Musing about the handmaiden

This is not about any grievous issue in need of balance but more something that’s been itching me since I’ve begun playing with Kerillian.

I’ve felt that her second class was lacking a bit of the straightforward elements of some other careers in the game, and more importantly could be perceived as quite underwhelming when starting with her. Not that is underpowered, she’s a fine hybrid with reasonable access to the ranged option of the waystalker and good active resilience and mobility.

Still as she’s often considered as a tank archetype she lacks something most of the other crowd control careers have, both a passive element to her tankyness and something that really makes her stand apart. Basically her kit only rewards making good use of existing mechanics for other classes. She’s has buffed dodge distance and endurance regeneration. Other classes have something that goes beyond using the common gameplay : ironbreaker does negate a hit, can attract enemies, the knight does passively protects and can repeatedly do a forced ingress/egress while stunning pushing around crowds. These features are quite noticeable.

Basically when playing HM you’re supposed to put to good use your regen to shove foes aways and use your ult to exit tight spots or help friendlies. Still, any error is punished hard, she doesn’t have any passive sustain and her special moves though very quickly recharged won’t disturb foes and can let you be hit very hard if performed through opponents. I’ve often felt that playing her well was quite equivalent of playing any of the other 2 Kerrilian classes well, she hasn’t access to different weapons, she needs a lvl 25 talent to drop aggro and though she can take a good quantity of ammo, isn’t as ranged centric as the waystalker.

That’s why I suggest she get a passive resilience traits, that would make her more straightforward to master and her role clearer. One possibility is to give her the regen from the waystalker, it wouldn’t be too weird, maybe even more cohesive. With the added regen bound talents line she could be a fine tankish support. The regen itself is not considered powerful in champion or legend, but it would help getting into her resilient “tankish” role at lower levels. Of course that would mean givin the waystalker something else, keeping in mind her range advantage and homing active will always make her comfortable at lower levels.

Another thing is I think the dodge increase distance kinda contradicts her endurance regen. They both let her avoid damage but encourage a bit different playstyles. With the many threads about the shade, I kinda feel the dodge style is more fitting for this class instead. Many players opt for a two handed weapon and take the dodge penaly with it anyway.
Finally the active itself should be a way to have “invulnerability” frames. If being hit/incapacited while rushing is considered a balance alement, then at the very least open the option as a talent, instead of the negligible damage offered. This is an ult you use to safely reach somewhere and evade nasty stuff. Besides being the character with the real “super dodge” would be a great identity.

There. I think the class itself is really cool looking and many players certainly appreciate her as is. This is mostly a thread about maybe making her role clearer and more beginner friendly. But with a possible rework of the shade in the future and the ranged vs melee balance still a work in progress I thought I’d throw out my feelings about her.

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Nice to see a well formulated topic mate, nice musing! Just came to point out a few things here.

she doesn’t have any passive sustain

That’s why I suggest she get a passive resilience traits

Stamina regen: take a 3-5 shield weapon and see how long you’ll last against a horde by just blocking on Legend. Even more so if you happen to have >50% of block cost reduction properties available. Of course one has to dodge elites to not die, but then again she’s not strictly a tanky-tank like IB or FK.

Another thing is I think the dodge increase distance kinda contradicts her endurance regen. They both let her avoid damage but encourage a bit different playstyles.

You sure they don’t actually complement each other? A tank shouldn’t dodge or a dodger shouldn’t tank?

and her special moves though very quickly recharged won’t disturb foes

I often use it to CC slaverat/clanrat/fanatic -hordes. I’ve found it’s quite disturbing for them :rofl:

Many players opt for a two handed weapon and take the dodge penaly with it anyway.

True. Remember though that spear is a common sight too, with no dodge penalty.

If being hit/incapacited while rushing is considered a balance alement, then at the very least open the option as a talent, instead of the negligible damage offered.

I don’t want to be the guy saying “git gud” but timing the dash so you won’t get hit is quite possible.

HM is the most versatile class out there (special killer, kiter, semi-tank, horde clear and the one who revives others in a tight spot) thanks to elf weapons and awesome mobility. Can’t do everything, but quite many things. And my favorite thing about HM: whatever you choose to do with HM, she always has the capability to be a really good dodge-tank-kiter thingy.

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The stamina regen is a passive but is not “passive mechanism” like the gromril armor, knight armor, damage reduction from the fanatic or slayer talents, whose effect take place when the player takes a hit. That makes a big difference when starting the class.

This goes in hand with the dodge distance true, as both are tools to amplify a good melee playstyle, and maybe that’s all she needs to be, a good versatile all rounder. What I was annoyed with was mostly that

  • from a entry point of view, she punishes errors as severelay as any non tanky class. this isn’t an issue once you’ve reached a good enough level, mind you.
  • makes her bit missing a distinctive traits. Of course every class can’t have the extreme aspect of slayer or ironbreaker. But picking her is bit like “I want play melee elf but be more resilient than the shade” (the shade itself has other issues ofc).

Last time I’ve checked in the fort, you still can’t dodge as well with the spear than with any of the dual/one handed weapons though. It’s quite noticeable in the field too. There may be an aspect of balance with Kerillian weapons, seems to me the glaive espcially is a bit too good in most cases.

Thanks for your answer, as I said, I don’t think she’s unbalanced, it’s more a subjective feeling about how she’s defined/introduced to the player. The skill package from waystalker definitively makes the step to handmaiden a bit jarring to most.


I wouldn’t say she’s unbalanced but I’m never happy to see one in group, as it feels like she has poor synergy with any group comp and underperforms compared to both WW or Shade. Great at surviving at all costs and running around forever if people die, but in those same situations no one would have died had there been a WW/Shade ult in play. It just feels like she kinda does her own thing entirely, to a much greater extent than WW/Shade who still cut their own path but have to stay more grounded in the team effort at all times.

Again, this likely has more to with the player than the class but when HM can literally run through the entire level forever w/o dying it’s hard to blame them. The vibe I get is that she just doesn’t have the output of the other classes and her “support” element seems mostly self-serving.

True, but I suppose that’s all good variance.

I think for a beginner to step out of Waystalker to anything is a jarring experience, it’s quite a soft/easy career.

Don’t quite get your wording there, but I do see the point of the abilities punishing for dodge/parry mistakes. It would seem that traditional tanking is not her take on taking on a horde (not the devs intent, if you will); she’s tanky in a very dodgy way :wink: and I think that makes the career quite distinctive from all others.

HM is crazy effective as is. The shade needs some love, but HM is a beast. That dash will clear waves of slave rats. Don’t dash into a giant axe, though. You can also hold block while dashing. I think I’ve gotten hit a total of 2 times during a dash and I’ve run HM on champion more times than I’d bother counting at this point. A few on legend, as well.

Stam regen is one of the most powerful boosts you can get in this game. Especially with the right weapon.

You don’t need extra damage resistance when you don’t take damage. If you know how to use stamina and mobility to avoid taking damage, you’ll enjoy the HM role.


This - just hold block before you start your dash. It’s pretty fun to dash through a horde and block a bunch of attacks at once!


Never thought about it, seems blocking is a something that can be applied while doing many things, thanks

Well I have to say here that Foot Knight, Hand Maiden, and Ironbreaker is almost unstoppable in the right hands…

She doesnt have to be played like that , i use her as a highly offensive skirmisher, circling around the packs sides cutting its flanks off , using the ult to delete a large section of horde, get to and kill a special thats causing grief, i must say it wasn’t until i started using the de aggro level 25 talent that i really began to have fun and do good work with her.

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i think you can apply this statement to 99% of the threads in this forum lol

I don’t think she’s a pure tank, certainly. Even the notion of a pure tank is debatable anyway, isn’t IB Bardin well known for being a good horde deleter, after all?

What is your experience with one handed or twin weapons with her? I try this playstyle quite often, especially the one handed sword, but I feel being so mobile kinda tends to make you bit separated from your group and being un unpredictable obstacle for ranged allied.

How do you do, fellow kids!
I’ve made an in-depth mini-rework suggestion thread that would adress numerous Handmaiden Kerillian problems. If you are interested in discussion, I’d appreciate if you join and give your opinion on the topic.
Please and thank you!

i do really like the twin daggers , but the issue with knocked over targets stopping me moving into range of my target and causing me to whiff just makes them a bit impractical, and as i have come down on the longbow as my range of choice i find i need ae in my melee weapon , i keep coming back to the wardancer blade as my fave weapon for shade and HM.

i dont agree with importing the old V1 meta of all stack up for hordes, this game has more populace hordes that can stack more units together, but a whole hoard together and your going to find your attack stopping half way and getting “horde one shot”
it might be good to have two or three together but there is i think value in having some out of the clump stopping them all clumping up , spotting and dealing with specials etc. so i am happy to be a little bit seperated

I also wanted to throw in that you can block->rez->ult for basically guaranteed rezes in safety. HM is supremely the rez-bot .

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By res -> ult you mean you can dash while going on picking up a buddy? Almost feels like an exploit ^^;

Safety for you, not for the person you’re rezzing. This is what 99% of HM do very badly. They use their enhanced mobility and the fact they’re essentially untouchable to get in, rez someone, and get out… totally neglecting that other classes can’t dip around the whole fricking level with enhanced dodge + mvmt + dash so the person gets downed again. Where other classes would just kill everything quickly then rez, HM ignores/trains everything then rezzes. It does have situational value but it’s not as good or useful as anyone thinks it is. With WS ult you could have killed everything on the downed player to clear a path. With Shade ult/kit you can spike dmg down anything on the player and rez, and also avoid bringing trains of enemies to ppl thanks to stealth.

It’s almost as bad as Mercs who run rez on ult and think it’s a good idea to pop it the second someone goes down despite the fact the 20 mobs that killed them are still beating their corpse, instantly perma-deathing the player.

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Well that’s just the crux of it, isn’t it? The ult is highly situational, its main drawback. I mean there are situations where using it insta-kills you into a river.

I think the strategy I listed above is particularly good against bosses though.

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Yes, if more people did that I’d probably not be so salty at the class. That’s a solid play.

Good points, HM players to tend to be a bit selfish and think that since they’re alive all is well. Very sad. After rezzing people gotta stick around, even when surrounded two players can take turns switching sides + aggro and mow em down.

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