Tutorial Contest Entry 7

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Important.gif This page is an entry in the Tutorial Contest.
Please do not edit this page. Judging is currently in progress, according to the parameters set out in the contest announcement. If you wish to discuss this tutorial or provide feedback, please use the talk page.


See the forum-announcement post for a description of the judging categories.

The averaged scores of the judges for this entry were:
Clarity: 5.50
Comprehensiveness: 6.83
Contribution: 7.17
Illustrations: 5.83
Presentation: 4.50
Research: 5.50

The final score is a sum of these scores, with "internal" categories (clarity, comprehensiveness, illustrations, presentation) counting 2x as much as "external" categories (contribution, research). Maximum score is 100.
The final score for this tutorial is: 58.00


The information currently available on swordfighting is interesting. Every bit of mechanical information about the way swordfighting works is available, with 1 small exception (horizontal strikes). However, if you’re just starting out and you want some advice on what exactly to do with all those pieces, I’m yet to find anything. Admittedly, there is a very good reason for this. Everyone thinks different, and everyone plays different. As such, a strategy might work very well for me, but not work at all for you. Because of this, I won’t be telling you “you have to do this”. I’ll try to explain the different approaches that I find valid, and give their general strengths and weaknesses. Also, I’ll impart on you all the information I’ve gathered, both from reading currently available guides, and from spending a good deal of time swordfighting. What you do with this is up to you. Hopefully, I’ll draw most of the conclusions that can be made from the available information, so if it’s over your head or you just don’t care to know, don’t worry. If you’re like me though, you’ll want to know everything, because you’re sure you can do something better. I agree with you. That’s why I’m taking the time to tell you how things work. I am not the end-all be-all. I’m fairly bright and have made what I feel are some good observations. However, don’t close your mind. If you have an idea, try it, or at least run it by someone. Even if you’re not right on, there could be a grain of wisdom in what you have to say. Enough chat, lets get going.


Before you do anything, you need to know how to do something. Swordfighting is played on a 6x12 board. Pieces, composed of 2 separate blocks and/or breakers, start at the top of the 4th column, stacked vertically. It should be noted that the top block actually starts off the top of the screen. This can be important late in the game, but right now you have the entire board to work with, so don’t worry about it yet. It should also be noted that when you place one block and the attached block is hanging, it will fall until it lands on something. You move pieces left and right with the arrow keys, with down rotating them clockwise and up rotating them counter-clockwise. Spacebar makes the pieces drop faster. This can be very important. Sometimes you want to play as slow as possible, so you want to avoid using the spacebar. Other times you want to play as fast as possible, so the spacebar is your best friend. The goal of swordfighting, be it on teams or individually, is to have a member of your team be the last player with the ability to keep placing blocks. Of course you can no longer place blocks if all 48 spaces on your board are full, but it is also possible to prevent a person from placing blocks by either directly or indirectly filling their 4th row (sometimes called the drop column), which tends to be a little easier. The way you accomplish this is by clearing the blocks on your board using the piece known as a breaker, a little sword shaped piece that is one of the four colors of the blocks. Placing a breaker on a block (or other breaker) of the same color causes that block and any connected blocks of that color to “break”, effectively removing them from your screen and causing anything on top of them to fall. If this falling causes more breaks to occur, it results in combos. This does not refer to two simultaneous breaks. An additional series of breaks is known as a Double. Another would be a Triple, then a Bingo, Donkey, Vegas, and then what are commonly called Double Vegas, Triple Vegas, etc. This is important because the blocks you break are sent to your opponent (in one form or another) and each level of combo further doubles the number of blocks sent. If they are what is called fused blocks, in a 2x2 or greater arrangement (you’ll notice them fuse together to form one big block, hence the name) they send swords, otherwise known as strikes, based on the size of the fused block. If they are loose blocks, they send sprinkles, lose grey blocks. A note on breaks: breaks are delayed. The server must first process the break, and then add it to the opponents break queue. If you send 1 sprinkle for 3 turns running, then break a huge combo, your combo can’t hit until there are 3 1 sprinkle drops on your opponents board. If they are playing slow, that could be a while. Also, strikes occur in the order they occur, with the ones closest to the breaker breaking first, and taking into account the different levels of a combo, with the 4th break in a Bingo hitting last if at all. This can often mean that if anything is going to be lost, going to be the biggest piece of your combo.

Breaker: http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f261/RandomAccountNameHere7/Breaker.jpg

Sprinkle Progression: http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f261/RandomAccountNameHere7/SprinkleProgression.jpg

Sword: http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f261/RandomAccountNameHere7/Sword.jpg

Fused Block: http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f261/RandomAccountNameHere7/FusedBlock.jpg


Size: A 2x2 sends a 1x4 sword. A 2x3 or greater will send a 2 wide sword of the same height as the fused block. Similarly, a 3x3 will send a 2x4, and a 3x4 or greater will send a 3 wide sword of the height of the fused block. Anything bigger will send a 3 wide sword of as close to the original dimensions as possible. For example, a 4x4, 16 blocks, will send 1 3x5 (1 block less).

Orientation: Swords can be either vertical or horizontal. The orientation depends on the size the fused block. A block wider than it is tall will be horizontal, coming from the side on which it was broken, or alternating with a horizontal sword broken first. Otherwise, it will be vertical. Note: a horizontal sword greater than 11 wide (via a combo) will be represented as a 12 high vertical sword.

Representation: On the first turn it’s sent, a sword is represented by an actual sword. On the second turn, the sword falls apart into sprinkles. These fall if space is available and then function like normal sprinkles.

Special Traits: Vertical swords fall from the top, while horizontal swords come out from the sides. Both types of swords are capable of destroying (without sending them to back to the opponent) blocks and breakers where they land. In a vertical sword, how many blocks are broken depends on the size of the sword. In a horizontal sword, as many blocks are encountered are broken. However, fused blocks are unbreakable in this manner, and a sword will stop if it encounters them. This can be either a blessing or a curse. It can mean your huge sword goes down a few rows and doesn’t end up killing your opponent, or it could mean your tiny little sword takes out the breaker he needed to set off a massive combo. Vertical swords won’t fall in the 4th column unless it is forced to. Additionally, a horizontal strike will never come through the 12th row. Also, you can only have 1 vertical strike per column and 1 horizontal strike per row per turn. Strikes will not stack; a strike that has nowhere to go will be wasted and vanish into the abyss. Vertical strikes fall randomly with the exception of not falling on top of other swords, and also, if there is a fused block at the top, it will be pushed into the next available spot. This COULD result in a sword that would normally fall in 5-6 landing in 3-4 and killing you, so be careful where you fuse things. Horizontal strikes, I’ll be perfectly honest, I’m not entirely sure how they work. Every time I think I’ve nailed down how they work, something else happens, until I have so many except’s that nothing makes any sense. Everything I know about horizontal strikes can be summed up in a few scentences. They come from the sides of the board, can be entirely blocked by creating a fused block, are excellent for destroying breakers and combos, and can be very useful for causing vertical strikes and sprinkles to land much higher than they normally would. Vertical strikes, however, take up more space (because they tend to go through less blocks), so try to keep the majority of your strikes vertical.


Size: Sprinkles are sent in half the amount of the blocks broken. Sprinkles always fall in rows where possible. If you send 5 sprinkles, you will have a sprinkle fall from 5 of the 6 rows. If you send 12, 2 will fall from each of the 6 rows. Of course, unless the board is completely even, these rows will become staggered, as the sprinkles fall like normal blocks. Also, sprinkles always fall next to each other.

Representation: On the first turn, a sprinkle is a solid grey block. On the second turn, it remains grey but takes on the image of a block of the color it will turn into. On the third turn, a sprinkle becomes a regular block.

Special Traits: Sprinkles can never directly kill you. They won’t fall in the 4th column any higher than the 10th row, meaning you always have space for another piece as a result of sprinkles. Combos (intro)

The combo is very important in swordfighting. It would be difficult, with you both periodically getting rid of blocks, to fill up a person’s screen using only the blocks you have and the ones they send you. When you combo, however, each level of the combo further doubles what is sent on that break. For example, if on your third break, you break a 2x3, it will send a 2x9 instead. If you would be sending 6 sprinkles (12 unfused blocks), it will send 18 sprinkles. Of course, the number of blocks you send isn’t the only thing you have to worry about.

Drop patterns and choosing swords

Each sword has a different drop pattern. The exact location of each color will change based on the colors of the sword, but a green/blue foil has the same pattern as a red/yellow one. This drop pattern is used to determine what blocks are sent to the opponent when a break occurs. The drop pattern is what you want to look at when you decide to go out and buy a sword. A full fledged drop pattern looks like this:


If you like to sprinkle, something like a skull dagger or poniard would be a good idea. Scimitars also work fairly well. People seem to like short swords as a cheaper option, but I’ve never been a big fan. For strikes, a falchion or scimitar works well. Some people try a saber, but it doesn’t work very well. If you’ve got the money, a Skull Dagger or Falchion would be my picks, though the Scimitar is an excellent sword too, for either sprinkles or strikes really. If not, it’s tough. The Stiletto is very nice in the middle, but the sides are pathetically simple to clear. The Dirk is just terrible however you want to slice it, and most of the rest of the swords are just foils with a few blocks changed. My advice: if you’re serious about swordfighting, spend the money and get a good sword. If you’re main concern is Sea Battles, bots handle sword fighting mechanics very different from players. A foil probably won’t kill you, and you could always go pick up something slightly nicer. Anything is better really. I personally love swordfighting, and as such, I’ve tried several of the higher end swords. They’re definitely not out of reach if you decide you want one.

Right now, you might be wondering, what makes these swords good? As I said, how good a sword is depends on its drop pattern, but what does that drop pattern mean? Say you send a 1x4 sword. A column will be picked at random for it to fall in. Say it picks the 2nd column. You have a red/red foil. To figure out what colors the blocks in the strike will be, we look at the drop pattern. In the 2nd column, we look at the bottom four rows and come up with something that looks like this: http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f261/RandomAccountNameHere7/1x4Strike.jpg

It’s important to note that for horizontal swords, it finds the pattern of a vertical sword and then rotates it, making for a very useful way of getting blocks to drop in places they normally wouldn’t. Now, if the sword you’re using has a tall drop pattern, only the 4 top rows will be repeated for strikes. Sprinkles work very similarly. If it decides to drop 1 sprinkle in the 1st column, it will look at the first column of the bottom row. If we send 4 rows of sprinkles, it will only use the first 2 rows, effectively alternating between them.

Now that you know what’s going on (I hope…) let’s get going with the good stuff.


For the purposes of this guide, I’ll assume you want to win. I’ll give you the pros and cons of every valid strategy I can think of, and let you decide which appeals most. My preferences, of course, will be noted, but feel free to do what you want. I wouldn’t present it as an option if it wasn’t a viable one.


If you’ve never seen a screen full of sprinkles, it’s a beautiful (or scary) sight. There’s no blocking sprinkles, and the only thing you can do about them is to hope to get a breaker in the 1 block you’re allowed, and then to keep getting them so you don’t kill yourself, which is pretty unlikely. If there aren’t enough rows to kill you, everything you were building is still buried, and you’ll have to dig it out to be able to do anything with it. Now, there are a few problems. Sprinkles sometimes set off breaks when they turn into blocks. You might wind up doing your opponents dirty work for them. Sprinkles tend to be easy to return as well. Even the best sprinkle swords have large connected sprinkles somewhere (usually the sides) which can be quickly turned into a lot of sprinkles on your board, or, worse, be used to extend the combo you just tried to burry. Also, sprinkles only send half the amount that strikes do. As such, it takes a lot more to build them. Also, you have to make sure you don’t let any form fused blocks, and you’re probably going to need much bigger combos for similar results. Still, sprinkles are definitely a viable approach. After 2 drops of 3 rows of sprinkles on top of the blocks they had already placed, your opponent isn’t looking so good. Just be careful. A good sprinkle sword doesn’t necessarily mean quick sprinkles are a good idea. The only sword who’s repeated quick sprinkles don’t build a fused block is the Poniard, and even so, while they don’t hurt as much, they still aren’t helping your cause. In general, try to sprinkle as little as possible unless it’s in 2+ rows. Also be aware that some swords were NOT meant to sprinkle. 3 rows of Falchion sprinkles won’t kill you. 3 rows of Foil sprinkles very well could.

Quick Strikes

The idea behind quick strikes is to keep your opponent under constant (or as close to constant as possible) fire, so that he can’t build anything big to send back at you. By repeatedly throwing swords, you can safely destroy breakers waiting for a combo, burry large piles of blocks that were going to be sent at you, and assuming you have a good sword for the job, make their board an mess of at the very least alternating unfused blocks. The key to quick strikes is making little combos out of nothing, and building lots and lots of fuses with what you get, both for pieces and for attacks. If you can triple a 2x2, you send them a rather intimidating 2x6 with nothing but a couple breakers and a 2x2. Also, mixing in breaks where you send 2 or 3 2xN’s, and maybe even a few rows of sprinkles if that isn’t suicidal with the sword you’re using will keep the diversity up and can serve as kill shots if you’ve made a sufficient mess of their board. The problem of course is, if you’re repeatedly sending them blocks, they have that much ammunition to throw at you. A good sword is key, though it doesn’t make up for everything. Also, some turns you just can’t get a fuse to break. Filling the opponent’s queue can also mean it will take a while for your large combo to hit. Try to minimize small sprinkling to cut down on time between attacks. Still, you could find that your Insta-Kill doesn’t get a chance to hit because you had too much queued and you got killed first.

Mass Strikes

The strategy behind mass strikes should be fairly self explanatory: build up a massive attack that either kills or almost kills your opponent. This is of course the most effective strategy, and the riskiest. Be warned: trying to build a mass strike takes a lot of time and a lot of blocks. If your opponent can burry your big combo, you can find yourself in trouble, and you’ve probably given him plenty of time to try to. There are two general kinds of mass strikes: a plain old big strike and an Insta-Kill. The popular definition of an Insta-Kill is an attack that directly results in the opponent dieing, via dropping a large strike down his drop column and filling it up. Some examples of non-Insta-Kill mass strikes might be 2 large 2xN’s and a good amount of sprinkles, a 3xN with a horizontal sword and some sprinkles, or anything really. Insta possibilities are a little more limited. Before I get into how to pull off an Insta, be aware: an Insta is dangerous. It takes a lot of effort to build and often more than a little luck. If you’re against an inexperienced opponent, it really isn’t necessary, and could just prove an unnecessary risk if they get off a lucky break, and if they are experienced, there’s a good chance of your insta killing you instead. Also, most insta’s only have a chance of actually killing your opponent, and many of them have a good chance of wasting the biggest part of your combo, sometimes as much as 50% of the time. Still, instas have their place. In a team brawl where everyone knows their place, instas can be deadly. We’ll get to that later though. For now, you’ve been warned.

A note on these instas: DO NOT SEND ANY SWORDS BEFORE THEM! It will more than likely cause your entire insta to be wasted. Swords after serve no purpose (with one important exception). Sprinkles are of no consequence, though they don’t help a lot in most cases. Don’t kill yourself to set them up, but if it happens that you can drop a couple rows of sprinkles in at the end, go for it.

In talking to most people, they’ll tell you there is only one way to guarantee a 4th row strike. In fact, up until I started writing this sentence, I would have agreed. Sending 2 3xN swords will always place the first sword in the 1-3 columns, unless there is a fuse somewhere on the top of those columns, in which case the sword will just be pushed left into the 4th row anyway. The 2nd sword (if the first one isn’t pushed) will fall in the 4-6 columns, provided there isn’t a fused block on the top of the left side. A sword will under no conditions pass through a fused block, so this could, in theory, actually block the 2nd 3xN entirely. The other possibility, which also just occurred to me, is to use a favorite Insta of many, a 2xN followed by a 3xN, and then to follow up with a 1x4. I know I said in general following an Insta with another sword was a waste, but hear me out. For those of you who are unfamiliar with instas, here is a little chart detailing the chances of a 4th row strike and the chances of wasting a strike for most of the possible Instas, provided they are unblocked by fused blocks at the top of columns:

Swords(width, in order) Chance of 4th row strike Chance of waste 3-3 100% 2-3-1* 100% 1-3-2 80% 20%** 2-3 66% 1-3 60% 1-2-3 60% 25% 1-2-2 50% 10% 2-2-2 50% 50% 2-1-2 44% 11% 2-1-3 44% 55% 1-1-2 20% Note for those concerned: while tables containing portions of the above information are already available, for your piece of mind and mine, I ran the numbers myself. If you care to see the numbers scrawled on a piece of paper, I can make it available.

As you can see, the 2-3 Insta has a comparably high chance of killing (66%) and no chance of waste. To understand the purpose of breaking the 2nd 2xN, you have to understand where these numbers come from. As each sword is randomly placed with preference given to anywhere that isn’t the 4th column, the first 2xN can either land in 1-2 or 5-6. If it lands in 1-2, the 3xN will have to land in either 3-5 or 4-6, either way landing in the 4th column. If, however, the 2xN lands in 5-6, the 3xN will land in 1-3, where all 3xN’s land unless forced otherwise. Now, this isn’t a bad thing. Assuming they were fairly tall swords, your opponent only has 1 row to work with. If there is a 1x4 at the end of your combo, it has to land in the 4th row. You could, either in addition or instead, follow this up with some sprinkles, and assuming your swords were tall enough or your opponent’s 4th row was build enough, they would still die. The reason this probably isn’t mentioned is because you can only send a 1x4 sword down their 4th row, but those 4 blocks could be the difference between them getting out and not, or even kill them outright. Also worth noting is the 1-3-2. The 1-3 has a good (60%) chance of a 4th row strike. This means, in a 1-3-2, that 60% of the time, the 2xN is unnecessary, assuming the 3xN is tall enough. 20% of the time though, the 1x4 will land in column 6, leaving the 3xN to land in 1-3. The 2xN then takes 4-5, making it 20% more effective than a regular 1-3 Insta. 20% of the time, the 2xN is completely wasted.

Hopefully, by now, you know just about everything there is I can tell you about Swordfighting. I have some parting words of wisdom, and some tips on building, and then you’re on your own. Pay attention to sprinkles. Try to figure out your opponent’s drop pattern. Your opponent, particularly if he’s inexperienced, can help you build large swords to drop on his head. If you notice a lot of blue blocks being dropped on the left, build some blue on the left. To really get an edge, though it is admittedly kind of cheap, you can look up your opponents exact drop pattern as soon as you figure out what sword they have here. It is a crutch, and one you can’t use if you’re in a team brawl or sea battle, so don’t get used to it. It doesn’t guarantee you’ll win either, trust me. I know I presented a lot of approaches. I find that quick strikes with some larger combos mixed in work well. Whatever approach you use, it’s not a bad idea to mix in horizontal strikes. If you’re using sprinkles, the strikes will add some diversity, especially if you don’t have the best sprinkle sword. With quick strikes, horizontal blocks are particularly excellent at messing up combos, a large part of the idea behind using quick strikes. With large combos, horizontal strikes can turn a combo that wasn’t tall enough to be an insta into one, buy you more time to set up your big combo, or cover over a combo that didn’t land the way you wanted it to. Now, onto setting up combos.

Combos II

The basic premise of setting up combos is breaking something that drops a breaker somewhere else. There are really two ways to do this: set it up, or get a really good breaker. This here is a nice little triple, that I set up as a double, and the yellow block attached to the breaker adds a few more sprinkles at the end.


In this next combo, we had a similar situation, but rather than just throwing out a few extra sprinkles, the block attached to the breaker landed on a breaker, connecting a group of sprinkles that caused ANOTHER breaker to fall, tripling our 3x3 and sending a row of sprinkles.


Next up we have an example of getting lucky with double breakers. I had built a big blue 3x3, and it got buried, so I built on the green that fell there, and when I got a green/blue breaker, I smiled and cleared half my board in a huge double. If you look at our handy dandy Insta-chart, you’ll see that there is a 44% chance of a 2-1-3 insta being a 4th row shot, and a 3x6 was more than enough to kill him. Unfortunately, before the Insta hit, he died, so the world will never know… Keep in mind it was luck getting them both together. Otherwise I would have had to put a blue breaker there and wait for a green, risking having my blue broken, or just break the green and break the blue later. Double breakers are very dangerous if you’re trying to bury your opponents combos. They are rare, but don’t forget about them.


Of course, it can often take a while to wait for the right breaker. If you put your breakers on top of other breakers rather than on top of blocks, setting off a combo is a lot easier. The chances of getting a green block are pretty good, the changes of getting a green breaker are slim. By putting the breaker for the first break in this little combo on top of another breaker, I turned a 1x4 into a 2x4 and a 2x4 into a 2x6, and I didn’t have to wait for a green breaker. This little combo took no time to set up, but I promise it will mess up your opponent something fierce, especially if you drop it right on top of his combo.


This next combo shields a breaker by “burying” it purposely. Done properly, this will ensure that your breaker not only can’t be easily disturbed by a falling sword, it also means that it can’t be set off by an unlucky sprinkle or a misflip. This is ok as long as you’re sure you’ll be able to get it out. For example, if you shield your breaker with blue blocks in a spot where you know your opponent sprinkles blue blocks, especially in column 4 where not only is it much more difficult for an opponent to get strike to disturb you or mix up the colors that are stacking there, but where you’ll be able to get at even if the rest of your board is filled up. This case here was kind of risky, putting the yellow blocks holding the breaker on top. It worked out here, but it might not always, especially that high. Also, this illustrates a few points about instas. As we know, a 2-2-2 insta has a 50% chance of hitting, but it also has a 50% chance of wasting the last block. This means that either the little 2x4 caused by the doubled blue 2x2 will either serve as a “pin” for the insta, or we’ll wind up wasting out huge 2x12. When I say pin, I mean we’ve just used a little sword that on its own doesn’t do any harm to force our large breaks to be dropped down the opponent’s 4th row. If this combo misses, though, we have only our pin and a 2x8 instead of an insta. Had we used another pin, we’d have made it much easier on ourselves to set up (as it’s generally easier to build two tiny 2x2 or 2x3 fuses and 1 large one than 3 large ones) but then 50% of the time, we’d only wind up with 2 small 2x3 or 2x4’s. Using a pin is particularly effective with combos that don’t have a chance of waste, like a 2-3 insta.


And now, for your viewing pleasure, some Insta setups…

By using some small little breaks at the top of this combo, we give our opponent a nice tripled 3x3 in his 1-3 column and a huge bingoed 3x3 down this 4-6 column.


The difference between this 2-2-2 insta and the previous one is that with this insta, even if it misses, your opponent gets a 2x8 in either his 2-3 column or his 5-6, and he gets whatever he can fit of our 2x18 in the other, leaving them only whatever is left of their 4th row. Of course, if we land it, we get the obscenely large 2x20 going right down the heart in 3-4. Notice that, particularly since we’re building this high, we start the combo off using a red block, not a breaker. Trying to find a breaker with this many blocks on your screen isn’t fun.


This little gem is nice and simple. Either our opponent gets our 3x9 down his throat, or it drops in his 1-3 column and we stick a 2x8 in the 5-6 column. It would have been nice to double the sprinkles and get some slightly larger swords since it’s a model of a 2-3 insta, but then again, the idea behind the 2-3 is that it’s among the easiest to set up and also among the most effective.


Those are the most common 3 instas you’ll see. Usually if you see a huge 3-3 insta, it was a team effort, especially by a few skellies or something, but I’ve seen it happen in solo play. As a matter of fact, I have a video of a mate who managed to pull it off. I’d go out and do it myself, but it’s Sunday night already, and I only have a little time left to finish this guide before the deadline, plus I’d like to see if I can’t get at least one more done, so we’ll just use hers. It’s a very nice one, too.


Usually building 3xN’s is a huge pain. That is an excellent example of technique. Also, notice that she plays rather fast. Playing fast allows you access to more blocks and more importantly, more breakers, than your opponent. Sometimes you want to “stall” or play as slow as possible, when you’re heavily ganged up on, so that your teammates can have time to kill your opponents. Don’t have any illusions about this helping you survive; everything they break still winds up in your queue. If you’re 1 on 1, stalling does absolutely nothing except give your opponent more time. Playing faster could get you the breaker you need to unbury yourself. If you’re playing with teams, though, this can buy your teammates some time with no one on them to build a big insta and maybe even kill all the opponents before you get killed yourself.

Team Brawls

Everything I’ve said up to this point, with the exception of that last bit on stalling, was primarily about 1 on 1 swordfighting. The advice on different ways to build combos and the way things break, etc. remains the same in a team brawl. However, a few things are worth mentioning. To start, for those of you new to teaming, in order to chose who you are attacking, you click on the enemy’s head on the right side of your screen. The little image of their puzzle will become outlined in white. The dots next to the name indicate how many are currently teamed on a given player; a solid orange dot represents 5 players. The reason this is important is because while in solo play you can only drop one attack per turn on a player, in team play, each of you can drop an attack on a player in the same turn if you wish. It’s for this reason that teaming is very important anywhere. However, even more important is to play according to the way the teams are. Many times, people will be in teams of 3 and each one of them will try to build an insta or a ridiculously big combo, and they all drop them on the same player because he’s playing slow and the attacks take a while to hit. I’ll tell you a secret: you do NOT need to insta the same player 3 times. An Insta-Kill is called an Insta-Kill because it’s just that, an instant kill. If you’re in teams of 3, play like you’re in teams of 3. If each one of you breaks a 2xN almost every turn, whatever you’re teamed on will be dead in (guesstimate) 5 or 6 turns. I can almost promise you won’t be building an insta in 6 turns on your own, but between the 3 of you, you just dropped 6 small ones. I’ve also come up with what seems like a good idea in theory, but as of yet I’ve been unable to test it. At first glance it seems to run counter to my previous point, but when you look at it, it really fits right in. The accepted practice is to team up on the enemy. Say you team up in 3’s. This leaves two thirds of the enemy free to build an insta in peace. As I said, if they team, they don’t need to. However, if you have a bunch of insta-capable players, you could have each player attack a different opponent. This means that no opponent will have a free pass to build. Of course, the key to this is the one third of the players who are teamed on to stall. The three opponents on them will likely keep sending attacks at them that will just get queued, and in the meantime your team almost has their instas ready. As you knock players out, teaming will begin to occur. When this happens, play accordingly. Hopefully, by the time your players who were teamed up on begin to start dieing from their queues, you’ve insta’d about half of the enemy. The rest should just be easy mop up. As I said, I have made no practical test of this strategy. I think it could be a viable alternative and even counter to the strategy of teaming.

Sea Battle

A Sea Battle plays out very much like a team brawl. However, there are a few different conditions. Your ship and the enemy ship are often damaged as a result of the Sea Battle. Play accordingly. If you have 6 rows worth of shots in you, for goodness sake, don’t leave huge piles of blocks sitting around, it’s just asking for someone to drop a couple swords on your head and eat you for breakfast. If your enemy is maxed, you don’t need to send a 20 high sword (in reality, you never need a 20 high sword, but…). The more blocks on their screen, the smaller the stuff you send needs to be. Perhaps of biggest concern is that sea battles are usually against brigands. Brigands do NOT function like normal players. They were designed by the OM’s to function in a way they felt was similar, but it’s really very different. For one, you can’t insta a bot in the traditional sense. Bots receive blocks, not strikes. A 2x4 strike is 8 blocks to them. Of course, if you send 42 blocks to a bot, there’s a good chance it’s dead. Also, bots tend to be a lot more regular with their breakers. They don’t get lucky, they don’t get unlucky. If you team on a bot in more than 3, it will begin to stall, and also has a tendency to begin to attack much harder. If you attack a bot solo, you are just giving it ammunition that it can and will use against you or a teammate. SO, in a sea battle, form teams 3 if possible, but make sure everyone is in a team of at least 2. This requires a lot of attention, often more than I can give if I get wrapped up in the big combo I’m about to drop or just had dropped on my head. If you notice a problem with the teams, say something. A friendly “Teams!” in the chat box will probably catch my eye sooner or later. That does not mean that you should ever either do things like say “teaaaaaammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm” or, even worse, “Teams!” “Teams!” “Teams!” “Teams!” “Teams!” “Teams!” “Teams!” “Teams!” “Teams!” “Teams!” “Teams!”

That’s spam, it’s annoying, it causes people to lag especially if the server is under a heavy load or they have a questionable connection at the moment, and it makes you sound like a some combination of a greenie, a 7 year old, and big ol’ pain in the booty guttersnipe. If you’re in a PvP or at any time your captain tells you to do otherwise, listen to him, and don’t ask questions. After the battle, you might consider calmly making a suggestion if you feel it’s appropriate.

Little things

Randomly challenging people walking down the street is questionable activity. Repeatedly randomly challenging people walking down the street is downright annoying and liable to get you into trouble. If they ignore you or say no, then they ignored you or said no. Just because someone didn’t feel like putting Do Not Disturb up doesn’t mean you can annoy the bejesus out of them. If someone does accept your challenge, a good luck at the beginning of the match never hurt anyone, and even if you lose to “that lucky blippity blip bleep bleep bloop greenie”, don’t charge away. Take it like a…. well, take it at any rate, acknowledge their win, be it with a simple gg or with something like “Wow! Nice combo mate!” or “Close one”, or if you know them, especially if they’re significantly better than you, you can always toss in a “Lucky =P”. If you’re ranked higher than someone and have sat down at their table and beat them 5 times, maybe it’s time to move on. It depends. If they say “wow, that was fun!”, go for it. If you got a “gg” or “close one” the first couple times, but you’re not getting one now, maybe you’re getting on their nerves. Also, don’t randomly boot someone from your table because you think they’re better than you. If you’ve played them a couple times and are getting sick of them, it could be understandable, though you could just politely suggest they seek better competition at the end of your next match.

Well, there you have it. You’ve read my guide, and now you’re ready to get out there and practice. It takes a lot of practice, be ye an old salt or a stowaway (|P-). Below are some links to a couple guides I read when I was starting out. I think I’ve covered everything I learned when I read them, but it can’t hurt to give them a look. Major props to the writers of these, all of whom if I’m not mistaken have moved on, a couple of them forced to. If you have any questions, comments, or anything else, feel free to contact me either in game, via email, at my crew forums, or anywhere else. I’d tell you where these are, but I believe for judging’s sake I’m supposed to keep them out. Good luck to ye mate! Look me up some time and I’ll play a couple of matches with you.

Tedv’s Everything about Swords: (Skull Dagger and Scimitar patterns were switched, and the new Skull Dagger was modified slightly) http://forums.puzzlepirates.com/community/mvnforum/viewthread?thread=5091

RobertDonald’s Swordfighting Misc Q&A http://forums.puzzlepirates.com/community/mvnforum/viewthread?thread=7069

Jack’s New strike patterns and handling http://forums.puzzlepirates.com/community/mvnforum/viewthread?p=55954#55954