Class Mechanics: Swashbuckler

Feb 20, 2014

Swashbucklers are one of the hardest hitting classes in the game, and, accompanied with their high dodge, they can be a strong class to play as well as a fearsome opponent in the arena. In the first part of this segment, we’ll be taking a closer look at the Swashbuckler class, what makes them excel, and strategies that can potentially help you improve on your playstyle.

Epic Abilities

As Swashbucklers have the second least amount of powers out of all the classes, they rely heavily on their Epic Abilities. Swashbucklers are a melee class, so, therefore, their Epic Abilities will activate against melee opponents.

As of Level 65 being the level cap, Swashbucklers can learn First Strike 3 and Riposte 2. While they don’t have as many Epic Abilities as some other classes, these two make melee enemies a much lesser threat in the fight. Whenever an enemy would attack, First Strike would activate. Due to the high dodge of Swashbucklers, Riposte has a high chance to be used as well – that’s two attacks on the enemy while the Swashbuckler would take no damage. And, due to the higher tiers of First Strike and Riposte, this combination is likely to activate more than once per round.

That being said, make the best use of these Epic Abilities if you can; if there is an enemy with Vengeance Strike in the fight, for example, attack them so that your First Strike will activate in response. Then, if you dodge their attack, Riposte will activate, allowing for three hits in one turn. If the enemy has Vengeance Strike 2, you’ll be able to attack even more. Of course, Vengeance Strike isn’t the only possible Epic Ability you can use to your advantage; Repel Boarders, Cheap Shot, Flanking, and more can all help activate your own Epic Abilities.

Using Epics from enemies to activate your own takes some practice, but it’s a key part of being a Swashbuckler. While you can succeed perfectly well by letting them activate on their own, strategically making them activate yourself will put you a step higher than many other Swashbucklers.


Although they do not receive many powers, the majority of those that Swashbuckler receive are excellent in combat. The “hidden” Powers allows you to become invisible for a brief amount of time. While one of these Powers is active, you will be able to heal, buff, protect yourself or another unit in the fight, as well as anything else, as long as it’s not a hit. As soon as you do successfully attack an enemy, the hidden effect of the power will be removed, allowing enemies to see you once again.

From a PvP perspective, these Powers are still useful, though they have to be utilized a bit differently. The opponent will still be able to see you, though they cannot attack you normally. However, an AoE attack, such as Bonnie Anne’s Scatterblast, a Witchdoctor’s Mojo Storm, or a Privateer’s The Big Guns can remove the effect since it does not require actually selecting the hidden unit to attack. Therefore, instead of using a hidden Power right at the beginning of the fight, you may want to consider waiting until you know that the opponent is out of AoE attacks. Generally, the Privateer line of AoE attacks would be used up towards the beginning of the fight, so you should be able to use a hidden Power shortly after.

Although these Powers allow you to not be attacked by the opponent, an extra benefit of them is making an attack with it on deal double its normal damage. It could be used with simply a regular attack, but Swashbucklers also receive high-damage Powers that can lower an enemy’s health instantly. The last of these Powers, Assassin’s Strike, deals 3x your base damage – if you use a hidden Power first, or if it criticals (the rate of which occurring can be boosted by Grand Shadowdance, which raises your critical chance), it will do even more damage!

There are plenty of combinations with their Powers that Swashbuckler players have come up with, especially with Powers that can be found on rare boss gear. In order to fully maximize your potential as a Swashbuckler, you’ll want to gear up appropriately so you can have a wider range of Powers available to you


For Swashbucklers, being able to protect yourself is crucial. With low health and vulnerability to enemy Powers, placing a Valor’s Fortress or Leviathan’s Call on yourself before attacking enemies is always a good idea. For this purpose, Friar Sand’s Gourd can provide Leviathan’s Call, while he also gives a Hat and a set of Boots with Valor’s Fortress. Keep in mind that one of each type of protection Power is plenty – having just one on can make PvP opponents think twice about attacking you right away, while two at the same time will likely make them avoid you altogether until the protection buffs run out.

As for what other Powers to look for, the choice is up to you. Friar Sand also gives a set of Boots with Great Juju, while Cadmus can give you an Assassin’s Strike Hat. The Monkey King Doppelgangers can provide you with an Assassin’s Strike Outfit, too.

Try to have one Leviathan’s Call, one Valor’s Fortress, one Great Juju, and some Assassin’s Strikes on your gear. If it fits your playstyle, Revive is a great heal that can be used instead of one extra Assassin’s Strike, which still gives you plenty of attack power but also a heal in case you need it.


Regardless of whether you’re whether you’re in a PvE fight or PvP match, Swashbucklers have the potential to take out the strongest enemy first, and, in turn, eliminate the largest threat in the fight. In PvE, this would be a boss or a strong Musketeer or Witchdoctor enemy; in PvP, this is always the actual Pirate you are against.

First, if you have any on your gear, be sure to use your buffs – Great Juju, unlike the ones that are specific to a certain stat, will not buff all of your units when they are spread out across the battleboard. Be ready to protect yourself immediately, and then you can proceed to use critical buffs, specifically Grand Shadowdance. Without buffs, you’ll be at a great disadvantage; Swashbuckler is the only class that you cannot learn a Strength/Agility/Will buff from your own trainer.

Looking further into PvP, taking out the opposing Pirate immediately is essential. If you feel as if it will not be removed, use a hidden power followed by Assassin’s Strike, then continue to use your other attack Powers until they are finished off. If Bonnie’s (or another companion’s) heal is used, take the time to defeat them again. If they are left in the fight for too long, they can severely damage you or your companions; their Powers are unaffected by your high dodge, so they can hit you much easier than one of their companions could.

From that point, use your high dodge to your advantage. Try to avoid attacking melee enemies, as your Epic Abilities will be able to lower their health if they choose to attack you. Musketeers and Witchdoctors should be your next objective to defeat, as they, too, can hit you through your dodge. From there, finish off any melee enemies who are left in the fight.

Remember that you and your companions should all be focusing on the same unit if possible. Also, make note that this is just a general outline of what units you should be focusing on first; keep in mind that every match in different, but, if possible, you should try to aim for the Pirate → Musketeers/Witchdoctors → melee units.

Swashbucklers are a great class to play, and, if you don’t have one yet, it’s definitely worth trying out. If you’re used to the playstyle of a Musketeer, Witchdoctor, or Privateer, especially, and generally are not in the center of the fight, you’ll playing a Swashbuckler to be very different and new – give it a try and let us know what you think!



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