Elf melee thoughts, mainly Handmaiden


So having played around on Handmaiden on legend i have,quite a few things i find really problematic.

First up, to even work as a melee class you need powerful and versatile melee ability…Handmaiden doesnt have any access to any kind of thing like this.

Where do i even start…right, the basics i guess.

Her weapons hit way too few targets, spear hits between 1-4 which is a complete no go in legend where 20 enemies can stack ontop of eachother, and there is a bug here in which this cluster cant be pushed or hit by the weapon swipe after push.

The swipe also hits too few targets.

Then for her weapons, spear deals too little damage, you need 3 hits just to kill a rotblood mob which is excruciatingly slow and just utterly painful when dealing with any more than 3 enemies, its so hard to avoid taking damage constantly without dashing around like a madman.

All to kill 3 normal mobs.

And it takes 4 heavy attacks just to kill a normal stormvermin…god forbid you find a chaos warrior, shieldvermin or a special of some kind.

Wardancer blade has the same issues and more, too little range, too slow, hits too few targets, too low damage and more…seriously what good is a powerful headshot damage that you will never land when there are more than 1 enemy?

Glaive is just soo slow, enemies seriously get hits in between your attacks and the heavy attack cant be utilized if dealing with more than 3 enemies.

Buffs to her other weapons didnt help at all so they are still in a useless state, because they deal too little or hit too few targets to work.

And as if adding insult to injury the dash is weak too, it doesnt kill beefier rotbloods without damage enhancement perk in which cause you lose the CDR…but if you do you cant really use the dash most of the time since you´ll be stuck in the middle of enemies or in a corner with no way out.

And it doesnt affect armor at all,…and even with strength potion it doesnt hurt armored targets much either.

In general her kiting is ineffective when dealing with several enemies as they constantly spam lunge at her which makes it extremely difficult to retaliate, if its a group of smaller mobs mixed with something like stormvermin then you are basically dying in the next few seconds if a stormvermin lands a heavy attack to break you block…or if they push you to guardbreak…also happens with chaos maulers.

All in all,I would only recommend playing Handmaiden to someone with a…highly extreme fondness for frustrations, pain, annoyance and ridiculously difficult gameplay.

I´ll give shade a go next and hope i have some more success with the anti specials specialist x)


Shade is a lot of fun with the right team support. She can’t handle hordes, but get her behind a boss or elite and it’s like the Joker’s pencil magic trick in The Dark Knight.

People have been trying to get dual daggers and x-bow working with the ammo recovery trait, but I haven’t personally seen it work too well in legendary.

I usually go longbow/glaive myself.

To be fair, most of those thoughts are not specific to handmaiden.
My friend and I find elf to have some of the best options melee wise, or at least the most different viable options. Others tend to only have 1 or maybe two.
Should probably add the caveat that this is subjective to suit my playstyle. Other may disagree.



I’ll amend that. She can’t handle hordes as well as some of the other characters. She’s not meant to do so either way.

Compared to?
Her crossbow is just as deadly as every other penetrating weapon, due to the nature of hordes rushing you (mostly) in a straight line.
Her Glaive LMB + block + LMB cleaves just as good as any other weapon, not to mention SnD
Not everyone can have a flamethrower.

With either Sword + Dagger or 2x Dagger you can demolish any horde without getting touched just strafing around it while cutting nonstop. Works on any class for her. Heavier weapons work better on heavier foes but considering she has arrows for everything but Rot Helms I prefer being a living blender with my melee. You kill and damage a lot more overall that way but it really depends what your team comp needs.

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This does not work on legend, i have tried on every single specialization of hers, on pretty much every single weapon

I constantly get hit by “lounging opponents” or just one that has a longer reach than usual that didnt get hit because 10 of them are stacked ontop of eachother.

And 2-3 lounge hits demolish the entire health bar, its not very funny at all :frowning:

Legend is hella punishing.,and lets not forget that basically every enemy type on the same grade as stormvermin and above have a extremely long and powerful charging attack that you have to sidestep or block least you die 100-0.

But the worst part with light weapons is indeed the cleaving…you seriously have no weapon that hits more than 4 enemies at once and it screws light weapons over so hard.

Hells it even happens on the spear, because the light attacks only hit 3-5 targets at most you are very prone to being hit if a few lounge at the same time since you cant cancel all of them.


Alright…you can make sword and dagger work at least i will acknowledge that much.

But its just that i am not very fond of a style that relies on being able to dash around like mad as it often puts you in danger of being targeted by a special.

It also doesnt work well when surrounded either and that happens way too frequently when not playing dead serious and finding camping spots.

Iunno, works for me just fine and I only play on Legend. You just never stop moving and if you see a SV you just back off a sec to headshot it with your bow (or push -> dodge back -> quick headshot -> back in) then go back to being a rat blender. You can also do an out>in charge attack a few times (it will kill any threatening slaves in addition to hitting the SV) if you can’t or don’t want to go ranged on it. The only enemies that force you to be careful are SV and Rot Helms, as even the champions can’t hit you and get shredded. For shielded SV, you can just LMB them to death very quickly when focused. Technically don’t really need to “worry” about being hit by the SV but you won’t kill them this way either so it’s better to just back off a sec if they’re on you, or just kill SV before they reach melee range.

Lunging enemies always aim where you are, not where you’re going to be, and sidestep dodge forces them to miss everytime. Can either strafe around them nonstop or just got side to side. Just have to be aware of surroundings/specials.

Max out attack speed and crit chance, go Swift Slaying as trait, then max crit power or w/e you feel like for the other DPS properties.

Same basic approach also works well in VT1.

Dual sword Shade is a melee blender as well. Eats hordes for breakfast. Probably the safest of the 3 dual weapons for hordes as well.


I love Shade now for being the best rounded Kerilian. I still play her as WS for the non-stop special deletion but Shade’s ability to instagib Rot Helms and wreck bosses is so valuable.

The entire idea on the “back off and shoot” sounds great right until you realize there are always more than 5 enemies in any significant melee at any given time.

I simply cant get the time to even fully draw the bow before some enemy charges me.

Spear heavy stops on any armored targets…meaning if there is a stormvermin it wont cleave if the stormvermin gets hit first.

And what do you mean with light attacking the shieldvermin? If hit more than once with their guard broken they instantly raise their shields making the only option to guardbreak with light attacks and charge heavies in after as far as i know.

And i constantly deal with so many enemies that if i stop to try and attack even once i instantly get hit, that or my attacks wont interrupt theirs causing my dash to stop and me to drop.

But i agree on the chaos maulers…they are kinda weak arent they? Not that i will complain about that x)

But as for strafing…i can usually only do it back and forth since there are always specials around, and chaos mauler*charge actually is targeted meaning it follows you.

It takes timed dodges or a block to avoid that, any mistake and you are downed instantly.

Rotblood mobs charge attacks are also targeted, at least the non skinny ones are.

Honestly Handmaiden seems kinda wonky in design as you rely on dashing around to get things done but that moves you away from your team and often puts you in extreme danger of any special.

Shielded SV are a bit squishier than normal SV once the shield is down and expose their head on shield break. Regardless of character, whatever your fastest attack is is generally the best way to dispatch them quickly (eg. Drakefire Pistol LMB is more effective on them than 2H hammer LMB). Only exception that comes to mind is Rapier, where the charged attack is only slightly slower but does a lot more damage so it’s the best bang for your buck. Give it a shot sometime though and you’ll see what I mean. Spamming LMB on them with Sword + Dagger downs them risk-free if one or two of them is alone in a few seconds and hitting them at all staggers them dramatically, so you don’t really need to worry about them during your murder frenzy until they’re alone.

All charged attacks have limited tracking. I don’t HM much but a WS strafing dodge is more than enough to break their auto-aim on it so I’m sure the improved HM dodges can. That being said, SV should be killed with bow before engaging in melee combat anyways so you don’t feel like you have to ever focus on one thing in particular. Only time I’ll ever melee one is if its alone and the team’s gonna kill it before I could even tag it with a bow and I just wanna get some damage in.

This is why I utterly despise HM as a team class and hate seeing one in my team comp. It’s good for solo speed runs and, as such, is highly overvalued/overrated by the gen pop. HM can’t delete specials nearly as well as WS. It can’t delete heavies/bosses/hordes nearly as well as Shade. Its entire kit is self-serving, its ult is inconsequential in Legend, its DPS power “buff” doesn’t actually accomplish anything because it doesn’t allow you to break any hits-to-kill tiers, and the increased dodge distance is wonky for strafe-shredding hordes. In team play, HM is only good for dashing around the battlefield defensively whenever they take the slightest pressure, leaving the other three members to fend for themselves… then the HM will run around the level solo forever (because the whole point of their entire kit is that they’re basically untouchable), training a hundred mobs + specials + heavies to the dead team to revive them just to be instantly curb stomped by everything they already couldn’t handle + w/e else the HM trained. In those situations, people usually wouldn’t have died if either a WS or Shade ult had been in play. HM is just sub-par at everything Kerilian can do that actually benefits the team.

Basically, she’s worse at pretty much everything that WS/Shade can do and her only “strength” is handing pressure off to the rest of the team. Playing with one feels like playing with 3.5 players, from a potency standpoint. In the one place where she shines, revving downed teammates, both Shade and Ranger Veteran can do this better while actually contributing to the team effort to make sure the run doesn’t get to that point in the first place.

This is a danger to everyone. No one has a weapon that will hit through those tight clusters of enemies. Thankfully you should know those only happen right after a climb point where the enemies are all going to merge into a blob and attack all at once. If you’re ever next to one of these, it’s better to shoot through the blob and kill everything, or hit a few times then back away. Trying to fight or block your way through that is going to result in instant death.

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Also, you can always tell this is happening when the top “layer” of rats isn’t being staggered by your attacks. That’s the red flag where you know, “oh crap, this is a thick wave and I need to get back.” Works the same on Sienna’s shotgun blasts sometimes. You’ll be like, “everything is cinders… everything is cinders… omg that’s not cinders I need to dodge now.”

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And something that shouldnt happen.
Not to mention you cant push past enemies, but enemies can spawn where you stand, back to a wall doesnt matter, still hitting you from the inside.

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I leave legend pugs where there’s a handmaiden. I agree she just doesn’t bring anything to the table. It’s like a weak dmg class that’s hard to kill, so she exists basically to be the last one standing while not being amazingly effective at anything.


Thing is tho, that if you already are stuck in a melee and more rush in then they will stack up right infront of you, and at times they stack up faster than you can clear them…actually that happens a lot if they have multiple points of entry.

How do you handle that? My usual solutions tend to be as following…run away and try to shoot, or heavy attack if i have enough range on the melee weapon.

That or go by some obstacle to slow enemies down and prevent myself getting swarmed by 20 at once.

She is literal god at this. I dunno who can do it better.

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sienna is much better vs hordes obviously.