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Class Overview - The Swordsman - A Solid Frontline Fighter
The Swordsman is by far the toughest starting mercenary in Atlantica Online. Traditionally, you will see Swordsmen positioned in the front ranks of a team's formation, tanking incoming damage and protecting the mercenaries behind them from taking damage. While swordsmen are able to deal substantial damage to individual targets, they also have a few tricks up their sleeves which allow them to target multiple enemies or enemies in any position in the opposing formation.
Swordsmen are an indispensable class until the middle levels of your main's advancement, when other tanking mercenaries such as the Lady Knight, the Beast Tamer, and the Spartan are worth trading out for your Swordsmen, once you are of high enough level to recruit them. However, the Swordsman's unique skills and the way that they combine with other skills makes the class one that may be worth hanging onto.
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Stats & Equipment
The swordsman's high defensive strength is by far his strongest asset. The swordsman is able to wear heavy armor, and swordsmen are the only mercs that can use a shield. Additionally, the swordsman has high stats in Defense and Vitality, and reasonably high Dexterity, which all add to the Swordsman's defensive power. His strength is also high, allowing for decent damage output. It is important to note as well that the Swordman's low Intelligence makes his magic attacks rather weak, compared to some other classes. Finally, his magic defense is quite low, though the effect of this can be circumvented through the use of the Monk spell Holy Guard.
Starting stats are as follows:
- Strength: 340
- Intelligence: 130
- Dexterity: 240
- Vitality: 250
- Defense: 400
- Magic Defense: 125
- Attack Power: 70-90
In general, the best equipment for a swordsman are those items which enhance his particular strengths. You want a swordman to be able to tank and deal out the highest possible damage to individual targets. The best armor and accessory choices are those which increase defense, vitality, dexterity, and strength the most. The swordsman is your front-line shield, taking the brunt of the enemy's attacks so that your weaker mercenaries don't have to. The longer he lasts, the longer your other mercs can stick around to deal out damage to your opponent, and support your team with heals, buffs, and other beneficial spells.
Additionally, it's a good idea to give him the best weapon that you can, as the quality of your mercenaries' weapons in Atlantica Online has a very strong effect on their damage output.
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Perhaps nothing defines an individual mercenary class in Atlantica Online more than the skills which are available to them. The Swordsman is unique as a class D melee mercenary in that there are five skills in his arsenal, while the other two class D melee mercs, Spearmen and Vikings, have four.
The Swordsman has 3 skills which are common among each of the three class D melee mercenaries. These skills are as follows:
- Guard Dispel - This spell can be cast on a single row of the opponent's formation. It essentially cancels out the spell Holy Guard which is on any of your opponent's units in that row. This allows your other mercs to use magical attacks on those mercs which previously had Holy Guard on them.
- Deadly Strike - This spell can only be used when your mercenary is on the verge of death. It is a very highly damaging attack, targeted to a single enemy unit. Using this ability will tax your mercenary's action power both on the round in which it is used, and on the following round. It really is a last ditch sort of ability, but it deals out significant damage.
- Break Down - This is an area-of-effect spell, targeting every unit in the enemy formation. It is one of the weaker AoE spells in the game. However, if it is used on a formation which has the ranged skill Chaos Wind in effect upon them, the spell Destructive Wind will activate. Destructive Wind is a high-damage area-of-effect, damage-over-time spell.
In addition to these 3 basic class D melee mercenary skills, the Swordsman has 2 skills which are unique to the class. These skills are:
- Flame Sword - The bread & butter Swordsman skill, Flame Sword is much more likely to successfully hit your opponent than a regular attack, and deals out pretty good damage. A useful skill to use when an opponent's front-line unit is near the brink of death, and you want to ensure that your attack kills off the unit.
- Dark Seed - A single-target damage-over-time spell, this spell can be cast on any unit in the enemy's formation. If Hex of Darkness is cast upon a unit which is effected by Dark Seed, then the damage-over-time spell Hell Flame is activated on the unit. This spell does significant damage to a single enemy unit.
With the basic info on the Swordsman class outlined here, it's time to move on to some more in-depth analysis of this tough tanking mercenary. How should you train your swordsman? Which skills and stats should you seek to raise with books and potions? What are the best allies to combine a Swordsman with, in building the ideal formation? And what are some key pieces of battle strategy to implement for the most decisive victories?
We will discuss this and more on the next page of this article.
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Training Swordsman Skills
With 5 skill choices for the Swordsman, it's a good idea to plan ahead as to which skills you intend to increase in power. A skill's level can't go higher than 60, and there are 120 levels in the game. So potentially you could have two skills at 60, or three at 40, or any other variation which you might prefer.
Flame Sword is an obvious choice. I personally recommend letting go of the swordsman when the class C tanking mercs come around, because these new mercs are much more powerful. Flame Sword books are very easy to come by, so boosting this most used Swordsman skill is an obvious option. If you plan to PvP with your Swordsman, other options are Dark Seed, Breakdown, or Guard Dispel. Each of these skills are useful, but the books are expensive, so it probably doesn't make much sense to pump a bunch of gold into a mercenary that you will probably replace around level 70 or 90.
Deadly Strike is another good option, but its books are also hard to come by. If you really decided to hang onto your Swordsman all the way to 120, I'd recommend raising Flame Sword, Breakdown, and either Deadly Strike or Guard Dispel. Dark Seed is useful when you have a Shaman, but for reasons which I'll go into in a bit Shamans become much less useful in the later levels.
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Training Swordsman Stats
While growth vials won't always give you the particular stat increase that you were hoping for, you can use refund vials to remove the increases that you didn't want, and increase the unit's stats in a more customizable fashion. With this in mind, which stats should you seek to improve on your Swordsman mercenary?
The obvious choices are Vitality, Dexterity, and Strength. But intelligence is an option as well, if you plan to keep your Swordsman around into the later levels. We will go into my personal take on that idea in the next section.
Let's start for now with the Vitality, Dexterity and Strength angle. Personally, I would rank Dexterity first as the stat most worth increasing, followed by Vitality, with Strength last. Dexterity increases your unit's chance to dodge an attack. Naturally, to not be hit at all is preferable to being hit but having more hit points, as would be the case if you increased Vitality first. Being hit less means less damage for your healers to have to deal with, meaning that your healers can spend time casting other, more proactive spells, which could help your chances in battle more in the long run.
Increasing these 3 stats first and foremost is a good idea, for a lot of reasons. You have a tougher Swordsman, who dodges more attacks and is able to take more damage, and who does more damage on single-target melee attacks. But there's another angle here, and it has to do with that other build which needs intelligence boosted.
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It's a good idea to boost intelligence, if you decide to keep your Swordsman around for two skills in particular, these being Dark Seed, and Breakdown. The Dark Seed skill combines with the Shaman skill Hex of Darkness to produce the killer spell Hell Fire. And the Breakdown skill combines with the ranged spell Chaos Wind to produce the killer spell Destructive Wind. These two spells may be a good reason in the long run not only to boost your Swordsman's Intelligence, but also to simply keep the Swordsman around into the highest levels of the game.
But, there's a catch. The Shaman is eventually outclassed in the later levels by the Oracle, a healing class which is capable of healing your entire party, or of casting highly damaging AoE spells. It's highly likely that you'll still have a mercenary with the skill Chaos Wind, however, in the later levels of the game. The Gunner and the Artilleryman both have Chaos Wind in their arsenal, and each is a highly damaging class in their own right, oftentimes being kept around by the most knowledgeable players late into the game.
Another important thing to consider when deciding whether to keep the Swordsman (or Swordsmen) around who have served you so well in the earlier levels, is those Class C tanking mercenaries we talked about earlier in the article - the Lady Knight, Beast Tamer, and Spartan. Each of these, in the long run, are a stronger tanking class than the Swordsman, at the higher levels.
There's almost no reason to keep a Shaman around, once you are able to train an Oracle, so is it worth keeping your swordsman around for the Destructive Wind spell? This could be argued either way, as the Destructive Wind spell is pretty powerful. But most of the top winning Korean builds do not have Swordsmen in them. If the best of the best don't use them in the high levels, then it's probably a good idea not to use them once you have the Class C tanking mercs available to you.
Additionally, both the Viking and Spearman also have the Breakdown skill. It is arguable whether these two classes are worth keeping around into the later levels as well, but for very similar reasons to the argument against keeping the Swordsman. In the later levels, there are simply better mercs to fill those precious party slots with.
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When it comes down to it, the Swordsman really is an excellent mercenary to have around, for the first 70 or so levels of the game. But ultimately some new tank classes come around which really do outclass the Swordsman. Couple this with the sudden irrelevance of the Shaman upon the arrival of the Oracle, and this leaves little reason to keep the Swordsman around in the higher levels. They are great while they last, but in the long run some other mercenaries come onto the scene which are even better.
In the early levels, I'd highly recommend coupling a Swordsman with an Artilleryman or Gunner and Shaman, and I'd even recommend going with 3 Swordsmen. Almost nothing will get through your front lines, if you outfit your Swordsmen well. But one of the strengths of any party in Atlantica Online is variety, whether it be making sure that you have a good variety of melee, ranged, and magic classes, or making sure that you use several different battle strategies, depending on the formation of the enemy that you are facing.
Good luck on the battlefield, and enjoy the game!