If you find yourself lost, searching for a means to punch through your limitations, then you have found the way. This guide aims to teach the dedicated fist-fighter a solid basis for their lonely journey with tips and tricks from your's truly, Puncho of the Fistman Clan.
Other MORDHAU Guides:
- Advanced Guide.
- Achievement 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.
- Second Wind
- Flesh Wound
"Good heavens, Puncho! Your build sucks!" You might say. How right you are. As you can see, this build boasts an unhealthy lack of armor, coupled with perks that could be considered "trash" or "meme" perks. You must understand: The way of the fist is to suffer, and through suffering, you will grow.
Sacrificing armor for utility and speed will enable you to dodge some incoming attacks by merely running away. If you must have some form of protection, then you must first be aware of the balance between your speed, defense, and perks. Second, I recommend light(1) or medium(2) armor if you must have some defense. As for the perks, allow me to explain their relevance.
Brawler amplifies your unarmed damage.
Friendly ensures that your team won't slice through you like butter by just breathing on you, and it can prevent those awkward moments where you accidentally punch a wounded ally to death.
Second Wind gives you stamina upon a successful hit. You'll need that as you may find yourself missing a few swings. You don't want to get winded when you have little to no defense.
Bloodlust gives you full health for finishing your enemy off. Very useful in all scenarios considering how squishy this build is. This would be the first perk I'd surrender for armor (if you choose that road).
Flesh Wound, or the Redemption Perk in my book, is likely to be the last thing between your death and their death (followed by your death). Sometimes you need just one more punch to secure the kill, and this perk will allow you to get your revenge before you go to meet death. Go down swinging, my friend.
Dodge makes up half of the Brawler playstyle. If your offense is the never-ending onslaught of your righteous fists of fury, then your defense is dodging your enemy's attacks.
Here I briefly discuss the other perks you may be considering instead of the previously listed perks, and why I didn't go with these perks. Skip this if you really don't care. Don't worry, I don't mind.
Fury. It's like Bloodlust, but for stamina. If you switch this out for Second Wind, it could work, but I prefer to have my stamina during the battle.
Tenacious: Regain health faster. Sure, if you'd prefer to recover HP after you've won your fight, you could replace Bloodlust for this, but more often than not, there will be another enemy right behind the one you just killed, so the time to recover may not be at hand.
Rush: Start sprinting as soon as you've killed someone. The RUN AWAY perk, as I like to call it. It could be useful if you like hit and run tactics, or if you need to escape immediately after securing a close kill, but if you're not wearing armor, and you can't sprint to save your life anyway, then this perk may be a bit redundant for this playstyle.
Cat: This perk negates fall damage by half of what you'd normally take. Great for daring escapes. There just seems to be more useful perks for someone who could die by getting sneezed on.
Fireproof: Reduces fire damage by 80% (wow). Great for the fire brawler, not bad for the straight fist-fighter, but you could also just avoid touching fire.
Acrobat: Jump stamina cost reduced by half. Unless jumping is in your playstyle, don't bother. If you incorporate jumping into your fights, let me know how that goes.
Rat: Fast crouch speed, quiet feet. This game is nearly impossible to sneak in, but if you insist on being a sneaky punch dude, go for it. I wouldn't though.
Peasant: You know what this perk does, and there's no point in wasting 8 points when you aren't going to use weapons (or armor) anyway.
Ranger, Huntsman, Wrecker, Smith, and Scavenger: These may as well be useless to the fighter. There is absolutely no reason why these should be in your build. Maybe scavenger could work if you find an opponent toting a bandage, or if you just want to take their stuff.
To be a true brawler, you must play like your life is ending soon, and when you play, expect to die a lot. It's important that you fight aggressively and give them no quarter. You are at a severe disadvantage until you hone your skills in awareness, footwork, timing, and unpredictability. Therefore, it's important that you use any advantage you can to secure the kill.
The absolute basic opening is as follows: Open with a horizontal strike, then change-up into a few consecutive thrusts.
You may notice your opponent try to swing at you first; you look like a free kill after all. If you find yourself close enough, accelerate your hook so that your fist connects first, interrupting their attack (otherwise, dodge back. Don't get hit first). If your first hit is successful, then predictably they may attempt to parry and riposte your next strike. The change-up throws off their timing, causing them to parry early, and you might find your opponent in what I call a "timing lock." You are locking them into spamming parry in hopes that they can block your spammed thrusts. It's cheesy, but it works. In most cases you'll get two to three punches in before they catch on. Be cautious on the third punch and feel free to change back into strikes if you think you can take them out quicker that way. If you sense that they've figured you out, dodge backwards/sideways and get ready to counter-attack with a hook of your own. If this also catches them off-guard, you may as well have won the fight. Continue to thrust until they collapse from your awesome might.
"Puncho, you idiot. Any good player will see through this and correct their timing before the second strike." Right you are, so whatever you do, do not underestimate your opponent. You need to know when to be aggressive and when to be defensive.
Your Enemy's Weapon and You
There are many weapons in the game of Mordhau, and all of them have one common advantage on you: REACH. Your opponent doesn't need to be in your face to hit you, but you need to be in their face to hit them. So how do you close the gap without getting struck? All you have to do is know the weapon's strengths and weaknesses, and dance around them.
A spear, for example, is most effective when lunged at you, and less effective when swung. It also has a slower windup and release time than the fists (very important later on). In order to close the gap between this weapon, you must bait out their attacks one way, and dodge the other way at just the right time. As long as you are trying to close the distance while prioritizing your safety, you can dodge right up into a spear user's face. This is when you employ your quicker attacks. At this point, there is little the spear user can do to escape your wrath. Simply put, bait their attacks, and punish their mistakes.
If you notice your opponent feinting attacks as they close the distance, try not to dodge back. Instead, punish them by simply interrupting their feint with a punch of your choice.
The one advantage you have over your enemy's reach is when you fight in tight spaces. If your enemy is unaware of their surroundings, they may find their weapon clashing with the wall, a beam, a box, or even one of their teammates. Use their ignorance to the world around them against them and bait them into making a big mistake.
Shield users are your worst enemies as they can negate your attacks without having to worry about slipping into a timing lock. To counter a shield, as you must already know, kick them when their shield's up and immediately start dishing out punches after they're stunned.
"Puncho, you are dumber than your name sounds! A skilled shield user knows you're gonna want to kick them to counter them. They'll try to bait your kick and punish you instead!" That's why we must think one step ahead of them. To outwit some shield users, run right up into kick range and wait until you see their weapon reel back or their shield lower. As soon as you see this movement, launch an attack of your own to catch them off-guard. Another thing you can do to shield users is intentionally punch their shield to make them think you are a daft idiot. As they come to counter-attack, dodge back and punch at the same time. Your fist ought to connect with them as you finish the dodge animation, interrupting their attack.
You'll have to really mix it up with shield users as their mindset is usually "I have a shield. I can remain calm. I'm not falling for that again." At this moment, it may be safer to employ a kick or two. Just be very careful, and perhaps try teaming up with someone who can capitalize on your intentional recklessness.
Another brawler is the fistman's greatest foe, or easiest fight completely depending on their own knowledge of the Way of the Fist. I have avoided speaking about blocking as it does nothing for you against the majority of weapons, but in the scenario of Fist-Versus-Fist, your block feature may be your greatest ability yet. In order to get through any block (fists too, not just shields), you must kick your opponent. In doing this, you may have fallen for your enemy's bait, and the fists are quick to punish you for doing so. Either avoid kicking altogether, or be very cautious when you do.
Another important note is that fists can chamber with other fists. So even if you launch an attack, you could be interrupted and countered. Size up your opponent by testing their skills and knowledge. If they can't/don't block your punches, they may be inexperienced. Destroy these buffoons. If they dodge back and throw you a counter-punch, be very wary. Every fist-fighter is different, so be cautious when taking them on.
The Mindset & Farewell
As a fist-fighter, you are a fan of the unconventional playstyle this game has to offer. You are also at an initial disadvantage, but be patient. As your skills grow, your enemies will often underestimate your prowess, and you will be the one screaming above their corpse, arms out-stretched to the heavens above. Here are some things to keep in mind as you develop your skills:
The fist-fighter is an opportunist and more of a supporting fighter as you start out. Stay with an armored buddy and capitalize on weak enemies (you can usually tell by how bloody they are), but always dodge out of harms way if you don't feel safe. Staying alive is part of the objective, and since that is the case, you must sometimes lay your life on the line to save a friend who is outnumbered.
If you insist on playing alone, aim for 5 or 6 punch kills per game if you consider yourself inexperienced.
Playing without armor invites danger. People will see you and think you are easy pickings. Punish those who charge at you blinded by greed.
I had the most fun playing power metal in the background of my sessions. Music that hypes you up seemed to work wonders when I was learning how to punch. It kept me from getting sweaty and mad.
Take your time, and always remember, there will be someone better than you, so don't feel bad if "999DeathWalker666" keeps killing you. If you find yourself not having fun. Take a break. Pick up a sword for a bit. I swear you'll do better when you try again. I'm cheering you on from the distant hall of the Fistman Clan.