Flayer Stance – Part II
In the last part I focused upon the protective aspects of Flayer stance compared with Shadow stance. In this part I’m going to be looking at how the damage output compares between the two stances. The obvious comment to make at the start is that Flayer stance doesn’t have the +15% melee damage bonus that Shadow Howler does. That would seem to indicate that we will be doing less damage in Flayer stance than we are doing in Shadow Howler.
What Do We Get?
We might not have a +15% damage bonus, we Flayer stance does provide extra damage through other means. The most notable of these is a new stacking DoT that has been added to Claws when using Flayer stance.
In Flayer stance Claws is transformed into Raking Claws. This skill appears to have the same base damage as the normal Claws skill that we get when using no stance and out of stealth. However, it now applies a 16sec bleed to the target that can stack up to 3 times. Below is a screenshot of the skill tooltip and the DoT tooltip as taken by Pikacho on Bullroarer.
Now I don’t know how Pikacho was traited, nor do I know how he had setup his warg on Bullroarer, which is a test server, but knowing these young wargs he probably went straight for rank 15 at the auto-leveller. 😛 In all seriousness though we don’t know how his warg was built here so the damage numbers you see here may be higher or lower than you will find on your own warg, but nevertheless they give us an idea of what this skill can do.
The upfront base damage from the skill doesn’t look all that high it has to be said, but the DoT does actually look fairly decent. At 16 seconds it’s a fairly good DoT in terms of longevity, but sadly just has 4 ticks. Even so it looks to be hitting for a decent amount of damage each time. The important thing to remember here though is that it can stack 3 times and with Raking Claws having a cooldown of just 1sec these DoTs can be permanently maintained on a target. Using the numbers above that’s a combined DoT ticking for 408-582 every 4 sec.
Once we factor in the Savage Fangs ( Brutal Fangs) bleed and the Agonizing Maul bleed we can have 5 DoTs ticking away on a target.
Agonizing Maul is the version of Maul we get when using Flayer stance. The tooltip (again provided by Pikacho) is provided below:
For me this skill represents a bit of a nerf. With no stealth usage whilst using Flayer stance we loose the longer 20sec bleed we get when currently using Bloody Maul. That 20sec DoT stacked with the 10sec DoT from Maul used out of stealth for a total of two DoTs so here we have just one 10sec DoT. Tha’s a drop in dps right there.
Also notice that the -25% incoming healer debuff is now a Brute. Previously this debuff would apply on a target when you scored a critical hit with the skill. The base chance for this Brute bonus to proc is 5%, which definitely lower than our critical chance. To be fair we can increase the chance to 25% if we use the new Brute skill, but that means we now have to use an extra skill to get a good chance to apply this debuff.
If Agonizing Maul represents a nerf to wargs Brutal Fangs is a major buff. The reason for this will probably be overlooked by many, but there is actually an incredible useful change here.
The skill is basically the same as the Savage Fangs we are all familiar with, with two exceptions. The first is that there is now a Brute bonus associated with the skill. There is a base 5% chance to apply a -1238 armour debuff to the target. That’s a pretty good debuff to be fair as it will lower the target’s mitigations, which of course helps our damage output.
The big change here though is the -3300 Evade debuff. Previously Savage Fangs had the ludicrous debuff of lowering a target’s block rating. Why is that ludicrous? Well think about it, only freeps using shields can block and how many freeps use shields in the Ettens? Wardens, Mincers, the occasional Guardian and once in a blue moon maybe a Captain. For all intents and purposes though it’s pretty much just Wardens and Mincers and there are hardly any Wardens active in PvMP. In short a block debuff is worthless for a creep.
An Evade debuff on the other hand, especially a nice big Evade debuff like this one, is useful when fighting any freep. I can’t emphasise enough just how good a change this is for wargs. It’s useful against all enemies and will help to bolster our damage output. Awesome!
Topple is the skill that Disappear transforms into when a warg is using Flayer stance. It shares the same cooldown with Disappear so at 10 minutes it’s not a skill we will likely use very much, however, a 10s knockdown is a powerful tool so it’s worth looking at.
The obvious benefit of this skill is to render an opponent immobile for 10sec. However, it isn’t going to work out like that. Even though knockdowns are not affected by diminishing returns they will almost certainly be affected by Audacity. If that is the case then we will never see the full 10sec duration of this skill take effect. All freeps level 40+ will have at least one rank of Audacity, which reduce crowd control effects by 25%. So right off he bat this means that this 10sec knockdown will actually be a 7.5sec knockdown. That’s still pretty good, but with each rank of Audacity a freep gains it becomes less and less effective. At full Audacity a freep will be reducing crowd control effects by 50%. Hence this will in fact be a 5sec knockdown against such freeps.
Even so a 5sec knockdown is a great tool to have, even if it is on a 10min cooldown. Obviously without proper testing it’s hard to say how this skill will be best used, but right off the bat I can see it being a great tool for finishing a freep off. After wearing a freep down a bit popping this knockdown could be a great way to ensure that you can finish the kill in peace without the freep popping any last minute survival skills, etc. Basically it could be an opportunity to get in some ‘free’ damage at the end of a fight when you need it most.
The other use is in fighting tougher opponents who have better survivability. Again with no diminishing returns on knockdowns this could allow you to stun them first and then apply a knockdown afterwards, effectively stunning them for a fairly long time with no chance for them to pot the knockdown. That all adds up to a lot of ‘free’ damage.