Welcome back to our tactics spotlight. Today we’re going to be looking at my personal favorite role - Support (aka Poles, greatweapons, Spears). Don’t let the name fool you; supports are often the deadliest players on the field who carry their team to victory.
This roles is for players who want to use tactics and teamwork to rack up kills and lead their teams to victory. Supports tend to also gravitate to the center of a ditching field, taking advantage of the defensive wall provided by the shields of their team’s frontliners. In an open field fight, support weapons tend to use their range to bully opponent’s formations prior to direct contact and then once the lines are engaged they use their range to exploit openings in the opponent’s line or positioning. While Frontliners may be the force that opens up an enemy line, it is often the Supports who exploit those openings and secure kills for their side. In Dargarth, this role is typically played by Fighters, Paladins, Monks and Rangers who can bring Red polearms to bear against the enemy shields, but since most support kills come from long range stabs, Druids and Rogues with a spear can excel in this role as well.
Offensive magic spells can serve in a similar Support role, as the threat of instant destruction or entangling vines can stall and offensive push, and when delivered can create great advantages for their team, but given the long casting times for most spells and the difficulty and risk involved in battlefield casting, a caster will only be able to play this role for a limited time -- usually in the first engagement of a battle.
For equipment, Supports tend to use longer weapons such as Glaives, Spears, and long (5ft+) Greatswords. They tend to rely on their mobility to quickly retreat behind their frontliners during a counter push and thus may not be as heavily armored as their Frontline counterparts (though fighters, paladins and rangers may still bring quite a bit of armor into the role). On smaller fields such as the typical Dargarth battle, supports may use a secondary weapon, usually a blue or dagger for dealing with opponents who manage to close past their range. In larger scale battles, where 8ft-10ft polearms are more common, this practice is less common. Angus, with his light armor, long spear and dagger is a great example of a Support at Dargarth.
To counter a Support, you’ll want to isolate them from their team and negate their range.
A shield of any type is a fairly effective counter against most support fighters alone. Rush in, block their strike and try and bring them down as quickly as possible. Watch out for their secondary weapon (which will usually becoming in right after your first strike) and stay close until they have been neutralized. Attempting this maneuver together with other fighters dramatically decreases the risk; the Support will be forced to choose who to attack and which side to block leaving the other side unthreatened and open for an easy kill.
In limited front engagements like bridge battles and sieges, supports can act to counter each other; pinning an enemy’s spear down can be the sort of opening your frontliners need to push in and open the rest of the enemy line up. Grabbing a spear or glaive that’s prodded too far into your line can also be a very effective tactic.
Ranged attacks, especially arrows and javelins can devastate a Support. Even a pierced arm will dramatically decrease a Support’s effectiveness. Backliners such as archers should prioritize bringing down Supports as early as possible. Just as Frontliners tend to attract spellballs, Supports tend to attract arrows.
Flankers can also be very effective at neutralizing Supports, especially in open field fights where lines can shift rapidly. If they are able to break in and engage the support close (preferably as a team of two or more) they may be able to neuter the enemy team’s offense with little cost.