Structure of this guide:
- Templating a skald
- Realm Ability specs
- Skill specs
- Solo Skald
- Smallman Skald
- 8-man Skald
I have a great passion for skalding and am very excited to share this passion with you. The following are my personal preferences, opinions and choices. The truth for your skald lies in your heart, follow that beat to best utilize your skald's full potential!
To give you some baseline background information, a little bit about me and my skalds:
I currently spend most of my time soloing, but I have also ran some frequent smallmans and pug 8-mans. My experience as a regular 8-man skald is by far the least and it has been many years since i filled that role. I have always played a dwarf skald as my main ever since i started on Guinevere (RP) and as I moved on to Uthgard and now on Phoenix.
My current rank on my main is 11L2, but I also have 6 other skalds of different levels and ranks including another level 50 troll skald. I dont really do alts, but have a 50 animist, warden and healer as well. None of those interest me, but they do serve specific roles to support my skald.
My current skill spec is: 37 Hammers 29 Parry 46 Battlesongs
My current RA spec is: Speed of Sound 1, First Aid 2, Ignore Pain 3, Purge 5, Anger of The Gods 5, Mastery of Focus 2, Mastery of Parry 4, Augmented Strength 1, LongWind, Tireless
You can find me on Twitch https://www.twitch.tv/catkain
or on Discord: Catkain#6104
Templating a skald
I have based my 1h-weaponless template around the following items:
Necklace: Beaded Resisting Stones (Quest Item)
Cloak: Otrygg's Darkened Cloak (15 000 feathers)
Chest: Tuscarian Discordant Hauberk (20 000 feathers)
2-h Hammer: Dragon-shadow Great Hammer (15 000 feathers)
1-h Hammer (usuaully): Frozen Bleackhearted Hammer (15 000 feathers)
ROGs: Around 75 utility
This template cost me roughly 30 platinum.
In my bags i always carry:
2xNoxious Fengundar Mantle (drops from somewhere, ask Pletos)
Heart of Legion (20 000 feathers)
Ring of Prey Skewering (drops from somewhere, found in housing 1p)
Can craft same thing with 10/10 charges for less than 40gold. Alchemy: Stable Honing Arcanium Tincture. Tailoring: any MP armor piece (the lower lvl the better). Use it from inventory. (Edit credit Ordoch)
In terms of what to cap and what to not cap, I see no reason to leave anything out if you have endless platinum. However if you dont, here is my list of priority. Most prioritized on top and least on bottom:
Realm Ability Specs
RR1L0-2L9: Work towards the RR3 spec
RR13: Omg wow! U tell me!?!
Leveling up, I prefer to keep BS at one level below my current level and to keep putting the maximum amount of points into weapon. The weapon of choice is Hammer. I recommend 50BS to never be used in solo-specs as the lack of the final dd can be cheaply negated by the MoFocus RA and the parry/weapon skill lost makes you less competitive than your potential. For other skalds, 50BS is an option but not a good one. The resist songs do not stack with healer/shaman resists, the rest song does add some regen to the group and the last dd can be replaced with MoFocus as mentioned before.
To elaborate on my Hammer preference: The availability of back and side snares allow for effective peeling while the two parry stuns (one based directly off a parry and another one as the second style after a parry) provide a solid face-to-face melee capability.
The general guidance for skill specs is that parry is more and more useful the more you expect to be attacked directly. This translates to parry (and the associated stats) being a key skill for solo-skalds, but being a non-significant skill for BG skalds and a low-priority skill for 8-man and smallman skalds.
Adjust the skills as you prefer, but keep in mind your race and your realm rank to ensure efficient overall capabilities in-line with your playstyle. I presonally am currently experimenting with a "glasscannon" build for my troll skald and a more defensive build for my dwarf skald.
Consider your desired playstyle when choosing a class (to avoid that expensive race respec later on).
Races listed from solo to BG appropriate:
The two main considerations are offensive and defensive capabilities. Consider not only starting stats, but also the available bonus resists. I chose dwarf for my main due tp: offensive/defensive stat balance, good race resists, limited visibility in the battlefield to avoid being instantly identified and targeted.
For starting stats, i consider str and con as the two main stats. I also choose to add char, but I see strong arguments for other stats as well. My philosophy is that a troll should not try to chase well balanced stats, but rather embrace their strengths (strength). Same for a kobold, in my opinion they should embrace their defensive nature and not aim for dwarf’ish stats (if you want dwarf stats and sexual energy then just choose a dwarf already).
This is obviously a big topic for me, but I have decided to break it down into a complete 1v1 strategy guide for each enemy class and leave it at that... for now.
Armsman - The full tanks are tough, but in my opinion Armsman is the tougher of the two. The obvious strategy is to kite, but trust me: I have kited my full powerbar empty and still lost to good Armsmen. They want to stand toe-to-toe with you and melee it out, dont let them. Avoid getting stuck in face-to-face combat at all costs. A combination of kiting and melee will work, but expect a long fight and do your best to pull him away from obstacles where he can use LOS (line of sight) to force you close to him (or HER!).
Cabalist - Most cabalists I encounter will either run or MOC (Mastery of Concentration). If they do moc, consider hiding behind an obstacle or running out of range. Once moc is over, they will most likely opt for "run". When facing a cabalist with no moc, you should have little problems keeping him busy and cc the pet. It is very rare that a caba will release and recast their pet (no idea why this is more common for enchanters, maybe it costs less mana or something) if it is cc'd, but I have had it done once and he killed me.
Cleric - Catching a non-smite cleric out in the wild is usually a race to finish it off before it can reach the nearest keep. Be sure to use snares and expect them to use their whole arsenal of insta-heals to get away from you. Smite clerics are VERY rare on Phoenix, but very fun to fight! Keep in mind that clerics need to out-last you and they have very low dps in melee. The smite is their only way to win and you should do anything you can to avoid them casting it too much. Expect a mezz to the face about halfway into the fight.
Friar - This has been one of the toughest classes for me to face, but on Phoenix they are not as strong as I remember (i.e. on Uthgard seemed a lot stronger). They generally want to just straight up melee you. I try to use what i call a half-kite. I stay in dd range and try to maintain it to interrupt but not get hit. The key to half-kiting is to spread out your spells over time so you give them only a short window to get casts off before your spells start comming back up. Ideally, you would do something like dd-wait-dd-wait-mezz(resisted/immune is ok)-snare(resisted/immune is preferred)-melee.
Infiltrator - Asassins choose when they want to fight you, it will always be with whatever they prefer of timers up. Whenever I am in asassin-infected areas i spam my dd's while running. Whenever I get popped, they get hit with two dd's. I also try to not only have my speed chant up, but either da or rest song. The hope being that either my first swing has some extra dps or their first damage gets migated by a tiny tiny bit by a rest song tick. Very min/max, I know but this is how asassins tend to operate. For me, Ns is more challenging than Inf.
Mercenary - Dirty Tricks must be kited. But dont think that is their only trick (more the case with a BM). A merc with no DT up can still be a huge challenge in straight melee so dont be afraid to kite a bit longer than just the DT duration.
Necromancer - I generally dont fight necros. Simply because I have not found a good counter to them. I honestly believe they are the scissors to the hybrid paper and I am ok with that. I do however feel that a RR1 anything should generally not stand a chance against a RR11 anything else.
Paladin - A solo-specced Paladin can be a very scary thing. Luckily most of them are not and you should be able to just face them head on. Kiting could be required.
Reaver - They want to stun you and do their weird whip-thing from behind you. It really hurts so you dont want that. I generally try to get a d/q debuff off on them before that happens. Sometimes that works and others it does not, but getting fewer of the
Scout - The perma-snare makes this class my least favourite to face. Prepare to blow sos and purge for this one kill, but even then its not guaranteed. Without the snare style they could still be a challenge, but in my opinion this mechanic is currently broken.
Sorcerer - Rarely do i see a solo sorc, but if I do then I know to expect a moc. I tend to sos out when they moc and try to get out of los/range. I can then come back and usually get a kill.
Theurgist - I dont think i have ever had any issues with killing a solo theurgist as long as my RR is equal or higher.
Wizard - I dont think i have ever had any issues with killing a solo wizard as long as my RR is equal or higher.
Animist - Do not use your face to check if it's 1 shroom or a stack of them, its a stack. Its always a stack! Apart from that stack, killing animists should be pretty straight forward.
Bard - Chase em down and get them into melee. Be sure to snare strategically so it cannot get away. It can most likely never kill you. My main concern when fighting a Bard is someone seeing us fight and deciding to save the Bard or the Bard escaping.
Blademaster - Green sword equals kite. This is similar to how I would treat a hamster-form zerker. Dont let them interact with you for the duration. This is thankfully not too challenging to do as a skald. Keep in mind though that a BM has a significant melee capability even without tripple wield and you are in for a challenge if you opt to not kite at all.
Champion - Until recently this was the number two hardest class for me (second only to Necro). I have yest to test many champions "post-nerf", but my early interactions show no noticable change. I generally dodge champions close to my own realm rank as I consider it a complete waste of time. There is one exception, but he is my friend (who has beaten me 499 of our 500 fights). Kiting is essential with a champion, but I tend to run out of space/time/power before I get anywhere close to 0 on the champs hp-bar.
Druid - These rascals are delicious if you catch them solo. Basically any healing class will make you work for it and you should try to keep them standing still as much as possible. They will flee and heal up, but I honestly do not see a druid killing a skald 1v1 as something that will happen more than once every year.
Eldrich - This is the hib caster with no pet. I never remember what they can do and then they do something awful to me. I really dont run into many of these so I am actually thinkng to roll one to see what spells they actually have. Beyond their baseline stun and damage dealing stuff, I have no idea what they can do as they are usually dead shortly after I encounter them.
Enchanter - Most solo chanters use the snare pet. Given a healthy powerbar, they can recast this pet up to 4-5 times (!!!). This means that my cool strategy of killing the pet becomes a very lengthy exercise. I have had better luck trying to seperate pet and chanter to the point where I can land enough blows on the chanter before the pet can "snare me off of its master)
Hero - Heroes are super-tough and the EXTREME amount of hitpoints unfortunately means kite-or-die. Even when my full powerbar of skaldness, I
Mentalist - Chase them down and make sure they dont out-cc you. Delicious lurikeen meat 9 out of 10 times.
Nightshade - Asassins choose when they want to fight you, it will always be with whatever they prefer of timers up. Whenever I am in asassin-infected areas i spam my dd's while running. Whenever I get popped, they get hit with two dd's. I also try to not only have my speed chant up, but either da or rest song. The hope being that either my first swing has some extra dps or their first damage gets migated by a tiny tiny bit by a rest song tick. Very min/max, I know but this is how asassins tend to operate. For me, Ns is more challenging than Inf.
Ranger - If you think he is near, spam /face and your snare. This will help you get to him asap and make sure he is in combat and even if he comes out of it and manages to stealth he should still be snared. Delicious lurikeen meat 9 out of 10 times.
Valewaker - The strafing gloom-faces will usually try to sidestun you when in melee and cast on you when in range. A MOC'ed Valewalker can regen a ton of health and do a lot of damage so the best place to fight a vw would be near a big rock or a corner where you can break los once it mocs. In straight up melee, I usually do fine as long as the vw doesnt get help.
Warden - Pull out your one-hander and keep them engaged. Most experienced wardens will try to snare, kite and heal up: You obviously wont allow that!
<Grandfather of All Skalds>