Huge wall of text. You have been warned.
Avoid like the plague if you don’t like theories and breakdowns, or have a very solid understanding of how to RvR on your tank.
This post will review the Swordmaster’s basic concepts and strategies in 1 vs 1 RvR. I will be focusing on Improved & Perfect Balance attacks. I rewrote this entire post half way through, my apologies for being late!
The Swordmaster: The Duelist of Warhammer Online. The Introvert of Tanks. The Most Capable Small-Scale Killer. One of the few classes capable of outplaying any opponent in the game.
I currently have a Swordmaster focused on the Path of Hoeth. If I were 40, I would begin working into Khaine for Balanced Accuracy.
Spirit Damage: Simply put, you can debuff it with a Hoeth-based attack. And your Ensorcelled Blow has a DoT tactic, which I am a huge fan of.
Whispering Winds: The biggest, most obvious draw to the Hoeth line is among the best silences in the game. Whispering Winds (WW) not only silences for 5 seconds, and more importantly INTERRUPTS any spell in progress. Some would tell you to hit your silence right away in hopes that it becomes available again later, but this is quite situational.
Wrath of Hoeth: As I will discuss below, Wrath of Hoeth can become critical to defeating some opponents and even trivialize others. With points in the tree, Wrath of Hoeth can reduce the Spiritual Resistance (primary damage of Hoeth) of anyone in the area by over 300! Many people say this ability is a waste in a Swordmaster’s rotation, but I say that it is equal to if not better than the armor reductions of an Ironbreaker! I will get into details of how this fits a strategy, below.
Aethyric Armor: 30 minute buff on zero cooldown. Adds a hefty chunk of armor as well as (more importantly) 5% disrupt.
To sum it up, I feel the Swordmaster can inherently defeat many opponents regardless of mastery, and thus must set up mastery points to conquer those he is weakest against…
Shield: Always use one. If you aren’t, youre foolish. Warhammer has given tanks the wonderful ability to block almost all incoming attacks. The damage mitigation of a shield is unreal, and the ability to possibly avoid controlling effects is critical.
Gear: As Swordmaster is a preventative class, I focus somewhat on Strength. I prefer to lean on my ability to parry/block/disrupt better than other classes.
Perfect Balance: Dragon’s Talon cannot critically hit an opponent. While it is more damage, this fact makes it less effective against healing classes than Blurring Shock. Chain blurring shock if preventing damage is a non-factor, regardless of how long is left on its previously applied debuff effect.
Unstoppable Juggernaut Tactic: Many opponents’ snares controlling effects are on a 20 second cooldown. If my memory serves me right, both the Sorceress and Squig Herder snare are on 20-second cooldowns (though your first Juggernaut on a sorceress will be the disarm). Unstoppable Juggernaut reduces Juggernaut from 1 minute to 20 seconds. It is also useful for fighting opponents back-to-back.
Prepare Your Opponent – This is in reference to setting up debuffs on your target that increase damage taken from other effects. The following strategies are quite basic and can be improved upon. See note at the bottom after reading.
Disciple of Khaine: An disciple has the ability to heal from his weapon swings, as well as using a handfull of heal-over-time abilities. There is one weapon buff which you should concern yourself with: Celerity – chance on hit to slow you down. You CAN silence a DoK but it is far less effective than against many other classes. Your first perfect should be Whispering Winds to silence in order to delay the starting of those HoT abilities as long as possible. Hold down the DoK with Quick Incision and Dragon’s Talon. Prepare your opponent with Wrath of Hoeth (spirit debuff) and Blurring Shock (more damage on crit). This will allow you to deal enough damage to penetrate the initial wall of heal-over-time (HoT). After your opponent is such prepared, focus on Eagle’s Flight (+25% parry) for your improved balance to avoid those healing swings. Alternate your Perfect’s between Dragon’s Talon and Blurring Shock. You are racing against the clock. Keep up Quick Incision at all times for their slowing aura lest you give them the ability to run away and heal.
Witch Elf: Their key abilities are On Your Knees! which is a knockdown, and the ability to disarm. Also beware the opening from stealth: When a Witch Elf first attacks you, stand still. If you are moving, their debuff will inflict damage every half second. I believe this effect lasts 10 seconds. Juggernaut to be used on Disarm! Also, never let a Witch Elf see your back. Not only can you no longer block or parry from behind, but she ignores your armor when behind you (typically). Eagle’s flight and Dragon Talon are key abilities here. You are reducing the witch elf’s intial damage as much as possible. The Witch Elf has no slowing effect but does have a knockdown… so while quick incision is key for slowing them and keeping them in front of you, Eagles Flight is equally important.
Marauder: As far as I can tell, nothing special here. Keep up Eagle’s flight. Quick Incision is secondary as they have no way to slow you. They DO however have a sprint ability as well as their Flee! core ability, so they can get away from you in a hurry if you take the upper hand and they realize it. I tend to use quick incision once I have sealed my victory and feel they will soon realize this. They have a debuff that can add a cast time to your attacks, but I do believe it can be blocked and possibly even parried. If you’re losing to Marauders consistently, I really am not sure what to tell you.
Shaman/Zealot: All about preparing your opponent. A good Shaman/Zealot will pre-heal. He will begin healing before it is necessary in an attempt to never allow a killing-silence. Generally it is still not enough and you will begin to outdamage it if you have Prepared Your Opponent. I would silence early here as it is a race against the morale bar. Use Intimidating blow as often as possible to keep them below that Rank 1 morale. Allowing a Rank 1 morale is a 1800 instant heal that ignores silence. If they can survive to this point once, they can do it again (especially since your AP bar will be empty). It is critical that you prevent the R1 morale as long as possible. Chain Blurring Shock (Since Dragon Talon cannot crit).
Sorceress: You’ll get sick of hearing it, but they’re a race against the clock. Use Hold The Line to close the gap with a sorceress. Do NOT Juggernaut out of the snare. They have the ability to disarm which you MUST be able to use Juggernaut on. Quick Incision first to keep the sorc close, followed by a silence to delay DoTs and hopefully snare. Use Silence as often as you possibly can. Use Hold The Line at all times while snared and while catching back up to the Sorceress to mitigate damage. After surviving the first snare, you are then free to use Wrath of Hoeth to prepare the target. Its all about damage, and WoH while specced Hoeth is a huge boost! That is about all there is to the sorceress… Juggernaut disarm. Hold The Line any time you’re out of range. Slowing the sorceress is critical. My fights typically go: Hold the line, Quick Incision, Whispering winds (silence). WoH, Blurring Shock (to stack up damage), Quick incision again to brace for a snare and blurring shock again for criticals.
Squig Herder: They have one important snare and I believe one knockback. Their one snare looks like slime and is the only reason you’ll need Juggernaut. These are typically an easy fight. Hold The Line to close the distance, make sure Quick Incision is always up so they cannot escape after a knockback. Juggernaut the snare. I am told that their melee swing is doing ridiculous amounts after the patch, so I suppose you could rotate Eagle’s Flight, but QI always takes priority #1.
Magus: LOL. Silence early and often. Can’t say much else.
Tanks: Simple. Lean on your strengths. You are a master of damage-avoidance which puts you head and shoulders above other tanks. Put it into practice! Your damage is spirit and you have the ability to debuff it, which is likewise huge.
I hope this helps you, and if you have any other questions or want me to go into further detail on a class, just ask. I went over a brief and VERY basic strategy for each class but in reality, there are MANY adjustmets you can make to these according to how they react to you. If there is a big enough demand for how to combat a certain class, I would be more than happy to dedicate a post strictly to strategies against that class.