In Arms, you have your choice of three weapons on either arm at the beginning of the fight. Deciding which of those three you’re going to use each round is a major decision with a big impact on how you’re going to play. Weapons have a similar, but more complex, rock, paper, scissors system to attacks. Some rocks in this game beat certain rocks and lose to others.
If you have a well-rounded weapon like gloves, or if you want to go all-in on a particular play style, it isn’t necessarily a bad idea to just double up on the same weapon. However, doubling up means you need to understand the weaknesses of your particular weapon especially well, and make sure to play around them. For example, a double chakram setup is going to have a difficult time at close ranges and against heavy weapons. If you go that way, you’d better keep your enemy out.
Another way to do things is to pick weapons that have synergy, so that one weapon covers for the weaknesses of another weapon. Returning to the chakram example: What are that weapon’s strengths? A long, wide range. What are its weaknesses? It’s fairly slow, and weak in close combat with heavy weapons pushing through it. Players pitted against a chakram will approach and try to take advantage of this weakness. So when we’re pairing the boomerang with another weapon, let’s think about how we can cover for it.
If you want to cover for a weakness in close combat we have quite a few options, but I’ll focus on one here. Though it’s much slower than the boomerang is, wrecking balls (Megaton or Megawatt) fill the space in front of us nicely. Not only does a wrecking ball give us a strong attack at close range, it also denies the opponent the option to move in on us. At long range, opponents have to deal with the boomerang, and if they move in to avoid the boomerang they now have a wrecking ball to contend with. This is a strong basic combination.
But there are three slots in a set. Our boomerang/wrecking ball set is pretty effective, but there is room in our pack for further experimentation. When deciding on a third weapon, think about how it will mesh with the other two. In our case, we have a light, long-range weapon in the chakram and a heavy, close-range weapon in the wrecking ball. Is there perhaps something that can complement both of these weapons?
How about the dragon laser? It’s a slow setup-oriented weapon that you’re trying to make your opponent run into. As a companion for the chakram, you’ll force the enemy to jump and dodge your chakram and then run into the laser from the dragon. Likewise, the wrecking ball forces the opponent to get out of the way, and the dragon laser can catch them on their escape. It is something of a wild card weapon, but it fits both of the other weapon choices neatly.
This weapon set yields six different loadouts, and thus gameplans. The first three are:
- Chakram/Wrecking ball: All-rounded attack at long range and defense at short range. Stable.
- Chakram/Dragon: Mid-range build. Bait enemies into dodging the wrong way while harassing them with the chakram.
- Dragon/Wrecking ball: Heavy close-range attack. A bit of a wild card.
The other three choices are of course to double down on each weapon. This may be a good option if, for example, one of your weapon choices is working out very well but the other is not.
It’s tempting to just press L+R and get right back in, but take the break between rounds to seriously think about whether your weapons are working. Even if they are, one trick I’m fond of is simply reversing the sides for each weapon, just to throw the opponent off.
By choosing unique but complimentary weapons, we give ourselves a versatile arsenal that we can adjust to a multitude of opponents and situations. Is one set just not working at all? That’s not a problem. Switch up.
Especially in Ranked matches, where you’ll be taking on random players in three-round matches with one weapon set, you need to have something for all kinds of opponents.
Also, guess what? The example we used in this section is Min-Min’s default weapon setup. The defaults in this game are actually very well-chosen, so even if you don’t have a lot of different weapons unlocked you can get into this meta-game right away.