Albatross
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Build summary PvP focused Spell-Sword whose play-style revolves around pressuring foes into making mistakes, and then swiftly killing them.
Recommended starting class(es) Priest
Recommended Soul Level 123

Recommended stats (Leave at default (**) if not raised)

Vitality 45
Will/Intelligence 30
Endurance 34
Strength 14
Dexterity **
Magic 45
Faith 18
Luck **
Recommended equipment

Weapons

Right Hand 1 - Moon Guillotine Axe (or other Moon Weapon)
Right Hand 2 - Kris Blade
Left Hand 1 - Insanity Catalyst
Left Hand 2 - ToB

Thrown Weapon: Kunai

Armor

Binded/Old King armor sets, Monk's Head Collar/Silver Coronet

Rings

Soul Form:

Ring 1 - Friend/Foe Ring
Ring 2 - Cling Ring
(Both of these rings are standard for Soul form, no other combo works nearly as well)

Body Form:

Ring 1 - Eternal Warrior's Ring - Faster stamina regeneration, which is very useful.
Ring 2 - Ring of Magical Sharpness - For the extra damage (replaces Friend/Foe ring, since they are unusable in Body form).
(RoMS is mandatory, but EWR can be switched out for something like a Ring of Magical Nature, if you're really determined to have that extra spell slot)

Recommended spells/miracles

Spells:

Fireball - A powerful spell with a fairly large explosion radius. Use it unlocked and the radius of the explosion will increase, which often confuses advanced players who think they know the radius of the spell. The downside to this is that aiming is hard unlocked, so you'll have to practice it quite a lot before you get it right. Until then, this spell is still great to use on opponents rising up after being knocked down. Be careful, however, as using this technique too many times in a row will cause your enemy to expect it and thus dodge more easily out of it's radius.

Ignite - Perfect in close combat. It's one of the hardest spells to use, and you will be frustrated by it in the beginning. Keep practicing until you get a feel for the range at which you should cast it. It can be used against players who run right at you, as the spell will hit them as they hit you. Although you'll still take damage, the power of Ignite makes it so that your enemy will take more damage then you.

Fire Spray - Although the low damage deters people, this spell is incredibly useful in this build. It's purpose is to keep up pressure on your opponents, hopefully causing them to act stupid and make a mistake. It can also be used as a perfect chain into Fireball or into Ignite, as the casting animations look similar but the results are very different.

Death Cloud - Your best cloud spell, this one gives foes the plague. Plague reduces stamina regeneration, reduced healing obtained from grass, and does some damage. The damage is not important - what is important is the pressure factor. This build is all about pressuring foes into making foolish mistakes, and status effects are just another way to accomplish that.

Poison Cloud - Not as good as Death Cloud, but still an option. Damages foes and reduces healing received from grass.

Acid Cloud - Although seemingly useless except to annoy people, Acid Cloud has some nice bonuses to it. The main thing is that most players will not willingly run into an Acid Cloud unless they have very high durability, and even then it's unlikely. This means that casting Acid Cloud can give you some breathing space when you start to feel pressured or need some grass, or even just time to plan out your next move. This is breathing room factor also applies to the other Cloud spells, but this one is usually the most hated. If you break someone's equipment, however, expect hate mail. WARNING! WARNING!: This spell is generally frowned upon by the community. I do not use it personally, and merely put it here as a reference. Please, only use this spell against trolls (we know who you are).

Homing Soul Arrow - Although undoubtedly the single most powerful spell (or close to it (firestorm may win out)) in your arsenal, the HSA is very, very easy to dodge: advanced players will easily dodge every time they see it, making it a very difficult spell to use. Of course, if your lucky and hit them without a shield up, chances are you'll instantly kill them, even so much as going through their SC like it's not there (especially true with ICat and Kris Blade). In order to increase your odds of hitting someone with it, try to use it in conjunction with other spells or with weapon attacks. For instance: You cast HSA, foe prepares to dodge, during the beginning of his dodge you cast Fireball, he dodges HSA but gets smacked by Fireball, which is powerful enough on it's own. Another tip, as proposed by Hoof, is to close the gap with your foe after casting HSA and then focus completely on melee. Either your enemy will be hit by HSA or your Moon weapon, and the closer distance makes it harder to dodge. Of course, moves like these will only work so many times against one foe. Try to mix it with your own ideas. It's a hard spell to use, but some prefer this to others, so I'm keeping it up as an option.

Miracles:

Second Chance - Having 150% health is hard to beat, and SC does just that. Standard on most competitive PvP builds. BE WARNED: Re-castings of SC are generally frowned upon in PvP, especially in 1v1 duels.

Gameplay tips and progression

Play-style Summary:

The Albatross is a variation of the basic Spell-sword, but, unlike its predecessor, this build focuses on pressuring the enemy with status effects, high damage spells, and guerilla tactics in order to force them into making a mistake, which should then result in their death with a well placed series of spells and/ or weapon combos.

The beginning of all fights is an Stage 1, Appetizers. Upon invading, or being invaded, your first priority should be to cast Second Chance. This is your most basic survival ability, which is why you should always have it on, when you can. Although seemingly obvious, you will want to start off with your ToB. Besides the obvious fact that you need it to use miracles, the ToB doesn't cut your mana in half, so use it for the rest of the fight until your MP gets to half or you no longer want to use Spice. Once you've spotted your prey, you have several options for your first move. One of the best ways to start is with a Death Cloud or Baby's Nail stab. These spells/weapons inflict plague, the most hated of all status effects. If your facing a cautious opponent who won't come close enough to be infected, then you should use another technique such as Fire Spray to make him/her angry and try to attack you, which you should then use to your advantage and infect them when they run towards you.

With Stage 1 done, we enter Stage 2, the Main Course. While in this section of your battle you will use all your spells available as well as weapons in order to try to make your enemy slip up, giving you a chance to move on to phase 3. Try to keep your plague on the foe as much as often, but don't spam Death Cloud or go all crazy with your Baby's Nail. As before, use Fire Spray to berserk your enemy and lure him in. Chaining your Fire Spray into an Ignite or Fireball can be especially effective. Also remember your HSA combos, if your using it. I'll post more tactics in a bit, but for now, lets go to stage 3.

Stage 3 is Dessert time. This occurs when your opponent has either made a fatal flaw, leaving him open, or has low enough health that a single stun-lock combo or spell blast will put him/her out of his/her misery. Make sure to switch to ICat when you sense this coming up (breaking their Second Chance is a good sign) as you'll need the extra spell damage to finish your foe off.

The Final Stage, 4, is the Complimentary Mint. Make sure to take a low bow for your dead opponent, unless he/she was a troll (we still know who you are!) in which case, you should cheer stupendously. If you are the dead one ("But the purpose of any build is to never die, Mr. Ace!" Not true, Whiny-guy. In the beginning, we all die a lot (I still am), but the good thing about losing is that you learn more from a loss than a victory) then take this time to contemplate why you lost and they won. It's not just because your a beginner, or because they're so much better: there's a reason for every loss and every victory, so think about what you did wrong and what you did right. If you come up with any good tips, tricks, or tactics that work well with this build and that I have not already described, then please PM me or post them in the comments. And remember one last thing: never give up because you lost. Your losses should be the things that propel you to great victories.

Other Tactics to mix in:

Turtling: Most people associate turtling with shields, which is often true, but doesn't have to be. Turtling is merely going purely defensive: making no offensive actions against your foe unless they attack you first. In this build, that means you'll be doing nothing until your opponent gets mad and rushes you. This is often times more effective against new players than old, as experienced players know not to fall for the trap laid by turtlers. This technique cannot force enemies into action, which means it will take longer to wait for the moment to strike, but that wait can be worth it. One last thing: please, for the love of god, don't keep turtling if your foe does not respond. These matches will last until one person finally goes crazy and either suicides or pulls the internet plug. Please, do not do this.

Stats Explained:

Vit - About standard amount of health, 40 is the absolute lowest you can go.
Int - Lowest you can go with ICat is about 30; If you like, you can drain some points from Vit and End to push this to 40 for 6 spell slots, but that will cause you to rely more on spell damage.
End - About standard for a melee build.
Str: For Guillie 2h, along with other 2h weapons. Adjust as you prefer.
Dex: Do not raise unless you want to use a Dex based Moon weapon (Uchigatana, for example).
Magic: 40 is standard for 120ish PvP with a magic using build. I like the extra 5 for a little extra punch, for spells/weapons.
Faith: For SC ToB. 16 is standard for 120 PvP.
Luck: Don't touch it, please.

Weapon Choices Explained:

Guillotine Axe - I love it for it's 2h stun-locking combo, as well as its latent ability to chomp through shields, but you may dislike it. As stated before, you may switch it out for another weapon, as long as you change the stats accordingly.

Kris Blade is necessary when you want to really to go for the kill with magic damage. It's perfect to use when you have a status effect of your enemy and are fairly sure that they're going to use a lotus/grass.

Insanity Catalyst and ToB - "ICat and ToB?!! THIS GUY IS CRAZY!" Well, hold you horses loud-voice-guy. Although they both accomplish basically the same thing, they work very beautifully in conjunction, as pointed out by my good friend Goebel. You start off with your ToB for the full mana pool and ability to cast SC right off the bat. Then, as the fight progresses, you switch to your ICat once your mana is at as close to half as possible. This way, you won't lose out on the extra mana by starting out with your ICat, and you've also managed to make your foe think your spells hit for much less than they can (since your ToB will do less damage than your ICat). Use this idea with the Kris Blade (By only switching to your Kris Blade when you pull your ICat out) and your enemy will be in for an even bigger surprise.

Kunai - "But this isn't a real weapon, Ace!". Stop complaining, Picky-guy. This weapon may not take up a Hand slot, but I consider it a powerful weapon, nevertheless. The main purpose of your devious Kunai is to interrupt foes who are trying to heal. This is also useful against those who try to get rid of your plague (once you infect them). Don't give them the chance! Throw a Kunai to interrupt them and then quickly run in to pressure your opponent into moving away, and hopefully making them realize the futility of trying to heal/remove plague. As a delicious bonus, your Kunai also have a chance (although very small) to inflict your enemy with poison. Although not as strong as plague, the two together will only amplify your opponents distress, especially if that particular Kunai stopped him/her from healing.

Other Weapons to Consider:

Dark Silver Shield (DSS) can be useful against magic enemy's or for the occasional parry opportunity. Not necessary, but good. Boost your Str to 16 if you want to use it.

Kite Shield - According to Monsieur Goebel, this is a great shield that you can use without having to put any more points in Str. You lose out on magic defense, but the high Guard Break Reduction (75%, to the DSS''s 65%) makes it a pretty fair tradeoff. Personally, I prefer the Knight's Shield, but the extra Str is a price to consider.

Adjudicator's Shield - THIS IS NOT A SHIELD FOR BLOCKING! Don't be confused, this shield's only purpose is to be slapped on your back when you 2H your Guillie (or whatever weapon you choose) as the extra health regeneration is nice. It's not as amazing as when combined with a Regenerator's Ring and a Blessed weapon, but in long fights with limited grass, this shield can make all the difference.

Baby's Nail - If you choose not to use Death Cloud, you should probably consider a Baby's Nail. It's not as reliable, but it's usually easier to hit someone with (although it's harder to infect when it does hit). I prefer Death Cloud, but they both have their pros and cons.

Great Axe (Moon) - With nice 1H knock-back attacks, a killer Area of Effect roll attack, and Hyper-armor, this weapon is definitely a great option for those of you who prefer melee over magic. If you do choose to use it, you will have to boost your Strength to at least 18 so you can 2H it, and it's highly suggested that you also bump your End up to (or as close to as you can) 40. This is because the Great Axe is a Stamina drainer, and without max stamina you might be out of stamina more often then you want. Also, please remember that constantly rolling and spamming your roll attack is highly frowned upon by the PvP community. It's ok to use it once or maybe twice in a row, but any more than that and you risk the red hot brand of "Troll" being burned into the figurative forehead of your PSN. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Stormruler - Mostly a "for fun" weapon, you shouldn't normally be using this build. The fun thing about Stormruler is that it's attacks have insane knock-back: so much so that you can send foes flying of cliffs (YOU WILL GET HATE MAIL), or at least buy yourself some time to heal and prepare the next attack. If you have a friend with you who also has a Stormruler, and a fairly open space, then you can actually play "ping-pong" with your opponents, and kill them at your leisure (EVEN MORE HATE MAIL). You can use it if you want to focus on spells, but you will have to give up either your Kris Blade or Moon Weapon, each of them being hard to give up.

Good Luck Out There, Albatrosses!!! (And the rest of you Non - Albatrosses >_>)

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