The Misfit's Guide to Bleeding Edge (3): Team Compositions
If you have taken the time to read the 1st 2 chapters of the Misfit's Guide, then that means that you're motivated to learn more about Bleeding Edge and become a master at it. If you haven't yet but you're interested, feel free to check out the guide(s) on fundamentals and mechanics.
With that being said, welcome back to the Misfit's Guide
This chapter of the guide will divide the concept of team comps into the following 2 sub-units:
- How to build a good team composition
- The value of some individual fighter picks in a team composition
Some examples of compositions might be mentioned, but this guide is in no way a directory of all the viable compositions. Rather it will try to give a few guidelines to help you get creative from there and form your own teams.
BUILDING A TEAM COMPOSITION:
The 1st things one should know about the creation of a good team comp are the absolute essential components, and these are:
- The frontline
- The support
- A gameplan
The frontline is (as the name suggests) tasked with being the fighter(s) to stand at the front, and be the ones to start the team fights by going in 1st and allowing the rest of their team to follow. The frontline is also your main line of defense when your team is being engaged on. Picture them like the flag carrier that your team should gather around and pay attention to the calls of.
The fighters that make for a good frontline are usually the tanks, with the slight exception of Mekko who would benefit from another frontliner to take some of the pressure off of them. Nidhöggr can also be considered a good frontliner since he has very high hp and good sustain thanks to his passive.
A player that is a good frontliner is a player that is not only mechanically gifted, but a good shotcaller on top of that. As the frontliner you want to think of yourself as the captain leading the charge and taking charge when your team is being attacked.
Without a frontline, your play-style will at least resemble guerilla tactics if you know what you are doing, meaning you'd be looking to quickly eliminate single out of position targets and avoiding prolonged teamfights. On the other hand if you don't realize what it means to not have a frontline; your fights will be extremely chaotic. You'll expect one of your melee fighters to pressure the free firing enemy gizmo or the shredder spamming enemy Nidhöggr, while the melee fighters will be waiting for literally anyone to engage on to the enemy team so they can follow and do their job (which will basically never happen).
Thus it is important to understand the conditions that will unlock your team composition, and these conditions can also be referred to as your Gameplan.
Some active members of the community that are very good frontline mains who you can ask for further advice and guidance are TheMythic and LoudJules they're super nice and will be able to provide more insight than me.
The support is in my opinion the single most important member of the team. Their job is to keep their team alive during fights, with (again) the slight exception of Kulev who plays a more complicated role which we will elaborate on later in the guide.
If we say the team should look at the frontline to know when to fight, then they should look at the support to know when to retreat. Ideally the support will be positioned at the backline and when you see them backing off and turning around to give minimal healing just to turn around again; that is them telling you to slowly retreat, so wrap it up and disengage.
As we've briefly mentioned in previous guides, the supports are usually the enemy team's priority kill target, so a player that is a good support, is a player that understands the concept of positioning very well, is mechanically gifted (very important to be good at parrying) and capable of defending themselves while also focusing on giving their team the buffs that they require.
As the support, it is (in most cases) your own responsibility to stay alive. If you get picked out of position; that's your fault. If you get eliminated at the start of the fight; that's you needing more practice in defending yourself. It only becomes the team's responsibility to look out for you once the fight has gone on for a bit, or when the enemy team is fiercly pushing forward trying to get to you. However, that's in terms of staying alive. If you're also expected to heal and do your job as the support, it becomes the team's responsibility to peel for you, so if you're too busy fighting off the enemy Cass/Maeve that is being ignored by everybody and chasing you around the whole time, it's your team's job to come peel for you (and also punish the solo cass/maeve for being in your backline).
Unlike the case with the frontline; there is no play-style or tactic for a team with no support. None.
Active members of the community that are very good supports who you can ask for further advice and guidance are Zero8533 and The Aladeen they're super nice and will be able to provide more insight than me.
The gameplan is like we've said earlier; the conditions that should be met in order for your team comp to be unlocked and function well. For example, if your team comp has a Daemon, then you should be aware that he's an assassin that excels in eliminating the backline, so the gameplan (or at least an example of a gameplan in this case) is to create situations in which the enemy team is occupied fighting, which creates an opening for him to go straight for the enemy backline and destroy it. Or if your comp has a maeve, a gameplan is to try and unlock her through allowing her to get most of the kills.
I suggest you read the Misfit's Guide on fundamentals so you can develop a better idea of what each fighter excels at or needs, so you can end up forming your gameplan when you see them in the game.
After we've covered the essential picks of a team composition (in form of frontline and support), we can now move on to fill the slots that will give your team extra edge/safety/utility/etc. but this requires us to keep a very important concept in mind, which is that there should be a good balance between ranged and melee fighters in your comp. Why? Because of the advantages that both of these types bring.
The main advantage of range fighters is (clue is in the name) the fact that they can do damage from a safe distance, but the problem with that is that enemies hit by ranged (basic) attacks will not flinch or stagger or be inconvenienced in any way (other than lose hp) and they can still move freely as they please or cast powerful specials without being interrupted; which brings us to the advantage of melee fighters.
Melee fighters offer Hitstun with their basic attacks. Hitsun is the slight push/stun/disruption that happens when a fighter gets hit. While hitstunned you can not attack or parry or cast abilities, and this is very useful to have in order to control the flow of battle. Is the enemy Gizmo having a blast free firing at your team? The solution is a fighter that can hitsun her. Or is the enemy Nidhöggr spamming shredder? Hitstun!
Thus if your team consist of 2 ranged fighters, the optimal situation is for the other 2 to be melee fighters (but not vice versa. 3 or even 4 melee fighters is not necessarily a problem. 4 ranged fighters is a catastrophe).
Having said that, the specific choice of fighters you make from here on is dependent on what you would like to achieve in the match. Lets say you have a frontliner that is Buttercup, and a support that is Zerocool, what else do you need? For starters you could use some damage, so your 3rd team mate picks Gizmo.
Our team comp now consists of Buttercup, Gizmo, and Zerocool, what will you pick?
To make the best decision you need to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the comp. Zerocool is a ranged fighter and a superb support, but he needs someone to protect and peel for him, which Gizmo cannot do at all because while she offers great dps, she's also a ranged fighter (no hitstun) and is in need of protection/peeling herself, which Buttercup can do but only for 1 of the 2 (either Gizmo or Zerocool) so you now know that your team needs a melee fighter with the ability to peel.
What kind of melee fighter?
Do you want extra edge so your gameplan becomes to win teamfights through kills? Get a Daemon or a Nidhöggr.
Do you want utility in form of mobility around the map and some healing? Azrael is your pick.
Or maybe you want to win through outlasting the enemy team and winning the prolonged team fights? A tank like Makutu or Bastardo should work.
Or perhaps you like taking risks and you want to either go big or go home? Cass is your risky pick that can either cost you everything by being a 3rd squishy fighter on your team, or win you everything by being a beast and blade dancing on the enemy team's graves.
In short: consider the strengths and weaknesses of your team mates, and pick according to that.
INDIVIDUAL PICKS AND THE VALUE THEY OFFER:
After finishing the part about making a general and relatively basic composition, I want to be a little more specific and talk about exact fighters and how they (should) shape the gameplan/play-style if picked, and I'm gonna do that by dividing the Bleeding Edge roster into 3 categorites:
- Trump cards
- Secondary supports
Starting with the carries. Those are the fighters that have the best shot at being the MVPs of games, and in most if not all cases, the ones that the rest of the team should play around.
She's a good frontliner and a better tank. During fights she offers very good damage, very good peeling, good cc and ability interruption, and when it comes down to it she is good at escaping and staying alive.
Buttercup is in fact one of the easiest fighters to carry games with. Rarely do people want to face her in a 1v1, and the power she gives while with her team is massive.
Read everything I said about Buttercup, and now in Makutu's high pitched voice read: anything you can do I can do better.
Makutu is an absolute monster, but unlike the case with Buttercup, he is not what I would describe as easy, but rather for more advanced players. Only the maddest of men dare to face this beast in a 1v1, and only the best of them can live through it. In a team he deals obliterating damage if left alone, and also be a big risk if targetted. CC? check. Healing? check. Damage? check. Utility? check. Victory guaranteeing ultimate that only 2 fighters can "stop" and no one can counter? check.
I pledge allegiance to the Makutu.
Although his ability to carry has grown weaker ever since his healing and damage output both got nerfed, Zerocool is still able to carry games by giving his team mates not 1, not 2, not 3, not 10, but a close to infinite amount of second chances thanks to his superb healing.
Zerocool is a pick that will (more like should) make the game a lot more forgiving for the rest of his team, and if you're a good player that can keep himself alive, BE turns basically into a waiting game. Waiting for when your team will finaly land their abilities and win the fight.
Next are the trump cards. Those are fighters that are not expected to, but have the power to completely turn the game around. Those are:
All 5 damage characters:
Meaning Daemon, Cass, Gizmo, Maeve, and Nidhöggr.
There is not much to be said about their role. They do damage, get kills, and those among them with the ability to peel can peel. Sounds basic, is easy to do, but those of you who actively play the game know how much we all wish to see more of these things being done in our games.
Definitely a trump card. Nobody expects Bastardo to do something impressive in matches. Instead they send him to pressure Gizmo and hope he doesn't die.
His trump card potential shines with his super ability Overload. Everybody laughs at Bastardo until they hear ENERGY SHALL BE FREEEEE and you see them all running for their lives.
But he also offers the value of being an off-tank. Bastardo is not like other tanks in the sense that he is a bad frontliner. Instead he makes it difficult for the enemy team to engage on and dive his own team.
Bastardo players usually make the mistake of being the initiators. They leap into the enemy team and start spinning, which ends badly since all the enemy team needs to do is interrupt his death spiral and burst him instantly before his team can follow up.
The (in my humble opinion) correct way of playing him is to be aggressively defensive. Let the enemy team engage, and now the battle becomes a free real estate since any cc ability they use to cancel your spiral is one that they now can't cc the rest of your team with. Meanwhile you can leap of faith to cancel key enemy abilities like Cass's dance with death, or to chase the enemy team that has now realized their mistake of diving a team with a Bastardo.
In my opinion, Kulev is the most misunderstood fighter in the game because everybody expects him to be a healer, when actually he kinda sucks at healing. Kulev is best described as a joker or a magician. He serves the purpose of filling in blanks for your team.
What do I mean by that? I mean that for a short moment he will make up for a shortcoming that his team has.
For example, because his shield ignores hitstun as well as give shield hp, he can turn any melee dps into a frontliner. Daemon can dive after getting a shield and you got yourself a very good iniation with shift strike.
Or because his curse makes the target extremely vulnerable, he can turn his whole team into assassins for a short moment by cursing the closest enemy fighter.
See what I mean by magician? Kulev's value in a team comp is to fill holes and make up for the team's shortcoming by buffing them and debuffing the enemy.
But yes, he still could use extra abilities like something that would make enemy fighters deal less damage, and his passive could really use a buff as well. Hi devs.
Finally we get to the secondary supports and the only 3 fighters left, and those are:
Remember how I said Zerocool makes the game more forgiving for everyone else? well Azrael makes the game more forgiving for Zerocool. Ideally you want your Guardian Angel halo to be placed on Zerocool, and then you fight as you please, but I want to call attention to the importance Azrael's portal. Most Azrael players make use of their portal, but most of their team mates do not. Guys when you have an Azrael on your team, be on the look out for his portals for they can save your lives. Too many times have I placed a portal for a team mate that was caught out of position, and they decided to walk around it or just ignore it completely.
He's a good tank, but not a good frontliner. Mekko makes it a little difficult to draft a good team comp since picking another tank will mean your team won't have enough damage, and expecting him to do all the tasks of a tank will be met with disappointment.
But he's a good component of an off-meta comp. He works pretty well with Kulev, and together they can make their team very tanky which is good for objective control and holding points.
I don't think I have any way of sugarcoating this one... Miko has been gutted with her last nerf. Absolutely gutted. The only value I can think of is her kinetic shield to cut off Zerocool's healing or work with Makutu to put extra cheese on that cheese cap since Azrael's wingblast doesn't go through the shield. Otherwise forget Miko exists for now. Sorry Aladeen.
(if you don't know the cheese cap please do not ask what it is).
We've come to the end of the 3rd chapter of the Misfit's Guide. I hope that it was at least a little bit insightful and was able to teach something about team comps. I also really hope that it won't be the last chapter, but our fate is in the hands of the devs and if they're going to end their period of silence.
Until then Misfits!