Guide: Combat Openers
With Update 5 wargs received some nice boosts to damage output. One area where these boosts are most apparent is in our ‘combat openers’. These are the three attack skills wargs commonly use to open a fight, hence the name. Because these skills have received a bit of a boost it open up some new opportunities so I thought I’d take a look at how they can best be used now.
This guide is set out in a simple enough manner: each skill will be discussed in turn along with a description of how the skill is best used.
This has the least damage of the three ‘combat openers’, but crucially it does have a 5sec stun. On a critical hit this stun is transformed into a knockdown instead. The key component here isn’t the skill’s raw damage, but the stun/knockdown component. Keeping a freep out of the action for 5sec means we can tear into him from behind for that entire time. Essentially this is free damage since he won’t be hitting us back and the fight won’t ‘properly start’ until he gets up and fights back.
If you think about this skill in those terms then this actually might be the skill that provides the most damage at the strt of a fight since it allows us a full5 seconds to pound on a freep.
This skill has higher base damage than Sudden Pounce, not too much more, but enough to make sure it packs a bigger punch. It also has a higher chance to score a critical hit from stealth and it will do more damage on a critical hit than an attack normally would. That means that this skill actually delivers a bigger wallop than might be thought at first glance.
There are two other important features to this skill, which make it very attractive to use. The first is that it will place an incurable DoT on the target that lasts 20sec. Normally the DoT from Maul does not stack with itself, only with Maul DoTs from other wargs, but the DoT from Maul WILL STACK with the DoT from Bloody Maul, even if both DoTs are from the same warg. So after using Bloody Maul the warg can wait 5sec and then use Maul (being out of stealth by that point) to stack both DoTs.
The other feature of this skill is that critical hits will place a debuff on the target that reduces their incoming healing by 25% for 30sec. This is actually a very powerful debuff as it will reduce the effectiveness of their morale pots and self-heals.
A very simple skill, but a very effective one too. This is our highest rated damage skill and whilst it doesn’t have any extra effects like a stun or a DoT it can hit harder than either Sudden Pounce or Bloody Maul in terms of initial damage. A critical hit with this skill can see a hit of around the 1400-1500 mark depending upon your setup. A devastating critical can see hits of as much as 2k depending upon your build. In short it’s the most damage we can do with any one skill in a single hit.
How Do I Choose Which To Use?
There are three basic situations a warg will find himself in when it comes to attacking a freep. Each of these skills neatly fits into one of those categories.
The Standard Attack
The default situation for wargs is when you spot a freep and use Sudden Pounce to stun him for 5sec so you can get in a few ‘free’ hits before he can fight back. This should be assumed to be the default strategy for most encounters. It’s a tried and tested tactic and it will serve you well in the majority of fights.
Even though Sudden Pounce might not hit quite as hard as either Bestial Claws or Bloody Maul the ability to render your opponent immobile and unable to fight back for 5sec is a superb way to open a fight. You will easily be able to make up the loss in damage from using Sudden Pounce during the 5sec stun as you tear into your opponent from behind.
No Stuns Please, We’re Burglars
Actually the title is a little misleading because this situation also covers the likes of Lore-masters and anyone who has stun immunity or some form of reactive skill that will negate stuns. Simply put there are some occasions where a stun is either impossible e.g. anti-stun or undesirable e.g. Burgers and their Find Footing skill.
In these situations using Bloody Maul to open the fight is a better choice. The higher than normal critical chance and critical damage multiplier should hopefully see it make a good dent in a freep’s morale and of course the 20 sec DoT and incoming healing debuff are great tools for setting up the fight in your favour from the get go. The DoT especially ticks for a good chunk of time and will immediately force the freep onto the back-foot as you can then stack your other DoTs to ramp up the damage.
A Big Bad Paw
The third situation that wargs commonly find themselves in is spotting a freep already on low morale who is trying to flee or who is perhaps in the midst of a battle, but hasn’t been killed yet for whatever reason. Sure you might be able to pounce that freep, but sometimes, especially in the midst of a battle, you might be taking damage or become stunned yourself. It’s probably safer to simply strike a low morale freep with as much force as you can muster i.e. Bestial Claws.
A critical hit from this skill can one shot a freep already near death and even a non-critical hit will likely mean you only have to follow up with one other attack to finish him off.
Bestial Claws can also be a good choice when you are attacking a freep at full morale. If the freep is particularly squishy i.e. has a relatively low morale pool then opening the fight with a critical hit from Bestial Claws can send them into a panic right away as a huge chunk of their morale bar suddenly disappears.