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Serpent - AKA the class that hates you.

NellaundraNellaundra Posts: 1,556Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
edited September 2012 in Serpent
Alright, I have to ask.  What are the very bare bones basics of Serpent combat and what's needed to succeed?  I've been left to my own experimentations out of misplaced pride and stubborness, and all I have to show for it is a very very crude venomlock.  I know that Tri-Trans is even more needed than the rest of the classes, but what else is needed?  I can't even remember most of my own aliases most of the time from just the sheer amount of them that are needed.
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Comments

  • TanrisTanris Posts: 683Member @ - Epic Achaean

    Two primary kill methods: Truelock and ginseng stack to relapse out.

    Most important thing is to get good at tracking what afflictions you've stuck and what they've cured (or what you suspect they've cured). The best way to look at serpent is:
    - What affs do you need them to have to kill them
    - How can you stick those affs in the optimal time without illusions
    - What illusions can you use to make that better
    (This is how I look at serpent combat anyways, and it seems to work).

    There are a lot of other ways to kill as serpent (you have access to just about every standard affliction on the game plus relapse), but there is a fairly steap learning curve. My advice would be to work out ways to do stuff without illusions, as you can't count on an illusion working on everyone. Once you have that, if you can figure out an illusion that works on a given person to supplement your offense, all the better. Serpent is a very precise class, and requires good timing. I'd suggest finding a willing person to practice on in the arena until you get it down.

  • IocunIocun Posts: 3,505Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited September 2012
    Tri-trans isn't actually entirely needed. It might be one of the few classes where I might actually recommend an artie (dirk) before tritransing. Transing subterfuge is a good idea, if only for the utility and better garroting for hunting, but the others are more forgiving: Hypnosis has its most important ability, impatience, right at the start, which is already enough to lock people, although you still want higher hypnosis if you actually want to succeed at hypnotising (especially against trans vision opponents). Venom is mostly for three things: Scytherus, camus, and the utility of not needing any venom vials. Scytherus+camus is awesome for quick kills and helps to effectively kill truelocked people who have passive curing that might get them out of the lock before you get another kill off, but it's not needed for locking, and generally you should be able to kill just fine after a lock with either execute/behead, garrote, or snipe. The utility of transecretion is great, but you can do with bought venoms too, especially since you don't actually need -all- venoms.

    I'd personally trans subterfuge first, get a decent enough hypnosis skill to actually manage to hypnotise people (haven't experimented with that enough to be able to tell what skill level could be considered "reasonable") and trans survival (serpents don't have passive or active class cures, so focus is important against classes who afflict without venoms). Then either go for trans hypnosis (gives you more offensive options, especially with things like action), or venom (gives you more convenience).

    As for actual tactics, I don't have time to really go into that right now, but I'd be happy to discuss it in-game.
    Cobra
  • ExelethrilExelethril moar theta decayPosts: 3,087Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited September 2012
    More than anything else - it comes down to understanding and practice. You have to understand the mechanics behind afflictions and locks then practice so you can dish out what you've learned well.

    Edit: or read Iocun's longer post, ahem.

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  • TvistorTvistor Posts: 2,883Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Pastebin also has some interesting logs of serpent combat. You can shamelessly steal.
    The quickest way to a woman's heart is through her ribcage.
  • GaraoGarao Posts: 460Member ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    Deridius taught me much through pastebin
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  • NizarisNizaris The Holy City of MhaldorPosts: 537Member ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    I'm an Apostate, and was once a Serpent. I'm not a great combatant, but I'm familiar with the theory.

    In regards to stacking afflictions with dstab, what you want to do is to figure out what your opponent's top cure priority is. Then, always use that affliction in (more or less) every dstab. Note well: many systems, such as SVO will automatically shift this cure priority to another mid-fight, so you will need to be flexible. The idea is to allow their curing system to get bogged down curing the high-priority affliction, so that you can stack the lower-priority afflictions needed for a lock, first. 
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  • VaehlVaehl Posts: 962Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited September 2012
    Msg me in game. I'll make you the worst serpent combatant ever. And don't buy an artie dirk yet, learn without one first.

    And I don't know how the colour of the avatar changed, but loving it.
  • VasoolVasool Posts: 184Member ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    @Vaehl your avatar is just so happy, it cheered me up. Now I want to make a serpent alt. I imagine that serpent combat is somewhat similar to knight based upon the double afflictions? Pretty sure that's it though.
  • SohlSohl Posts: 584Member @ - Epic Achaean
    Nah, not similar at all really. Knight combat is primarily prep-based, serpent depends on momentum.
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    Antidas
  • SynbiosSynbios Posts: 4,433Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited September 2012
    Tvistor said:
    Pastebin also has some interesting logs of serpent combat. You can shamelessly steal.
    Unpossible. Theft has been nerfed, remember?

    Sohl said:
    Nah, not similar at all really. Knight combat is primarily prep-based, serpent depends on momentum.
    Curiously, @Sohl - I'm still having trouble understanding what 'momentum-based' combat means. Can you give a more detailed explanation on that?

    Tvistor
  • AntidasAntidas Posts: 1,289Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited September 2012
    @Synbios momentum based basically means that allowing your opponent a breather in the middle of a fight would give them time to reset any damage or progress you may made to them. In general, affliction classes are momentum based, since if you stop afflicting, your enemy will cure whatever afflictions you may have stuck, and you'll be back at square 1. This differs from classes such as monk or knight, where you can prep limbs and then sit there deciding on the best way to proceed, without losing anything.

    edit: grammer

    Turoi
  • TvistorTvistor Posts: 2,883Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Knight is momentum-based after you've started breaking limbs.
    The quickest way to a woman's heart is through her ribcage.
  • IocunIocun Posts: 3,505Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited September 2012
    In practice, most classes are a mixture of both elements, to various degrees, some just lean more in one direction than the other. Serpents aren't as extreme a momentum class as, say, apostates, and knights aren't as much on the prepping side of classes as jesters (even more so if we're including damage knights). In general, almost every class will have some form of prepping somewhere along the road (i.e. for serpents: hypnosis) and later a stage where they rely on uninterrupted momentum (i.e. for knights: the actual breaking chain), it's just that the complexities of those two things vary between classes, as does their relative percentage of time within an entire fight.

    The venom usage of serpents and knights mainly differs in that knights tend to use venoms as a support of their actual desired finisher (i.e. to increase damage output, hinder, or to assist the actual breaking chain with delph for proning and epseth/epteth), since locking is rather unrealistic for knights nowadays. For serpents, venoms are much more central than that, since they tend to be the very core of most tactics. This is because some things are possible and perfectly viable for serpents that aren't for knights, particularly truelocks, relapse chains, and sleeplocks. Those are all directly based around venoms (and hypnosis) and don't merely use them as a support for a different finisher.

    P.S.
    I can't even remember most of my own aliases most of the time from just the sheer amount of them that are needed.
    I recommend establishing some sort of logic behind your alias names that is consistent between most of them, even if it means having slightly longer ones. I'd rather type a character more now and then than spend half a minute during a fight trying to remember an alias. I know there's potentially a huge load of aliases/macros you may need for serpent combat, if you want to leave yourself all options for venom combos.

    What can work nicely is have a set of perfectly consistently named aliases that let you use all venom combos (for instance a dash followed by three letters means a bite with the venom that has those letters as its first three, while a dash followed by six letters means a dstab with the two venoms abbreviated by letters 1-3 and 4-6 respectively. E.g. "-darkal" for a darkshade/kalmia dstab or "-del" for a delph bite). Then, you can additionally create macros for the venom combos you use especially often (curare/kalmia being a prime example) and slowly expand on them as you realize yourself using different ones more often.

    One big question is how to handle illusions. Selecting two venoms plus two illusions for one dstab can be quite stressful, even more so if your curing system doesn't allow you to just disregard defence completely, so many people (myself included) find themselves some way to simplify this. This can range all the way from fixed illusion combos that are attached to your dstab macros, over intricate autoillusioning systems, to manual switches between default illusions which are then automatically conjured after your dstabs. (The only thing I'd definitely shy away from are random illusions, unless they are only randomized within certain strict boundaries. Totally random illusions will extremely rarely help and may at times even be worse than not illusioning at all.)

    What I personally find a good idea is to start with fixed illusions in your dstab macros and later give yourself a way to "override" them with different ones manually if the situation calls for it. This allows you to start in combat while mostly concentrating on your venoms, without having to think about -all- offensive aspects.
    Post edited by Iocun on
    AitoxAntidasEldPraxides
  • TerraTerra Posts: 676Member ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    edited September 2012

    I'd actually recommend the opposite of what Iocun said. I'd never use a 6 letter alias, because that just makes it more likely you might mistype it and makes you have to choose your combos farther in advance (since it takes longer to type).

    The easiest way to start serpent combat, in my opinion, is to create very easy to use aliases (1-3 letters that are close to each other on the keyboard and thus very easy to type) for the most common venom combos, and just focus on remembering them (there aren't very many in this category). Then, as you see more situations where you want different venom combos, slowly add more and more aliases for more combos. They get easier to remember when you are only adding them one at a time.

    You should definitely have aliases for curare/kalmia, curare/xentio, gecko/slike, kalmia/xentio, curare/delphinium, delph/delph, and curare/vernalius, for instance. I'm not by any means saying other combos aren't useful, but, surprisingly, a few venom combos with a good attack order and good illusions will get you a long way. It's probably the easiest way to learn.

    Also, if you don't have an artied dirk, I wouldn't bother trying to learn to fight entirely without illusions - not as a first step, at least. Instead, try to focus on general illusions that are likely to work on a large variety of systems and use them with some of the above venom combos to truelock your opponent.

    Also, a lot of people new to combat don't seem to realize how important spamming is. You need to use all of the speed you have, so you should really be holding down your aliases before you recover balance, to make sure you hit right when you do recover it. Set them up in a way that lets you do this.

  • XithXith Posts: 2,601Member @@ - Legendary Achaean

    I know nothing of serpentry, but I theorized this with some serpent buddies. Give it a try.


    PRE-HYPNO

    anorexia, impatience, disrupt, confusion, lethargy/weariness


    HIDE + ATTACK

    backstab-DEL + snap target

    del-del (sleep/sleep)

    gek-kal (slickness/asthma) (anorex/imp should have hit by now?)

    cur-kal (paralysis/fitness-asthma)

    If they don't wake by the third dstab, I'd say that's a lock.


    But of course toss in metawake and that's out the window.

    My main point here is that a well-timed snap is important. Try to use hypno to build the stack when it's needed. A kelp stack to lock asthma in and a mental stack to lock anorexia in without impatience, ultimately either letting (anorexia's hypno hit at the same time as curare/gecko) or (impatience hypno hitting at the same time as slike/gecko).


    I've never been a serpent, but when I've been locked by one, it comes down to the overwhelming hypno attack more than illusions. But that's the other thing. Different strategies against different classes. If they have an active cure like Fool or bloodboil, you have to paralyse them. Otherwise you don't. If they have fitness, the kelp stack becomes more important and tougher. If they recognize illusions with lifevision, you might as well not count on them. Etc.

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  • GaraoGarao Posts: 460Member ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    edited September 2012
    The way I did Serpent was create a hell of a lot of macros. Would put a variable into the macro for illusions to fire off the doublestab line with tempTimer's. Just had Curare/Kalmia, Gecko/Slike, Curare/Xentio, Xentio/Kalmia, Curare/Vernalius, Aconite/Eurypteria. 

    I did use aliases for a couple of things, but that was only really utility. Ctrl+D = Doublestab target, then 'dd' = delph/delph, etcetera. 

    F1, F2, F3, F4, etc. You can include Ctrl+F1, Ctrl+F2, for example, if you need more macros closer together. 
    My hypno was set up to aliases 'suggest target impatience;seal target 1' -- If you had already suggested it, then it'd seal it for you, quite easy to use. I had snap as an alias 'sn'.

    If you can stick paralysis or clumsy then you're set (This is dependent on their curing priorities). I actually preferred it when people prio'd asthma. You could stick paralysis to eliminate tree and then xentio/kalmia. It's a 50/50% chance to lock I know, but it'd be a bit stronk if you could lock 100% every time.

    Smoking(Disloyalty) aff illusions to check if asthma stuck.
    Look into your hypnosis chains and see how they compliment your strategy. Make a note that doublestab speed is 2.5, herb bal 1.5, resto salve 4s, focus 2.5 etc. Work on something like typewith.me and jot down strategies. 
    One day, ACC, one day...
  • IocunIocun Posts: 3,505Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited September 2012
    Xith said:

    I know nothing of serpentry, but I theorized this with some serpent buddies. Give it a try.


    PRE-HYPNO

    anorexia, impatience, disrupt, confusion, lethargy/weariness


    HIDE + ATTACK

    backstab-DEL + snap target

    del-del (sleep/sleep)

    gek-kal (slickness/asthma) (anorex/imp should have hit by now?)

    cur-kal (paralysis/fitness-asthma)

    If they don't wake by the third dstab, I'd say that's a lock.


    But of course toss in metawake and that's out the window.

    My main point here is that a well-timed snap is important. Try to use hypno to build the stack when it's needed. A kelp stack to lock asthma in and a mental stack to lock anorexia in without impatience, ultimately either letting (anorexia's hypno hit at the same time as curare/gecko) or (impatience hypno hitting at the same time as slike/gecko).


    I've never been a serpent, but when I've been locked by one, it comes down to the overwhelming hypno attack more than illusions. But that's the other thing. Different strategies against different classes. If they have an active cure like Fool or bloodboil, you have to paralyse them. Otherwise you don't. If they have fitness, the kelp stack becomes more important and tougher. If they recognize illusions with lifevision, you might as well not count on them. Etc.

    Delph backstab plus dstab is also foiled by rebounding (and shield) so it's not really something that tends to work in actual combo, only to jump unsuspecting victims who don't have rebounding up.

    As for hypnosis: I disagree about "overwhelming hypno" being central. Hypnosis doesn't serve the purpose of "overwhelming" with afflictions very well. Modern systems tend to have little problems with just piles afflictions, and using tons of time for huge hypno chains is usually just a waste of precious time. Hypnosis is central for delivering a very small number of crucial afflictions at crucial times, not as a form of "passive afflicting". Impatience is important for locks and a serpent has no other way to deliver it than with hypnosis, so you need to make sure to deliver it at a time when it actually sticks. In other words: You need to know when impatience hits in order for it to be reliable at all, which means in most cases that you want it to be the very first affliction to hit after a snap, because that's the only one you can time precisely. The vast majority of my hypno chains are very short (1-3 afflictions) and start with impatience (only sometimes things like hypersomnia for a sleeplock or an action for some other technique). Yes, sometimes I also start with a little stack in a hypno chain, but only if nothing else seems to work and I have to rely on some luck there. It's not something I'd generally recommend. I use venoms+illusions for stacks, while hypno delivers a few crucial elements that can't be done with venoms (impatience being the first one after the snap also allows you to snap much later than if you had some stack first, which can be important if you want to be able to lock before they can shield. A huge hypno chain for stacking stuff is just telling them "turtle up and wait").

    Terra said:

    I'd actually recommend the opposite of what Iocun said. I'd never use a 6 letter alias, because that just makes it more likely you might mistype it and makes you have to choose your combos farther in advance (since it takes longer to type).

    The easiest way to start serpent combat, in my opinion, is to create very easy to use aliases (1-3 letters that are close to each other on the keyboard and thus very easy to type) for the most common venom combos, and just focus on remembering them (there aren't very many in this category). Then, as you see more situations where you want different venom combos, slowly add more and more aliases for more combos. They get easier to remember when you are only adding them one at a time.

    You should definitely have aliases for curare/kalmia, curare/xentio, gecko/slike, kalmia/xentio, curare/delphinium, delph/delph, and curare/vernalius, for instance. I'm not by any means saying other combos aren't useful, but, surprisingly, a few venom combos with a good attack order and good illusions will get you a long way. It's probably the easiest way to learn.

    Also, if you don't have an artied dirk, I wouldn't bother trying to learn to fight entirely without illusions - not as a first step, at least. Instead, try to focus on general illusions that are likely to work on a large variety of systems and use them with some of the above venom combos to truelock your opponent.

    Also, a lot of people new to combat don't seem to realize how important spamming is. You need to use all of the speed you have, so you should really be holding down your aliases before you recover balance, to make sure you hit right when you do recover it. Set them up in a way that lets you do this.

    Oh, I didn't mean to recommend actually leaning primarily on such six letter aliases. I do have those aliases, but I can't even remember when I last used one of them. I mentioned them just so you have a way of using any arbitrary venom combo at any time if it should be needed (without having to type out "secrete xentio on dirk, secrete prefarar on dirk, dstab sarapis"), while actually using brief aliases/macros for the combos you -actually- find yourself using lots in combat. So my recommendation isn't really that different from yours, just that I'd first have those "background base alias" so you can use something unusual now and then if you feel the need.

    Personally, I call my dstabs/bites etc. differently anyways, with a MIDI keyboard, which combines the advantage of any possible combo being available with the advantage of it being as quick as macros. Its only disadvantage is that initially it takes even longer to remember which key stands for which venom, but once I got used to that it became incredibly effective.

    (The only time its bad is when I accidentally hit the "octave up" button and my venom combos just become something completely different! In a recent KotH I did that and noticed only after a while that I was hitting with oleander/oculus instead of curare/kalmia and bit with curare instead of camus all the time :P)
    Utianima
  • IocunIocun Posts: 3,505Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited September 2012
    Double, sorry.
  • CrathenCrathen IrelandPosts: 111Member ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Wtb a video of you using one of those keyboards for combat. Sincerely.
    Boosteya
  • BoosteyaBoosteya Posts: 342Member ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Crathen said:
    Wtb a video of you using one of those keyboards for combat. Sincerely.
    QFT
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  • IocunIocun Posts: 3,505Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I'd love to, but I first need to find an opportunity to fight someone! It's not so easy.
  • JonathinJonathin A deep pit of hunger and despairPosts: 3,151Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Fighting with a midi keyboard would be pretty boss.

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  • AchillesAchilles Los AngelesPosts: 2,313Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    @Iocun - At what Silas said, just don't join Tanris or :( :( :( We need your level 5 bow
    image
  • SilasSilas Posts: 2,529Member
    :|

  • ChryenthChryenth Posts: 1,323Member @ - Epic Achaean

    Well, now I want to hear 'The Sound of Serpent Combat' - those note compressed into a melody.

     

    Would probably be bad, but w/e.

  • MizikMizik Posts: 2,026Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited September 2012
    Dude, you look so chill, just single tapping away. With my hundreds of aliases I'm over here typing novels every spar like a dip-.

    Also, man that would be so sick for Bard. Accentato high pitch PEWWW and Pesante with like a low BONG.
    image
    KyrraUtianima
  • AradorArador Posts: 1,693Member @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited September 2012
    It does seem like you script most of it into attack chains and simply switch chains.

    @Synbios they should make Piano hero and have song as the final one.

    Synbios
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