DUELMASTERS FIGHTING STYLES AND TACTICS:
A very important focus of Duelmasters strategy lies in the relationships between the ten different fighting styles. Each fighting style has natural advantages over certain fighting styles as well as natural susceptibilities to others. A classic example is the Lunging Attack style versus the Bashing Attack style in which the Lunging style tends towards advantage. While such advantages or disadvantages never assure victory one way or the other, they do provide another of the all important "edges" that all managers seek to use in order to win. When you consider that there are 100 possible combinations of fighting style vs. fighting style match-ups, each case providing for unique situational effects, the entire subject can indeed provide food for thought.
Considering the ten fighting styles individually it is important to note that each one tends to respond differently to the major strategic dimensions of Offensive Effort and Activity Level such that while one set of values, say 10 in each, might work well for a Lunger, that same set of values might have a drastically different impact on a Parry-Strike warrior. A good example of this is shown by the Parry-Riposte style. A Parry-Riposte warrior might well make more attacks with a low Offensive Effort (Counterstriking off of an opponents poorly executed attacks) than with a High Offensive Effort (attempting to self initiate attacks). Looking at a different style, a Basher with a low Offensive Effort might not attack at all. Forming a mental image of how each particular fighting style "looks" in combat can be an excellent way to begin exploring these effects. If your mental image seems silly to you (Ex. Total Parry warrior at 10 Offensive Effort in minute one of the combat) then its probably not the way to go.
Each fighting style in Duelmasters also relates differently to the various offensive and defensive tactics which may be used as part of a warriors strategy. Not all tactics work well with any particular style while some style/tactic combinations can be particularly devastating. The best advice on tactics is to use them sparingly. A warrior will always be giving up more of his total ability to focus on a particular tactic than he will gain in one area by using the tactic. And NEVER use both an offensive and a defensive tactic together in the same minute.
Offensive Tactics: Using an offensive or defensive tactic actually modifies the fighting style of the warrior using that tactic. For example, a Slashing style warrior, using a Slash tactic, is fighting with a modified - Slashing attack style. A warrior using a Slash tactic modified - slashing attack style, holds his weapon slightly lower and to his side, plants his feet more widely, and in general will conduct himself in a fashion which he would not were he using an unmodified slashing attack style. Each of the ten basic fighting styles have inherent strengths and weakness, and are variably able to adopt to the four offensive and four defensive tactics. Example: The Bashing attack style focuses blows, such that they land with great power (if not accuracy). This style requires that a warrior make sudden strikes, focusing the muscles of the arms, trunk, and legs in a coordinated effort to "bash" through an attempted parry and strike with great force. This bash is generally a downward strike. The Bashing tactic is then a natural modification to the Bashing Attack style, it simply accentuates even more the nature of the attackers bashing attack at the expense of weakening the users defenses. The Bashing tactic, used wisely, is a great enhancement to the Bashing attack style. The Parry tactic is not natural a natural modification to the Bashing attack style, the Parry tactic requires positioning the warrior's weapon lower than the point from which most successful bash attacks occur and the Parry tactic requires a relaxed response to an attack, which is not natural to the "spring-loaded" Basher. Certainly, using the Parry tactic will enhance the Bashers parry, but will adversely affect the Bashers timing, power, and decisiveness. This simply illustrates the fact that due to the very nature of a fighting style some tactics may be more or less effective to use with that fighting style.
Defensive Tactics: Some experts contend that "Defensive Tactics" (defensive
modifications of fighting styles) developed in response to superior offensive
tactics. It is true that historically some defensive tactics are remarkably
apt in playing on the weaknesses of some classical offensive tactics, but it
is equally true that some unique defensive fighting style modifications,
developed historically without a corresponding offensive style to respond to.