Maelstrom – Gorger Guide / Builds

The Boarding Build

The boarding build is the quintessential Gorger. Here’s how I run mine:

  • Captain: Grinner Blackmaw

Mates (Useful legendaries in brackets)

  • Master Gunner–Crew and Sail damage; Grawler [Bloodwake Krith]
  • Surgeon–Regen; Por’kbel [Har’go the Stitch]
  • Quartermaster–Re-board; Knobkack [Chum Decks Halftongue]

Level 5 traits:

  • Killer Instinct, Zephyr, Smash and Grab


  • Cannons: Chomper
  • Utility: Chomper Sails
  • Defense: Bolted Fore Armor
  • Offense: Riphook Gunports

Your job is to board and board again. When that doesn’t work, use more boarding.

Gorger has the best crew in the game, and the best boarding power, and the best boarding range, and is just the best boarder.

Should probably explain how it works since it isn’t terribly clear…

Crew has a couple complicated aspects to it, which can be grouped as health and damage. Crewman health is the HP of one crew member. Multiply this by the number of crew and you have the full crew HP of the ship.

During a boarding encounter, the offending ship inflicts both crew and hull damage. This is reflected in crewman strength, which is actually two separate stats: crew damage (the normal part) and crew havoc (bonus when crew is low).

The defending ship protects their hull with their crew. The lower crew they have, the more damage the ship hull takes. Once reduced to 0 crew, havoc is added as board damage is fully focused on the hull, taking massive chunks per tick and avoiding armor entirely.

Hence, the strategy here is to completely remove the enemy’s crew and then board them to death. It takes some practice to refine and you have to be simultaneously aggressive and cautious, but you’ll get the hang of it same as any ship strat. It’s worth it–this can be one of the most rewarding modes of bounty collection.

The legendary quartermaster and master gunner help each other. Chum decreases boarding cooldown by 6 seconds, Krith decreases it by another 4, and Riphook Gunports does a -20% off that, bringing you from 20 to 8 (4 if you miss). This is one of the most powerful abilities for boarding–time is one of the biggest issues, but not here! You can just board again.

Furthermore, Chum gives another +20% grape shot damage boost on top of Krith’s +20% which is applied to Chomper cannons’ high base crew damage. Sloops can be fully crewed in 2-3 broadside volleys. Krith also gives +30% sail damage, allowing you to bring battleships to below half sails in a broadside. All these benefits come at the cost of some cannon range (already low, so not a big difference) and iron shot damage (same as before AND you won’t use it as much).

It’s important to keep crew topped off and ready to go–any surgeon can do the trick, but I like the regen one, Por’kbel. This has the best crew heal, and gives crew strength and health. Har’go the Stitch offers the same healing, along with a boost in ship speed and twice the crew strength buff. However, your aft armor takes a hefty hit, and boarding builds tend to be interrupted whilst securing their prey. A Cleaver ambush can kill you promptly, so be vigilant if you go with Har’go. Get those orc quests and gold chests and unlock some legendaries!

With that in mind, you’ll notice these three mates don’t include any defense. That’s why I run Bolted Fore Armor–you can keep up with non-boarding ships as you crew them and not die so easily. Stockade Cabins may make you a more powerful boarder, but you lose matchups against a bunch of ships while only gaining a slight advantage against other boarders.

Finally, Grinner Blackmaw is the captain specialized entirely for boarding. His ability, Chow Time, gives a strong buff to crew strength and damage resistance (and also heals a chunk of crew). All of his talents are amazing, so have a look and start leveling him. Armor Crackers and Boarding Harpoons allow you to finish off players with hull/armor damage, something previously out of the question.

Get out there and start terrorizing some ships!

Grinner Considerations

Gorger’s Unique, Rowdy Crew, keeps the pressure on and affects every ship in boarding range. Since you have a lot of boarding range with Riphook Gunports, you chip away at a lot of ships. It’s great for keeping sails, crew, or armor down after you’ve already knocked it out.

As far as Grinner goes, I’d get Boarding Harpoons first, then Salvage (works even on boon ships!), then Armor Crackers or Sail Shrapnel.

Here’s mine, just got him to 100:

I may swap around some points to get the full sail damage during boarding so Killer Instinct can kick in more easily. But it’s up to you.

Also I find the winches to be more valuable than Intimidation–the ability only kicks in when you start the boarding encounter, so someone can activate it while you’re dragging them in. Not great when they have mines, shield, fire, shove blast…. anything really.

The Hammerhead Build

This one gives a refreshing take on Gorger, not relying on boarding but rather unleashing its inner Bloodfin. Boarding is a more extreme bypass strategy, which works very well if you do it right–but you can also make Gorger a better generalist, not to mention beating other ships in the iron domain.

  • Captain: Splint Depthbringer


  • Shipwright–Resist; Vorgak
  • Helmsman–Either ram one; Claw/Chort [Shiptwister Gol’shak]
  • Navigator–Speed; Fang [Vae’ki the Inevitable, Windripper Obb]

Level 5 traits:

  • Zephyr, Dominion, Disruption, Roughneck, Smash and Grab


  • Cannons: Murkwater
  • Utility: Chomper Sails
  • Defense: Stockade Cabins
  • Offense: Bonebreaker Keel

Similar to Stormanchor the Juggernaut, this build avails itself of Gorger’s low ramming thresholds, allowing it to inflict decent damage at lower speeds. But you don’t need to rely on those, since you also have Splint’s pet Chomper around to fling your ship through all adversaries. It also grabs Murkwater cannons, taking advantage of Gorger’s high cannon count to ramp up the damage output further.

Gorger is already the fastest and most maneuverable battleship when talking base stats, so navigator speed boosts and helmsman turning buffs amplify on what’s already strong.

Shiptwister Gol’shak is an invaluable addition to any ram build, providing fore armor with ram damage. Always get this guy.

The navigators give you quite a lot if legendary, so it’s really good if you can get those too. Windripper Obb adds ramming damage with hefty speed and current nav boosts. Stacking with all the bonuses, this brings you to +65% ramming damage (363 is the number).

Vae’ki gives speed, acceleration, and greater current navigation, but also adds a stat not seen in any other legendary: knockback resistance. This is one of the first things that drew me to this build. Stacking with Stockade Cabins and Gorger’s base resistance, this gets you to 110%. As a result, you can only be boarded point-blank, and when you ram a ship head on they’re the only ones that move, allowing you to keep on the pressure. One thing to watch out for is that it also hampers your boarding: you’re also dragging yourself closer so the action won’t land unless you hook closer.

Ramming can take a lot out of you, so defense is where the third mate must go. I struggled with this one a lot, but found that Vorgak was the way to go. Rutt Nailchewer provides 30% hull resist, with hull repair and crew resist to boot. Sounds amazing, but it just didn’t quite get the bulk necessary to survive fight after fight. Rett Nailchewer (his thrice removed cousin?) gives lots of bulk, ram resist, and a nice crit increase. However, it’s so easy to get past your armor with the debuff, and then your hull is free game for a Cleaver to feast on. Hence, I took a page out of Dread’s book, becoming an impenetrable block with a high hull model. This takes Dread’s ability to severely wear down ships by simply soaking up all the damage. While not as much hull integrity as Dread, this time you have great base armor and still quadruple digit hull with 50% resist. You also have better speed, maneuverability, and damage output. Instead of being a defensive mountain, you get to be an offensive one.

It took some toying around with the defense hardpoint, shipwright, and navigator, but I think this is the combo that drives it home.

For Splint, I’d first get Chomper Snacks, then Rush, then Crushing Force, filling up with Turn the Tide in between tiers. I haven’t gotten him to 100 but I’ve filled up these talents and it works nicely; I don’t know how badly I’d need the capstones.

The results are very satisfying: a fast ship with high damage output, amazing survivability, and a killer ram. What more can you ask from an Orc?

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