Hey, dual hardcore fighters!
This is a rewritten and systematized threads "Dual: Survival Guide Series", "Dual: Dodge vs Parry" and some other materials. They were combined in one comprehensive Dual Guide, covering all the issues you need to become a pro IB dual fighter!
Here is the brief Guide structure:
Intro (you are here)
1. Special Issues
1.1. Dodge Doom
1.2. Dizzy Issue
1.3. Attack Window Size
1.4. Gems Stack Issue (by Niiloc)
2. Fighting Techniques
2.1. General Methods
2.2. Special Techniques
2.2.1. Immediate slash
2.2.2. One-tap dodge
2.2.3. Coerced Dodge
2.2.4. Wrapping combos
2.3. Survival Guide
2.3.2. Regular Titans
Since one post is limited to 30 000 chars, you will find the paragraphs divided between different posts. Some of them reserved for future use.
I wish you a good learning! Enjoy!
Special thanks to contributors:
I. Special Issues
1.1. Dodge Doom
This is the situation when you more and more out of time with each next dodge, ending up being hit)
1. The major solution here - is insert parries.
Here you might find useful the technique of "Immediate Slash" which leaves not a moment between actions. It's a simple double swipe: first swipe you begin right before the end of previous animation, second - right after first swipe. This technique is widely used in wrapping combos (see further)
2. If you see it is impossible, then use super.
3. Magic usually is longer than dodge, but you can begin drawing a cast while in dodge animation (when you can't use next dodge yet). And it may save you. Especially when you dodged wrong or too early (false enemy attack moves or long timing hits).
4. Another, but "long range" recommendation for Dodge Doom, which requires supplementary training - is the technique I call "One Tap Dodge". You have to train yourself to make as short dodges as possible. Try never to hold dodge - just a short single tap. Sometimes, you'll need to learn timing from scratch, this is the key. But having mastered this technique you'll dramatically decrease the risk of the Dodge Doom. You may see not a bad example of this technique in my video, where I fight MX-Stealth lvl 747 (having 8 hp), who is one of the most difficult enemies in this sense, almost exclusively with dodges. Other good sparring partners for trainings are: stone oracle, saidhi, fel siren, wood jester.
So, reduce "holding dodge" only to stepback combos, where you really need it (to sit in dodge for two hits) or for other dodge technique I call "Coerced Dodge". This is where for the opening hit you leave just the ending animation of dodge, so you need to hold it before. It's used e.g. with all kinds of knights in their famous combo (shield, leg kick, slash). Without Coersed Dodge technique you'll necessarily miss leg kick. Others include sorok and jester stepbacks and more. See «Spesial Techniques Section» further.
1.2. Dizzy Issue
Reasons for Dizzy mode:
1. Missed hit
2. Broken parry
3. Blocked slash
(1) How not to miss a hit - is a too wide question. There still may be some general recommendations like try to parry all the way, limit dodge mainly to unparryables (leg kicks, shields, ...) and for the last hits, quit clash wars. Learn useful techniques (like "one tap dodge", "immediate slash" and so on) and learn hard enemy stepback combos and countering methods
(2) Broken parry is the result of the wrong parry direction (and timing? more evidence needed). Strong deviation leads to missing the hit, moderate - to broken parry. So, solution is clear - watch for coming hit direction. Use the feedback and move gradually from broken to perfect parry
(3) How to understand that your slash will be blocked:
a) if you attack enemy not in breaks but between his attacks (otherwise it'll be scratch). Watch for break message on the screen
b) in time-bound attack windows you can see a dizzy icon in the right upper corner. If it disappears, next hit will be blocked
In hit-bound windows it's hard to understand the end of this window
When you are dizzy
In all situations character has a limited abilities
The worst affected - parry. You can't parry for some time. So:
The first aid is super, you can do it immediately, dizziness doesn't affect it at all
It's less efficient, cause you need the time to draw a cast. Do it better in breaks after your attack sessions right after start of your last hit animation. Be careful here: if you do it too early, you will cancel you last hit, if you do it too late, you can interfere with the end of the fight phase. Look for your HP cause damage may be an over-time type. Nevertheless, if you still need magic to avoid the harm of being dizzy (or dying from DoT), then look for the next hit: if it's a long hit - you may try magic, if not - hit dodge
Major defense method when dizzy. Use One-Tap Dodge technique in order not to enter the Dodge Doom trap, switch to parry as soon as you can, but leave the last hit for dodge
Strongly not recommended. You may try on your own risk, but only for long hits
1.3. Attack Window Size
There are two types of break windows:
1. Hit-bound (HB). The length of HB windows counts in hits, notwithstanding the time it takes to perform them. Of course if you make a too long pause between hits it'll close the window. HBs are the result of dodge: if you dodge the last hit - you get HB window.
The general rule for this type of windows - the most effective way to use them - is to make combos. This is the most effective (longest, esp with Break+ gems) break window type in any conditions, try always to max them out in a fight.
2. Time-bound (TB). The length of TB windows counts in time, notwithstanding how many hits you managed to do. TBs reflect a dizzy state of the titan and are the result of ending parry or spelling super attack. It is depicted with the yellow stars in the upper-right corner of the screen. Research shows that the damage you make is approx the same whether you combo or just do a quick simple hits, because combos require more time to perform. Try to minimize this type of break windows.
*Beware of the bug, known from the very first versions of the game until now (v1.3): if you get TB window with stab opportunity - await bad registering of your swipes during the following attack or even when countering titan moves afterwards. Just try more dodging or do solid, bold long swipes.
Other interesting issue is what factors are responsible for the size of attack windows
Prepared by forum member SpencerTT
Abbreviations used: HBBW = Hit Bound Break Window & 5CCC = 5 combo continue combo
CB = class bonus (4 for light, 6 for heavy and dual)
TB = titan break+ bonus, S = large stepback bonus (2)
P = parry, GP = great parry, PP = perfect parry
B = block, PB = perfect block
D = dodge
H = hit taken
HBBW = CB + TB + S + .125(P) + .25(GP + B) + .50(D + PB) + 1.00(PP) - 2.00(H) (round with .50 rounding up)
Let Skill = .125(P) + .25(GP + B) + .50(D + PB) + 1.00(PP) - 2.00(H)
The minimum Skill for a no hit taken break for dual = .125(3) + .5(1) = .875 which rounds to 1
The minimum Skill for a no hit taken break for light and heavy = .125(3) + .25(1) = .625 which rounds to 1
The minimum break window for "mainstream light" is 7 if you do not get hit. (4 + 2 + 0 + Skill rounded >= 7)
The minimum break window for "mainstream dual" and heavy is 9 if you do not get hit. (6 + 2 + 0 + Skill rounded >=9)
Max Skill per attack chain variables:
TS = Total Strikes (The total number of strikes in the titan’s attack chain)
SS = Stepback Strikes (The number of strikes in the titan’s attack chain stepback)
NPS = No Parry Strikes (The number of strikes that cannot be parried before the beginning of the stepback)
Keeping in mind that parrying a stepback during any one of its strikes results in a Time Bound Break Window…
Max Skill (Light,Heavy, & Dual)= TS - .5(SS + NPS)
Max Skill (Dual with “parry all”) = TS - .5(SS)
I have gotten a skill of 4 for light, heavy, and dual against normal titans.
I was equipped with TB+4 in each case, resulting in a 14 HBBW for light and 16 HBBW for dual and heavy.
Max Skill can only be attained on large stepbacks because of the longer attack chains. (More skill available)
Skill can reach even higher values against bosses because of their additional moves (God King and Ryth come to mind)
"Usual fight" analysis
If you want to understand what is it all about your everyday grinding, you may want to simplify it. Under "usual fight" I mean that you have, say, one Break+2 equipped. In this situation you may move aside all those "perfect things", cause they happen not so often to have a great surplus to an average statistical value. So the "mainstream" and "max base" attack window sizes using light will be 7 and 9. What is 2 hits less than for dual. They are 9 and 11 respectively at the same conditions:
"Light mainstream" (HB7) = x+x+2x+2,5x+3x+3x+3x=15,5
"Dual mainstream" (HB9) = x+x+2x+2x+2x+2x+2x+2x+3x=17
"Light base max" (HB9) = x+x+2x+2,5x+3x+3x+3x+3x+3x=21,5
"Dual base max" (HB11) = x+x+2x+2x+2x+2x+2x+2x+2x+2x+3x=21
This is a kind of "break even" between dual and light with that combo5 gem.
If you don't have TB+ gem (all NG+ mode: you either don't have it when you rush through NGs, not saying about the chance you'll have the time to find/buy combo5 gem, or you use Bonus XP, when you level) then dual is still more effective.
If you have more than one TB+ gem (late OG mainly, when you got combo5 and don't need gold), then light may do more damage per attack window.
Getting out the most
If you want to further hone your fighting performance, you must learn all those "perfect things" and their impact on your attack possibilities (see the formula by SpencerTT above)
1.4. Gems Stack Issue
This chapter was prepared by the GK Club member ID#8, Niiloc
"After some extensive testing i have confirmed that titan break +2 hex gems DO stack...
i performed the following test on 5 different titans, with identical results:
1) fought the titan three times, only playing through the first break window before re-starting the battle
2) I only dodged titans' attacks, i did not parry at all
3) I did not use combo attacks, only single swipes in the same direction (mono-swiping)...
-on first fight, i had no TB+2 hex gems equipped
-on first break window, i was getting 6-7 hits (which is the norm)...
-re-started fight and equipped one TB+2 hex gem
-on first break window, i was getting 8-9 hits (again, normal with a TB+2 hex equipped)
-re-started fight for third time and equipped a second TB+2 hex gem (2nd one in paga circle ring)
-on first break window, i was getting 10-13 hits (mostly 11 hits)...I do have a video recording where i was able to register 12/13 hits.
My findings indicate that with 2 Titan break+2 hex gems equipped, one will get a minimum break window of 10 hits against small attack chains, and up to 13 versus long attack chains (i.e. a traditional GK step-back). Of course, these above numbers will only occur if you do not take a hit during an enemy's attack chain, and do not parry the final attack of an enemy's attack chain.
II. Fighting Techniques
2.1. General Methods
There are two combos possible with dual in IB2:
This combo is similar to the same combo in IB1, and has the same 2x damage for huge hit. The standard formula for huge is: left-right-left. The last hit will be a huge hit. The feature of IB2 dual is that once started you can do huge hits until attack window closes if you doesn’t change direction of the hits after third huge (horizontal or vertical).
Like in IB1 ultra makes 3x damage. To make ultra you need to change direction after at least three huge hits. This hit will be ultra, and it’ll stop the huge chain. Another way to get ultra: left huge - right huge - up huge - down huge - left ultra. Just like ultra in IB1 but with huge hits.
2.1.2. Dodge and Parry
There are two major direct defense methods. It seems overall parry became less rewarding in IB2, than in IB1 when using dual style. Moreover, it's less effective than dodge. Here and everywhere we suppose Titan Break gem equipped.
1. Quicker than dodge.
Especially in hit series, cause it breaks the trajectory of hits in combos thus pausing it and gaining some time for next hit
2. Breaks the stepback combos.
You may stop big and deadly combos with just one right parry
3. Stab opportunities.
Well, I don't know exactly whether it's a pro or cons, it depends on many factors, analysis is below.
There are two types of stab opportunities in dual:
3.1. Parry reward.
It goes at the end of the combos or if you interrupt it with the parry, after it you get multiple circles going one after another. More circles you get with Break gem equipped. There could be circles appearing in parallel (not consecutive), but I'm not sure if it's not a glitch. After it you get automatic stab session followed by a time-bound attack window. And this is not good as we know, because they can be either 7 or more rare 9 hits (x-x-2x-2x-2x-2x-3x or x-x-2x-2x-2x-2x-2x-2x-3x). Another bug with these type of circles - is a much worse registering of gestures after the stab session. I personally don't like it cause in average you do more damage with simple hit-bound window which is 9 to 11 hits. Even if you get 9 hit window which is more often in hit-bound windows you do equal or more damage than stabs + usual 7 hits (not saying about bad register problems): 4x ~ nx/3. So, if you make more than n=12 stabs in a stab session and make no mistakes after it, you make a little bit more damage, but comparing to 11 hit window (which is not so rare as 9 hit in time-bound window), it's a loose.
3.2. Interrupting circle.
This is a single stab opportunity which interrupts a stepback (taken from IB1). Pros is that you can interrupt the combo. Cons - is that you have only 4 hit window to make a simple huge combo. The rule here is: if you are sure you may counter the combo without using this stab DON'T EVER TOUCH THE CIRCLE, and instead of 4 hit window you may get 11 hit one. Beware of a worse trap: sometimes you may get that type of circles at the end of the combo - be sure not to touch it incidentally.
4. Sure break
Parrying the stepback moves gives you a 100% break, while dodging - not. Though if it does - it is a longer window. So, you may get just a "scratch pause" instead of "attack window", following by new attack set. I personally had four conscecutive attack sets from Fel Siren (ab 1200 lvl) going one after another, each finishing with a stepback combo (which I dodged). Only fifth attack gave me the window, but since I've mistaken once it was a 9 hit window, not 11. If I parried, I'd have the break after the very first attack set, but it'd be not more than a 7 hit window
1. Shorter attack windows.
All parry breaks are time-bound. So, they usually 5 hit windows, and more rare - if you interrupted a stepback combo, it may be a 7 hit window. If you do a perfect parry (and sometimes great) you get a stab opportunities, which can overcompensate the lack of two huges. Read p. 3 above about it.
2. Tap wars.
They are more rare and less random in IB2 comparing to IB1. Now it's more clear, that they are more often when you are too early, or too late with the parry. The rest is the same: first war you can win easily with one finger, second - is not easy with four, third - almost impossible to win. Remember, that damage of lost war hit is the double of the hit you you jammed. It's impossible to quit the tap war if it started. The best tactics here - is not to allow second or third tap war: don't parry the last hits - dodge, or be careful with parry timings.
Here is also the same bug as with "parry reward circles" - bad touch registering after stab session or tap war (thanks groove for reminding this).
3. Clash wars.
The main reason of clash wars is wrong timing/direction. The result is normal or broken parry with 2 to 5 supplementary quick consecutive slashes in random directions. There are two major tactic ways:
3.1. Continue parrying.
You will end up with a parry break if you successfully parry all consecutive hits. Missed hit will have normal damage and finish the clash war.
First dodge will quit the clash war. Note, it may be ANY dodge (side/crouch) notwithstanding the direction of the hit.
Overall strategy: use any dodge if you engaged in a clash war. There are no any reward in IB2 for continuing it except fun (in IB1 you could get longer attack window, esp. when you were hit during a combo, otherwise you allowed only one hit). All the more dodge breaks are longer.
You have to use dodge if one of the parries happened broken. Parrying is impossible here.
1. Longer attack windows.
Dodge breaks are hit-bound breaks it means, that you can do up to 11 hits, having in mind following dependencies (need more empirical evidence):
- simple single attack, random hits, no stepbacks, not many hits (2-5). This leads to a 7-hit window. Max damage here is x-x-2x-2x-2x-2x-3x (13 hit damage)
- Medium sized attacks, with one stepback. This leads to a 9-hit attack window - most common for dodge break. Max damage here is x-x-2x-2x-2x-2x-2x-2x-3x (17 hit damage)
- Long sized or composed (two attacks, e.g. when your attack failed) attacks with multiple stepbacks. Higher probability with wretch-class and bosses). It makes possible 11 hit windows. Max damage here is x-x-2x-2x-2x-2x-2x-2x-2x-2x-3x (21 hit damage).
2. Faster when dizzy.
If you've been hit, or had your parry broken, don't ever try to parry next quick hit - dodge. See the p.1.2. "Dizzy Issue" for more information.
1. Limited number of dodges.
If you fall on dodges very much you can get exhausted dodge. Each exhausted dodge will drain your HP. I didn't check it out, but the number on your armor with "running man" means the quantity of dodges in one enemy attack window before you get exhausted. So, insert parries, and save dodges for final hits, or hits with hard timing. One successful parry restores one dodge.
Thanks to ckd0214, he had more evidence on resetting the remaining dodge number to full after each break
2. "Slow Motion Bug".
Thanks Groove, Dknowle
"I'll tap dodge, not holding it down. Then what happens next seems like its in slow motion. The animation shows me slowly recovering from the dodge, while the enemy recovers from the dodge break. I'll then try to strike, but it will get blocked".
Good thing is that it's not very often. Possible reasons: too late last dodge, game bug rendering wrong animation.
Overall effective strategy: try to save the last hit before the break window for dodge.
In the upper left corner of the screen you may find an indicator for «Super». You may use it as offensive as well as the defensive weapon. It interrupts any activity and gives you a stab opportunity + usual time-bound window. Great con of Super is that it works in any situation: in any time of the fight and in any state, even when you are dizzy.
It charges slowly if at all (?). There are two main factors which can speed up recharging:
When you damage opponent
When you are being damaged
It does not damage apart from stabs and attack window opportunities
Recharge speed and damage don’t depend on magic pts
It may starts recharging only after opponent dizzy state finished
In the upper right corner of the screen you may find an indicator for «Magic». Recharge speed depends on magic pts. There is the cap in OG for the first recharge speed (thanks to DarthDack research) - it’s 200 magic pts. It means that increasing magic pts over the 200 will not make the first recharge faster. Next cycles will be longer up to the 60 sec cap. Increasing magic over 200 makes next recharge cycles faster, but it’s diminishing again to 60 sec. NG slows down cycles and moves the pts cap.
Using magic as an offensive mean is good on early rebirths (under 100). Though increasing magic pts increases the damage, after 100 RBs it becomes a mosquito bite comparing to a simple slash damage. Finally you come to using it for healing only. At the very skill cap, when you use «all in attack» strategy you don’t use magic at all, and replace it with attack pts.
You may also use magic for interrupting unwanted combos combining it with healing or hitting.
2.2. Special Techniques
Along with general methods there are some special techniques that may help you out.
2.2.1. «Immediate Slash»
It's a simple double swipe: first swipe you begin right before the end of previous animation, second - right after first swipe.
It leaves not a moment between actions
2.2.2. «One-tap Dodge»
"One-tap dodge" means that you don't hold it down, just tap it. This needs a timing study - you must time correctly the beginning of the dodge, the rest will be done automatically.
It gives you max time before hit and min possible dodge time, what is critical for avoiding a "dodge doom".
Try apply it everywhere you use dodge.
2.2.3. «Coerced Dodge»
Sometimes you need to control dodge end time. This needs holding a dodge button down and releasing it on a right time, leaving ending dodge animation only, instead of full dodge.
It helps you to insert standing up between two dodges in a tight hit sequence if one dodge is not enough for these two hits.
Good example of coerced dodge is famous knights stepback (shield bash, leg kick, slash from up-left). It's not possible to dodge leg without this technique. Some other combos of Sorok, Jester, Hunter and so on require it too.
So, there are two situations where you need to hold down dodge - "coerced dodge" and sitting two hits in one dodge. All the rest must be a one-tap
2.2.4. «Wrapping Combos»
If you leave not a space between actions, then you may count a last hit of the last combo as the first hit of the next combo. Where to use with dual: when you made an ultra and interrupted the huge chain, but have remaining hits in a window. You just immediately hit in the opposite direction and the next opposite will be huge again. To wrap combos successfully you have to use «Immediate Slash» technique.