Handmaiden - Seeking advice


What does a score card look like for other experienced HMs? What do you consider an effective HM?

I have a level 110 elf. I mainly play HM.

I used to think I was pretty good, but recently I’ve been getting slaughtered in Legend. Sometimes I’ll go an entire day of playing without winning a single match.

Sometimes it’s bad RNG, sometimes people don’t know how to block so it’s over in literally seconds.

Sometimes however, I wonder if I’m actually the problem?

I consistently get very low damage taken, but maybe I’m actually not getting involved enough?

While my damage output is usually pretty low (5-6k per match) I tend to defend flanks and not get so caught up in the blind melee that happens in the front lines, especially if I see 3 other people there.

I’m average at special killing. My headshot accuracy is average. Much better at kiting big groups of elites for DPS to take care of. Good avoiding taking damage through stamina management, pushing and dashing etc.

Am I wasting a hero slot if I load HM into a random pub game, since I’m not the best or fastest special killer?

Generally seeking advice (please only from people with similar time played or more)

I used to despise HM for the reasons your stated: low dmg output and low dmg taken because they’d just dodge a lot while other ppl killed things. My valuation was affected by the fact my game was bugged though, and my game always spawned vastly (thousands) more enemies than is normal, so ultimately any class without mad AoE was lackluster.

I think with the more even director behavior in 1.0.7, HM is perfectly viable. I feel both shade and ws are vastly superior still but that HM is valid, just harder to pull big numbers on.

If you find you’re carrying groups though, HM doesn’t carry well.

Sounds about right. If you’re looking for massive stats, HM isn’t the career to play for consistently high stats. That’s because she isn’t designed for that. She’s the elf’s version of a tank, but much more versatile and mobile than the other character’s tanky careers. Her enormous stamina regeneration + her aura make her a valuable ally. Unlike every other career, she can hold much longer in many scenarios without the use of actives simply because her regeneration is so high(block cost reduction is ideal). You can also push a lot and allow your team to do so because of her aura. She’s also very capable of salvaging games that would probably have been lost had you been another career/character. Similar to careers like Ironbreaker/Footknight, she’s not supposed to have tons of ammo or be on special duty 100% of the time. She can certainly kill her fair share of them though and reposition herself to deal with nastiness. It’s important to gauge when you can just sit and block/push, and when you should kite.

I think what happens in a lot of quick play games is players who may be lackluster or too inexperienced for cooperative and legend play will jump into games without any sense of comradery. This will lead other players to often believe that those specific careers or characters are bad.

When going into a match, you generally want to have a certain role or scope of roles in mind for what you’ll be doing in game. Killing specials/waves. Elites/bosses. Elites/Specials/Bosses. Tanking/Waves. Etc. In general, it’s ideal for you or your team to fill in the blanks. So if your team is lacking wave clear, someone may want to gear themselves towards being able to easily deal with them. Obviously in quick play you don’t get that benefit, so I don’t really expect a whole lot out of my first run in quick play(unless we start from keep). A lot of people want to pad stats, so I see a lot of games fail. I don’t like quick play most of the time because people yolo it and are greedy for kills. An example of teamwork is like if I swing around with my ranged weapon to kill a special but see another player is already on the job, I may put away my weapon to deal with something else that’s going on. Don’t need 3-4 players to kill one special(which happens more than it should) as that leaves your team vulnerable to other threats.

If I had to sum up her pros and cons:


  • Great at saving/salvaging games

  • Excellent versatility and mobility

  • Excellent team-oriented ally

  • Powerful stamina regen aura

  • Highest stamina regen in game

  • Can push a lot

  • Excellent at holding position

  • Very short active cooldown

  • Active can destroy and disrupt waves

  • Active can allow her to reach certain places(like grims/tomes, which makes the game go faster AKA less time wasted AKA less hordes/specials)


  • Only one ammo related talent

  • Low ammo

  • Lowest HP of all the tanky careers in the game

  • Some talents are worthless(like 5% movement speed)

  • Slow at killing bosses

  • Mediocre at dealing with constant specials

Every career has its pros and cons, catering to different play styles. I think people are also dissuaded from playing certain careers because of the fact that they won’t have all the pretty green circles at the end of a game.


She’s really only average to above average at saving/salvaging a game. Ranger Veteran and Shade (and arguably Huntsman) can do it much better. HM trains more. She can get through anything to revive people but the mobs will be closer, greater in number, and actively swinging.

Not with lvl25 invisibility. Then she’s faster than everyone but maybe a slayer with +movement talents.

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I’ve played an insane amount of HM and have to say there is almost no reason to pick her over Shade. I currently run Shade in more of a hybrid role w spear. I run stam Regen talent with 30% trinket and can push attack almost as well as HM. With a chaos/armored charm and 75% backstab talent you 1 shot legend CW with first charged heavy. I also 30% talent coupled with resourceful combatant to have ulti very often which is necessary w the spear (since it is awful v armor). You don’t need CRes because the spear is super safe. Currently run stam and block cost reduction neck. Your push attack also kills everything w ulti except CW. Spear has 4.6 attack speed and 5% crit.

Ultimately you sacrifice some HM mobility and stamina Regen for much better damage, higher base attack speed and elite/boss killing.


appreciate all the input folks.

@chapekja the 75% talent applies to all attacks under shade ult, irrespective of enemy direction?

i love HM and shade but feel much more survivable as HM and am much better to deal with hordes obviously. but until a horde comes or the needs needs a save i feel a lot like a third (fifth?) wheel.

BUT now HM has a mocking laugh, and her cosmetics are fixed … I just love the poo out of her.

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With dodge maxed out and the dash ability you can kite any boss, outrun them, and get your whole team up.

I did it last week vs. a Chaos Spawn that the other members of my team kept feeding.


Coming back to this post to contribute more than ‘switch to shade’.

HM has insane stamina regeneration and it’s without a doubt the keystone around how you build her.

In my opinion the main stats for her are stamina regeneration and block cost reduction. More stamina only serves to increase the amount of times you can push attack without having to throw in a light attack and I don’t think that’s worth it.

At this point weapon choice will dictate the other stats you opt for. If you prefer glaive and a more offensive playstyle then attack speed and crit are necessary to make up for the slow swing speed of glaive. I would also recommend curse resistance and % HP on neck to help absorb possible blows without being downed.

Spear on the other hand is the safest weapon in the game. Personally I like to run swift slaying on a 5% crit 5% attack speed spear w a crit/stam trinket. You really shouldn’t be taking any hits with spear played well. However a more defensive approach with off balance trait and push block radius also works.

Charm is attack speed and whatever power vs you like (I take infantry).

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I don’t think attack speed or crit are really necessary, handmaiden can just spam the push-stab without pause (which is fairly fast), since you recover the stamina fast enough to never run out (or if you do, to just do one light swing and be back at full).

Attack speed makes push attack faster (narrowing window of vulnerability frames during the actual push attack).

Crit is so you can push attack and fish for crits on storm vermin mainly. Personally I don’t think any other properties add significant changes to quality of play as HM.

Assuming eldrazor’s precision:
11% vs fanatics to one-shot them with sweep
<5% vs SV to kill them with 2 bodyhits from your heavy
13% vs maulers to take them out with heavy combo+sweep
<5% vs CW to take them out with 1bodyhit from upercut heavy and 2 headshots from the downstrike.

i personally run sword and dagger and cooldown reduction. the sword and dagger synergises well with crit, CDR. 4 stam shields, 50% stam regen, 50% dmg reduction talent … pretty safe build for saving runs, killing endless hordes and kiting

it really is all preference as long as you build around her HM strengths.

io personally can’t get over how cumbersome the glaive is since i spent over 70 levels using spear

Have you tried push-stab spam with it?

with the glaive?

i can’t remember how many times i’ve used it with HM, not many at all. though i do remember it didn’t stand out as being anything special, but i never tested it on the dummy either

Yeah with glaive, with the 50% extra stamina regen talent, you recover fast enough for you to get that shield back in time to do another push-stab (which are much faster than regular lights).


So why do you wipe? Is it hordes? CW patrols? Bosses? Stray rats? HM is slow at killing but the absolute queen of clutching. Are you mindful of the comp around you? Asking other players to swap careers or doing it yourself should always be an option.
Stray rats
All the best parties I’ve played with are able to deal with all of the elements.

Most importantly, given that you’ll pretty much always be the tank standing last, do you take charge?
Use voice chat and lead the party. Call out who should hold where and who grabs what, it doesn’t have to be changes to what the other players would have done anyway. Just having a leader makes people shape up a lot in my experience.


Personally, i prefer dnd or spear.

Spear is easy to use, really nice at making space in a horde with good reach, but somewhat low damage. My spear is 5/5 crit AS, and cdr on crit

Dnd may be more complicated ? Compare it to dual axes without the sweet armor pen. 5/5 crit AS aswell, tho i want to try 5crit/10 chaos ( so 1 hit will remove all infantry with bleed included)
Cdr on crit

My ‘‘playstyle’’ is shoot down SV’s with the longbow and dash through hordes, and sweep back to the group, or into another safe place. Basically rince repeat and hordes become trivial :slight_smile: * altho if you have a good corridor and people are shootin, i just sit tight and keep them safe.

My rule of thumb on HM, the way i play as a mobility all arounder. Is that i expect people to be able to think and fend for themselves the few seconds i am away on a dash forward and back.

Regarding monsters, get aggro and kite / dash through horde if they’re coming for you.

This way i solo champ with bots / players avg. 17~ min bar skittergate. Leg is 20-? There’s so many variations in hordes that it’s hard to estimate lol.

What value is clutching when the situations you’re having to clutch wouldn’t have come to pass if you were on either of her other classes that are both vastly superior at eliminating threats?

There aren’t many situations that aren’t insta-fixed by WS’ ult + unlimited ammo or shade’s ult + volley shred. The only situations HM fixes are ones she’s kinda responsible for causing in the first place. Might be fun for the HM but it’s frustrating for the rest of the team.

have you never encountered the situation where your whole team just jumps down ahead of you and runs into the marketplace of screaming bell, triggers a boss and a chaos patrol, and tries to outdps everything in that small space? normally doesn’t work out too well.

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