This article is for newer players; more experienced managers will, I'm sure, have much more sophisticated ideas about warrior design and strategy. This will enable a newbie to design a competent warrior who should be able to achieve a better than 50/50 record. The wall of steel, or "waste," is often considered the second scummiest style in Duelmasters. I love the style, but I don't run mine that way; I prefer to think of the waste as a fierce dervish ripping into his opponent like an airplane propeller. In accordance with this view, most walls of steel that I design couldn't scum if they wanted to (well all right, sometimes it happens by accident if the opposing warrior is going all-out and can't last very long). It's fun to run them fast; they get the jump on people who don't expect it of them, and their fights are exciting. Mind you, they don't win as much as if they ran more defensively, but the ones with good stats still do okay (I'll make practically anything a waste and run it, but this article isn't about the ones that a sane manager would DA). So, here is a design for a competent wall of steel: ST 13+ Needed for endurance, damage doing, and weapon selection. CN 9+ You need a passably good con for endurance. SZ 7+ Teeny weenie wastes don't hit hard enough or take enough damage. Real big (15+) is bad because it hurts endurance. WT 13+ Preferably 17. Like any other style, the smarter they are, the better. WL 17+ Needed for endurance, damage-taking, and sheer grit. 21 is recommended. SP 3+ Whatever. DF 7+ Higher deftness is better, but you can get by without it. As you can see, these are fairly easy requirements. Of course, the more wit, will, and deftness, the better your waste will be (same as any other style). If you don't end up with at least good endurance on the overview, the warrior probably isn't going to do very well. With that high will, though, you can bump con a couple of times and you might get good endurance, so there's still a chance. Choose your weapons based on deftness, and your opponent's armor weight. I normally use something like 0-8 SC, 9-12 BS, 13+ GA, backup SC or BS. No shield. Some other good weapons for the waste are QS (only takes 11 ST, and can hit heavy armor), MS, and BA. The war flail isn't a very good weapon, but you can play with it against leather armor. For armor, I usually choose something middling like ARM & H, but will go with APL & H if he has a lot of con. For strategy--I heard a rumor (NOT confirmed) that a wall of steel gets a bonus if his OE equals his KD. Since I don't like to use a kill desire above 6, I don't go by that in the first couple of minutes. Keep the activity level moderate to low; the waste doesn't need to jump around a lot and the way he keeps his weapon moving, he's burning a lot of endurance without that added drain. Attack and defend the arms, like a slasher; a waste is a sort of parry-slasher. A typical strategy for my wastes might look like this: Minute 1 2 3 4 5 6 Desp Offensive 9 8 7 6 5 5 2 Activity 6 5 4 3 2 1 6 Kill des. 6 6 6 6 5 5 2 Att. loc. RA LA RA LA RA LA RA Pro. loc. AM AM AM AM AM AM HE Off tac. none -- -- -- -- -- -- Def tac. -- -- -- -- -- -- P I play with the numbers a lot, depending on what the warrior seems to like. For example, if he doesn't parry too well, I'll give him a more offensive desperation strategy, like 8-4-8-slash. (If I really like a warrior I sometimes use a 7+ KD to try and save his life.) If he never manages to get the jump on anybody, I'll try running him more defensively, like with a first minute of 3-6-3. It's not as much fun as going all out, but it's more fun than losing all the time. You can challenge pretty much any style (lungers aren't recommended). When fighting a warrior you know to be very defensive (a TP, or a scummy variety of PS, PR, PL, or WS), slow down or you will be scummed. For the most part, though, an offensive waste is very versatile and can beat any style. The better his important qualities are (WT, WL, DF, endurance), the better the quality of warriors he can defeat. In other words, if you have a so-so rollup that barely made the minimum requirements, challenge so-so opponents. If you have a good rollup, go for the gold. Challenge warriors with a few more fights than you, so you'll learn plenty of skills--but don't challenge way way up in experience, because it's no fun to lose a good warrior. For the most part, train skills--especially on your challenge strategy, when you're going after someone with more fights! And for sure on the first fight, because you'll likely be matched against someone who can teach you a lot. It's okay to train con once in a while if you need more endurance and damage-taking; and if you have bad luck on the rollup and get "does little damage" or something, you might have to train strength once or twice (no more!). But it's best not to train any other stats until way, way down the road. Ask your DM sponsor or any experienced manager in your arena for more advice (if they tell you I'm full of hot air, they're probably right). A little bit of good advice from a more advanced player can make a big difference in your enjoyment of the game! If you have any questions or suggestions, you can diplo: the She-Puppy, mgr. Mordant Prison DM-1, and others.
THE WALL OF STEEL AS A BERSERKER