Emblem Scramble is the main Player versus Player mode of Phantasy Star Online 2. Due to the many differences from the base game and this game mode, the weird interactions, and the strange networking code, many players might have difficulties approaching and even winning the game. These are some basic strategies to help beginners get started.
- The main objective is to collect Emblems, not the number of kills, even though getting kills will help your team clinch the victory.
- The centre of most maps, often called "mid", houses the Rainbow Emblems, giving 10 Points each. Seizing control of the area is a major factor in winning games.
- Collecting enough emblems will place above your character a rank for your team, with "1" being the carrier of the most Emblems on the team. Just remember that both sides can see this status, even through walls.
- If you are carrying a lot of emblems, avoid diving head first into the fray, and try playing a bit more safe: with enough emblems, your death can be the equivalent of handing the enemy team the equivalent of several Rainbow Emblems, while removing the same amount of points from your team's total.
- On the other side, having few emblems gives you freedom in playing extremely aggressively, so long as you are not Top 3 on your team. Flank and ambush players within enemy territory, run around and try to catch the attention of enemies into chasing you. For every distracted foe, gives your team more chances to take over the middle with a numbers' advantage and farm rainbow emblems.
- If there are no threats nearby (or you're flanking), grab the enemy emblems if it's completely safe: each one is worth 5 points, half of a rainbow emblem, and it can turn the tides on a very tight race near the end. But do not even attempt it if even a single foe is nearby, for reinforcements are surely to come and you're going to be overwhelmed.
- When a Weapon Update is available, be sure to grab one as soon as possible. If your team has control of mid, try not to abandon the point to get an upgrade as it might be a tactical mistake and it could be impossible to retrieve control. Old weapons still deal great damage on most foes, but beware of Sword, Partisan and Knuckles foes with upgraded weapons, since they gain significant HP increases with each upgrade.
- Remember to grab the Rainbow Emblems, even if you have full control of the map. On the flipside, if both sides are too fearful from confrontation, have someone rush in to grab the Emblems, preferably with little Emblems: even if they are killed, the gains will outweigh the losses and the rainbow emblems are removed from the field for the time being.
- Do not expect an Emblem Fever to happen to win a losing match. It's incredibly rare.
- If the game seems dire, with a severe point difference, the most pressing matter is to eliminate the enemy's top 3. If you can grab the Rainbow Emblems it's even better, but eliminating those targets is much more impactful than having control of the middle in these situations, since it removes a lot points from their team.
- By seeing how much points a kill gives, you can tell how much points the enemy team has in their possession: multiply the result by 10 and you get an approximate idea per foe.
- In some games, most of the enemy team will focus on attacking your team, while only one or two focus on farming rainbow emblems. In these situations, attempt flanks and avoid fighting the low score foes when possible, for they only serve to waste your time and increase the point divide.
- Do not give up. Some games are so dire it is almost impossible to win. But comebacks do exist.
- And even if you lose, just remember than until LEGEND, you lose fewer rank points than you gain, with lower ranks losses barely affecting your score. You also get Battle Coins regardless, and a (sometimes exceedingly rare) scratch item.
Arena uses the same hit detection method as the main game does; that is, any hit registers as a hit as long as it occurs on someone's client. In Arena, this means that players with lower latency have an inherent advantage over players with higher latency. If you notice yourself unable to survive direct encounters, try playing sneaky and ensure that you get a hit in before your opponent can react.
Swords are great overall melee weapons. They always have at least two different Photon Arts adapted to various situations. Swords grant massive HP increases (+250 HP at level 3) and deal great damage, often killing most foes in one hit.
- Do not forget to use your normal attack! It is a cheap (PP-wise) way to finish off a tumbling foe if the Photon Art has not defeated the enemy.
- Try using your guard to protect yourself from slow incoming attacks. Ideally, have a friend eliminate your target while you act as a distraction.
- Using the Protect skill is very handy to survive and cause chaos on enemy backlines. But remember that you are not invulnerable, and you can still be hit stunned. With a team attacking you, you will not survive if you are overwhelmed with hit stun.
- Swords give out the most HP and require you to be at the centre of attention at times, but you can withstand more punishment than other weapons. Having a Cure Skill will let you stay longer in the fight and remove the Assault Rifle's HP Reducing ailment, making you vulnerable to the fray.
- Ride Slash is a powerful and easy to use skill: target your prey and hold the Photon Art to move towards them. Release the button the moment you've hit your foe to finish off the target, otherwise you'll be going in circles and waste time.
- Ride Slash consumes PP slowly if you're riding but using PP Frenzy will make the ride not cost any PP, making it great to ambush divided but nearby foes.
- Ride Slash seems to have some hit stun protection, but many things will make you exit the attack, so use it when you are sure the enemy can't do anything about it.
- Before starting Ride Slash, do a short hop and use it mid-air, while making sure it can still hit foes. This often throws off foes.
- Rising Edge has a distant and tall hitbox and comes out quick. It's more forgiving in width than the partisan, but you still need to aim a bit horizontally.
- With Rising Edge and Nova Strike, you might have encountered an issue where you perform the move near walls, but it visibly should go through walls the attack, but it doesn't. PSO2 checks to see if a player hits another by drawing a line from your character to the target. If that line hits a wall/object, the hit will NOT count. Always try to get as much of a clear sight to the foe when attacking without walls. If you need to be behind a wall, make as much distance from the wall as possible and hope the foe is as close to the edge as possible.
- Nova Strike is excellent to perform a flank on grouped up foes, especially if you have a height advantage. Jump in the centre of the group and strike. However, weapon upgrades are vital for this to work, as it will often fail to finish off upgraded foes due to the sword's damage and the HP Boost from upgraded weapons, leaving you vulnerable to punishment.
Partisans are great flanking weapons but require precise aiming to use. The Assault Buster comes out quickly and quietly, and lets you reposition rapidly. It kills weak characters with ease but tends to send flying stronger characters far away, for better or worse.
- Don't hesitate to use the basic attack to save some PP if it's safe.
- Assault Buster requires precise enough aiming. Like for the sword's Rise Slash, taking a bit of height with a short hop lets the attack cover a bit more height.
- The weapon is not great for direct confrontation, as you're more likely to be shot down by Twin Machinegun stuns and the other ranged weapons of Forest (Rain). Flank a single foe, retreat, hide behind enemy lines, and strike again.
Twin Daggers offer a unique approach to close combat, making you soar to the skies and be hard to hit during the attack. But on the ground, you are quite vulnerable, so keep away from ranged or melee fighters and strike when unseen. Daggers only appear on Volcano, but also offer unique approaches exclusive to it.
- Symphonic Diver can let you climb onto middle from the low side areas of the maps should a foe get close to the ledge.
- Symphonic Diver is a very haphazard move: on highly mobile targets it will often miss, but anything slow enough is easy prey.
- PP Frenzy in the right hands can be terrifying to fight against, especially with Daggers. Spam Symphonic Diver from behind enemy lines and rack up the kills... if it lands the hits.
- When possible, do not try to aim for mobile melee users first, go for the Talis users when they are unaware, as they move little when in the backline.
Knuckles are amazing at close-combat and can eliminate single targets guaranteed with no issues should the combo be performed. It has the best standard attack for melee weapons, dealing great hit stun that lasts longer than the individual hits.
- If you control middle, have the knuckles, and weapons update, it's recommended not to go immediately. The Knuckles can lock any foe down from full to zero with basic attacks, and so long as nothing is there to stop the combo, a single target will always die by the Knuckles.
- Advancing Charge will inflict Stun, the same kind of Stun the Stun Shot does, at full charge.
- Advancing Charge is not your killing move, unlike most melee Photon Arts in the Arena. Its purpose is to lead you into a guaranteed kill with your basic attacks.
- Basic attacks can hit faster than the hitstun of each attack can end, making it impossible for a single foe to recover.
- Your basic attacks are the killing move. In some cases, there might not even be a need to use Advancing Charge if you closed the distance.
- While getting a stun with Advancing Charge is nice, its main goal is to bridge the gap between you and your target. Let your normal attacks finish the job.
Soaring Blades allow you to approach and whittle down opponents from afar to finish them off up-close, while granting nice horizontal air movement in the process.
- The Weapon Action seems to have small hitstun, but it's not guaranteed to work based on the opponent and the netcode.
- Approach foes with the Weapon Action to chip at their health and even finish off weaker foes.
- The Weapon Action can aim upwards or downwards if you are targetting the foe in those areas.
- Immortal Dove is strong, but if possible try using it twice in a row, to make sure your foes have been defeated: for a powerful attack, it has no tumbling, so if the hitstun ends, you might be wide open to punishment.
Jet Boots are utility weapons that let you access hard to reach places with ease and are amazing for quick flanks. It also grants the player the double jump. One should avoid direct out in the open confrontation, however.
- On maps like Forest, the Jet Boots lets you play around the enemy territory and escape via the terrain, and quickly lets you attack Bow users sniping from afar on the high cliffs with the double jump.
Rifles are great at long ranged, targeted attacks. Each PA it comes with has its own purpose and specific use cases.
- Piercing Round inflicts an HP reducing ailment and some good hit stun, which can stack. Get some friends to finish the targets off!
- Piercing Round can also be used to eliminate a foe all by yourself: use two Piercing Rounds and then immediately perform a basic rifle attack to finish them off.
- The HP Reducing ailment has an exceedingly long duration, forcing players to either use one of their Cure/Protect skills, to run away from the front line or to fight at a severe disadvantage. If you failed to kill a foe but have landed at least one Piercing Round, you'd have at least crippled their long-term game by removing their options.
- Piercing Round can be brutal with the last minute of the game, where in games on equal footing, a death can mean all the difference. Most players would have used up all their Skills by this point, and inflicting the ailment means they've become an easier target to kill from any source, forcing them to run away or give away their points.
- Piercing Round pairs up great with other players using ranged attacks, as their attacks often do not kill in one hit but deal small damage from safer places. Having someone with Foie can easily finish off in a single hit HP Reduced targets.
- Steady Shot is strong when no one can spot you, and ideally, no one can reach you: using the PA makes you stay in place while in mid-air, and repeated use will keep you in place. Use the lock-on to rain damage upon your foes from behind and high.
- Steady Shot only appears on Volcano (Night), which has some excellent positions for elevation above middle using the bridges.
- Steady Shot on the ground should be avoided, as the attack has no hit stun and cannot finish off foes in a single volley.
- Use PP Frenzy with Steady Shot from a high altitude from behind the enemy lines to take away all their health without knowing what's hitting them before it's too late.
- Positron Blast has two different charge versions. Keep charging to reach the last version of the PA for the projectile moves very quickly and can often hit a lock-on target.
- Positron Blast is best used on the ground. Since it only appears on Tokyo, make sure you have a good line of sight before firing.
- Only charge the Positron Blast if you're intending to shoot: PP drains while you're charging, even when you've reached maximum charge, and will fire if PP reaches 0.
The Bow could be compared to a Sniping Rifle of sorts. It's only Photon Art, if used right, can assassinate any enemy from great distances.
- The Bow's basic attack can be charged, and at close range to a target, is highly likely to kill the target.
- Use the basic attack to pick off weakened targets while allies are nearby and trying to fight off a flanking enemy in your backlines. The attack also has a bit of hit stun, and it can help your team get rid of an annoying flanker.
- Final Nemesis is strong. But remember that during its channelling, you're completely exposed and vulnerable. Use it from afar or from a hard to hit place, never out in the open.
- Final Nemesis is great at hitting targets that slow down when locked-on but will always miss on targets that are moving at full speed.
- Take a high spot from your area of the map and aim from above onto the middle area.
- Over-the-Shoulder mode will allow you to precisely aim your shots, and attack targets far beyond the lock-on range. Attack the backline from afar since the Rods and Talis users usually won't move much within their backline. It might be harder to aim with a controller, however.
- Final Nemesis, if aimed correctly, can eliminate more than one foe since there is a tiny AOE effect to the shot's blast. Aim it at the ground between two foes. But do not rely too much on it.
Talis give the user excellent map control if used properly and can also be used in self-defence against flankers.
- The Talis sends a card in the direction aimed and triggering Nagrants with a card out will cast Nagrants from the position of the card. If no card is out, Nagrants is casted from the caster's position. The card remains still when it reaches it's maximum moving distance for a second or two before disappearing. By holding down Nagrants, you can charge it and hold the position of a card in place if one needs to time a Nagrants attack in a particular position. If the card hits any solid surface, the card instantly disappears.
- Lock-on to a foe to send a card in the direction they are in. It does not track their active position however.
- With Nagrants, you can control the middle and entry ways to the middle by placing your cards right. This can be particularly effective for cutting out for most of the game the sole entryway to the middle on Volcano.
- Nagrants can act as a defensive weapon against flankers, especially on maps like Tokyo: jump down on your foes and double cast Nagrants without using a card, acting as a death ball. Just don't try to use this to flank, as you'll be outmanoeuvred by melee and ranged classes due to your dodge and slow card throws.
- Nagrants around oneself doesn't make you immune: if the melee target kills you before the hits register, the Nagrants will not deal any damage to any target the instant you've been killed.
A simple map. Features three lanes, including one central lane and two outer lanes. The central lane contains the Rainbow Emblem spawn.
- Jet Boots users can climb the tall structures scattered around the map, giving them an easy way to avoid combat and attack from above.
- Use the outside lanes to surprise foes if you're falling behind, but check to ensure you aren't being subject to this strategy yourself. Will typically not work if you have a marker, as it will give away your position, but you can try to draw foes away from the center.
- Be wary of ranged attackers hiding behind walls in the center, as access to cover is easy and fighting back will be difficult if not dealt with directly.
A simple map. Very similar to regular Forest, but features a flowing river on each side of the map and modified structures.
- Rivers can be used to get back in the action fast, but beware of players with ranged attacks on the other end who can attack during the trip.
- The walls on the right side of the field can be climbed to gain a height advantage. Also functions as cover as players standing above are difficult to spot; this also applies to your enemies.
- The lowered walls make it easier for enemies to approach from behind, and vice versa.
- If leading, direct the lightning somewhere where it won't endanger your teammates.
A hazardous map filled with lava. The Rainbow Emblem spawn has considerably limited access due to the ledges that must be used to get to them; access to the central spawn via other means won't become available until the final phase.
- Taking control of the center is considerably more advantageous in this map compared to others. Early leads can seal matches in extreme cases.
- Use Nagrants to lock down the ledge leading to the center. Enemies can do the same to you to attempt to ward you off, so be warned.
- The routes on the side are typically uncommonly traveled due to their distance from the main battleground and long travel time; however, ranged weapons can still get some cheesy kills off the side.
- If an enemy attempts to travel over lava, try hitting them.
A hazardous map filled with lava. Very similar to regular Volcano, but features two additional platforms on the sides that lead to the center.
- Using the side routes exposes you considerably and can leave you open to attack if unprepared. However, if an enemy is distracted by your allies, you can use the height advantage to take out foes.
- Due to the limited selection of long-range weaponry, center control isn't quite as dominant as it is on normal Volcano. Both sides can use this to their advantage.
A complex map with lots of elevation. Features both an upper route with a central Rainbow Emblem spawn and a lower route that provides underground access to the center, middle, and spawn zones.
- Players traveling underground are very difficult to spot from above. If leading, check all sides regularly to ensure you aren't being sneak attacked. If behind, you can take enemies by surprise so long as you don't have a marker.
- This map features an excessive amount of walls. Be wary of players charging Positron Blast behind them, as they can quickly pop out to get quick kills. Conversely, throwing a Talis behind a wall and casting Nagrants will make short work of enemies relying too much on cover.
- You can hide behind the central spawn via standing on the blocks below and prepare attacks out of enemy range. Be careful of enemies approaching from the sides, however. Enemies with Nagrants can also force you out of your hiding spot.
- Melee players may find it difficult to approach the center if their allies aren't backing them up with ranged attacks due to the wide-open nature of the field.