How To Win vs Ball Groups

The content below is intended for solo and small group players who have not developed their own (successful) strategies on how to counter these groups. I see random groups and PuGs run into ball groups and die way too often and can only blame it on their not understanding what’s going on. I hope this helps!

First, please read the Offence section, the Defence section, and then the Siege section. These sections contain some basics that are applicable regardless of who you are fighting.

STRATEGY:

  • Pay attention. I can’t stress this enough. If you’re going to blindly follow your group leader without watching what’s going on, you’re going to have a bad time. If you’re going to madly focus on killing one person, chances are you’re going to get trampled to death.
  • You can’t take them out alone. Don’t even bother trying. Help another group that is there, or go do something else. These groups prey on the weak, unskilled, or small group players and they will try to pull you together so that they can hit more of you at once. Don’t let them get away with this. If you leave them alone and they have nobody to kill, they’ll move away trying to find more players at once.
  • If you see an organized group fighting them, don’t stack with them. Stay at least 5 meters (VD distance) away. They have group buffs, and may be min/maxed so that they have a lot more resilience than you. You will get bombed and you’ll contribute to their deaths if you’re too close!
  • The key to winning versus these groups is strategy. You’re going to need a reasonable number of players to coordinate their damage (player damage or siege damage) and debuffs (snare/stun/slow/defile/breach/etc) in order to take them out or make them run away.

DEFENCE:

  • Keep moving, and keep a distance from them until you’re ready to engage or ready to try and bait out their ultimates.
  • If you have solid ranged damage or debuffs, keep them applied. Corrupting Pollen, Dark Flare, and Inevitable Detonation are all good examples that can affect how and when they will attack.
  • Slow them, snare them, and ensure that they’re on the defensive as much as possible. Bombard spam, caltrops, anything to prevent them from moving consistently.
  • Keep them out of formation or position. Warden teleport circles, DK Chains, Fighter’s Guild Silver Leash, and to a lesser degree knock-backs will ensure that they’re never perfectly ready to hit with their full power.
  • Opposing ball groups will use their ultimates together, and will proxy together before they do so. Consider the timing of proxy – that’s how much time they’ve allotted to moving to you so that they all explode together. Don’t be where they are going.
  • They’re going to be spamming crowd control (slows, snares, and hard cc). Be aware that you might have trouble moving, and plan accordingly.
  • Use what methods you have available to not be where they are going with their bombs. Elusive Mist Form, Retreating Maneuvers, Shuffle, Immovable potions, and any methods you have to get snare or cc immunity and speed to get out.
  • If you have damage mitigation, use it when you see them about to hit. Warden’s sleet provides incoming damage mitigation and Templar’s Nova provides opponent outgoing damage mitigation. Use them if needed, not just to save yourself, but to help others of your faction who are fighting!

OFFENCE:

  • Keep as much siege as you can on them. Siege that does damage, like Scattershot Catapults (increases other damage), Cold Fire Ballistas, Cold Stone trebuchets if you can, and a combination of siege (though primarily Scattershot Catapults) if they’re in a keep or relatively open world. Try to coordinate hits. One Oil catapult is also nice, and a Meat bag if you’re unsure if there’s a Defile build fighting them. See the Siege section for more insights.
  • If you’ve managed to bait out their ultimates, or once you’re out or have escaped their bombs, consider that this is the best time to hit them back. They’ve just blown their ultimates, so will need between 20 and 30 seconds to get them back up (subjective timing, though a good base for your strategic thinking).
  • When counter attacking, be quick and accurate with Negates. Most players can’t cast in a Negate (damage or healing). Once they’re in, they won’t be able to much of anything other than run – either towards you and hope that their proxies or ultimates do damage as they get out of the negate – or retreat.
  • Separate them and pick off the one(s) that are out of the group. Wardens can use their circle to teleport them. DKs can grab one with chains. Any class can use Fighter’s Guild leash. Templars can javelin. NBs can drop a fear trap and Necros a fear totem in their path, and cause a few to be separated if they don’t break free quick enough. Those that become separated need to be targeted and taken down quickly.
  • If you can tab target a player with higher importance (such as healers or the group leader – if known), then it makes things easier if you try to single target that player in order to disrupt the group. Some groups fall apart when the leader dies, others will obsess about getting their healers back up (if they run low on burst healers), and others won’t care and just continue to play and recover as normal.
  • Learn about your opponents if they are regular organized groups. Their leaders will have relatively consistent play styles, so if you can predict what they’ll do most of the time, countering them and winning fights will be easier.
  • Don’t let them resurrect. You’ll probably take out at least a few of them if you execute your bomb or counter well. If it looks like they won’t be able to recover, some will likely stay to delay you, while a few of them will run away to get a camp up.
  • Most of the ball groups are going to be running fairly tanky due to cross heals, consistent purges, and builds that provide buffs to the group, so you will need a sufficient amount of damage to get through their survivability. Unless you have a lot of players able to coordinate damage, you’re probably best off pulling one out of position then single-target damaging them to death before they can get back to the group.
    • An advantage to the above is that you then know where they’re going to be in the near future when they try to resurrect the dead player! Prepare to bomb them there if you can!

SOLO PLAYERS & SMALL GROUPS:

The most important points to understand are:

  • As a solo player or small group, you’re probably not going to be able to wipe a well structured min/maxed organized ball group.
  • Their goal is usually going to be farming AP and getting as many kills as they can.
  • Once they see that they’re not going to have an easy time farming, they’ll move somewhere else.

Your criteria for success (winning) should not be killing them all, it should be something along the lines of making it so tough and irritating for them to farm pugs (decreasing their AP per hour to less than PvDoor activities) that they have no choice but to go elsewhere (or rage quit). With that in mind, read through the following points and consider best how you can contribute to the fight.

  • Don’t stack together. That just makes you a target, and even if you don’t die from their damage, the Vicious Death procs from other people around you will kill you.
  • The majority of their damage comes from AoE, so if you can get the major evasion buff, you’ll be more likely to live.
  • Most players use one defensive set, one offensive set, and a monster set. Whatever it is that you use normally, while fighting a ball group you should consider swapping your defensive set to either Spectre’s Eye or Swift (if in a magicka build) to take significantly less damage from their bombs.
    • If you’re a healer, use Earthgore as your monster set. You’ll be throwing out heals and hots, and Earthgore will probably proc as the opposing ball group hits people around you and save a lot of them by removing negates, smashes, conduits, graveyards, and other ground effects. While the heal from Earthgore isn’t great (big nerf), the removal of ground effects is still great.
  • Keep snares down on all sides of them. Caltrops if ranged, Gripping Shards (Warden) and Talons (DK) are good choices. This helps keep them less structured and may help isolate a straggler.
  • Use time stop. Then use it again. Keep using it. You have no idea how irritating and disruptive it is. The hate whispers will flow..
  • Use knock backs. If the opposing group are running around the top of a wall or keep, knocking a few off where they can’t get back in (because you’ve already repaired behind them) will make the rest jump off to get everyone back together. They may re-siege, but that wastes their time.
  • Call out their healer’s names (/yell) and tab target them. Single target burst those healers, and the rest of the group will have a tougher time. An even better target is their rapids spammer, as if you can take that person out then the group will be a lot more challenged in their movement (no more perfectly consistent Major and Minor Expedition buffs).
  • Keep siege on them. If you’re alone, the damage you can do with siege is a lot more than with your skills (ultimate excluded).
  • If you see them proxy and run towards you (usually with ults), use a snare immunity skill (RaT or Shuffle), then run through them not away from them optionally while popping an Immovable potion or hitting with an Immovable poison. That will reduce the time you spend standing in their ults, and they will rarely stop to kill you as they’re all following their leader. if you can get some snares in while moving, it will help de-ball them for a few seconds!

Remember that your goal is not necessarily to kill them, but to make it so challenging for them to achieve their goal of (easy) kills and enough AP (to make it worth the time) that they will go away. Killing them should be seen as an added bonus.

Updated June 2021