team. Use corners to block incoming missiles, and drop out of map range once in a while to change angles and IGA. Focus on the opposing trapper if it’s present, as it is the only character that is able to hinder your movement.
    • Attacking Mode: Bowzon teams will very rarely be in this situation given their range, defensive strength, and low mobility. It does happen however when the incoming attack falls apart, the bowzon team should absolutely take advantage of it, as it is the best chance to deal a large amount of damage. Use GA if it is a single target, and use MS if there are multiple targets in range, if the target has minions up, or if the target is out of NL range. Note that MS is an excellent way of preventing the opposing team from saving one of its team members. Remember that you can change the angle of the arrows by moving the pointer closer to you, so fan out the arrows if the targets are far apart.
    • Defending Mode: Bowzons are fragile and will often be the opposing team’s first target, so they need to know how to repel attacks before they make contact. Target selection here is extremely important – the list was written with defense in mind. Spray MS at the incoming attackers, with the arrows aimed to catch the most high-threat targets as possible. Focus on the trapper while they approach (if there is one), and switch to the damage dealers once they get close. You will most likely get overwhelmed at some point (given that the other team is completely focused on you), so you’ll have to rely on your teammates to help you out. Even while you’re getting attacked, WSG will create chances for you to shoot/throw, so make sure you take those opportunities, as they will help your team out significantly. If for some reason, the other team decides to attack one of your teammates rather than you, do the logical thing and throw MS over your teammate at risk.

    Advanced Concepts

    For those that have the basics of team dueling down, I want to lay down a few extra ideas you can use to further improve and analyze your team play. I'm not using "advanced" to pat myself on the back – they can absolutely be utilized or understood by those newer to the game as well. I may have gone overboard with the opportunity to coin new terms, but just bear with me.

    Overloading

    "Overloading" is basically using a larger number of your own team members to attack a smaller number of targets (happens frequently whenever a team goes into attacking mode). Even if your teams have the same number of players left on the field, you may see two players attacking a single target for example – like in a fast break in basketball.

    The important thing to note is that if you and a partner overload a target, the remaining members of your team will be overloaded as well. Essentially, you need to consider that any time your team coordinates a spikes on a target, you will be leaving the rest of your teammates outnumbered. This is another reason why spiking needs to be coordinated and executed quickly – if you take too long to kill your target, the other team will have time to overload your non-participating teammates and kill them.

    Stunners that have AoE stun or switch targets effectively can make a huge difference in team duels because they can stun multiple targets, meaning you can overload your targets without getting overloaded in return. Here's an scenario to illustrate:

    Code:
    Example scenario: barb1/nec1/trapper1 vs barb2/nec2/trapper2
    
    > trapper1/barb1 attack nec2
      - with trapper1/barb1 focused on nec2, nec1 now faces trapper2/barb2 alone
        o at this point, the only advantage the first team has is that they started the attack earlier
        > trapper1 switches stunning barb2 after barb1 jumps nec2
           o right now, barb1 has nec2 pinned down, and trapper1 has barb2 stunned, leaving nec1 in a 1v1 situation with trapper2
    ... so for every extra target a stunner can immobilize, the team can overload a target with one more player without putting the remaining team members at risk.

    Team Subgroups

    As was implied in the discussion of overloading targets, the team does not need to act as one completely cohesive unit. In team duels, you will often find teams breaking into smaller subgroups to counter specific threats or destroy certain targets, mostly to capitalize on momentary 2v1 opportunities.

    One of the strengths of the classic barb/nec/druid/trapper team is that it can break off into a number of potent two-man cells. barb/nec, trapper/druid, trapper/barb, and nec/druid teams are very strong and well rounded, allowing the team to act effectively when attacking from two sides or warding off attacks after the team has been broken apart.

    Applying this idea with that of overloading, you can come to a number of pretty interesting strategies. One of them is the division of a barb/nec/druid/trapper team into a trapper/druid team for spiking single targets and a barb/nec team for handling the resulting 2v3. The trapper and druid are both very adept at killing single targets, while the necro (with its spammable long range attacks) and barb (with leap) are extremely effective in warding off attackers, even when outnumbered.

    This doesn't mean that every team should always operate like several independent teams though. A quick and coordinated attack with the force of an entire team is extremely hard to counter and should never be discarded as an option.

    Ideal Mismatches

    When you start breaking the teams into subgroups, you will find that there are a lot of different uneven situations (both good and bad) even between two identical teams. Just having numbers during a spike will not always guarantee a kill. Duelers need to be careful in choosing which fights to jump into, and which ones they should avoid.

    Here are some mismatches to capitalize on:

    • trapper + nec -> barb
    • trapper + druid -> druid
    • trapper + barb -> trapper
    • trapper + druid -> necro
    • necro + druid/barb -> zon

    When both teams are in neutral modes – jabbing and changing angles – they will be looking to find these momentary mismatches when their team can quickly neutralize a target, i.e. a druid/trapper running into a nec that was separated from its team. Always be on the lookout for these mismatches so you can jump and preemptively escape at the right times.

    Understanding Team Match-ups

    Using the concepts outlined above, you can work out a duel decision tree and determine what the best course of action for each scenario, allowing you to understand how teams will match up to one another. Here’s a simplified example for a 2v2 duel with trapper/barb vs nec/druid from the point of view of the first team:

    Code:
    > trapper/barb sit back
      - eventually die to necro's long range attack
    > trapper/barb attack
      > trapper stuns druid
        > barb leaps
          - druid will WSG and eventually escape without taking much damage
        > barb attacks necro
          - necro is free to cast; high probability attack will not strike necro and of taking damage; druid will WSG and eventually escape
        > barb attacks druid
          - necro is free to deal damage from long distance and cast bone prisons to soak up barb WW; trapper/barb will take damage
            - druid escapes
              o restart from top
            - druid dies
              o trapper/barb vs necro
      > trapper stuns necro
        > barb leaps
          - necro will WSG and eventually escape without taking much damage
        > barb attacks druid
          - druid is free to cast, and very dangerous if barb is amped; necro will WSG and eventually escape
        > barb attacks necro
          - druid is free to deal damage from close range; trapper/barb may take damage, but chances are less than with necro shooting
            - necro escapes
              o restart from top
            - necro dies
              o trapper/barb vs druid
    The decision trees will start to get recursive and several layers of detail are omitted in this example, but hopefully it was enough to illustrate the thought process. It should have lead you to the conclusion thatthe trapper/barb should attack the nec/druid. It also implies that it makes the most sense for the trapper/barb to focus on the necromancer first, as the trapper and barb are very well suited to countering reactions from the druid, as it is a close-range attacker, and because the resulting 2v1 will be easier.

    In Closing...

    Theorycraft will never trump actual in-game skill, so duels will not always progress as expected. Team duels are naturally very messy, as there is often too much happening to truly comprehend, but you will eventually tune your reactions to the point where you don't have to think about your next step and it will come naturally. Team chemistry is also extremely important, so try and find teammates that work well with you, or at least practice so that you understand how to support each other.

    Here are some random team duel videos of trapper/druid vs barb/nec to get the blood flowing (yes I know it's bad):



    GL, HF, DD, etc



    /D
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2009
  2. links

    links IncGamers Member

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    Re: Guide to Team Dueling v1.0

    Nice guide, and a good 2v2 there. You should make a 4v4 video, maybe slow it down during battle so people can actually tell what's going on.
     
  3. Rawness

    Rawness IncGamers Member

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    Re: Guide to Team Dueling v1.0

    This will doubtlessly make cmd happy... :)
     
  4. Robobaby

    Robobaby IncGamers Member

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    Re: Guide to Team Dueling v1.0

    I've never team duelled in d2 but I have played gvg in Guild Wars and pretty much the only thing that was absolutely necessary in gvg was that everyone had to be in ventrillo/teamspeak so you could do things like call/count down spikes properly. Do you use vent when you team duel? I remember we had one early beta player from Fi in our guild that could basically call the shots in vent without even being in the game (just by listening to the players).

    Guild Wars was a much slower paced and more deliberate game though. This looks kind of...frenetic.
     
  5. Kakaislegend

    Kakaislegend Banned

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    Re: Guide to Team Dueling v1.0

    No Pallies or sorcs?
     
  6. links

    links IncGamers Member

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    Re: Guide to Team Dueling v1.0

    The difference between guild wars gvg and team pk in D2 is like comparing a chess game to a fist fight.


     
  7. Cormac McArt

    Cormac McArt IncGamers Member

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    Re: Guide to Team Dueling v1.0

    Ah, some variety, finally.

    Hi @TienJe, congratulations! This is not bad TvT Guide, really.
    Went through all of it and I consider most of it factual and useful though scanty but hey it's V1.0 isn't it.
    What I exclude from "most of it factual and useful" is the "Understanding Team Match-ups" section. What's wrong with it is that it's really messy that it stains the Guide and should be the first thing to remake or replace when building the next version (looking forward for it).

    Sincerely yours,
    Cormac McArt
     
  8. crawlingdeadman

    crawlingdeadman IncGamers Member

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    Re: Guide to Team Dueling v1.0

    yes it does :thumbup:



     
  9. wizAdept

    wizAdept IncGamers Member

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    Re: Guide to Team Dueling v1.0

    Thumbs up on this guide.

    Great read for players to get the general idea of team dueling and how to formulate strats. How to understand what characters/scenarios call for what roles from different players. More important than just reading specific strats imo.
    :thumbup:
     
  10. Rawness

    Rawness IncGamers Member

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    Re: Guide to Team Dueling v1.0

    I like the idea of having Themes and Concepts rather than hard fact, because if you understand 'em, you can apply the logic to everything... and you kind of understand it intuitively

    Reminds me of Josh Waitzkin somehow... but that's probably a bad comparasion.
     
  11. UberB

    UberB IncGamers Member

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    Re: Guide to Team Dueling v1.0

    Great guide. One question though: where is Hammerdin? They may not be as useful as a Barb/Necro/Trapper/Windy/Bowzon but surely they are also quite a powerful team member that is worthy of mention?
     
  12. TienJe

    TienJe IncGamers Member

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    Re: Guide to Team Dueling v1.0

    neutral: spam hammers
    attack: CL hammers
    defense: spam hammers

    yay!

    ...may add it later if enough people ask for it i guess



     
  13. Jaytron

    Jaytron IncGamers Member

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    Re: Guide to Team Dueling v1.0

    Do you really need a hammerdin guide? Jesus christ, hammerdins are the nnSkill class of the game. Here's the guide.

    1. Bind Vigor, charge, conc, hammers
    2. Desync around Blood Moor, while spamming hammers
    3. ???
    4. Profit

    Great guide TienJe.


     
  14. Moritz

    Moritz IncGamers Member

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    Re: Guide to Team Dueling v1.0

    god, i wonder when people will understand that hammerdins are definitely not a non-skill class at all.

    i never liked paladins nor did i play them a lot in general, but its still not true what you say.
    being good at playing hammerdin is just as hard as any other character.
    generally there are pretty good ways of avoiding to get hit by hammers (therefore hammers can 2-3 hit almost everyone so its fair) and it is consequently hard to hit skilled people with a hdin.


    nevermind, i like the general guide concept and the content. will read through it again in detail later and add something, or not. :thumbup:



     
  15. TienJe

    TienJe IncGamers Member

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    Re: Guide to Team Dueling v1.0

    i think i'll include a section about the ideal 2v1 match-ups we should be looking for in tpk

    lmk if you want to add anything moe



     
  16. TienJe

    TienJe IncGamers Member

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    Re: Guide to Team Dueling v1.0

    -added another section with a few more concept/idea/things

    yay for making up terms
     
  17. UberB

    UberB IncGamers Member

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    Re: Guide to Team Dueling v1.0

    Jesus Christ, I didn't say I needed a hammerdin guide. I merely think that they are quite viable in a team duel because they are very powerful.


     
  18. links

    links IncGamers Member

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    Re: Guide to Team Dueling v1.0

    There are quite a few classes that are viable in team duels. However my experience with Team duels except for 2v2 no one wants any but these 5 builds/classes. First because it's the best combination, and second because it keeps it "balanced" when teams are using the same class setups. Plus no one likes hammerdins for obvious reasons.
     
  19. Cormac McArt

    Cormac McArt IncGamers Member

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    Re: Guide to Team Dueling v1.0

    Aha. A single top-notch Hammerdin can harass and eventually devastate a barb-nec-dru-sin team.


     
  20. Sass

    Sass IncGamers Member

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    Re: Guide to Team Dueling v1.0

    A 4v1 hdins killing them? o_O


    no.
     

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