Hand 4 Now we switch from offense to defense. Every offensive TA, with the exception of Balefire, can be countered by a defensive TA. Mastering the art of defense is essential for you to have any success in Arena. In fact, defending yourself is priority number one. The TAs in this hand are the ones that a beginner should concentrate on learning before any others.
When you activate Reflect attacks will bounce off you harmlessly for the next five seconds. Seeking attacks (Taint, Decay, Soul Barb, Seeker, Swap Places, and Freeze) will be returned to sender. The beauty of Reflect is that it is a defensive and offensive TA built in one. Kills from Reflected attacks are credited to the person who reflected them. Attacks donít have to be targeted at you for you to reflect them, either. If you see someone running from a hoard of Seekers reflecting them is a very good strategy. Not only are you stealing someone elseís firepower, you are also depriving them of a potential kill. When using Reflect be sure to take your lag into account so it gets activated in time.
Reflect is imperfect as a defensive TA because reflected attacks can be reflected back at you. Reflect wars are a lot of fun but while you are in the middle of one you tend to be distracted and vulnerable to attack from third parties. The fact that Reflect only lasts five seconds is another weakness you have to be aware of. Savvy attackers will spread their Seeker or Decay barrage out over a longer period of time. The final weakness of Reflect is that you have to wait for the attacks to get to you before you can counter them. This forces you to break off from attacking while you wait.
Fork is a poor manís Reflect. Fork will reflect attacks but will not prevent you from taking damage. This makes Fork the defensive TA of last resort. Since Fork lasts for ten seconds it is useful in other ways, though. Activating Fork just before engaging in a Fireball fight or when you have been Freezed are two good examples.
Shift is the Swiss Army Knife of WoT. It is the most versatile TA at your disposal. When you activate Shift you will translocate yourself a few paces in whatever direction you are facing. It doesnít sound like much but Shift is very useful. Here is a list of things you can do with Shift:
Shift will free you from any seeking weapon that has been locked onto you.
Shift will free you from Chain Lightning.
Shift will free you when you have been iced by Freeze.
Shift will free you from Whirlwind.
You can Shift through walls and doorways to reach otherwise inaccessible places.
You can use Shift to jump higher and farther than would otherwise be possible.
If I had to go to battle with only one defensive TA in my bag it would be Shift. The effects of Shift are immediate and permanent. Once you have Shifted away from a Seeking weapon you donít have to worry about it being reflected back at you. You donít have to wait for the attack to reach you either. You can Shift away as soon as you are targeted and go about your business with a minimum of distraction. You can also carry ten Shifts at a time, twice as many as Reflect. If available, this is one of the first TAs a respawnee should pick up.
Absorb is a tricky TA. When activated, for a period of eight seconds, any attack that strikes you will be dissipated and the TA that fired at you will be removed from the users collection and added to yours. I probably donít use Absorb as much as I should because I tend to rely on Shift and Reflect. I will usually switch to Absorb when I see a specific reason to do so, such as attacking someone that is using the Freeze/Balefire or Freeze/Fireball combination. Absorbing their Freeze takes away their advantage. I will also switch to Absorb when I see someone running around with Chain Lightning charged up. What you do is absorb their Chain Lightning, switch to it and attack. More often than not he will think he is still attacking you and be totally confused when he croaks. I learned this trick the hard way and I wish I could remember the name of the guy that did it to me so I could give him credit. Thatís all the advice I have to offer about Absorb. Like I said, I underutilize it. Iím sure there is a lot more that I donít know.
Swap Places is the last of the seeking TAs. It fires a very fast moving projectile that, when it strikes, causes the two players involved to switch places. As a defensive TA, Swap Placesí value is limited. Using Swap Places when you have Seekers or Decay on your tail is an iffy proposition because, even though it travels very fast, it can be countered. Even when it does work, the person you switched with will often have something on his tail too. Shift or Reflect are much better choices. Use them first if you have them.
It is as an offensive TA that Swap Places really shines. Swap Places is the darling of the creative killers. Some of the kills that people get with this TA are works of art. Most of the creative kills involve risk and, being the coward that I am, I donít try them very often. Many people will cheerfully trade a death for a good kill. If you are one of those types here are some of the neat things you can do:
Surround yourself with Explosive Wards and swap with someone. Without fail, they will step on the wards before they realize what hit them.
Activate a Fire Shield, jump into a lava pit, and swap with someone. You get out of the pit and they get dead.
Fire Swap Places at someone and, right before it strikes, jump into an acid pit.
When you get lifted up high with Whirlwind wait until you are dropped to swap. You will get the kill.
There are more, but I donít want to ruin all the surprises. If you are the victim of a clever kill, type SAY at the console and offer your killer congratulations. He earned it.
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