Monday, April 6, 2015

The Red Line Cappie -- Or: "Who's Making all that RACKET?!"

Captain Guthinwe, my main character, has been shouting foes down (literally) for nearly eight years. Therefore, I can say that -- through no fault of my own -- I know a few things about the class. Everyone loves a cappie, but while their healing and tanking capabilities are well-known throughout LOTRO, perhaps their red line capabilities are less well understood. A big part of the reason for this is many of the cappie's skills/effects don't have an animation so, much like a perfectly serviceable lasagna can be overlooked when next to another much larger lasagna (with meatballs) by a fat Italian guy like me, the cappie can easily get overlooked in the heat of battle. Even if you aren't playing the cappie yourself, I'm about to tell you why you should be happy to have one o' them holla'ing fools along with you, especially if they know how to take full advantage of their abilities. So, as Pippin said to himself at Aragorn's coronation feast, "Here's a little something to chew on."
The captain's red line focuses on enhancing the combat effectiveness of the entire fellowship rather than the captain's alone. Some players discourage spending points on the Restraint and Heightened Allies traits.

The key to playing a cappie effectively in red line is to understand how each skill plays off the next. Rather similar to the way minstrels need to satisfy certain criteria in order to maximize their high-end abilities' powers, or (maybe more aptly), the way warden gambits increase in power when used after playing the predecessor in their families, the red line cappie's success depends upon playing skills in the proper order and using them in conjunction with other abilities to boost their effects. (I'm speaking to cappies with their entire tree open to illustrate the point).

As an example: Cutting Edge opens a bleed on your target. Simple enough. But the Lacerate skill (set bonus) causes that bleed to become applied to other enemies in the captain's immediate vicinity as well as increases all cappie bleed damage by 25%. Moreover, the Grievous Wounds trait causes Grave Wound to debuff the enemy's incoming healing while also increasing the skill's damage output by 10%. Combine these with the Make Them Bleed trait for another 20% bleed damage plus Telling Mark for 5% more damage from all sources (as well as various traits to increase critical magnitude of regular blows and bleeds) and you have some nasty damage being served up.

In another example, Shadow's Lament can be more than just a second way to get into the Battle-readied stance. It does additional light damage when used on an enemy targeted with Telling Mark, gains 20% damage when used after Blade of Elendil, and also benefits from having the Standard of War nearby with the Master of War trait unlocked.

But, as everyone knows, the cappie's real strength lies in buffing his allies. Of course Rallying Cry is more effective when used after felling an opponent, but in red line Routing Cry used after a defeat event not only damages surrounding enemies but also buffs the fellowship for up to 15% faster attack duration. For serious fights, whip out the Standard of War (damages enemies while adding 30% outgoing damage to the party from all sources) with the Master of War trait (crit buffs), Blade Brother's Call (increases damage output of the captain and marked party member -- champs are great targets!), To Arms (+25% damage output for your blade brother), and Oathbreaker's Shame (target takes +35% damage from all sources), and your team will lay down some serious hurt.

I had better be careful lest people start thinking this blog was meant to be useful all along. Now where are my cookies?!

Master of Toons

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