The XSword being one of my favorite weapons, I decided (after my initial anger at the nerf passing) to still try to give it some testing. While we were all quite puzzled as to why they’d nerf the XSword, I believe the reason may be that it shares its “finesse” rating with the Glaive; one could not be nerfed without nerfing the other. Let’s not get into why they chose to nerf this aspect of the glaive here; let’s just focus on what currently is.
My first attempts to test were thrown off because of an apparent un-noted change; the dummies apparently don’t count as Skaven anymore, meaning my assumptions that +Skaven bonus was being applied led to inappropriate conclusions.
Now, it seems that only +Infantry affects the unarmored dummies, and +armoured affects the armoured ones. Someone feel free to correct me if I’m missing something.
So, with zero buffs, the XSword is no longer capable of one-shot headshotting a Stormvermin on a charged attack. It deals only 31.75 damage, well shy of the 39 needed. This is unfortunate, but not insurmountable. It does come with trade-offs, however.
Between my Charm and XSword, I was able to stack +15.5% bonus versus Skaven, and 8% bonus versus Armoured. More +Armour would be more generally useful, but I mostly wanted to see what it took to re-achieve one-shot headshots. Surprisingly, this total of 23.5% bonus did do the trick; in Legend tests I could decap Stormvermin quite easily. I did have to give up attack speed on my XSword, however (I rolled 5% crit chance, so I figured that was good enough to roll with right now). Probably just my imagination, but I did feel a bit slower with it.
This had another unfortunate effect; An overhead only deals 36.75 damage to a Marauder now, meaning that they can no longer be bodyshot for easy pace. However, a headshot will still kill them. It would not be hard to get back to being able to bodyshot them, but harder to do alongside skill getting to kill Stormvermin in one shot.
So the XSword DOES still exist, but it does require actual specialization to use in your build, which in the current setting of most people being low on green dust, makes it too specialized to see much use unless you just love the weapon, and certainly lowers its value quite a bit more.
The nerf does also lower its value against Chaos Warriors and bosses, and I believe that it would not be possible to buff its damage against them enough to make it be only a 3-shot headshot as before. It will now always be a 4-shot headshot, assuming you can land those headshots.
If asked what I would change here, I wouldn’t actually recommend that the XSword be given back its old multiplier. Instead, I would suggest that the weapon be able to stagger more targets, even if it doesn’t damage them, just as it did in the first game. This gives it the control to do its job, and does help force finesse on the player, by having to go for headshots consistently on Stormvermin AND Marauders. It IS a finesse weapon after all. A slight buff to its base attack speed would also be very good for it. As it is, one of the downsides of it for hordes in relation to the halberd (which is an area it seems designed to shine) is that you sometimes can’t hit enough of the targets to avoid taking some pokes, and can’t keep a reasonably-sized horde in front of you under control. A faster swing speed would let you stagger some, then stagger the rest, hopefully avoiding pokes if you were skillful at group manipulation.
Possibly this would make it OP; I’m not sure. However, I DO think we’re at the point where weapons need to start getting SOME buffs. I think weapons need to have their pros, but those pros need to make them WORTH consideration. We all know the Arming Sword gives you good mobility, but this does not help when it will take 35 charged attacks to kill a single Chaos Warrior without buffs.