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[Guide Contest Winner] Duelist: The Road Runner

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Looking for a strong class in both PvE and PvP? Then check out one of the Death Knight guides!
...Nah I'm just messing around a little bit. Duelist is the most versatile class of the game, and it's a hell lot of fun to play.
Between his ridiculous mobility and dps, the Duelist is also gifted with many steroids, utility skills, and much more to make himself useful in any situation.
Without further ado, let's dive into it!





♣ Presentation of the Duelist


As a Duelist, your goal is to make the best possible use out of your skillset. Each situation calls for a different approach, and you have all the necessary tools to turn any fight to your advantage if you use them properly.
Like most melee damage dealers, you're gonna be vulnerable when going after your target, and your enemies will make sure that mistakes don't remain unpunished. Don't let that happen!
Your burst damage comes from your melee skills, but whenever you feel like going too close isn't the best option, you can always take a step back and play as a physical ranged mage with your utility skills: debuffs, aoe spells, stun, paralyze, you can do it all safely from the backline when necessary!


Your kit is pretty substantial. There are a lot of skills available for this class, but do not worry as we will cover them in detail throughout this guide, as most of them are very situational.
The main component of your kit, is the Momentum. This is a mechanic specific to Duelists and Grand Khavatari that not only allows you to deal more damage once you charge it up, but will also be required to use your most powerful abilities!
Even when you think you have it all figured out, you will notice there is always room for improvement to perfect your combos while maintaining a good Momentum charge, and burst your enemies before they have a chance to call for backup.
Make sure you feel comfortable enough with your skillbar layout so that it fits your playstyle and enables you to react quickly. As an example, here is what mine looks like:


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♣ How to level up a Gladiator in Essence


There are plenty of great leveling guides out there so make sure to check them out, but let's talk about some specifics that Gladiators should be aware of...
If you're coming from Classic or older chronicles of Lineage II, you might remember that having a high amount of HP is always welcome in PvE in order to be able to survive a few minions with the support and heals from your teammates.
Here is quite different. For the most part, you're going to be leveling on your own. But do not worry as Lineage Essence also introduced Instant HP Potions, so make sure to always refill those babies before going out in the wilderness of Elmoreden!
On top of those HP potions, you can upgrade your Potion Mastery skill in order to get up to 30% bonus HP from these potions. Some items like Dragon Belt will allow you to get even more HP back once you enchant them enough.
Why am I talking about those pretty obvious items you might wonder... Well that's because PvE (and to some extent PvP as well) is about your ability to sustain damage.
When you are leveling a gladiator, you don't care about max HP, you care about killing as fast and as efficiently as possible, while being able to heal back the damage you're receiving.

  • Dyes STR+12/CON-12 is the first thing you want to grab for your character to speed up your leveling, and it's pretty cheap as well!
  • Try to prioritize melee-favorable areas when possible, such as Necropolis, Cruma Tower, Tower of Insolence, etc. Avoid places like Silent Valley or War Thorn that will make you run more than you hit depending on how crowded they are.
  • Because of his high dps and debuff, the Gladiator is also able to efficiently farm tougher areas like Dragon Valley or TOI 4 earlier than other classes would, so don't hesitate moving there once you're ready.
  • Your main PvE skill is (Amazing) Rising Attack. On top of being your highest PvE damage skill, it also applies a -30% P.Def debuff on the target which is very handy. If your mana regeneration capabilities allow it, you might be able to toggle Triple Sonic Slash as well, and a Dash to move quicker in-between the mobs.
  • All your skills do Over-Hit! Some classes are not that lucky, so do your best to last hit mobs with one of them for a sweet XP bonus.
  • Once you reach a high enough level, you will be able to experiment a little bit with the Duelist's aoe capabilities. Even though your character doesn't have any way to provoke nearby minions, you can use your Sonic Buster and Sonic Storm to farm in areas swarmed by aggressive and social monsters such as Orc Barracks or TOI 6 and fully exploit the PVE potential of the Duelist.


If your mana is lowering too quickly while looping, be aware that you can delay your skills by dragging extra Attack actions to your skillbar. Each toggle is being processed independently by the game, meaning that the more "attacks" you add to your skillbar, the longer your character will delay the toggled skills thus allowing you to replenish your mana and keep on applying Rising Attack on each mob at least once.

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♣ Gear and itemisation routes


When we're gearing up a character, whether it's a Duelist or any other class, the most important thing is to remain organised and focused on the items that will benefit us the most relatively to their value.
We will talk about which items are essential for our class, but I will first explain the concept of hardcaps in MMO's.
The hardcap is the stage where an item stops being worth the investment. When an item becomes so hard to upgrade compared to the bonuses you get in return, then you should start investing your adena into different items that will give you more power for a better value. Try to reach hardcaps on all your items before pushing further, as it can easily bankrupt you and slow down your progress. So take your time, and be patient. Gearing up is a marathon!
Keep in mind that your high damage comes from the huge power of your skills, and you want to increase it as much as you can.
Charging Momentum will give up to +30% base skill power increase to your abilities, and this amount is multiplied not only by your buffs (such as Final Secret), but also by items like Baium Ring, Talisman of Baium, and Talisman of Authority.


What do I need on the Early Levels?
Your first puchase should be a pair of Duals C over-enchanted (+7 can go a long way) as you want to be able to slay monsters as quickly as possible to gather adena and XP.
Blue Wolf Heavy set will be your go-to armor set in the early stages of the game.
You should also start buying the daily Talismans and Belt for 600k adenas on the L-Coin Store as soon as possible and keep on enchanting them, +3 Eva/Belt and +5 Aden are quite easy to make and will give a nice boost to your character.
Once you start gathering a good amount of adena and reach level 76+, you can focus on your first A-Grade equipment.
Tallum Blade*Damascus will be the obvious choice, as they are easily affordable. Try to grab either a Nightmare or Majestic Heavy set (they are pretty much equivalent, altho some NM pieces can give you a vampiric effect which can be helpful). Whichever you choose, make sure to grab a NM Heavy Helmet in either case, there is no A-Grade Set bonus on Essence, and this one will give you an extra 5% damage reflection compared with the MJ one.


What about Epic Armors?
Duelists are blessed with both Light and Heavy armor masteries. Your Light armor mastery is actually stronger than the Heavy one, as it provides you with 1 extra P.def (i know, right?) and +6 P. evasion.
At the time this guide was written, Lightning is pretty much equivalent to Ice Crystal in PvP, but certainly better for PvE.
This is due to a few reasons:
Lightning body armor only has 30 P.Def less than Ice Crystal. In PvE, the extra P. Evasion from your passive and DEX make up for it and evens-out the damage mobs will output on you.
This won't be the case in PVP. P.Evasion is not gonna make any difference unfortunately, as you will mostly be targeted with skills (for which regular P.Evasion doesn't apply).
However, Lightning will give you better offensive tools overall, such as increased skill critical damage, bonus STR (and extra DEX), which are very effective on a burst-based damage dealer character such as yours. This ensures that you will maximize the dps you're able to output on a target during PvP.

All that being said, developers have noticed how under-powered Ice Crystal is compared to its Lightning sister, and decided to buff it.
The patch will hit Europe during Summer, and will give Ice Crystal a 65 P.Def boost, extra STR, and various small buffs that will make it the uncontested choice for your Duelist. Stay tuned!


Tell me about Weapons and Soul Crystals
Easy one. Damascus*Tallum Blade is your weapon of choice and making it +5 should not be a problem.
The SC's you want are Tyrr (Atk Speed) and Sigel (HP). I am not a huge fan of prioritizing HP on a Duelist (we'll come to that later) but the reason you want to go with it instead of the P.Def option is because it simply scales better. If you take a Sigel 12 for instance, on a higher level Duelist, +20% HP will be a lot more useful than a flat +192 P.Def.
Your third SC slot will welcome a Lilith rune once you manage to put your hands on one!


And now Jewellery!
You can enchant DV/TOI accessories (+5 for the first bonuses, or +7 for the additional characteristics boosts) as a first step.
Phoenix/Majestic jewels +5 will do the rest the job regarding your M.Def once you collected one of each DV and TOI accessories.

 

  • Baium Ring is an incredible boost for you with the Skill Power, P.Atk, and CD Reduction. This is all you could hope for.
  • Zaken Earring can also help you with your ranged stun (Sonic Blaster) aswell as giving you extra sustain with the vampiric that also works with skills.
  • Orfen Earring will be a life savior in PVE as it will allow you to constantly have enough mana to spam your skills... Provided you can make it level 3
  • AQ Ring over Core Ring. Not because of the critical bonuses since they don't apply on skills, but mostly for the P.atk. Duelist is more about dealing damage than receiving it, so you should do your best to maximize the dps you can output on your target. We will get damage reduction somewhere else!


Agathions, Brooch, and Talismans
Agathions are pretty straight forward, you want them all to +5 or higher for the stats bonuses they prove.[/color]
If you don't have enough slots on your Bracelet yet, prioritize Ignis and Petram as those will give you the most consequent stats (respectively P.Atk and P.Def).
Note that your Indestructible Sound is not affected by Paralysis Chance Increase stats (like the one from Ignis), however, the Stun Chance Increase from Petram will work very well on your Sonic Blaster.

Brooch Jewels are a little bit more tricky, so let's takes a loot ak them:

  • Opal is your pure PvP-oriented one, and making it lv4 or lv5 will grant you a temporary debuff invulnerability that is godsent when engaging or disengaging a fight. I keep it on even during PvE as you never know who will be waiting for you in a dark corner of TOI...
  • Onyx is the unavoidable one. it talks for himself: damage-damage-damage!
  • Coral is also needed, the higher it is, the better you will spam your combos.
  • Spinel is another important one. Damage reduction from criticals, and characteristics boost. It's also the most linear one to upgrade as each level brings good bonuses.
  • Amber. I'm loving it. Not only does it provide you with ranged damage to execute targets trying to run away, it's also true damage. Meaning it can go through tank UDs and any kind of damage reduction. Its only issue is that it starts being useful from lvl 5 only.
  • Moonstone is your go-to for PVE, especially if you can make it lvl 5. Not particularly for the XP bonus, but for the SG consumption reduction!
  • Zircon... Simply don't use it on your Duelist. The critical damage boost it provides does not work on skills for your class (only daggers are the lucky ones), and as we discussed earlier, your class is about skills and spamming combos. You're never gonna use auto-attacks in PvP, and not enough in PvE to justify leveling one. Not worth it.


Talismans should be approached smartly, especially because of how hard and expensive it can get to make them.
It's up to you to decide when you've pushed your luck to its limits, or if there is still room for more. Here are the hardcaps you should aim for:

  • Aden Talisman +7 is where you get the final +50% XP bonus, alongside a ton of cool and useful stats. This is your main objective.
  • Eva Talisman +5 is a long term objective that brings different bonuses to make your life easier (mainly MP and Damage Reduction).
  • Speed Talisman +5 or above is not the easiest, but for sure the cheapest. Farm them weekly in Primeval Garden and keep pushing the enchant levels!
  • Talisman of Authority is definitely the toughest of the list, but also the one that will bring the most power to your Duelist: P.Atk, Skill Critical Damage and Skill Power. If there is one talisman you need to tryhard on, this is the one. Try to aim for +5.
  • Venir Talisman is an expensive one to make, you can buy daily fragments for 800k/u and slowly build your way up over-time. The bonuses on lv15 are worth it for any class, no exceptions.
  • Baium Talisman is another very useful item on the Duelist. Someday maybe? : )


Dyes & Tattoos
As we discussed earlier, Duelist is a damage dealer, not a tank. We want to prioritize STR to maximize our damage and take advantage of the steroids boosts that we have at our disposal, like War Cry for instance which gives you up to +40% P.Atk (meaning the higher your P.Atk, the more you will get out of this buff for instance). Once you reach 50 CON, you should start working your way up to 70 STR for the Skill Critical Damage bonus. To reach this goal you will want to use either STR+4/DEX-2 or STR+4/CON-2 Dyes.

  • STR+4/DEX-2 is the safest choice for PvP as your DEX doesn't matter that much when fighting other players.
  • STR+4/CON-2 is the optimal setup for PvE as it will maximize your dps, but you will feel more squishy during PvP (especially if it at first you have to settle for +4/-4 Dyes).


Anything else?
There are a few more items you will need to put your hands on:

  • Dragon Belt +5 is a must-have on any classes, especially melee ones. Not only is it a literal life-savior in PVP, it will also allow you to farm tougher areas thanks to the bonus HP you will get back when using potions. This is a priority.
  • Einhasad's Pendant level 2 or more will give you damage reduction amongst various bonuses. Damage Reduction is one of the most important stats of Essence because of how sustain-oriented the gameplay is on this version.
  • Cloak of Protection +7 and above will give you some nice critical bonuses that the previous levels don't.
  • Sigil. Majestic Sigil is a tough piece of equipment to find, but on top of the good defensive stats it provides, with some luck you can turn it into one of the most valuable item you could hope for thanks to Sigil LifeStones (Critical Damage Reduction, HP+2000, STR, etc).
  • Hat for the STR increase, but you probably guessed it already. You can grab up to +3 STR (1 point from the Hat itself, and 2 more from a LifeStone).



♣ How to play in PvP


Now to the interesting stuff. Because this is what matters in the end. You're not playing this class to hide in town, are you? You're a ferocious blood-thirsty beast!
Duelist is a great asset to have in any alliance when it comes to PvP. That being said, you will sometimes have to approach PvP in a completely different way depending on the scale and place of the PVP.
This is a class that mostly shines in small scales pvp, such as skirmishes, and struggles a lot more in mass teamfights where any misstep will lead to a certain death... We will break those down in a minute, but first, some important things to know:

  • Indestructible Sound is one of the strongest skills of the game, it can paralyze a target for up to 16 seconds but will also give immunity to debuffs and 20% damage reduction to the target for the duration of the debuff. (note that the skill is bugged at the moment. instead of the 20%, it is currently giving 50% damage reduction to the target. The issue has been reported). This is an absolute insane skill to prevent an enemy from escaping, to turn a 1v2 to your advantage, or even to take a healer out of a massive teamfight.
  • Sonic Barrier is another very strong skill, that will give you complete invulnerability for 10 seconds and allow you to safely engage/disengage any fight.
  • Make sure to save your Maximum Sonic Focus for one those two skills as they consume respectively 5 and 2 Momentum charges.
  • Sonic Rage is your main ranged damage skill. More than a 30% P.Def debuff, it also charges your momentum and deal a good amount of damage from a safe distance when you jumping inside the fight is not an option.
  • Sonic Blaster is your one and only stun after 76+. It has a 20 seconds cooldown so be cautious when you use it. This is the perfect skill to use on an over-extending mage or a squishy target such as a dagger trying to take your healer down.
  • Amazing Rising Attack should never be used in PvP. My eyes bleed everytime I see a Duelist using it on an enemy. At the moment, this skill deals -50% damage on PC targets (at this time it his unknown if this is intended or not, but the issue has been reported). It sure has a flashy/gorgeous animation, but PvP is unfortunately not a fashion show so I'd recommend you to simply dismiss it from your PvP skillbar.
  • Lionheart is an absolute treasure of a buff that will increase your resistance to debuffs, don't forget to use it when you're going to be exposed. You can couple it with Dual Weapon Defense which gives you 40% Physical Skill Evasion to boost your survivability.

And now, let's take a look at the 2 main types of PvP you'll encounter:

Duels and Skirmishes
Those are the situations on which the Duelist can reach it's full potential.
Your Sonic Move and Dash give you enough mobility to outrun pretty much any target. You can use Indestructible Sound to take one of your opponent out of the fight long enough to kill the remaining ones.
Your main DPS abilities are Triple Sonic Slash and Double Sonic Slash, and they deal a lot of damage on a very short cooldown. The only missing component of the Duelist is his lack of crow control, so if you ever find yourself in a position where you cannot output damage because your enemy is kiting away from you: try to stall the fight with LionHeart or Barrier until your only CC's are ready to use, or simply assist your team on the targets they manage to pull or immobilize.
This is pretty much the strategy you want to adopt in Olympiad as well, pick the targets you can actually kill efficiently, your damage is too valuable to be wasted by running around or chasing that 285 movement speed SoulHound in brigandine.

Duelist is also one of the best classes regarding solo ganks! Because of your high mobility, it is very easy to cover a whole area in a short amount of time, and kill an enemy before he has time to realize what's going on.
You can also use your paralyze to prevent them from escaping once you made sure to use your debuffs first (use Sonic Rage and other debuffs before paralyzing them with Indestructible Sound, as it will render the enemy invulnerable to subsequent debuffs). If it turns out the enemy has reinforcements nearby, you should easily be able to escape with your barrier/sprint/dash like the real road runner you are!


Mass Teamfights
This is where you need to be careful with your character. No matter your amount of HP, Special HP Potions, or whatever gear you have will save you if you rush head first into 40 enemies ready to chew you up and spit you right back to village.
It can be nearly impossible for you to play as a pure melee damage dealer during fights that take place out of the scope of open-areas. Fighting in close-quarters (like Baium stairs and Core room) or in tight corridors will often reduce the role of the Duelist to a Utility Damage Dealer because of how dangerous it becomes to get too close.


...But that doesn't mean you have to be useless and wait for your team to carry you!
During those mass pvp, you belong in the frontline, right behind the Tanks and the Death Knights. Your job is to assist them whenever they pull a target and make sure to kill them instantly with your TSS/DSS combo. So stay near them, spam Sonic Rage and Blasters on the enemies over-extending, and help your team get rid of whoever is threatening your backline while the DK's and Tanks pull juicy targets for you to swallow whole.
Your Sonic Barrier is also great way to engage a teamfight, or to open up the way for your teammates. You can use it to temporarily soak up damage and allow your frontline to move forwards while enemies are vainly focusing on you (make sure to be flagged when doing this so enemies using /targetnext can target you).
You should also always be on the look-out for opportunities to make use of your Indestructible Sound. This is an extremely powerful skill that as a game-changing potential if you manage to use it against a key target (such as a strong mage or a healer).


♣ Tips & Tricks




 

That's it for now guys! Thanks for reading this guide, I hope it helped.
There is much more to find out about this class, so try things out, experiment, and let me know here or in-game if you have questions/feedback.
I will keep on updating this guide so it stays relevant over the upcoming updates. Enjoy!

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