Handmaiden didn't transition well into WoM's 2.0

The main premise of this thread is that during the revamping of talents and careers for 2.0, some careers transitioned poorly for one reason or another. This thread will focus specifically on Handmaiden.

Kerillian’s other two careers, Waystalker and Shade, gained more defining talents for the kinds of careers they are. They both live up really well into the fantasies behind them. One is a Waystalker with heavy emphasis on ranged and the other is a Shade with heavy emphasis on melee, critical strikes, and stealth. They both, even if they’re not perfect, have a lot of features and talents that give them brilliant definition and make them effective. Handmaiden severely lacks these qualities.

Handmaiden is Kerillian’s tankier/supportive/defensive career that has incredible mobility and mobility options. Aside from mobility, her one other notable feature is her incredible stamina regen aura. Ariel’s Benison (Revive can’t be interrupted by damaging attacks) also has moderate usefulness, as she can be stopped still by stuns/knockbacks/block breaking. It does work though:

Her dash is the worst baseline active in the game. Pre-WoM it used to have:

  • Stagger/Knockdown on horde enemies
  • Bleed

Now it has neither. Even the bleed talent on the dash doesn’t give stagger:

In addition to that, Gift of Ladrielle was nerfed from 3 seconds of invisibility down to 2 seconds. 1 second of which is entirely consumed during the dash, leaving you a single second after you finish the dash to do anything.

Mobility isn’t brilliantly defining in any way because Handmaiden’s design offers nothing else that gives her strong definition. Having the ability to move around a lot offers little on its own. The rest of Handmaiden’s talents are simply stat-stacking choices. Even when you do that, she does nothing well other than move. Starting from the top:

  • Tier 5 - THP/Healing

    • WoM’s 2.0 gave her a spear & shield for a new weapon. She’s defensive/supportive and yet she was given Cleave and Killing for THP choices, rather than something like Stagger and Killing. Even her character select model is holding at least a spear, which has a massive block/push radius. It would be completely logical that she have at least Stagger instead of Cleave.
  • Tier 10 - Focused Spirit/Oak Stance/Asrai Grace

    • Focused Spirit(10% bonus power if you haven’t been damaged in the last 15 seconds) essentially replaced Eldrazor’s Precision (15% more power but 5% less attack speed). It’s a bad trade-off and not taking any kind of damage for 15 seconds for a mere 10% damage is poor design. There are many things that could easily hurt you(archers, gunners, friendly fire, etc.) in that time period and the damage bonus for that massive timer is too small.

    • Oak Stance is a generic 5% crit chance that sticks out like a sore thumb. What is really being offered here that helps synergize with her core concept? There should be more to it(and no, not just more crit chance).

    • Asrai Grace would be good if it ever worked. It has never worked and it’s been over two months. She has had one completely broken and useless talent for over two months.

I even made a post about it on August 6th. An entire week before the game even released on August 13th.

  • Tier 15 - Stagger Talents

    • Again, she’s defensive/supportive while being given a shield and she has Smiter/Mainstay as choices. Two problems here:

      • Why does she not have Bulwark instead of Smiter?

      • Mainstay is alright because you can push and attack to get your stagger damage, but the issue is she also was given Oak Stance(5% crit chance) and Power from Pain(5% crit chance for each enemy hit up to 25% on dashes). So why doesn’t she have Assassin if she’s going to have so much critical strike buildup?

  • Tier 20 - Willow Stance/Shadowstep/Wraith-Walk

    • She has a row of speed/mobility talents. This thematically and practically fits her very well.
  • Tier 25 - Heart of Oak/Birch Stance/Quiver of Plenty

    • Heart of Oak increases her max health by 15%. What does she need the extra health for? Why doesn’t she have something more interesting or suiting? For example, a stagger talent to give her something that helps her, her allies, and helps synergize with her supporting herself and the team.

    • Birch Stance gives 30% more block cost reduction. Great addition.

    • Quiver of Plenty gives ammo for Kerillian’s one career with no ammo generator. It’s a passable talent.

  • Tier 30 - Gift of Ladrielle, Bladedancer, Power from Pain

    • Gift of Ladrielle gives her stealth for 2 seconds, a nerf from the pre-WoM 3 seconds. The stealth is alright because it allows her to make some plays and more reliably pass through enemies(although that shouldn’t require a talent).

    • Bladedancer is the only way to get damage on her active. Handmaiden used to have at least some damage and stagger before WoM. It still runs into a similar problem that it had pre-WoM, which is it doesn’t really do anything significant to armor and many enemies even if you do get Bladedancer.

    • Power from Pain gives 5% crit chance(up to 25%) for each enemy you dash through. Why does Handmaiden stack crit chance? What is it leading up to or where is the synergy with her core design or talents? It’s just more stat-stacking with no real purpose.

Giving a career like Handmaiden certain talents like crit chance/damage isn’t a bad thing, but it should make sense from a design standpoint. She plays more like an incomplete career than anything and is one of the careers that currently should receive prioritization on minor/moderate design alterations. Her blandness was exacerbated after WoM’s 2.0; particularly when shown alongside some of the other more well done talent reworks.

The only talent that changes her playstyle in a noticeable way is Wraith-Walk that allows her to dodge through enemies. An example from another career would be Kruber’s Counter-Punch: Blocking an attack removes the stamina cost of pushing for 2 seconds. She used to have a bit of “solo/power-play” design with old talents like Defiance(50% reduced damage when you’re the last player standing), but now she doesn’t even have that. I don’t advocate for the return of that talent or designs like that, but at least she had some semblance of design coherency; something she is currently lacking.


HM is actually my strongest career right now, although I think she certainly got weaker with 2.0, her strengths perfectly compensate for everything that’s wrong with 2.0.

-Her mobility ult gets her out of problems caused by hyperdensity, which 2.0 is full of.
-Ditto dodging through baddies.
-Stamnia regen lets you use push attacks like crazy, which keeps hordes controlled and kills them at the same time (with certain weapons, like Spear, 2h Sword, Glaive, 1h Sword)

She may not have any massive strengths (like Shade), but she has no significant weaknesses either, and that matters too. Since 2.0, with the skill pool in Legend QP having evaporated, being able to solo carry the game in any potential situation is required. So, basically, she’s the best Pugging class because she can do everything well. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t need a few tweaks though.

-Regarding Dash: Ladrielles Gift is still a required pick, mostly because of the baseline failure of Dash. It compensates for it’s major flaw, the tendency to get stuck inside enemies, while also adding utility uses. The best fix IMO would be to make 1s stealth baseline for dash, but otherwise unchanged. That would be enough to make it safe to use. Make Ladrielle upgrade it to 3 seconds (old Gift time, now it’s 2s). Bladedancer is extremely weak, it barely kills slave rats, so to give it a little extra, add the old Stagger on hit into this talent. The critical hit talent is good and doesn’t need changed, at least once the baseline is fixed.
-Pre 2.0, she had a Push/Block angle talent. Now that pushing is more vital then ever, it’d be great to have it back.
-Focused Spirit is garbage. A mere 10% damage (1 property on gear!) is not a worthy reward for 15 seconds of perfect play. And friendly fire makes it useless anyway, since no skill on your part will prevent that. Swap it back with the old Eldrazors Precision and it’d be perfect.
-5% crit is boring but it works well in a couple builds. Not gonna complain, there are bigger problems.
-Asrai Grace is comical, Dash is already the shortest cooldown in the game, who cares.
-Tier 25: I disagree with OP, Heart of Oak is great. It brings her up to 150hp and gives extra survivability vs chip damage.
-Mainstay is actually vital, possibly the only character in the game I would say that about. Because she can push so often, it becomes a core feature of several weapons that rely on their pushes (Sword and Dagger, Spear, 2h Sword, Spear and Shield). It’s pretty much the only thing that lets cleave based weapons (2h Sword, Glaive) still be able to do their job after the 2.0 cleave nerf.
-Even if Smiter wasn’t bad (it prevents cleave targets from using the stagger bonus! it’s actually a self nerf, it’s so so bad), Bulwark would be a better thematic pick for the class.

PS. On a side note, Elf Greatsword can no longer hit the SV-headshot breakpoint on any build, HM included. It’s a really pathetic weapon without this, since it’s strength (horde) is still just mediocre and doesn’t make up for terrible armor damage. It’s a shame because it’s a really fun weapon, but just can’t compete. Please buff the heavy attack to get this breakpoint back.


I’m not sure if your complaint about her as a career is because her rp fantasy is lacking or that she is actually a poor preformer in standard play. I’m hoping the former, because the latter is just factually untrue. She is the only one of Kerillians 3 careers that can stand her ground against any amount of horde density on Cataclysm, with a wide variety of weapons, and doesn’t have to kite, rely on stealth, or constantly swapping between ranged and melee. She is also the only Kerrilian career that brings any amount of useful team support, through her stamina regen aura, dash rezzes (with or without stealth), and general melee based non-stealth based playstyle.

Just because she doesn’t have insanely high crit damage potential, or broken talents like blood shot, doesn’t mean the career is lacking. I for one would much rather have a huntsman and a HM on my team than a merc/fk and a waystalker/shade on my team.


I think giving the ULT back it’s bleed damage as a default would help somewhat. New players leveling up for the first time are kinda shafted if they play HM.

For the 10% damage boost. It’d have to be dropped to ~5 seconds before I’d even consider it.

Smiter is a problem for every class and a newb trap. Just delete it…


Agreed with most of your points. Just wanted to add that the crit chance talent at least has nice synergy with a quiver of plenty scrounger short bow build. Let’s you hit 20% crit chance with scrounger restoring 4 arrows per proc. It’s fun in legend though I imagine the short bow without WS’s bleed talent is too weak to be much use on Cata.

@OenKrad btw, your video that you tested in keep with the dash. I’m pretty sure the dash stuns in game? I’m not 100% sure… I can test it today.

On Legend, one dash kills slave rats, clan rats and fanatics (w/ Focused Spirit). Add +10% chaos and you kill Marauders and Gors in one dash as well, so it’s not that weak.

The main issue with dash is that enemies don’t react to it, making it feel unintuitive.

You see some rats attacking team mate up ahead. You dash and end up behind the rats. They immediately turn around and attack you without hesitation.

You dash through a horde and they track you mid-dash and land a blow as soon as you stop.

Both of these examples show how incongrous enemies react to the dash. They should be momentarily confused by the sudden quick move of the elf, not act as if they had anticipated it all along.

Solution: dash should immediately lose enemies’ target tracking and give them a slightly penalty when re-acquiring you after the dash is complete. This will make dash feel much more intuitive and useful.


Take quiver a plenty and crit chance on ult and she actually has ammo generation, at least with swiftbow. She can pretty much endlessly spam it. Too bad this build doesn’t really make any sense (,HM’s biggest asset is stamina, which helps dealing with hordes while swiftbow helps dealing with hordes.Ehrm… I mean, maybe with dual daggers build, but then you lose most of that stamina utility due to weak push and push attack of the daggers.

OMG that was like the only thing that made 2h sword really cool :frowning: so sad it’s removed. On the other hand, WHC can now 1-shot CW with rapier crit headshot, which is hilarious. Don’t think even Bardin’s pickaxe can do that nowadays unless you take the +150% damage when airborne (I used to 1-shot them fairly frequently, all jt took was a headshot when playing Slayer and +30 chaos/armoured:) ).

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It still works that way! Though you have to take smiter for an extra 20% damage. (Trophy Hunter always works retroactively for the hit you make to add a stack, but you may have known that^^)

To make it even better, you can take Skullsplitter (15% more dmg for 2x 2h weapons) and you only need 10%. :grin:

Sadly there is no way around smiter to get to the breakpoints…

Edit: If you are concerned about the numbers (25.8% -15% is not 9.4%), it’s because extra stagger damage is calculated after everything else, not together with them.
(650 power x 1.25 x 1.2= 975 power as to 650 power x 1.45= 942,5 power)


Just gonna say this one again for my own satisfaction, nvm me. Bulwark talent, Fatshark…

Galri Asur.

Yeah, smiter. Which is absolutely The worst talent for pickaxe light attack spam :stuck_out_tongue:
So we have a workaround, but a rather painful one.


It’s also very frustrating to use, because enemies you finish the Ult near to, will instantly initiate standing attacks before you’ve even completed the full Ultimate animation.

Also if you’re playing as a Frontline, the Ult would put you in bad positioning to do that. The effects of these Ults doesn’t feel good for her roles.

Can kind of work for Boss killing, if you spam it through to build stacks, but having to Ult into Hordes, or across the front line of them, which only buffs you and leaves a gap between you and your team feels really awkward.

Using the Ultimate and then block-cancelling it in front of the Horde doesn’t grant any Crit stacks either, so your only choices are bad positioning with instantly initiated attacks or only using the Ultimate on single Elites where you know it’s safe.

While Crit/Critpower works really well as an Elite killer, and the Power stacking can make you a good Boss killer with Hag (Barrage), Handmaiden feels a little aimless and boring when it comes to building her. Without the Shield she can’t really act as a tank, but also struggles to be a good melee DPS compared to others.

TBH because of the state of Shade RN, there’s no real reason to take HM as a dps. You can even take a better version of Handmaiden’s Ultimate as Shade too, which is really confusing.

It’s not clear what she’s really supposed to be unless it’s a mediocre hybrid with a low amount of viable options.


But this was very much needed, the 3 sec invis was ridiculous, especially on already very strong class, which it still is, probably even more then before since there is non-stop 15% attack speed bonus now.

It’s still the most ridiculous class in terms of defense in the game imo. You just stack some BCR and then dodge and kill stuff.

Not sure what is goin on, on the first vid. You should just dash right as you start reving and in a safe direction or as far as possible.

With the second revive I’m not sure what is happening with that ratling, I thought that you can’t revive while getting hit by gunner and you seem to be getting hit multiple times without breaking the revive. And the end… I would guess that you dropped the revive button, happens sometimes.


There are balance issues in the Talents of HM (as with other Careers), but once again I don’t think they’re quite as large as OP makes them to be. Non-working ones are an issue separate from any balance or usefulness (though broken ones do make it harder to assess the power of the rest). Mainly, her Talents need some rebalancing, but that’s true for all Careers.

I do have a gripe with a couple of other issues, though. The major one is another point raised in the thread: Her Career Skill is very weak without the LV30 Talents. Its fast cooldown doesn’t really help mitigate that; quick repositioning isn’t really needed that often (and honestly, if that’s its base purpose, it could work better as a longer-cooldown tactical and escape tool instead of the “I move fast” thing available most of the time it is now) and I’ve no reason to use it actively and offensively without Bladedancer (or maybe the other Talents, though imo Gift still limits its use to mostly an escape and repositioning tool - that’s still available very often).

So really, the base ability should be somewhat changed; I think its earlier form (with innate bleed effect) was very good. Strong, but needed tactical usage to not get oneself in trouble. The bleed was perhaps too strong by default, but as Bladedancer didn’t work correctly it couldn’t be used to add anything and as such, it was fine what we could accomplish.

My other issue is with Ariel’s Benison. A Perk that’s nearly useless, due to being the last one in a line of multiple redundancies (and still defeated by strikes that stagger you, which most strikes do).


Totally agreed - the biggest problem with Handmaiden is how much they gutted Dash. Besides that, there’s the issue that Dash just doesn’t synergize well with her as a tank. Yeah, it can be used for a clutch revive, or the occasional time you need to get out of a sticky spot. Which usually leaves your team mates without their frontliner! Especially if you’re running Gift, then you’ve instantly dropped all aggro onto your allies. Even if you run the offensive talents, you’re abandoning your position.

That was okay when Handmaiden was a bit more of a loner class, but with her as a frontline tank, that is a terrible idea.

I think her Dash needs 1 sec of innate invis and the bleed back as baseline. Then just get rid of Bladedancer and the crit talent (makes very little sense for her, thematically, to be stacking all this crit, at least IMO). Keep Gift - in its present state I still think it’s an insanely strong talent, and is the best solo defensive talent.

Her two new talents could be one that actually REPLACES Dash and gives her something like 6 seconds of 40% damage resistance. This would be great for her if she wants to fully commit to the tank role. The last talent could be something like Bright Wizard’s double ult talent; she can Dash again within 5 seconds of Dashing. This allows players to double down on the "super aggressive/mobile role. You could, say, Dash through part of a horde, then return to your team safely while stacking them with the bleed DoT.

If this makes Dash too strong, then I think it’d be better to actually increase its cooldown rather than just let it sit with awful utility. Not by a lot - try 25 seconds, then 30 seconds if need be. This would also functionally buff the talent of getting quicker cooldown while near allies (assuming it’s made to actually work).


“Ridiculous” is an exaggeration.

She’s self-serving and lacks design coherency, which was pointed out with examples. Her only supporting value for the team is her stamina regen aura and Ariel’s Benison. This statement of yours here also supports that she is self-serving. Foot Knight has:

  • Protective Presence
  • Bulwark
  • Rock of the Reikland/Defensive Formation
  • It’s Hero TIme/Counter-Punch
  • Trample(Numb to Pain sort of indirectly does by allowing him to be more bold with assisting team mates)
  • Active which has the heaviest stun/stagger in the game

Foot Knight is beautifully designed(perfect or not). He even had options to go more damage. Naturally, Ironbreaker has some options as well and fits a “shield wall” roll.

That and her shield doesn’t have a shield-bash heavy like Foot Knight or Ironbreaker. Instead, the first heavy is a huge sweep and the second is an overhead single target hit. This wouldn’t necessarily be bad and she doesn’t necessarily need a shield-bash heavy, but she lacks any real control over enemies. Elites, for example, will frequently move by her to attack allies and there is nothing she can do about it.

Something that doesn’t steal the role of Foot Knight or Ironbreaker would be a mechanism to allow her periodic moments of heavy control, versus something like Foot Knight’s constant heavy control. Like an idea could be every X seconds her next heavy attack that hits an enemy has tremendous stagger and cleave. This would allow her to use various weapons to periodically stagger more enemies(like Elites) in a wider area, but she wouldn’t be able to spam it and be an indomitable wall. Give her timing she has to work with.


Have a talent for her active that creates a “boom” that staggers nearby enemies. Even bosses. It doesn’t even have to do damage. It wouldn’t overtake Foot Knight because it’d require a talent to accomplish a similar thing and the “boom” only occurs at her point of activation, whereas Foot Knight travels with the stagger. Or just give prior mentioned “cleave/stagger” bonus to her after she dashes.

There are options out there.


Why does she have to be a frontliner? HM has never had that role before, now suddenly because she has a shield weapon she must be a controller class? Until now she’s always been the ‘sweep’, the one that can be where she’s needed most, wherever that is. Frontline (push for days), midline, rear guard, anti-special. I don’t see anything wrong with that, even with a shield as an option.

Before anyone says that not a needed role, well perhaps it isn’t in a pre-made. So what? Then don’t use her in premades! You guys murdered our game with 2.0, throw us Puggers a bone here.

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I mean yea, it’s not a tank in a sense of IB or FK, in my mind it’s not a tank at all. I see Maiden as mobile, defensive elf, can take care of all kinds of problems and revive easily.

And I’m not at all fan of the “move in formation” thing. So I glad Maiden is not 3rd bunker down kinda class.

Of course it would be nice if they come up with some new interesting talents, but still… more control on Maiden ? Why would you even want that, if you need something to tank IB & FK and strong options and then you probably need dmg/special killer or something.

And full dps team + Maiden as some sort of semi-tank prolly won’t be enough for some hard runs.

Not sure what they could add to make it worth using. (if the class was made into semi-tank)

I agree with @OenKrad: HM needs a little buff… or better, a rework.

She’s (imho) a melee crowd control career: like Zealot, Merch, Slayer and WHC. Imho they are that careers that must inflict damage to hordes (different from IB or FK, pure tanks that must stagger and protect).

The problem with HM is that she hans’t the same offensive and defensive skills like the other careers written above. Sure: with dash + invisibility + “ghost” dodge + BCR she can literally move herself like she wants… but this just let her to remain alive. I don’t feel she has more damage toward hordes. I don’t feel she helps her teammates (just the stamina regen is good, but not enough). And she remains terribly squishy. It’s enough a little mistake (or it’s enough an enemy that magically spawn on your back or similar problems) to die.

Another HM’s problem (that can be extended to other issues): her weapons. I feel that Keri’s weapons are thought around WS/Shade. They are the versatile weapons for a ranged career or they work well with Shade’s damage bonus… but HM would need weapons meant to inflict damage and stagger toward hordes. As I always say: with too many weapons it seems you are beating a wall with a spoon.