The basis of all combat is one versus one fighting and as such one will have to be moderately accomplished at fighting in a duel to be able to succeed anywhere else. As a caveat I will add here that the guide reflects my experiences, opinions and thought process and might not be outright applicable to everyone.Rule number 1 of dueling
: keep more of an eye on the enemy than yourself so that you know what he is doing and thinking, because if you get to caught up in your own doing and thinking he will simply do something that you never expected and your most masterful feint will be all in vain.Rule number 2 of dueling
: If it works it's good, don't mind what everyone else says. A few of my favourite tricks that I used when dueling a year ago in MM were stuff I picked up from some of the worst people I dueled. Infact they were so bad that they had no idea of what they were doing, but they managed to kill me precisely because they acted so irrationally, the key is to understand what it is they are doing, fit it into a formalised understanding of the game mechanics, and know in what situations to employ it. So if someone is calling you a spammer, or whatever, don't mind them, just try to understand in what situations your spamming works and in what situations it doesn't work and make sure to only spam when it works.
When starting a duel you should always block their first stab when moving into the fight, it's safer and that way there are no accidents (of course everyone cannot block first, and as such what this trying to convey is that you should not go in with the intent to end it quickly by doing something that I would like to call jousting). Furthermore you should never assume that they will stab a certain way, instead go in without a block, but with the intent to block, the lack of block is also likely to incite a clean and easy stab to block which is the safest way to innitiate a 1v1. Once the 1v1 fight has been initiated the question you should ask yourself is whether or not the oponent is any good, because that determines the approach you will take to the rest of the fight, while trying to work this out usually it's prudent to exchange a few normal semi-held stabs into the enemy's block to see how the reacts to that. Using the enemy's reactions to categorise what kind of techniques he uses to kill his enemies. I will list the techniques and their counters after having explained a very important concept:Attack priority
. A concept that I probably should have explained alot earlier on in the guide is attack priority. Attack priority can be described as whoever can attack the opponent quicker from the particular scenario i.e. if both players were to initiate and/or release their attacks at that very second and guide them into the oponent as quickly as possible the one who would land the attack first has attack-priority. Since the other attack will be canceled (except some random incidents with cavalry) the one with attack-priority can attack with impunity should he wish since his offensive strength also serves as his defence. The concept sounds fairly simple but in practice an imense number of variables will have an input into who truly has attack priority and being able to estimate attack priority is something one can only learn with time. Generally speaking, you will hold attack priority if you start an attack directly after having blocked, you do not necessarily have to let go of the stab though since you will still have attack priority from the situation of holding your stab to his not having started moving his attack back. Patience&Simplicity
: chanses are that alot of players are not that strong blockers, and as such by playing it safe and keeping things simple you simply outlast them when they stumble on their own attempts at doing something fancy when it comes to killing you. What this translates to in practice is just blocking the enemies stabs, keeping the enemy infront of you and doing quick stabs after you have blocked. This should be your primary mode of fighting at all times, with fancier stuff added in from time to time.Held stabs&wiggling&dolphining
: essentially all techniques designed to delay the time it takes from when the animation to prepare your stab starts and the impact of the actual stab. The reason for this is twofold, first and foremost it stops people from chambering you, but it also has the additional use of 'breaking the timing', alot of new (and old) players habe a built in timer in their muscle memory that says block now-attack now regardless of what's happening on the screen, making them release their block prematurely becaue according to that timer it's attacking time for them already. The danger here is that you lose attention on what the enemy is doing and overhold your stab and the enemy gets away with doing an attack even when they do not have attack priority. Remeber rule number 1 of dueling!Feinting
: Feinting does the same thing as the held stab, it says: your turn to attack, when it infact is not. However, it adds a few more triggers to the sensation people feel when it comes to releasing their block it adds sound as well as a visual trigger to it which means that more people will be caught out. On the other hand it also has the benefit that you can repeatedly change your attack direction to confuse your enemy about the direction you will attack from to the point where they will be wrong blocking by the time your stab is hitting them. To feint simply start an attack, and tap right mousebutton to cancel the attack a bit into the stab and innitiate a new one. Feinting does leave you a tad more vulnerable than held stabs, because of the nature of a feint there is a slight moment when you the enemy can initiate an attack and get attack priority over you, this is VERY dependant on positioning and as a rule of thumb people who know how to do that are far and few between. Another word of warning when it comes to feinting is to not feint too much or people will initiate their stab, and hit you anyway because you are just repeatedly canceling your stab. Always remember rule number 1 of dueling!Chambering
: Chambering is when you initiate a stab just when the enemy stab is coming towards, this cancels out the enemy stab with a blocklike noise, giving you attack priority since your stab is almost halfway towards them already. The downstab chamber is unblockable in many situations, but this is highly dependant positioning. Chambering is incredibly risky, because not only does it require you to time it right but also if you telegraph that you will be chambering the enemy (if competent) will just hold his stab resulting in you being rather dead. As a rule of thumb, do not try to chamber upstabs as often because they are less unblockable, and the hitbox is a bit off so that it's quite hard to actually aim your screen for the chamber. Downstabs on the otherhand are quite worthwhile to chamber due to the degree they are unblockable as well as the fact that they are easier to chamber.Strafing
: Another way that works quite well in NW, although a bit risky is the rightstrafe-turn and spam. Due to the lackluster collision mesh of the up and downstab and the slow turningspeed on can, by moving right, avoid quite alot of stabs aimed at you simply because it is impossible to turn that far quick enough. The danger of this of course is evident in the fact that if you are not moving correctly and far enough you will get stabbed while not attempting to block, another obvious counter to this is people who swipe left to right instead of right to left in which case you walk into their attack rather than away from it.Kicking
: Kicking someone successfully will stun them for a second making them unable to block resulting in you getting in a free stab on them, the shortcoming of kicking is the very short range of it, your inability to move or turn when kicking and your inability to block down. So all in all kicking is a high risk-high reward move. To avoid being kicked simply do not facehug. You should not be facehugging anyway, but kicking makes it extra dangerous.
The reason why a fairly simple playingstyle should be your basis is because you will become harder to read. If you constantly are feinting someone will just take a calculated risk and stab when you are doing a feint not caring to try to follow the feints with their block, or if you always are chambering it is fairly easy to do held stabs against you and kill you. By having a fairly simple non-accident prone base playstyle that you occasionally spicce up by adding in these elements you will be much harder to read with the added benefit that it will catch people off guard giving the techniques a higher successratio when it come to hitting the enemy.
Now having mentioned the techniques and their weaknesses it's just a case of getting a feel for what the enemy is doing out of this and applying appropriate counter measures depeding on what the enemy is doing.
Footwork is also crucial in duels, it is the thing determining the outcome of many of these techniques as well as how damage calculations work out. As a rule of thumb you want to be moving forward when you are attacking and backwards when you are defending. The reason for this is two-fold, first of all you want to maximize the speedbonus when you are attacking to do as much damage as possible should you succeed with the stab and vice-versa when defending. The second reason has to do with timing, due to the nature of stabs the closer you are to the target the faster you will connect your attack, and accordingly the time your opponent has to block will be shortened accordingly. Other things to keep in mind with footwork, usually by strafing right moving in a circle around your opponent will give you more time to react to stabs and will give you a chanse of getting poked because it's so late into the attack that you get hit. Something that you never should do in a 1v1 is to follow your opponent around when he is backpedaling. Due to the nature of stabs backpedaling will always give you an advantage, because the backpedaler is in charge of when to turn giving them attack priority when they turn. The reason why you shouldn't be backpedaling is twofold though, first and foremost there's nothing that forces your enemy to follow you, and if your success is pending on the enemy following you you are in a bit of a pickle when the enemy just stands still. As an effect of this if a groupfight is infact a series of 1v1s you by backpedaling away risk the enemy peeling off from you and going and double-teaming one of your friends, which is unfortunate for your friend as well as you, since you're next in line to be double teamed.
Damage maximization, so you have managed to successfully land a hit but the enemy didn't die, the enemy then hits you and you die outright. It's gotten worse since MM and in a sense damage is very random in NW, which is unfortunate for competitive play, however, there are a few things you can do to maximize damage. Tying in with the above paragraph about footwork the thing you want to do is make sure that you are moving forward to get the speedbonus, you should also take care to hit in the sweetspot (i.e. the time in the attack when you do the maximum amount of damage), which generally is towards the middle of the attack. You should also hold your attack for a while in order for it to get a damage bonus, beware though, the bonus shrinks if you overhold it! Aiming for the head since successfully hitting the head carries a damage bonus. All in all if you can get the speedbonus and sweetspot right chanses are that you will be onehitting people, but getting so when the enemy is actively trying to fight you is easier said than done, and you should except having to stab someone atleast twice.
Do's and don'ts:
Do hold your stab.
Don't chamber again after a succesful chamber, people will expect it.
Do hold your stab after having successfully chambered, alot of people will think: I'll shot that turd how to really chamber".
Don't stab again after having been stabbed.
Do stab again after having successfully stabbed someone.
Do kick someone if they are facehugging you.
Don't kick if you are walking forward.
Do block until you hear the sound.
Do hold your rechambers.
Do the dolphin.
Post scriptum, alot of the stuff here is fairly basic, drawing on my experience in duelling a year ago or so, and as such some of it's value may have diminished since then.
Post post scriptum:Attack priority
A concept that I probably should have explained alot earlier on in the guide is attack priority. Attack priority can be described as whoever can attack the opponent quicker from the particular scenario i.e. if both players were to initiate and/or release their attacks at that very second and guide them into the oponent as quickly as possible the one who would land the attack first has attack-priority. Since the other attack will be canceled (except some random incidents with cavalry) the one with attack-priority can attack with impunity should he wish since his offensive strength also serves as his defence. The concept sounds fairly simple but in practice an imense number of variables will have an input into who truly has attack priority and being able to estimate attack priority is something one can only learn with time. Generally speaking, you will hold attack priority if you start an attack directly after having blocked, you do not necessarily have to let go of the stab though since you will still have attack priority from the situation of holding your stab to his not having started moving his attack back.When to break attack priority
. Attack priority makes a duel fairly predictable because it gives both parties a certain timer that they can follow telling them whether or not they are defensive or offensive. However, as with art the masters can break the rules and get away with it. Breaking attack priority is something that can be used to great effect against people as long as you know that it is a bit of a gamble at most times. I personally use mainly two ways of breaking obvious attack priorities. I shall name them positional attack priority and complacency-based attack priority. The former abuses the fact that the turningspeed with a held attack is so low, so if someone does a bit of a spin with a stab held I generally throw in an uncermonious quick stab at their back and hope for the best. A different way of positional attack priority breaking is simply by backing off a tad, so that you are out of range of his stab, this means that he cannot stab you at a point in time, you then use this time to initiate a stab, and then come back into range with the stab already going out, this means that you have now stolen attack priority from your target, this is, however, rather obvious and few if any decent players will fall for it. The other way of breaking attack priority is achieved when the enemy holds his stab for a long period of time, with you holding the corresponding block, after a while people tend to get sloppy and will react slowly to a quick stab from you. This is a risky move though, and it is best combined with a bit of manouvering to make the slow turnspeed work in your favour a bit.Groupfighting while outnumbering
. Since I wasn't too shabby at groupfighting while outnumbering (who isn't though
) I thought I could add a small section with a few hints on it. When I am in a groupfighting situation where I outnumber the enemy I generally tend to use the following techniques to finish them off as quickly and safely as possible. The quite simplest way is to walk up to an enemy that is occupied to the front and stab them in the back. Since most people move around while fighting this is of course easier said than done. The most important thing to keep in mind is that good groupfighters feed of the hubris of those who outnumber them, people get careless and greedy when they outnumber the enemy 3 to 1, and as such they fail to protect themselves and are more open to getting killed. In order to work around this you ought to adopt a mindset where you assume that you are fighting someone like Ward, Chibbi, Sid or Evan at any given time, and always be prepared to block when coming in, even when it seems as if you are undetected. Furthermore, you might want to assume that they will lunge for you when you are coming in and pre-empt their lunge by lunging even earlier, the point being that you will have attack priority in the case that he does lunge for you, and if he doesn't there is no harm done as long as you know how to come into a fight and how to direct your stabs around your allies (and assuming your allies have rational footwork).
When in a fight against a single opponent it depends a bit on whether or not you are on teamspeak and you are used to fighting with the ally. If your ally is your friend you should by all means go for the up-stab down-stab combination which will make murder with anyone and everyone if executed correctly (which is the tricky bit of course). The rationale being that you cannot block two directions at once so one of the stabs will land. The best tip I can give you of achieving a situation like this is simply by blocking one attack from the lone guy, whoever blocked then prepares a down-attack, forcing the lone guy into blocking down and the other ally will go for an up-attack and after that both up-stab and down-stab are released simultaneously resulting in the demise of the lone guy. To pull it off like this footwork is key and generally you will want to make sure that one player isn't blocking the other, so if your ally is moving right you should move left and vice versa.
Footwork in a 2v1 is the most crucial part regardless of whether or not you know your ally, because improper footwork will result in teamkills, unessecary deaths and wasted time. Brilliant footwork will even mean that timing and attack diretion won't matter because you cannot block to your back.
When not knowing your allies I generally try to use them as meatshields, and attacking around them. The idea is that if your enemy holds his stab and is facing your opponent and your in an angle where your opponent would have to hit through your ally to hit you you are free to attack (if your ally blocks fine, if your ally doesn't block he still keeps you safe and enables you to kill the opponent). This is doubly effective because your ally is keeping you safe, while your ally is also serving as a distraction for the enemy since if the enemy attacks your ally, he is open for your attack. As a rule of thumb it is easier to attack around an ally who is slightly to the left of you because of how the bayonet originates outwards from the right part of your body. Beware, good people will spam a few attacks if they land a hit and generally if you are not very quick with attacking from cover or trying to backstab someone after they got a kill you might find yourself dead instead.
Groupfigting when outnumbered isn't my forté and as such I cannot comment too much on it, I will just quickly put in a couple of hints that I know work, but as always the devil is in the execution. The first one is exploatation of the hubris of a group, people who outnumber you are likely to think your easy pickings and feel safer, making for easier kills. You can abuse this by looking as if you intend to attack one target but then quickly change target to someone who is greedy and open, for instance by doing a quick spin, or attacking around the guy infront of you (who is blocking) into a guy behind him who is not blocking nor expecting to block (this is easier to do against a guy to the right of the guy infront of you due to bayonets originating from the right side of your body.) The second trick while outnumbered is to simply keep one of your enemies inbetween you and the other enemy, that way you are only fighting one guy at once rather than two, making surviving significantly easier.