How to Survive Pirate101 Smuggler’s Arena (Part 4)

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Pirate101 Smuggler’s Arena

How To Survive The Gauntlet

Part 4: Pick A Class, Any Class (except one)

Part 3 of the Smuggler’s Arena series covered general tips and tactics.  This final article will discuss class specific approaches, and show you how my pirates are set up to tackle the arena.


ratbeard2-wBut first, a word about companions.  Who you choose for the arena depends on your class, your gear, and to some extent on your style of play (and who is not on bed rest).  I always wait until all my companions are healthy before starting a solo arena run.  Several companions common to all classes are on my preferred list.

  • First Choices: Ratbeard, Bonnie Anne
  • Second Choices: Gracie Conrad, Zeena
  • Third Choice (sometimes): Hawkules

Hawkules2I have already mentioned Ratbeard and Gracie for their Hold The Line abilities, which Gracie’s golem also has.  Bonnie has two excellent specials, as long a range as any musketeer, and a special non-musket attack that can come in handy when you want a guaranteed hit or don’t want to trigger Quick Draw/True Grit/Return Fire.  Zeena’s fire is useful (usually on the first turn), although it doesn’t do a large amount of damage.  And Hawkules is a decent bruiser, albeit with a lack of specials.

Nausica2Of the purchasable companions, the ones I recommend include Nausica, Keisuke Yagi, Wagyu Sanjuro, and Temujin.  Also Baar, if you are lucky enough to get him.  Obviously having more high quality companions can help, but the standard companions are sufficient for most classes, even when soloing.  I’ll mention any class specific companions I use in the appropriate section.

Class Specific Tactics

The classes are listed in what I believe to be the increasing order of difficulty to solo the arena.  I have successfully completed it solo with all classes except one, but most of my runs have been done with my Witchdoctor or Swashbuckler.

A Note About Gear: I do not have Moo Manchu’s Imperial Robe, so all of my pirates enter the arena wearing Captain Blood’s Jacket.  If I did have both: my Swashbuckler would switch to the Robe, my Witchdoctor would stick with the Jacket, my Musketeer and Privateer would try both and see which they prefer, and my Buccaneer would still go home and take a nap.


A well equipped Witchdoctor is definitely the easiest way to tackle the arena.  (Witchdoctors are the best class for most farming situations, but that’s a different discussion.)  They have a variety of tools to use, their high Will gives them the strongest heals, and their Jobu’s line of attacks (the Pirate101 equivalent of life drain spells) can make them surprisingly resilient.

Of the standard spells, Charm and Widow’s Touch are your best weapons.  The advantage of Charm is obvious; what might not be as evident is what can happen when you couple it with a long range wand.  If you are able to Charm an opponent on the first turn, any enemies who cannot reach your team will target the charmed unit instead.  Widow’s Touch can improve the odds by making the battle 4 versus 3 for at least a few turns.  Swashbucklers should be the primary target to slow, and often you want to slow the furthest opponent to keep them out of the fight for a few extra turns (although it is usually a good idea to slow the two Swash bosses no matter where they are).  There isn’t much point in slowing either Musketeers or Witchdoctors.

My Gear



I prefer the long range wand over the Nefarious Staff mostly for its extra first turn Charm range; it also means my earth wall will always extend the full length of the arena.  Buccaneers are the primary target for Charm, because their charge will almost always reach you, but anyone will do (except bosses, who unfortunately cannot be charmed).  If I immediately charm a melee unit, the result is often at least two seriously wounded enemies (who have also used their special attacks) plus some misdirected bombs, and the battle is almost half over by the end of the first turn.  The rest of the gear is a fairly standard mix (for me, at least).  My pet gives me an extra heal, and a couple of talents that help with survivability.






If any of my top 4 powers come up on the first turn, I’m a happy camper.  With correct placement of Blood Flames, a Witch’s Spell Power means the first enemy to approach is almost guaranteed to be eliminated.  Both Frozen Tide and Stone Bastion allow me to stall for a turn to find flames or charm, although each has its drawbacks.  Freeze still allows ranged units to hit me (and Privateers will heal and Buccaneers will buff); an earth wall means I probably can’t see them to be able to charm next turn.  Interestingly, some spells do NOT require line of sight to cast.  No summoning spells do, but also Davy Jones’ Reach, Mutineer’s Grasp, and Chain Lightning do not require being able to see the target hex.  One of my favorite tactics is to put up the wall with an expendable unit (a summoning doubloon, my pet, or Gracie’s golem) on the same side as the enemy.  Then I can either summon more creatures on the other side, or hit them with other spells while my team stays untouched.

Even if none of the top 4 powers appears immediately, I may still be in reasonable shape.  Stygian Chorus can be used as a one turn wall, and Valor’s Fortress and Valor’s Armor will help me survive the onslaught.  In this situation, either a summoning or a push back doubloon can make a large difference in the outcome of the first turn.



My witchdoctor carries a varied set of doubloons, because battles can play out quite differently based on available powers and enemy classes.


My team of choice is always Ratbeard, Bonnie, and Kan Po.  Witchdoctors suffer from a comparative lack of good melee companions, so Kan Po usually gets extra protection and first dibs on heals.  This typically works out well, because after he uses his Super Strike attack while hidden the remaining enemy tend to concentrate on him. 

SwashbucklerPirate101 Swashbuckler Icon

Black Fog, Black Fog, and also Black Fog.  If you are soloing as a Swash, you are a one trick pony (if you are NOT soloing, your teammates are unlikely to appreciate your hiding and letting them get pummeled instead).  This is where having other arrows in your quiver to stall the bad guys becomes really important.  Moo’s boots, Stygian Chorus, Hold the Line – whatever it takes to buy a turn to find Black Fog.  Once your team is hidden, things get much easier.  Poison everything in sight, spend a few turns buffing or healing, maybe put down Blood Flames (which they will attack if they can’t see anything else), then pounce.  You should be able to kill at least one opponent (more likely two) on the turn that you unhide.

My Gear



Any of a number of melee weapons are fine for a swash.  With Nefarious Knives, you need to remember NOT to flank while hidden.  You want the 2x hidden attack bonus to apply to your power enhanced strike, not to a flanking attack.  Because my pet grants Bladestorm I carry a Super Strike, which guarantees me two swings (or three, with flanking).  The extra dodge is a nice bonus.  My pet also has Charming Gaze 2, and he is usually good for at least a couple of charms over 10 battles.  Whenever he manages to charm anyone, the fight gets much easier.  These are the fights where sometimes my Swash doesn’t attack at all – just poisons, protects, and heals my companions.





Powers 5 thru 17 are all ones that can and will be thrown away, especially until Black Fog comes up.  Unlike every other class, the second page of powers matters; most of the good attacks are on it.  Frozen Tide is guaranteed to hold them off for a turn, and Swash is the only class that doesn’t need to worry about the side effects, because once my team hides the buffs will wear off before I attack.

If I don’t get either Fog or Freeze on the first turn, then Ratbeard goes out front, I put Blood Flames in front of him (or armor/fort him if flames don’t come up), and ruthlessly toss powers.  The chances are very good that Fog or Freeze will come up on the second turn.  If neither appears, I will probably lose a companion (or if I am very unlucky, my pirate, which is Game Over).  Fog is guaranteed by the third turn.

I could add the Earth Guardian’s Helm to my kit as an extra method of stalling, but so far things have worked well enough without it.  



The bias towards summoning doubloons in the Swash doubloon stack is geared towards one thing: getting enemy musketeers to waste their bombs.  I don’t particularly care if my minions do any damage, I just want all the bomb attacks (especially Tempest Of Torpedoes) to be used up before my team uncloaks.  I have done runs with nothing but summoning doubloons in my stack.


Swashbuckler is my only class to have completed the arena solo without losing a companion.  It was Ratbeard, Bonnie, and Fan for every fight.  Fan is quite fragile, so she always got the Valor’s Fortress (and sometimes the Valor’s Armor as well).  Sarah Steele is a good replacement for Fan, and Subodai isn’t bad either.  Caution:  If any of your companions have movement triggered attacks (particularly Overwatch or Readied Spell), you must play carefully while hidden.  Nothing ruins a good plan faster than one of your companions unhiding before you are ready.  If everyone is hidden, the enemy will head for the top edge of the board.


Soloing the arena as a Privateer is often a war of attrition.  A Level 65 Privy who has finished all the appropriate side quests has 33 companions, not including any you have purchased.  This means you can lose all three companions in each fight (although I don’t recommend this approach) and still have enough to complete the 10 battles. 

The first decision a Privy needs to make is what type of weapon to use – melee or ranged.  Ranged weapons extend the distance of your single heals, and can allow you to do some damage to enemy melee units (who are often the most dangerous opponents) without getting hit in return.  A ranged weapon will also cause a Privateer’s intrinsic Repel Boarders talent to NOT activate, which is in my estimation a good thing.  In the arena, enemies who move next to your Privateer usually have First Strike, Vengeance Strike, and/or Relentless, and it would really be much better if they used most of those attacks on your companions instead of on you, thank you just the same.  On the other hand, a good melee weapon will usually do more damage.

My Gear


My Privateer has soloed using Moo Manchu’s Wand, the Nefarious Staff, and Friar Sand’s Unyielding Hirigana.  Objectively the Staff is probably the best choice (you need to have trained Staffy Weapons 2) –  scorpions are hard to pass up, and they really attract enemy fire – but Friar Sand’s weapon is just so much fun to play with.  The Technomage’s Glasses are used to remove Buccaneer charge accuracy debuffs, especially when the Marchioness isn’t around.  While it’s always nice to get two powers from a single piece of gear,  none of The Big Guns attacks typically get used in the arena.






With a range 3 staff, the earth wall won’t span the full width of the arena, but it will be long enough to shield me from most ranged attacks and can channel the attackers.  

Often the best approach is to spend all your time casting Valor’s Fortress/Armor and heals on your companions, and hope that the AI considers your pirate innocuous enough to ignore and attacks your companions instead.  As I said in the previous article, if you can get two Forts on a single unit, it is practically invulnerable until one wears off.


PrivateerDoubloonsA pretty generic doubloon list, with a few Will boosts to help with heals.  My Privateer is usually set up for non-solo play, and this set reflects that.  I don’t carry either Weapon Power or Spell Power doubloons, mostly because they are relatively rare, and thus too valuable to waste on an arena run.


The Marchioness has three good specials – her Will boost will increase the strength of your heals, Dispel Magic will remove annoying debuffs, and she has a Super Strike attack.  She also has a better chance for chain attacks against enemy melee units (except enemy Privateers), and can be trained with Hold the Line.  Either she or Egg Shen can partner Ratbeard and Bonnie.  Emmett has two good specials, and can replace Bonnie without losing much.  He also benefits from Will boosts.  Serious consideration should be given to saving some of your top companions for later fights, and deliberately picking a second or third stringer (who gets to wear the special “I’m Expendable” red T-Shirt) for the early battles.  Note: If you’re playing with Friar Sand’s weapon, you need to stick with primarily melee companions to take advantage of Unyielding Vengeance.


The bad news is, Musketeer pirates seem to be Public Enemy #1 for the AI.  The good news is, you can usually predict who the enemy will attack first 😉 .  Tempest Of Torpedoes is the only standard power a Musketeer has that will (sometimes) derail an attacking melee unit.  Other than that, keeping the opponents off you long enough to whittle them down some is a challenge (you’ll see my solution below).  If you have Valor’s Armor or Fortress, you are probably best served by using it on yourself.  Masque of the Lotus can give you a chance to charm any melee attackers that hit you.

My Gear


My Musketeer doesn’t wear Moo’s Boots partly because I need the gear space for traps and heals, but mostly because I can’t handle the side effects.  With my low Strength, buffed enemy Bucs will positively shred me and any musketeer companions.









MusketeerPowersIf I play Stone Bastion on the first turn, the enemy will immediately knock holes in it.  But that means I know where they will move, and can place a Bear Claw trap (and so can Louie) in the opening, or Blood Flames behind it.  Other than that, it’s all about getting enough traps down before too many opponents get too close.







This is the Musketeer strategy boiled down to its essence.  No subtlety here – Go Away.  I’ve tried carrying some other doubloons as well, but sooner or later I always seem to get in a situation where I really need a pushback doubloon and don’t have one up.  The automatic accuracy debuff won’t prevent special attacks, but will stop most follow up swings, and at least one opponent will almost always get pushed out of range.  If you are willing to play these for the first few turns of each battle, you are pretty much guaranteed a win.


A Hold the Line companion is absolutely necessary to prevent your musketeers from getting pounded, even if only for a turn.  Unfortunately, the Musk companion pool isn’t very deep.  Chantal and Louis are decent, but the small size of the arena negates much of their advantages.  None of the class specific companions can learn Hold the Line.  I struggled through one full run (with a profligate use of doubloons), then decided other classes were better suited for arena soloing.


Good luck.  Soloing the arena with a Buc is as tough as it gets.  You don’t have the team hide of a Swash, the knockback bombs of a Musk, or the variety of special tools of a Witch.  And you pretty much have to lead from the front, which means ending most fights in need of healing.  I know it’s been done, and I could probably finish it myself if I made enough attempts (and was willing to spam a large number of doubloons).  But I’m not, and desisted after a couple of tries.  As for a strategy – my guess is a Buc needs to sacrifice a companion or two each fight while they armor up themselves with Leviathan’s Call and Valor’s Fortress.  And carry enough healing doubloons to be able to keep your health up.  And wearing the Masque of the Lotus and having a Charming Gaze pet probably wouldn’t hurt either.

 How do YOU enter the arena?  Leave your comments below!



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  • Guest

    Wow, nice guide, Leah!

  • Alex

    You disrespect buccaneers in all your class-specific posts!

    • Koi the fish

      She just says its the hardest to solo and hasn’t attempted it and I’m not sure but I don’t think she has a maxed buccaneer Nice guide Leah gotta get me 2 blood robes or maybe just 1 lol and earth helm besides that ice boots what is another option for boots on witchdoctor?

      • Balance101

        The Technomage Goggles drop from Bishop in the Central Core dungeon.

      • leahc

        No disrespect intended. My first character was a Buccaneer, and I still have a soft spot for the class. As Koi says, I’m just saying that it is the most difficult class to solo the arena with. And I have a max character in each class.

        You only need one Cptn Blood’s Jacket, since it can be shared between all your pirates. Technomage Goggles are dropped by Bishop (in Marleybone) – I’m pretty sure you can get them from either fight with him. As for other Witchdoctor boots: any of the other 2 power boots from Moo’s tower are good (e.g., Corrupted Wushi’s Sandals). They all give both Jobu’s and Mojo Storm, which are what you want in the arena. Or you could just buy some Revive boots at the Bazaar, which could allow you to do something else in another gear slot.

        • Cody Nightblade

          Heh, do you know how rare Captain Blood’s Jacket is to drop? I haven’t gotten it yet and I plan to get it for my musket with like 260+ spell power.

  • benjamin nightingale

    Anyone know of any companions with damage reduction buffs besides gerard and ratbeard?

    • leahc

      Emmett is the only companion with a DAMAGE debuff attack (I assume Exeter also has one, but don’t know for sure). If you want ACCURACY debuffs: Ratbeard, Goronado, Peter Quint, Barnabus/Gerard, Subodai/Temujin, Egg Shen/Zang Cha.

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