The 10 most common errors and misconceptions of Conquest PvP
When playing ranked as a high tier player, who also competes with and against top teams in ATs, often you will realize mistakes in ranked. Some of these are simply mechanical shortcomings, non-viable builds, or errors of judgment made in the heat of the moment. Others are simply due to a lack of practice and skill, while more issues have already been covered by several of guides written on these topics, so I will not treat them any further here. However, there is also the case where people (often, but not exclusively) from lower divisions significantly deviate from the playstyle you would see in optimized teams and do it out of full conviction. This goes back to several misconceptions and myths about ranked that proliferate in lower leagues and are often held as universal wisdoms there, while being seen as an error by almost every high level player. I will discuss these misconceptions here and give a short explanation why they are wrong.
“Don’t push far” **
Probably not as common as it used to be due to the proliferation of Twitch streaming from high level duelist players streaming their gameplay on Twitch, but still heard now and then. Now the issue with this statement is that it CAN be true, but isn’t universally. The point is that it strongly depends on your comp. Splitting 1 close and 4 mid for teamfight is probably the most common split in this meta, but in Ranked and Unranked Qs with non-optimized teamcomps your split heavily depends on your team composition and its suitability. The main teamfighting trio is FB/Scourge/Rev, now often with an additional Holo. If you have a comp close to this, investing into the teamfight in mid with 4 people is a good idea. If however your comp is heavy on bruisers and duelists like Warrior, Weaver, Chronomancer or Scrapper, it is probably a better idea to push for 3 nodes and try to create as many 1v1s as possible. Also roamers often can showcase their full strength and contribution when there is several different fights to plus. Pushing 3 nodes is also a good idea if the enemy team is heavy on very defensive bruisers (again Scrapper, Weaver, Chronomancer) and you fear you lack the damage potential in your team to kill these quick enough. If you expect a very slow, bunker heavy game it is probably wiser to not give a freecap on close to the enemy at start, because it might be the only cap generating points for quite a long period into the game.
One of my personal favourites. I am still at loss about where this originated, but I keep reading it. I suspect it might have to something with trollish thief builds like Staff DD or Dagger/Dagger Condi CD being common in lower tiers. However, most thief builds viable in high tier (almost exclusively SD core as of the last patch) are notoriously awful duelists and should not be sent into 1v1s. They can take a few matchups (Mes, Rev, Mirror Matchup), but are absolutely awful in others (Holo, Scrapper, Warriors and Rangers in all their forms). The strength of Thief is in rotations, resulting in either +1s for quick kills or decaps. Sending it to cap close and risking it to be drawn into a 1v1 sacrifices this strength. Either the thief will fight a bad 1v1 and possibly lose, or be smart enough to disengage and create a number advantage in mid. However, even in that case close will be instantly lost, and that is not a desirable outcome whatsoever.
“Fight on Points”
Another favourite of mine because of its absolute counter-productiveness and possibly the most common one out of this list. Nodes generate the major point gain in Conquest, so obviously holding them is generally a good thing to do. However, this is frequently taken to extremes by lower ranked players, resulting in the outcome that “fight on point” becomes “die on point”. And that is simply an awful play, unless your team is already at 490+ points and holding the node with your downed body for a few more seconds will save the game. Otherwise, you are ALWAYS better off to kite and resustain instead to win the fight and THEN cap the node (and ideally even more of them) back for your team. Some skills put enormous pressure on a small node (for example the Scourge Elite Ghastly Breach), and diehard tanking on the node is safe way to get yourself and your team wiped immediately. Also pursuing enemies fleeing from a teamfight is obviously worth it if you get the kill in a reasonable amount of time and the same goes for picking up enemies between nodes who have moved out of position. Not fighting on node is even more relevant in outnumbered situations, most commonly in 1v2. Unless your attackers are either extremely bad or play extremely low dps specs, you will not survive a 1v2 when you just facetank on node. However, you still easily generate value while kiting, as soon as you keep two people busy, resulting in a 4v3 for your team on the rest of the map. If then one guy leaves, you can repush the 1v1 (once your cooldowns are back to sufficient extent).
“Don’t plus me”
This is basically the polar opposite of our number one. Whereas “don’t push far” is usually uttered by those who are deeply skeptical of any solo effort to contribute to the game, it is usually the overconfident duelist heroes of this game that dish out this one. It stems mostly from overconfidence and disregard for the team, just assuming that you will have to carry the game alone anyway and your team will be of zero help. However, generalizing like this is bad. A good and cleanly executed plus one, either turning a losing 1v2 into a winning 2v2, or a stalled 1v1 into a quick kill 2v1 can be of immense value, and is actually the main occupation of every thief. “Don’t plus me when you don’t have impact” is the more accurate version. Obviously 2v1s that go on for too long and don’t result in a kill are terrible and will put your team at a significant disadvantage. But generally forbidding +1 is bad advice.
“All defend Lord”
A map specific one for Legacy. When your base gets pushed, and your lord is under attack this often leads to panic plays, resulting in too many people being sent in to save the situation. However, this will often result in a complete loss of map control. Generally since the revamp of the map, the Lord and his NPCS are fairly durable and do a decent amount of extra pressure on the guy fighting there, which means sending equal numbers to the lord will almost always be enough to save it. So: 1 guy pushing it? Send one guy to defend. 3 guys going for it? 3 defenders it is. But never more, as the raven said.
“All to Tranq”
Another map specific one, this time for Temple. Obviously the bottom buff, which fullcaps every node for your team can be a huge gamechanger and hence of enormous value. However, overcommitting it can be deadly. The channel time of this buff is very long, and there is sufficient room for kiting in the “cellar” of the temple. This makes it very easy for specs who combi sustain and mobility (Druid probably being the best example, but many others are capable) to contest this buff outnumbered. Even if you run into trouble, it is usually easy to send in another player for contest, which can make it extremely painful to have your whole team fight there in order to get it. I have seen plenty situations where the team downstairs was basically farming kill after kill, but still losing the game because 2 or 3 nodes were meanwhile ticking for the other team and they never managed to cap the buff. Sending all your ressources to Tranq is usually a desperation play when you need a quick turnaround at the end of your game, similar to lordrush.
“I’ll go Treb”
Fortunately not very common anymore, but still seen once in a while in lower divisions. This is probably the easiest and least controversial one. Don’t. Treb. Ever. Even after the revamp the treb is still extremely, clunky, slow, terrible to aim and easy to dodge. Your team will simply fight 4v5.
Momentum after a wipe is generally a good thing, and is not intended to say that you should not push far in case of a won teamfight. However, there is fine line between pushing your momentum and overcommitting. Often, pushing into far will not be done in full force, since one guy is still capping, or even a second one still watching close. Overcommiting on far pushes are the best way to throw a game after a won teamfight. Often, it is entirely sufficient to have one roamer decap far and just keep the rest of the team defending close and mid. Pushing far with the full team can be valuable, but you should always consider a retreat before you fullwipe. If you lose one guy while the enemy is still in full force – just disengage, regroup, repush. Don’t fight until everyone is dead.
“Move out of base immediately”
Arguably not voiced explicitly as often as the other errors, but very commonly acted on. The meta right now is extremely snowbally, meaning that fights get decided by fast paced teamfights, and the winners of those teamfights then swarming out and winning the whole map, wiping the remaining players off the map and establishing full map control. In this situation it is absolutely crucial to stay in your base after a fullwipe until your WHOLE team has respawned and is ready to move out TOGETHER. Running in one by one and getting slaughtered is a safe way towards loss, yet frequently seen even in high platinum games.
“Always bleed out downed enemies”
This is a tough one. Also not often said explicitly and also not generally wrong, but I think it is worth mentioning. I do not intent to say that bleeding out enemies is generally wrong. Obviously it is a good way to prolong your enemies respawn time and hence create an advantage for your team. However, it comes with a very big BUT. Res traits and skills are very common in this meta. The main culprit here is the Firebrand’s Signet of Mercy, but also the Blood Magic traits from Necromancer, Gyro scrappers, Search and Rescue, or even the traited Geysir Rez from Tempest. So, bleeding CAN be a value play, but the value you get from 5-10 seconds more enemy downtime does not really stand in relation towards the problems you create if you miscalculate and allow an enemy rez. Too often I see careless bleeding attempts resulting in a rez, or even a selfrez, because people either don’t pay attention or underestimate the rezpower of some builds. So, limit bleeding to situations where you are absolutely sure the situation is under your full control, for example when the enemy team has completely fullwiped and no potential rezbot is still alive, or you know for sure that every potential resser is so far away from the downed body that he can not possibly reach it in time. In cases of doubt – stomp or cleave! A good way to ensure cleave while not wasting too much time and already moving on with the next rotation is also soft cleave, as in you drop the downed to ~20-30% and then leave while leaving a few conditions, pulsing AoE (such as guardian symbols) or AI (ranger pet, mesmer clones) on him.