Dedicated to helping you conquer the Spiral



Feb 1, 2013


Important Notice– Please read Crews Got Talent and Chain Theory before reading this one.  In order to shorten this guide I’m using some of the vocab from those guides.  If you don’t some of the tips may not make sense.

While this is meant to be a guide for Buccaneers, the tips in this guide should be heeded by all classes.  Why is that?  Buccaneers don’t really play like other pirates.  They have great stats, lots of epics, but few powers.  In other words, Buccaneers play more like a very powerful companion instead of other pirates.

This fact means that Buccaneers have few and very simple macro tactics, but they are a micro tactician’s paradise (which is why this guide is called Micromania).  I guess it would probably be a good time to explain the difference between the two.

Macro tactics are what you decide you will do before the battle and/or are part of your usual strategy.  Examples of macro tactics include the hide-poison-backstab swashbuckler combination, the focus fire tactic, and running to use the statues in the troggy battle.

Micro tactics are the choices you make each turn. They are dependent on what happened the previous turn and are usually an expansion on a macro tactic.  For example, in the focus fire macro tactic (which will be a large part of this guide) you need to decide:  Which enemy do you focus fire on?  Do you focus with all of your crew or just some members?  If some, which ones and what do the others do?  After that enemy falls, which enemy is the next target?  And here you thought buccaneer was going to be easy and simple :P.  NOPE! 😀  Let’s get started.


Types of Units

It is very important to know what each of your units (shorthand for your pirate and your companions) is capable of and their role in the team.  To this end I’ve created a few categories for units.  These are by no means absolute as most units will be some combination of categories.

Bruisers– These are your main damage dealers and arguably the best units (and by far the most popular).  A bruiser is going to have rank 2 burst fire/relentless and/or other epics that let them get off many attacks per turn (such as flanking).  Be warned, often these are your most fragile units so you will need to protect them.

Counters– The purpose of these units is to eat up a hard enemy’s epics so other units may safely attack it. (A hard enemy is any enemy with many epics that threaten other units on your team, usually a boss.)  These units need to either be able to take a hit or dodge well.  It helps if your counter unit can attack the hard enemy first so they trigger the epics instead of a more fragile unit.  Fortunately, your Buccaneer pirate IS the strongest melee counter unit in the game.

Finishers– I kind of hope that name gives this type away but…. a finisher is the unit that finishes off an enemy that is close to death.  Finishers need to be very accurate and/or have second chance*/etc. to make sure they hit.  Adding bladestorm/double tap is also very helpful (might as well get an extra attack out of it).  [*In the case of enemy PvE (Player vs. Environment) units, second chance and similar epics put that unit into the bruiser category.  Those units tend to do the most damage as it almost guarantees they will hit your equivalent unit.]

Nuisance– These units are more for battles against other players than anything else.  They mess with opponents with movement triggered epics.  PvE enemies don’t seem to care but other players will try to work around these units which can give you a tactical advantage.

While most of your units will not fall neatly into one of these categories, PvE enemies do.   Being able to identify types will tell you which are the most dangerous.  Which brings me to the next topic…


Picking Targets

Most people will tell you to just go for the weakest enemy but this tactic can actually cause you to lose.  Why?  Some enemies will deal so much more damage than others. If you leave those alone at first, you will have problems later.  In general, go for the most dangerous enemy that you can kill quickly at that moment.  Enemy bruisers are the most dangerous.  While some of their epics like flanking can be defeated with positioning, most of them (burst fire/relentless) require luck to counter. The only thing you can do to stop them is to kill them quickly.  Other types, while they can be dangerous, can be avoided.  Finishers are very easy to deal with, just don’t lose a unit :P.  To counter a umm.. counter type you have two options.  The first is to attack a melee counter unit with range units or vice versa in order to avoid the epics all together.  The second is to attack them with your counter unit.  Nuisance units can be countered by not moving.  However for a buccaneer, triggering these epics can be to your advantage if you do it right.


Chain Practice

Something that you may have noticed is not all attacks are equal.  Attacks triggered by an epic may deal different damage than a normal attack based on what epic triggered it.

Higher damage– Responsive epics triggered by an enemy attack

Normal damage– Normal attacks, multi-hit epics

Lower damage– Preemptive and movement based talents

Triggering first strike/repel boarders when your unit has vengeance is to your advantage if you have good health.  While the number of hits each side takes may be equal, your pirate will deal far more damage.  Triggering a chain that is in your favor can make the battle much easier.  On top of this, the buccaneer can force a chain to be in their favor with this little gem….

Picture 2013-01-28 01-16-41

Not only can you trade a weaker attack for your stronger one, you usually take halve the damage you do take ^_^.  Be careful though, this tactic can backfire if you are low on health.  The first strike enemy will have the advantage because if that extra attack (even though it is weaker) is enough to finish you off, there is no return attack.

Don’t think that example is the only possible chain.  There are TONS of ways epics can trigger off of each other.  My favorite chain is having El Toro attack an enemy with vengeance.

Knowing how to work the epic system is such an important topic that is deserves its own guide. O wait it does have its own guide Chain Theory but you should have read it already, right?  BUT WAIT!  THERE’S MORE! 😀 (I bet you read that in Billy Mays voice ;))


Counting Damage

In a nutshell, counting damage is learning how to get as much damage out of each turn as possible.  The goal is to finish off the weakest enemy each turn while dealing as much damage as you can to the next target as well.  For this to work, you need to be able to predict how much damage your unit will deal per turn, which is easier with some units than others.

Bruisers, though they may be your best units, are the least predictable units so usually use your bruiser as the first to attack the next soft enemy in the line.  Often your damage counting choices that round will be based on what the bruiser did the turn before.  If the bruiser left no targets with low health (or first turn) you will likely have all of your units attack one enemy that turn.  If the bruiser left an enemy within the kill range of your other units, have your bruiser move on to the soft target.  If the next target is a hard unit, attacking it with a bruiser can be a BAD idea as your bruiser can trigger many counter attacks.  Attack it with your other units and have your bruiser help finish off the current target or have your counter unit attack the next target as well to open it up for your bruiser.

Finishers are most useful unit in damage counting because they are the most consistent and if properly trained, will attack an additional unit.  To this end, I actually prefer bladestorm over double tap (even though musketeers are better finishers in general).  Why?  I have some control over who my finisher attacks next with positioning.  Say I have 3 enemies next to each other in a line (or something close) and say the middle one is one attack from death.  Just by moving one square I can take the unit I don’t want to attack out of range so my bladestorm only has one possible target.  One attack may not seem like much but consider this… what if that finisher is your buccaneer pirate, and that next target is the boss with rank 2 melee talents?  Yep, by controlling the target of bladestorm, you finish off one enemy and open up the boss for your melee bruisers with one unit in one turn :).

Though for any of this to work….accuracy is key.  Train accuracy on all of your companions that can do so and with your Buccaneer pirate pick Marleybone as where you were raised.  Why?  All the planning in the world doesn’t matter if your units can’t hit the broad side of the buffaloon.  You have to have some consistency about how much damage each of your units will deal per turn or your plans will fail often.


Buccaneer Specific tips

Character Creation– As I stated earlier, pick Marleybone as the place you were raised for the accuracy boost (it helps).  Because buccaneers have so few powers, your natural attack needs to be accurate to compensate.  As for how your parents died…. I picked ship wreck for Lucky Jack and he is awesome :).  I can’t speak for all of them but I think you will be fine with any BUT Milo (lost in storm) as he would be too fragile for the early game.

Secondary Classes– I trained rouse and sneak attack first, then privateer passives (elusive and slashy weapon boosts).  Then I trained swashbuckler passives for the movement points and general damage boost.  One other option would be training witch doctor, as it give lucky rank 1&2 (+8 resist total) but since will is the least valuable buccaneer stat … I don’t recommend it.

Companions– As a buccaneer, you will need to train your companions more than some other classes because you are more dependent on them.  For example, to get through the Presidio, you may have to train your three companions to level 5.  Keep at least your first mate and up to 6 companions (but no more) within 5 levels of your pirate level (train them when you get 2 levels per point).  Luckily, since buccaneers do not get many companions, we don’t have as many to train; so keeping a strong team isn’t as expensive (though I would like to put that monkey crossbow companion in a barrel and nail the lid shut…).


In conclusion

Now I fully realize that many of the tips in this guide are very situational, but that is the point.  The goal wasn’t to give you a list of tips, it is to get you to think about the game mechanics at a deeper level.  At the end of the day, you need to develop your own method for getting the most out of each turn.  One attack can be the difference between a win and a loss.  Make sure that attack is in your favor.


  • SorceressMiklai

    Awesome tips, Neso! I will have to remember (and look at the other guides) when I decide to create pirates for my second account. I pretty much just did it willy-nilly. I really had no idea WHERE you were raised would have any effect on the type of pirate you would become. I think I picked Grizzleheim for my Bucc, Perilous Lenora Thatcher, just because it said they were naturally tough and well…Buccs are supposed to be the tanks so it fit!

    Keep it up, guys! Y’all do excellent work 🙂


  • Ollie

    I had a level ten monkey crossbowman on my lv. twenty but. and it got three and a half levels with one point, I don’t think 2 lvs. is the minimum.

    • I have no idea what you are trying to say….

      I’m saying train your top 6 companions every time you get 2 levels per point. If you wait longer you get more than 2 levels per point but your companions are weaker. Training when you get less than 2 levels per point is wasting points.

      • Ollie

        oh! I thought it meant that was the max you can get!

  • SorceressMiklai

    Woot! Did y’all see that One-Eyed Jack referred your Micromania guide to Ratbeard? Here’s the thread:

    Way to go, guys! 🙂


    • Yep! (and still can’t believe it XD)

  • Buccaneer

    Awesome Guide, though for my Buccaneer I picked Grizzleheim and Mutiny. It is harder battling with a Buccaneer since they don’t have many powers and a lot a accuracy, but he still pretty stong (when he hits -_-)

    • And that ‘when he hits’ is why I recommend marlybone :). Since you didn’t chose it I would recommend finding gear that gives accuracy, even if it is a little weaker overall. The accuracy is worth it.

      • Jack Holystone

        I wish i had read that guide when i started. i got four companions from the crown shop and said i was raised in scrimshaw.

        p.s. no offense, but never get moresco valvida.