Anatole, Ilmryn, Eggman, and Brennon sit around shooting the shit and talking about fighting. Enjoy.
Anatole, Ilmryn, Eggman, and Brennon sit around shooting the shit and talking about fighting. Enjoy.
In this tutorial I describe how I fight with a down spear and what I do to be successful. My style may not work for everyone and reading this tutorial will not necessarily immediately improve your game. I recommend that you take what I say and try it; Keep what works for you, modify what you can of the rest, and put everything else to the side. You can always try it again at a later date
Sword and down spear is an extremely fun and, if done correctly, effective form of fighting. The down spear gives you a long range attack that, once mastered, will often secure kills while you are still outside the range of your opponent. When combined with the close range efficacy of a short sword and the surprisingly effective close range defense of the down spear you find a combination that has a lot to offer. Plus… stabbing people is fun!
This tutorial will cover the basics of down spear fighting and try to equip you with a few tricks to help get the kills rolling on your way to learning the joys of this combo.
The video below covers the three basic shot angles for a spear. All of the angles can also be raised or lowered to better hit your target. It is vastly important that you practice these shots until you are extremely accurate with them. If you see an opening you have to be able to hit it accurately.
Fighting at Range
With the basic shots covered lets go over some simple rules for using them.
Those are a couple of simple moves that can get you started. Really at range the sky is the limit play around and see what you come up with. Remember: as long as you're at range you are safe. The trick is to really just pay attention to your opponent and try to make something happen while he is still unable to do anything.
Defending/Defeating a Closing Opponent
So it's clear that as long as your foe is staying out of range to attack you then sooner or later he's going to die to your spear. That means in order to win he has to close the distance; It's our job to punish him for trying to close. The better you get at stopping or killing your opponent when he tries to close the better down spear fighter you will become. There are many ways to do this but most of the time this is where your sword starts getting you kills. It's important to remember that when an opponent closes the first thing he is going to think about is negating your spear. Because of this he becomes very vulnerable to a well-placed swing from your sword. The most straightforward technique is to pump your spear slightly as he closes and chop down on his shoulder with your sword. The pump will almost always bring his guard down and expose his shoulder. The most important thing to remember in this situation is to stay calm and pay attention. Watch what he is trying to do and make him wrong. If he is protecting his shoulder and stuffing your spear down then swing for the shield side hip. If it's a florentiner a quick stab over his right hand is sometimes your best choice. Always pay attention to what your opponent is doing and make it the wrong choice. He will begin hesitating and second guessing himself and you can have a field day making him feel stupid.
Backward movement is also very important. Learning to backpedal while still being on the offensive will give you more time to assess the situation and make the right decision. You will also find that after the initial rush they often will raise their guard back up forgetting about your spear and giving you an easy kill. On a ditch line backpedaling past your teammates is often all you will have to do to stop a rush if your teammates are paying attention.
The final trick to stopping a rush is stepping into it. By stepping into it you often unexpectedly disrupt the timing and intended range of your opponent and this can give you easy kills from a deep wrap with your sword. At such close range it also increases the effectiveness of your spear as a blocking device.
The Close Game
It should be noted that when I say "close range" I mean your bellies should be no more than a foot from each other. We don’t fight at sword range; we fight at spear range or belly to belly. If your opponent is trying to retreat to sword range then take a quick step back to put your distancing back to spear range. We are at the greatest disadvantage at standard sword range. At sword range it is difficult (but by no means impossible) to throw safe, effective shots with your spear because we are too close. At the same time we are too far away to take full advantage of the spears ability to block. Bottom line: it's just not where we want to be, so don’t be there.
When up close with an opponent you will find your spear becomes a five-plus foot single axis shield. By placing your spear to one side of your body you can almost completely defend that side from attack. Once you have learned to correctly position both your spear and body you are able to shut down a lot of your opponents throwing lanes. For me the most commonly effective fighting stance when in close combat is to basically create an upside down V bringing your down spear hand up to beside your ear in order to protect your left side from the shoulder down while bringing your right hand up to about shoulder height angling the sword toward your head (so that it looks something like this /o). It is worth noting that your right hand needs to drop lower if you are fighting a florentiner in order to stop a left handed hip wrap. This is the most defended position to be in at close range. Once you are here it is up to you to pick your shots wisely and as always pay attention to your opponent.
Finally, let's discuss the best way to close on the opponent with this combo. Closing is for when we don’t have time to just sit back and throw shots. There are some fairly simple ways to effectively close if need be. My personal preference, and what I think is the easiest way, is to simply begin to fake a stab and lunge in and throw with your sword. As I keep saying in these situations, pay attention!
Closing will in time become easier and easier as you learn to predict how opponents will react to your spears movement. As people begin to respect/worry about your spear more and more, they will become more vulnerable to a quick lunging sword kill off the slightest of spear feints.
Down spear is an extremely fun and effective combo. With a basic understanding and a little bit of practice you will be surprised at how fast you are destroying all of the chafe on the field. With a lot more practice and experience you will find that sword and down spear has the capability of holding its own against any other combo on the field. Now go pick one up and have some fun stabbing things!
Learning to fight with your off-hand is functionally identical to learning to fight with your primary hand with the added hurdle of being a total retard with your off-hand. On the bright side, you probably overcame this hurdle when you started fighting with your primary hand and now you’ve got years of experience fighting to help speed the process along. For ease of discussion I’m going to break this into three categories: Physical Training, Mental Training, and Practice.
Physical Training encompasses the following attributes: Hand speed, coordination, arm strength, grip strength, grip style, guard placement, and stance.
Mental Training includes all of the areas where you’re going to have to train your brain to do the right thing with the wrong hand: Feints, reading, shot selection, and planning.
Practice is what you do to make a physical action and a mental concept come together successfully. There is no shortcut for avoiding practice, but practicing properly will move you along faster than practicing poorly. The main areas for practice are placement, timing, and familiarity.
1) Boxing Focus Mitts: Requires a partner. Get a partner. Have them wear focus mitts of the type commonly used in boxing. Hit the mitts. You may want light bag gloves, or you may find your Amtgard gloves suffice. If you have some boxing experience you can work on good form and doing it right, but even if you know nothing about boxing the act of working the mitts even with bad form will still be good training for your hands. Example Video
2) Dot Numbers: Requires a partner or a random number generator. Lay out a regular grid on a piece of cardboard, posterboard, plywood, whatever. The grid should be two feet square and be evenly divided into sixteen sections and numbered appropriately. Have your partner call out numbers while you try and touch the appropriate section on the grid. Once that is easy, have him call out patterns. Always return to a reset ‘rest’ state between patterns, and try to go as quickly as you can.
3) Wall Bounce: Get a wall and up to three tennis balls (or similar balls). Stand ten feet from the wall. Starting with a single ball, bounce the ball off the wall in front of you and catch it before it hits the ground. Start with your primary hand, then your off hand, then rotate between them. When that becomes easy, add in another ball. You can also vary the difficulty by throwing harder or standing closer.
6) Shoulder Press: http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/DeltoidAnterior/DBShoulderPress.html
7) Block Strike: It’s Block Strike. Come on, guys.
8) Blind Flailing: Requires a buddy or a video camera. Or both, ideally. Practice throwing a shot with proper form slowly with your eyes closed. Focus on feeling the proper flow of the shot rather than trying to ‘aim’ at your target. Your buddy’s job is to correct your movements and keep you in proper form. If you don’t have a buddy, review the camera between every few shots and make sure you’re still on target with good form. This is best done with a pell, obviously.
9) Velcro: Requires a pell, some velcro, and some sewing skills. Get a one inch square of short-nap velcro (short-nap will be less sticky than long-nap) and put one side on your target location on your pell and the other on the portion of your sword you want to hit with. Throw the shot with proper form and when you get the form, range, rotation, and placement correct your sword will stick to the pell. It shouldn’t stick enough to prevent you from returning to guard, but it will stick enough to give you a good bit of feedback that you did everything right. This is especially effective for wraps, since you can put a piece on a pell behind a shield and practice targeting precise shots on things you can’t see. A bell hung behind a shield can also serve a similar purpose.
10) Red-Headed Step Child: Requires two buddies. Stand in a 4ft diameter circle and have your two buddies stand outside at 30 degree angles in front of you so that there is a 60 degree arc between them. Have them alternate throwing shots at different locations which you must block. To increase the difficulty you can increase the arc between your opponents and/or increase the speed of their shots. This forces you to work on analyzing where and when a blow will land on the fly, which helps work on timing and block placement.
11) Show Me the Money: Requires a buddy. Pick a location on your buddy to hit that is normally covered by their guard or shield; Common locations are the same side shoulder or same side hip. Your buddy will start out of your range, then step in to your range, expose the agreed upon location, and throw a shot. Your job is to hit the target location and then return in time to block their shot. When you start out your buddy should leave a large time window for you to hit the area and throw the shot slowly. As you progress the shot window should get shorter while their shot gets faster.