Deciphering the Dome: Anatomy of Set
Right, you have the pet that’s been well-trained with all those hard-earned Codestones and Dubloons, but you still can’t beat that pesky Chia Clown?
Well, perhaps you should try equipping a few weapons?
With thousands of weapons out there, it can get pretty confusing and really each person’s strategy and budget differs from the last, so I’d almost certainly run out of room trying to build a set for every budget and style. So why not instead give advice on the basic design of a set which will hopefully guide you in your Battledome forays, e.g. it’s not a great idea to have 5 shields and no healer in a set?
First of all, we should note the maximum number of weapons you are allowed to equip on any pet at any time is 8. Occasionally, you may see screenshots where people have many more items in battle than 8, and this is either because of a glitch, use of item-generating weapons or abilities, or use of the only multi-stealing weapon available for players, a Tornado Ring.
Also important to note is occasionally when people fight in 2p in open challenge boards or guild wars, they will ask for a specific set of rules restricting certain types of weapons. Mostly people will restrict those weapons which will have negative effects on their pet or Petpet, i.e. a scroll potion which can lower the intelligence of the pet it is used against or Slorg flakes which can turn the Petpet equipped into a Slorg.
Sometimes, however, people will restrict weapons such as freezers or multi-healers. This is usually because at certain brackets fighting without a freezer will end in an instant loss and fighting against multi-healers can get quite tedious. It is for this reason it’s best to ask people if they have any rules for battling before you challenge them. Of course in 1p the Chia Clown won’t refuse to fight you again if you freeze him(though he may tease you about it!) so there are no restrictions you should consider when building your 1p set.
Most weapons can be defined as belonging to a particular group:
Freezers are weapons which have the chance of (funnily enough) “freezing” your opponent, which means they will be unable to make a move, use their weapons, or use any abilities.
Healers, as the name suggests, will heal you of any damage you may have received. Where it gets complicated is in the different types of healers; some heal before damage and some after. Some healers are classified as multi-healers, meaning they can be used multiple times, and some drain-healers work like the ability drain life in that they take hp from the opponent and use it to heal you.
Bombs are high-damage weapons that can be used once per battle, not necessarily meaning a one-use weapon which can only ever be used once. Bombs will be able to be used again in your next battle.
Stealers, quite simply put, can steal an item off your opponent (see, the Battledome isn’t really THAT confusing!) for your use in that battle. There is no permanent stealer and you can only steal the item in the first slot, unless of course you use the aforementioned Tornado Ring, which is the only multi-stealing weapon in the game.
Shields, quite simply, are weapons which block icons, usually a few different kinds in various quantities. All differ in power and these totally rely on defence boost unless it is a “full-blocker”, in which case it doesn’t take into account defence boost and blocks all damage that would have been done by that icon. Ghostkershield, for example, is a full-blocker of dark, but also blocks other icons partially (or fully, depending on your defence boost and your opponent's strength boost).
An important “shield” to note is Downsize, which once per battle can block 50% of damage done to you by your opponent. It is technically not a true shield in that is once per battle, but is classed as one. An upgrade to Downsize is the famous weapon “Thyora’s Tear” (which even has its own stamp). The tear can block all damage done to you once per battle and therefore is prized by some more defensive battlers and scorned by others for its price.
Constants are offensive weapons which deal “constant” icons, i.e Wand of Reality will always deal 13 icons. However, the term has expanded to cover most all purely offensive weapons except those that are particularly “random” in the amount of icons they deal, e.g. Faerie Slingshot, which has the chance of dealing 5-7 icons or a 1/3 chance of dealing 35-61 icons! So, as you can see, there’s a fairly big range of icons it can deal.
Constants are further broken up in that people refer to some as their main weapons and others as their backup weapons. This mainly applies for 2p as most sets you will encounter will carry shields specifically to block the most common main weapons, so most offensive battlers often carry weapons that deal specific types of icons which are rarer or harder to block. An example of this is a portable kiln which deals fire, which is a fairly rare icon encountered in the dome, compared to say physical.
Reflectors are similar to shields in that they defend certain types of icons, but they do not rely on defence boost at all. Instead they rely on your opponent's strength boost to do damage to your opponent. Reflectors will send the icons they use against you right back against your opponent, but most reflectors only block one type of icon, so it can be somewhat risky.
Dual-duties are capable of both dealing icons and defending icons (or even reflecting them!) and they differ in power and effect. Overall, dual-duties are most common in low-budget battling although there are a few exceptions later on, such as Ring of the Lost, which in addition to dealing 11 icons can totally block all damage done by dark icons.
Most sets (if freezers are allowed) usually consist of 2 main constants, 2 backup constants, a healer, a bomb, and shields, usually one of which is Downsize. Occasionally, this build is mixed up by the inclusion of a stealing weapon, such as Heavy Robe of Thievery or Purple Sticky Hand; in this case, people usually remove one of the constants or leave their Downsize in their safety deposit box.
But as previously mentioned, the way a person builds their set is traced back to their battling style. Some consider bombs to be optional and make sets without them and build their own strategy from that.
It is important to note that some battlers prefer to fill their first slot with a junk item to prevent any of their more useful items from being stolen and used against them. Others prefer to put something that they can easily counter in the first slot that is still useful/powerful. An example of this is putting a Sword of Skardsen in the first slot (which deals mainly dark icons) whilst having a Ghostkershield to counter it without any great difficulty.
In any case, having at least 2 constants and a healer in any set is utterly essential, as is having a freezer in any battle where freezing is allowed. Both freezers and healers have enormous effect on how a battle can play out and as such it is crucial to include them.
Some people have opted for a more defensive build and have chosen to train their defence stat far more than their strength stat and choose to wield two shields to soak up damage while they chip away their opponent's HP with species abilities. This particular style is somewhat rare and can fall victim to certain weapons exploiting a weakness in their defences.
Other defence orientated battlers lack a well-trained defence stat (most likely due to using the lab too much) and thus cannot make the most of most dual-duties and shields. Instead, they rely on total blockers and reflectors to take the place of shields.
As far as picking which weapons to use, remember you don’t want to spend 100 million on Thyora’s Tear, to only be using Scarab rings as your constants. Think about what the best upgrade is for your entire set rather than just a particular slot. There are plenty of Petpages out there which can advise you on what weapons to choose for whatever budget you may have, or ask on BD chat (you most probably will be flamed so ignore that) and you’ll eventually get an answer or take the next step and join a Battledome guild to help improve your set, strategy, and general understanding of the dome.
Finally, a bit of general advice in picking your constants; number of icons isn’t everything (in 2p, anyway; 1p, the more the better). The type matters too; see if you can get past the most common defence with cheaper weapons. For instance, light is often very hard to block, so this makes weapons like Fiery Battle Duck and Staff of Righteous Fury quite useful.
If you have further questions about the dome, check my other articles or go here: www.neopets.com/~projectbootcamp