Tips for New Players: Opening Splits
Back in the very first “tips for new players”, which gave a number of brief pieces of advice, I gave the advice to “Learn the early rotations.” First off, I’d like to clarify that that should have been “learn the opening splits”, which is what I actually discussed and what this article is going to go into with more detail, as the original article was just a short synopsis of the topics involved. I’m still only going to go over fairly basic and standard splits, and leave more advanced and riskier splits out (like ignoring close at the very start), at least for now.
The term “opening splits” refers to where you send the various members of your team when the game begins, and there are a few “standard” splits. For the purpose of this article I’ll be writing the splits in the form of Close Point – Mid Point – Far Point, for example if you were to send 1 person to close, 3 to mid and 1 to far it would be written 1-3-1.
The first and arguably most common split at least in pub games, is 1-4-0. This split gives a team a strong presence at the mid fight, while also allowing you to secure the close point, and hold it if the enemy team sends none or one crosser (as long as whoever goes close on your team is suited to the task with build and personal skill). This split also gives flexibility after the initial mid fight, as you can fall back to close to regroup if you lose, and if you win you can hold the two cap or even send someone far to challenge for the three cap. If the opposing team has a clearly offensive team composition (e.g. a thief, mesmer and burn guardian) and you suspect a larger far push from them then you can do a more defensive variation of this split, 2-3-0, or simply have a mobile class such as a thief or elementalist wait in between close and mid and move to wherever they are needed, the later can give the added bonus of information, as, depending on where they stand, they may be able to see enemy rotations.
If you yourself have an offensive team composition then you might want to consider an aggressive split. A split that allows some aggression but doesn’t commit too much is 1-3-1, which is an offensive form of 1-4-0, in which one player forgoes the mid fight to instead contest far. This split should only be done in a team with two strong 1v1ers; one for close and one for far, and a solid three man team fight; to fight mid against likely equal or greater numbers (e.g. having two strong tanks/supports like a bunker guard and a shout bow warrior). This split can be riskier than a 1-4-0 as early defeats can be harder to recover from.
An even more offensive split is 1-0-4, with the large group crossing preferably being stealthed before your opponents have a chance to spot them. With a large stealthed group, good timing and co-ordination you can almost instantly kill a single opponent on far, and leave a capable 1v1er and effectively have a 1-3-1, but with at least one point easily secured (two if no one crossed to contest your close point). Stealthed crossers will also be able to see any from the other team (granted they aren’t in stealth too) which can help to adapt your split if need be. Similarly to the defensive splits earlier, sending two people to close in a 2-0-3 is advisable if your opponents have a clearly offensive team which may push far with more than 1 player.
In general the safest splits to play in solo queue or small groups as new players are the first two, 1-4-0 and 1-3-1. They have the least risk and, in general, are the easiest to recover from them going wrong. When you get more confident in personal and team skill, the more offensive splits can be effective after practiced and executed in an organised 5 man environment. A lot of knowing what split to do comes down to experience, practice and the ability to try and predict the enemy spilts, and then decide on your own accordingly, but having a decent knowledge of these standard splits can go a long way to helping.
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