Hey guys! I see a lot of posts about Bladesworn being underpowered, having no damage, etc. While I have big doubts it can compete with current meta specs, I don’t think it’s at least very far off. It’s very common that I finish games with at least 300k damage and sometimes over 400k (and 200-300k healing). Of course it’s unranked but I played against high plat players all day and my gameplay was obviously suboptimal it being only day one. So if you really want to like Bladesworn but are feeling a bit lost, this is for you!
I tested many combinations and interactions and consulted with a few good warrior players and came up with my own version that gave me the most success. Every time I changed anything in the build I would:
Try it for 5 games
Gather the data for dmg#, kill# and death#
Rank each stat depending on my role for each game (ie if one game I did more roaming I would rank kill# over dmg#)
Keep/throw away/tweak depending on what stats changed
It’s not the most scientific system, and I would refer to experience to make final judgements, but I think it was effective enough overall. Some parts are more up for debate than others and some imho can’t really be changed.
Traditionally, warrior is mostly played as a duelist/sidenoder in PvP. To know if Bladesworn can fit that role as well would require more than one day of testing, but it seems to be somewhat able to as far as I could tell. I think Defense over Tactics and going Mending, Shake It Off, Kick and a second stunbreak could work better, but I haven’t tested it. I’ve certainly had the most success playing a more dps/roamer oriented role with this spec.
Sheathe/Unsheathe Gunsaber (F1):It’s important to note that this counts as a regular skill and is not the same thing as your global weapon swap cooldown. Yes it goes on full cooldown when weapon swapping, but it also benefits from traits like Lush Forest. You can also use it while in Dragon Trigger as long as you don’t use a Dragon Slash.
Auto: Decent and the third hit works well against blinds because it strikes in two parts.
Blooming Fire: Spammable AoE but the 3/4s cast time makes it a bit slow and damage can be underwhelming if unlucky with crits. Also works well against blinds.
Artillery Slash: This skill has 2 uses in this build: first is to setup combos with Leg Specialist, and second is for a big range damage payoff with Sigil of Intelligence.
Cyclone Trigger: Use this for good melee burst and in your stun combos, situationally as a projectile block.
Break Step: Your bread and butter mobility skill to get around or get out of pressure. Not the highest range, but comes out very fast so it makes you deceivingly hard to chase down. It’s also amazing for kiting with terrain because it has almost no vertical fall off.
**Dragon Trigger (F2):**Dragon Trigger roots you in place as long as you don’t use skill 1, 2 or 3, move, or weapon swap. It’s both a blessing and a curse in that being rooted is never something you want, but the tools within Dragon Trigger open up a lot of options and mind games. When running the Unyielding Dragon trait, your opponents are forced to either CC (which you could interrupt on reaction) or dodge on reaction (which often results in wasted dodges).
Dragon Slash—Force: Your goal is to set this one up as often as possible.
Dragon Slash—Boost: Use this one the most since you still get decent damage and the same stun, but with chase and repositioning built in, which counterbalances the self root a little bit.
Dragon Slash—Reach: You often get to charge this one the longest during teamfights since you’ll be at 900 range so use it for safe range pressure or to snipe people.
Triggerguard: A nice to have but no need to use it on cooldown, it’s better to use it on reaction.
Flicker Step: Try to save a charge to teleport up terrain or as a juke if you must, but don’t waste a charge to chase unless that would 100% guarantee a kill.
Gunstinger: Decent damage and one of the reasons why it can be hard to trade with you in melee range because of the movement + aegis combo
Dragon’s Roar: Very high burst and with Lush Forest you’ll almost instantly recharge your F1 after your burst combo.
Combat Stimulant: If your team has some support, I find this a bit better than Mending. If the enemy team is too stacked with condis or if you plan on sidenoding more, then consider Mending over this.
Flow Stabilizer: Not good enough to justify a slot and you’ll never be starved for flow to begin with.
Bulletproof Barrier: Swirling Winds with extra steps and not useful.
Electric Fence: Very good against actual bots but otherwise useless.
Dragonspike Mine: The only good utility in the kit and competes with Endure Pain for a slot. Consider if you’d rather have a stunbreak with raw invulnerability or a strunbreak + evade that recharges Dragon Trigger.
Tactical Reload: Absolutely nutty elite skill. It enables your kit to a whole new level.
Axe/pistol offers great burst and synergy with the kit. Rune of the Fighter gives a lot of extra sustain and Sigil of Intelligence enables a lot of your damage.
Strength: Enables Bull’s Charge to setup for burst, gives vitality and ferocity which are two very good stats for this spec, and works with Tactics traits for cycling might into healing into endurance for self and group sustain.
Tactics: Works with Strength traits to turn self sustain into offense and also provides very good team healing.
Bladesworn: Swift as the Wind for self swiftness which is very valuable on any melee class, Lush Forest to enable your kit even more and Unyielding Dragon for great teamfight presence as well as single target pressure.
Combat Stimulant: Overall at least on par with Mending in my opinion, so choose situationally.
Shake It Off + For Great Justice: Being a shout build, you need at least two shouts and these are your two bests. Spam FGJ on cooldown but SIO is your only stunbreak and condi cleanse so use cautiously. Using your elite right after using SIO even just once is a perfectly fine use of it.
Bull’s Charge: For this slot you need either CC or another stunbreak. You can’t switch to your weapon set very reliably and back, so running shield for CC is very unreliable, but without at least one big CC you’re losing a LOT of damage. If you absolutely must, run a second stunbreak, but otherwise stick to Bull’s Charge and try your best to rely on good positioning and the repositioning/kiting potential of your kit.
Tactical Reload: 100% mandatory on this spec. Use it to recharge your shouts and healing skill for the most part, but can also be used to get an extra Throw Axe/Artillery Slash to finish people from 900 range. In practice, you’ll most likely just use the elite as soon as it’s off cooldown when in combat.
Bread and butter CC combo: Artillery Slash > Bull’s Charge > Dragon Trigger (5 charges max before they get up) > Blooming Fire > Cyclone Trigger
When target is close to 50% hp*: Artillery Slash > Bull’s Charge > F1 > Dragon’s Roar > Throw Axe > Gunstinger > Dragon’s Roar > Throw Axe**They won’t be knocked down for the whole thing so you can wait for a dodge before finishing the combo after they get up*
Your goal should be to camp Gunsaber as long a possible and chain Dragon Slashes with Gunsaber skills. Once you see an opening for Bull’s Charge, land your CC combo whenever you can. Be mindful of Sigil of Intelligence and Leg Specialist procs to not waste them on random autoattacks. Once a target is close to 50%, your next weapon swap should be saved for the axe/pistol burst, and with Lush Forest your F1 should be just about fully recharged to swap back into Gunsaber.
Don’t feel the need to charge Dragon Trigger every time. It’s very spammable and with Unyielding Dragon you’re already getting good value as long as you use it on cooldown. The biggest jump in damage is from 1 to 2 charges (~1,000 additional crit damage) so a total of 1 to 2 seconds charge + cast time depending on which slash you choose. Charging beyond that increases your crits by about 500 damage per charge, with charges 5 and beyond giving less and less damage. So charging beyond 2 charges is mostly for stunlocking after a big CC (1/2 stun every charge is very strong).
If running Bull’s Charge, remember that you only have access to one stunbreak which also doubles as your only reliable condi cleanse. Be very mindful of your positioning and use your movement skills to their best potential to go in and out of danger. Don’t jump into necro AoEs and be aware of burst classes that can teleport to you.
When new things get released I think it’s important to keep an open mind. People tend to base their opinions on a few forum threads and often choose to agree with opinions that reinforces their own. With Bladesworn, I’m not saying it’s definitely good or definitely bad, but I don’t think it deserves this much hate. This is too little testing time and there’s too much left unknown about future EoD balance and spec design to tell. My TL;DR first impressions for Bladesworn would be:
Doesn’t compete for a pure dps slot; not enough on-demand raw burst.
Might compete for a dps/roamer slot; good mobility, decent burst, big CCs.
Might compete for a sidenode slot but too hard to test due to changing balance and labbing matchups.
Very strong healing for how much sustained damage and AoE CC it provides, so teamfight presence is definitely there.
It’s very very very fun to play.
Things I would like to see changed:
Gunsaber/Dragon Trigger badly need weapon stowing
Activating Dragon Trigger should let you move at -66% speed (Chilled speed) so you can activate it while moving and because the self rooting is a bit harsh
Weapon stow to cancel Dragon Trigger
Gunsaber skills can use a slight damage buff across the board
Gunsaber 4: I would trade the range damage for a regular short duration block to counterbalance the fact that we’re very limited on weapon sets and lose 2 sigil slots, but don’t have the tools of an engi or ele
Gunsaber 5 should deal damage where you land, not where you start
Some utilities need a rework, maybe make them spend a bit of flow to make them more powerful as Bladesworn isn’t starved for it and rarely charges more than a second or two
Small QoL but I’d really like F1 to be the regular weapon swap and Dragon Trigger to be F1
I’m interested to hear what other people’s experiences are with the spec and if there are things I missed or misjudged since I’m not the best player or the best warrior out there. But this build has been effective against high plat players in unranked for whatever that’s worth, and overall I don’t think you can really go wrong if you run something in that ballpark. I hope you try it and have fun!
Thanks for reading!