1) Archer's Role In Champions' Skyring
As an archer, your primary focus should be using your hard hitting skills (Penetrating/Radiant Arrow & Rain of Arrows) in combination with your melee and ranged traps to either burst down targets or set up kills on the enemy with your dps/healer while also peeling for your teammates if necessary. An archer's kit is perfect for securing kills, setting up kills, and peeling.
This section will be covering skills that i use in Champions' Skyring, so if you see certain archer skills not listed here.
Arrow - Your basic autoattack skill, in 3's it should only be used if you have absolutely no other skill off cooldown (highly unlikely) and you need to secure a kill. Otherwise, it should be used to restore MP when you're running low on it. After hitting with this skill 10 times, your next Penetrating Arrow will have increased charge speed, so keep that in mind if you're using the skill to gain mana back.
Backstep - This is an archer's one and only i-frame (invincibility/invulnerable frame). This skill should be used to either dodge enemy skills or to help you close the distance on an enemy. Keep in mind that because this is your only i-frame, choose what you want to do with it sparingly.
Breakaway Bolt - An archer's only other skill that can be used to create or reduce the distance between you and your enemies. Keep in mind that this skill does damage when you use it isn't an i-frame like backstep, so you can be staggered or knock downed out of the animation as you are using it, which also puts it on cooldown without it actually moving you anywhere.
Arrow Volley - This can be used as a filler skill when your charged shots are on cooldown or when you need to tag an enemy into combat (which will most likely be the healers).
Penetrating Arrow - One of your primary hard hitting skills, overcharging this skill will result in more damage on enemies. Keep in mind that you can move around while charging the shot.
Radiant Arrow - Another one of your hard hitting skills. Works similarly to Penetrating Arrow with the exception that this skill charges faster and can also stagger at the second level charge and knockdown at the third level charge. Knowing how to use the stagger or knockdown effectively is key to being a good archer.
Rain of Arrows (RoA) - Your AoE hard hitting skill. It has a fairly long cast time (even with the cast speed glyph) so it should be used only when you know your opponent can be stunned or knocked down for the duration of the skill.
Rapid Fire - One of your stagger skills. Keep in mind only the first shot staggers.
Final Salvo - Second stagger skill, can only be activated after using Penetrating or Radiant Arrow. As with Rapid Fire, only the first shot staggers.
Velik's Mark - 10% damage increase on the target, try to get this off at the beginning of the match or when you and your DPS are about to focus down one target.
Close Quarters - Melee stun skill, first button activation causes your character to kick in an arc in front of you for damage, a second activation of the skill causes your character to do another kick for damage as well a stun targets hit by the second part of the kick. Very important skill for setting up skills as well as peeling.
Restraining Arrow - Can be used as a peel skill or to slow down enemy targets so you can catch up to them. This skill also reduces attack speed as well as being uncleanse-able so using this on a healer can really screw them over. Lasts for a short duration.
Web Arrow - Lasts longer than Restraining Arrow, but only slows the target and is cleanse-able.
Poison Arrow - Use this skill often because it can interrupt with your healer sleeps if you have this DoT ticking. Should only be used if the opponent is knocked down and you have no other skills up as it has a fairly long cast animation.
Slow Trap - Melee trap that as the name implies, slows the target. This skill slows targets by 70% which is a lot more compared to Web and Restraining Arrow. Should be used if you need to peel for yourself and you're sure the enemy healer won't be in range to cleanse the slow off anytime soon. Has a short delay before being triggered.
Incendiary Trap - Melee AoE damage trap. A good skill to use during your kick > RoA combo as a filler before dropping a Stunning Trap. Slight delay between putting it down and the trap being triggered.
Stunning Trap - Arguably one of your most important skills. Use this to set up your combos to secure a kill or to peel for yourself. As with incendiary trap, there is a slight delay between the trap being placed and being triggered by the enemy, it'll also hit nearby targets as well with the stun.
Explosion Trap - Hard hitting ranged trap that also knocks down. Great skill to use for peeling or just to damage enemies. Learning to predict and aim this properly will help you a ton in 3's.
Concussion Trap - Ranged stun trap that can be used offensive and defensively. Defensively, you can just use this like Explosion Trap and peel (instead of a KD its a stun). Offensively, you can use this to set up combos and kills.
Ensnaring Trap - Ranged slow trap, keep in mind this doesn't slow as much as the melee slow trap. Probably one of least used ranged traps in 3's but it works great against melee classes, especially berserkers.
Sniper's Eye - One of your two archer stances, this stance provides you with increased Power, PvP damage, and attack speed. Use this stance a lot more than Eagle's Eye for 3's nowadays but its up to personal preference which you prefer more.
Eagle's Eye - Your second archer stance, this one provides you with increased Power, PvP damage, and movement speed. Use this stance if you prefer being more mobile in matches
These are the glyphs use for 3's, you are free to choose whatever fits your own preference but a lot of glyphs should be pretty standard for doing Skyring.
Backstep (Glyph of Energy) - Lower cool down = more i-frames, should be pretty much a staple in every glyph build.
Penetrating Arrow (Glyph of Power & Glyph of Slick) - More damage on one of your main hard hitting skills and not being restricted by movement speed (which is pretty important in 3's) is just too good to pass up.
Close Quarters (Glyph of Lingering) - Increasing the stun duration is essential for some of your archer combos as well as just overall making it easier for your team mates to stack cc's.
Radiant Arrow (Glyph of Stick) - Same reason as Penetrating Arrow
Final Salvo (Glyph of Persistence) - Being able to have Final Salvo reset means you can stagger more, being able to stagger more means you can interrupt heals, peel for your team mates by staggering the DPS, or set up combos with your stagger > kick. Don't think theres any reason to justify not having this glyph in your setup.
Stunning Trap (Glyph of Lingering) - Same reason as Close Quarters
Rain of Arrows (Glyph of Power & Glyph of Swift) - The glyph of power increases your overall damage in a archer combo on the enemy, and the glyph of swift helps with the pretty long wind up animation with this skill which could mean the difference between having your RoA cast interrupted or not.
Explosion Trap (Glyph of Power) - More damage on a hard hitting skill, why not?
If you want to do well in premade 3's you'll need atleast the Favored gear set, if you want to go all the way, you can get the Advantaged (VM3) set. Keep in mind that with this patch, the difference between Advantaged (VM3) and Favored is much smaller than the difference between Strikeforce and VM2 in the last gear patch. For your weapon there is also an option of getting the Archetype (VM3.5) weapon which you have a chance of obtaining from Abscess Hard Mode, put it above Favored weapon and below Advantaged weapon in terms of damage.
Important rolls for 3v3
Do x% more damage when you attack - Flat overall damage, very important as a DPS class.
Increase crit rate by x - More crit = more spike damage. Pretty important for archers since we have one of the lowest base crits out of all the classes.
Increase crit damage by x - Synergizes well with the increase crit rate roll meaning more spike damage.
Do x% more damage when attacking from behind - Since you're a ranged class that can be mobile and move behind a target to do damage, as well as being able to combo people down with your skills while they're locked in a stun means having behind damage will just help you kill them that much faster. Random back crits while they're running away is also nice. :^)
Skill Stat (Increase damage of Penetrating Arrow) - Choose Pen Arrow as the skill stat because its your six second charged shot nuke that you'll be constantly using in a match compared to other skills such as RoA, so you get most value out of having this as the skill roll in my opinion.
Skill Stat (Increase damage of Rain of Arrows) - Choose this over Pen Arrow only if you play with a comp that lets you get RoA off easily can guarantee at least a couple of ticks on the enemy (Lancer/Archer, Warrior/Archer, Zerker/Archer)
Raise Max HP by x% - More HP = difference between living and dying sometimes
Reduces damage by x% - Less damage on you = good
You take x% less damage from frontal attacks - Synergizes with reduce flat damage roll meaning even less damage from frontal attacks.
You take x% less damage while knocked down - Works really well against zerkers and just generally helps while you don't have retaliate up.
Attack speed increases by x% - Attack speed helps you go through your animations faster which is pretty essential for getting some of your combos off in time, also helps with charging speed of your charged shots.
Power increases by x - Power = damage.
Increases your crit rate by x - More crit rate, much needed for archer.
Increase endurance by x - Endurance = more defense = less damage = yes.
Decrease duration of slowing effects by x% - Every class can slow you, so you'll need this.
Movement speed increase by x% - Helps with catching up to enemies as well as making you harder to catch.
Decrease stun duration by 10% - You'll absolutely need this for 3's, considering how a well placed stun can change the flow of the game, being able to get out of them faster is a must.
Raise max HP by 4.5% - More HP is good and just about the only other viable roll to have for earrings.
* If you can't get these two rolls on your earrings then at least aim to have decrease stun duration.
Increase crit rate by 4 - Yes
Increase crit damage by 0.04 - Double yes.
Power or crit are the only viable options, go with what you think you need more.
For belts you can roll double power, double crit rate, or 1 power, 1 crit. The choice is really up to you and what you think you need more of.
Same as belt rolls.
Get crit rate or power innerwear, i prefer crit rate personally.
Carving - Carving is the best to have on both weapon and gloves seeing as how you play a class with one of the lowest base crit rate in the game.
Pumped - If you think you've stacked enough crit rate, then pumped is a viable option. It does help with your non crit and crit damage.
Unyielding - Gives you more crit resist which in turn reduces the chances of you getting crit from an enemy, this helps out well against comps that have a lot of spike damage potential.
Grounded - Gives you endurance, which in turn gives you more defense which in turn means you take less damage overall.
Take unyielding over grounded seeing as how 3's revolves a lot around being or getting crit. Helps with classes that have innate high crit rate or skills with high crit rate potential (slayers & warriors) as well.
Fine Savage Crux - More damage from crit attacks when hitting targets from behind = higher chance of killing a target thats low and running away, or more damage in one of your combos if you get back damage.
Fine Salivating Crux - When you're charging shots all game and using your combos, you'll run out of MP pretty fast (not as fast as sorcs though), which will be even more noticeable if you're running with a mystic and not picking up their mana motes or a priest that doesn't get a chance to use mana charge much. This crystal works well with your Arrow auto attack to restore MP quickly.
Fine Forceful Crux - Scoring a crit on an enemy in the back will give you increased power for ten seconds, thats 10 seconds of doing more damage.
Fine Carving Crux - Nothing much to say really, more crit chance will help.
Fine Swift Crux - Increases in combat movement speed, it will help you kite and and catch up to enemies. Using in conjunction with Eagle's Eye stance will make you frustratingly hard to catch if you aren't slowed.
Use swift crux over carving crux because of all the focus archers receive in 3's, and you need to be able to kite and fend for yourself so the extra in combat movement speed helps. Swap it out if you are not getting focused in a match.
Fine Relentless Crux - Increases your max HP, and more HP = good.
It is debatable if there are other good crystals for armor.
Pristine Griefing Zyrk - Increases PvP damage, no brainer.
Pristine Indomitable Zyrk - Reduces PvP damage received, if you're not running griefing zyrk in one of your slots its gonna be this. Use this if you're getting highly focused or the other team has a lot of burst damage potential.
Run 2 griefing, 2 indomitable 99% of the time as you will be able to dish out quite a bit of damage and take less as well.
5) Archer Combos
While in 3's your main source of damage should be coming from your charged shots as well as using your close quarters skill (kick) combined with your traps and RoA.
Most of these combos revolve knowing how to cancel the ending animation of your Stunning Trap to have enough time pull off the next skill. To cancel the ending animation of your stun trap, all you need do is use the skill and as soon as you see the trap appear on the ground, start tapping one of your directional buttons (WASD) and your character should cancel the last bit of the animation and you should get a "Skill Cancelled" message on your screen. This takes a while to get used to but once you master doing this, it'll become second nature and you'll find enemies a lot less likely to get out your combos before you can finish.
Note that a lot of these combos assume you stagger with rapid fire or final salvo first hit and go into close quarters > combo. But if you see an opportunity for you to kick without needing to use rapid fire or final salvo, go for it. Also note all these combos assume you have noctenium activated for faster casting on RoA.
Close Quarters > Incendiary Trap > Stunning Trap > Breakaway Bolt/Backstep > RoA > Explosion Trap > Penetrating/Radiant Arrow before/after they get a chance to retaliate and iframe.
This is probably the combo you see most archers using, it works best in a Lancer/Archer comp where the lancer giga's and stuns for you to set up this combo with both you and the lancer KD'ing them at the same time as you with your explosion trap and their wallop. For the last bit with the Pen/Radiant arrow, it is up to you to decide whether you have enough damage to finish someone off before they get up (in which case you should just tap charge a shot at them) or you want to hold on to the charged shot a bit longer and have them retaliate and iframe first then line up your shot and release. It's better to try to finish them off before they can get off the ground then wait for them to get up (especially against priests that can simply use Kaia's Shield as soon as they get up), but as mentioned before, it's best to use your own judgement.