Back 4 Blood – The Messiah Build (V1)

You queued quickplay for Veteran or Nightmare campaign. You ended up in a lobby with a guy who picked Starter deck and another one on Xbox with preteen shrieks coming from the open mic. You’ve seen this before, you know what’s coming.

Sure – you can leave the lobby and search again, as you always do. Let nature have its way, why bother? Alas, let him who is without sin cast the first stone. When everyone’s a Sinner, nobody is. They are Innocent. You understand their slim chances, but perhaps… perhaps they’re just waiting for a Messiah.

Introduction

The Messiah is a niche build that makes realistic assumptions about the quality of crossplatform public matchmaking in B4B and tries to find optimal solutions to the kinds of problems the game creates on higher difficulties, in an attempt to give a skilled player the right tools to carry a team of near zero or net negative quality to victory (aka The Next Map).

The Problem

Enemies create damage, damage kills players, dead players cannot travel to The Next Map.

The Approach and Key Concepts

The Approach to solving The Problem is multifaceted due to a feature called “gameplay”. You must use this gameplay and its imperfect tools to manage the enemies and their damage just enough to pass to The Next Map.

Team

Do not let the user interface fool you – you are alone – but not quite in the literal sense. Being truly alone would be easier. Instead, you must face the added challenge of your team’s deficiencies. Expect scared birds and car alarms. Expect nothing and you shall receive less than that.

Enemies

From Tall Boys to the Final Boss, you must meet all enemy compositions head on. From the moment you leave the safe room, your team will, by its own lack of virtue, experience a constant stream of Damage. Eliminating Enemies is the only way to slow down this incoming Damage.

It is a fortunate outcome of game mechanics that the value of incoming Damage is directly proportional to the amount of Enemies engaging your team. This value linearly grows over time, making your priorities quite clear – proceed to The Next Map in the shortest amount of time while mitigating the highest possible amount of Damage.

Damage

As Ridden attacks do not consume ammo, the Damage your team will experience is an infinite resource. You must become an Arbiter of Damage, not unlike a Cenobite. Your quintessential goal is for your teammates to experience and survive any amount of Infinite Damage as it is not possible to predict exactly how much time will it take to reach The Next Map.

To fully appreciate the conundrum, try the following thought experiment : Assume that in a specific amount of time, your “team” will travel exactly half of the remaining distance to The Next Map. But halving a number ad infinitum can never result in zero! You must always be ready to manage another quadrillion of Damage even while standing in the safe room doorway.

To that end, you must therefore control the flow of damage like a dam controls the river – let it pass through your team and balance its edge just enough to make your team’s available health last as long as necessary for reaching The Next Map.

Under all circumstances avoid the risk of being damaged yourself – or worse – incapacitated. When you fall, everyone falls. More on the card choices to counter such an obvious issue later.

Mitigation

The key to controlling the flow of damage is in its prevention, but inevitably also in its mitigation. How do you mitigate Infinite Damage? In theory by Infinite Health. Since consumables are a finite resource and often out of your immediate reach, you must depend on the only two Cards that open up the possibility to mitigate Infinite Damage – Overwatch and Vanguard, the keys to your success.

A common error in reasoning is expecting your teammates to deal with some enemies themselves. It may be tempting to “leave that one common for Jim” while you dispose of greater threats, but rest assured it will not be dealt with. You must gauge the minutiae details of incoming threats and establish of mental queue of dealing with these based on how much Infinite Damage their existence adds to the team’s Pool of Suffering.

Engagement

As you cannot take direct control of your teammate’s characters, you have limited tools to position the team favorably during encounters. In fact, you can mostly assume the worst possible positioning to be the status quo. By imagining the game world from a top down view similarly to Smash TV, you must gauge threat and position yourself in a way that 1) allows you to minimize the lifetimes of Enemies and therefore prevents incoming Damage and 2) takes advantage of your mitigation Card conditions to offset the inevitable Infinite Damage values.

The Next Map

Your penultimate goal, a repeating dichotomy between helping the Innocent and achieving inner peace.

The Weapons

Your weapon choices must cover all situations and distance extremes in order to give you enough space to improvise the ideal outcomes of Engagements by preventing Enemies from dealing Damage.

Melee

For melee, your choice is reduced to either the Bat or the Machete thanks to their wide swings.These can kill more ridden in one attack compared to the single overhead strikes of other weapon options.

Ranged

For sturdier enemies and longer ranges, your picks are the hardest hitting sniper rifles – Barrett M95 and Phoenix 350L. With these, you will prioritize enemy weakpoints in order to shorten their lifespans, shortening the time they have for dealing Infinite Damage.

The Cards

You can only have 15 cards. In case of failure or forfeiting your duties for psychological reasons, you may only get to see a few of them. You must forgo the many interesting card options for the most important aspect of the game – survival and success. The initial two card picks are of utmost importance.

Breakout

In the event of incapacitation, the game is over. The first card pick must therefore offset your greatest weakness, one that can end a run immediately.

Overwatch

Overwatch is your bread and butter solution in mitigating Infinite Damage.

The Strategy & Tips

  • Mute everyone upon entering the game. You care neither for accolades, nor for banter – do not be distracted from the ultimate objective.
  • Stay behind the team like a guardian angel, your fundamental strategy for making use of Overwatch damage mitigation. With up to 15 points of damage negated in one Ridden kill, it is your primary tool of managing the flow of Infinite Damage into your “teammates”.
  • Permanently ping the path the team should follow. Do not expect anyone to actually follow, but in the unlikely scenario someone notices your ping, it may speed up progress to The Next Map.

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