A Guide for the Student on the Ways and Means of the Warg and the Stalking of Prey

Stances

Flayer Damage Build

When you think of Flayer stance damage probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Most Flayer builds will understandably be focused on increasing survivability, but here we will be taking a different approach and emphasising offence rather than defence.

Flayer Damage Build

Before we get into corruptions and traits it is important to point out that this build isn’t concerned with producing high spike damage (such as creeps can produce!), but rather persistent damage. The idea is that by using Flayer for some increased survivability you should be able to last long enough to wear an opponent down through moderately good damage. Obviously this build isn’t particularly useful at rapidly burning targets and it shouldn’t be used for such a tactic.

Corruptions

The corruption setup is very deliberately a mixed bag. As with any Flayer build there are defensive corruptions, but we will also be using a number of offensive corruptions as well to ensure that the build has some punch to it. Now for the offensive side of things I have opted for Mastery boost corruptions and it is worth explaining why I choose those over Critical Rating Boost corruptions. As mentioned above this build is not about spike damage, rather it is about producing consistent damage. An increase in base damage fits that mission better than an increase to spike damage, which is by its nature random.

The corruption setup looks like this:

  • Critical Protection Boost x3
  • Health for Power Rank 1
  • Health for Power Rank 2
  • Mastery Boost x4
  • Physical Mitigation Boost x2

In testing this has proven to be a consistently good setup. The morale boosts get your morale pool up to an acceptable level for fights that might last longer than a few seconds whilst the critical protection boosts help to deal with high freep spike damage and extend your morale pool a little further. Rounding out the defensive corruptions are the physical mitigation boosts. Two might not seem like very much, but in testing they provided a good level of protection when used in conjunction with various armour buffs available to wargs. Of course the two physical mitigation boosts can be swapped for tactical mitigation boosts depending upon which freeps you will primarily be fighting.

Four mastery boost corruptions might seem like an odd number to choose. Why not just three and opt for another physical mitigation boost? Why not six and get the set bonus? In testing four mastery boosts have proven to be quite effective in terms of providing sufficient damage to take down opponents whilst leaving room for some extra defensive corruptions. If you use destiny/store buffs then you could probably reduce the number of mastery boosts to three by using a damage buff. This would free up a slot for another defensive boost e.g. a third mitigation boost.

Traits

Racial traits, as ever, are the standard fare.

  • Foe of the Light
  • Four-Legged Foe
  • Pack Alpha
  • Racial Skill: Howl of Unnerving
  • Racial Skill: Pack Hunters

These are the best of the bunch when it comes to racial traits. However, you could swap either Howl of Unnerving or Pack Hunters for Pack Mentality if you wanted to give yourself another slight defensive boost. The reason I haven’t included Pack Mentality in the list above is because the defensive boosts it offers are so slight that I don’t feel it is worth losing the utility of the other two traits.

Class traits consist of the following:

  • Enhanced Skill: Stealth (it might be a Flayer build, but we are still using stealth)
  • Armour Boost (extra armour means extra mitigations)
  • Enhanced Skill: Disappear (it is always useful to have our escape skills on as short a cooldown as possible, but for a Flayer build it is equally important to have Topple on a short cooldown)
  • Enhanced Skill: Eye Rake – (more frequent interrupts and increased dps)
  • Enhanced Skill: Flayer (the extra armour and mitigation bonuses are vital for this build)
  • Enhanced Skill: Sense Prey (you need to know where your opponent is)
  • Enhanced Skill: Sprint (extra survivability when used for escape and of course an effective way of dealing with slows)

Resistance Boost might seem like an obvious choice given that we are looking to increase survivability with this build. However, it’s buff is relatively minor and easily replicated by using a resistance buff pot that can be bartered for with commendations.

Strategy

The strategy with this build is quite straightforward: keep pummelling away. The extra survivability you will have should allow you to last through the initial blasts from big hitting skills, by which point the freep should hopefully start to panic as they haven’t destroyed you as quickly as expected allowing you to put them on the back foot.

The key is to keep stacking as many bleeds as possible whilst making good use of Scratch and Snip to bolster your direct damage. Given that fights might last longer than you are used to it is important to employ your debuffs where possible i.e. Brutal Fangs, Flea Bitten, Muscle Tear, Snap, etc. It is also important to use the Flayer heal effectively and Sprint can be useful here to allow you to kite your opponent (assuming you aren’t fighting a ranged class) in order to allow Flayer to heal you up a bit.

In using this build I have found that it works quite well in 1vs1 situations and has consistently provided me with good results in group and raid situations too. One Burger commented that he would like to see me using a different build owing to the length of time it takes to burn down my morale when using this build. High praise indeed!


Max Damage Build

I previously set out a damage build for use with Shadow stance that sought to get the best damage output alongside a little survivability. However, for those of you looking to squeeze every last drop of dps out of your warg and stuff survivability here we have the Max Damage Build.

The Max Damage Build

Unlike the Damage Build the aim with the Max Damage Build is to focus on damage output and nothing else. This is a very squishy build and the chances are that you will die a lot using it so it is more of a ‘for fun’ setup. With that out of the way let’s dive straight in.

Corruptions

The choice of corruptiuons is similar to that of the Damage Build, but with a few changes.

  • Damage for Power Rank 2
  • Critical Boost x5
  • Mastery Boost x6

We slot in an extra mastery boost and also damage for power rank 2. the effect of this is to increase base damage, which in testing proved to output slightly more damage than if using all six critical boost corruptions.

Note that both of the morale corruptions have been removed.

Traits

The choice of racial traits is the exact same as with the Damage Build.

  • Foe of the Light
  • Four Legged Foe
  • Pack Alpha
  • Racial Skill: Howl of Unnerving
  • Racial Skill: Pack Hunters

Foe of the light improves your stealth (always a good thing); Four Legged Foe gives a boost to run speed (handy for helping to catch freeps and mitigate slows), and Pack Alpha gives a small boost to damage output. Howl of the Unnerving isn’t a particularly reliable CC skill, but it even so a fear that works 50% of the time is better than no fear at all. Pack Hunters allows for the use of the Shadow Pack skill in Shadow stance, which boosts your damage output by reducing freep mitigations.

Class traits are again the same as those used with the Damage Build.

  • Enhanced Skill: Stealth (a must for every warg)
  • Armour Boost (provides a little more survivability)
  • The Element of Surprise (provides a significant increase to dps by boosting crit chance of various attacks)
  • Enhanced Skill: Disappear (provides extra survivability by being able to use Disappear more often or alternatively boosts offence by allowing for an extra stun/surprise attack)
  • Enhanced Skill: Eye Rake (allows you to interrupt more often and boosts dps with more frequent attacks)
  • Enhanced Skill: Sense Prey (you need to know where the freeps are before you can kill them!)
  • Enhanced Skill: Sprint (provides extra survivability by being able to use Sprint more often as well as allowing slows to be negated more often)

Strategy

As mentioned above this is really more of a fun build than a serious build you would want to use given the almost total lack of survivability. Having said that it might actually prove viable with a strategy of picking off already weakened targets. It is almost certainly not viable in 1vs1 situations against any freep that has a measure of staying power. Against a squishy target it might be possible to burn them so fast they don’t have time react, but for general usage this build probably isn’t the best choice.


Damage Build

Which build to use has always been the subject of much debate amongst wargs and the debate is all the fiercer given that wargs have more options than ever for fine tuning their setups. I plan to make a series of posts looking at three distinct types of build that I have found to work well in actual gameplay. The first of these is a setup squarely aimed at dealing damage.

The Damage Build

The Damage Build is primarily focused on dealing damage, but with a nod to retaining enough survivability to allow a warg to hang in a fight long enough to actually get a kill. The cornerstone of this build is Shadow stance and it is easy to see why: +15% damage and various skills always act as if they are being used from stealth. For those who don’t know attacks made from stealth cannot be blocked, parried or evaded, which means more attacks landing successfully, which in turn means more damage being dealt.

Corruptions

The core of any build is the set of corruptions that we choose. Corruptions don’t just give a build flavour they define it. In the Shadow build we are going to emphasise damage, but also look to boost survivability. To that end we will be using the following corruptions:

  • Critical Boost x5
  • Mastery Boost x5
  • Morale for Power Rank 1
  • Morale for Power Rank 2

In testing five each of the critical boost and mastery boost corruptions produced more dps than other combinations of those two corruptions.

You will notice that using this setup neither of the 6-set bonuses from the critical and mastery boost corruptions is available. This isn’t really a problem because the 10% heal from the critical boost set-bonus requires a killing blow to activate and the majority of wargs i..e low to mid-rank wargs are unlikely to last long enough in a fight for power to become an issue requiring the power consumption reduction from the mastery boost set-bonus.

The morale corruptions provide a little extra survivability, but only in so far as they should prevent you from being all but one-shotted. You aren’t going to be hanging in a fire-fight with this build!

Traits

The choice of racial traits is fairly straightforward here given that some are completely useless.

  • Foe of the Light
  • Four Legged Foe
  • Pack Alpha
  • Racial Skill: Howl of Unnerving
  • Racial Skill: Pack Hunters

Foe of the light improves your stealth (always a good thing); Four Legged Foe gives a boost to run speed (handy for helping to catch freeps and mitigate slows), and Pack Alpha gives a small boost to damage output. Howl of the Unnerving isn’t a particularly reliable CC skill, but it even so a fear that works 50% of the time is better than no fear at all. Pack Hunters allows for the use of the Shadow Pack skill in Shadow stance, which boosts your damage output by reducing freep mitigations.

Class traits are also straightforward.

  • Enhanced Skill: Stealth (a must for every warg)
  • Armour Boost (provides a little more survivability)
  • The Element of Surprise (provides a significant increase to dps by boosting crit chance of various attacks)
  • Enhanced Skill: Disappear (provides extra survivability by being able to use Disappear more often or alternatively boosts offence by allowing for an extra stun/surprise attack)
  • Enhanced Skill: Eye Rake (allows you to interrupt more often and boosts dps with more frequent attacks)
  • Enhanced Skill: Sense Prey (you need to know where the freeps are before you can kill them!)
  • Enhanced Skill: Sprint (provides extra survivability by being able to use Sprint more often as well as allowing slows to be negated more often)

Strategy

This build is very much focused on damage output. The idea isn’t to stand around in the middle of a raid battle dealing damage whilst soaking up all the AOE flying around. Rather the best strategy will be to operate on the sidelines of the battle; looking for low morale freeps to pick off or harassing healers at the back of the freep raid. Get in, get a kill and get out again quickly. Wargs are well equipped for this style of play and this build seeks to capitalise on that.


The Laurelin Build

Despite the fact that creeps as a whole are pretty constrained in their build choices there seems to be no end of debate over what is the best setup for a warg. This discussion seems to intensify when it focuses on the best setup for dps. I have covered damage builds before of course, but here I am going to share another build with you that I have recently started using myself. If you are wondering why I am calling it the Laurelin Build it is simply because a number of us on Laurelin are now using this build.

Corruptions

This is the meat of this build so let us spend a little time looking at exactly what we will be using. As you can see from the list of corruptions below this is a bit of a hodge podge of corruptions. There is method to the madness though as I shall explain. The following are the corruptions we shall be using:

  • Critical Rating Boost
  • Mastery Boost
  • Mastery Boost
  • Mastery Boost
  • Damage for Power Rank 2
  • Morale for Power Rank 2

So what do we get from this disparate collection of corruptions? Well we get a hefty boost to our base damage from both the mastery corruptions and the rank damage for power corruption. Added to that is the increase in crit chance and crit/dev magnitude from the critical boost corruption. We also get a rather nice 10% max morale boost from the rank 2 morale for power corruption. it is this last corruption that perhaps seems a little out of place in a damage focused build: surely another crit boost or another mastery would be a better choice? No. I’ll tell you why in a bit.

Racial Traits

There isn’t much diversity here of course we will be going with the usual suspects.

  • Pack Alpha
  • Foe of the Light
  • Four Legged Foe
  • Pack Hunters
  • Howl of the Unnerving

Class Traits

Again we see  the old faithful here and as for the rest, well it’s pretty much up to each individual warg to be honest. What you put in the last four slots won’t really have any impact on the damage output of this build so go with what you like best.

  • Enhanced Skill: Stealth
  • Shadow Fang
  • Element of Surprise

Effectiveness

Now we come to the interesting part. You see I carried out some testing on various damage builds and as it turns out this build is pretty much the best balance between damage output and survivability.

Now there are builds that offer higher damage output, for example stacking more crit boosts, but the thing is you end up with relatively little morale and the damage increase over this build isn’t actually all that significant. In fact on a devastating critical with Bestial Claws in Shadow stance the absolute maximum I could get was only hitting 30 points of damage than I could achieve with this build. Yet this build offers around 2,000 more morale than that build (at rank 12).

This was the pattern I saw repeated again and again in testing. Other builds could offer a minor increase in damage over this build, but they were sacrificing a lot of morale to do so. With this build you get close to our top rated damage output, but with a little extra survivability thrown in.

In actually using this build in the field it has so far worked out remarkably well. Furthermore it can be used with Flayer stance to provide a tougher damage dealer, but with reduced damage from Shadow stance obviously. Again this variant has worked pretty well. The key being the relative balance between damage output and the morale boost.

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts and experiences on this.


Shadow Stance: An Introduction

In the last article we looked at Flayer stance and how it affects our gameplay. In this article we are going to be looking at the warg’s other stance: Shadow.

What Is Shadow Stance?

Shadow stance is our damage stance. We receive an increase in our base damage output as well as various changes to our skills, but it comes at a price. In Shadow stance we aren’t particularly tough so we can’t hang in a fight too long. Additionally we tend to burn through our power pool quite quickly meaning we can’t sustain our damage output for too long. This is because Shadow stance increases the power cost to use our skills.

Shadow stance provides us with two base benefits, which are detailed below:

Melee Damage – +15% increase

In-Combat Power Regeneration – +296.4

The damage increase affects all of our skills, including our DoTs. The power regeneration increase is quite moderate and only partially offsets the higher than normal power costs that we experience when using Shadow stance.

Skill Modifications

sk_mp_warg_bestialclawsClaws – This becomes Bestial Claws. Bestial Claws deals more base damage than Claws does and importantly it is treated as if it were being used from stealth, even when we are not in stealth. What this means is that Bestial Claws cannot be block, parried or evaded.

sk_mp_warg_maulMaul – This becomes Sudden Maul. This skill functions in the same manner as Maul except that the DoT is places on the target lasts for 20sec instead of 10sec. Additionally Sudden Maul will grant you a buff of -25% attack duration whenever you land a critical hit with it.

sk_mp_warg_savagefangsSavage Fangs – This becomes Shadow Fangs. Shadow Fangs will place a debuff on the target that increases induction times by 25% as well as placing a DoT on the target is Crippling Bite is present. Instead of the block debuff that Savage Fangs places on a target Shadow Fangs will place a debuff on the target that reduces their parry rating by 3,777 for 45sec.

sk_mp_warg_eyerakeEye Rake – This becomes Eye Gouge. This works in the exact same manner as Eye Rake except that it now also decreases the range of ranged skills by 10m for 10sec. This debuff only applies to ranged skills that have a range of at least 20m to begin with.

sk_mp_warg_direhowlDire Howl – This becomes Howl from the Shadow. This works in the exact same manner as Dire Howl except that it will now silence up to 4 targets instead of 2.

sk_mp_warg_snapSnap! – This becomes Snap! The name of the skill doesn’t change. The only difference is that whenever the skill lands a critical hit it will silence the target for 5sec instead of disarming the target.

trait_mp_warg_racial_skill1Pack Hunters – This becomes Shadow Pack. Shadow Pack places a pool on the ground that lasts for 10sec and will debuff any opponent that walks through it. Whilst an opponent is stood inside the pool their physical and tactical mitigation values are lowered by 3,348. If your opponent moves out of the pool they receive a debuff that reduces their physical and tactical mitigation values by 563 for 10sec.

When To Use Shadow Stance

Shadow stance can be used for most fights, but against tougher opponents or in fights that last a while it isn’t such a good choice. You will be quite squishy in Shadow stance so against a tough opponent you will likely see your morale drop quite quickly. So too your power pool will disappear fairly quickly in longer fights because of the increased power costs to use skills.

Shadow stance is an excellent choice when fighting squishy opponents such as Hunters. You can pump out a lot of damage fairly fast and burn them down quickly. Fighting squishy classes shouldn’t take too long so your own squishyness shouldn’t pose too much of a problem … as long as you get the jump on your opponent of course.

Shadow stance is also great for when you are in a pack With multiple wargs all attacking at once the extra damage can often take down an opponent very quickly and again it won’t matter if you are squishy.

Limitations

Apart from the squishiness and power issues mentioned above it is important to remember that Shadow stance doesn’t turn you into a glass cannon. It does give your damage a boost, but you aren’t going to be pumping out anywhere near the damage a Hunter, Champion, Rune-keeper, etc can. Bear that in mind.


Flayer: An Introduction

Flayer stance is one of the two stances available to wargs. Here we are going to take an introductory look at Flayer and see exactly what it does.

What Is Flayer Stance?

Simply put Flayer stance is one of the two stances available to wargs and using it will impart certain benefits whilst also imposing certain restrictions on you. Flayer stance makes wargs a lot tougher than normal; whilst in Flayer stance your armour, physical and tactical mitigation ratings will be increased. You will also receive a morale bubble that can absorb some damage as well as heal you. You gain access to both the Flayer stance skill and the Enhanced Skill: Flayer trait at rank 10.

When activated Flayer stance provides the following benefits:

Armour Bonus – 2,295

Physical Mitigation Bonus – 919

Tactical Mitigation Bonus – 919

Morale Bubble – 514 temporary morale

Self-heal – every 7sec heals for 1% max morale (if morale bubble has been depleted) or 5% max morale (if morale bubble has not been depleted)

The values above are the base values for Flayer stance. You can equip the trait Enhanced Skill: Flayer to increase the magnitude of Flayer stance’s bonuses.

Armour Bonus – 3,315

Physical Mitigation Bonus – 1,531

Tactical Mitigation Bonus – 1,531

The morale bubble and self-heal functions have the same values as the untraited version of Flayer stance.

One last thing to note is that when using Flayer stance you will be unable to use any of your stealth abilities i.e. Stealth and Disappear. To enter stealth you must first drop out of Flayer stance.

Skill Modifications

Flayer stance also changes how many of our skills function. Below you can see which skills change.

sk_mp_warg_bestialclawsClaws – This becomes Raking Claws and now puts a DoT on the target in addition to its standard damage. The DoT can self-stack up to three times. Additionally Raking Claws has a 5% chance to place a debuff on the target that will increase induction times by 50%.

sk_mp_warg_maulMaul – This becomes Agonizing Maul. This skill deals some base damage as well as putting a 10sec DoT on the target. This DoT does not stack with itself, but multiple wargs can put multiple DoTs on a target. Agonizing Maul has a 5% chance to place a debuff on the target that will lower the target’s incoming healing by 25% for 10sec.

sk_mp_warg_savagefangsSavage Fangs – This becomes Brutal Fangs. The skill functions exactly the same as the normal Savage Fangs version e.g. places a DoT on the target is Crippling Bite is present and increases attack duration by 10%. However, Brutal Fangs also places a -3,300 evade debuff on the target instead of a block debuff. Brutal Fangs has a 5% chance to apply a debuff to the target that will lower the target’s armour value by 1,417 for 45sec.

sk_mp_warg_stealthStealth – This becomes Brute. Whilst in Flayer stance some of our skills have a small chance of procing an extra effect, these are called ‘Brute Bonuses’. The standard chance of these effects applying is 5%. Using Brute the chance is increased to 25% for 30sec. Brute has a 45sec cooldown, which it shares with Stealth as they are the same skill. Using Brute and then dropping from Flayer stance will mean Stealth will have to work through the 45sec cooldown it inherited from Brute before it can be used.

sk_mp_warg_throatripThroat Rip – This becomes Muscle Tear. Instead of a silence Muscle Tear reduces the target’s run speed by 50% for 10sec. It also increases the target’s attack duration by 33% for 10sec.

sk_mp_warg_disappearDisappear – This becomes Topple. Topple will cause the target to be knocked down for 10sec (before Audacity CC reduction is factored in). Topple shares a cooldown with Disappear and the trait Enhanced Skill: Disappear will also reduce the cooldown of Topple.

sk_mp_warg_eyerakeEye Rake – This becomes Eye Gash. Eye Gash works exactly the same way as Eye Rake except that it now has a 5% chance to apply a debuff to the target that will reduce b/p/e ratings by 600 each.

sk_mp_warg_direhowlDire Howl – This becomes Howl of Aggression. Howl of Aggression will disarm 4 targets within 10m of the warg for 5sec.

trait_mp_warg_racial_skill1Pack Hunters – This becomes Pack Flayers. Using Pack Flayers on a target will root both the target and warg in place. The target looses all b/p/ ratings and the warg becomes completely immune to crowd control. The only way to break this root prematurely is for the target to activate a sprint skill such as the Champion’s Sprint skill or by using HiPS if a Burglar.

When To Use Flayer

Flayer stance can be used any time really, but it usually most effective either in situations where using stealth would be difficult orwhen there is a lot of damage flying around. For example, when fighting in enclosed spaces such a sinside keeps Flayer stance can be useful to help soak up freep AOE damage which would make it difficult to use stealth anyway. Similarly if he group you are in has pulled NPCs and you are unable to stealth Flayer is a good choice to use.

Flayer stance can also be useful when fighting solo against especially tough/long lasting opponents such as Champions and Wardens.

Tip: When activating Flayer stance the animation for the skill can take a second or two to play out. You can interrupt this animation by using Eye Rake, which is an immediate skill. This means that upon activating Flayer stance you can break the animation whilst also getting off an attack at the same time!

Limitations

It is important that you realise that Flayer stance does not turn a warg into a tank. It makes us tougher than normal, much tougher than normal, but wargs are inherently squishy creatures so even a big boost in our survivability doesn’t bring us up to the same level as a full blown tank. Don’t get carried away and think that you can survive a freep raid focusing their dps on you because you can’t.

It is also worth remembering that you will be doing less damage whilst using Flayer stance than you would if you were using Shadow stance. You can still pump out appreciable damage, but you won’t be able to burn opponents down quite so quickly.


Survival & Visible Build

I have added a couple of new builds to the ‘Builds’ section. The first is a Survival build that focuses on survivability at the cost of damage output. The second is a Visible build, which tries to make sense of a warg not using stealth!

You can check them out by using the ‘Builds’ menu at the top of the page.