Advanced Tactics – Outnumbering

Advanced Tactics – Outnumbering

The worst feeling in PvP is when you’re winning a duel and another enemy rotates in, killing you or resetting all the progress you made.  Rightfully so, especially if your team gains no advantages elsewhere, because it is detrimental to lose time invested anywhere in a competitive game type.

Structured PvP in Guild Wars 2 relies heavily on rotating five players around the map, getting as much value out of each player at any given time by choosing favorable matchups.  However, one common and viable strategy that players employ is outnumbering or over-rotating players into uneven fights.  Outnumbering can expedite or salvage losing matchups and situations, but at the risk of being absent elsewhere.  Taking advantage of respawn timers by outnumbering other fights consecutively can result in a snowballing victory, but only if the time spent outnumbering is spent wisely.  Rotating well is important because it can reduce the room for error, but at the same time it may not matter if the rotations are being outplayed.  In this article I will detail some of the mechanics necessary to finish fights as efficiently as possible or handle situations where you are outnumbered to prevent a snowball.

Knowing when to deal damage is much more important than dealing as much damage as possible.  This can be seen in the disparity between averages in total damage done by different classes.  Engineers, a more defensive class, do overall similar damage totals to the more offensive classes revenants and necromancers because they can stay in fights longer and constantly deal damage. However, this doesn’t mean that an engineer is stronger than a revenant or necromancer because it deals similar damage with more support. This is because player health totals are constantly going up and down due to healing, and burst damage is highly valuable for pushing through sustained healing.  For this reason, thieves can deal less than half as much total damage as necromancers and revenants but still get just as many kills.

Burst damage is not as simple as knowing a good combo.  It has much more to do with knowing your opponents weaknesses and how your class can fit into those weaknesses.  For example: revenants, guardians and warriors use many block abilities which can be bypassed by unblockable skills like necromancer staff marks.  Aligning these counter abilities properly with your opponent’s actions allows for the quick kill pickups that outnumbering aims to do.  Otherwise, an enemy may be able to stall a fight where they lack the numbers, making it a favorable situation for their team. There are two main ideas to know when plus 1’ing.

Counting Dodges

One of the most important techniques for maximizing potential damage output is landing skills, whether it is aiming ground-targeting abilities or timing skills between evade frames.  By mentally keeping track of enemy defensive cooldowns, you can land more of your important skills.  Every class inherently has two dodge rolls which they will want to save for certain things.  But they also want to dodge to keep their endurance bar constantly regenerating.  Effectively you can tell when someone is out of dodges by counting their dodges.  If they dodged recently and then they dodge again it’s a safe bet that they haven’t regenerated half their endurance yet or won’t be willing to dodge again.  There are obviously other matchup based cooldowns to keep track of; for example the elementalist’s obsidian flesh, or the ranger’s signet of stone, or the revenant’s riposting shadows, but generally saving your higher presence skills for when the enemy is out of dodges will result in more pressure than going through static damage rotations at the risk of missing them.  Notice in the video the kills at 0:50 and 7:50 which show waiting after evades or countering blocks.


Analyze the Objective

Sometimes you need to force a fight in your favor by outnumbering it but your ally does not provide enough pressure or your enemy is too difficult to kill.  In these situations you can pressure your opponent off of the node until your ally caps it, then leave your ally to 1v1 that on their node.  This is a favorable situation if your ally can hold the cap without dying because your team is generating just as many points as if you had killed the enemy without investing any more time than is necessary.

If your ally is more of a DPS and can’t hold an extended 1v1 without letting the point neutralize, it is most likely better to kill the enemy so that both can rotate out while the enemy is on respawn.  In this situation it’s better for both to forego capture progress to get the kill, chasing and pressuring the enemy wherever they kite to.  Here it is important to know the terrain of the map for both sides.  If you are trying to survive outnumbered, jumping into hard to reach spots can save you; and if you are trying to kill you need to know the spots just as well to follow them or they can buy enough time for their cooldowns which can stall the encounter even further.  And of course, if you can secure the kill off node then you gain the benefit of bleeding them for extra time to rotate.  If you are two DPS trying to kill a bruiser like a ranger or an engineer it is risky to take too much counter pressure in case an enemy DPS rotates in because they can easily pick one of you off.

Not always can you afford to deal with a fight conservatively and sometimes favorable situations are riskier because they are deceptively so.  Risky positioning can be justified by time constraints and conservation can be justified by risky situations.  Clearly there are a lot of factors to keep track of when five players contend over at least 3 objectives; and while rotating is a large part of that, gaining better control over the mechanics of these smaller scale situations will greatly improve your potential to rotate.

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