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 start of a fight since it allows us a few seconds to get in ‘free’ damage on the freep.
NOTE: This assumes that you are starting the fight from stealth even if you are planning on using Flayer stance once you leave stealth.
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.
This skill has three versions depending on which stance you are in: Flayer – Agonizing Maul, Shadow – Sudden Maul, No Stance – Bloody Maul. Each version does slightly different things.
Common to all three versions is the fact that this attack will place an incurable DoT on the target. The Flayer and No Stance versions lasts for 10sec whilst the Shadow versions lasts for 20sec. The No Stance version doesn’t do anything else, but both the Flayer and Shadow versions have extra functionality.
The Flayer version has a 5% chance (25% chance if the Brute skill has been activated) to place a -25% incoming healing debuff on the target. The Shadow version will give the warg a -25% attack duration buff if the skill crits.
All in all it’s a good combat opener for times when you can’t stun an opponent right away because not only does it have decent damage, it has a higher than normal chance to proc a crit and it places an incurable DoT on the target to boot.
A very simple skill, but a very effective one too. Both Shadow and Flayer stance have their own versions of this skill: Shadow – Bestial Claws, Flayer – Raking Claws. Bestial Claws is our highest rated damage ability and, especially when used from behind, can crit relatively high. The Raking Claws version does much less damage, but it does place an incurable DoT on the target (which can stack up to 3 times) as well as having a 5% chance (25% with the Brute skill activated) to place a 50% induction time increase debuff on the target.
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 a few seconds 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 Sudden Maul the ability to render your opponent immobile and unable to fight back for a few seconds 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 stun as you tear into your opponent from behind.
No Stuns Please, We’re Lore-masters
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 DoT and potential self-buff/enemy 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.