Shadow Stance – Introduction
The first of the new stances I’ll be looking at in depth is Shadow stance. This is because it is obtainable at rank 1 and so will probably be the stance the vast majority of wargs have access to and can use.
What Is Shadow Stance?
In a nutshell this is our damage stance. The stance itself gives us two boosts: +15% melee damage and +253 ICPR. The stance also modifies a number of our skills to function differently than normal. The following skills are modified by Shadow stance:
Claws – Claws becomes Bestial Claws when stealthed as we all know, but Shadow stance means that we can use Bestial Claws even when unstealthed. In other words this skill will always function as if we are still in stealth whilst using Shadow stance. That means that it will hit for extra damage and also that it is extremely hard to block, parry or evade it.
Maul – This is transformed into Sudden Maul. It is basically the same as Maul with a few key differences. First of all the DoT lasts 20sec. Next is a critical response effect which places a buff on us lowering our attack duration by 25% if we score a critical hit. Sudden Maul also has a higher than normal chance to land a critical as well as greater critical magnitude than other skills. Again this attack is treated as if it were being made from stealth so it is very hard to block, parry or evade it.
Eye Rake – This becomes Eye Gouge. It is essentially the exact same as Eye Rake except that it has a debuff attached to it. This debuff will reduce the range of ranged skills by 10m assuming the ranged skill has a range of at least 20m in the first place. Again this skill is treated as if always being used from stealth so again it is hard to block, parry or evade.
There is also another skill that is changed whilst in Shadow stance: Pack Hunters. Pack Hunters needs to be traited before it can be used though.
Pack Hunters – In Shadow stance this becomes Shadow Pack. This places a debuff hotspot on the ground for 10sec that will cause those standing in it to loose roughly 3k from both their physical and tactical mitigations. If the freeps leave the hotspot they will loose the debuff, but gain another one that lowers their physical and tactical mitigations by around 600 for 10sec. This skill can be used from stealth.
The Element of Surprise
Shadow stance doesn’t actually modify any of our traits (with the exception of Pack Hunters mentioned above), however, there is a special note that needs to be made about The Element of Surprise.
As we know The Element of Surprise increases our critical chance when attacking from stealth by 20%. In the past this has been a pretty useless trait because we only get one attack from stealth per fight. However, Shadow stance causes some of our attacks to always work as if they are being used from stealth and The Element of Surprise affects these skills!
That means that whilst using Shadow stance skills like Bestial Claws have a 33%+ chance to critical whilst out of stealth. That’s a pretty powerful bonus and means that we should see a good number of critical hits whilst in Shadow stance, which should further enhance the damage output of this stance.
Shadow stance involves higher power costs for some of our skills e.g. Bestial Claws. The base power cost for Bestial Claws will be 125 power, but Audacity will reduce this figure somewhat. Even so it is worth remembering that in general Shadow stance will mean higher than normal power costs. This means that the longer a fight goes on the weaker we are going to become as our power pool starts to deplete. In other words it helps reinforce the idea that Shadow stance is best for short duration fights that see us get the kill quickly.
When Should I Use It?
Shadow stance is our damage stance and as such it’s main use will be in quickly burning down targets. However, for the extra damage this stance grants it also means we are relatively squishy whilst using it. That means that we need to tailor our use of this stance since it isn’t going to be good in every situation. Below I have set out the main scenarios where Shadow stance is going to be most useful:
With multiple wargs all hitting hard a single target should basically melt. Shadow stance will give the pack enough ‘oomph’ to basically ‘one shot’ a target. This is one of the best uses of Shadow stance, especially if the target has a fair bit of morale; multiple wargs all critting from stealth with Bestial Claws should really burn such a target in no time at all. The loss in survivability won’t matter much since it’s a pack and thus there is safety in numbers.
In fixed battle situations i.e. fighting at EC or OC, etc Shadow stance can really help you get some kills and thus some infamy. Those sort of fights aren’t usually too good for melee classes, but using Shadow stance we can nip in and out of the fight to target those freeps who have taken a few hits already and are low on morale. The extra punch from Shadow stance means we kill them quicker and can slip away to safety faster.
Shadow stance seems particularly effective against Burgers because of the difficulty in evading attacks like Bestial Claws. This means that we can cut through their Touch and Go and Find Footing Evade bonuses much more easily. We aren’t too tough doing this of course, but then again Burgers aren’t particularly tough themselves without their avoidances.