Hand 2 - This hand contains seeking TAs, the bane of every beginner.
A lot of people have complained about these TAs saying they ruin the game but, in reality, they seldom kill good players. They are just too easy to counter. Whenever someone has locked a seeking TA onto you, your character icon will have a green halo and you will hear a metallic clang. It is easy to identify which TA has been locked onto you because each one has a distinctive appearance and sound. Also, be aware that these TAs move at different speeds, from the plodding Decay to the speedy Soul Barb.
Regardless of their initial speed, all will accelerate as time goes by.
I will cover each TA from the point of view of someone that is firing them. How to defend against them will be covered when we get to the appropriate defensive TAs.
This wicked TA should be banned by the Geneva Convention alongside nerve gas and germ warfare. Taint moves at a moderate speed and its appearance is a small red sphere with two smaller spheres in orbit. It will do no damage to you if it strikes. Instead, it will taint your collection of TAs. When you try to use them you will take damage in proportion to the strength of the TA used. If you have enough health you can use Unravel or Aura of Unraveling to untaint your TAs. If that is not an option you can rid yourself of tainted TAs by cycling through your collection and pressing the backslash button to drop them or by simply allowing someone to kill you. Tainted TAs stay tainted even after you drop them or are killed, making a fine trap for anyone who picks them up. Personally, I never use Taint but that is my choice. If you are willing to accept the risk of picking up a tainted TA then you can use Taint to cripple an opponent for an easy kill.
Firing Soul Barb will release a fast moving black circle with an orange/red corona. Soul Barb also makes a distinctive roaring/growling sound. Soul Barb is very similar to Taint. It does no damage but causes a stricken opponent to take damage whenever he uses a TA for a short amount of time. This damage is proportional to the strength of the TA used and is multiplied by each additional strike of Soul Barb. If you get barbed, run away and wait for the effects to pass. There will be an icon at the top of your screen that lets you know how much time is left. Unravel or Aura of Unravel will remove the barbs but you will take damage. Soul Barb tactics fall into two categories - Precursors to attacks and defense. Hitting someone with Soul Barb and then following up with a barrage of fireballs or other weapon is a very effective strategy.
Remember how the damage caused by Soul Barb is proportional to the strength of the TA used? If you see someone running around with Balefire charged up, hit him with a couple of barbs. If he lets loose with that Balefire before they wear off heíll be taking a dirt nap. Soul Barb is a useful defensive TA as well. If someone is attacking you and you are in no condition to fight back a barb may convince him to break off. Soul Barb is also useful when you have no means to counter a Freeze that has your name on it. If you can barb your opponent he will probably leave you alone while you are iced.
You are probably already all to familiar with the appearance of Seekers. These relentless green globes of energy are the nemesis of newbies and respawnees. Once fired, a Seeker will follow its target and explode on impact.
Strategically, Seekers offer the benefit of being able to fire them from a safe distance. You donít generally have to worry about taking a fireball in the face when you are looking for someone to shoot at. Keep in mind that Seekers can be Reflected back at you and donít expect them to strike very often.
Like I said earlier, they are very easily countered. One more thing to remember about Seekers is that they cause splash damage when they explode. Donít fire a Seeker at an opponent that is close-by and avoid getting too close to Seekers even if they are not targeted at you, as they will explode unpredictably once they have lost their lock.
Some players will turn kamikaze when faced with Inevitable Seeker Death and try to run up next to another player when the Seekers strike so the splash damage will kill them too. This tactic may be amusing but it makes little sense to give an opponent another kill for free.
Decay fires sickly-looking yellow/orange/green balls that travel a little slower than Seekers. The rate of fire of Decay is also slower than Seeker. When they strike they cause their victim to take damage for a short period of time. Though not as dramatic as Seeker, Decay is quite deadly. Two Decays will take out even a healthy opponent. In addition to the physical damage, it will also suck charges out of your TAs, beginning with the most powerful and workings its way on down to the weaker. If you are hit by Decay and cannot counter it be sure to activate any shields and use up Heal before they are eaten.
The same strategic rules that apply to Seeker (can be Reflected, can be countered, etc.) apply to Decay with one exception. Decay causes no splash damage making it safe to fire at near-by opponents. Running right up to an opponent and firing Decay is a good trick because they will have no time to counter. More often than you would expect you will find yourself running backwards with an opponent running backwards directly in front (or behind, depending on how you want to look at it) of you. Decays are almost certain to strike home in these circumstances. (This odd occurrence happens most frequently on a map called Dance of the Marionettes).
One final thing you should know is that Decay is not stopped by a Fire Shield. Keep that in mind when you see someone with a Fire Shield up wreaking havoc with fireballs.
This TA is somewhat of a misfit in this hand because it does not release a projectile that is free to move about on its own. To activate Chain Lighting you must hold down the fire button and run up to an opponent. Once you get close enough a bolt of lighting will arc between the two of you. The lighting will stick to your opponent around corners or obstacles as long as you stay close enough. The damage that Chain Lightning causes is proportional to the distance between you and your target. The closer you are, the greater the damage. You can also target multiple opponents with Chain Lightning but the damage is divided between them. It should not be your first option because of the dangers inherent in approaching an opponent and the rather lengthy time it takes to get a kill. It can be very effective, however, in maps where your opponents will often be in a weakened condition due to a lack of healing resources. It is also ideal against Mashadar tendrils, causing them to retreat after the first shock.
An important thing to note here is that Chain Lightning and water do not mix. Activating Chain Lightning while you are standing in water will cause you to take damage rapidly and you will probably kill yourself. If can manage to zap someone standing in water while you are on dry land you will get a quick kill.
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