Yesterday I was thinking to myself that the Weapon Specialist keystone might lend itself more to a 60% ranged 40% melee hybrid build more so than a full 50/50 or more melee focused build. While unfortunate that it can’t be used with more ranged weapons because of the tree placement, I remembered that the Onslaught talent pairs very will with the Infantry Auto Guns, so made this build around it.
It’s still not in a perfect state, and if the vet tree was designed better it would be even better it still feels great.
For example when Ex takedown gets fixed, I would much prefer to take that and volley adept over close order drill and CK just to deal with shooter hordes easier.
You can take frags or kraks, the choice is yours and they both slot in perfectly on this build.
Here is the gun I use. I also tried the Graia and liked it. Agrippina might be great but its slower reload hampers the aggressive playstyle of this build a bit. I’ll try it when I can take Volley Adept to see how it preforms.
However by and large the easy star of the show:
It is NASTY how well the Rashad preforms with the right side vet tree. The extra attack speed, crit chance and finesse bonus, the brittleness exploit weakness gives, serrated blade for horde clear, paired with precision strikes on the left side make this thing an absolute monster at almost any job. Whether light attacking hordes or heavy spamming elites and bosses, if you can chain headshot hits you will kill them.
Additionally its special action can stagger every melee elite besides Bulwarks, which is crucial for survivability.
Apply this all with the attack speed weapon specialist gives you and you will make Zealots cry with the smackdown you will apply. And since the melee specialist buff lasts until you pull out your melee weapon, you will have it when you need it.
HOW TO PLAY THIS BUILD:
I’ve seen lots of people complaining about weapon specialist, and I understand where some of this frustration comes from. However with only putting 1 talent point into specialist I don’t worry about keeping 100% uptime on the buffs. You don’t need to do that. You can have melee specialist when you need it, and ranged specialist is nice but not necessary to always keep up.
But play aggressively. This is very much a close to medium range bruiser type of build. While the focus is on the Columnus with Execution Stance and onslaught, if a group of enemies tries to jump you don’t be afraid to pull out your axe and go to town on them, especially chaff enemies. While for melee elites it is best if you can kill them with ranged before they get on top of you, this build is designed to still be able to handle them when they get in close and support your other melee team mates, or if the situation requires it be a temporary front line, using the killing power of the kraks or the stagger of the frags to support you.
I mentioned it before but the other 2 Infantry Autos will work great, although with how aggressively I play this the short range killing power of the Columnus works great. I was hoping the Recon Lasguns would also fit but I was very disappointed with them. The enemy health changes have not been kind to them. A 1a Infantry Lasgun might be ok but 1. I wouldn’t recommend it until Ex Takedown gets fixed and 2. It won’t benefit from Onslaught as much. An infantry 4 las might be great but I don’t want to give myself Carpal tunnel.
For melee, the Chainsword, Catachan Swords, and Tac axes should all theoretically be strong as well, specifically the chainsword although I haven’t had a chance to try it yet. It’s hard to switch off the Rashad on this build for how great it feels.
For the Frag vs Krak discussion, it mostly comes down to team comp and how much you actually trust your team. Frags are amazing at creating space and halting a beat down group, but if your team doesn’t have the AP (or skill) to deal with them even after a stagger stick with kraks.
Although in a pinch your Column can do some close range AP as well:
A quick selection of Scoreboards to show that this isn’t just on paper talk. All missions are Auric Damnation, some with a 4 man and some with pubs:
This was a monstrous specialists game (One of the hardest Maelstrom modifiers IMO, the one that has Waves of Specialists, Monstrous Specialists, Nurgle’s Blessings, Only Scab enemies and enhanced blitz.). I used frags for this game. A common theme among these scoreboards is that this build is great for clearing both ranged and melee trash.
(This was a 4 man, Ogryn had to leave computer due to personal reasons so weren’t playing for part of the match.)
(Game crashed mid session so this is a friend’s scoreboard which is placed out different.)
As you can see by the scoreboards this isn’t the strongest build in the game, You’re not going to top every single damage type and get the most kills of every enemy type. But you are extremely flexible and can adapt to any situation. You can put out good damage in any scenario and support your team in ranged and melee, killing specialists, shooters and elites at ranged and holding your own and clearing significant chaff in melee.
Just wanted to share this build because I was having a lot of trouble with making vet work after the new tree dropped and getting a bit frustrated. This is one of my favorite builds across all 4 characters and feels great to use. I hope if you do end up using it you have as much fun with it as I have. Thanks for reading if you made it this far through my inane rambling.