Handmaiden Talent - Birch Stance - What is it's utility?

Within the last 2 hours, I’ve been tweaking my Handmaiden build to try and see what works for my play-style and while doing that, I’ve been a little perplexed by the placement and the utility Birch Stance provides. Let me explain…

On Talent row 20 of Handmaiden, you have a set of talents which mostly promote evasive play and dodging i.e. Willow Stance, and Dodge Damage/Range talents. Adversely, on row 25, we then have Birch Stance which reduces Block Cost by 30% .

While the amt which it reduces block cost by is significant, I feel it is a little out of place on a class that is really more agile and promotes nimble clutch evasive maneuvers, than actually sitting and blocking

I’m still less inclined to block with Kerrilian - even if I select this talent - than I am to just dodge, being that the talents right above it will give me either more dmg, or more attk speed.

Furthermore, her ultimate talent is a “dash-based” move, so I’m struggling to understand how block cost plays well with that.

This is just my opinion and I could be off here. I would first like to understand how this talent could be useful for Handmaiden’s kit and builds.

Appreciate any feedback on this.


I can see this talent being useful only when:

(a) I’m surrounded, and I don’t have ult charge yet (which honestly I never want to be in this situation) or
(b) When I’m reviving - which I believe there is a talent that after dashing, allows u to instant-revive.

So when else could this be useful in her kit - outside of these 2 circumstances?

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Birchstance is the most op thing in the game.

If you are hit, you lose 100 points of stamina.
30% BCR: that’s 70 points of stamina. So an effective 30% reduction.
60% BCR: that’s 40 points of stamina damage. That’s an effective 50% reduction compared to when you had 30% BCR.

Now 90% BCR: you only take 10 points of stamina damage. that’s a 75% reduction compared to 60% BCR.

90% BCR means taht unless and elite shoves you, NOTHING will ever break your guard as HM. Usually, I get cocky and punished insantly.

Still good fun though. Makes HM an effective tank. If the team needs you in front, you can take that role.
But, as a trade off, you give up a lot of stat slots & a talent.

I like it, it’s an extremely clutch talent.
And it can free you a talent on your weapon if you want something else than BCR.

Super synergy with her passive. Also make sens because sometimes you will get hit, and a guard shattered = bad stuff following.


I’ve always felt that Handmaiden should be the absolute royalty of pure mobility in every way. Birch Stance is a good talent, but it’s another symptom of Handmaiden having weird identity issues.


Well, it the same row you have Heart of Oak. That talent is absolutely useless unless you are getting hit and does equally not prompt evasive play.

Both talents are there for the case that you have messed up and you need other tools for survivability. Several talents over all careers are there for the case that you messed up. It is not that uncommon.


It’s probably the best choice on that row, because it gives you so much survival.

She’s only really killable when bursted (disablers/overheads), so any mitigation outside of it is better than health.

If anything I’d like to see Health or Ammo go for more melee DPS.


I agree, Heart of Oak is a weird one. It’s pretty effective for things like jumping into storms to stop them from moving and such, but that’s not Handmaiden or evasion.
(Note that I still use it though. Let’s Handmaiden get away with a lot of stuff. Also good for reviving in gas. I’m too impatient for Birch Stance, even if it’s the better talent).

As ridiculous as it sounds, I’d rather another dodge distance talent. Or movement speed. Or dodge count. Or block movement speed. Not sure why they went for health.

A row for Handmaiden’s aura would have been neat. Not sure how that could fit in there now though.

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Ok. So it’s talent for mitigation in less than ideal situations. I can see that. Thanks for the detailed info

It doesn’t save you from a runner, but you can rez people with a 100% certitude their hit won’t interrupt you.

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