Excerpts from 'The PvP Thread' ( '12 Edition)

art_vandelay

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This is a thread to preserve some noteworthy posts from the old PvP thread posted in '12 by @nulio. I picked out mostly theorycrafting by Gripphon since those posts were extensive and it would be a shame to lose them. I also reposted the setup for nulio's bowa, maybe something to aspire to for PvP'ers!

To find a post in this thread just click on its link in the Index:

Index
- Some strategy showcases and tutorials by Gripphon. (link)
- Gripphon provides in depth information on the mechanics of WW via ingame testing. (link)
- A chain of posts relating to the topic of catching a teleporting opponent while using WW. Also contains an investigation of the Shadow Masters MB spam. (link)
- An overview of the strongest PvP characters in the SPF scene by Gripphon. (link)
- How much AR does a WW barb need? (link)
- nulio bowa (link)
- Theorycraft on block lock by Gripphon. (link)
- Build considerations for Hybrid Assassins by Gripphon. (link)
 
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art_vandelay

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Since I have extra time to do whatever, I've come to idea to share how do I practice certain PvP techniques from time to time in self multiplayer. Well, I usually take some weak weapons, but now I have my "training dummy" and use real gear instead. Techniques I presented in video are tri-whirl and charge/smite, basics for any melee paladin and WW character.

Ok, now someone might ask is there any point in training techniques in self multiplayer?
Honestly, I find those practices great since whirlwind can be quite hard to perform well, and I doubt someone will stand still in PvP so you can whirl in circles around him for practice, sooner or later you will find that tri-whirling is something you will practice best yourself with your "training dummy" while in PvP you will learn how to namelock and start whirling + positioning etc.
Charge/smite requires some timing to prevent someone from just teleing away from you which he will do anyway no matter how perfectly you execute this thing. I remember first time I played paladin, charge/smite felt strange, I didn't shift keys fast enough or mix them and lost namelock etc. I've done few practices in self multiplayer and after that charge/smite felt so natural to do and I was MUCH better thanks to it. Whirlwind is similar with exception that I used thousands of times in PvM, but I still lack a little bit control to make tri-whirling perfect. Whirling in PvM and PvP is different after all because in PvP you must stay in range of single unit (player) and make tight whirling either in triangles or back and forth, while in PvM you usually whirl group of creeps and don't have to play so close attention on whirlwind to be in such tight formation. Anyway, here is video hopefully at least one person will find interesting enough.


My additional pointers on training those techniques:
For whirlwind most important part is a good start. As you can see, I started with unsummon namelock + tele + instant whirling. That's the most important basic that is so hard to do in PvP either because of delay or because of small missclick. So, I could say if you want to properly start whirling, focus on that. Unsummon namelock your "training dummy", place your cursor beneath you or whenever like I showed in video, and perform single tri-whirl. Then tele away and repeat the process. Namelocking and starting to whirl should feel natural to you, you don't have time to think about that during PvP.

Whirling around potion technique
Another variation of same training. Drop potion on ground, namelock it, tele and just practice tri-whirls around it. It's similar thing as with real characters, but I feel like it's more "realistic" to have some tank to practice on and end everything with satisfying kill instead of whirling in circles till infinity. Anyway, this technique can be practiced the both ways effectively.

Charge/Smite is actually simple, all you have to do is shift keys fast as I did, even on random. Another idea is to try hold charge and switch to smite after your charge is stopped by block or miss. That is actually harder cause it requires great timing, and you have less than half second space to react. Naturally, this technique is quite effective against max block characters, while against vita you will probably just hold charge down untill you miss, then switch to smite to knockback character so you can charge again. That's why both techniques have their purpose. Timing is quite hard to find. I usually just swap keys at random and find it works good enough against block characters.
Ghost Sinn in action.


Since Maxicek got idea of opening thread about PvP strategies where we can post various youtube videos for demonstration (not ours only), I'm gonna share few strategies present in this video whether or not that idea comes to life.

Strategies to look for in the video:

00:12-00:20 and several more in the video like that
Windy has zoo. That makes him pretty easy namelock target. You can simply namelock whatever he has, and when he teleports, you will mindblast him + lay traps under him (since hamelocked creature will also be there). Quite easy and handy to try to stun/jump Windy. Similar thing is with any other summoner character (like bonenec), but Windy is by far easiest target for such namelock.

00:26-00:35 LS weakness
Sometimes situation is ideal to abuse main LS weakness - thin straight line projectiles. Perform walking and everything will miss you. Sometimes you can be quite pain in the .ss for LS trapper with that kind of approach. Just beware, she can namelock you and mindblast you if you misjudge the situation. Then you would have to WSG your way out, but also with similar walking strategy. Remember, sometimes it is better to perform a short walk for traps to miss you instead of teleport, because they are much more deadly and precise if you just tele around them.

1:25-1:30 Trainwalk by nec
Trainwalk strategy performed by necro (frozzzen). He probably noticed I have low life and he tried this strategy to kill me. Idea is to put straight line spirit train and either tele in it or walk with it. If someone low life stomps you, he dies. If I stomped him here right away, he would kill me. Beware of such sneaky strategies from necromancers who might be willing to tank some damage to kill low life targets. Also if you play necromancers, you could try such strategy yourself. Sometimes it works fantastic, making even high life characters killed instant if they tele in.

1:30-2:51 Teeth spam nec
If your opponent is low on life, increase your Teeth spam a bit, Teeth does ~150-200 damage per hit, awesome tool to kill low life opponents along with random spirits/spears, as Froz demonstrates.

1:30-2:51 starting combo with sin
Check how I start my combo. It is not mindblast then trap, it is first trap, then mindblast. With mindblast first, opponent will just start teleporting and as soon as you stop mindblast to spam traps, he will tele away. But if you lay trap first, then you have higher chance to catch him since trap is already down to help you start your stunlock combo, your job is to mindblast opponent until trap hits him to stun him for you. I didn't manage to pull off that strategy well, but idea is here. Sometimes it is even better to mindblast first if you plan on tele jump + WW immediately.

Also pay attention on approach path. Try not to approach straight toward nec, but rather go slightly to the side. If you go direct, you risk of eating Teeth/Spear/Spirits much more.

1:49, 1:56, 2:20, 2:37, 2:41 - positioning against nec
When approaching nec, don't stop IN FRONT of him to start your trap/mindblast combo, but rather tele BEHIND him. Reason is, nec will spam stuff in direction you come from, so teleing behind him will make you much safer to start your combo, instead of worrying are 10 spirits on your tail or not.

1:56 - learn to abandon attack
Here I approached nec, but I didn't start my combo because I thought I have spirits following me. So instead of being a fool and going all in, I stopped my attack and seeked a safety for a while before trying again. Better that than die, right? But here I didn't have spirits following me, it just seemed that way in the heat of a battle, so I judged incorrectly.

2:58-3:05 Windy stomps Ghost / teles on Ghost by accident
When that happens, if you are low on life, then there is not much you can do. But otherwise, if Windy has swirlies from mindblast overhead, just whirl him down. If not, then you must whirl away from him and namelock + midnblast + trap him down and hope he doesn't stomp you before. It can be tricky part of battle. In general, don't get caught without traps around you. If low on life, make sure you have trap guarding you in a case of telestomp.

3:42-3:44 Whirl away if too close to a Windy
When you end up too close to windy, just perform whirl away from him, then namelock + trap + mindblast. Idea is to get out of his tornado alley, and going away from him you actually decrease chance to be hit by tornado. It takes tornado time to get to you and you could stunlock windy before it.

4:24-4:28 WW vs Chargers
When dealing with chargers, just whirl away. He will get hit and then let open wounds do the job. Here is just short demonstration of it. When he gets hit, idea is to escape and let open wounds lower his life down for you.

/pvpstrategies /griplogic

This is just a small sample of various PvP strategies. I didn't show what to do against trappers (just a small fraction of it in the video) etc...
Here are 4 FFA matches from yesterday. With time connection got decent enough to do some proper recording attempts. Focus is mostly on Hammerdin vs Bowazons, with some battles against hybridsin. This is my take on this matchups.


Strategies presented in the video:

Charge is mostly to get desynch. Idea is to fast stomp opponent when he is not aware you are near him.

There are few examples of teleport-lock. Basically when you charge near someone, you simply switch to teleport and namelock opponent, so your char will tele immediately on him when he stops charging. Same concept as with auralock, but one step ahead instead.

Sometimes when you namelock opponent, pretend you don't have it and simply let him teleport. When it seems to you he settled down, then surprise-telestomp him out of nowhere (see match against hybrid in first FFA video). Risk is, opponent can get out of your reach easily, but sometimes he thinks you lost namelock and he is safe. I did plenty of kills like that, but also lost namelock plenty of times cause I waited for too long. It works against bowazons too. They might think you lost namelock and might stop to start shooting, then bam, telestomp her.

FoH was meant to put bowazon in dodge to make it easier for me to stomp her. My telestomp was too slow for it to work though. I haven't practiced it properly yet + on bowazon it doesn't work well. I could have throw smite in the mix to get swirlies over her, but didn't really bother to do it.

To battle bowazon, you can either try to get desynch by charge + telestomp (risky though, beware to not do it at the wrong time since your block is crippled). Also when you do battle bowa, idea is to telestomp + lay hammers down then reposition. Either fast telestomp again, or lay hammers around her and make her move. Obviously matchup is not easy, but it is possible to win. Even more with good ping when idea is to tele away to get arrows off your back every time when you think bowa got space to breathe. From time to time I stayed too long on bowazon's screen taking damage for no reason, and that was a mistake from my side.
 

art_vandelay

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I performed some testing on Whirlwind skill.
Weapons to test with were socketed Naga axes. One with flawed sapphire and 2 shaels, second with 2 shaels, ruby and skull, third with only flawed sapphire.

My barb had 95% chance to hit against 2 opponent targets (my characters). His AR was 10k+, their defense was sub 200 and they had no shields.

What I managed to prove:

1. When you whirl through targets when both are in your attack range, Whirlwind NEVER targets same target with both weapons. Every time I whirled through 2 opponents, they were ALWAYS both hit at the same time (with exception of first hit where only primary hits and only one target was hit at the time). That is quite easy to prove.

This point easily shows why 2 weapon whirlwinders are so superior to one weapon - they clear opponent's summons twice as fast and have almost twice as big chance to hit the character, and not his minions.

2. When you attack 2 opponents in attack range at the same time, primary weapon will ALWAYS target same opponent, while secondary weapon ALWAYS targets the other one. It means, if in your attack range are assassin and paladin, primary weapon will (let's pick randomly) always target only assassin and NEVER paladin, while secondary weapon will always target paladin and NEVER assassin - as long as you stay in attack range of both opponents.

How did I prove it? One weapon had cold damage, other had fire damage. One of the opponents was always chilled and the other one was never chilled (meaning he was never actually hit with primary weapon). On the other hand, other opponent always took fire damage (nice explosive animation) and chilled one NEVER.

Question: what if we had more targets in attack range, would Whirlwind target them in some repeating loop and would Whirlwind target ALL the targets at least once before repeating the sequence? (my tests show that targeting is not random at all, but rather they repeat like A-B-A-B-A-B...)

3. At frame 4 only PRIMARY weapon hits, while on frame 8 and any frame beyond that BOTH weapons try to hit. This is well known fact and is super easy to prove, but it never hurts to prove such things. :p

4. Weapon first checked will lead the attack rate of Whirlwind. This means if you have primary weapon which has 8 frame WW, and your secondary weapon has 4 frame WW, the primary weapon will lead the attack and your Whirlwind will hit at 8 frames rate, both primary and secondary weapon, regardless of secondary weapon IAS.

This however changes when your primary weapon hits and secondary misses, then at the next attack check your secondary weapon will lead the attack as your primary weapon instead, meaning you would hit at 4 frame rate instead of 8 until same thing happens again. Note: this part I haven't proved, it requires detail testing and precise video to see it happening, this is just knowledge others collected about Whirlwind.

5. First two hits happen at frame 4 and frame 8, regardless of weapons you use. Another common knowledge thing that is easy to see.

6. When performing long Whirlwind toward target which is well outside attack range, it seems that Whirlwind alternates between weapons checking for targets in range. This means it seems "random" (determined by the distance to the target and your movement speed really) which weapon will lead the attack once the target comes in attack range. To test that, I used one weapon with cold damage, and other with fire damage.

Fun fact: If your primary weapon had cold damage, you won't even see effect of fire damage on your target (aka small explosion on them). You will see only chill effect. However, if you primary weapon has fire damage and secondary has cold, then you will see fire explosion on target per hit and you will see target being chilled. This way I simply assumed I can know which of the weapons is leading the attack. If I don't see fire explosion on target ---> weapon with cold damage is leading the attack. Otherwise fire damage weapon is leading the attack.

Doing test after test, I saw both weapons had their "chance" to lead the attack when arriving at target. I didn't test does primary weapon lead more attacks than secondary or other way around because if I understand correctly, it completely depends on your distance to the target and your movement speed. So if you start Whirlwind at same location every time and your target is standing at same position all the time, same weapon will always lead the attack upon arriving on target. That needs more testing though, I just performed few tests to check the theory.

I also tested another thing: I equipped 2 weapons with cold damage, but one weapon had 4 frame ww, other one had 8. Upon arriving on target, I've seen my barb attacking either at 4 frame rate, or at 8 frame rate, depending on which weapon was leading the attack upon arriving to target (without switching the weapons from secondary to primary slot ofc)


What I didn't manage to prove yet

1.
When leading weapon misses the target, secondary weapon doesn't even try to hit the target (or any target around). I tried to prove that, but it is too hard with my current weapons and methods. I need fool's weapon for it, and then check hit frequency when I have one poor and one good weapon equipped. But other people tested and proved it is indeed like that.

2. It is proved that at frame 8 BOTH weapons try to hit the target. However I failed to prove which of the weapons is checked first for that. I'm not sure is this even known or not, but it is safe to assume primary weapon is checked first naturally, but I'd like to test that anyway. I tried to test with cold and fire damage (fire weapon being the primary). Idea was to see will there be any case when on second hit I won't see fire damage on target, but I will see chill effect. Such thing would indeed give strong indication that secondary weapon hits first (assuming point under 1. being correct). To make testing easier, I lowered my chance to hit from 95% to like 50% (all I want is to see chill effect without fire one). I failed to prove that secondary weapon hits first, but also failed to prove that primary hits first (would mean I will see fire damage on target and not chill effect since secondary missed). This point screams to be easy to prove with video recording and many tests, so I shall do more testing on that and observe.

3. Assuming point 1. being correct, if secondary weapon misses during frame 8 of Whirlwind, does that mean that on next attack check (let's assume we have fastest WW rate so that comes at frame 12) secondary weapon leads the attack, or is it scripted that after first 2 "free" hits it is always primary weapon that leads the attack?

4. That crowd thingie.
"Question: what if we had more targets in attack range, would Whirlwind target them in some repeating loop and would Whirlwind target ALL the targets at least once before repeating the sequence? (my tests show that targeting is not random at all, but rather they repeat like A-B-A-B-A-B...)"


Now fair question from someone: would understanding of such details really help in anything?
My answer is yes, it would. When you try to decide whether to use Fool's or Fury on melee assassin, both points 2 and 3 make quite a difference at evaluating usefulness and power of both. If on frame 8 secondary weapon hits first (aka Chaos aka lower AR), and when performing short whirling as melee assassins usually do to stunlock, such thing would mean the world of a difference (well, apart of playing 100 matches with both setups to compare naturally :p).
 

art_vandelay

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Heeeeello. I've done some new theorycrafting I wish to share here. During last pvp games I've noticed few things. Ok, not only me. Tele + ww combo from barb is too hard to perform on teleporting 105 fcr sorc to catch her with that first hit from whirlwind before she escapes. Sometimes you can do it, most of the times you perform whirl on her and she teles out before first ww hit connects. Then came the ghost. What I noticed is how much easier it is to properly start whirlwind sequence on sorc in comparison to barb, so I've been wondering why is that so. Just to be clear, I don't talk about locking sorc into traps to whirl her, I talk about sorc teleporting and you tele+ww on her just like barb does, but unlike barb, assassin has much easier time connecting firt whirlwind hit before sorc manages to escape. Maybe it is due to her oak being dead from mindblast, but I can't really say I killed oak with barb either meaning my hits simply didn't connect in time.

Inspired by that experience from last PvP games I tried to answer simple question: why does barb have so hard time connecting his whirlwind and why does assassin have so much easier time doing it? WARNING: explanations are theoretical, and diablo has rather chaotic behaviour and is not perfect. Ping delay affects everything mentioned in here for example.

First, facts. Diablo is the game that has frames that everyone know: hit recovery frames, faster cast frames etc. Diablo also has less known frames: action frames. Action frame is frame at which some character actually casts the spell or performs the action. For example, 105 fcr sorc has 8 frames cast rate for teleport, but she also has 5 action frames meaning that after she starts to cast teleport, 5 frames later she really teleports to location, and that is followed by 3 frames backswing animation. In total, 5 frames action frame + 3 frames backswing animation equals 8 frames cast rate we all know of. Not only spells, but physical attacks also work the same way.

Characters we are interested in:
1. 39 fcr barb (usually 20 fcr gloves + mesh, standard barb) which has 10 frames cast rate and with action frame of 7. I'll spell it as 10(7).
2. 37 fcr barb (gloves + 17 fcr amulet for example) which has 10 fcr and action frame of 8, or 10(8)
3. 63 fcr barb that has 9 fcr and action frame of 7, aka 9(7)

Those barbs are trying to kill 105 fcr sorc, she has 8 frames cast rate with action frame of 5, aka 8(5). Let's assume barbs have tons of AR that they have ~70% chance to hit versus 5000 defense sorc.

Situation: sorc is teleporting, barb has her in namelock and wants to perform tele+whirl. Will he kill her and what are the odds? For that, we also need to know that whirlwind has action frame of 4, meaning first hit from whirlwind comes 4 frames after you cast it. Also, after sorc lands with teleport, she will always have 3 frames backswing animation, and it will take her 5 frames to cast another teleport if she holds teleport down all the time. That means she will be on the spot for 8 frames, logically. That means you must hit her inside those 8 frames or she is gone.

Let's see standard 40 fcr barb
He starts to cast teleport, which is cast at frame 7 which is action frame for 39 fcr breakpoint, and then barb has 3 frames of backswing animation. Then he starts ww immediately which hits 4 frames later. So, from the moment barb lands on his target to the moment first whirlwind hit can connect it takes total of 7 frames. Good! As we said, sorc is still on spot for 8 frames, so barb has a chance to hit the sorc before she teleports further. Out of 8 possible frames to do it, fastest he can hit sorc is at 7-th frame after she landed or 8-th frame after she landed (though as explained, at 8-th frame she performs another teleport).

So, randomly cast tele+ww on a teleporting sorc has 2 frames out of 8 possibility to put sorc to hit recovery before she teleports further, or 1/4 aka 25%. Fair to say I'm not sure whether to count 8-th frame or not, but I do have a reason to include it which I will explain a bit later. On top of that, barb has 70% chance to hit sorc and that check must also pass, so chance for him to actually catch sorc is 17.5%. On top of that we can include the fact sorc has oak, but I'm not really sure how does whirlwind pick targets, does it always hit namelocked unit first or is target always randomly selected from area, because that would cut our chance to half further.

This means, if whirlwind always targets sorc first, that barb has only 17.5% chance to actually catch teleporting sorc, or he will succeed once in 5.7 tries.
Is this theory real in practice? I'm not 100% sure, but I know I couldn't catch 105 fcr sorc with tele ww, she always seem to tele further before first whirlwind hit connect, and I had over 12k AR against her too, and given my experience with other characters, barbs really do have hard time catching something with tele+ww combo.


Let's see 37 fcr barb
You might ask what the hell is difference between 40 fcr and 37 fcr barb, they have same teleporting frame?! Yes, they do, but 37 fcr barb has action frame of 8, while at 39 fcr he gets action frame at 7. Does that make a difference? In theory actually it does make a difference. Let's see what kind of difference.

For a 40 fcr barb, after he lands it takes 7 frames to connect first ww hit as explained above. See, difference is 37 fcr barb has 8 action frame on 10 casting frames meaning he has only 2 frames backswing animation, which further means his whirlwind starts 6 frames after he has landed, which is 1 frame faster than on 40 fcr barb! BUT, in return you sacrifice amulet slot, meaning no highlord's wrath and you also lose 1 frame for zerking.

So, this barb has 6 frames till first whirlwind hit connects, and sorc is on ground for 8 frames. There are 3 frames space to hit sorc, or 3 out of 8 meaning 37.5%. 40 fcr barb has 25% chance to hit ideal frames. Since he has 70% chance to hit sorc, his final chance to catch sorc is 26.25%, not including she has oak too. This barb will catch sorc whooping 50% more times than his 40 fcr companion. In theory. So, if we take that as a fact, could it be worth it to think about going strictly for 37-38 fcr to make this happen sacrificing some damage and 1 frame zerking? You also sacrifice angelic combo if you want that mad AR and will go with dual ravenfrost instead.

Let's see 63 fcr barb
He has 9 cast frames with 7 action frame, meaning it takes 6 frames for his whirlwind to connect after he lands. So, he is similar to 37 fcr barb, but has faster teleporting. On top of that, his warcry obviously connects a bit faster.

What about 65 fcr WW assassin?
She has 11 frames cast rate with action frame of 7. It takes whooping 8 frames for her whirlwind to connect, so she has only 1/8 chance to hit ideal frame. Terrible. BUT, answer is in using mindblast. For that, we must assume sorceress in question has natural 86 faster hit recovery, or she recovers after 7 frames.

Situation: assassin casts mindblast on sorc, she is put to hit recovery, assassin immediately casts teleport then whirlwind while sorc is trying to teleport as soon as she is out of hit recovery. Will assassin manage to hit sorc? For this we must go frame by frame to check whole situation.

Assassin casts mindblast on sorc. Sorc is put to hit recovery that lasts for 7 frames, and it takes another 5 frames for sorc to cast teleport (at frame 12). After that it takes another 8 frames for her to manage another teleport. Total of frames till second teleport: 7+5+8 = 20
Assassin after casting mindblast is in 4 frames backswing animation. Then it takes her 7 frames to cast teleport on sorc (at frame 11), and when she lands, she again has 4 frames backswing animation. After that it takes 4 frames for whirlwind to connect. Total of frames taken: 4+7+4+4 = 19

PROBLEM: assassin lands at frame 11, sorc teles out at frame 12, so in ideal world assassin would never be able to hit sorc this way. But! Diablo is not ideal game. If you miss teleport by a single frame or if you have single frame delay for teleport, imagine what. Then you land on sorc exactly at ideal time to catch her before she teleports away. With 1 frame delay, you land on sorc exactly as she teleports out, and then if you start whirlwind, you will catch her exactly at ideal frame.

FUN IDEA: if sorc has 142 faster hit recovery instead of 86, she recovers in 6 frames, meaning she also teleports at frame 11 as does assassin. In that case assassin should always IDEALLY land along with sorc and in perfect world her whirlwind will always connect. So if you play ghost and your opponent tells you he has 142 fhr on sorc, you should thank him, he theoretically made your job easier as incredible as it sounds.

A lot of theory. Does it work in practice? Well, I don't have any other explanation why my ghost had so much easier time connecting whirlwind with mindblast combo in comparison to barb. Catching sorc with traps is nearly impossible, I just did mindblast + tele + ww and it worked ok. Sometimes sorc escaped, sometimes not. With barb I basically gave up on namelock + tele + ww since sorc escaped all the time. I'm not sure did my opponent sorc have 142 fhr or 86 fhr.

Anyway here is fcr table including action frames in case you wanna check theory for yourself versus other opponents. But beware diablo is not ideal game and strange things happen.


In theory, if assassin has 11 frames cast rate and sorc has 86 fhr with 105 fcr, sorc shouldn't be able to teleport at all if mindblast is spammed at her. She is in 7 frames hit recovery, then it takes 5 frames to cast teleport aka total of 12 frames, and assassin puts her to hit recovery every 11 frames, right before sorc should be able to teleport... and she still manages to teleport. Not perfect game, what else to say. 1 frame delay on either side and everything is different.

Also as last thing, what do you think theory says about 99 fcr windy telestomping 105 fcr sorc, can he made it?
Answer is "no", in theory that windy can't telestomp sorc. It takes whooping 11 frames for his tornado to connect after he has landed, and sorc is at spot for 8 frames. So he is short 3 frames to even damage teleporting sorc, unless she teleports into tornado. Does this really work like that in practice? I managed to catch that sorc with windy, but I can't be sure did she stop her teleport or is it really possible to telestomp teleporting sorc with windy. 163 fcr windy is still 2 frames short at doing that, and still windy somehow manages to kill sorcs around. Is that because that kind of theory doesn't work due to ping or whatever delays between casts (especially noticeable at worse hosts) or they stopped their teleporting sequence I can't tell.
Isn't it because of Masters MB? It annoyingly stuns while assassin just teleports around.
That too, but I don't always have master alive when doing action since it is 6 second cd. But, all of this is testable, all we need is some teleporting sorc and barb/assassin to check it in practice. I could make 63 fcr standard for barb, even though dropping from 12k ar to 7k won't help despite having theoretical extra frame to hit ww.
I have performed tests on mindblast and masters casting them. Results are somewhat expected, but still strange and disappointing imo.

First I tested with maxed mindblast with my trapper to see how often does master cast the mindblast. I tested also does the distance pay the roll in it. According to my tests, distance to target does matter (have in mind I cleared moor and there were no enemies near beside that one opponent I faced in self multiplayer).

I teled with trapper and counted number of mindblasts on target in 1 minute period for several periods.
TESTS 1: teleporting on-screen of target, basically meaning target is on my screen. My trapper has 20 hard points into mindblast and her Mind Blast level is level 37 after all skills.
Mindblasts per minute:
15
17
19
7
17
average: 15
Or 17 if we exclude that anomaly of 7 that appeared. If we assume average is 17, that means master casts 1 mindblast every 3.5 seconds, or in other words, he is hardly helping you at all in that part. He can do several casts in a row, or he can not cast mindblast for 15 seconds...

TEST 2: teleporting just off the screen of target, keeping track on mindblasts on target on target screen.
Mindblasts per minute:
12
9
10
7
13
8
6
average: 9.3
Meaning master cast mindblast once every 6.5 seconds when target is just off the edge of the screen.

Conclusion: being more distant to target means master will cast less mindblasts? Does this mean master is stronger the closer you are to your target? Perhaps more tests should be done, but trend is pretty clear for now. Master prefers to cast dragon flight much more than mindblast in any occasion, and funny thing is I don't even have a single point in that skill.

To be tested: maybe master behaves differently when you mindblast your target and when you teleport around? Who knows.


Now, other tests.
TEST 3: 1 hard point mindblast, total level 18 of it.
Mindblasts per minute:
2, 0, 3
Average of 2.5... aka useless. Master cast dragon flight all freaking time, but mindblast very rarely.

TEST 4: 2 hard points to mindblast, total level 19
Mindblasts per minute:
4, 0, 1
Average of 2.5. Again.

Now next test is strange.
TEST 5: 12 hard points to mindblast, total level 29
Mindblasts per minute:
0, 1, 4
Average of 2.5
I mean, shouldn't master cast more mindblasts the higher mindblast level is? Perhaps it needs to really be near maximum investment to feel any difference?

Anyway, more tests should be performed, but this is rather disappointing altogether. Even with maxed mindblast master seems pretty much useless in helping to keep target stunned, unless target is directly on your screen when you usually don't need master that much anyway (except versus certain spellcasters). But what I can say so far, you will either max mindblast or leave it to whatever level since it will be mostly used to put swirly and for damage, and master will use it only if it is very high level.

Someone else should also do tests to check.
Gripphon said:
Someone else should also do tests to check.
To add on grip's stuff, I did same tests long ago with similar results. iirc lvl 1 hard point MB shadow really didn't cast MB all that often. Similar to grip's results. Difference that I got was that two point hard point MB shadow was casting MB more often than that. Not really twice as common but somewhere between 1.5 and 1.8 multiplier. Still it's pretty much wortless because there's no real difference between 2.5 and 4 casts per minute.

Other than that results were mostly the same.

Gripphon said:
Even with maxed mindblast master seems pretty much useless in helping to keep target stunned, unless target is directly on your screen when you usually don't need master that much anyway (except versus certain spellcasters).
Yes, shadow is indeed useless in that department, but I never considered master to be supplement to your stun. However, I must say that there is huge difference between fighting assassin that has 1 point MB vs assassin that has it maxed. Master throws and spams MB every 3 seconds or so and it is MASSIVE annoyance when you want to approach assassin offensively. Having swirls above your head when you want to approach with your druid or paladin makes assassin much harder target due to traps laying around. Where they would barely scratch you. 200 avg LS dmg or 120 with Wisp can hardly throw your paladin into recovery and Cyclone armor will shield you from initial couple hits of traps. If you go and attack assassin with swirls then it changes everything. Every random trap hit will put you into recovery frames (even trough CA) +every master DF also. It makes duels whole different league harder in my book.

Also one thing you might overlook is duration of Master's MB on target when you max your MB. Formula is 1/2 of your slvl + 1/3 of SM lvl. Using my assassin as sample (38/2 + 17/3) gives me lvl 24 MB. That's 6.6 second of swirls. Considering master casts if about every 6.5 seconds when you spiral around your target to get initial lock, you have good chance of master already tagging your target with MB making it easier to get initial stun with some assassin types.

For me personally, there isn't much choice between any option that pvp trappers have with their remaining skill points. I'd really advocate maxing MB over any other option.
There is one tiny problem, master seems to cast mindblast on target almost twice as often if target is on screen than if it is offscreen (aka someone approaching you). Master indeed spams mindblast like once every 3 seconds, but only if target is on your screen, while if it is offscreen, it casts is more like once in 6 seconds instead. Dunno is that for real or just some error in testing. That should be tested more.

Trapper has 3 choices: to max fireblast, to max mindblast or to max fade.

Max fireblast seems to be least preferable choice since you indeed can kill some standing target with just it, but any better player will learn quickly to wsg out and your fireblast will become much less useful overall.

Max mindblast gives more damage per spam, longer duration and master spams it more often. Overall quite strong strategic skill to max.

Last option is to put points to fade to have near max or max dr%. Why is that great? Because strongest opponents of trapper are mostly physical builds: bowazon, barb and charge paladin. Increasing your effective life against those by like 30 or more % is a big deal in my opinion. Also random master spamming of mindblast makes you tiny bit safer against those too, but nothing like good old flat effective life increase.

So, I'd say it is pretty much between mindblast and fade. Both choices have its advantages and I'm not really sure what seems better. I respeced my trapper from max mindblast to 18 point fade and 12 point mindblast to increase my survivability against troublesome opponents, while at the same time I'm sacrificing addition of master spamming mindblast more often on speedy characters like sorcs and necros. That is to be tested in practice does it feel any different from my perspective. Though I do have fire trapper and her mindblast will be decent, for LS trapper choice is tougher to make.
 

art_vandelay

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Strongest characters remain pretty similar as before:
Fireball sorc (vita = ES)
Bonenec (vita > block)
c/c Trapper (LS > WoF)
Windy (block > vita)
Hammerdin
Blizzard sorc (if not stacked)

As for placement, not sure really. It is interchangeable I believe without definite answer. Every character has its strengths. I'm not even sure what other people would say number one among those characters could be.

Fireball sorc
Pros:
- in theory almost invincible if player plays super-turtle mode, especially if ES build
- vita has high burst damage of ~2500 damage per second making her surprise stomps deadly
- 5k+ defense
- fast teleporting makes her very hard to stomp
- she doesn't really have counters or near impossible matches, closest being bowazon and ghost
Cons:
- she is very dependable on player skill, reactions, positional play etc. If played incorrectly, she can go from powerhouse to food quite fast
- bad hit recovery breakpoints (but is possible to go for 142 one)

Bonenec
Pros:
- high range usually invisible missiles that follow people around
- unabsorbable damage
- recastable bone armor
- minion stack with oak and golem
- spirits are strong defensive skill protecting necro nearly continuously if played correctly making him hard target to approach to without risking damage
- not really player skill dependable, he is always dangerous even if played simply as spammer which is easy to play as
Cons:
- he has hard counter in a form of ES sorcs. Good news is those are not really around
- he has some unfavorable matches, namely Windy which is very hard to beat without a good tactics, and even then he will kill you more than you will kill him. Second unfavorable match is fireball sorc since she outdamages you and has faster fcr. But, he can face her in nearly 50-50 odds, especially with sorb.

c/c Trapper
Pros:
- traps do their stuff, you just have to put them down
- mindblast + trap is strong stunning combo
- clawblock makes you very hard to kill
- minion stack if you use oak and master
- she covers a lot of space with traps, aka trap fields
- very strong in defensive aspect
Cons:
- traps do not have impressive damage, especially if absorbed
- hard to play efficiently. Anyone can hide in trap fields, but going offensive is not easy to do
- wsg can screw your trap lock attempts
- some opponents, especially with sorb, can take a long time to kill (BvC, paladin, Ghost, Bowazon...)
- some unfavorable matches. Bowazon has the upper hand against you, especially if she puts sorb on. Against BvC you cannot make mistakes and it takes quite some time to kill him. Necro is never an easy match, he can outspam you from afar. Charger is very hard opponent since he can do tons of damage and with sorb on is not easy to kill. Sorc can outspam you from afar and is hard to catch.

Windy
Pros:
- high damage burst, opponent's don't really have time to react
- recastable cyclone armor making him have tons of effective life against some casters
- minion stack protecting you a lot
- has the upper hand in many matches
Cons:
- 1 trick pony build. All he does is stomp with tornado. He can't really play on range like some other casters, he must go melee on you
- tornado has chaotic path so it is possible to miss namelocked target that is almost in your face
- has a lot of problems with assassins of any kind. Against Trappers your best hope is they will play too aggressively, otherwise you are battling uphill battle there. WW assassins are probably hardest match of them all. Problem is assassins are most popular class in PvP so you will have to face them quite often. Fireball sorc is your telestomp target, but she will kill your shield and all minions with single fireball and possibly stunlock you to death if she catches you instead.

Hammerdin
Pros:
- tons of unabsorbable damage, can 2 or 3 shot most builds. Opponent is not allowed to make a mistake
- can be built in a way to have good dr%, block ofc, high defense, max lite res and max fireres simultaneously making him very hard to take down for pretty much any character
- charge makes him invisible and very deadly in combination with telestomp, also is immune to stun
- hammers tend to be invisible and opponent usually has no idea where hammerfield really is, he can guess though
- complete powerhouse against most melee builds
Cons:
- not easy to play efficiently. Hiding in hammerfield or spamming hammers randomly is easy and not profitable thing to do. You have to go to your opponent to kill him, pretty much melee range.
- has some unfavorable matches in a form of Windy who has the upper hand in that match, also Bowazon is not easy opponent if you don't use Grief as weapon. Trapper can be very annoying since they have traps around and will stun you with mindblast preventing you from flawless approach + clawblock will block hammers. Necros won't be easy to beat, beware not to charge into spirit train. Sorcs are not easy to stomp, they teleport very fast and they obviously won't come to you. ES sorcs could be impossible to beat if you don't use FoH cancel trick and for that you have to catch them with smite somehow.

Blizzard
Pros:
- if not stacked, she has huge 1 shot potential. Properly geared sorc can 1 shot 4k+ life opponent.
- blizzard tends to be invisible, so opponent's can easily tele into 4k+ dmg deathtrap
- very strong in defensive play
- 6k+ defense
- fast teleporting which can avoind plenty of telestomp dangers, same as with fireball sorc
Cons:
- not impressive range, opponent must be on your screen to blizzard him, or you have to wait for him to come to you instead
- possible to stack to some value. Obviously stacked blizzard sorc is useless, only problem is to find enough resists to stack her up
- bad hit recovery breakpoints (possible to hit 142 one though)


In the end, I'm not sure who to put on top. From what I've seen in practice, top candidates are Fireball sorc, Bonenec and Windy. They seem to win most of matches out there. Though Windy does become weaker with assassis around, while Firesorc and Bonenec tend to stay at similar playing strength all the time. Basically sorc domination was ended either with bonenec or windy, necro is surprisingly rarely dominant with other top builds around, and Windy is powerhouse when there are no assassins. I can't really evaluate blizzard sorc since only player who played her doesn't have top end gear. I do believe with top end gear she would be powerhouse to face without stack.

Now people go comment and make this thread fun once again.
 

art_vandelay

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Did some calculations about how much AR does WW barb need to kill max block necro/druid before they tele out. There are few conditions when they can tele out (one of major ones are when your ww misses twice in a row, then nec and druid will have enough time to get out of fhr animation and cast teleport to escape, + some more less likely conditions).

Major question was: to go dual ravenfrost + HLW or to go angelic for more AR?

While the fact is that max block necro and druid will have ~2200 defense, AR still matters a lot because increasing AR a little decreases chance for ww hits to miss twice in a row tremendously. With HLW barb will kill them faster, that is the fact. But, despite killing them faster, they are actually more likely to escape out than they are if you use Angelic and have over 10k AR. But, difference between HLW + 7kAR vs no HLW 10k AR is overall little.

How much AR does barb need to kill them comfortably? Windy won't be killed if he has minions around, that is the fact. You must catch him without minons or very few minions. For nec, however, ~7.5k AR is boundary where nec has 50-50 to escape out of whirling before death, and that is if his oak is already dead. Nec in question has max block and 2700 life like mine would have.

Someone might ask is then dual angelic even better? You must compare it to Oak ring, and Oak ring, when Oak is alive, will make you immune to fhr by necs spears. Only spirits will be able to put you to hit recovery. And nec will need to hit you 2 more times to kill you. Overall, against 2.2k defense opponent difference between 10k AR and 16k AR is so small it is not even worth it at all. Against 5k or more defense opponent, however, different story.

Against vita characters who don't have over 5k defense, 5k AR is enough to kill them in 1 second of whirling. But, normally recommended is to have near 7k AR if possible just in case. 1 full second of whirling is needed to take them out.


All this is with some estimations because calculating real chance for someone to escape out is just too hard and annoying. Also, forgot to mention that if druid has 50% dr and over 5600 life with max block, then any non-critical hit from WW weapons individually (aka, first weapon hits, second misses) won't EVER put him into hit recovery if oak is alive. That will happen only if either Grief crits or Grief and Beast hit together regardless of criting. Then most of the time they have 37.5% chance to put druid to hit recovery (and 75% if they both crit or if Grief crits with higher roll, but depends on life of druid really). Long story short, make sure oak is dead or druid will be a mountain to bring down and he will escape out. There is no amount of AR that can keep him still if your weapons don't put him to hit recovery when they pass block check.
 

art_vandelay

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I think this is more or less it:

115ED 45IAS 30FRW Helm
15ED 15Fanat 2Skills Diamond Bow
1.08 HLW
Fortitude
KB 30Stat 27FR 20IAS Gloves
17FHR 5LL 15OW 115HP 30FR 26LR Belt (or Dungo's, or mav's)
30FRW 20FHR 28HP 49LR 47FR 29PR Boots
Ravenfrost
1.10a BKWB

40, 2x39, 4x38, 2x37, [email protected]/20max dmg GC
12max dmg SC, 5FRW 175psn dmg, 5FRW 3/19, 5FRW 3/17, 5FRW 3/12, 4x 6max 3FRW, 3FRW [email protected]

Beta CtA on stash

Max FR and LR, to max poison I need to change some charms. To stack res I need to change charms, boots and rings.
In some matches I can change some charms for extra FHR

155FRW
7frames hit recovery
Enough Dex for max block on switch
Enough Str for gear
2717 HP
1257 avg PvP dmg
Thanks for sharing. How much damage if we assume Dungo as standard belt if you know?

EDIT
By my calculation, if you use standard dungo belt (which I think is used 90% of the time at least from my experience) and use cube in inventory, your damage would be around 1100 to 1120. And I calculated my similarly built bowa would have around 850. You just too rich!
 

art_vandelay

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Just found this info on few places on d2jsp:

Blocking however since 1.10 has been subject to a 15 frame exclusion window: For 15 frames after you block, you can't get put into another block animation, but blocking still has full functional effects at preventing damage.

This could explain why it is so hard to actually blocklock something and why characters with block can get out so easily sometimes. To prevent max block character from escaping, you should either hope one of your hits gets past block in those 15 frames to trigger hit recovery, or whoever you are locking will simply tele out. Assuming this info is true since this sounds too OP.

Necro with stormshield has 7 frames block rate after which, according to info, he has 8 free frames to escape out. His action frame with 125 fcr is at 5. Lets assume something with 4 frames attacks max block necro (zealer or barb).

First time they hit necro, he gets put to block recovery (lets assume he blocks the hit). When block recovery is active, character can't be put to hit recovery, so for 7 frames Necro is "safe". Now let's check frame by frame what happens.

Frame 0 - necro blocks one hit
Frame 4 - another hit comes, but necro is already in block recovery so can't be put to hit recovery
Frame 7 - necro gets out of block recovery and starts to cast teleport
Frame 8 - another hit incoming. Until frame 15 necro can't be put to block recovery anymore even if he blocks the hit, so here he can be put only to hit recovery.
Frame 12 - another hit and another chance to put necro to hit recovery. If this fails, at the same frame he teles out (his action frame is 5)

And now I wonder if this 15 frame exclusion time is true since that would mean block necro with bone armor active is practically impossible to prevent from teleporting out immediately. First of all, he has 75% block, you have like 15-20% chance to not hit him due to defense and he still has bone armor to prevent hit recovery from happening at all even if you hit him. By watching videos this has not proven to be true, necro does tele out, but not as easily as theory would suggest.

Time to do self test I guess, but I have to build block necro for that... Barb with 15k AR, without Inc. speed and any sort of speed at all, chilled whirls straight through necro. And with nec I have to tele out from him. I admit I'm curious to see the results of this test, but I assume they won't confirm that necro teles out immediately, though will be interesting to see what actually happens.


EDIT

Upon testing I concluded that theory is not confirmed. Necro usually does block animation 2 to 3 times before teleporting out of danger. I could rarely teleport instantly out, but I also didn't die to whirlwind before teleporting out if necro had full life while starting the test. But I confirmed 1 thing: when you have bone armor, you are much more likely to escape due to not being put to hit recovery. Other thing what I confirmed, or possibly confirmed: no matter how perfect whirling you do (these whirlwinds were more than perfect since it was constant 4 frame attack show instead of restarting whirlwind leaking frames as you do when you do tri-whirling), you are still very unlikely to kill well built block necro in 1 go. You must catch him at least twice, and that is just super hard thing to do.

My block necro variant has 2600 life and 43% dr with 800 bone armor to give you idea what kind of nec was tested in this, while barb had 13k AR, some max damage in inventory and very slow movement (aka simulating unrealistically perfect whirlwind scenario).
 

art_vandelay

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LS Hybrid Assassin

Upon doing some more detail calculations I'm seriously wonder what is exactly the advantage of having 20 point Venom over literally anything else under SPF playing rules. On bnet they have those charms and their hybrids can actually get everything. We can't. Here by going 20 Venom you either sacrifice trap damage, or don't have 50 DR, or don't have good AR or your mindblast lasts too short.

Roughly difference between 1 point and 20 point Venom is ~10-15% dps from whirlwind, depending on claws and depending on opponent you face. Against vita character it is like 10% or lower (physical damage is by far strongest aspect, even when we include cth calculations). Against block venom is strong, but OW is more important and outshines Venom in almost any way. Against high defense opponents, only sorceress is there and against her Venom makes kind of sense, but still we talk about like 15% dps difference only.

So, my logic is, why not reduce your whirlwind dps by 10-15%, but increase your trap damage by 15%, increase your mindblast duration a little, increase your Mastery for more AR (aka more dps!) or even go for 50 DR instead? To me it definitely seems that trap damage is by far more important aspect than minor whirlwind dps increase by investing into Venom and until you get 20 all synergies, there is no profit at even thinking about upping Venom. Even increasing DR a bit seems of bigger importance than investing to Venom. From the test last time I'm inclined to think at least 6.4 seconds of Mindblast is needed to properly kill casters with whirlwind before duration expires.

Just an idea how to make hybrids stronger. Maxing Venom on ghost and kicker is straightforward since they have nothing better to do, but hybrid has several more important things to nail first before investing more than 1 point to Venom. After all, what will kill faster in general: 15% more dps on traps or 15% more dps from Venom?


Possible gear option 1 "cheaper"

This is what I have built my hybrid for last PvP:
-aim for 6k LS dmg, more is not needed since apparently I faced two opponents who used Wisp and I didn't even know they have Wisp until they told me. I still don't believe they used Wisp or they didn't have maxed resistances cuz I can't explain the damage they took from traps given they used sorb.
- aim for 3k AR on Chaos (fool's will be like 8-9k), check how much you need to invest to Mastery yourself
- aim for 6.4 seconds MB (I had 5.4 last time and it was 1 second too short to ensure kills of vita characters upon whirling)
- aim for 50 DR with gear I suggest cause that is quite nice and I'd say important to have on a hybrid

Ber/req CoA
Enigma
2/16+ amulet
3 LS Chaos / LS fool's with 20+ IAS
Arach
Trang Claws
Beta BKWB
fcr/ar/res/mana ring
Shadow Dancers

Inventory: 4 shadow skillers + 1 trap skiller, allres GC's, AR, mana etc
With 4 shadow skillers you have 50 DR with 1 point Fade, 56 clawblock and in general solid bonuses on Mastery. Invest some points to Mastery, some into Traps to get you at least 6k damage, get like 6s or more MB and you are ready. Easy and effective. If you go max Venom, then you will lack something.

No CBF? You don't need it, just make sure to have near 175 cold ress and you won't notice you lack CBF. I don't use CBF for a long time now and is only needed against cold sorcs. Since you have Beta BKWB, you can switch it for Raven or use Kira's as helm getting stack too, but losing DR...


What I think is best gear option possible

Solid 2/20 circlet with Ber roon
2/5+ amulet with bonuses or Mara's (you need fcr ring then, but that is weaker option unless your amulets are bad)
Enigma
Same claws as above
Arachnid Mesh
Trang Claws
Beta BKWB + BKWB/Raven/Oak ring, whatever you want, or fcr ring if you went Mara's route
Shadow Dancers

Inventory: don't know the right balance here, depends on your claws mostly, but you can easily aim to go 4 Shadow skillers and no Trap skillers at all. Yes, make up that 18 FHR in inventory you need.

Here is the choice for you to decide for how much DR you wanna go. If 50, invest into Fade, or until you are happy. Rest is the same and up to you to decide. Raven as secondary ring makes life very easy to build this thing. Oak ring is strongest option, but might be problematic to get everything you want.

Another solution is to go 2/20 circlet and use Dungo as belt, but this is slightly worse overall.