First off, let's talk about a topic that Ember's original guide popularized -- team types. In shop heroes PVP, there's (currently) really four overarching team types: buff, debuff, anti-buff, and anti-debuff. This idea is extremely important in understanding how to maximize your odds of winning. Buff teams focus on increasing your team's power, debuff looks to decrease your opponent's power, anti-buff looks to punish your opponents for buffing their teams, and anti-debuff looks to mitigate the damages of your opponent debuffing you.
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Buff beats Anti-debuff
Anti-debuff beats Debuff
Debuff beats Anti-buff
Anti-buff beats Buff
Commit this to memory! This is extremely important for maximizing your chances. It's really simple -- if your opponent is running a buff team, just change your team to an anti-debuff team and (barring your power is high enough) you'll beat their team comp. Doing this I'm able to often beat teams that have double the power of all my heroes.
Now, if you're like most people, you're going to have a lot of trouble recognizing WHAT their team comp is. Basically, it's really tough to mix strategies (an anti-buff team will likely run debuff in most other slots, anti-debuff running buff -- you rarely see debuff and buff on the same team because of they don't synergize together), so it's more about recognizing WHAT your opponent is doing and then you can prepare appropriately. Some characters have more options than what I list, but I rarely if ever see them utilized so I won't be listing anything super off-meta.
So here's a list of heroes (A-list, B-list, and C-list for most used) and what categories they fall into:
Fiora: Buff if with other buffers, debuff if with other debuffers. Usually buff if in slot 1, debuff if 3+, but it's better to go by teamcomp.
Francesca: Anti-buff or Anti-Louca Buff. Toughest call -- if in slot 3 with other buffers, generally anti-louca buff, but can be anti-buff just to throw people off. Common strat is to run her and nya together and either buff or debuff with both of them.
Kuro Shobi: Debuff
Lorelei: "Debuff" (Best three man single debuff, can be run as break gear but flurry is just a better louca smokescreen)
Louca: If in slot 5, break-buff 95% of the time. If elsewhere, debuff
Mojian: Debuff. Can be anti-debuff, but that's really suboptimal.
Nya: Buff or anti-buff. Super tough call, if run with other debuff it's probably anti-buff, if run with buff (especially in slot 4) it could be either but likely buff.
Odette: Either anti-buff or debuff depending on what is better for them. More importantly, you MUST WIN THIS FIGHT. I'll almost always run Kuro or Alicia (depending on the comp) at her just to make sure I win.
Garreth: Anti-buff. Unique because he's the only anti-buff buffer (the rest all debuff)
Kurul: Debuff (ran in slot 1 or 2)
Lancaster: Buff. Sometimes run as a second less-good odette, especially if in slot 1 or 2 (so make sure you win if you see both).
Minh: Debuff. You'll actually see him more than B-list but he's a throwaway with ret.
Theor: Buff. Usually run on a debuff team as a sacrifice for ret.
Irene: Generally debuff, but can be poor man's Alicia. I never see her to comment either way
Melina: Never run, but likely buff
95% of your games will be almost exclusively A-list characters with maybe Lorelei. This is due to better skills, as well as higher levels (which means better gear, which means more power).
Now that you can assess the enemy team, let's talk about what teams I run (and recommend you do as well). I use these mostly because I find them the most effective with the least "swaps" between games (to make things less tedious). I obviously prefer the buff path, but you don't need to follow this as long as you think about archtypes:
Use this team when there is NO louca in slot 5 and you're playing into anti-debuff (with an oneira or azula on the other team). It's particularly good because alicia and darthos "pre" buff, which means your fiora gets even more opportunities to holy shield. In this team, you're looking to win slots 1/2/3.
Use this when they have a louca in slot 5. You can run darthos instead of nya but I prefer the guaranteed buff in this case. If you're worried about winning slot 1 over 3, the first buff team is still better. Again you're looking for oneiras, darthos, azula, etc. This is really effective because Fran will buff everytime gear breaks, which means she maximizes holy shield procs even more. You're also still looking to win slots 1/2/3.
Use this when you see frans and nyas, kuros, fiora, etc. It's extremely sturdy, and azula can become HUGE. This will hold up against anti-buff okay with fran/nya combo as long as they're in 4/5. If they're in 3/4, you're better off just running debuff. Again, looking to win 1/2/3.
Triple ret and two repel magic means you're looking to debuff and negate any of their buffing. This shreds buff teams. If they run odette in 1, just run kuro instead of minh.
I only run this when I'm scared of the double debuff. But it's actually really strong to run as a go-to, even on defense. Feel free to stick lorelei in here instead of louca.
Here's the last 6 games I played and a little walkthrough of the teams I chose and why, to help you digest this a little more. There's only 6 (and not 7) because the first game was a throw-away for free honor. All games were a win (although that's because I'm a little under-honor'd at the moment)
Very common debuff team. Going from my list, we have debuff, debuff, debuff, anti-buff, buff (or debuff). Given that louca is by herself here with no fran to holy shield proc with, I wasn't really worried about her being buff and just assumed they were a debuff team. Ran anti-debuff in response.
I liked this one because we see louca in 2, and the nya/fran combo. Kurul is debuff, louca (being in slot 2 not 5) is debuff, moj is debuff, nya could be buff but considering the team is likely anti-buff, and fran could be buff or anti-buff. This is a good example of why I highlight which slots I'm trying to win -- if I can win 1/2/3 with this team like I want to, then I don't care if louca is buffing in 5 and plans to win it. This makes this team anti-buff. IDEALLY, I'd run debuff into this for the super easy win, however I chose anti-buff as I have plenty of protection for both debuffs that Azula will get, and I'm confident that my edward will pull through with only a smokescreen and a nya repel hitting him. If fran and nya were switched, I'd probably go debuff (but I hate changing out characters all the time!)
Another interesting defense team, and with a B-tier guy! Going through, we have debuff, debuff, anti-buff, anti-buff, anti-buff, anti-buff. I'm scared of all that anti-buff, so I just run debuff myself to counter it.
Ahh, good ol' buff teams. The things I love about buff teams is they're super telegraphed compared to debuff teams. We have buff, buff, anti-debuff, anti-debuff, buff. I consider that an anti-debuff team, so I run buff myself. I do fran instead of alicia thanks to that louca in 5, but either would have won this game.
This was the most interesting game of the series, so congrats to Bunny for the team. We have an odette (who's likely looking to debuff my team), debuff, debuff, anti-buff, buff. Darthos in this case COULD be running debuff, but louca has a better version of his debuff skill and is stronger so my guess is he's looking to buff up that odette so she wins. That makes this team debuff with a twist. My biggest concern is winning slot 1 to prevent that odette from triggering. The bad news is she'll likely be buffed by darthos which makes her initially stronger than my fiora, but my fiora has a holy shield chance and a louca break buff to overtake her. I'm not worried about fran for her because she only targets 2 slots in front (and therefor doesn't hit 1), and moj only targets below him. Lorelei could also break her gear which would put me further in the hole. In retrospect, I should have run debuff here as well with kuro/fiora/moj/louca/fran, but this worked out anyway.
Another anti-debuff team, with the added B-tier Lancaster! He's likely not odetting because she's not present, so i just assume this is buff, buff, buff, anti-debuff, buff. Anti-debuff team means we run buff, and we run the fran version thanks to that louca.
That's it for now guys, hopefully this was helpful! Let me know if you have any questions and I'd be happy to answer them (: