Dead to Rites: The Best Champions in Battlerite & How to Build Them
Welcome to the Arena, champions. If you've paid attention to Twitch, Reddit, Hitbox, or any of the multiple tournaments lately, you'll know that there's a new challenger on the competitive gaming circuit -
In the tradition of Bloodline Champions before it, Battlerite is Team Arena Brawler that takes the teamf-based bloodbaths we've come to love from MOBAs, and mixes in the closed in, fast paced action that old-school World of Warcraft Arena-philes will immediately recognize.
No minions. No gold. No items. Only one objective - slay anything that didn't step into the ring on your side.
As the competition heats up, though, newer players may be at a slight disadvantage - some of the more established compositions can be tricky to beat without a little synergy of your own.
So here's your gladiator school, champions -- some of the strongest picks in the game, a solid starter 2v2 set, and a rock solid 3v3 composition to get get your feet wet (with blood) as you take your first steps into the Arena.
Now, the game is slated to release as Free to Play (tentatively) early next year, but Early Access is currently available. Players can not only grind some valuable experience leading up to the release, but also nab access to all 15 current champions as well as future characters.
The meta is evolving rapidly, and as balance is adjusted the Arena as we know can change in a second's notice. While nearly everyone on the roster has seen victory at the highest levels, here's some of the champions that have stacked the highest body counts in the Arena so far.
While the game (currently) revolves around 2v2 or 3v3 competition, and we definitely recommend bringing a friend into the ring with you, sometimes all you have is Solo Queue - luckily, these three champions are powerful enough to make up for much of that difference.
To start with, let's take that blue whirlwind of death above - Shifu, the Spear, a potent melee assassin/carry with absurd burst damage from Impale, sustained DPS with Kunju and Spear Slash, and a solid heal in Tempest Rush, is one of the most prominent fighters in the pit currently. His ability to stick to a single target and make sure it dies is nearly unparalleled in the melee class, using Javelin to close distance to an enemy (or his Javelin EX Harpoon to bring them to you), bursting it down, and finishing with the "spin to win" mode of Whirlwind.
Of course, we did say nearly unparalleled. If anyone was going to give the master of spears a run for his blood money, it would be Bakko, the Hero of Boulder Pass. While he looks (and his kit acts) like a die-hard tank, thinking his damage is on the low side is a fatal mistake. With a gap-closer that tooltips for 22 damage (one of the largest single damage skills in the game without buildup), and the ability to modify it to add 10 more to your next basic attack, Bakko packs a mighty hard punch behind that sturdy shield - which can reflect enemy projectiles when activated with Bulwark, turning even enemy Ultimates back on their masters with good timing.
Last but not least is one for those of you who tend to want a little more control and support from your prizefighters - currently one of the most divisive and hotly contested picks in the game, Poloma, the Psychopomp. Sporting a point blank area of effect Panic (Battlerite's particular take on the fear mechanic), healing and damage mitigation for allies, splitting damage to nearby enemies, and a blink/teleport mechanic, Poloma is a crowd control and support machine, taking control of matches very early on and never letting the enemy stabilize and regroup. As powerful as she is, though, Poloma is going to need solid damage to follow her up in the...
Now, if you do have a friend along for the ride into the fresh killing fields of Battlerite, certain combinations are certainly potent for your placements games as you work your way up the Arena ladder.
Unsurprisingly, one of the best killers in the business, Shifu, and the mastermind herself, Poloma, can be a killer combination when stacked and utilized properly. As good at being aggressive as Shifu can be, there are also times when his Kunju counter teleport can leave him behind dangerous enemy lines, and cut off from Poloma's healing and support.
Luckily, a timely Other Side from Poloma can leave the Spear invulnerable for a few seconds, allowing him to make a hasty retreat to his partner's side, and ready for the next engagement.
Good timing on following up your various CC's (and keeping Poloma alive) are going to be essential to victory with this duo, but once you master the crowd control stagger and constant stream of damage and healing, the raw numbers and abilities of this pair make for tough competition.
Honorable mention: While "Shifu + anything" is currently popular enough to have become a meme in the community, and he certainly sees enough play with the ranged assassin Jade when not paired with Poloma, the powerful (and highly mobile) combo of Sirius and Croak can quickly steal games away from any duo not prepared for their level of evasion, gap closing, and sustain. While Poloma and Shifu are at the top of the pairs ladder, Sirius and Croak aren't far behind (despite being a little lower on power level overall)
Unfortunately, the stealthy saboteurs don't quite make the transition to...
While Poloma keeps her crown as the Queen of the Ring (at least for now) even in 3s, her supporting cast look a bit different. "Old reliable" Shifu is a commonly seen companion, and will serve perfectly fine with any ranged DPS (such as Jade, for example) as a stand-out quality comp with few weaknesses and a great many strengths.
However, a challenger approaches - Varesh, Poloma, and newcomer Rook have been making waves in the higher tiers of 3s play, though Varesh's kit specifically takes a little more practice than average to master. By reducing the enemy's raw damage and survivability with Varesh, frontlining with the powerful Rook, and surviving/controlling with Poloma, the "VRP" composition wins by inches - bleeding the enemy out until the last drop has been spilled on the arena floor.
It's worth noting that Battlerite, moreso than the MOBAs it shares some design space with, emphasizes adaptability and playstyle in selecting your Battle Rites (or round by round skill enhancements) to fit both your own strategy as well as the enemy you're facing.
That said, there are a few solid "general use" builds for the champions we've covered. Don't be afraid to mix and match to suit your needs, but a few builds we've found do the dirty work well so far are:
2v2 - Dirty Tricks, Skewer, Mantra, Inspiration, Spear Dance
3v3 - Swift Feet, Poised to Strike, The Spear is the Way, Inspiration, Spear Dance
Vs. Healing - Ceremonial Spear, Skewer, Mantra, Recuperate, Bloodthirst
2v2 - Adrenaline Rush, Battle Lust, Axe and Shield, Battle Ready, Warbringer
3v3 - Shield Bash, Bravery, Axe and Shield, Inspiration, Reinforcement
Vs. Assassins - Wall Slam, Bravery, Axe and Shield, Battle Ready, Warbringer
On the offensive - Dire Wolf, Affection, Revenant, Soul Theft, Dark Souls
On the defensive - Joyful Spirits, Into the Realm, Spiritual Wind, Soul Theft, Equilibrium
2v2 Sirius and Croak -
Croak - Venom Strike, Cut to the Chase, Trickery, Slayer, Momentum
Sirius - Sunwell, Radiance, Celestial Cycle, Aegis, Brilliance
Varesh - Break, Cripple, Ruin, Synergy, Eternal
Rook - Giant, Crumble, Weapon Break, Battle Ready, Earthquake
Poloma - Joyful Spirits, Into the Realm, Revenant, Shimmering Bond, Equilibrium
It's kill or be killed - so do the killing
These powerful picks and compositions are a strong start, my new champions. It will take time and practice to dominate the killing fields even with their help, but if you put in the sweat and tears, they'll make sure all the blood comes from your enemies.
Keep a calm mind, a steady hand, and a fiery heart out there in the ring.