“I’m the best kind of artist — a con artist.” — Oz
Oz, the Trickster
Hit Points: 120
Those numbers are, of course, just what the game says. Here’s what I say. First of all, I would say Damage should be at least a 9/10. Oz is just about second to none when it comes to dealing large amounts of damage, right up there with Nev, Zuki, Nix and Gremo. Second, I would put Survival at 3/10. He isn’t very good at that. You have to be very smart about how you play him. And Difficulty? That’s a 10/10. Oz is easily one of the hardest characters in the game. (Also, wtf is 2/10 health? Who has less health?)
In case you don’t know the basics of how Oz works, every turn (if he moves) he leaves behind an afterimage at the location he was at when the turn started. (If Oz doesn’t move, his current afterimage remains where it is.) Oz can only have 1 afterimage, so if he moves and creates a new afterimage, the previous afterimage will disappear. Afterimages do what Oz does — that is, they use his 1, 2 and 3 when he does. Oz’s 4, his dash, swaps places with an afterimage as a free action. Oz’s ultimate lets him dash and place 2 new afterimages (giving him a special triple Oz turn on the following turn).
In general, Oz deals extremely high damage and has basically nothing in the way of defensive capabilities. Accordingly, you must either 1) have significant support help, or 2) stay very safe. Everyone knows Oz’s biggest weaknesses: his dash is very predictable (you know the exact square he will dash to and exactly what path he will take), and he is extremely vulnerable to slows and knockbacks. If Oz is knocked back, it messes everything up, because Oz’s afterimage is everything. He can’t dash to it if it’s not in the right place. He can’t use it to deal damage if it’s not in the right place. And so on. Accordingly, good Oz play revolves around good afterimage play.
2. Abilities and Mods
Discussion of the abilities and mods can be found below in the Builds section.
3. General Play
Be Aware of Danger
The very first thing you should do as Oz is size up the enemy team for ways to punish you. These generally include:
Traps (Lockwood, Nix, Helio, Juno, Nev, Magnus), and
Knockbacks (Rampart, Brynn, Rask, Magnus, Gremo, Juno, Elle, Helio, Finn, Aurora).
If the enemy has traps, you have to be very careful about “going in,” because you may not be able to make it back out. Conversely, if the enemy does not have traps, you can make a fairly bold move early and dash out (sometimes known as a “turret” style). This can also be beneficial if the enemy has knockbacks, as you want to get an afterimage in deep and then get out before they can louse up your positioning and deny a good dash.
The advantage of Turret Style is that it keeps you relatively safe and gives you a presence on the map which can deal damage safely. The downside is that it limits your damage and energy gain because you will likely be able to land only a single laser each turn from the afterimage (depending on how safe you are). Additionally, enemies can punish this if they see it coming and have the space to sprint towards your turret location knowing that your dash is down and your afterimage is unlikely to be able to help you (as there are probably walls in the way that were supposed to protect you).
I view Turret Style as a tool in the Oz toolkit. You don’t want to be predictable. I don’t think of games as “this will be a turret game.” Rather, there are times in any game where it makes sense to turret. But if you want to think beforehand about whether it makes sense to turret, ask the following two questions. 1, can the enemy punish me with traps (or by chasing down my main lancer) if I attempt to go in and swap out? And 2, what kind of playstyle is my team going for? Can we keep our distance and give the afterimage space to deal damage at low cost to us? Do we need the vision from the afterimage? Depending on these answers, adjust accordingly.
Sprinting is very valuable on Oz. You do plenty of damage, so don’t stress about missing a turn of damage. As stated above, your positioning is extremely important. So you want to make sure you’re positioning optimally, which often requires sprinting. Additionally, especially if you have your dash available, you want to make sure there is ample distance between you and your afterimage.
Accordingly, a good rule of thumb is to NEVER move if you are only able to move at most 4 squares (i.e. taking a full action without haste, or regardless of action if you are likely to be slowed). Should you break this rule? Of course. But it’s a good rule of thumb. It also simplifies your Oz play a great deal — every turn is either a repositioning turn or a damage turn. What this means, though, is that you have to be safe.
Where should I stand? (i.e. if I want to play turret style — and that’s really not a binary choice. No matter how much or how little you want to turret, there are simply turns for any Oz where you may not wish to move.) Well, you want to be somewhere you can do damage, ideally. Preferably out of harm’s way, and out of vision is even better. And on a powerup is really good, because then you can pick up that powerup (whereas being even 1 square away from the powerup is not very good, as you have to move to pick up the powerup which ruins your afterimage positioning).
Here are some good spots to stand on each map (I haven’t bothered to make a graphic illustrating them yet):
Flyway — Left energize on your side, right energize on your side, health on your side, haste by spawn.
Omni — Left haste on your side, right energize on your side, health on your side.
EvoS — Energize by spawn, haste on open side, haste behind fish tank, health on your side, any wall with cover.
Cloudspire — Haste by spawn, left energize on your side, spots behind the 1×3 wall on either left or right depending on where enemies are.
Hyperforge — Might by the 2×2 fence, fenced-in 1x3s, energize behind the pillars by the random-buff 3×3 brush, either love tunnel, behind either love tunnel, any health powerup.
To accomplish standing: Move to the spot you wish to stand on. Make sure enemies will not be able to easily punish you next turn, then sprint into the middle of the map with intent to dash back to your standing spot. Dash back to your standing spot and stand there as long as you can.
More on Maps
On Flyway, I like to play defensively. Don’t venture out into the middle too early. Spread out in your defensive area and wait for the fight to evolve.
On Omni, I like to play aggressively. You can easily sprint across much of the map and land behind an awkward wall for the enemy. Also, having an afterimage in the middle of the map can be very powerful.
EvoS is something of a mix between Flyway and Omni.
On Cloudspire, there is NOT MUCH SPACE. Accordingly, the first time you are seen should be a time where you are sprinting across the map to set up either a safe position for yourself or a safe dash for yourself. Depending, of course, on enemy traps.
On Hyperforge, there are some nifty defensive spots you can pick; the most important thing is having an afterimage providing presence in the middle of the map.
Powerups in rough order of importance: Energize, Haste, Health, Might, X-Ray
As noted, afterimages provide vision. This is amazing. Take full advantage of this. Another great reason to put an afterimage into the middle of the map.
- Divide and Conquer (3) — Tagged (2) — Overwhelming (2) — Tr-tr-tricky (1) — Faster Than Light (2).
Variants: Dazzling (1) & Welcome to the Show (3). Dazzling (1) & Understudy (2).
Catalysts: Regenergy, Fade or Shift or Regroup, Chronosurge or Adrenaline
Thoughts: This is my bread-and-butter Oz build.
We take Divide and Conquer because you generally want to split the lasers. Why? Two reasons. First, it’s more damage. Without mods, you could do 50 damage (25×2) or 35 damage. 50 is more than 35. Second, it increases what we can hit. Sometimes we don’t really have a good angle to hit the same target twice, and frankly sometimes we can only hit with a single laser! Good Oz play means being safe sometimes, and being able to do 28 with your single laser over 25 is quite significant.
We take Tagged because Oz’s ultimate is EXTREMELY important. Same reason we take Regenergy. It gives him a real dash, and lets him choose the position of TWO afterimages the following turn. So, we want to get lots of energy from our Photon Spray. Use Photon Spray whenever you can hit 3+ targets. Two is OK. Three is best. If you’re energized, so much the better.
I like Tr-tr-tricky on dash. Why, Tigg? Don’t you want haste the turn you dash? What does it do for you the turn after? Glad you asked, friend. The way you position is such that your Dash, ideally, takes you away from harm. Out of the fight, as it were. But you want to leave your afterimage IN the fight. So you don’t want to move that same turn. The turn after, the fight may have shifted position or enemies may have started to come after you. You may actually want to move at this point, and having haste is very helpful (6 squares with a full action or 12 without). Understudy is also decent, though kind of weak compared to similar mods on other dashes — 10 shields helps with traps and chip damage and stuff, and in general you’re sort of squishy. Mighty Me and Afterglow aren’t terrible, but here are my issues with these mods: Mighty Me gives you Might when you dash. I love more damage as much as the next guy, but my turns are very thought-out. Dashing, however, is generally a more reactive play when you get into trouble. Accordingly, there’s really no guarantee you’ll be in a good position to do damage on the same turn you need to dash. Afterglow is OK but I move so infrequently that it is of relatively little benefit.
Dazzling Luminescence and Overwhelming Light are both quite good, so I’d say to somewhat base it off how many points you have available. Something I like a lot about Overwhelming Light is that if the enemy is sitting in my Zap Trap, they may be near me, so having the Weaken helps protect me, AND it applies to BOTH turns of the Zap Trap, whereas Dazzling Luminescence only applies on the turn you activate it (though Slow is quite good and can even keep enemies in the Zap Trap).
Finally, on ultimate, you unfortunately have to take Faster Than Light a fair amount of the time for the additional range, or else find yourself awkwardly unable to hit anybody with your ultimate or get yourself to safety appropriately. However, if you can afford it (whether due to being on a smaller map or having additional support help or whatever), Welcome to the Show is really great. Two turns of Energized helps you pick up that next ultimate right quick.
We run Regenergy for burst energy turns + more ultimates. Second Wind also acceptable. Dash catalyst relatively up to you. I prefer Chronosurge as Blast Phase catalyst because Haste is so valuable on Oz. 12-square sprint or 6-square move with action is very good. Adrenaline is sometimes needed, though — of course — as Oz is so vulnerable to knockbacks. (Ideally, you get out of there before they can knock you back!)
- Laser Focused (2) — Lucent Burst (3) — Dazzling Luminescence (1) — Mighty Me (2) — Razzle Dazzle (2)
So here’s a cool build for when you need to do a lot of damage in a hurry. We’ve got Mighty Me for on-demand Might, plus Laser Focused for that single-target 38. Lucent Burst lets us cleave if we need to, Dazzling Luminescence is good value at 1 point, and Razzle Dazzle lets us burst some more. I would take Might or Second Wind as prep phase catalyst, and your choice for the others. P.S. totally haven’t tested this build.
Friends and Foes
Orion — Orion is admittedly good with just about everybody, but particularly good with Oz because there are just turns where you can’t reasonably dash (or even move) lest it mess up your afterimage position. So, getting a Fate Transfer on such a turn is extremely helpful to maintain your flow.
Finn — Similar to Orion, though Bubble isn’t quite as good as Fate Transfer. Energize eels are also quite nice for Oz, and you can even theoretically deliver them if you have ultimate available.
Rampart — Rufflebucket and Oz are buddies in the lore, and they’re buddies in-game, too! Rufflebucket’s wall can protect you on turns you need to move into the fight, and his Fusion Lance can pull people off of you — or into your Zap Traps.
Su-Ren — a little iffier, but her Spirit Bend goes well with a multi-person Photon Spray, and her ult can keep you safe in a pinch. Plus Su tends to be low damage but high support — and you bring plenty of damage to make up for that.
Gremolitions — Gremo + Oz are a nice long-range damage dealing team. Why bring one artillery that can be safe from behind a wall when you could bring two?
Quark — wait, really? Disclaimer: I’ve never tried being tethered to a Quark, but I think it could be good since Oz is high-damage. But also, Quark gives you other benefits — if he’s tethered to a teammate, presumably they’re doing useful stuff in the fight and you can very safely deal turret damage without needing support resources. Plus his ultimate gives Energized, which Oz loves.
Traps (Lockwood, Nix, Helio, Juno, Nev, Magnus), and
Knockbacks (Rampart, Brynn, Rask, Magnus, Gremo, Juno, Elle, Helio, Finn, Aurora).
Specifically, I would say the most challenging are Helio (wall and knockback), Juno (lockdown and knockback), Brynn (two knockbacks), Nev (mouse trap is just bullshit), and Magnus (between his hard CC and his Extinction Event, if he were stronger he’d be very scary to face).
Oz is particularly good against Quark. You can do damage safely from a distance and chip away at the Quark without risking any tethers.
Oz is also good vs. Garrison. Why? Simple. Garry is the only frontline without hard CC or a prep phase anti-dash move. Similar principles apply vs. Tol-Ren and Meridian, though. Kaigin is a little trickier but the threat of Zap Trap will sometimes keep him from dashing you, which is always good.
Okay, that’s the guide! Here are some videos (from my stream, with my own comments at the time) to see him in action:
Thanks for reading and hopefully you enjoy the Wizard!