Hey, I'm Salad (snot#7451)! I’ve been playing Paladin (mostly Guardian) for around 6 years and am known for my aggressive playstyle in PvP. I have participated in PvP balancing for Project Duck and have won past Wipeout events.
Guardian’s Role in PvP
Guardian is a bruiser class, an armored turtle, with decent burst damage and reliable combo damage. While it has relatively low mobility compared to other classes, it has access to some great tools, high Super Armor (SA), Super Armor Break (SAB) and can be quite fast in the right hands. Given it’s amazing kit, Guardian is extremely flexible and can be played in multiple ways ranging from passive and calculated to fast and aggressive. Guardians do best when sticking close to the enemy and countering their engages. In order to be a good Guardian player you have to know when you can SA tank something, when you should dodge it and what tools you can use to counter these plays. Outside of soft-ban environments it attains a tank identity and has a myriad of blocks, damage reflection and damage reduction which it can abuse on top of its strong bruiser game-play.
Guardian’s main weaknesses are its lack of range and mobility that can make it very difficult to stick to long range classes and its relatively low damage outside of combos.
Crusader’s Role in PvP
Crusader is a powerful burst class which has access to ranged and melee tools that make it very versatile in controlling space and forcing their opponents hand. Similar to Guardian, it lacks in mobility but its extended range makes up for this somewhat. A Crusader’s weakness lies in its skill priorities which are often towards the slower skills in the kit making Crusader feel more boxy/slow than Guardian. It is squishier than Guardian and suffers from slightly lower Para Resist which can make it hard to play against faster classes.
Guardian has a lot of SP that can be moved around. As long as you get your important skills maxed it is very flexible.
I like maxing [Shield Blow] for consistent combo damage but you can move that SP to [Divine Combo], [SBL], or [SKK] lv 6 if that's your style. [Divine Ascension] also doesn't do that much damage outside the cross ticks in combo so you can move that SP around as well. [Provoke] is also only for style so you can choose not to take it.
Blacklisted (Wipeout and Group)
You can drop points from [Divine Ascension] to put them into anything else you want. Same idea as other build with [Provoke]. You can also opt out of taking [Aura of Healing] as it is awful.
Note: Do not take [Divine Judgement] in PvP as it does not work. (I took it for testing and didn't bother to remove it).
Blacklisted (Wipeout and Group)
Not much to say here. You are basically giving up some damage for the important BL skills. I max [Heart of Glory] over [Divine Hammer] as it is a better ultimate.
I take the same crests for both the 1v1 and BL builds
[Roundhouse Kick] 50% Action Speed, [Holy Kick] 50% Action Speed, [Stomp Kick] 50% Action Speed, [Paralyze Bolt] Reset Chance, [Righteous Bolt] Damage, [Electric Smite] Damage, [Shield Charge] Damage.
- Action speed plates are for comboing and the rest are self explanatory. [Paralyze Bolt] resets way more than you expect (it’s pretty nasty). For the BL build you can take [Justice Crash] Cooldown as it is one of your best skills in that format.
I take the same crests for both the 1v1 and BL builds
[Roundhouse Kick] 50% Action Speed, [Holy Kick] 50% Action Speed, [Stomp Kick] 50% Action Speed, [Electric Smite] Damage, [Charitable Zap] Damage, [Goddess Relic] Damage, [Struck by Lightning] Damage.
- Same reasoning as Guardian for the action speed plates. The rest are just to maximize damage output as Crusader benefits immensely from doing as much damage as possible.
Skill Up Plate
- Gives you 5% more debuff on the skill. Plating anything else would lose you a lot of combo damage and is therefore a total noob trap. This is unanimous for all specs.
For Crusader you could take Smite or Relic +1 but be aware that this bugs the animation for the opponent so they will see the non ex animation creating an unfair environment in your favor. I don't personally recommend taking either of these over Armor Break though due to the overall damage loss.
[Minotaur Crest Cow Strike]
- Extremely Powerful Tech. Use it wisely.
- Since Paladin can apply shock in a variety of ways it is important to learn to play with it and against it. The skills that apply it are [Electric Smite] and [Charitable Zap] 100% guaranteed upon hit and [Righteous Bolt] 10% chance per hit. Shock is a debuff that ticks every 5 seconds it is applied. During its tick everything is canceled. This includes i-frames, big skills, EVERYTHING. If your opponent is in the air they will fall once it ticks. All the shock timers that Paladin applies are 7 seconds meaning that when the timer hits 2 the shock tick will happen. As a Pally player you must learn to count this timer and use it to your advantage.
Due to the changing nature of PVP Balancing I will not be including SA/SAB values for this guide as they could quickly become outdated. If you want access to that information reference Roy’s handy Spreadsheet here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1RTVaXn-wPxuAvPBZ9egfjoGGuSgB9UyFPYxXvPqTbmc/edit?usp=sharing
[Sliding Step] (i-frame)
- Cleric’s tumble. Very self-explanatory. It is your main i-frame/dodge ability (every class has one). You can use it to dodge, reposition, or even for mind games which I will get into with [Shin Breaker].
[Vengeance Strike] (i-frame)
- Cleric’s wake-up attack. Be wary of how you use this. It is i-framed until the hit but it has a punish frame where you can be countered. It is not always best to use this every time. Sometimes it is better to just roll and get up that way.
- Fast yet short range, [Shield Blow] is utilized for low risk countering and engaging as well as SAB stacking in certain match-ups. Due to its low risk of usage you should be using it to get surprise catches or in order to bait your opponents tumble.
[Struck by Lightning]
- An incredible combo tool due to its lift and also a very good skill for SAB stacking because you can cancel it with tumble at any point after the first hit. This skill is very flexible like [Shield Blow] and relatively low risk. The more you level it the more lightning hits the skill has making combos with it interesting at different levels.
- Reliable catching and comboing skill. If you get lv 6 or above on this skill you can cancel it anytime during the animation with a left click to punch and knock opponents back or a right click to create an AOE lift around you. You can also tumble out at any point during this skill.
- Good for flashy combos and amazing combo damage. [Righteous Bolt] is a higher risk skill but does amazing damage when you land all 4 hits and if you set it up properly you can get up to 7 hits in a combo. Low SAB makes it relatively weak in neutral but you can still use it to SA tank some skills. Can apply shock.
- If you land this skill you get a 2.5 second bind at level 16. You want to use this skill to guarantee damage during combos when the opponents evasions are about to come up or to catch/zone opponents in neutral.
- Best wall combo tool in your kit. Always get an action speed plate for this.
- Chains off of Roundhouse Kick and is also incredibly useful for combos as well as putting pressure on your opponent in neutral. You level it to lv 6 to get the extra range. Always action speed plate it.
- Amazing combo pickup and extender. Can be used in a variety of ways and create some really flashy combos.
[Sliding Knee Kick]
- Amazing combo tool due to its lift and can be used for very niche catches. Risky to use since you have to waste tumble to use it and it has low SA and SAB.
- Incredible buff that grants you 5 blocks for 12 seconds. You want to use this to stall for cooldowns or have safe approaches towards the opponent. Be wary though because if someone hits you while you have Block on and you’re using a skill, the skill will be canceled by the block animation. After a successful block you can use [Divine Ascension] but be wary since Ascension is not i-framed.
[Aura of Healing]
- Very mediocre heal (0.8% of max HP) but can be something to use when opponent is stalling.
- Its effect makes [Aura of Healing] a bit better but it is still not very good since you don’t have a reliable way of healing the 10% extra HP you gain and have no other forms of healing otherwise.
- This skill is really only used for hard read catches, zoning, and comboing. Using this skill when your opponent is close can be risky since it is very easy to punish.
- Applies shock. On top of that, it applies a debuff that ticks 3 times and does damage. This is where most of your damage comes from so you must learn to combo making sure the ticks do damage. The ticks only hit grounded targets. This also means your opponent can jump over the ticks if they time it properly.
[Electric Smite] (i-frame)
- Applies Shock. I-framed from the beginning of the skill to the middle. This is a really important skill to know how to use. It has massive SAB, meaning it can break almost any skill in the game. The fact that it is i-framed also means that it is a fantastic panic button for when you are in a tough situation. It is also your highest damaging skill. Since so much utility is front loaded into this skill it is important to recognize when you should save it for the i-frame or use it for damage during combo.
[Shin Breaker] (i-frame)
- This skill chains off your tumble and allows you to have great mobility and catching power. The existence of this passive gives pally's tumble an incredible amount of pressure, meaning that every time you use it your opponent has to be wary of a potential [Shin Break]. You can use this knowledge to mind game your opponent into wasting their own tumble by tumbling and then going for a different counter. This skill can be jumped by the opponent, however, due to its relatively low vertical hit-box. Be wary of this and learn how to delay or speed up your usage of the skill. Remain unpredictable!
[Stance of Faith]
- A basic parry. You can cancel out of any skill you’re currently using and block with it. Incredibly useful for baiting or for sticky situations. Blocks up to 3 times after a successful block. Be careful of how you use the skill since it only blocks during the first half of the skill. During the second half you are locked into a punish frame.
- A strong catch tool. After a short windup you release a powerful uppercut. Can be used to continue combos or to catch/counter skills.
- Similar to [Divine Combo]'s right click but it has more SAB and staggers instead. It is more punishable as well due to its lower SA but it can be incredibly strong for catching and countering.
[Aerial Block] (i-frame)
- Pally's secondary aerial evasion. While knocked up in the air you press left click for a short i-frame and then drop rapidly to the ground. Since the i-frame is short, it is better to use this closer to the ground or when the opponent is stuck in an animation. You can also use the i-frame to dodge a hit which can be very rewarding but risky to time.
- Pally’s bread and butter engage tool. It has incredible SAB and staggers on the second hit. It also applies a debuff that increases your damage by 30% (if you skill up plate it). If used incorrectly it can be extremely easy to punish, however.
- Mobility and SA tanking skill. It has decent SAB as well. Use this skill to reposition and to tank and counter. Be wary of using it if the opponent has a skill that can easily counter it as you will be stuck in a long animation. Really good combo damage as well.
- Increases your Movement and Action Speed by 5% as long as it's on. Though initially it might seem useless, it is actually extremely powerful as it cuts time off your punish frames and your cast times as well as your knock-back and stagger animations. I consider [Conviction] to be much better than [Elemental Aura] due to its potential utility and how good action/movement speed is for Guardian.
- Increases your light attack by 10% while its on. It’s ok and gives you a bit more damage which can be useful in certain match-ups but I think [Conviction] heavily outmatches this aura.
- A buff that reflects damage back to opponents for 15 seconds. The damage is capped at 100% of your own damage stat so it isn’t as strong as it could potentially be. It can still be really good at stalling and keeping your opponents at bay while you stall for your block cooldowns.
- Incredibly powerful buff that reduces damage taken. Makes Paladin incredibly tanky for a short duration and can be used to stall or to create a window where you can play aggressively without much risk.
- Do not use this skill.
- Pathetic excuse for an ultimate. Can be worth using in group scenarios but isn’t as good as its counterpart.
[Heart of Glory]
- Has good damage on the explosion tick. Applies a buff that gives the user permanent i-frame, increased damage, and movement speed for a short duration. One of the most overpowered ultimate skills in the game.
[Justice Crash] (i-frame)
- There's two ways to use this skill: you can press the button which will give you an i-frame as you go up or you can press space bar twice to use the fall instantly from your current position. This skill is incredibly strong especially because it applies stun to standing targets, has high SAB, and has really good damage. If you are playing in a soft-ban environment you are going to have to learn to not press space bar twice while jumping because you will accidentally use it. Perfect for “accidental” usage if you are in a tough situation, however… 8)
[Stance of Faith EX]
- Functionally the same as non ex except it does slightly more damage since it ticks 3 times on a perfect parry. Also you can left click to cast a fast version of [Divine Ascension], although it is risky.
[Divine Ascension EX]
- Adds a cross that you can cast after [Divine Ascension] by pressing left click. The cast of the cross has low SA and the cross has low SAB but it can help you catch opponents in the air and help SAB stack in certain situations. It is usually better not to use this function as it is very risky but can be rewarding if used properly.
- It grants you a shield that is 5% of your max HP. The shield isn’t very strong but the skill itself can do a significant amount of damage if used properly. It is a long cast and has low SA so use it cautiously.
[Divine Punishment EX]
- Creates an aura that does damage around the user. This aura ends up doing really significant damage so using this while comboing is really rewarding. Be careful, however, as the buff will make certain combos fail due to the constant hits. For example: Stomp Kick will auto-stand after the 2nd hit.
- Powerful Damage Buff. Use it in the middle of a combo. (Lift>[Roundhouse Kick]> [Zeal]>Lift/[Stomp Kick]/Anything…)
- Can be used to pressure opponents from a distance since the skill has good para-lock. The bulk of its damage happens with the melee hits so you want to use this skill close up in combo. The melee hits also have good SAB making it pretty useful close up. If you turn quickly while using the skill you can also make the hammer turn sideways.
[Goddess Relic EX]
- The EX makes the skill’s range immense which helps it pressure ranged targets. It also applies an elemental defense debuff that is important in combo in order to maximize your damage. If you use the skill when the opponent is too close it is very easy to punish, however, and can even miss.
[Charitable Zap EX]
- Increases [Zap]’s damage and allows you to hit more targets. It slightly increases its range at the cost of making its hitbox more obvious.
[Electric Smite EX] (i-frame)
- Increases [Smite]’s AOE and adds lightning trails which function similar to [Righteous Bolt].
- Allows for the usage of [Struck by Lightning (Enhanced)] which is activated by pressing SPACE BAR after any skill. This option is very useful for surprise catches due to its speed.
I could go on for hours about all the different possibilities but it wouldn’t be realistic for this guide. Instead, I will include a video of me doing some combo practice and hope that it is useful enough. Guardian and Crusader combo very similar but they have some unique set ups and different skill priorities so I will include a video for both.
I like to use a Flail but most of these combos are possible with Mace. I find Flails to be more flexible and allow for more combo possibilities but Maces can be easier for beginners so they’re totally viable.
Some combos failed here because I forgot to activate [Conviction Aura]. Big reason why it is the best aura to use currently.
The main differences are from each classes’ skill priority in order to maximize damage. Crusaders prioritize using full [Divine Combo] and not canceling [SBL] early since it is a big source of damage. They use [Goddess Relic] a lot more before big skills, as well due to the debuff it provides. I hope these slight nuances are demonstrated in the videos.
- It is important to note that the way you move and position during combos affects their possibilities. A huge example of this is pally wall comboing. You always want to jump sideways or move sideways by adjusting your camera in order to get the maximum amount of distance from the wall to continue the combo. Moving backwards is not as viable because you gain less distance and move slower. If you do not do this properly then you will end up too close and it will be difficult for you to continue. These nuances are learned with time and practice so don’t be frustrated if you can not do them at first. Just know they will be important and practice them.
Useful Videos to Reference
[Dragon Nest Project Duck] PvP Mix 1
Some matches against Kiy’s Reaper and Pyro. This is an interesting video because it shows how I play in a completely unfavorable match-up and a very favorable match-up.
Saladscope (very important)
Sideways [Judgemental Hammer] by UhFrog
Zeplic's Old Combo Guide
This is a really old combo guide by Zeplic. This video is how I learned to combo so I have to show respect. However, it is extremely outdated now, If you watch it take it with a grain of salt. Also it is very basic and misses out on a lot of cool options. Examples of outdated things: [SKK] lvl 6 does not have that high of a bounce anymore, [stomp kick]> [para-bolt]/[divine combo] left click are very unreliable now (you can abuse auto-stand in other ways though), etc.