Forming an effective squad

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  • Forming an effective squad

    Greetings all,

    I am often asked about what hero is good for a given event or PG, to that end I thought it worth writing a brief overview.

    First off, you need to consider how you will win in any given fight. Of which I think breaks down into 2 categories:-

    1. Massive Burst Damage (quick fights)
    2 Battles of attrition (3 rounds or longer)

    Let's consider each of these two styles and the different effective squads for both and why.

    Massive Burst Damage
    Often favoured for PGs so that you can fight quickly and earn banners in a short amount of time.
    Large Burst damage can be generated in a variety of ways: -

    1. Reliable assassination chance (e.g. red lyrium bertrand, Carver Hawke or Archon Radonis to a lesser extent). This massive damage looks to overwhelm a target regardless of their health, resistances, healing or DR)

    2. Power gain on enemy damage (currently this combines excellently with assassination but importantly to a lesser extent with any outgoing damage - heroes leveraging this would be any templar equipped with meredith's key, eg Behemoth or KA to name the more popular options)

    3. Power gain on death (allies or enemies)
    Sometimes accepting you are going to have allies die is no bad thing if you can turn that to your advantage by having that power up your squad, or indeed if you're offensively minded powering up on the demise of your enemies. (Popular heroes include Arcane Hawke, Beast of the Tellerai Swamps, Apostate Solas, Red Lyrium Shadow, Necromancer Dorian, Archon Radonis, Ancient Darkspawn, Warden Commander Clarel, The Dark Theurge, Ismael, Nightmare and to a lesser extent Hakkon Wintersbreath). These are by no means end game heroes more of a proof of concept. Also special mention to Saarth and Gurn which trigger on allies being hit.

    4. Convert received damage into power gain
    A deadly ability as everything the enemy throws at you makes you stronger (with power gain to allies being the best - and one that resulted in demon squads thriving so long) good heroes include most blood mages, kitty, hissera, ghost of the spire, spirit of cole

    A cautionary note - if you aren't doing quick round massive damage then you would be advised to ensure that you have high power curse resist to ensure your power gain is not negated.

    Battles of attrition.
    This is where longer battles over multiple rounds take place and probably results in more strategic / balanced squad design. What is key here is a layered defense approach as well as damage output.

    What do I mean by layered defense?
    It's all about living long enough to do enough damage to your enemy before dying. Effective health is key because there are various ways of impacting your health:-

    1. Big health pool (Revamped large creatures typically have huge health pools with good synergy of auras with the rest of the squad this can create the proverbial meatshield)

    2. Healing (whether by gear on being hit eg mythals blessing, dawn ring, griffin plate, grand enchanter staff, or through hero abilities eg spirit of faith, mother giselle, beast of tellari swamps, Apostate solas, arcane hawke, archon Radonis, inquisitior Ameridan, emerald graves nug to name but a few over a protracted fight can dramatically increase effective health - ensure you have good health curse resist).

    3. Damage resist
    This will dramatically increase effective health directly reducing incoming damage (popular choices include fereldan banner, dragon flemeth, abyssal high dragon, Ancient Darkspawn, Avernus, Garahel, Great Dragon, Hivernal, Spirit of faith, Wild Sylvan, The Highest One) Don't forget more recent gear can also significantly improve damage resistance such a griffin plate.

    4. Negative enemy power
    Often overlooked this can be extremely potent when stacked. Whether by gear (forge master's hammer or staff of corruption) or / and by heroes (King Alistair, Fenharel, Emerald Graves Nug and Magister Dorian)

    Other important combat considerations include resistances, whether it's power, health, slow, stun or power drain. Considering that there are 5 major resistance areas its often advised to ensure that each hero contributes in 2 of these areas so that when stacked across all 5 heroes they combine to give good across the board resistances. One of the reasons that massive quick burst damage is favoured is that having high resisances across the board (when including gear) is very tricky, especially getting high enough to offset enemy resistance reduction (eg xenon, lady seeker cassandra, emerald graves nug)
    Last edited by Coldbayne; 05-31-2018, 05:52 PM.
    Ally code 219 318 223

  • #2

    Power drain as a strategy
    Perhaps the great leveller when it comes to squad design and one that is often overlooked by many players. This can be used both offensively and defensively, lets review both.

    Offensive power drain.
    Your goal here against non-power drain immune squads is to reduce their power stat as low as possible, as quickly as possible. Because even high damaging squads with multiple power gain procs / triggers still rely on that initial power gain stat. Also consider that the effect of such drain attacks on power can be multipled by using negative power drain resistance gear and hero abilities, to a minimum of -100%, effectively doubling the impact. Some heroes which demonstrate strong power drain attacks include, Ancient Darkspawn, Archdemon Urthemiel, Arl Teagan Guerrin, Battlemaster Hawkes, Briala, Chauncey, Dorian, Emerald graves nug, Fenharel (due high damage output), the dowager, Gurn and KA. There are many more. From a gear perspective look out for "of things not lost". Keep a careful eye open for The Highest One and Xenon which both cause power drain for any outgoing damage done by the squad.

    Pay particular attention to heroes who reduce power drain resistance, for example, emerald graves nug, xenon, archon Radonis, abyssal high dragon, greater mistral, hissera, Apostate Solas, The Elder One, Dragon Flemeth, Fereldan and Par Vallen Banners

    Defensive power drain
    From a defensive point of view any hit from a non-stealth attacker can be used to reduce enemy squad power, dramatically increasing your own survivability. Key gear items being vestaments of the dragon hunter and remarkable emerald. Popular heroes include, abyssal high dragon, great dragon, magister dorian, Necromancer Dorian

    Be careful of power drain immune squads - namely squads made up of kitty, warden squads with genevieve in it, qunari with saarebas in it and finally templar squads using templar banner.

    Importance of triggering abilities on being hit
    Maybe self evident, but don't under-estimate the importance of such abilities to impact a multiple round combat, depending on the initiative speed of the hero they can end up with dramatically increased power if not cursed (depending on what type of ability you are hoping to trigger high power or health curse resist maybe required). These triggered abilities normally come from heroes but recently a number of gear items have been introduced which can have a notable impact. Some noteworthy gear includes, griffin plate, qunari waraxe, girdle of the skies, grand enchanter staff, mythal's blessing, dawn ring, armada captain knife and revered defender maul.

    Cautionary note:
    If designing a squad reliant on triggered abilities be careful of stealth attackers which don't trigger them. Noteworthy hero examples include, Chauncey, kitty, hakkonite spellbinder, ghost of the spire, sha-brytol stalker, bianca, deepstalker matriarch, the messenger, red templar shadow and spirit of cole. Also be careful of heroes using gear to gain stealth attacks - red lyrium idol and fade touched lurkers (single target rogues and row attacking outlaws respectively)

    Final note - I have deliberately avoided actual squad suggestions sticking merely to individual hero examples as there are many forum posts going into detail regarding this.
    Last edited by Coldbayne; 06-02-2018, 12:13 PM.
    Ally code 219 318 223


    • #3
      This is very helpful.

      Thank you.


      • #4
        I like this, thanks for posting . Even after all this time I fully admit I am much more skilled at building guilds than PG teams. I learned a few things here already and look forward to the completion of the remaining topics!
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Odesius View Post
          I like this, thanks for posting . Even after all this time I fully admit I am much more skilled at building guilds than PG teams. I learned a few things here already and look forward to the completion of the remaining topics!
          Thanks for reading, the remaining topics have now been completed. Hopefully, you will find it useful.
          Ally code 219 318 223


          • #6
            Excellent post Coldbayne, thank you!
            IGN: iruugndir




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