Beginning Your Journey: A Guide to Deciding Where to Start in PvP (Pt 1)

Beginning Your Journey

A Guide to Deciding Where to Start in PvP (Pt 1)

So you’ve just discovered PvP in Wizard101, and maybe you’re new to the game. You ask, “How do I start? Should I buy back my training points? Do I need to make a whole new wizard?” Hopefully, you should get some answers here; I hope this short series will let you know exactly what to expect from your first PvP journey, and not be discouraged from it for silly reasons (for example, those rude warlords always beating you and calling you a noob).

Beginning Your Journey 1I will talk about what school and level to pick to suit you and what challenges you will face. In Part 2, I will also show tier lists at certain levels, which are opinion based, but should help get you a general idea of what to choose (take this opinion from someone who has ranked from private to warlord over 25 times and well over warlord numerous times on 10 characters, all 7 schools, and all of the most common level ranges.) In short, this series is for the person who is lost at how to start PvP. The most common question for new players is “what school should I pick?” but I would argue that there is something even more important to consider.

What level will suit you?

The level you choose to PvP at has an enormous effect on the whole experience. The difficulty of your matches, the ease of a certain school to compete, the time it takes to be able to begin to actually PvP, and more are all effected by the level you choose to duel at. So, what are the advantages of each level range? Below are some benefits and drawbacks of the level ranges you should be considering (level ranges not listed here have disadvantages that so greatly outweigh the advantages that they aren’t even worth looking at.)

Journeyman is the lowest level I would consider for PvP. Anything below it isn’t really PvP in my opinion.

Some advantages of this level are that it is very quick to level to (you’re only going to need to finish Krokotopia and be level 18 to be fully equipped), and it is very “simple” (there aren’t as many trained spells to choose from and the health pool is smaller, making kill solutions generally more simple, although this DOESN’T mean they are easier to reach.) This generally leads to shorter match times, which is always good.

The major disadvantage of this level is that high level treasure cards are very prevalent, and depending on your school and gear, a 6 pip Triton will kill you, or at least come close. The fact that it is “simple” can also be interpreted as a disadvantage if you’re looking for a more dynamic PvP experience, as well as that this level is very strained in resources (training points, health buffer, power pips, damage, deck space).

This, like Journeyman, isn’t a very common level range in ranked PvP.

The pros of this level are very close to those of Journeyman, only needing to quest into Mooshu and get level 28 to be fully equipped, and it is slightly more dynamic than Journeyman (for example, Fire gains their bubble, their minion, and the wonderful minion killer Scald from Journeyman to Adept, and every school gains more health and training points.)

Cons of this level are also close to Journeyman, with over-level treasure cards still being a problem (but not as much), and the resource strain getting better and worse at the same time, as health pools get bigger and some resources are gained.

Magus has long been a favorite level range to PvP for many duelists. 

One reason for this is that all schools generally have enough resources in term of training points, health pool, deck size, etc. to allow for a more dynamic playstyle. In other words, I would argue that it is the beginning of PvP where you have most of the tools that you need. Also, this is a relatively easy level to get to, only needing to quest to Dragonspyre to get everything you need.

This level is still plagued will over level treasure cards, most often in the form of bladestacking and DoTs (such as bladestacking into Snow Angel or a popular Basilisk-Judgement combo).

Master level isn’t very common because it is generally “outclassed” by grandmaster. I would say this level is mostly for the hardcore pvpers who want to get similar matches as a grandmaster, but don’t want to use glendemming gear.

This is pretty much the same as Magus, except you get more health and more training points at the cost of being so close to Grandmaster that you will likely face opponents with critical relatively early on.

Grandmaster has been by far the most popular level range for competitive PvP since Glendemming gear. 

The top level gear at Grandmaster is both incredibly powerful and obtained through arena tickets, making this one of the best places for people who want a huge rank, crowns or no-crowns players alike. However, this also means that you will need to do some ticket grinding before you can get the top gear (like all other levels below this).

There aren’t really any downsides to this level, except that some may consider it too “easy”. High level treasure cards are still prevalent, but don’t cause as much of an “overpowered” effect as lower levels because of having higher health and higher resist. Questing to Zafaria to be fully geared might be a bit time consuming, but it isn’t too bad at all.

Legendary is a fun level range to play, and it has decent participation in the ranked arena.

At this level you start to have more options with gear, be it waterworks, crafted, or Glendemmings, which makes for more varied builds and playstyles. Also, this is where over level treasure cards stop being a problem, because there really aren’t many (useful) ones left. You can also craft spells here (depending on level you may or may not be able to at Grandmaster,) which is always fun. This is also likely the last level range where you can have decent off school damage boost and not sacrifice much else.

Questing through Zafaria will likely be tedious, but it isn’t the end of the world. At higher ranks, top level players may begin to pose a problem, so if you plan to go up there, be warned.

Transcendent is somewhat like Legendary, except you have Avalon utility spells, a bigger health pool, and more training points.

It has pretty much all of the pros and cons of legendary, except you will hit higher level opponents sooner but have some extra utility spells, health, and gear choices (block).

I lump these levels together because they have the same huge disadvantages and are deserted in ranked PvP for this reason: They are prone to face Exalted wizards very early on, but lack the gear (block, resist, armor piercing) and spells (shadow enhanced) to compete with Darkmoor gear. Unless you’re looking for a huge challenge, avoid these levels. If you’re thinking of questing this far up, just go to Exalted.
Exalted, of course, is top level PvP, and not lacking at all in participation.

The current meta is very unstable (I would call it capricious.) If you’re just starting in PvP, I would actually suggest not starting here. Sure, play a few matches and see how it feels, but I would suggest to learn at a different level until the meta is more stable. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have at least one exalted wizard, because that of course is vital for other aspects of the game, but that if you have no clue what you’re doing, you shouldn’t expect to be able to easily learn in that environment. Even some experienced duelists have been so displeased with recent top level PvP that they have taken recluse in lower levels. 

Now, of course, the second thing you’re probably wondering is “what school should I choose?” This is a very complex and difficult to answer question that we’ll attempt to answer in Part 2 of the article. See you next time!


  1. Sillylittlesushi says:

    Being at rank 500 while level 75 is fun.
    You can get Glendemming Warlords and rank 0 critmasters back-to-back, lol.

    • Logan LegendThief says:

      LOL…. The game is a bit cockoo, wouldn’t you say?

      On a happier note, I’m still waiting for the never-occurring W101 update that shall break pvp into level brackets of 10’s. Oh well, I suppose I’ll see this update come in 2063.

  2. mohammad ali says:

    legendary for fire Krampus too OP plus u dont have to fight ice with that insane fire and storm resist

    • It’s nice, but because of it’s low damage and a mere accuracy debuff, it’s not quite “op.”

      • Shadowmancer says:

        Its damage isn’t too low, if enchanted with gargantuan. And a -45 accuracy buff at legendary, if planned right, can be fatal.

        • Ah. Legendary. Now that’s a different story. This spell is indeed brutal and wonderful at the 60-90 range, but would benefit from a slight buff.

  3. Mora Misthead says:

    Nice, loved reading this 🙂

  4. Eric Stormbringer says:

    Great aritcle Charles that succintly explains both the pros and cons of the different level ranges.

  5. Patrick FairyStalker says:

    Personally, I would suggest to enjoy the ride of leveling up and trying out every level range.
    My balance was originally intended to be a journeyman.
    Due to the high level treasure cards, he found that training judge at adept was more appealing.
    After getting commander gear, he leveled to magus for team PvP. This was the age before glendemming gear.
    Soon, my balance was a master so that he could effectively enchant Power Novas.
    As soon as the huge PvP update arose, grandmaster was the place to be.
    Currently, he is a legendary to receive the huge boost in block found in gear, and for the training points so that every dispel can be trained.
    I plan to level him to transcendent to receive the useful utility spells in mana burn and supernova.

    I would enjoy the ride, rather than limiting yourself to one single level range.

  6. mmailliw says:

    ” Even some experienced duelists have been so displeased with recent top level PvP that they have taken recluse in lower levels. ”

    This pairs up PERFECTLY with my own experiences lately!

  7. Blaze MeOut says:

    Top level is always unstable … you probably will just have to wait a couple of years to play at that level in a stable meta in my opinion considering the time it takes to create a world for Kingsisle …also thinking like glass full kinda guy … the unstable meta might be a thing that suits you if you think like a pioneer exploring new lands in my opinion … getting a full set of Aquila gear first day it came out in test realm and understanding how to use it before anyone else allowed my fire to remain undefeated in about 60 matches for a day until I fought the same opponent 7 times and he started using beguile and bad juju which killed me … at high level you build a landscape for the meta … people who do similar strategies making the meta their own become the predominant rules in how a meta is run … the meta becomes stabilized but could still change due to new updates

  8. ThatPromethean says:

    Random Question: When will the test realm open?

  9. Billy Garvey says:

    I don’t PvP that much, and I havent 2v2’d since darkmoor because my Fire partner can’t compete with those AoE shadow spells that do as much as his above

  10. Loved the article and how it was layed out in an easy to see tab section 😀

    IMO, Top Level will NEVER be stable until the advantages/disadvantages for each school comes back to as it was with new spells and gear. Also, defense and offense should perfectly balance each other and new gear would allow for a variety of play style, such as offensive, defensive, balanced, slow, blitz, spam, OHKO, with minions, reshuffle card multiplying, etc, etc. I do realize several of my examples are highly improbable and a few even go impossible, but it’d be nice to have a Top Level meta with a huge variety in ways to play.

  11. Mycin Dunestaff says:

    I highly recommend avoiding top level pvp all together. I’m so displeased with the way that is has been going recently that I’ve stopped playing the game all together. It’s not that winning is unlikely at this level, and it’s not that difficult to win either. However, with that in mind, the new system of pvp is lacking in what I believe to be the most important factor: fun. Unfortunately, it seems that pvp has become sort of like a race to see who can get luckiest the fastest. Whoever can get 2 shadow pips first seems to have a HUGE advantage over the other player, as using shrike and then the new spells will either OHKO if unblocked, or create a HUGE shift in the way a match is working. I have always been an advocate of putting my opponent into a corner through long and drawn out battles of wit and will, and the new system of pvp is less like chess and more like blackjack. I would recommend starting pvp at legendary, due to the fact that that level possesses every tool needed to win and make matches FUN.

  12. Ethan Breeze says:

    I found magus to be a fun level for balance pvp, as you had everything you need to succeed, especially since I used an unexpected strategy.

  13. Logan LegendThief says:

    I disagree with the Exalted section. I hardly ever find it “unstable;” it’s more of a matter of adapting, if you ask me.
    I see it in simple terms, as the game changes, are you or are you not able to keep up?
    If the answer is no, then, yes, you’re better off “finding recluse in lower levels.” But if the answer is yes, then no matter what the changes are, you’ll find your way through it.
    And if you’re in doubt, just take a look at the pictograph …

    P.S. HUMP DAY! (Sorry, had to say it)

    Okay. Maybe it wasn’t the best example, but you get the point.

    • Slayed Nex says:

      You must be a balance exalted guy, spamming lore master every now and then. That is no where close to “adapting”.

      The game favors balance too much. I believe 50-60% of balance warlords/overlords don’t deserve the rank they have, because they don’t have the skills, they have the spells.

      Lore master, super nova, mana burn, availing hands( critical every time ).

      Ice does not even have a healing spell, lowest damage from gear, lowest damage in spells, and highest resist. They gave ice school, resist at that point of time, when it is useless. Shrike finishes it easily, can gear pierce plus infallible is enough to bring down resist to 10-15%.

      Myth, desperately needs a boost. I hardly see a myth player in ranked at exalted, but even if I do see them, it is easier than other schools.

      Storm: Killed my exalted ice with 57% resist in three rounds. Wild bolt, wild bolt, wild bolt. Every time it hit me 2500 damage, and my deck failed badly. Sigh.

      Fire: Very good school, or maybe, players. The fire players have adapted the best I think. and they deserve to be called king of PvP. Not because of spells, but skills.

      Life: Everything an Ice can do, plus critical heal every time, just like balance. They are tier 1 in pvp atm.

      Death: *Sigh*

      • Chris Green says:

        Wait buddy, I wanna hear whatchu gotta say a bout death? THATS MY FAVORITE SCHOOL!!!

    • Charles Darkflower says:

      I think you’ve misread the article; allow me to clarify a few points (not to single you out, I bet lots of people have been wondering about this too).

      There is no question that to succeed in top level pvp, you must be able to adapt. When I said the meta was unstable, I meant the exalted meta in particular (not top level in general). This is because of multiple reasons, the “game breaking” shadow enhanced spells among them.

      You’ve also taken that quote you cited out of context. What I was saying (as I’m sure you know,) was that people ARE taking recluse in lower levels, not that I RECOMMEND doing so. I was providing evidence for my claim that top level is an inadequate place to begin learning to pvp at this point. If experienced duelists don’t like the new meta because of instability, how can we expect a new player too?

      This leads me to my last point, which is that this article is geared towards giving new players the pros and cons of learning the basics of pvp at different level ranges. This article was NOT geared towards advising experienced players what the best place to pvp is, which is what I think you may have confused it as being.

  14. Benjamin Thundersword says:

    When is part 2 coming? LOVE THIS GUIDE

  15. TylerFrostFlame says:

    I would recommend using lvls 10-60 because of the quick matches and the gear you can get. There are always disavantages to pvp whether it’s gear or lvl or cards but it doesn’t affect the overall match.

  16. Noob at this says:

    Hey, noob here. I might as well post this here, since this is the new player place. I keep finding decks with many treusre cards, and I have this question: Do you lose treasure cards in pvp?