I just got my first red melee weapon for Saltzpyre, and as usual I like to use my red weapons as inspirations to try things I don’t usually try. In this case the one handed axe.
In testing the 1H axe in some simulations with legend difficulty enemies in the keep, I’ve gotten a rather sinking feeling from this weapon. It’s got some good things going for it:
- It really whallops armored targets
- It’s got great stagger
- It crits a lot due to the light attack +10% crit chance.
But it has some pretty significant downsides:
It’s quite slow. Fortunately you can mitigate this with some choice talents properties, and traits, but it’s a pretty big investment just to get a weapon working.
It does not cleave anything. Every hit goes into exactly one dude. If there are 5+ guys around you, you have to run backwards for quite some time before you pick them all off.
Light attack 1 staggers enemies hard to the left, causing them to basically crouch dodge to the left with stagger. Light attack 2 goes top left to bottom right, so it almost always misses after light 1 with certain enemies unless you aim to the left and down from your target.
The reach feels too short. When fighting enemies like a chaos warrior or chaos spawn, I felt like I had to be within licking distance to hit them, which made combat very dangerous. With trash enemies sometimes light attacks stagger them back far enough that you can’t land a second strike. Without any cleave this just creates an opening for unstaggered trash to push in and hit you.
The heavy attacks don’t really stand out. They do a bit more damage, but being much slower and not having any crit bonus puts swift slaying at risk, leaving me open for attack much more often. The light attacks are good enough that their added speed and crit chance make them almost objectively better than the heavy attacks.
Despite having a lot of stagger, it still can’t stagger plague rats, who also take multiple hits to dispatch with this weapon.
Some ideas I had for potential changes:
Give the axe a bit more reach. If I can only hit one target, at least let me hit it from a bit further away so I don’t have to dive as far into a crowd to start thinning it out.
Change the swing pattern such that the stagger from the first hit doesn’t cause the second hit to miss due to the extreme flinch dodge. Maybe make the second attack go bottom left to upper right instead of upper left to bottom right?
Maybe give it a passive bleed on light attacks to more easily hit some of the breakpoints for the trash enemies? You can kill a skaven slave one hit, but a clan rat takes two, which is kinda crazy for a weapon that seems to want to be a single-target-killer.
I wonder if anyone has found a way to play around the axe that actually makes it better than other options for an actual run? Or do other people generally agree that this weapon isn’t in a good spot?
I’d like to focus specifically on Saltz 1H axe, though I am aware Bardin also gets one.