Skirmishing 101: The Archer

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Pineleaf and Archer

 

It should be no surprise to those who have read my earlier posts that I have a preference for the archer. When I look for a soldier whose primary purpose is damage, I generally turn to the soldier that carries a bow.

Why? Because of the way soldiers tend to behave. Soldiers act in a similar manner to monsters in that they will generally attack whoever is at the top of their hate list, regardless of whether that would be convenient for you. Unfortunately, if the enemy has some archers firing from the back, those archers are likely to quickly get on the top of your soldier’s hate list. Archers will generally fire back from where they stand (or move until they are in range). Melee soldiers have to run up to the opponent and may attract the attention of other foes. As I play with a cautious style, I therefore prefer a soldier who stays behind me and doesn’t attract too much attention.

Attributes

Pros: I find no soldier to be easier to operate. They are not as brittle as the sage, they rarely aggro inactive opponents, and their task is straightforward. They are also particularly good against encounter bosses, since they excel in single-target damage.

Cons: No area attacks. If you fight at range, the archer may be too far from teh action to notice the fight.

Group Sizes: Due to their relatively good behavior, I find that archers work in any skirmish size. I find the archer the second-best soldier to bring to a raid (in raids, the herbalist is generally the best bet).

Skirmishes: Archers work especially well in skirmishes where you make a stand, such as Stand at Amon Sul or Defence of the Prancing Pony. That said, I’ve never seen a skirmish where they wouldn’t be suitable.

Armor: Medium

Damage: High Ranged

Special: The archer an improved critical rating relative to other skirmish soldiers.

Skills

Each soldier has a selection of eight skills available. Four of these are initially purchased through a skirmish trainer. For the remaining four, you must first barter for the skill through a skirmish captain. After that, you can train the remaining levels through skirmish trainer. Note that two of the barter skills are listed as “Ultimate.” These two skills are more expensive than the other skills and are mutually-exclusive.

Deadly Shot – High ranged damage

This is a fairly straightforward damaging attack and is generally the first skill I equip for my archer.

Distracting Shot – Medium ranged damage with a detaunt

This attack doesn’t inflict as much damage as Deadly Shot but it reduces the threat your soldier has accumulated. This is nice if you want your soldier to avoid getting the enemy’s hate. I rarely worry about it, though it may come in handy in large group content.

Pinpoint Shot – Medium ranged, with an improved chance of a critical hit

While the base damage isn’t as good as that of Deadly Shot, you have a better chance of a critical result (and thus improving the damage output).

Refocus – No damage, restores power for the archer

I stated earlier that the archer is a rather straightforward soldier. This skill is the exception. As it is at odds with the general straightforward nature of the archer’s abilities, you will find the archer often uses it at inappropriate moments (such as when they are at full power). As such, I never bother to train this skill.

Marking Arrow (Barter – Level 45) – Low ranged Damage, marks targets to take extra ranged damage

If you or anyone in your group routinely uses ranged attacks, then this skill will come in handy. While it will improve your archer’s ranged damage, it will be most effective if others members of your group can take advantage of the effect. This skill is a must if you are are a hunter (though I do not generally use an archer when I skirmish with a hunter).

Wounding Arrow (Barter – Level 55) – Low ranged, Medium Bleed

Bleeds do more damage in the long run but less up front. I feel that this one is more useful in group content (where your opponents might last long enough for the bleed damage to be significant). besides, if I want a bleed, I generally use Wound-seeker instead.

Ultimate: Bold Arrow (Barter – Level 50) – Improves archer’s critical rating and damage

This isn’t a damaging attack but instead is a buff that makes your archer’s attacks more effective.

Ultimate: Wound-seeker (Barter – Level 60) – Medium ranged, Ultimate Bleed

This is an improved version of Wounding Arrow.

Training

Most training traits are usable by all soldier types. There are two traits trainable by archers that are not usable by all soldiers:

Medium Armor Training – Improves the armor value of a soldier that wears medium armor

Physical Potency – Improves damage from melee and ranged attacks

I generally equip Medium Armor Training, Practised Critical, Armor Penetration, and Resurgent Power.

Conclusion

Remember that the more options your soldier has, the less likely it is to do something useful. That’s why I generally just choose skills that inflict damage. The archer may fail to select the ideal damaging skill for the situation but generally any damaging skill will at least be useful.

Next time, we will look at the Bannerguard.
May your shield protect you and your spear never break,

Pineleaf Needles

6 comments

  1. Andang /

    Glad to see these amazing guides Pineleaf!

  2. Bryan /

    Do you pair up your hunter with the archer when solo? I currently use a herbalist.

    • Pineleaf /

      My hunter uses an herbalist. Pairing an archer with a hunter would not fit my cautious play style.

  3. I much prefer the Archer to anything else, except when playing my hunter (obvious reasons) and my guard, who will go back and forth between a herbie and the archer depending on the difficulty of the skirmish.

  4. Kaleigh Starshine /

    A wonderful guide! I am very much looking forward to more 🙂

  5. My Favourite as well due to stupid AI of the soldiers. My Champ has persisted with his bannerguard although it causes more trouble but adds to the surprise. Archer dependable killing machine that you can basically forget about while running through the skirmish (I generally (ok always!) solo!

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