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So now that we’ve taken a look at the different Pet and Ability classes and broken down some ideal compositions for PVP and PVE Pet Battles, it’s time we take a bit of a closer look at the battles themselves and what you need to be aware of going into a pet battle, whether it’s going after wild pets or PVP.
PVE PET BATTLES:
In PVE, battles are a bit unpredictable. When dealing with wild pet encounters, it’s pretty hard to prepare when you have one or two other pets that may join the wild pet’s side that you can’t evaluate first. Fortunately, these pet types often don’t deviate far from the standard for the zone you’re in. For example, if the zone you’re in typically has Beast, Flying and Aquatic pets, the “mystery pets” will generally be of one of those types.
The best thing you can do is prepare your party for the wildlife of the zone. A zone like Stranglethorn Vale is generally going to comprise of the three pet types I indicated above – Beast, Flying and Aquatic – with the occasional Critter thrown in. This means you should design a party that can support that. However, because leveling pets is a somewhat involved process, until you’re much deeper into the battle system, you probably won’t have a full roster of level 20 pets of all classes to choose from. Therefore, you need to be efficient.
Remember the cardinal rule of Pet Battles: end the fight as quickly as possible. The less damage you take, the less downtime you have.
So using the compositions we discussed earlier, it’s now a matter of approaching the battle itself. Unlike PVP, wild pet encounters follow a specific formula: you engage the first pet, fight it until it dies, then fight the next pet in line. The only exception to this is if you severely stun a pet, they may swap out. This doesn’t happen all too often, so you’re basically just going down the line.
It’s important to avoid challenging wild pets that are more than one level higher than your team’s average level. These pets can hit hard and you’ll find that even a 3-on-2 situation can quickly tilt in the wild pet’s favor if you miss a few key attacks, so try to keep the levels as even as humanly possible.
In fact, a good tip is to approach pet leveling the same way you approach regular leveling. The most efficient way to level is to stay in a zone at or slightly under your current level. This gives you reasonable experience without the severe risk of dying. Same goes for pet battles. For example, if your pets are between levels 8-10, you might be inclined to do some farming in the Cape of Stranglethorn, but you might find it easier to stay up in Northern STV or even in Duskwood until you have a decent team.
When it comes to the actual battles themselves, managing your swaps and speed is important. Only swap when you need to, not necessarily because it will give you a bonus to your attack. The ideal times to swap:
- When your pet is nearly dying
- When your pet is weak to the opponent’s attacks
That means, even in cases where your ATTACKS are weak but you don’t take increased damage, you might want to consider leaving your pet in. This all depends on the level difference and other factors, but swapping a pet out causes you lose turns and puts your opponent up significantly, so be sure to only do it when necessary.
Maintaining the speed advantage is helpful, too. Some pets even gain a benefit when they have the speed advantage, so use any slowing skills or speed increase abilities you may have whenever you’re on the back foot.
PVP PET BATTLES:
Most of what I talked about in PVE Pet Battles will apply here, too, except for one key area (which we talked about last time): composition. You never really know what other players will have, so you can’t really prepare for it, you just need to have the most ideal team composition available. Beyond that, a player will react very differently to the AI when it comes to swapping pets and using abilities.
A good strategy is to try and lock-down a pet or stun it early. Spiders often have the ability to web a pet in place, which gives you the opportunity to swap out a pet with +damage which can make quick work of it, even if you do take a bit of damage. Self-healing or team-healing spells are also great to have for PVP, they just require good timing. Beyond that, actively swapping is actually encouraged here, just don’t overdo it.
A player will likely want their own +damage pet in play, so countering that is important. If you find yourself stuck in a swap cycle with another player, a neutral pet is a good way to break the flow. Or, at the very least, a pet that can stun or block the opponent. Whatever you can do.
Just like PVE, speed is very important. The first strike is always useful, especially for the benefit it gives to some abilities. Beyond that, it can often give you the advantage of two or more strikes before your opponent even has the chance to react.
The key to PVP battles is patience. Don’t try to rush to victory blindly, because it may cost you. Try to react wisely to your opponent’s play and whittle them down.
Frankly, PVP Pet Battles are a game of understanding your individual pet’s attacks and the ideal times in which to use them. Some attacks are beneficial to pop early so they’ll be reach for a 2nd time either when the first pet dies or to help finish a pet off, whereas some abilities are best left ‘til the later part of the fight.
Next time, we’ll take a look at a few sample pets and break down their abilities and some common ways to use them in battle.