ArcheAge Shadowblade Beginner’s Guide by KanonXO
Note: Must have frenzy for the animation cancel on Trip strike
This is a class you absolutely can not play high ping with (though, becomes more viable in group pvp with high ping). If you want to win with this class and roll face, you need to learn to land your cc. As I go further along in this guide you’ll be able to see why I emphasize how you are severely gimped with high ping. I’ve personally already moved on to a different class because I feel its borderline unplayable with my 300 ping. I say borderline because in open world group pvp it’s still viable, if you get jumped/focused though it’s gg though. In 1v1 against anyone with half a brain that lives in NA it’s a David vs Goliath fight….you’re David. And if anyone tells you they consistently beat GOOD NA players with 250+ ping as a shadowblade they are full of shit (unless – the gear gap is too big, random rng blocks/parry/evades which you can’t rely on consistently, and/or they have the worst build/you HARD counter their build…which is any build that has no cc).
This class, though, assuming the ping is there, is an EXTREMELY strong class. It’s not only very versatile, but it’s also very FUN to play. If you like melee dps, try this class.
What’s the difference between this and Darkrunner? Well, you obviously can tell which skills are different, but if I were to explain this in a nutshell, I would say dark runner is more about using its mobility to get in and out of fights using the same cc chains (sleep, stun trip). It’s a faster pace class that comes equipped with a couple of cc breaks on top. Shadowblade you have access to almost every cc in the game plus potentially two debuffs depending on your build. This gives you more combinations and openers against various classes. Just about every class you play against will have some kind of cc break or immunity, since you have access to almost every cc, you pick and choose which ones to use. The debuffs are there to strip those who are immune to everything or any other remaining buff they may have. If played correctly, you can beat almost anything. You can also win outnumbered SITUATIONAL fights.
- Excellent at 1v1
- Excellent group pvp (melee dps & CC role)
- Hits like a truck
- Decent mobility
- Immune to sleep & fear
- Great control
- Various CC combos/openers
- Can destroy anything without CC break
- Heavily ping dependant, stay away if you have high ping! One of the most ping dependant classes in the game imo
- You will always lose (unless you heavily outgear the opponent) if you get cc’d first, hence ping dependant
- Mobility is all from gap closers & speed buffs, no teleport/dashes
- Lacking in CC break, bondbreaker doesn’t break stun/impale/silence/shackle
- Countered by GOOD players that know when to use and keep up their cc break/immunities then counter with their own. This normally comes from tankier classes
- Charge > TS (trip slash)
- Focal Concussion > SS (Shadowsmite)
- HM (Hunter’s Mark) > Overwhelm
- Overwhelm > SS
- Banshee Wail > SS
- FC (Focal Concussion)
- Banshee Wail
- Banshee Wail
- Tigers trike (20m)
- Shadowstep (20m)
- Charge (12m)
- Overwhelm (10m)
DEBUFFS (removes 1 buff)
- Focal Concussion (removes 1, tool tip is wrong)
- PS (precision strike)
- SS (shadow strike)
- Bondbreaker – Snares, Lassitude, telekinesis, slow, launched
- Courageous Action – Immunity to fear & sleep
How to play it
The goal is to obviously set up your burst. This can only be done by getting your CC chain off so you can say that that is the most important part/goal of the fight. Ideally you want to be able to land your PS and SS behind your target for the backstab crit (that and SS does no damage unless it’s from behind). If you can get a solid burst skill off, have fun watching your opponents hp bar disappear…it’s very satisfying.
Buffs are huge. All immunities can be stripped away (unless it’s given via armor). You absolutely have to memorize which skillsets come with which cc breaks & immunities. You also MUST pay attention to identify when someone uses such skills/immunities. If you can not do this, this class is not for you. If you can not do this, you will never beat a good player…especially as a shadowblade.
- Tigerstrike/Shadowstep (gap close) > Overwhelm (stunned) > SS (knocked down) > Charge (combo for next KD) > TS (KD) > PS (burrrrsstttt)
- Hunters mark (combo for next KD) > Tigerstrike/Shadowstep (gap close) > Overwhelm (KD) > Charge (combo for next KD) > TS (KD) > PS (burrrssttt)
One of the few GG combos that require low ping:
- Hunters Mark (setup for KD with Overwhelm) Tigers trike (gap close) > Focal Concussion (stun + debuff) > SS (KD) > PS (quick burst) > Overwhelm (KD combo’d from HM) > Charge (combo for next KD) > TS (KD) > Lassitude (4 sec delay sleep > Drop Back > Stealth > raged/dead player > Shadowstep (gap close) > Banshee (fear to stun) > very raged player
Note: Obviously the better the player the more complex fights get, it will never be this simple but the following tips are for a basic guideline.
They have no cc immunity and breaks outside of a stun break (bond breaker & liberation is irrelevant vs you). You’ll win this fight via sleep/fears/trips. You have two stuns, one to bait out his stun breaker. I normally always use FC for this because it also gets rid of a buff (normally thwart for them). A great opener is Shadowstep > Banshee to immediately gain control of the fight. A solid opener to bait out his stun break would be a TS > FC > he’ll stun break > drop back to reset fight or Banshee/Lassitude > cc chain to continue pressure. Whoever gets the cc first normally wins. The only way you can get these combos off against a good Darkrunner is by ping. Note: the only cc you need to worry about is a stun and trip. Your CA will cancel out his leech.
They will always start the fight off with IL and CA, your job is to get rid of one idea two. Depending on gear, you can get through his IL by TS through. He will try and purge you early to get his sleep/fear off on you. This gives you time/chance to follow up TS with either a trip or stun. TS > overwhelm would be effective but I would prefer the TS > FC instead. The FC has a high chance to get rid of his CA assuming your TS got rid of his IL, he’s now stunned with no sleep/fear immunities and you’re ready to begin your chain.
If you get successfully kited it’s gg since you don’t have auramancy. Vice versa if you can gap close and lock down you can win this fight. Think of this as a ranged Darkrunner so the same principles apply, the only difference is you have to lock him down within 1 of your two gap closers (TS and Shadowstep) or pray to the rng gods that Shadowstep continues to proc.
Why to stay away with bad ping
Fighting a dark runner? Your Tigerstrike/Shadowstep > Overwhelm/FC/BW/insertanycchere will ALWAYS be late compared to his Gap closer > cc (leech or Overwhelm). You will ALWAYS lose the who-cc-chains-first against one and when you do, you will die. Try opening with a tigerstrike > Back drop > Lassitude? Have fun watching him Overwhelm you from 20m away (because on his client you are still in range)…and yes the stun registers.
Fighting a daggerspell?
You’ll need to get rid insulating lens or Courageous action by the use of two skills (Tigerstrike through IL + cc skill or purge + cc skill). That’s two skills for you. All he needs to do is strip your CA so he will purge + cc you. That’s two skills for him. If you have at least 200+ ping he will always…always get both off while you get one skill off. Keep in mind purge has a 20m. You need to be within 10m of him to lock him down with your second skill. If you Tigerstrike through his IL then he will have already purged you and he can simply banshee/Lassitude/FC you to a gg. If you opened with a purge then you still need to get within 10m to Overwhelm. By which he will have already purged you when you purged him and you’re already asleep/stunned by the time you’re close enough to do anything.
Fighting a prime?
Do I really need to explain this?
Bottom line, test out a Shadowstep to Overwhelm combo with at least 200+ ping and you’ll honestly laugh at the 2 second delay after the Shadowstep before you actually overwhelm. Dunno about you guys, but I could probably finish a little private time period in that gap.
There you go guys, I’m sure people have their own opinions but I feel this guide will help those who are interested in the class and/or are looking for a melee dps to play. I would like to stay away from debates but if you have any questions, feel free to ask and I will do my best to explain. I’m ALWAYS up for constructive criticism! I’m a strong believer in the fact that you can potentially learn from anyone…regardless of whether that person is actually good or not.
Also, I emphasized the ping not to make excuses, but to enlighten those who are thinking of investing the time and gold into this class. I know for a fact that I would have wished for a guide that explains all the pros AND cons of a class. I would have wanted to know if I could pull off the class with the ping that I have and if I couldn’t I would like to know why. I’ve heard having good ping is an absolute must while playing melee, I feel like I’ve explained why here.Other ArcheAge Articles
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