Here’s a post to chew on as I’m planning my second post of the Combat 2.0 series, this time, focusing on the different types of minions in the game and also setting up a general referential database for all of the minion strategies for readers to refer to.
The main motivation behind this post would be classify all the different types of minions (aka toons, pets) based on their strengths, weakness, abilities and giving them a label because I’m that lazy to type in all of the minions I’m referring to whenever I say ‘Chaser Champions’. It will also briefly explain some strategies of how to take these general group of minions down if encountered in Strongholds.
A minor disclaimer to the post, the information here is actually quite ‘meh’ if you’re an experienced player. If you’ve played at least for a few months and have been involved in raiding in some way or another, you’ll probably find that everything very straightforward.
Enough talk…Let’s go!
Different Minion Categories
Besides the regular types such as Champion, Defender, Ranged Striker, Melee Striker, Support, I’m proposing a subset level of categorisation for each group. This is because not all minions are built equally as an Ignicore is not going to behave and attack the same way as an Assassin is.
(Yes, the coloring is intentional to state the specific element the minion is, so as not to bore readers with the dark grey text all the time.)
With that said, below are the sub-classes of the classification with their inherent characteristics:
- Heavy Weights – High Damage, High Durability, Slow
- Chasers – High Speed, Sticky, Moderate HP
- Vanishers – Long invincibility duration, Moderate stats
- Worthwhile – Must-haves
- Irrelevant – No inherent Usefulness
- Heavy duty – High Armor/HP or skill which keeps them alive, but Slow
- Disablers – Comes with a Disable Skill, relatively Fast
- Glass canons – High Damage, Low HP/ Armor
- Vanishing Glass canons – Teleports, High Damage, still with Low HP/ Armor
- Dodgers – High Dodge, High Speed
- Upkeep Fillers – Very low upkeep, One strike-one kill
*To avoid this post being too long a read, I’ll break it into two main parts instead, one with Champions and Support (in this post), and another with Defenders, Ranged Strikers and Melee Strikers.
Also, remember the stars that each minion category has (for attack, durability and movement)?
Yeah, I think that doesn’t work entirely either because of the diversity of each minions’ abilities. Obviously it won’t match up since not all Champions are slow and not all Support types have low durability.
Instead, I’m proposing a revised rating system with Damage Output, Durability, Speed and Ability. While most of it is pretty much the same, the ‘ability‘ portion is equally important to understand
Champions, in the description, are listed to be the “Best Minions of all”. While that is a contestable statement, let’s not delve into that first and address what is given for the star ratings.
As highlighted above, not all minions behave the same way and this applies particularly so for Champion due to their immensely diverse abilities from one champion to another champion. While there are some champions that are ‘referenced‘ from another champion, not only in terms of 3d models, but also skills, I can safely say that the strategy to fight them differs greatly.
TL;DR: Not all Champion types are like what they are classified to be.
In the Champion category, there are 3 main sub-classes: Heavy Weight, Chasers and Vanishers.
Damage Output: +++++
Heavy weight champions are the epitome of the Defender minion types: Strong, high Surviveability, but at the same time ridiculously slow to the point where they are immobile.
However, despite their speed, they make up for their lack of it through their artillery like abilities, giving them incredible range which might be able to reach to the extends of smaller trap rooms. This makes them highly useful when used in smaller trap rooms with some form of terrain/obstacles (eg. Valenthian Guardhouse, Mine Layer) as it makes it difficult to dodge roll from their attacks quickly.
Fortunately, due to their slow speeds, ranged characters can easily take them down from far if you recognise their attack patterns, without them inflicting heavy damage on your character. It is recommended for Melee users to use a general hit-and-run strategy to avoid their attacks, especially if they have periods of increased armor/invulnerability.
TL;DR: Heavy weights have high attack, high durability (or a skill that keeps them alive longer) and favors (extremely far) ranged skills over melee. Use ranged for an easy kill.
Minions: All Colossus-es (nature, lightning, ice), Kenashi Warlord, Warmage Sentinel, Naga Tidesplitter, Kringle, Crystal Leviathan
Exceptions: Warmage Sentinel (no fantastic abilities, moderate damage output), Kringle (moderate HP, moderate damage output), Naga Tidesplitter (moderate HP, moderate armor), Crystal Leviathan (moderate HP, moderate armor)
Damage Output: ++++
On the contrary, Chaser types are incredibly fast and they ‘sprint‘ majority of the time towards your character when they have him/her in sight. These champions usually don’t lose track of the raider and will continuously pester him/her until they’re killed or have killed. These Champions also usually induce stun or stagger very often, giving less opportunity for the inexperienced (ranged) raider to retaliate.
Chaser types benefit from flat and unobstructed trap rooms that constantly deal damage to the keeper (eg. Nightmare Pit, Nettle Grove, Ashkardian Crypt, Mine Layer). These will force the opponent to keep moving and suffer constant damage from the trap room or get stun locked into place and allow the other minions to swarm you.
As the reverse of the heavyweight types, these champions can be easily taken down with melee weapons (of the opposite element) due to their lower HP and weaker defence. Hence, if you are using ranged as a primary, do carry a melee weapon to deal with these sticky toons.
TL;DR: Chaser types have moderate attack, durability but high speed. Kill them quickly to get them off your back. Melee is preferred.
Minions: Wicker Beast, Dominator, Mezzogian, Spirius, Immortal Gatekeeper, Succubine, Lord of the Eve, Ignicore, Ethera
Exceptions: Ethera (slow but high armor when un-transformed, overall complex behavior, see Guide here), Immortal Gatekeeper (benediction totem gives high armor)
Damage Output: ++++
Vanishers have seemingly average stats overall but excel in terms of well…disappearing. They have periods of invincibility (when they disappearing/flying) and usually re-appear in midst of all the action to dish out some damage once in a while. Thus, this can make them very deadly for raiders who are unaware of their movesets, which are comparatively non-linear compared to the rest of the Champions.
What this means is that they don’t follow a strict protocol of attacks (eg. punch, use skill, punch, use skill 2, repeat), but are mostly triggered by proximity to the user. From observations, their AI executes a skill based on how far the opponent is (ie. like my Voror knight post) or teleports away when it ‘knows‘ it is receiving heavy damage.
While I don’t think Vanishers are fantastic in any of the trap rooms, they are generally boosted by smaller rooms that buff allies/disable the raider (eg. Ruby Temple, Valenthian Guardhouse, Forbidden Courtyard). These force the player to concentrate not only on when these Champions will appear/attack, but also on the trap room itself, as failure to do one will cause the raider to receive heavy damage from the champion itself.
Furthermore, when attempting to deal with these Champions, it’s best to recognise their attack patterns first and there isn’t a preferred weapon type for these. Doing so will drastically reduce the amount of damage as these minions like to perform slow but hard-hitting multi-hit attacks, that can easily be avoided.
TL;DR: Vanishers just have long periods of disappearing. Memorise their attack patterns and keep clear of their slow but deadly attacks.
Minions: Harbringer, Mossback Dragon, Assassin
Support minions are there for providing buffs, be it offensive (eg. armor break, stun) or defensive (eg. healing, resurrection, armor increase). Although they do not deal direct damage, these team players are able to turn the tides of the battle fairly quickly if left alone and when coupled with other stronger types of protect them.
Although these abilities are very much useful, the major problems of these types of minions would be their high upkeep and their low durability (HP and armor), making it rather problematic to consider whether these minions are useful to the overall setup to your SH. Moreover, with recent updates, their abilities are known to exist in other minions as well, especially in defender types and upkeep fillers (those with low upkeep). Thus, adding to the complexity of choice of whether to keep them or not.
TL;DR: There are only 2 types of support, the good and the bad.
In the Support category, there are 2 main sub-classes: Worthwhile, Irrelevant.
Damage Output: +
These support minions are a must-haves in your arsenal. With the presence of these units, these can change the tide of the battle if they are left untouched for long period of time.
However, do note that these minions still die relatively quickly if left open to enemy attacks (eg. placing at the front row). Thus, these minions are to remain either in ‘blind spots‘ or far behind the more sturdy front row at all times to prevent them from being left unguarded.
As mentioned many times in the trap room posts, once you catch sight of these minions, it’s best to remove them first as a raider. Doing so will ease the battle without concern that minions are going to get healed to full health, shielded…or worse, resurrected.
TL;DR: Worthwhiles are to be protected at all costs or, if you’re a raider, are to be top priority on the kill list.
Minions: Druids, Gelid Vorors, Acolytes
Exception: Acolytes (moderate damage output and have periods of invulnerability)
Damage Output: +
In contrast, these minions are redundant and do not have the skills nor combat powers to present themselves as sufficiently competent. Ultimately, they’re just a waste of upkeep and you can opt for something else. And yes, it doesn’t matter if you kill them first or last either since they don’t impact much in anyway.
I can’t even be bothered to put up a screenshot of these sub-class of Support types…
Minions: Warmage Hexcaster, Pyre Voror, Rhino Vigil
If I missed out anything, do let me know. In the mean time, I’ll work on the other 3 minion types for the next post.
Happy Guild wars this weekend!