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Tyris Requiem

The Ultimate Melee Assassin PvP Guide

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Long blog is long....

I wrote it more in guide format than blog format tbh..

Chapter 1: Introduction

Author comments

Ok so a few threads on the forum have convinced me somthing needed to be done. This guide isn't really aimed at high end PvPers but more as an informative guide to all who play the assassin and fill in the many misconceptions and fix the fundamental flaws of 99% of assassin players.

All in all the assassin class isn't rocket science, its basicly just picking a target and pressing 1-7. (although there is actually a little more to it than that) Some people manage to screw it up so horribly it has prompted me to write this and (hopefully) save myself writing walls of text in the future.

Facts about the Assassin Class

Disadvantages of playing asssassin in PvP:

  • Assassin's have low armour (70 AL)
  • Assassin's are bad at pressure due to the limitation's involved in dagger chaining and switching targets.
  • Assassin's have poor utility skills.

Advantages of playing Assassin in PvP:

  • Assassin's have access to critical strikes arguably the best energy management in the game.
  • Assassin's excel in spiking and are able to basicly oneshot an unsuspecting target.
  • Assassin's have acess to shadowsteps for completely broken movement and have [[Dash] the fastest speedboost in the game.
  • Assassin's don't have much of a learning curve, its a class that is mastered fairly easily.

Chapter 2: Armour and Weapon Selection

Ok so here we come to the first place people tend to go horribly wrong... First we will look at armour and rune selection then we will look at weapon choice and weapon swapping

Armour and Runes

First lets deal with the facts then we will look at my recommendations.

Firstly we are going to look at health levels. This isn't PvE where you can run with 500 health and get away with it. There is alot more spiking in PvP play and your Health bar is the buffer between you and an untimely death. The more health you have the more time your teams monks hare to prot and heal you when you get spiked.

  • As a general rule I always keep my health above 600.
  • As a general rule I use minor runes only (except sup vigor.) There are one or two gank bars and the Crit spear bars from omegaspike that use a major rune but thats it...
  • Suvivor's Insignia's are recommended.
  • Superior Vigor Rune is a MUST.

Weapon's and Weapon Swapping

First off I'm going to say you have can have 4 weapon sets keybound at any one time USE THEM. First though I am going to look at the defence set...

What is a defence set and why bring it?

Ok so I know 99% of Assassin players probably dont know what this is... A defence set basically does what it says on the tin, its for defence. It consists of a weapon and shield set. A spear is preferred since it can be used to remove prots like reversal of fortune and gain adrenaline from a distance. Sometimes I use a caster weapon for my defensive set if I am using it to put up enchantments to get the +20% modifier.

Facts about the defence set:

  • You do not need to meet the requirement of the shield to get an armour bonus. You get +8 armour for weilding a strength shield or +7 armour for weilding any other type of sheild. You do not have to meet the requirement for the sheild to gain an armour bonus.
  • This is often the best set to have out when you are not spiking.

The ideal defence set would be as follows:

  • A caster modded weapon is useful if you use your defence set for putting up enchantments.
  • A furious spear with +5energy and +30 Heath.
  • A selection of shields with +30 Health and +10 armour vs X damge type as well as reduced blind cripple durations. (Although tbh in the chaos of RA/AB I tend to camp a shield with a +30 and -5/20 to save me the bother of swapping shields all te time.)

Attacking weapon sets:

Ok now it's time to look at attacking sets. First thing is first... If you haven't already CUSTOMISE your weapons! A 20% damage bonus is a good thing honest...

What Daggers you should bring and why?

  • Vampiric Daggers... The most damaging daggers to use against caster classes. Remember +3 damage a hit adds up! One thing to note is DO NOT camp this set. Use them for the spike then switch to your defence set.
  • Zealous Daggers... Excellent daggers to use to refuel energy. Auto attacking with these refuels energy rapidly and they are good to use on energy heavy spikes. Again DO NOT camp them if you are not attacking.
  • Elemental Daggers... Warriors have +20 armour vs melee damage. Use these to bypass this armour bonus. Also good to use in conjunction with conjures.

What about other Dagger mods?

  • +30 health is a MUST.
  • 15^50 is standard but if you are running with enchantments +15% while enchanted works just as well.

What About other Weapons?

Ok so some assassins run scythes and spears and other melee weapons utilising the assassin critical strikes with [[Way of the Master]. The basic setup for weapons should stay the same, you still need you defence set and Vampiric/Zealous/Elemental are all good choices. It is also worth considering the sundering mod but it does depend on what bar you are running. The choice is up to you ^^.

Weapon Swapping...

This skill is useful no matter what class you play so practice it! I know my weapon swaps are still a bit dodgy (ok maybe alot dodgy ^^) but there is no excuse for not doing it. Think of it like selecting the best weapon for the current job, its so little effort but it makes a big difference.

Weapon swapping can also be exploited to start an attack chain. For example you can use a hammer to knock down a traget with [[Hammer Bash] or [[Backbreaker] then switch to daggers and open your chain with [[Falling Lotus Strike] or [[Falling Spider]. Note you have to press the ESCAPE button to cancel the followthrough on your KD skill to get a faster weapon switch.

Chapter 3: Attribute Spread and Critical Strikes!

Ok so both of these sections are a bit smaller so I have decided to compress them in to one chapter...

Attribute Spread

Ok so you need to decide on an attribute spread for your build but you are not sure how to go about it... The first thing to consider is the breakpoint for critical strikes. Most builds aim to hit the +3 energy breakpoint on critical strikes, however if they can't go for the +2 energy breakpoint. The breakpoints are as follows:

  • 3 critical strikes = +1 energy on critical hit.
  • 8 critical strikes = +2 energy on critical hit.
  • 13 critical strikes = +3 energy on critical hit.

If you are dagger chaining then you are going to want a high spec in dagger mastery in order to up your spike damage. 14 dagger spec is fairly usual although some builds use 13 too. I recomend you don't go lower than 13 dagger though or it will really gimp your damage.

If you are not dagger chaining your attribute spread is much easier to work out...

Typical Scythe Attribute Spread:

Scythe=12, Critical Strikes=11+1+1. You also have points left over to spec for a utility skill.

Typical Spear Attribute Spread:

Spear=11, Critical Strikes=10+1+2, Command=9 In this case the lower spear spec and major rune is all to allow a 9 cammand spec to meet the requirements for a command shield and get the armour bonus.

Critical Strikes and how they work!

Many players do not understand how they work so now I will go through it step by step. I already covered the breakpoints above so I won't go back over them instead I am going to go into how to calculate critical hit chance as well as facts relating to criticals.

First ill start with the facts then feel free to read my math if you want..

  • You critical automaticly if you hit a moving target in the back.
  • When calculating critical hits the values from skills/attributes do not stack by addition but multiplication.
  • Stacking critical hit skills is a bad idea.
  • Speccing more than 13 in to critical strikes is almost always a waste.

The boring maths bit

Firstly note there are 3 ways to increace your crit rate.

  • You gain critical chance per rank in weapon mastery.
  • You gain 1% critical chance per rank in critical strikes.
  • You can boost your critical hit chance by using skills.

Example of critical hit equation assuming critical strikes are at 12+1+3 and the charcter is wielding a scythe at 12... The Character in qustion will be using [[Way of the Master] and [[Critical Eye].

ok first we take the chances to critical:

  • 16% (Critical Strikes)
  • 19.2% (Scythe Mastery)
  • 35% (Way of the Master)
  • 16% (Critical Eye)

Ok so some people will tell you the critcal chance here = 86.2%. These people are WRONG because they are adding the critical hits.

The actual way to calculate Critical hits is as follows... first invert all the values to find the chance to not critical...

  • 84/100 (Critical Strikes)
  • 80.8/100 (Scythe Mastery)
  • 65/100 (Way of the Master)
  • 84/100 (Critical Eye)

Now you multiply them to get the overall chance to not critical.

The answer comes to a 37.1% chance to not critical.
Therefore the actual critical hit rate = 62.9%

Now if you use 12 Scythe 11+1+1 Crit and just [[Way of the Master] the answer = 54.4% to critical.

This formula proves it that stacking Critical hit skills like [[Critical Eye],[[Way of the Master] and [[Way of the Assassin] is BAD and a waste of skill slots. (unless u need the energy managemet from crit eye) It also shows that any points in Critical Strikes over 13 is a waste. (Except for the skill [[Dark Apostasy] where you need a 14 crit strikes spec to hit the energy loss breakpoint.)

Chapter 4: Skill Choices and Builds

This is going to be a long chapter so I am going to break it up into different sections. Firstly I am going to look at the good thing you need to have in your assassin dagger chain to make it work, then I will look at scythe and spear bars. Finally I will look at inferior skills and skills that are so bad they make me want to cry whenever I see them...

The rez sig

Bring one with you unless its AB/JQ/FA or u are splitting in GvG. NO OTHER EXCUSES WILL DO. If its RA/TA/HA you better have a rez sig or else!

Build focus

A focused Palm Strike bar:
[Palm Strike][Flurry][Trampling Ox][Falling Lotus Strike][Twisting Fangs][Blades of Steel][Death's Charge][Resurrection Signet]

An unfocused Palm Strike bar:
[Palm Strike][Trampling Ox][Falling Lotus Strike][Twisting Fangs][Blades of Steel][Mending Touch][Remove Hex][Resurrection Signet]

Ok firstly you will all be able to see that the focused bar is obvously better. This is because its utility skills [[Flurry] and [[Deaths Charge] better synergise with the chain by compressing the spike and making the spike unpredictable. Where as [[Mending Touch] and [[Remove Hex] look kind of tacked on and whilst not being terrible the more focused option is clearly superior.

Dagger Spiking!

The idea of spiking is deal as much damage in as short a timespan as possible to give healers a minimum amount of time to react.

First lets look at some good spike bars:

["You're All Alone!"][Flurry][Leaping Mantis Sting][Jungle Strike][Trampling Ox][Falling Lotus Strike][Twisting Fangs][Resurrection Signet]
[Palm Strike][Flurry][Trampling Ox][Falling Spider][Twisting Fangs][Death Blossom][Death's Charge][Resurrection Signet]
[Golden Skull Strike][Twisting Fangs][Golden Phoenix Strike][Blades of Steel][Whirling Charge][Attackers Insight][Assassin's Remedy][Resurrection Signet]
[Backbreaker][Flurry][Falling Spider][Twisting Fangs][Falling Lotus Strike][Blades of Steel][Dash][Resurrection Signet]

All of these good spike bars have several thing in common as well as a couple of other things...


Because 4 and 5 skill chains are not effective without it. the IAS skill (in these cases [[Flurry] or [[Whirling Charge]) allow you to compress the spike damage. Note that the damage reduction from flurry is minimal since it doesn't reduce the armour ignoring +damage of your dagger skills.

Deep Wound

Deep Wound is a MUST. It reduces your targets dealth by 100 for starters (Thats 100 damage!) and also reduces the effect of healing. The most common ways to inflict deepwound are normally [[Twisting Fangs] and [[Golden Fang Strike].


Without an IAS or reliable snare your target will just kite away leaving you unable to finish your chain completely messing up your spike. [[Palm Strike] sees alot of use as well as [[Black Mantis Thrust] is most commonly used along with a hex primer. Other chains use shouts like [["You're All Alone!"] to snare or [[Whirling Charge] for IAS nad IMS in 1 skill.


There is no point in having a ton of damage and a monk being able to negate your entire chain by casting Guardian mid chain followed by WoH. Disruption is there to make your spike harder to stop once its started. This is normally either in the form of a KD or sometimes daze.


Shadowsteps are completely broken when it comes target switching to get around prot. Use them if you have space in your bar!

Spike Recharge

Try to keep it fairly sensible... 15 seconds is fine whereas a 20 second recharge is a bit long so the spike would really have to be great for me to use it.

Dagger Pressure!?

Ok I am going to quickly touch on this since it is an option albeit a somewhat inferior one these days when compared to spike.

Here is a good dagger pressure chain:

[Golden Fox Strike][Wild Strike][Shattering Assault][Impale][Dash][Critical Eye][Assassin's Remedy][resurrection Signet]

As you can see it generally does the same stuff as the spike chain only insteal of spiking it concentrates on unblockability and a short spam chain. Pressure builds can get away without an IAS but a Snare/IMS and Deepwound are an absoulte MUST.

Critical Scythes

Critical scythe bars concentrate on spamming Deepwound with either [[Wounding Strike] or [[Wearying Strike] and doing 100+ damage criticals on squshies.

A good critscythe bar:
[Wounding Strike][Eremites Attack][Mystic Sweep][Dash][Deaths Charge][Assassin's Remedy][Way of the Master][Resurrection Signet]

Key things people generally get wrong with critscythes:

  • Some players change [[Mystic Sweep] and [[Eremites Attack] for high +damage skillls like [[Radiant Scythe] and [[Victorious Sweep]. This is inferior because the Mystic-> Eremites combo with the 3/4 cast time gives greater overall dps.
  • Some players drop [[Dash] for a defence skill like [[Critical Defenses]. This is bad because you automaticly crit a moving target. So if a target attemts to kite you with dash they take and instant 200+ damage from Mystic and Eremites automatic crits.
  • Some players stack criticals with [[Critical Eye] and [[Way of the Master] which is bad as explained above in chapter 2...

Crit Spears

Crit spears generally only see use in HA and GvG as callers but i figured I would quickly mention the bar to keep this guide as complete as possible.

["Go for the Eyes!"][Vicious Attack][Disrupting Throw][Optional][Optional][Assassin's Remedy][Way of the Master][Resurrection Signet]

The first optional slot is for the Elite skill:

  • [["Incoming!"] to provide party IMS and party heal.
  • [[Dark Apostasy] for Enchantment removal.
  • [[Wastrel's Collapse] to KD monks and mess up prot etc.

The second optional slot is free for an additional attack skill or utility:

  • [[Harrier's Toss] for another fast activation skill, use between Vicious Attack and Disrupting Spear.
  • [[Song of Concentration] to prevent interrupts on the Ghostly Hero in HA.
  • [["Fall Back!"] for party IMS and healing.
  • [[Critical Eye] for increaced crit chance and energy management.

Defence vs Utility.

Defence skills generally inferior to utility skills which can be employed offensively and defensively. For example [[Dash] is generally a better choice than [[Critical Defenses] since it is notonly good for defensive kiting but also offensively in target switching and chasing down kiters. Critical Defences on the other hand can only be used as a defensive measure and as a result is much more limited when compared to a skill like Dash.

Bad skills...

This Section has been removed due to skill updates n stuff and I cba to maintain it.

Chapter 5: PvP Tactics.

Ok so its time to cover PvP tactics...

Learn the Skills

Learn all the animations for all of the important prot skills like [[Spirit Bond], [[Guardian], [[Protective Spirit], [[Weapon of Warding] etc. It is also good to have a rough idea of their durations. This is a staple skill of any frontlines cuz spiking through 5 layers of prot is somewhat ineffective (lol).

Positioning, Movement and Overextention

  • Kite around... If you get spiked kite! Its not rocket science and you can easily run your healers dry on energy by attempt to tank on the frontline.
  • Hang back and select your target carefully. You have only 70 armour so when you are not spiking try to stay in the midline area or be wary or be ready to kite alot if you are hanging around in the frontline.
  • Watch for Enemy overextention since assassins are excellent at exploiting this for a quick kill with shadowsteps and fast movement.
  • Don't overextend. This is very easy to do if you are careless with your shadowsteps.

Other things you need to be able to do

  • The ability to press 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 in order (lol)


Updated 26-04-2010 at 00:42 by Tyris Requiem