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Duel2 :: View topic - Parry-Strike Manifesto by Obregon
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 12:14 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

The Parry-Strike style is one of the more interesting and maddening styles in the game. Interesting, in that you can make a PS into many different archetypes; maddening, in that their base skills are poor, finding their rhythms is tricky, and their actual performance varies wildly with tactic and opponent. Yet the style's low endurance burn, huge weapon variety (second only to Strikers), and tactical options let it be competitive in the arena. Despite its strengths, Parry-Strike is (as of this writing) one of the least-played styles in the game.

This is not a guide, per se, but more of a rambling thesis on the style from a guy coming back to the game after a long hiatus and rediscovering one of his old love-to-hate styles. I imagine most of this is old hat and welcome your thoughts regardless.

1. PS stats

Parry-Strikers tend to learn Parry, Decise, and (to a lesser extent) Attack. The Stats that affect those skills the most are, unfortunately, everything: ST, WT, WL, SP, and DF. Since their base parry is nothing to write home about (in fact, it's often their worst skill at mode if you're not careful), enhancing Parry-related stats (ST, WL, DF) is probably the most effective design strategy. This will also give you a good attack skill. Since WT and WL each contribute to Decise and Attack, focusing on WT and WL (like all styles) will help your Parry-Strike maximize his key skills, too. If you go with a high WT and low WL, just understand that you'll have to compensate somewhere else (SP, DF, or CN, most likely).

For the record, I prefer my PSs to have the following stats:

ST: 5+ (huge variation possible here)
CN: 7+ (ditto)
SZ: 14-
WT: 11+
WL: 9, 11, 15, 17, 21
SP: any (huge variation possible here)
DF: 9+

CN is important for most Parry-Strikers and will help you win against those low-endurance offensive types.

SP is an underrated Parry-Strike stat. Not only does it boost Decisiveness, it helps with Defense, Riposte, and Initiative, which are all useful to the style.

As for most hybrid or defensive warriors, a high SZ is counterproductive. I would probably look at a different style than PS for a big warrior.

2. PS types

I'm going to try to lay out the variant Parry-Strikers I have run, just for fun and to get your feedback.

a. High ST (the Broke Stroker)

With a decent attack, parry, weapon selection, carrying capacity, and damage, this Parry-Striker is an attractive option. The tricky part is deciding where to scrimp on points so that you can have that 15 or 17 ST. Parry-Strikers with a good ST and CN can armor up and get some wins both offensively and defensively. The other downside: having a high ST incurs a substantial opportunity cost -- the lost skill points from not having a higher WT, WL, SP, or DF. This is a serious consideration for a style with already low skill bases.

b. High CN (Parry-Scum)

Fairly evident what the game plan is here. Going against warriors with poor attack skills/damage output or scummy warriors in heavy armor can get you a lot of scummy wins, due to the low endurance burn of the style. Make sure you can deal with the lower skills you get from dumping your points into CN.

c. High WL

Lots of folks (myself included) will use high WT / low WL rollups on PSs, due to the style's low endurance burn. The problem is that you miss out on WL's contribution to skills and the intangibles that a high WL brings. The High WL Parry-Strike is well-balanced in the style's key skills and will have the toughness to eke out wins in close fights, assuming a decent CN. It is hard, though, to have a high WL while having acceptable numbers in ST, CN, SP, and DF.

d. High SP

The Speed PS embraces the style's offensive inclinations and has a more well-rounded skill set than other PS types. Speed's contributions to Decisiveness, Riposte, Initiative, and Defense are substantial and allow the speedy PS to gain and maintain the initiative. The High SP Parry-Strike is not necessarily offensive; he can be an effective counter-puncher, like a Parry-Riposte. The PS style is a potential fit for a warrior with a high SP rollup, even if you don't add any extra points to it.

e. High DF

It's hard to argue with DF; it's a great overall stat and Parry-Strikers can get use out of every point in this stat. A high-DF PS accentuates his Attack, Parry, Riposte, and Defense; in combination with a good ST and WT, he also gets wonderful weapon selection. A high-DF Parry-Strike will look, stat-wise, a lot like a Parry-Riposte, but with a few more offensive options in his bag of tricks.

3. Rollups

Some of my actual Parry-Strike rollups ... I am not saying they are the pentultimate PS warriors. They are the good, bad, and ugly:

a. High ST / SP

17-6-7-17-13-15-9. I run him generally like a Striker due to his high Decisiveness and low hit points. The downside to this strategy is the style's relatively weak initiative rating and skill learns in that area; he is fairly easy to riposte. Then again, the style's emphasis on parry skill learns helps him deal with the occasional counter-attack, and his high riposte skills help him get the initiative back. Probably the biggest downside to the low CN is that it is harder to run Responsiveness with confidence.

b. High WL / CN

9-13-8-15-17-13-9. Not terribly skilled, but farily durable. With a generally poor offensive output (weapon selection, attack skill, normal damage), she wins defensively by scumming or attacking in the middle minutes against tired offensives.

c. High DF / CN

9-14-9-17-9-9-17. Similar to #2, though with better skills (6 parry at mode, which doesn't sound that great but is actually hard to achieve with a PS) and weapon selection at the cost of endurance, WL intangibles, and decisiveness. I really like this warrior and my only wish is that he had a higher ST.

d. Balanced

11-11-10-17-11-13-11. While this rollup looks boring, it was blessed with Great damage and has decent offensive PS skills, carrying capacity, and weapon selection. Very effective with Responsiveness ... running at 1-5-1 S, she is very hard to hit and often counterattacks.

e. Fantasy Parry-Strike

11-14-7-17-17-5-13. A solid, all-around warrior that can win any number of ways (offense, scum, counterstrike) regardless of his favorite learns. The high WL is personal preference; you could take WL to 9 and boost ST, WT, SP, and/or DF with the extra eight points for some other variations, such as:

11-14-7-17-9-9-17 (very similar to warrior c, above)

4. Tactics

Decisiveness is effective, but be warned: PSers don't usually have the raw initiative or attack skills that offensive warriors possess. Yes, you can outjump many offensives, but you can also lose the initiative fairly easily. Decisiveness is also handy when you don't know your warrior's rhythms and want to attack; PSers often make flailing attacks when running non-optimal numbers. However, due to the difficulty for young PSers to maintain a sustained offense, unless my warrior has a poor CN and I have no other choice, I rarely open a fight in Minute 1 running Decisiveness unless it's for a specific challenge.

Parry works as it is intended, but it's more situational than you may expect. It works best when fighting Slashers, scumming, and in desperation. I prefer Responsiveness in Minute 1 for reasons explained below.

Responsiveness is one of those tactics that some players have no experience with, as it is the fairly exclusive province of Parry-Strikers, Strikers, and Total Parry warriors. Basically, it's the "get ready to defend!" tactic, and it is very effective in minute one when fighting Decisiveness-using Strikers, Bashers, and Parry-Strikers. It is a fairly good all-purpose defense tactic, and you will get a surprising number of attacks while running it, even with a low offensive effort. Compare this to a warrior using Parry or Dodge, who typically surrenders the initiative completely. I also find that Responsiveness messes up your opponent's rhythms and initiative. It's not surprising to only face three or four attacks in the first minute while running the tactic, due to your counters. My theory is this has the bonus side effect of burning your foe's stamina without having to deal with as many incoming attacks. I use the "rope-a-dope" analogy here ... Repsonsiveness seems to get Pikers through the rough early parts of the fight when they are in danger of being overwhelmed.

5. Weapons and Armor

There are many to choose from, and all of the good ones are on the PS weapon list. I suggest running with a shield against lightly armored foes, who are typically offensive speed types with a low CN. A ST and DF of 11 each will get you most of the good weapons. Consider a 13 ST for the warhammer, which is a nice option against the heavily-armored types. A 15 or higher ST is something of a luxury on a Parry-Striker, but gives you the Battle Axe and Greatsword, two very nice weapons for dealing with medium and heavy armor.

And speaking of armor: wear some, unless you are a Piker in Striker's clothing. Padded Leather, Ringmail, and Scale are all great choices depending on your warrior's carrying capacity and your expected opponent. Avoid heavier armor unless you have the encumbrance for it.

6. Rhythm

Probably the most frustrating thing (other than their low base skills) about Parry-Strikers is finding their rhythms, a downside compounded by the style's great skill at using Tactics -- which has the unintended consequence of keeping you from learning your warrior's natural (unmodified by tactic) rhythms. Don't be surprised to see a lot of flailing attacks from Parry-Strikers. Your rhythm could be 1-6 offensive effort and 1-8 activity level ... the range is that big, per Terrablood. You really have to experiment, which means getting into longer fights so you can really see the effects of the different tactics. Challenging TPs, PRs, and other PSs can really help here. This again tends to favor Parry-Strikers with a good CN and/or WL, who have the staying power for those kinds of fights.

The silver lining here is that the style's low endurance burn will let you run some wacky experimental number combinations without causing you to keel over from exhaustion prematurely.

7. Challenges

Some of the matchup issues Parry-Strikers face:

Strikers: Decise if you can beat them to the punch; otherwise Responsiveness. Turn up your offense (and use Decise if you wish) in minute 2 or 3. Responsiveness in desperation.

Bashers: as Strikers, but I would seriously consider using Decise against most bashers, especially if your Piker is learning Decise skills regularly.

Lungers: Not a very good matchup, due to their high defense, attack, and initiative skills. Once they get the initiative, they may never let it go against a PS. Decise can be effective against them, just watch out for their dodge & riposte.

Slashers: You really want to get the first shot on these guys, as they will carve you up and never let go of the initiative otherwise, unless your Parry skill is up to the task. Decise early and Parry in desperation.

Aimed Blow: You'll have a hard time avoiding getting hit by these guys, so you need to hit them first. Use Decisiveness or no tactic. Decise in desperation can get you a win from the jaws of defeat in this kind of match.

Wall of Steel: Not a very good matchup, due to their high parry, attack, and initiative skills. They can pretty much deal with your offensive output and smack you right back with impunity whenever they get the initiative. Scumming them (or beating on them when they are tired) may be your best bet. Use Parry in desperation.

Parry-Lunge: Not a very good matchup, due to their high attack and initiative skills. Scumming them may be your best bet, though you may be able to overwhelm them with Decisiveness. Some Plungers like to Lunge, and if you run into those, Responsiveness is obviously better in desperation than Parry.

Parry-Riposte: A fairly even matchup, style-wise. You may be able to overwhelm them early with Decisiveness. If not, be prepared for a long fight.

Parry-Strike: Against other Pikers, accentuate your strengths ... damage output, hit points, endurance, decise, whatever. Try to overload him with your advantage (whatever it may be); it helps if you have scouted this warrior previously.

Total Parry: Unless you are blessed in attack and/or damage, your best bet may be to go with light armor and try to out-scum TPs. This is surprisingly effective against the heavily-armored types and will earn you some nasty/funny personal ads from their managers.

In summary, a typical PSer's best challenge targets are ST, PR, and TP, and to a lesser extent BA and SL if you can get the jump on them. PL, WS, and LU warriors are bad matchups for most Pikers, and you should strongly consider avoiding teams with those types of warriors near your Piker's rankings. Your Piker's strengths and weaknesses will largely dictate the kind of matchups in which he succeeds.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:38 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I am assuming that Baron Cockroach is the top Parry Strike in Primus because everyone else has given up on the sytle. Gypsy Moth and Madam Butterfly were always better warriors on the same team.

If anyone else has a fully developed Parry Strike I would be interested to see how they turned out:

BARON COCKROACH (20-703) of DOC LEGRAND'S LAB (63) [153-138-2, 51, 453FE], will fight (and lose in) Primus.
He is a parry-strike with ST=25(16) CN=25(14) SZ=10 WT=25(8) WL=25(10) SP=25(16) DF=25(12).
He is right handed, has an intellect of unearthly proportions, is a marvel of fighting coordination, has awesome endurance, can withstand almost any amount of punishment, can carry almost limitless weight, is incredibly quick and elusive, does awesome damage, has an Archmaster in initiative, has an Archmaster in riposte, has an Archmaster in attack, has an Archmaster in parry, has an Archmaster in defense, has a Grandmaster in decisiveness, favors the battle axe, favors a low offensive effort, favors a low activity level, uses the decisive tactic well, and preferentially learns parry.

From the reverse math he started as ST= 9 CN= 11 SZ= 10 WT=17 WL = 15 SP= 9 DF = 13 which is nothing remarkable.

Deke is a relic of the past known as Doc LeGrand
Arena 21, 81, 102 as Doc LeGrand's Lab

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:02 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Prior to bringing Baron Cockroach into the conversation, I believe both Deadly Bear and Cartman are those who have been tossed around as the top Parry-Strike in Primus at the moment. Congrats on taking the position in 102 this turn as the top of that style.... and welcome back to the game.

-Marma Duke-

Deviation, State of Mind, Da Dog Powndaz, Pyromania, Rap Attacks, Slamma Jamma

May your blades always be sharp, and your opponents armor always have rust.....
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:42 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I'm looking forward to the day when I max out my Contenders PS, Axe Murderer. He should give Cartman, Deadly Bear, and Baron Cockroach a run for their money!
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:06 am Reply with quoteBack to top

One Armed Bandit wrote:
I'm looking forward to the day when I max out my Contenders PS, Axe Murderer. He should give Cartman, Deadly Bear, and Baron Cockroach a run for their money!

You are assuming that the pace of Axe Murder's development is faster than the apathy involved in running Parry Strikes with losing records in Primus will decrease the likelyhood that Baron Cockroach will be fighting in Primus.

Baron Cockroach has maxxed Skills and maxxed Stats. He cannot improve and continues to lose against a warrior population that can improve. What is my motivation to continue?

Deke is a relic of the past known as Doc LeGrand
Arena 21, 81, 102 as Doc LeGrand's Lab

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:12 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Deke wrote:
One Armed Bandit wrote:
I'm looking forward to the day when I max out my Contenders PS, Axe Murderer. He should give Cartman, Deadly Bear, and Baron Cockroach a run for their money!

You are assuming that the pace of Axe Murder's development is faster than the apathy involved in running Parry Strikes with losing records in Primus will decrease the likelyhood that Baron Cockroach will be fighting in Primus.

Baron Cockroach has maxxed Skills and maxxed Stats. He cannot improve and continues to lose against a warrior population that can improve. What is my motivation to continue?

I would suggest you challenge DEADLY BEAR 2-3688 and see how you stack up against him.

As for why you would continue, there is a contest in the Primus arena that occurs every two years called the King of Primus. Managers field 5 warriors of 5 different styles and battle it out in swiss format to see who is best. It is the most fun contest ever and definitely worth reactivating a maxed PS for a few months every two years, at the very least.

In addition, RSI has started offering token stylemaster awards in the Primus class in some tournies. So there is incentive to keep running your PS in tournaments, as well.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 4:55 am Reply with quoteBack to top

LHI wrote:
This is not a guide, per se, but more of a rambling thesis on the style from a guy coming back to the game after a long hiatus and rediscovering one of his old love-to-hate styles. I imagine most of this is old hat and welcome your thoughts regardless.

In a spirit of camaraderie and openness, I will share my (much-edited) current thoughts on the Parry-Strike. I'm not saying my essay is better or more authoritative; I'm sharing my point of view. As was said in the original thread, I too welcome your thoughts. Wink

My Thoughts on the Parry-Strike Style

The Parry-Strike warrior is fast becoming one of my favorites. He’s an underrated Jack-of-all-trades with a solid set of skills and a wide range of possible weapons and strategies. Even so, the PS is rarely seen in most stables, as it is considered a relatively weak style. There are three reasons for this:

One: The style’s rhythms are often difficult to ‘dial in’; this is a byproduct of their versatility. They tend to have a narrow window of effectiveness. Step outside that window and a PS will swing wildly or just trot around until he is skewered or smashed into the sand. This makes running a P-Strike a frustrating proposition.

Two: The two skills most often learned are Decisiveness and Parry, which are considered mutually exclusive. What does this mean? Either the fighter is learning skills that help him to overrun his opponent, or he’s learning skills that help him to wear down the opponent by blocking his attacks and waiting for an opening. To learn skills for both strategies (in the beginning of his career) means wasted time. Compared to most other styles, the Piker doesn’t usually get a chance to fully develop to his fullest potential. This makes the PS appear to be ‘weak’, at least early in its career.

Three: As a result of many outstanding managers (I’m not one of them) compiling years of data, the basic ‘modes’ for the P-Striker have largely been determined. All else being equal (i.e. even with the same beginning stats) the P-Strike style does not stand out in any way. In fact, its skill bases tend to be lower overall than all the other styles, which means that it will take longer to gain mastery in any skill unless it is unusually blessed.

These three factors, taken as a whole, shape the rationale that explains why most veteran managers shy away from the P-Strike fighter. It’s much easier to win more often with a Lunger, or even a Striker, using the same beginning stats. While I’m thinking about it, I want to address one of the elephants in the room. Yeah, yeah, there are no Parry-Strike fighters in the super-duper, upper echelons of Primus or ADM. I’ve heard that, read that, and believe that. Why aren’t there more P-Strike gladiators strutting around in Primus? I’m thinking that it’s because the PS is hampered by its lack of specialization.

That’s right. While most managers would probably agree that a ‘good’ P-Strike warrior has a strong parry, a decent (if leisurely) attack, and a nice, slow endurance burn, they would also lament the Piker’s lack of preeminence in any one category, particularly initiative. A Piker tends to allow the other guy to swing first.

Also, a P-Strike is probably not as decisive as a Striker or Lunger. Its attack is probably not as overwhelming as a Wall-of-Steel or Basher. Its parry is not as impenetrable as that scum Total-Parry. The P-Strike doesn’t dodge much, which (I’m told) is imperative in the higher echelons, and its riposte is probably not going to approach the level of expertise found in the Parry-Riposte.

In the ‘rock, paper, scissors’ mentality within the D-2 community, it makes sense (sort of) to shun a style that is merely a GOOD, but not a GREAT, rock/paper/scissor. In the past, I admit I’ve bought into this philosophy, but no longer. I’ve seen a well-designed PS wreak havoc, out-jump or counter offensives, and out-scum or pick apart the average TP damage-sponge. A Piker’s success depends on challenges, avoids, luck, and skill-learning --- more so than any other stylist. But, they can win in Basic.

Since I don’t run any of my graduated warriors in ADM (even though three TV’d in tournaments and others have made it to at least the 7th round) it doesn’t really matter (to me) what goes on in ADM or Primus.

Think about this for a moment --- in the early days of this game the Parry-Strike was one of the darlings of the arena; the Aimed-Blow was the bastard child. The incorporation of Primus, along with the increased demand for special tournament prizes to build or tweak fighters, lent a heavy emphasis on tournament play and styles that could give quick results. For quite some time, as a result of this, the Parry-Lunge and the Lunger took center stage, but things change.

Ironically, the Aimed-Blow is currently considered the epitome of the D-2 fighter, even though it is slow to develop, and doesn’t come into its own until ADM or Primus. (I am ignoring the AB’s that slumber in tiny arenas, waiting only for tournament play to awaken, before taking a snooze again.) In the larger Basic arenas, managers scramble to form pacts and design careful challenge/avoid strategies to keep their AB’s alive until they can reach ADM, because until then the Aimed-Blow is quite vulnerable to offensives and yes, even to an offensively-minded Piker.

The point here is that P-Strikes also take time to develop, but they CAN do well in the Basic arena. Outside of ADM and Primus, the expectations are different. Even the Striker or TP, resigned to the shallow end of the Primus pool, often reigns supreme in the Basic arena. Remember this!

Let’s talk about design theory. An interesting and common feature of P-Strike articles I have researched is the general lack of agreement. Some managers advocate high WT and SP to capitalize on its decisive properties, choosing to run it like a Striker with less initiative but better defensive abilities. This is completely feasible.

Others choose to lean heavily on ST, WL, and CN and build a better, slightly more-offensively-minded brick than the customary Total-Parry Scum. This, too, can be very successful.

I choose to focus on keeping the P-Strike versatile, but it really depends on what the numbers are to begin with. You can’t make an omelet without eggs.

I will digress here to suggest that the Parry-Strike style makes an excellent ‘Burner’ or ‘Dixie Cup’ fighter. You know the sort--- relies on stat increases for skills and enhanced ability. Most managers consider the TP scum as the ideal candidate for ‘burning’, but a disposable PS can also be a superior contender. Think of this type of Piker as a steroid-enhanced gladiator; they can be very effective in the short term. So if the opportunity comes along to have a high WL but otherwise poor-to-mediocre stats across the board, I say: “No problem. We’ll just RAISE ‘EM ALL!!”

Now, back to business… Let’s take for granted that most ‘recruits’ don’t have the potential to be a P-Strike (or much of anything else, really). In my experience, taking a ‘raw’ set of numbers and designing an acceptable gladiator of ANY style isn’t usually realistic. (The Consortium, utilizing a vast pool of experience and knowledge, somehow manages to create lemonade out of sewer water, but… I’m not a member.) Cry However, though the PS, like any other style, prefers large proportions of the basic key elements (WT, WL, and DF) the successful Piker is more flexible than most.

Examples? 13-11-6-17-13-12-12 is a nice, mediocre representation. How about 11-9-12-15-17-9-11, or 14-13-10-13-17-6-11? Or my current Piker: 11-10-7-21-15-9-11. All of these designs would also work well as ‘something else’ too, but P-Strikes, if they get to pick their opponent, can do just as well as any other style using the same numbers.

ST = 9-13___ Unless the goal is to create a scum, raising strength above 13 is counter-productive and superfluous. A Scimitar (with or without a shield) is all he needs to earn a winning record, though it’s nice to be able to whip out a great axe or war hammer if necessary.
CN = 9+____I’m not going to lie to you: this guy is going to get hit. But, some managers have run low-CN Pikers as Strikers and gotten away with it. (Shrug) Don’t add to CN; just roll with it. I wouldn’t choose ANY defensive style if the CN were less than 7.
SZ = 3+____For any of the parry-based defensive styles, smaller is always better; we can all agree with this, right?
WT = 13+___Less than this will probably not work well; more is always preferable. The goal is to learn at least 1.5 skills per turn. (I’ll go farther – unless it’s a scum, I tend to D.A. fighters that don’t have 9+ skills/5 fights, OR at least 17 skills after 10 fights. A good winning record might sway me, but generally it’s not worth keeping them around.)
WL = 11+___The style has a generous endurance burn. A Piker in leather armor can out-scum a TP in plate. Even so, I wouldn’t go lower than this because WL affects many other factors. Of course, more WL is always better! Just don’t let it fall below 11 and don’t worry if the WL isn’t in the teens. As with any style, if the WL is this low you’re not going to be raising stats, you’ll be focusing on skills, so the WT better be 15+.
SP = 7+____Speed is nice to have, but the higher the WT and DF, the less important its SP. Conversely, if WT and DF are at suggested minimums I recommend a double-digit here, unless you’re planning to make a brick.
DF = 11+___Necessary for most of the decent weapons. Yeah, there are always advocates of the ‘shield criteria’ perspective --- all you need is enough DF to keep a couple of shields aloft. If that’s what you want, okay. Armor-up a strong, high CN Piker and he’ll make a first-rate, offensive-type of scum for you. However, if you want to run a versatile fighter that can parry, counter-attack, and hit effectively, you need more DF.

Okay, now what? Let’s talk strategy. As a general rule, unless you’re trying to get the jump on an opponent (in which case you’re going all out at 10-10-5 and using the Decisiveness tactic, right?) you’re going to keep your offensive effort AND your activity level in the low-to-moderate (3-6) range. A broad, general approach would be:

In minute one: v.low/low offensive effort coupled with a high/v.high activity level. (I strongly recommend a high/v.high AL using the Responsiveness tactic when challenged, when going in ‘blind’, or versus fast offensives. Otherwise, slow down and leave out this tactic.)

After minute one: try low/mod OE and low/mod AL. [ex: 6-4 or 5-3, etc.] Some experimentation is mandatory. In any case, keep both the OE and AL below seven.

Tactics (Decisiveness, Responsiveness, and Parry) work well with Pikers – use them! A lot depends on what skills your fighter is learning and how quickly he’s learning them. If it seems that he’s picking up lots of Decise and gets that Expert quickly, use Decise (and raise your OE/AL). If he’s learning mostly Parry, drop your OE/AL and use Parry as a general strategy or when desperate. Responsiveness works very well with the Piker; responsiveness to the P-Strike is what Decisiveness is to the Striker. You should use it habitually. This tactic should be in place every time you challenge an offensive (ST, BA, SL, LU) or when you are challenged. It doesn’t guarantee victory, but it does give your fighter a better chance of avoiding attacks and counter-attacking.

As with any style, match your ‘CHALLENGE’ strategy to your expectations. If I’m up against another defensive style, I’ll jump right to low/low and see how that pans out, adjusting my numbers as necessary after I evaluate the fight. P-Strikes don’t have the aggressiveness of an Aimed-Blow, but they will attack with a low-to-moderate Offensive Effort. On the other hand, an OE above 7 generally causes wild swings. Read your fights carefully; look for critical attacks and when you see them, note the opponent’s style, the Piker’s weapon, his OE and AL. Try to recreate the circumstances and pay attention. Adjust as necessary.

One aspect that is often slighted is the Kill Desire. Keep the KD at 5 or less -- always. When up against another defensive, match your KD to your OE, but don’t go above 5, in any case. It makes a difference in your endurance burn, your fighter’s willingness to take damage, and your likelihood of getting killed.

While I’m thinking about it, let’s talk weapons and armor. Despite their stat requirements, if you keep to the minimums I’ve suggested you can have your pick of a wide assortment of tools to help your Piker get the job done. Some recommendations:

Light armor: ALE, APL – The shortsword is considered the classic PS weapon; it has low requirements, can slash, stab, or parry well, and rarely breaks. The scimitar or longsword will also work well in this range.
Medium armor: ARM, ASM, ACM – The longsword, broadsword, and shortspear work well (and are well-suited to the style), though a quarterstaff is also an excellent, all around P-Strike weapon vs. ALL armor, if your Piker is a size 9+.
Heavy armor: APM, APA – A scimitar can serve, but the fight will drag on and you should bring a spare. A broadsword is better. If you have the strength, a war hammer is generally preferred, though a quarterstaff does well in this armor range, too. If you are a 9+ size and 15+ ST, a greatsword makes large dents, but any size (with a 15+ ST) can handle a battle-axe, and it’s less prone to break.
Shields: A small shield is best, as it readily lends itself to offense. In fact, even a Striker is well suited when using a small shield as a weapon. Versus light armor, I would carry one. Heavier armor suggests defensive foes; I’d look for two-handed weapons or at least leave the shield behind.

What to Wear? In general, light armor is a good choice. Pikers don’t need more than ARM & H, unless they’re trying to scum an offensive. In that case wear as heavy as you wish and carry ONE medium shield, with a backup broadsword. However, when challenging a scum TP it’s wise to go with ALE & S, or without armor at all, and just wait it out.

I will reiterate: Challenges and avoids are the key to a P-Strike’s success!! Other styles can go out there with a generic strategy and be somewhat successful; a P-Strike must tailor his strategy for his opponent. That’s part of being a ‘Jack-of-all-trades’. Properly designed and utilizing careful challenges and avoids, a P-Strike can generate a winning record that is comparable to any other style in Alistari, at least in Basic.

Again, comments and suggestions are welcome. Cool

"Don't make me destroy you." -- Darth Vader
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