Of Shields and Swords
Skardsen. Ari. Reif. Thare, Thigl, Tawre...
Seem familiar? Neopians have probably heard of "Skardsen" and would almost always associate it with that powerful (and might I add, expensive) Battledome sword sold in Fyora's Hidden Tower. Knowing it mostly deals darkness icons for its attack will give the hint that Skardsen is an anagram of 'darkness'. If you hadn't known of this before, then I'm glad to have contributed to your general knowledge of Neopia. *grins* But what's more, there are now also other swords similar to the Sword of Skardsen, all of them named by an anagram of the attack icons they deal out. So Ari is air, Reif is fire, Thare is earth, Tawre is water and Thigl is light. This is the reason why these six swords are usually referred to as the 'anagram swords' and by some as the 'elemental swords' (of course, darkness isn't really an element but that's neither here nor there).
But these swords aren't only the reason why battledoming has become challenging as well as providing things to ponder on for 2-player battledomers who want to buy attack weapons. The release of the two newest shields in the Hidden Tower (HT), the Hubrid Nox Memorial Shield and the Shield of Faerieland, has added to the consideration of battledomers in planning out their sets and their battling strategies. In this guide, we shall take a look at what each shield has to offer in terms of defence and explore the most effective and ineffective combinations of anagram swords as we match them up to each shield. Keep in mind, though, that what are presented and under consideration here are only anagram swords and HT shields that are designed to counter them. There are also other attack and defence weapons out there; however, these are the ones which are quite popularly used and, especially in the case of the shields, can provide an overview of what can be defended and what are hard to defend against:
Faerie Tabard (all water, 5 fire, 3 air, 3 earth, 5 physical) – Okay, not exactly a shield but for purposes of our research, we will treat it as such considering that this is one of the oldest and strongest defence items Fyora has to offer in her tower. Resisting primarily water and offering five icons of defense against fire, obviously, the worst combo of swords to use against someone who has it are those that deal water and fire. Best combo to use: Sword of Skardsen and Sword of Thigl. Worst combo: Sword of Tawre and Sword of Reif.
Ghostkershield (all darkness, 5 earth, 3 light, 3 air, 5 physical) – This is the other oldest and strongest shield aside from the Tabard sold in the Hidden Tower. Before the advent of the other shields, this was also arguably the more popular of the two for the simple reason that it could stop Sword of Skardsen, while the Tabard didn't exactly have a powerful sword it could be used against. With the release of the anagram swords, however, the Ghostkershield is most vulnerable to what the Tabard could best defend against. Best combo to use: Sword of Reif and Sword of Tawre. Worst combo: Sword of Skardsen and Sword of Thare.
Hubrid Nox Memorial Shield (all light, 5 earth, 5 air, 5 water, 5 physical) – Hailed as the best and strongest shield currently, this shield can stop all light and five icons of four other types of attack. It suffers though from what the Ghostkershield can block completely (darkness) and what the Faerie Tabard has decent defence against (fire). Best combo to use: Sword of Reif and Sword of Skardsen. Worst combo: Sword of Thigl and Sword of everything else that doesn't dish out fire or darkness.
Now looking at what the three (3) shields above have to offer so far in terms of defence, it could be seen that only one of them can block fire attack and only five icons at that. The other icon that the shields are especially weak to block is air which while five icons can be blocked by the Hubrid Nox Memorial Shield, only three can be blocked by both the Faerie Tabard and Ghostkershield. So does this mean that the Sword of Reif and Sword of Ari are the best swords to use? Well, that was the case until this shield came along:
Shield of Faerieland (all air, 5 fire, 5 physical) – The most recent released shield in the Tower. This provides the defence that the other shields lacked and by lack, I mean the holes in effectively blocking air and fire attacks. Well actually, mostly air since it doesn't provide more defense against fire which the Tabard already gives. Best combo to use: Any two Sword of everything that doesn't dish out air or fire. Worst combo: Sword of Ari and Sword of Reif.
But wait, if air and fire can be taken care of, what about earth? Even with these four (4) powerful shields, the best defence they can offer from earth attacks is only five icons by the Ghostkershield and Hubrid Nox Memorial Shield. There is an existing shield however, much older than the Faerie Tabard and the Ghostkershield which completely blocks earth:
Shield of Pion Troect (all earth, 1-2 light, also attacks with 3 darkness) – Much weaker than the rest of the shields above, nevertheless, it completely blocks earth attacks and also offers a little offense provided by three darkness icons of attack. Best combo to use: Any two Sword of everything that is not Thare. Worst combo: Sword of Thare and well, it can only block at the most two icons from Sword of Thigl, so using this isn't exactly bad.
Now there are also other defence items sold in the HT like the Sunshine Shield, but it is too weak to be considered a good shield against the anagram swords. The Pirate Captains Hat is another story; it completely blocks earth and light as well as five icons of the hard to block fire attacks. The catch, however, is that it is semi-fragile which means it can break in battle. Also, these last three shields are not "designed" for anagram swords in that they do not block physical icons, which the anagram swords have plenty of on the occasions that they give out a strong hit. That means, aside from the default 15 icons of the element they represent and the fractional 1-2 icons of physical, any additional icon they dish out will be physical.
So now that we've seen how the shields and swords match up against each other, what then are the best shields/the best swords to use? I believe that the answer would probably depend on what kind of battler you are. For most offensive type battlers or those that rely mostly on brute force, overpowering the opponent is the most crucial thing. Getting at least three types of swords is prudent with the third sword acting as a back-up for you to switch one of your swords with once you find out what shields your opponent has. For the more defensive type, then it is assumed that you have the defence boost to effectively use your shields. It is also wise to have a pet that has innate resistance to certain types of attack like the Pteri, which is a popular 2-p battle pet since it has 40% resistance to air attacks thus providing you with at least one less attack icon to worry about in each and every turn in battle. Just remember that seeing what species your battle pet is is also a giveaway to your opponent to what attacker s/he should avoid using.
Now with all these things in mind, finding out what these swords and shields have to offer, I'm sure you have this thought in your head: "Isn't battling fun?" :)