Table of Contents
- Basic Rundown of the Black Prior Playstyle
- Max punishes, damage values
- What do I do in duels? Pros and cons of a Black Prior pick in 1v1.
- What do I do in brawls? Pros and cons of a Black Prior pick in 2v2.
- What do I do in dominion? Pros and cons of a Black Prior pick in 4v4.
- Matchup Knowledge. What are my odds as Black Prior against x?
Hey guys, Haley back again with another of my ?Comprehensive Guide? series (?perhaps), this time with the Black Prior hero. Probably way, way too early, but since the hero is competitively viable and hopefully stays as such for a very long time, I?ll be able to accurately keep this guide updated, and I wanted to get this out there to have a good Black Prior resource on the market, so to speak. Brief introduction, blah blah, I?m a competitive player and have been playing almost exclusively Black Prior since he came out in scrims, etc etc. Anyway, onto the meat of the guide. I?ll be covering the basic playstyle, values, gamemode strategy, and the matchup knowledge will be sorted through Hard, Medium, and Easy in terms of difficulty winning a duel versus that specific hero. I?ll also have some random tips and stuff I?ve tested for Black Prior throughout the guide. Thanks in advance for reading. This will be shorter than my Centurion guide, just as a heads up, because I simply don?t have the hundreds upon hundreds of hours on the hero that I do on Centurion. I plan to play the hero for a long time and will promptly update the guide with anything new that?s found out, however.
As many people already know, Black Prior?s strongest offensive move is his shield bash. It?s a 20 damage, 500ms bash with variable timing from 100ms-500ms, though this doesn?t matter much as it?s all dodged on one timing because of the poor tracking. Black Prior?s general playstyle in 1v1s is centered around his various mixups centered around shield bash, as he has other moves that require different timings to dodge ? zone and Bulwark heavy. You want to be making reads on what the opponent will expect through conditioning and use these to confirm damage on your opponent. Forward dodge into bash or forward dodge into zone is another good mixup, as they, once again, require different timings to dodge. Black Prior can pretty safely shield bash as the recovery of it is so low that it?s nigh unpunishable, only consistently punished by Conqueror?s shield bash and Raider?s dodge guardbreak. Black Prior?s chains lend themselves to be a great mixup as well, essentially a Shaolin Qi Stance-lite that nets you more damage if the opponent messes up. Light into bash or light into undodgeable once you?ve conditioned your opponent to expect the other option. The safety of the chained bash makes it quite easy to condition your opponent to expect the bash, as you can throw it without much risk over and over.
Black Prior?s defense is slightly less powerful than, say, Conqueror, and he has less option selects, but Black Prior?s defense is still incredibly powerful, lending him the ability to turtle up if he?s playing against one of the few that can punish his bash. His Bulwark Stance is a great tool for defending, with a 200ms startup from neutral and a 100ms exit vulnerability. You can flow into Bulwark Stance after blocking an attack, rendering 400ms chain lights effectively useless, and due to the extremely low exit GB vulnerability, be safe from heavy ? heavy feint to GB. This makes him incredibly strong as a pick vs characters like Berserker, Orochi, and Nuxia. Another broken aspect to his defense is 0ms guard swap on dodges, essentially letting him reaction block attacks that should be unreactable. He has 20 damage superior block light attacks that act as chain starters, and while they no longer confirm the bash followup, can be used as a mixup between chained bash and chained undodgeable heavy. Known tech is being able to unlock, light, and superior light an incoming attack no matter the direction it was thrown. Use this sparingly, because it can be baited, but it?s a good tool nonetheless. Black Prior can also cancel all of his recoveries into Bulwark Stance, even vs deflects, letting them become a mixup rather than guaranteed damage.
That about covers it for the basics of Black Prior. Now, let?s move on to his frame data and max punishes.
Here is Black Prior?s frame data. Thank you to Freeze for finding this out in a great video you can find here, if you?d rather watch than read.
- Chain Starting Light: 15 damage, 500ms, all sides. Gains superior block property 100ms into the move.
- Chain Finishing Light: 20 damage, 500ms, all sides. Can be delayed by 300ms.
- Chain Starting Heavy: 800ms sides, 900ms top, 30 damage sides, 35 damage top.
- Chain Finishing Heavy: 800ms, 40 damage, all sides.
- Chained Bash: 500ms, confirms 20 damage light.
- Heavy Soft Feint Bash: 700ms, confirms 20 damage light.
- Zone Attack: 700ms, confirms 20 damage light.
- Neutral Shield Bash: 500ms, doable 100ms to 500ms into a dodge, confirms 20 damage light. 600ms of recovery.
- Forward Dash Heavy: 600ms, doable 100ms to 500ms into a dodge, 20 damage. Gains superior block property 300ms into the move.
- Sprinting Heavy: 1000ms, 25 damage.
- Bulwark Stance Entry: 200ms. 100ms recovery exiting.
- Bulwark Stance Counter: Starts up at 100ms, lasts for 300ms. Confirms 30 damage on all enemies flipped and enemies within range in a 360 degree radius, giving the Black Prior 100% damage reduction for the duration of the flip and attack. Has guardbreak vulnerability of 500ms if the counter is used and nothing hits it.
- Bulwark Stance Heavy: 800ms, 30 damage.
Now that you have the speeds of attacks and their damage values, here?s the max punishes you?ll want to know.
- Heavy Parry: Shield Bash into Light, 20 damage.
- Light Parry: Top Heavy, 35 damage.
- OOS Throw: Light into heavy, 55 damage if in side guard. Unlock to light heavy if in top guard when initiating the throw, or else the light will whiff.
- OOS Parry: Heavy into Heavy, 70 damage and Bulwark Heavy pressure with recovery cancel.
Well, to be blunt, there really aren?t many cons to picking Black Prior in duels. He?s one of the best in the gamemode for that reason ? the flaws are far and few between. Basically, your issues are going to be one ? you?re not Shinobi, and two ? the recent bash nerf making your offense less potent. However, Black Prior doesn?t suffer as badly as, say, Conqueror does from this nerf, as he has multiple options that require different timings to avoid, and his defense is still top tier.
The main style that you?d like to adopt in 1v1s as Black Prior is centered less around your chains when the enemy has stamina, and more around your bash options. Forward dodge into Tenebris bash or forward dodge into zone is a strong mixup that is essentially unpunishable because the recovery is so low on the bash, or you have multiple options out of the zone to beat GB on dodge that require a read from your opponent to beat out ? light, heavy, heavy feint, or no followup. When the enemy is out of stamina, your chains become much more potent, as you can now get into the chained bash or undodgeable heavy mixup. Always remember to go top on your undodgeable heavy unless the enemy is dodge backwards frequently, as solid guards will be a guess on what side they?re going to dodge on, and if you guess wrong they can block the heavy. Top disregards this guess, and will hit them unless they backdodge.
Team modes are where Black Prior falters a bit more, but don?t let that fool you ? he?s still a very consistently strong pick. The ability to punish external attacks, even on a read, is incredibly powerful and pairs well with the rest of his kit to create a strong team mode hero. Black Prior in 2v2 is essentially a higher damage, less safe Conqueror in team modes, as he cannot flow into Bulwark Stance immediately after landing a bash, only after the followup light. However, that doesn?t mean he?s bad at all. You simply need to play him more carefully than Conqueror, and keep in mind his much shorter range. He?s a fairly strong pick against Jiang Jun especially, who is a very, very powerful character in the meta right now, making him very valuable to have on a team. I would rank him high A tier or low S tier in 2s. I apologize for the brevity of this section, but I haven?t gotten much practice with Black Prior in 2v2s. I plan to come back to this section when I have more experience with the hero in the gamemode and have more to say.
Alright, so this is the gamemode I can speak the most about, seeing as I?ve played pretty much only Black Prior in 4s since his release and it?s my main character for my team. So Black Prior?s pros in the mode are basically good team fighting, good anti-ganking, good 1v1ing, and good feats. Your optimal feat setup is going to be Sinister Shield, Healing Ward, Tough as Nails, and Morale Booster. His feats give great synergy together, seeing as you can quickly heal up from Sinister Shield?s HP tax with Healing Ward, and Tough as Nails makes the HP loss more manageable. Morale Booster is simply one of the best tier 4 feats in the entire game, regardless of character, and is a must pick in the slot. Umbral Shelter is alright, but it?s kinda just like?why? It?s a relatively small AoE, and is only useful if someone somehow takes 100~ damage every few seconds for the pulse of shields to refill. Morale Booster is a much more consistent and useful feat, and basically guarantees a fight win. Black Prior?s cons are really bad range, really bad chase, and he must have a dedicated CC character with him if he wants to Xv1.
XvX (Team Fights)
- Black Prior typically wants to be up at the front of a fight, where he has access to everyone on the battle field except for a Shinobi on the edge waiting for a ranged GB. This is the best way to get flips on the opponents wide sweeping attacks, opening the enemy up for damage from your team and your own flip damage. Being careful and sparing with your Bulwark Counter usage is imperative, because you?re open to damage when you miss a flip, and believe me, you will eat a lot of damage if you miss one and a Jiang Jun is around. Reads are very important to flips, so make sure you?re focused up when playing Black Prior in a team fight. In team fights, bash focused characters typically have to worry about feeding revenge by using their bash, but Black Prior doesn?t need to worry about this as much. While he does feed the same amount of revenge as other bash characters, he comparatively gives less because his bash does nearly the same or more than other bashes when they have Haymaker/Shieldbasher up in terms of damage. Being careful about recovery is the main thing to worry about with Black Prior. Don?t forget that you can cancel every recovery you have for lights and heavies except for Bulwark Heavy into Bulwark Stance, so you?re relatively safe in teamfights from whiffed attack punishes, and can use this tactic to bait people into attack you in a recovery for a flip.
- This is one of the areas where Black Prior shines, due to his relatively high HP pool (135) and his multiple options with Bulwark Stance. Black Prior is essentially immune to hitstun ganks and turns them into a mixup because he can flow into Bulwark Stance after a blocked heavy. So, for example ? say you?re being ganked by a Nobushi and Shaman combo. The Shaman GBs for Nobushi, you get bled, and the Nobushi heavy stuns for the bite to be guaranteed. Normally a death sentence/near death sentence for most characters, but for Black Prior, you can flow into Bulwark and flip the bite after, or exit the Stance and counter guardbreak. This works the same way for Raider ganks as well. The only one it doesn?t work on is Lawbringer gank, because it?s set up by completely bypassing Bulwark with GB into Impale. Shinobi?s gank is very hard to use Bulwark against, as it?s a complete read due to slide being unreactable, and you risk 40 damage + Shinobi?s ally heavy for a wrong read.
- Black Prior is pretty weak at ganking, because he has no hard CC moves. He needs a dedicated ganker with him like Lawbringer or Shaman to take down an opponent from full HP when he?s Xv1ing. When facing an already low health opponent, Black Prior is alright at handling this because bash into ally heavy is an okay way to kill someone already low, but feeds too much revenge and is far too easy to avoid to reliably kill a full HP opponent. One of his weakest components in 4v4s.
- Black Prior has excellent 1v1 potential?when in a duel gamemode. In 4v4s, he suffers from the same issue as almost every other character in the game ? the sprint mechanic. At the very highest level, smart players will not engage with a Black Prior in a 1v1, especially on a point they already own. They?ll simply use the (generally horrible) point design to avoid the Black Prior, and as he has no moves that are fast and track well, there?s very little the Black Prior can do other than call for a ganker to come help him out. When the point is his, however, and the opponent has to come to him, he?s excellent at holding a point with his great 1v1 prowess. Otherwise, only good, not great.
So, I?m going to be upfront with you, most of these are going to be in the Easy brackets, as Black Prior really only has four matchups that are hard for him to do well in. Without further ado, here?s the matchups for Black Prior. Will keep these updated as balance patches and new heroes come out, whenever the new matchups are figured out, of course.
- Shinobi: Shinobi is one of the few characters in the game with truly unreactable offense, and on top of that, it?s almost entirely unpunishable. Luckily, Black Prior can punish it, and he can punish it fairly hard for Shinobi?s health pool, but the downside is that it must be done on read and risks 40 damage from Shinobi?s very fine and balanced damage numbers. Other than flipping slide, there?s really not much Black Prior can do, as Shinobi can simply walk backwards or sprint away from most of your mixups, and as you have no good chase?there?s not much you can do in this matchup. It?s almost unwinnable.
- Conqueror: Conqueror is one of two that can actually punish Black Prior?s offensive options, so he by default is one of the harder matchups. Luckily, Conqueror can?t really do much himself to Black Prior, as he risks being flipped and, if not flipped, simply dodged due to shield bash being reactable with the dodge buffs/bash nerfs universally put into the game recently. It?s a hard matchup for sure, for now, but nowhere near as bad as Shinobi is.
- Raider: This one?s going to seem a little controversial to some people on reddit given the reaction to the tier list lately, but hear me out. Raider is the other that can consistently punish Black Prior?s offensive options, and he punishes them much harder than Conqueror does, with either 28 damage without a wall and 43 with a wall. When you can?t bash with Black Prior, you?d go to his chain mixups, but how do you do that if you eat 40 damage for trying to get into your chains? It?s a really hard matchup, very slow and boring, but still, Raider?s offense is terrible enough that you can beat one who gets overzealous and attacks. Versus one that doesn?t attack, well ? just hope you can slip a bash or two in and force him to attack, but it?s not likely.
- Warden: Warden has to backdodge a lot vs Black Prior, but he ultimately wins the matchup because bashes are much easier to dodge, except for Warden?s, whose is still unreactable. His dodge shoulder bash forces a mixup onto the Black Prior for dodging, and a proper read from the Warden can punish the bash. Setmyx agrees this is about 6-4 for Warden. Black Prior?s lack of tracking makes it harder to interrupt shoulder bash with shield bash than it would be with, say, Conqueror, so it?s not as easy to stop Warden from getting into his pressure.
- Shaman: Shaman is one of the few that gets a punish on Black Prior?s bash, with back dodge into buffered bash guaranteeing 25 damage + soft feint mixup on an early reaction. She gets chip damage + a mixup in the unblockable finisher on a later reaction, which is harder for Black Prior to deal with than others due to not really having a strong parry option select. Otherwise, she doesn?t have very much in the matchup, and the various timings of his options are still effective vs Shaman even if she gets a guaranteed punish.
- Peacekeeper, Orochi, Tiandi, Lawbringer, Valkyrie, Warlord, Aramusha, Jiang Jun, Nuxia, Centurion, Shugoki, Kensei, Shaolin: I?m not going to write them all out their own specific sections, because the matchup plays out pretty much the same for almost all of them ? they just get slowly beaten down by the bash attacks they can?t punish, and have almost no offense in return. Tiandi gets flipped for Palm Strike and blocked by Bulwark flow, Peacekeeper gets blocked, Orochi gets destroyed by Bulwark flow after blocking. The others either have NO way to even get chip damage off of dodging the bash, and their offense is null against Black Prior due to the nature of their kits, rolling, or the bash nerf in the case of Warlord. Shaolin is a bit of a harder decision to put in this category, and future experiences may change this, but I just don?t see how he can do anything against Black Prior with an easier to react to kick and a hard time getting into Qi Stance.
- Gladiator: Gladiator used to be a strong duels hero, but nerfs to him specifically and the universal bash nerf have made his zone a joke to dodge. At least it?s a very hard to punish move ? except vs Black Prior. Black Prior can easily reaction flip Gladiator?s zone, rendering his only good move useless, and as such bodies the hero.
- Berserker: Berserker is one of the heroes I never thought would be in such a bad state against a hero, as he?s got a very strong kit just in general, but Black Prior seems designed to shut down this hero. His chain is shut down by Bulwark Flow after blocking an attack, as previously mentioned, and as again previously mentioned, his 0ms dodge guardswap means his feint into light or heavy is again useless against Black Prior.
- Nobushi: She can?t do anything to Black Prior offensively or defensively, and she was mostly put in a separate section than the majority of the easy matchups because of Black Prior?s interactions with Hidden Stance. Hidden Stance gives absolutely no punish vs anything Black Prior does, except for the soft feint bash. Black Prior?s fastest bash timing is entirely unpunishable by Hidden Stance, being able to flip the kick, block the Hidden Stance heavy and flow into flipping the kick, and block the Hidden Stance lights. If Black Prior?s opener light or heavy gets hidden stanced, he can cancel recovery with Bulwark Stance and flip the kick, hidden stance heavy into kick, or even parry the Hidden Stance Lights. It?s almost insane how unpunishable Black Prior is in this matchup.
- Highlander: Highlander can?t do much of anything, his mixup of kick into grab is nullified by the same way as everyone else, dodge rolling on the right timing. Black Prior is pretty much completely safe against him in Offensive Stance, and unless the Highlander prediction dodges, can attack at will with his bash as he recovers in time to dodge the dodge into kick, and can block the dodge into light.
So yeah. Black Prior is a very polarizing character in 1v1s, he either has a hard matchup, or he destroys a character. The only one somewhat in the middle is Shaman, and even then I?d give the edge to Black Prior.
In conclusion, Black Prior is a very strong character in all modes, with a good kit for 4v4 and 2v2, and a borderline broken one in 1v1. He?s definitely worth picking up and savoring, as it?s very rare in For Honor to have a character with many options like this, all of which work. I hope this helped, thanks for reading!