While the boss difficulty seems to be lowered significantly for this event the process of ranking up has actually gotten more difficult. Strong players are posting clear times quicker than 30 seconds and that type of play simply can’t be replicated by the average player. Having hard hitters and buff/debuff personnel at your disposal allows you to skip certain rotations of boss abilities by breaching those HP break points. Add in clever manipulation of boss positioning and switching and you can quickly distance yourself from the other players in your bracket.
We don’t even have to get too technical to see the difference though. If we look at this boss as an example he has an ability that has slow wind up, includes a front and back swing, and the second swing brings him forward like a dash. If you’re a regular player sitting through this sequence you lose so much time dodging and dashing back to get in position to attack. Let’s say you lose 3 seconds each time you go through this sequence and it happens every 25%, that’s 12 seconds lost on your run even if you complete the entire run perfectly.
This is an unfortunate reality of games like SAO:MD where having a godly team definitely helps to make life easier, but you still need to know how to execute with that team in order to consistently be competitive in rank events.
This guide is aimed at players who have a team capable of tackling Master+ difficulty but can’t quite brute force their way through.
Characters with high mobility and quick attack animations like OS Asuna will absolutely shine here. SS1 and her short attack animations allow you to slip in and out with chip damage and MP building between abilities with ease. You’ll notice that she’s actually in the second slot despite being my primary damage dealer and it’s to get around the first sequence of the ogre boss.
At the beginning of every fight the ogre will hurl 7 objects at you that are a mix between bombs that kill your run or idols that can be parried. They are all aimed at the initial character so switching right at the start of the encounter allows you to freely skip the dodging component.
Depending on how hungry you are you can either avoid all 7 objects altogether by running along the bottom of the screen, or slipping in to parry the last object (always the idol) and open the fight with SS3. The idols are similar to the serpents on the Samurai engine that stun the boss long enough to get one attack combo off.
Immediately following this the boss will do two unblockable moves which you can simply dash behind him and auto to build MP or SS3. Faster animations like Asuna will work here, but abilities like Kirito’s SS3 which have animation wind up will leave you vulnerable to the next move in the rotation.
Depending on how much damage you’ve done to the boss you might be greeted with a forward charging slice that can be parried. Simply parry and SS3 or auto attack to build MP as usual. If you find yourself struggling with this you can sit below him and dodge the ability, even the 3 second combo window upgrade will be sufficient to keep yours going.
Every so often the boss will dash backwards and get ready to throw something at you. Sometimes it’s an idol that you can parry for the stun and SS3 followup, and other times it will be a grenade that instantly guard breaks you. There doesn’t seem to be a set pattern so you will need to pay attention.
That’s basically all there is to this particular ranking event boss. Rinse and repeat until it is defeated and you should find yourself with a score around the 1.3m mark, which should bring you into 1.7m territory after the completion and time bonuses are factored in.
Since it’s very difficult to actually get hit in this encounter the bulk of your runs are going to go towards optimizing transition phases to shave off previous seconds of animation time. Learning to switch properly is also going to be huge as you aren’t going to be able to get those ultra fast clear times relying solely on a single character.
If you have those ninja earrings on hand, be sure to equip them as well for that extra 10% bonus ATK. It’s a shame that we have to repeat this grind every event, as the earrings are completely useless after the event is over.