Maelstrom – Bloodfin Guide / Builds

Bloodfin may be easy to use, but a good build will step up your success and versatility in combat. This guide is all about that.

Guide to Bloodfin Builds

Intro/Overview

With the easiest difficulty rating among any of the ships, it’s not that easy to tell people how to build Bloodfin. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with this one. However, there are a few tricks that can solidify Bloodfin’s builds, and perhaps some that aren’t as readily apparent to its playstyle.

From the “Getting Started” guide:

  • The Orc frigate Bloodfin is a quintessential rammer. Her play style is very much “push forward”, with abilities that benefit from taking pain.
  • Cannons on fore and broadsides.
  • Temporary speed boost on receiving damage.
  • Tier X: Vengeance (damage and reload speed increase after being hit).

Pros and cons:

  • + Great ramming
  • + Good firepower to keep up the pressure
  • + Good crew
  • – Poor aft armor
  • – Not the fastest, and sails are weak

Bear Down, Bloodfin’s passive, makes it easy to have the engagement on your terms. If someone’s running away and they shoot at you, you get a speed boost. If you need to run and they fire at you, you get a speed boost. If they’re sitting still to fire accurately at you while you approach, you get a speed boost (great for extra oomph on the ram). Close up, where you continually ram, proves to be a viable source of extra damage with Bloodfin.

Here are my three builds.

Instinct

This is the “natural” build for Bloodin. The one that just feels right. A surge of red waves is followed by a devastating ram, with subsequent grappling and a barrage of cannons. This bad boy lives off adrenaline, headbutts, and raw meat.

Captain

  • Splint Depthbringer

Mates

  • Bosun–Regen; Be’fgut
  • Shipwright–Bulk; Grun’skyn [Rett Nailchewer]
  • Helmsman–Either ram one; Claw/Chort [Shiptwister Gol’shak]

Level 5 Traits: Thrill of Victory, Zephyr, Roughneck, Disruption, Smash and Grab

Hardpoints

  • Cannons: Murkwater
  • Utility: Windripper Mast
  • Defense: Reinforced Bulkhead
  • Offense: Hullsplitter Keel

I found armor to be a consistent challenge and downfall for a very long time on this ship, so take it from me when I say Be’fgut is a wise choice. Once your armor goes out, the enemy will have no hindrances in promptly shooting you to death. This has to be topped off between battles, so just make sure you get it.

Now Rett (not Rutt) Nailchewer does detract from your armor. But if you can get him over Vorgak, I’d say do so. +50% hull and 85% ramming damage resist (cumulative) makes you an apex rammer. The critical chance on any Orc cannons is amazing with Bloodfin’s high cannon count, and provides a great offense/defense combo overall.

A helmsman will give better maneuverability and stack the ramming with Hullsplitter Keel to give you the most out of Bear Down, Chomper’s Charge, and currents. Shiptwister Gol’shak gives fore armor to boot, so be sure to grab him on completing your next Legendary Orc quest.

I like Murkwater cannons, which are effectively Orc Bowbreakers. Long reload, short range, sure–but the sheer damage is staggering. One pass with this build (a speed boosted ram, fore cannons, then a broadside) is enough to send most enemies into panic mode, having lost a quadrant and a good chunk of hull. You can then grapple to make the most of Vengeance, melting ships in seconds.

Bloodfin has two main weaknesses: aft armor and sails. The former you’re told up front, and you find that out right quick. If you’re not already used to it, good old practice will iron it out nicely.
Sails may not be so apparent, but they can go very fast. They’re on the same order as sloops, and legendaries like Shiptwister Gol’shak don’t make that any better. Something to be cautious of; time your captain ability wisely.

That’s really most of what you need to know–like I said, this is an easy build to make and handle, with a lot of intuitive strategy (hence the name). Capitalize on Bloodfin’s burst-oriented gameplay, and she won’t disappoint.

Blitz

This build is privy to the fastest reloads possible in the game. Not relying so much on speed and rams, it also takes a good defense route, opting to tank more hits than sprint past them.

Captain

  • Fade Marrowtooth

Mates

  • Bosun–Bulk; Taugh [Mad Mor’dam]
  • Shipwright–Bulk; Grun’skyn [Rett Nailchewer]
  • Quartermaster–Resist; Zito, or Re-board; Knobkack

Level 5 Traits: Thrill of Victory, Zephyr, Guarded, Smash and Grab, Dead Water Sprint

Hardpoints

  • Cannons: Murkwater
  • Utility: Windripper Mast
  • Defense: Harrier Armor
  • Offense: Harrier Gunports

For this one, as soon as you have 25 upgrade points, put them all into Fade’s right-hand tree, Cull the Weak. This gives -10% cannon reload time. Not too special on its own, so let’s stack it with a Quartermaster. (Either works but I came to like the board resist from Zito.) They’ll give an additional -15%, taking us to -25%. Vengeance does about -50% when active. -75% cannon reload makes you an extremely dangerous animal for about 6 seconds. Murkwater is a great cannon choice because of its high base damage; the reload was its greatest downfall, but that’s not much of a worry anymore! You don’t need to upgrade damage because you can simply reload and fire again.

This also takes advantage of the fact that Fade has a very versatile ability. Catching someone with the Tempest and boarding makes your accuracy less of a problem. Curse of Rot will punch through anyone in its path. You can upgrade sail/armor damage, duration, radius, etc. This makes Bloodfin good for brawling.

Eye of the Storm becomes extremely valuable at this point. Tacking on another -15% reload speed brings you to -90% during Vengeance. Ever wonder how Vickram keeps firing? This is how. 1 second reloads–almost fully completed by the time the previous volley stops–let you fill the screen with cannonballs.

The offensive advantages are clear; let’s talk about defense. Ramming’s useful with Bear Down and all, but certainly not the focus of this build. Reinforced Bulkhead isn’t as necessary as a result, so bulk up with Harrier Armor. This gives an accel debuff that can cause issues if not careful, so be sure to practice active control of your sails to not waste a second. A bulk Bosun will make this even higher, raising you to battleship-tier amounts. Rett Nailchewer can hamper this, but his stat boosts may well be worth it. Taugh will give enough damage resistance to surpass this problem, but Mad Mor’dam doesn’t, so configure with discretion.

Big Cleaver

This one is for some more experienced players who’ve already gathered a lot of legendaries and are looking for some refreshing variety in their Bloodfin gameplay.

Captain

  • Take your pick.

Mates

  • Powder Monkey–Legendary; Grik Hullcrusher
  • Shipwright–Legendary; Rett Nailchewer
  • Cook–Legendary; Forkchewer Burl

Level 5 Traits: Thrill of Victory, Zephyr, Guarded, Smash and Grab, Dead Water Sprint

Hardpoints

  • Cannons: Sawtooth
  • Utility: Windripper Mast
  • Defense: Harrier Armor
  • Offense: Harrier Gunports

Les break it down.

I think in many ways this build is not the first choice of loadout. Like I’ve been saying, Bloodfin’s really supposed to feel right. That adrenaline rush as red waves fly from your ship, sprinting forward with a thrasher tusk at the helm, ready to obliterate the unfortunate soul in your sights. The excitement when that orange icon pops up, and you know for the next 6 seconds you will release a rage-induced flurry of cannonballs to shred anyone in boarding distance. Bloodfin’s burst-based gameplay is very rewarding, and if you’ve got it, you’ll know. You’ll feel the dopamine as for the next 8 seconds, you’re the most lethal being on the map.

And at first sight, this build is saying “scrap that”.

Harrier Armor means less acceleration. Harrier Gunports means less ramming. Sawtooth cannons means less cannon damage–isn’t that for Cleaver anyway? And what’s this about not knowing the captain? Splint’s the obvious choice, right?

‘ll start with the mates. Grik Hullcrusher gives a slightly longer reload (10%), but ups iron shot damage (20%), critical damage (50%), and sail damage (10%). Pretty good deal if you ask me. The only reason I don’t run him on my cleaver is that I almost always crit, so I haven’t yet determined if the 20% iron boost is worth trading in 50% crit damage. But the point is, cannon damage is raised to 12, with 350% crit damage. Not bad.

Rett Nailchewer is a crit master’s dream come true. Defense and offense are sort of orthogonal to each other; if you really want to max out one then you’re sacrificing the other. However, Rett gives the 50% hull and ram resist together with 10% crit chance. Armor damage resist takes a hit though, so that’s something to be wary of.

Finally, Forkchewer Burl. I had seen this mate so many times but ignored him, and man was that a mistake. Usually when I see legendaries with sail damage as their new stat, I tend to give them that treatment. Hence, what I didn’t notice is how he’s a combination of the captain cooldown and crit cooks, only sacrificing combat flag bonuses (and some current nav but not that big).

To sum up, this means 35% crit chance, 350% crit damage, a hefty armor boost the fore and sides, and 7 second reload. Faster with Vengeance.

Obviously, going off what I said earlier, this is sacrificing some quintessential Bloodfin traits, such as ramming damage and speed. But silver lining–ram damage is still well-sized, and Bear Down is much easier to control, less likely to send you careening into a rock. Also, cannon reload lets you get much more out of Vengeance.

It takes some getting used to, but you still have a moderately fast ship with amazing cannons. Any non-dwarf that’s faster can be cut down with your powerful chain shot in one or two volleys.

Captains are where it gets kinda tricky. I’ve tried Grinner, and that gets a bit more ram damage and another 5% crit chance, bringing it to 40%, just 1% under the Tide build I mentioned earlier. You’ve also got critical damage resist to pair with crit chance resist, which protects you from those kinds of builds. Also, with the cook equipped, cooldown’s reduced to 21 seconds, enough to be ready for each board. Armor crackers, sail shrapnel, boarding harpoons, and salvage are all good reasons as well.

Splint might be nice to add speed and make up for the lack of ramming boosts. He’d also put crit damage to 400% max. But ramming isn’t as much of a focus here so much as cannons, so to rely on him as much as normal may prove disappointing.

Fade is a tricky option. She has a very versatile ability, but usually for builds people consider the other two. However, between Curse of Rot and decreased cannon reload, you may be able to dish out a ton of damage, similar to the reasoning for using her on Cleaver.

It’s really based on what “Cleaver” you want to run, so knowing Cleaver first is a good idea.

In any case, I call this “Big Cleaver” because it has many of the crits, but has more armor and 16 more cannons. The results have been effective so far on bots, but it certainly requires more field testing.

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