Flayer Stance – Introduction
Now that we’ve looked at Shadow stance it’s time to turn to Flayer stance. You have to be rank 10 in order to acquire this stance (or have previously had Shadow Howler before Update 6). It is currently unavailable to buy in the LOTRO Store.
What Is Flayer Stance?
Flayer stance can be thought of as a ‘tanking’ stance, but that isn’t really accurate. For starters it isn’t designed to allow us to tank any content, rather it is designed to make us tough. A better description would be that Flayer stance is our survivability stance. It doesn’t provide as much damage output as Shadow stance, but that is made up for by the extra survivability we receive.
The actual numbers are as follows:
- +2925 Armour
- +1351 Tactical mitigation
- +1351 Physical mitigation
- 300 Morale bubble, refreshes every 7sec
- 1-5% self-heal every 7sec (tied to the bubble)
The following skills are modified by Flayer stance:
Stealth – You can’t use it. Whilst in Flayer stance all stealth skills are null and void. If you want to enter stealth you will have to first drop Flayer stance and then stealth. The same is true for Disappear (assuming you haven’t just used Topple). The actual skill ‘Stealth’ itself becomes ‘Brute’. This is a self-buff that will increase our chances of activating our Brute bonuses.
Disappear – In Flayer stance Disappear becomes Topple. This is a 10sec knockdown which shares the same cooldown as Disappear i.e. if you use Topple then Disappear will be on cooldown when you leave Flayer stance and vice versa. It is important to note that you will never see the full 10sec duration of the knockdown against a freep. This is because Audacity reduces its duration so the maximum duration you can gain with a freep is 7.5sec if they have Audacity 1. If they have maximum Audacity the duration will be reduced to 5sec.
Claws – Claws becomes Raking Claws. Raking Claws does the same base damage as our Claws skill used out of stealth, but there are two extra effects that Raking Claws provides. The first is a self-stacking DoT that deals shadow damage to the target. The DoT lasts 16sec and can stack with itself up to three times. The second effect is a debuff that is placed upon the target that will automatically interrupt inductions every 4sec for 16sec.
Maul – This is transformed into Agonizing Maul. This is essentially the same skill as our normal non-stealthed Maul, but with a few differences. For starters there is no increased critical magnitude on this skill. There is also a Brute bonus associated with this skill 9see below for the Brute system), which has a 5% chance to apply a -25% incoming healing debuff on the target. Agonizing Maul also applies a 10sec DoT to the target. This Dot can stack with other wargs, or with different DoTs from the same warg, but it is not self-stacking with itself.
Savage Fangs – This transforms into Brutal Fangs. It is pretty much the same as Savage Fangs except for two key differences. The first is that instead of a block debuff it now applies an Evade debuff. Also, it has a Brute bonus associated with it, which will lower the target’s armour value by 1,238 if it procs.
Eye Rake – This becomes Eye Gash. It is exactly the same as the standard Eye Rake skill except that it now has a Brute bonus associated with it. This bonus has a 5% chance to apply a -600 b/p/e debuff to the target.
There is also another skill that is changed whilst in SFlayer stance: Pack Hunters. Pack Hunters needs to be traited before it can be used though.
Pack Hunters – In Shadow stance this becomes Pack Flayers. This is both a simple and a complicated skill to use. It is simple in its effect, but complicate din its execution. Using this skill on a target will root both the target and the warg in place with no possibility for the target to break the root except to kill the warg. The target will not be able to b/p/e whilst he is rooted. The problem though is that the target has to remain still for this skill to take effect so your best bet is to stun the target first before using it. Some freep skills can break the root e.g. Champion’s Sprint, but it is currently unknown whether this is WAI or not.
Morale Bubble & Heal
Flayer stance provides us with a 300 Morale bubble that refreshes once every 7sec. This isn’t a very big bubble of course, but it will take the edge off damage and it helps with DoTs. The fact that it refreshes every 7sec is very important because this means that over the course of a minute it will provide us with the equivalent of 2,400 morale. That’s like being able to pop 2 morale pots per minute.
Tied into the morale bubble is a self-heal. This is a little complicated so I’ll try to be as clear as I can. Every 7sec when the morale bubble refreshes a check is made; if the morale bubble is present then you are healed for 5% of your maximum morale. If the morale bubble is burned down before it has a chance to refresh then you receive a heal for 1% of your maximum morale.
In other words you are probably going to see the 5% heal when out of combat as the bubble is quite small and thus can be burned through very quickly. Even so the 1% heal is still very useful. If the morale bubble can refresh 8 times per minute then that equates to a total of 8% of your maximum morale that you will heal, assuming you only receive the 1% heal each time. In conjunction with the morale bubble itself an 8% heal every minute adds up to a lot of extra morale.
The Brute bonus system only comes into effect when you are using Flayer stance. It is a bit like the Burger’s Gambler system in that your skills have a chance to proc an extra effect. When in Flayer stance some of our skills will display extra effects that have a 5% chance of activating when the skill is used.
We can increase the chance of these extra effects procing by using the Brute skill (Brute is what Stealth transforms into when using Flayer stance). The Brute skill will increase our chance of activating a Brute bonus effect by 20% for 45 sec.
Below I have listed the different Brute bonuses associated with each skill:
Raking Claws – The bonus here is ‘Brute Raking Claws’. This will interrupt inductions once every 4sec for 16sec. This is a bit of an odd Brute bonus in that there is no chance listed for it to activate, it just seems to work most (perhaps even all) of the time.
Agonizing Maul – The Brute bonus here is a chance to reduce a target’s incoming healing by 25% for 10sec.
Brutal Fangs – Chance to reduce target’s armour value by 1,238 for 45sec.
Eye Gash – Chance to reduce target’s b/p/e ratings by 600 for 10sec.
Flayer stance retains the same power costs as we have when using no stance. This means that it is a relatively power efficient stance, especially if you have managed to gain a few ranks of Audacity to lower your power costs.
When Should I Use It?
There are various situations when Flayer stance would be a good choice due to its increased toughness and I have set out some examples below:
Most members of the pack should probably use Shadow stance for mass damage strikes, but if at least one pack member uses Flayer stance it means that the Pack Flayers root can be used to hold tough targets in place for the pack.
If you have joined a raid then Flayer might be a good option once the fighting has started. Once you have used your initial Pounce from stealth you might find it difficult to get back into stealth, especially if there is a lot of AOE or NPCs around. If that is the case then you might as well opt for Flayer stance as it will allow you to get into the thick of the fighting without dying too quickly. Again the Pack Flayers root can be useful for the raid when chasing down fleeing freeps.
If you are going to try and solo a tough freep e.g. a class that is just plain tough like a Guardian, Warden, etc then Flayer stance might be a good choice. It will make you tougher and able to last the distance with these classes who seek to wear you down. It can also be a great choice to use against very high damage classes like the Rune-keeper as it will blunt their high spike damage and with them being so squishy the damage you deal in Flayer stance should be enough to finish them off.
Flayer stance is a good choice when taking keep and the like as your chance of getting in and out of stealth repeatedly are low. Using Flayer means you can take a few hits from the NPCs and it affords you some protection should the freeps burst onto the scene