This guide will cover the basics of dragging and accelerating, as well as a number of tricks that I've picked up from my time in duels. I am in no way calling myself "good" at the game.
However, there are a number of techniques that I've learned which can be extremely useful for those looking to improve.
Other MORDHAU Guides:
- Advanced Guide.
- FAQ: Everything You Need to Know.
- How to Host Your Own Server.
- Horde Mode: Survival Guide.
- Loadouts and Playstyles.
- Ultimate Carrot Guide.
- How to Build a Ballista.
- How to Votekick (Easy).
- All Mallet Locations.
- Guide for Builders.
- Weapon Guides.
Dragging and Accelerating
Assuming you've gotten a firm grasp on "How do I left click?", the next issue to tackle "How do I make sure the attack isn't blocked?"
Accelerating and dragging are ways of modifying your attacks such that they hit before or after the attack would normally do so. In a way, you can think of it like trying to swing faster by changing where you're looking during your attacks.
You can best summarize this as trying to move your camera past the target in the direction that the attack is going to make it hit faster than normal.
However, that doesn't really help, does it?
Let's start with this image here as an example, and pretend we want to accelerate an attack that swings from left to right.
- To start, we'd look briefly to the left to make the attack start in the direction we want and then click LMB.
- Then, we'd need to move our camera to the right as much as possible while making sure that we don't go out of range of our weapon
- If it's not going to hit quick enough, you could also try running by them on the side that your attack is coming from, essentially putting them shoulder to shoulder with you. That puts pressure on them to keep track of you as well as making the attack harder for them to block by accelerating it even more.
Is that it?
Yep! The rest of it is simply practice and repetition, because at the end of the day it's a technique. No amount of "explanation" will get you to 100% understand it until you do it yourself.
Yikes, so this is a bit trickier to explain.
In terms of what it is, dragging is moving your camera away from your target in the direction opposite to where it's swinging towards so that it hits your target later that normal.
Going back to our handy example
Let's pretend we're looking to make another attack coming from the left-hand side that swings to the right to hit our target.
- We start our attack by briefly looking to the left again so our attack starts from that left-hand side.
- We continue to look left with our camera, making sure we don't go TOO far such that our target doesn't go past our right shoulder; keeping them in the path of the sword swing.
- For the best effect, we try to keep them between 45 and 10 from our right side (See green indication marks in image below).
That's it! Since they are at the end of your swing "arc", they will be hit LATER in the swing, making it difficult for those panic blockers to deal with. As for that angle I talked about, I tried to do demonstrate on a protractor as best I could (#ms-paint-lyfe). We want this angle specifically because you can maintain some level of vision on the target while still making sure that you get a good amount of extra swing time from the drag. If you don't maintain vision, the target could dodge (IE: crouch to avoid a horizontal swing) or avoid your attack. They could also move out of range of where they were when you started your attack. As you get better, it's certainly okay to start moving back your angle of your drags for maximum swing time, but it's much easier to start out with angles that allow you to keep track of your target.
The red arc is the path of your sword, and the green arc is the general position you would want to keep them in.
I would define this section as a general guide to the special ways of fighting using normal dragging/accelerating that are prominent among the top duelers that I've fought. This will cover an overview of the technique itself, a TL;DR for the reasoning behind it, and a rating for how it's worked as I've seen it in duels myself as well as what I've heard from others.
- Jumping upwards strike.
- Upwards stab.
- Crouching downwards slice.
- Improved Feinting.
Jumping upwards strike
This is just as simple as it sounds, essentially.
How it's performed is that you will start an upwards strike facing the center of your opponent within a fairly close range. After starting the attack and confirming they aren't going to dodge or go out of range, you need to just and accelerate the attack by looking upwards.
The basic reasoning is that you're starting an attack at someone's legs/feet, and then using your jump and acceleration to bring the blade up very quickly to attack them.
This method is often very predictable. When it does work it's more often that not because the opponent wasn't able to see the attack coming rather than the speed of the attack itself. This move also requires extra stamina for the jump, so it often leaves the user out of stamina quicker.
However, the damage is substantial enough for most weapons that it often outweighs that, so if you're confident with stamina management go for it.
This is also just as simple as the previous technique, if not more so.
You need to start with a thrusting attack facing above the head of the target. At the middle of your swing (to know when that is you need a little practice) you will bring the weapon back down to the head of your target, stabbing them.
The goal behind this is to create a stab that is hard to read and even thereby more difficult to block.
The way it's supposed to work is that when you stab, you make it perpendicular with their line of sight so that they can only see the point of your weapon coming at them and thereby making it harder to tell when to block.
Unlike the previous method, this method costs only the stamina it would take for a normal stab.
With that, I have to give it a higher rating because there's honestly no downside to it other than the obvious difficulties like keeping track of your opponent. I will say, that in all my duels using this, it's worked a good 70% of the time when used as the first strike.
Crouching downwards slice
Basically, the "Jumping upwards strike" version of crouching with a vertical downwards slash, this is the bread and butter of some nastier battleaxe users. It's accomplished by starting with a vertical downwards slash looking at the head of your opponent. After confirming that they aren't the middle of an attack or about to do so, you look downwards and crouch.
The crouch added to a normal accelerated downwards slash adds to the acceleration of the attack much in the same way the jump does for the "Jumping upwards strike". It's a simple method of dodging horizontal attacks towards the chest while still attacking as well.
This is a risky move, just in general.
When you do this, you're giving up nearly 100% of your vision of your enemy. That means you're opened up to misses from the enemy moving, attacks after blocking that they can accelerate to easily catch you, and attacks PRIOR to blocking which you didn't see coming. This is of course all added onto the fact that the overhead strike is just in general harder to hit with many weapons.
However, given the damage potential with certain play styles such as feinting or animation abusing (see section below) as with the case of battleaxes, this turns into a high-risk high-reward situation that can turn a duel on it's head. If you're using a weapon such as the battleaxe, this would certainly be something you'd want in your arsenal.
Some may view this as animation abuse, but that's not really the case. Generally seen used by weapons with longer swings (IE: Eveningstar), this is more or less an extension of feinting. It's a common technique that many who use the aforementioned weapon employ in duels as a way to conserve stamina while still maintaining an offensive pace in duels.
How it works is that you would start with an attack coming from any side. After starting for just a moment, you feint and begin to quickly move your camera in the direction your attack would be going.
Typically, what happens is the combination of moving your camera (thus moving your weapon) in the direction your weapon would've swung directly after the feint will look eerily similar to an attack, causing more skittish opponents to panic block. This obviously opens them up to an accelerated attack. Many people find it easier to employ this with certain high-damage weapons. A good example of this is the Eveningstar. With this weapon, the stakes are much higher for your opponent on any given attack, as the weapon's damage is high enough that it often 2-hit kills most people. If they think guess incorrectly, it can mean the end of the duel. The swing animation is the biggest factor in this, as certain swings on certain weapons will be easier to use this with than others. A good example is the Executioners Sword with a downwards slash. Since the ES is held so far infront of you when are facing downwards naturally, you can make it looks exactly as if the you're still swinging the weapon when you feint like this.
Despite it's popularity more so being in bigger weapons with longer wind-ups. I find that because it's a feint, that you're not necessarily committing to attacking directly afterwards and it is good for probing the opponent for their skill as well as attacking. In regards to what I've seen in duels, it can absolutely make or break the duel depending on the weapon. I've seen people use this to consistently top the leaderboard using this, and it's a staple for many who practice the previously mentioned weapons.
The shake is something I was personally taught by a friend of mine (see acknowledgements section) which uses both acceleration as well as dragging in one single attack. It works by initiating with a vertical OR horizontal attack in any direction while looking at the center of your target. Next, you need to very quickly move the camera as if you were accelerating the strike. After that, you need to "wiggle" the camera back and forth slightly while dragging the strike. The end result is that the weapon looks as if it shakes or even stands still to the person you're fighting.
You're using both dragging and acceleration to make the weapon appear as if it's shaking in place or almost as if it's standing still in the middle of it's swing. As you might guess, this makes it incredibly difficult to block once done correctly. It's a move that requires a lot of practice to do and a lot of skill to properly utilize. Since this is especially difficult, I'd high recommend practicing with weapons that have a long swing time.
My reasoning for this is that this technique is something that can be done from virtually any swing type, making it extremely versatile. While it's certainly easier with a vertical downwards slash, you can do it with side swings as well with enough practice. That alone puts it at a 3/5 rating. However, combined with weapons with higher-end damage output such as the Executioner Sword, you can consistently win duels within a single swing against low-medium armor opponents.
I would like to use this section to thank the people who've shown me the ropes as well as those who have beaten me like a red-headed stepchild.
NotRoots: Actually the first person to introduce me to that heinous "Shake" technique. He is by far one of the most talented people I've fought. He has his own server, so be sure to check it out!
NordikaMan: Helped quite a bit as someone of my level(ish) who I could duel to try out new stuff on.
Bard the Wetard: Love you ♥.
Damn-Dees-Lions: Has caved in my chest with that dumb bastard sword more times than I could count. Solid player and solid guy.
Arson: If there ever was someone who could count on to 1v2 using every trick in the book, it's this prick. Love him or hate him, he is one of the best Eveningstar users I've ever seen.
PoL Clan: Good servers with an honest and happy community. The members/admins are typically active and happy to beat you to death with a lute show you the ropes.