During the CBT I wrote a small guide on how to play the Lyn BD Class. Now with my experience being significantly higher, I can write an official guide to correct my old one and hopefully help out new players. This will be quite long so please bear with me and read it through before judging. If I make a mistake or leave anything out, let me know in the comments; I'll correct it and credit you. Now, without further adeiu, let's make you a bonafide LBD bad-a**! (This will mostly be a PvP Guide, if you'd like me to make a PvE/Gearing Guide, let me know!)
My Qualifications/Who Am I?
My Rank (at the date of this guide)
I am also the leader of the Synergy Clan on Mushin - NA
My Twitch Stream (shameless promotion right here folks)
We'll be starting with the FAQ because I see a lot of very common questions and concerns about the LBD class that really need to be addressed before continuing with this guide. Let's see if I can shed some light on this class (feel free to ask questions I don't cover in the comments, if they're good I'll add them to the FAQ).
Is Lyn Bladedancer OP?
Short Answer: No.
Long Answer: LBD has a low skill-cap to start out with. You want to knock your opponent up? Press X. You want to do a TONS of damage? press C (and follow up). You don't know what the hell to do? Press TAB and spin until something beautiful happens. Why is this not "OP"? Because at a high level of play every single one of these things can be countered, but at a low level people just don't know what they're doing yet and are quick to call something they can't instantly figure out "OP." I'll include ways to counter different abilities in this guide so I hope that will help some people understand this class a bit more (knowing your weakness is often the fastest path to finding your strength).
Is Lyn Bladedancer easy to play?
Short Answer: Yes.
Long Answer: Heck no. Once you get to around 1900 rating in NA, you'll start to see people learning to counter your various engages and abilities. You need to have a ton of class knowledge and the ability to time perfectly because although your class is simplistic, being simple is also your biggest weakness. Yeah, I can spin for days if I refresh my Chi with Soaring Falcon, but what happens if they resist it with SS or an ability? Or maybe they'll just knock me down after the first .5s of my spin is over (yes you can do that) or they're just pull me out of it with Force Grip/Pull; there are so many ways to counter something that is simple, that it makes you have to work much harder to be better at a high-level. Basically what I'm saying is: Yes, LBD is easy to learn, but hard to master.
But Trevorrrr (my name), there are some skills that are actually OP in this current patch! Like using your X (Five-Point Strike) into an Assassin's Decoy/Counter and still knocking them up out of Stealth.
Answer: Yes, this current patch is unbalanced. NCSoft released Blade & Soul in NA with the level 50 cap amongst all the other things the Korean version currently has, but put a lock on the Hongmoon skills and on level 50 itself; starting us at 45 without the extra skill-points. This means that Assassins won't be able to become invulnerable for 2s on counter/gain a 10% HP shield as they cannot spec into it yet. KFM's don't get their Furry/4-hit Daze reset on evade. Blademasters don't get their 10% heal/shield or their Soaring Falcon stun/disable. Lyn Bladedancers themselves don't have the damage they're meant to yet as we don't have our final Lightning Draw or the skill-points to amplify our ani-cancel damage in Draw Stance further. Every class is unbalanced right now, for good or bad. That's why you see Summoners/Destroyers/KFMs/LBDs in Diamond a lot because they don't require as many skill-points as say... Assassins/Blademasters/Forcemasters to have their core combos down.
I thought eFrames didn't exist? Aren't they Ping Dependant?
Answer: Yes, for the most part, but no matter how close you are to the game server you will ALWAYS have a delay (albeit low, 1-20ms if you live within the same state) and any delay can be taken advantage of. As a guide creator it is my job to advise you on these things. There are also other things that create "eFrames," like not being able to perfectly chain your skills or having a human reaction time.
That's it for the FAQ! The reason I didn't put things regarding skills and such into the above section is because they'll have their own section entirely where I'll address questions. Read on my friends, read on.
**NOTE: I use the default Hotkeys throughout this guide to reference skills, if you're curious as to what a certain hotkey is because you customized your own, head over to BnS-Tree**
Blade and Soul has general mechanics that every class shares. You need to know these to consistently lay the beatdown and mesmerize your opponents.
Retreat: Every class has an ability to roll/backflip out of a knockdown/daze, that's what this is. Once you use it, it goes on CD for ~12s. You can take advantage of this by dazing/knocking down your opponent AFTER they use it the first time, giving them only 1 option: to burn their hard escape(s) if they want to get out.
Get-Up/Stand-Up Animation: This occurs during the small gap when you're knocked down and when you stand up. For a split second, you're unable to do anything as your character stands up(an aFrame where you're trapped in the get-up animation). Good players will take advantage of this extremely small time-frame to CC/Punish you without any threat of retaliation.
iFrames: An iFrame or Invulnerability Frame is a specific time-span where your character is Invulnerable to all attacks. For example, during your S-S Retreat you're completely invulnerable to all abilities until it finishes; it's the same with your Q and E as an LBD. The iFrame effect also happens when you're using your TAB (Escape) or other various abilites.
eFrame: An eFrame or Empty Frame is a very short instance where you're unable to use any abilities after the iFrame effect wears off (after an Evasion/Movement skill like S-S/Q/E/TAB (Escape)/Etc.) These can actually be shortened with a lower ping, but will always be there to take advantage of.
aFrame: A type of roof. Jokes aside, an aFrame or Animation Frame is the time-span where you're locked into an animation and cannot move or cancel out of it.
Tech. Chase: Tech. Chasing is a term used to describe someone taking advantage of an eFrame or aFrame. For example, if you're Dazed and you F (Retreat), then your opponent follows you while you're rolling back and uses CC before you're able to retaliate with any skills, that is a successful Tech. Chase. I'll go into this with more detail in the combo section.
Charge/Disables: The term Charge encompassed all skills to do with charging forward/dashing. For example your Raid/Rush (2), Five-Point Strike (X) and your Lightning Strike (RMB, while in Draw Stance) are all considered "Charges" and can therefore be disabled with the effect "Charge Disable."
I'll quickly go over the Skill Tree I use at level 45 w/o Hongmoon skills for each class. Once the February 10th patch hits, I'll update this guide with HM skill points.
Vs. Lyn Bladedancer/Destroyer -- With this build you have a few options to take the LBD/Destroyer out of spin (Grab, Pull, or KD). You also have more damage with Sunder so if your Take Flight is down, you can still punish on a Dual Strike pull that they don't have retreat for by using Q/E > Sunder or during your ground game, after they use Counterstrike (Counter while on the ground). It is in my best opinion that Maelstrom is much more useful against these two classes, parry spin can be avoided easily at a high level.
Vs. KFM -- Using this build you can punish the KFM for using their Counter. You can also ground game quite well with the extra points in your Bodykick (1) giving you an extra second of KD and the 3 points in Anklebiter (3) giving you extended range (this can be useful for KD tech. chasing). I included Flock of Blades as a "just in-case." 99.9% of good KFMs won't run grapple, but in the event that one does to cheese you, you'll have a break. You can swap these two points into Rolling Typhoon (F, when you have 3 Wind Focus stacks) if you feel like you don't need it. Sunder/Rolling Typhoon is really the big difference here from my old KFM build as it gives you a ton of extra damage in the form of consistent, low-cd skills. Feel free to change your Dual Strike (V) from pull to resist (it really depends on your playstyle, I like using the Pull/Daze). Lastly, I included the points in the Stomp (F, while your opponent is KD'd) skill so you can interrupt a KFM's counter safely.
Vs. Summoner -- This build is based off of using your Multi-Slash (2) when the summoner's Seed Shoud (4, their Dandelion) is down. This is a huge amount of damage and if you can get all 4 hits off, or at least the last hit, then you'll be able to use Rolling Typhoon which will deliver an 4-6k damage if it crits. Other than that, use your Dual Strike (V) to resist and heal on both the cat and Summoner, but be weary as it can be countered by Seed Shroud and may put you in an even worse position; if you want to use it for it's resists only, I recommend turning away from the summoner and using it. Use your Anklebiter (3) to knock both the summoner and cat down, then proceed to use your Q/E > Sunder to heal and deal massive damage (with a chance of Rolling Typhoon procing).
Vs. Force Master -- Your Dual Strike (V) and Guardian Tempest (Z) give enough resistances to stop specific skills (i.e. Frost Tornado, which stops you from spinning). If you do happen to be caught by it, you can use your Breeze (LMB) to reduce damage dealt to you, other than that Breeze is also good for attacking in-between skills (with the HM extension ONLY) when you don't have enough time to Q/E > Sunder as it will passively give you Wind Focus on crit allowing more accessible use of your Rolling Typhoon. Take advantage of the face that FMs have no real ground-counters and KD whenever possible; your Q/E > Sunder + Rolling Typhoon combo does much more than most people Think.
Vs. Blademaster -- Your two main resists are with Maelstrom (3s now with the Hongmoon skill) and Guardian Tempest (Z); however you don't usually need them as most of the skills you need to resist from a BM (i.e. their Soaring Falcon, Z pull) can be SS'd as they have long animations. Use your Blitzblade (F) to interrupt a BM's block, but don't rush in half-heartedly like you were able to before, a good BM will SS as soon as they see Blitzblade and gain iFrames, then continue to Five-Point Strike (3) while they have iFrames which will take priority over your Five-Point or whatever dash you used to follow up. Other than that, it's the same as the LBD/Destroyer build; use your Sunder when you can and make sure to catch them with tech. chasing.
Vs. Assassin -- I use the debuff cleanse Maelstrom to take off Sneak Attack (Assassin, X) if it hits. Many LBDs prefer the resist Dual Strike (V) at this point in the patches, personally I still like the pull/daze, but it may be better to go resistance so keep that in-mind when using this build. Take advantage of the fact that you can use Blitzblade (F) to stop their Decoy (2, counter) as we have enough points for it now. Abuse your Force Grip (4) + Lightning Rod (F, while Force Gripping) whenever possible to put a damage debuff on them that takes them out of Stealth. Great Synergy~ (ha, clan puns)
Vs. Warlock -- Lots of resistance skills! Warlocks have a hard time dealing with resistances ergo, we take almost all of ours. I like the cleansing Maelstrom over the +1s resistance one because they have a myriad of ways to apply the Brand debuff which disables your movement skills; they can also paralyze you, which acts as a sort of Silence to stop you from using all abilities. Use your resists when you see Time Distortion (TAB, big yellow clock) as they're getting ready to nuke. Use your KDs as much as you can, they don't have any 'real' ground-counter skills, much like a Forcemaster. Remember to use Breeze whenever possible in-between skills. Abuse your Force Grip(4).
Skills and Usages:
This portion will be extremely long. I'll go over almost every skill we have and detail how it's used in different specs. Use Ctrl+F to find a specific skill if you're just looking for a quick refresh. Skill Combos will follow after this part so move to that if you already are familiar with what each skill does and is used for, but I recommend reading through anyway as a little refresh never hurt anyone.
Strengths: Can be spec'd into a Parry after the first .5s of the spin while simultaneously resetting your Take Flight CD, can also be canceled with LMB to spin more often for more Parry chances. Alternatively, you can spec into a 2s resistance/cleanse or 3s resistance skill which passively gives you 400% defense during the spin and a 25% damage reduction to the first attack that hits the spin.
Weaknesses: After the first .5s of the Parry spin or at any time during the Maelstrom spin, you can be Knocked down or Pulled at any time of either. Good players will take advantage of this to force your Retreat and tech. chase with any CC; try to keep your distance while spinning, at the same time stay close enough to be hit if you're running parry. This is much easier with Maelstrom as it gives you a movement speed bonus while you spin.
Escape (TAB while CC'd)
Strengths: You can effectively turn an entire fight around with this skill if you spec into Knockback/Daze. If, for example, I force a KFMs TAB/Escape previously then use my own TAB to daze him, I can follow up with an updraft to throw him in the air or follow him as he Retreats out with a Raid (2) stun or Pull (V) into a knockup or Lightning Draw lockdown. You also get .5s of iFrames while using this skill.
Weaknesses: You'll have no hard-CC escape after using your TAB for 36s which is more than enough time for your opponent to lock you down and kill you. Remember to use your TAB sparingly.
Strengths: These skills can be used to dodge your opponents Escape as stated above in the KFM example. Q/E can also be used to get some quick damage in before knocking your opponent in the air (Any stun > Q/E > Sunder (RMB) x3 > Knock-up), you can also use the same combination with opponents who are knocked-down, but be wary not to use Sunder into a Counter. Try to wait until your opponent counters, knock them down again, then Q/E > Sunder.
Weaknesses: Like Retreat (Your F while Knocked-down/Dazed), there's an eFrame after every one of your evades. Enemies can take advantage of this by instantly CCing you after the iFrame effect is finished. Try to use these when you expect a skill, not when you feel like just dashing around or for Chi (you should never get to the point where you need to Q/E/SS for Chi, but if you do, try to save at least your SS and use Q/E for Chi as you don't need to be close to the enemy to evade with SS and you can retreat to gain CDs after Q/E).
Lightning Flash/Flicker (F/LMB while in Draw Stance)
Strengths: I'm going to talk about these 2 skills together because they have a huge relationship that's extremely important to your DPS as an LBD. You can animation cancel Lightning Flash with Flicker making these two skills a force to be reckoned with; effectively, this is your highest damage combo. You animation cancel by letting Lightning Flash go off first, then instantly using the LMB to stop it's animation so both skills hit at the same time. Try to keep your target stunned the entire time with Lightning Strike and Raid (as these are the only 2 stuns you can use while in Draw Stance without getting out of it) so your Flicker has a 100% chance of critting.
Weaknesses: You need to know how many animation cancels you can get out of your F/LMB before using another stun. I see so many LBDs over estimating their ability to ani-cancel and using one extra hit, then they get stunned or countered and the fight completely turns around. Also you need to know if you're running 3 points in Lightning strike or 2 because if you're running 3, then you need to wait a split second before using your LMB as you automatically get a proc of F, but if you're running 2 then Lightning Strike needs to crit for you to get an initial proc on your F.
Guardian Tempest (Z can be used in both stances)
Strengths: You gain 10% HP per use. This is HUGE, it's one of the biggest reasons we're able to keep up with a summoner's healing. Other than that, you get 5 resists for 5 seconds. Can be used in Draw Stance without taking you out of it, so if you're against a Summoner and you're about to lock them down to DPS with Lightning Draw, use your C first then Z then continue with your stun combo.
Weaknesses: The resists can be a double edged sword; if your opponent counts how many hits s/he is doing to your Z then they can surprise you on the 6th hit with CC. Alternatively they can time 5s in their heads and be able to stun you the instant it goes off.
Flock of Blades (Z while Force Gripped, Grabbed, or Grappled)
Strengths: Can get you out of any one of these CCs, obviously.
Weakness: If your opponent uses SS as you Z, then the Z won't knock the CCer back and it also won't stop skills that are in mid-animation. Try to use your Z if they don't SS or if they wait a second after SSing; always try to use your Reversal first.
Soaring Falcon (1 while at a distance from your target)
Strengths: Can be spec'd to give you almost infinite chi regen for the 8s after it hits and 2 on hit. Alternatively it can be spec'd into a knock-down to bait the opponents Retreat (F while knocked down) and disable their Charging abilities like Dashes and such.
Weaknesses: It can be resisted. If it's resisted your Chi regen is extremely limited so you'll have to SS or Q/E for Chi which is never a good idea. While you're throwing your Soaring Falcon you CANNOT use any other abilities; what I'll do most commonly is wait for another LBD to throw their 1 and then instantly go in. If you go in fast enough their 1 won't even reach you meaning they have to try to throw it again, effectively giving you 2 free enage opportunities.
Phantom Grip (4)
Strengths: You can use this to delay a fight for CDs; this is huge against a KFM or Destroyer if you use your Escape (TAB) before them. Use X once your Force Grip timer is about to run out to throw them to the other side of the arena, forcing them to burn evasion skills or run back (giving you additional time). You can use X to get a free knock-up with your Five-Point Strike (X) or time it for when they use their Retreat and Tech. Chase them back. Alternatively, if you don't use your Lightning Rod (F) while Force Gripping them, you can put them to sleep (if they don't waste their Retreat).
Weaknesses: If you use Soul Stab while Force Gripping, the enemy can use Reversal and knock you down; it's better to not use Soul Stab at all or use it instantly when Force Gripping to catch them off-guard. Some classes like LBD. KFM, and BM have skills that take them out of Force Grip and apply a debuff/CC to you, so be wary of that.
Reversal (2 while Phantom Gripped, Grabbed, or Grappled)
Strengths: You can use it to get out of any skill used while in the above states. For example, you CAN use it on a Drain (LBD 3 while Force Gripping) or Phantom Push (FM 2 while Force Gripping, the Throw), but the animations are so short that you almost have to guess when they're going to be used. Once Reversal is used correctly, it will suppress your opponent and allow you to CC them instead.
Weakness: Very hard to use, if you try to guess when something is going to be used and miss then your opponent is going to be able to use his Force Grip/Grapple/Grab skills for free without punishment.
Raid (2) Dual Strike (V while spec'd into Pull/Daze)
Strengths: These are your primary Tech. Chasing abilities, use them after your opponent Retreats to pull them back and force them to Escape (TAB) if they want to get out of the CC. If they don't you can follow up with an air combo, Q/E Sunder, or Flash Draw. Try to save your Flash Draw rather than using it to force their TAB as you want it to DPS them after they used TAB. You can use Dual Strike to force a Retreat (F) as well as they can Retreat out of the Daze, then follow up with Raid (2).
Weaknesses: If you use these abilities too early after your opponent Retreats then they'll get resisted and you'll be stuck in an aFrame or Animation Lock for a split second that your opponent can take advantage of.
Five-Point Strike (X)
Strengths: This skill hits 5 times and Dazes for the first attack that is LANDED and knocks-up enemies that are currently Dazed, ending the skill. It's the 2nd way you can knock an opponent into the air, meaning you can still knock someone in the air while your Take Flight (F while they're Stunned/Dazed) is on CD. You can also use this skill on FM's Frost Sheath (V) or KFM's Emit Frost or Ice Guard (TAB if spec'd) as it's about to off to get a free Knock-Up as well.
Weaknesses: If miss-timed onto an SS or any skill that grants iFrames like the KFM's Q/E then their CC will take priority over yours as they'll have iFrames up to resist your Daze/knock-up. If your opponent counters on the first hit of Five-Point then the skill will be canceled out and you'll be knocked down; however if they counter during the middle of your X then you won't be knocked down and they'll be knocked up anyways.
Lightning Draw (C)
Strengths: It can be spec'd 3 ways and every single way is viable. You can spec to do around 5k damage while your opponent is knocked down for that instant DPS while your opponent falls out of an air combo. It can also be spec'd to do more damage when your opponent is Stunned/Dazed, so if you use your Raid (2) into Lightning Draw (C) then continue with a stunlock combo, you'll most likely have the damage to kill your opponent.
Weaknesses: It's broadcasted really well by its animation. Meaning your opponent will always be expecting follow-up damage when you use this skill; try to use it while your opponent is unable to react, for example in a CC or Suppression.
Strengths: This skill is easily canceled mid-way into use and can be 'weaved' between almost every one of your abilities. It's a great way to gain Wind Focus passively, along with giving you 100% increased defenses during it's use. It's super versatile and really has no weaknesses if used correctly.
Weaknesses: If your opponent sees you using this skill randomly, without being near them (i.e. for the 100% increased defense alone) they will assume you don't have any chi and attack/CC. This can be both good and bad. Use it to bait an engage from your opponent, don't use it for no reason as it will put you in a bad position.
I'll be using the Default Hotkey Settings for this part of the guide rather than naming the skills as that would just take way too much space. If you all really feel like I need to name the specific skills rather than using hotkeys, I wouldn't mind adding them; however a few people need to be in agreement for that.
First of all, this combo isn't set in stone. It can be re-arranged and used however would best benefit you in your current situation; think of this combo as a starting point/example and try to identify different uses and breakdowns of it.
2 > C > F-LMB Animation Cancel x3 > RMB > F-LMB Animation Cancel x3 > X > 1 > RMB > F > LMB > 4 > SS > *3* > F > LMB > LMB > ***
*IF they Retreat after Drain (Force Grip 3): V > LMB x2 > F > LMB > LMB > **
**(If they stay and counter, wait for it to time out) > 1 > Q/E > RMB x3 > 3 > Q/E > RMB x3
**(If they don't counter, use 1 to knock them down again) > (wait again for the counter, can use Spin + Maelstrom resist to bait) > 3 as they get-up > (wait, yet again, for a counter, but honestly, at this point they should be dead or so close to it that you'll be able to finish them off with a few spins)
**If they counter at any point in the knock-down phase of the combo, then wait it off and knock them down again and finish with Q/E > RMB x3 (Repeat on every KD after counter)
***IF they Retreat after that: V > Q/E > RMB x3 > 1 > Q/E > RMB x3
***IF they stay and counter: wait for the counter > 1 > Q/E > RMB x3 > 3 > (if they use Retreat then use V > Q/E > RMB x3) > if they don't retreat here, finish with Q/E RMB x3
I know the last part makes this sound complicated, but it's really not as hard as it looks. Basically, you want to bait the counter and you cannot full DPS until the counter is baited otherwise you risk your combo getting reversed against you (although at this point they should be so low that it wouldn't matter). If you spec into Parry Spin you can actually Spin on the counter and the deflect will prevent you from being knocked down.
General Tech. Chasing Combinations:
Basically this part is going to help you get players to the point where you can use the full (or part of) the 100-0 combo with the CDs you have left over. V/2/X will be your Holy Trinity for this part as they're the best skills to tech chase an opponent. You can also use Lightning Strike or 1 and 3 knock-downs if you position yourself correctly. Remember, tech. chasing in general is following up and punishing someone for using their Retreat.
4 > 3 > (they Retreat) > V or 2 or X
V > (they Retreat) > 2 or X
V > (they Retreat) > 4 > SS (if they have an escape Force Grip) > 3
(Knock-Down) > (they Retreat) > V or 2 or X or (use the above combo with Force Grip)
(Coming down from an air combo) > Retreat > V or 2 or X
(Coming down from an air combo) > C (as they're about to hit the ground) > (they Retreat) > RMB (in draw stance as they finish their Retreat animation)
(Knock-Up) > Move your character a little behind them to where they'd Retreat to when they land > RMB > (Repeat step 2 as you use 1 for Chi-Regen) > LMB > (Repeat step 2 as they're landing) > (they Retreat) > 1 or 3 as they land in the location you should be standing to knock them back down (this is a bit advanced and it's something KFMs do quite a lot at a high level with their Rising Dragon (Z))
**Final Notes on Combo Section: I could spend days on this section talking about all the different variations to combinations, but once you know the general usages of each skill you'll figure that out pretty easily on your own. I probably didn't have to include the last part on the 100-0 combo about knock-downs and counters, but I thought giving an example of how you alternate combinations based on what CDs you currently have and what your enemy does to respond was pretty necessary. One last thought on that is to have you get comfortable with the total time of your combinations. For example, learn how much time it would take to preform an air combo at max speed, then try and slow it down a bit. This can be extremely helpful when you're trying to get specific CDs back before the fight continues (like your Escape (TAB) or a tech. chasing ability).**
How to Ground-Game:
Ground Game is one of the largest differences between Platinum and Diamond Lyn Bladedancers. Most don't do it properly, if at all. Hopefully, this will shed some light on Ground-Gaming and how you can do it.
Let's assume that you successfully complete an air combo, or a large combo, but your opponent still have quite a bit of HP and most of your CDs are down (i.e. getting that first stun on someone at the start of a match, juggling them twice, then not knowing what to do after except return to the Neutral game of using Vortex and looking for an opening). What do you do now? Do you let your opponent breathe and get back into Neutral game where you both are looking for an opening? Absolutely not. Here's a few ways to take advantage of the Knock-down state your Air Combo leaves your opponent in:
Air Combo KD > Their Ground-Counter > Time either Bodykick or Anklebiter for right after their counter ends > Q/E > Sunder (RMB) > Rolling Typhoon (F, on 3 Wind Focus) > Anklebiter (3) or Bodykick (1), whichever you didn't use yet > Breeze (LMB) until they get back up
Air Combo KD > No counter > Breeze (LMB) to bait counter or get extra damage > Use Anklebiter (3) or Bodykick (1) as they get-up > Their Ground-Counter > Time Anklebiter (3) or Bodykick (1), whichever you didn't use yet > Q/E > Sunder (RMB) > Rolling Typhoon (F, on 3 Wind Focus)
Air Combo KD > No counter > Breeze (LMB) to bait counter or get extra damage > Use Anklebiter (3) or Bodykick (1) as they get-up > They Retreat > Tech. Chase (if your dashes aren't available, use your Anklebiter (3) as it's range is large enough with the 3 points we put in it. Unless you're against a Warlock or Summer. Their Retreats are super long-range).
This gets repetitive and I'm sure you can see what I mean by the first 2 examples. You can net yourself and extra 4-10k damage from just doing good Ground-Game, master this and you'll fly to Diamond. In the last example, it shows that ground-gaming isn't just to try and get extra damage with Sunder/Breeze/Rolling Typhoon. It's also to try and force their Retreat (or even Escape, if you're lucky. Many people get flustered when you ground game well and use it) so you can tech. chase into your next combo.
This portion of the guide will be quite long as I'll try to cover the general play-style of each class and how you'll be expected to deal with it. Be aware that this will be VERY generalized and will not include the specifics of each class/fight.
Their Goal: Basically they strive to make you desperate. What do I mean by this? Well, a good Assassin will dance around in Stealth and only come out when their CDs are up to full combo you. They'll instantly fall back into Stealth after they finish and take with them around 40-50% of your HP if you let them have their way. They want to repeat this perfect scenario until you're dead. The big variation for them is forcing you to use your Escape (TAB) then instantly backing off and re-initiating when they have full CDs again to kill the 'helpless' you. Once you've used your TAB it won't matter so much to them if they use their own as their Escape has a built in defense mechanism in the form of a Blind, Stealth, and Back-dash. That makes it easy for them to re-initiate against you and get the stun they they can end the fight with.
Your Goal: Don't be afraid of their Stealth. Honestly, I see so many LBDs just Spinning-to-Lose once an Assassin goes into Stealth, it's laughable. Stay calm and learn what their sub-goals are while they're in Stealth preparing to stun-lock you. Know that when they're Stealthed they're aiming to put poison stacks on you and land Shadow Step to disable your Charge (movement/dashing) abilities and stun you for 2s. You have a few options when you see the animation for it, first you can use your Dual Strike (V) which is honestly your best option to pull them and attempt to force their Retreat (then tech. chase with 2 or X, etc.) OR you can use your Q/E to resist the debuff and stun (requires around ~50ms to pull off, but it's not that hard). Once they're out of Stealth it's fairly easy to get an engage off, but keep track of what they have up. If they have their Lotus of Escape up, avoid using Lightning Draw or any of your serious CDs (try to deal damage in an air combo when they can't use Lotus). Also position yourself correctly so they can't use their Lotus offensively. Know that in this current patch your Five-Point Strike will still knock an Assassin up through their Decoy (2) or Straw Doll (2 while knocked down), but don't get in the habit of taking advantage of that because on Feb. 10th with the addition of Hong-moon levels that will change.
Tips: Almost all Assassin skills that place them in Stealth (besides Shadow Dash(1)) will put the Assassin on the opposite side of you, meaning you can knock them out if you know when they're going to do it. It works like this (excuse my drawing skills). So no matter where you're facing, they'll always end up on the opposite side of you from where they are (see image for details). Your Vortex/Maelstrom (TAB) will also knock them out of Stealth so make sure to abuse that range, especially if you're running Maelstrom because it increases movement speed and therefore makes it easier to catch them. Another tip is to use your evasion/resistance skills when you think they'll use their Stealth (TAB Escape) as it will resist their annoying Blind/Deafen. One last thing to note is to not use your attack skills while they're channeling their 5-hit resistance skill Lotus Fury (C) as it will heal them for 2% of their max HP per resist; just Q/E around them.
Force Master (little bit more detail than normal because Kauleth is awesome and gave me FM details)
Their Goal: They have a very simple goal, to keep you at a range with Chill so you're unable to Charge into them (the Chill debuff disables your charge or dashing abilities so you're unable to close the gap with the FM). After applying Chill their main goal is to slowly DPS you down as you're unable to close the distance between yourself and them. In lower levels of play I see a lot of FMs running Blazing Beam (2) to slowly bring your HP down. At higher levels FMs will keep 2 Chill stacks on you and during the fight and while you're not Spinning they'll RMB for the instant Snare and stun you with Impact (1) in an attempt to force your Escape (TAB). Once you use your Escape, they'll try to lock you down with Glacial Bream (3) > RMB/LMB (to switch into fire) > Impact (1) to stun > RMB/LMB > Fire Storm (TAB) to place the knock-up ring on the ground > Rising Blaze (Z) > then Force Grip (4) to hold you into the air > Release your (4) to let you fall, then Fire Storm knocks you back up > Short Fuse (C) > RMB/LMB > Windstorm (F); basically, this long line of combinations is here to discourage you from using your Escape (TAB) on an FM's first stun. DON'T DO IT! Other than that, an FM can delay the fight or force you to waste your abilities with Frost Armor (TAB) (if you attack into it, will heal the FM; so don't! it's the large ice-sculpture looking thing) and Frost Sheath (V).
Your Goal: Use your resistance skills to avoid being chilled OR to kite off the chill once they place it on you. Once Chill is off, use your Air Combo to do all of your damage, if you started with 2 for the first combo, use X as they're being knocked down to start a second one. You want to get 2 air combos off during your first engage as you won't be able to combo again once you're chilled. We have a very specific skill combo after our ariel that we use against FMs. We use C > F instantly, almost as 1 skill (if you're using my FM build) to deal the most damage possible. Try to use this after the 2nd air combo, then go back to kiting with Maelstrom/Vortex (TAB).
Tips: When you attack an FM with 3 Frost Orbits on them, you'll instantly be Snared. Just remember that although your SS removes the Snare, it's always better to use your Maelstrom/Vortex to remove it. Save your SS to remove the Frost Tornado (X) as it will stop you from spinning and leave you open to stuns. A big mistake I see is LBDs trying to kite away with their resistance skills when their Charge Skills (X, 2, etc.) aren't up or aren't even close to being off CD. Yes, you won't get chilled during that time, but you WILL be chilled after your resistance skills go off (and most likely when your Charge skills will be up again). So save your resistance skills to remove Chill when you have all your CDs up to combo. Don't stand next to an FM with 3 Frost Orbits while spinning because you'll just get re-stacked with a Snare due to the multiple hits in your Spin. If you have to do this, interrupt your spin with an off-target LMB so it won't put you in a worse position (getting snared by the same skill that removed your first snare can be confusing sometimes).
Their Goal: The first thing they want to do is force your Retreat. They do this by using Drag (Z, the weapon throw/pull) > DPS (if you don't use your Retreat) > Blitz (1, the dash/sucktion) > (at this point, there's usually no point in holding Retreat, so you'll use it to get out). If you use your Retreat during the first Daze then you'll get tech. chased with Blitz and stun-locked until you're forced to use Escape. If you use your Retreat during the 2nd Daze, you'll usually get tech. chased with Ram (2), but it's generally easy to resist with a spin as the charging speed is slow. The entire goal of these initial combos is to force your Escape (TAB) with as little high-CD abilities as they can, then use their Grab (F) Searing Strke (C) to delay the fight until their full combo is ready then stun-lock you with Fury (E) and 100-0 you in the blink of an eye with animation canceling.
Your Goal: Similar to the destroyer, you're looking to force them to use their Gust (TAB escape) before you use your Escape (TAB). Once they use their escape you can pull them out of their spin with Dual Strike (V) or Force Grip (4) into Drain (3) and if they Retreat, tech. chase with Raid (2) and continue with your full DPS combo of: C > F/LMB Animation Cancel x3 > RMB > F/LMB Animation Cancel > X > 1 > RMB > F > LMB > (either V or 4 > 3 depending on what you used to start the combo) > F > LMB > LMB. If you and your opponent are very capable, then usually the first person to use their hard escape loses. You actually have more defensive options at a range with your Maelstrom 2s Resistance skill (F while spinning), SS, and your Guardian Tempest (Z) than the Destroyer who only has their Searing Strike (C, upper-cut looking resistance skill) and SS.
Tips: Try to save your resistance skills to stop the Destroyers ranged pull, Drag (Z). It's quick, so you'll have to be just as. Similar with Drag, you can use resistance skills or SS to stop Blitz (1) as it also has a low-speed animation. If the Destroyer pops Typhoon (Q, their red spin) try not to use any resistance skills on it; SS out of it and kite away with the movement speed from your Maelstrom Spin. Abuse your Force Grip (4) whenever it gets off CD as it takes the Destroyer out of their spin and creates an opening if they use Retreat on Drain (3).
Summoner (thank you for the detailed information Ayasta, you're more awesome than Kauleth (; )
Their Goal: Force the Grapple escape with the cat by knocking their opponent down with Ankle Biter/Surprise Gift (V) or Dazing their opponent with Strike (C) or Thorn Strike (2) then using Power Pounce (TAB) to Grapple; their main goal is to force your defensive skill to escape Grapple, for LBD it's Flock of Blades (Z) so it goes on CD for 60s and the Summoner can re-grapple later for free damage. The summoner will try using Pedal Storm (3) on our Soaring Falcon (1) so it resists and our Chi Regen becomes limited. During the entire fight the Summoner will use True Friend (X) to heal themselves 20% instantly or to resist 5 skills, healing themselves for 5% per resist.
Your Goal: In general your main priority is to DPS both the Summoner and the Cat because it will effectively be dealing double-damage as the Summoner takes HP from the Cat with True Friend (X) like a second HP pool. CCing both of them is one of the best ways to Deal DPS, for example using 3 to knock both of them down, then Q/E > Sunder. Use Dual Strike (V) to pull both the Cat and Summoner together to set up for your 3. You can also use Q/E > Sunder after they're both Dazed from your V, then knock them down with 3 and Q/E > Sunder again. Make sure to land Soaring Falcon (1) before this combination as it's very Chi-Intensive. When you're not dealing damage, just spin for the 400% extra defense and 25% damage reduction on the first attack that hits you while you spin. You'll need to do this a lot as fighting a Summoner, like fighting a Force Master, requires quick engages and disengages while trying to deal as much damage as you can then hopping out to avoid the damage repercussions. If you happen to force their Backstep (2, Escape) then you have the option to all-in the Summoner, use Guardian Tempest (Z) or Maelstrom (F while spinning) first ALWAYS to give you resistance while you DPS so the cat cannot knock you out of your combo. Next use Raid (2) > Lightning Draw (C) > F/LMB Animation Cancel > RMB for the stun > F/LMB Animation Cancel > 3 to knock down them both > Q/E > Sunder x3 > 1 on the Summoner > Q/E > Sunder x3
Tips: The summoner can only Grapple while their opponent is Knocked Down, Dazed, Unconscious, or Defending. This means that if you Retreat fast enough, the cat will never be able to Grapple you. Don't save your TAB in this match up either. Don't use your Soaring Falcon (1) into their Dandelion (4) as they can turn it into Party Dance (F while using Dandelion) which cannot be pierced by your defense piercing on Soaring Falcon. If they do use Party Dance, it has a 36s CD and you're free to use skills that pierce defenses into it. If the Summoner Curls (Q) the cat, it has a 9s internal CD; without using any abilities to wake the cat up, it can stay Curled for 6s, effectively reducing the amount of damage done and healing the cat if it is attacked by 2% every hit. It's important to know that if the Summoner pre-maturely wakes the cat up, then you have the remaining CD duration of Curl to DPS the Summoner and the Cat without any fear of the Summoner Curling it and making the cat invulnerable.
**DO NOT USE PARRY SPIN AGAINST SUMMONERS, dummies. Ok, I'm done with the tips now.**
Kung-Fu Master (Brought to you by the amazing Silkwood with help from AALaguna as well)
Their Goal: The first thing that's on their mind is getting you into CC. A good KFM will attempt to proc their Triple Kick (RMB after you hit into their iFrame resist) by Q/Eing around you as you spin. If they don't land that then they'll use Flurry (C) to Daze you the first time then depending on if you Retreat from this or not, they'll follow up with their Rising Dragon (Z, the spinning kick; not to be confused with their Escape skill Second Wind) if you don't Retreat to Daze you in an attempt to force your Retreat a second time. If you do Retreat during either combination, they'll tech. chase with Comet Strike (4) to Daze you and try to force your hard Escape (TAB); if you don't TAB here, they'll usually knock you into an air combo. Good KFMs won't finish their air combo and instead go for Leading Palm (X) into Searing Palm (X) which penetrates your defensive skills on the ground, or they'll go for SS and then Flying Slam (TAB) to knock you back up, again not finishing the air combo and using Leading Palm and Searing Palm (X) on you when you land. They repeat this entire combination until you're either dead or you use your Escape (TAB) then they use Tremor (V) along with their other stuns to lock you down and 3RF you to death.
Your Goal: As an LBD you want to know when the KFM is most vulnerable because a good one won't leave many openings. The best time to engage is normally after a counter or during one of their interruptible animations (like Flying Slam (TAB)) as they cannot do anything about it while they're in an aFrame. You can also run Defense Break on Blitzblade (F while your opponent is blocking, 2 points down) to force them into a Break aFrame where their hands move to the side for a second and you're able to charge in without them being able to retaliate. Try to force the KFM's Second Wind (TAB, escape) with air combinations and Dazes/Stuns into Q/E > Sunder. Once their Second Wind is down, try to get either an Air Combo > C > RMB stun to DPS them down OR in the best case scenario, Blitzblade (F, defense break aFrame) OR Dual Strike (V, then if they Retreat, continue the combo with the Raid tech. chase) > Raid (2) > C > F/LMB animation cancel > RMB > F/LMB animation cancel. You can continue this combo with Five-Point Strike (X) if it's up or Body Kick (1) / Anklebiter (3) to keep them in a knocked-down state while you DPS.
Tips: You can normally catch a KFM off-guard by attacking during the .3 second window in-between his Counter (1) as it has a 1.3s CD and lasts for 1s. This technique can be used from 1300-1950 rating in NA, but honestly once you get past that people will start expecting it and possibly use it to bait you. Keep track of when they use Q/E (their Strafe Evade skills) so you don't accidentally use a skill into them and get punished for it; it's also good to remember that they can only use Q/E while in close proximity to you (they can only SS to evade from a distance). A big thing to remember is that their Second Wind (TAB, hard escape) is a Daze if spec'd correctly. That means if your Escape (TAB) is down and you think they may use their TAB on one of your CCs to get a Daze on you, try to Q/E around the KFM or SS before they do it.
Their Goal: Similar to KFMs, a good BM can 100-0 you if they force your Escape (TAB) early. That being said, their goal is to obviously force your Escape. In this current patch most BMs will run Parry Block (1), but on the feb. 10th patch, that will change as they'll get a shield and heal from their far right Block spec. For now, I'll just state what BMs are capable of doing in the current patch and update it later on (as they are seriously under powered). Usually they'll wait off your Resistance skill in the beginning of the fight, if you use one, then pull you with Soaring Falcon (Z) into Boot (X) to knock you down and attempt to force your Retreat. After you use it, if you use it, they'll follow up with Shoulder Charge (C) to stun you and Blindside (Q) to put themselves into Draw Stance, then follow up with a Honed Slash (RMB) > Flicker (to apply another stun) > Honed Slash (RMB x2) > Raid (2, to extend the stun) > Blindside (E, to get out of Draw Stance) > LMB x2-3 for Chi > F (to knock you up) > Air combo. This is why BMs have such a strong start, but terrible neutral game at the moment; they can CC and deal quite a bit of damage to you in the initial combination, but have no abilities to counter your engages after that besides Block which is extremely underpowered in the current patch. If you happen to use your Escape (TAB) before the combination is over, they'll attempt to set up for their full combination. The next stun they do will end the fight if they play correctly. During the fight they'll knock you out of your spin with Anklebiter (3) and either force you to use your Retreat then follow you with Rush (2) or they'll use Flock of Blades (V) to knock you back and follow up with Rush (2) after; either way, they have multiple ways of getting the finishing stun on you after you use your Escape (TAB).
Your Goal: Try to time your resistance skills on their Soaring Falcon (Z, pull) at the beginning rather than using pre-maturely. Your goal is to keep the fight in neutral game and keep control of the fight with constant Defense Canceling abilities and CC in the form of Air Combinations. You have 2 Defense Canceling abilities if spec'd correctly: Your first is Blitzblade (F, while an opponent is Blocking/Countering) which will put a debuff on them for 6s disabling their Block abilities. The second one is a much less known spec in Drain; if you spec down the right side it actually disables Block/Counter abilities for 6s, just like Blitzblade and can be extremely useful to keep the BM from blocking throughout the fight or during crucial moments when you need to land CC.
Tips: You can Q/E around the BM to get around their Block. This becomes extremely important when you're fighting BMs who love to just refresh Block (1) throughout the entire fight, although you have 2 ways of disabling Block completely, it's nice to have a 3rd work-around for it as it's one of their core mechanics. Don't use your Escape (TAB) early, BMs are one of the few classes that can 100-0 with the current HP pool if they combo perfectly; however doing so is extremely hard and you won't encounter any who can do this until high Platinum/Diamond. Learn during the fight if the BM is using Flock of Blades (V, the knockback) or Blade Call (V, the AoE damage) as it can dramatically change the way you fight. If they spec into Blade Call, abuse your Force Grip; however, never expect them to be in Blade Call. Always use SS after Force Grip (4) to avoid any unnecessary knockback.
Lyn Bladedancer (won't be doing a "Their Goal" section for obvious reasons :p)
Your Goal: It's a mirror match-up, but your opponent can spec differently. The first thing you need to do is gather information about how they're spec'd. If they're using Maelstrom, like you should be for the extra resist rather than Parry Spin, then be wary when you're throwing your Soaring Falcon (1) for Chi Regen as they can instantly pop a resistance skill and stop your Chi-recovery. Always assume that they're running Parry Spin until shown otherwise (you shouldn't be attacking into spins anyways, dummies). Use Dual Strike (V, pull) or Body Kick (1) / Anklebiter (3) during the end of the spin to take an LBD out of their spin and attempt to force their Retreat. Tech. chasing their Retreat is the best and most reliable way to get a stun in without fear of Parry/Resist so use this method often. If the other LBD happens to do this to you, just know they're looking to force your Retreat and you should sit in the Knockdown (only using your Counterstrike (2, while knocked down) when you see them about to use an ability. If you use it on nothing, they'll know and start DPSing/Stun chaining you as you don't have any other abilities to counter their damage besides your Whirl (1, while knocked down. Gets you up faster/resists during animation after completion for 1s)).
Tips: Make sure that if you're going to stun any Lyn, especially an LBD, during their Get-Up animation from a Knockdown, you have the timing memorized. The visual queues for the small Lyn race are extremely hard to see and sometimes glitched. If you attack wrongly, for example as they're coming down from your Air Combo > you C > RMB (to stun as they get up) and they spin before you thought they were up, you'll end up having the situation reversed on you. When an LBD is throwing their Soaring Falcon (1), this is the perfect time to go in as they're in an aFrame and cannot use any other abilities. Always watch the duration on both yours and your opponents resistance abilities, usually you can catch an LBD right after theirs expires; be wary for a bait though as a lot of high level plays are extremely aware of the duration of their resists. Almost never use your Retreat to get out of the Daze from their Escape (TAB) unless you know for a fact that they don't have any abilities to tech. chase you with. If you do, it gives them a free stun and allows them to reverse the fight even though you forced them to use their TAB first.
Their Goal: Expend all of your Resistance skills and iFrames, then use Time Distortion (TAB) > Basion (Z) > Soul Shackle (2) > and nuke with [Wingstorm (V) and Dragon Helix (4) > Rupture (F)] over and over. If the LBD has used all their resist skills, then that will be enough to kill you.
Your Goal: Try to save your resistance skills. Warlocks can't deal with resistance skills very well and if timed right, they can help you avoid almost all of their burst.
Tips: Learn their escape skills and what they look like (Second Wind, hard CC escape/dash; Void Walk, thrall place swap; Retreat, short range dash from daze/kd). You can lock a Warlock down with Lightning Draw combo (C > RMB > [F > LMB]x3) relatively easy when they are down. Don't use your skills into Bastion (their Z), it has the same exact skill use as your Guardian Tempest (5 resists for 5 seconds).
WILL ADD MORE TO WARLOCK SECTION SOON!
We made it boys! (and girls) After a few days of work the guide is finally done and I'm pretty happy with the result. I hope all of you take something away from this guide whether you're new, experienced, or a different class entirely. I'll be updating this guide with EVERY major content patch so make sure you check in frequently if something is changed and you need a new understanding of an ability.
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