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Mordhau beginner’s guide

How to survive Mordhau’s brutal melee

Warriors charge into battle in Mordhau. Triternion
Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

The ins and outs of Mordhau’s medieval combat can be daunting to learn. From its variety of different swords, axes, war hammers, and bows, to the different kinds of attacks and blocks you can do with each of them, there’s a lot going on with every fight. So we’ve put together a few tips to help you survive your first foray into the brutal chaos of Mordhau.

Horde is the best mode for learning to play

There are three modes (so far) in Mordhau:

  • Frontlines: A PvP mode that pits two teams of 32 players up against each other.
  • Horde: A PvE mode where a small team of players face 21 waves of AI-controlled enemies.
  • Battle Royale: A PvP mode that’s an every player for themselves free-for-all where no one spawns with loot, and you have to pick up weapons as you fight until one player is the last standing.

The best mode to learn the game in is Horde. Enemies are more plentiful, since the waves quickly grow to around 60 enemies, and the AI-controlled soldiers are easier to predict. Spending a bit of time in Horde can help you get used to the controls, the different types of attacks, and the basic ideas that will help keep you alive in other modes.

You start each match of Horde with only your fists, but you gain gold for getting kills and finishing rounds. Scattered around the map are various weapons that you can buy with gold. This means that almost every weapon in the game is available in one way or another on each Horde map. While you’re learning the gameplay, it’s also a good idea to experiment with different weapons and learn how each of them hits enemies and what their attacks are like.

Mounted combat is a difficult task in Mordhau, requiring a nearly completely different set of skills from ground combat.
In Mordhau’s Frontline mode players can jump on horseback

Play to the strength of your weapon

Fighting in Mordhau changes quite a bit depending on which weapon you’re using. But there are a couple ways to gauge how you should fight and what your weapon does well. All weapons in Mordhau can be broken up by two attributes: speed and range. Here’s what those mean:

  • Speed: How fast your weapon attacks, and how long it takes to swing it from start to finish.
  • Range: How far your weapon can reach and still do damage to enemies.

For the most part, weapons that have a longer range have a slower speed, and weapons that have a faster speed have a shorter range.

What this means during a fight is that you should always play to the strengths of your weapon. If you have a short sword, attack quickly, but you’ll need to be up close. If you have something a little bigger like a two-handed great sword, you should keep your distance from the enemy. Thanks to its size the great sword swings slowly, but you can hit enemies from a long distance.

Once you get a feel for using the game’s weapons and you know which ones you prefer, learn how those weapons match up against the other weapons in the game. If you like using short swords and you run into an enemy with a spear, you should try to get close to him because you’ll attack faster and your sword can’t reach as far as their spear. This is how you should approach every fight in Mordhau.

Learn to parry

Mordhau is a complex sword fighting game full of intricate moves and countermoves. Each maneuver is useful for something, but the one move that stands above all the others in its usefulness is the parry. Parrying is blocking an enemy’s attack with your weapon. It’s Mordhau’s simplest move, and you need to be able to do it well.

To parry an enemy attack you’ll need to press the parry button (right click by default) just as the enemy is starting to swing their weapon toward you. If you go too early or too late, the attack will hit you.

After your parry, the enemy will be very briefly stunned, allowing you to counterattack. But if they’re quick, they can parry your attack as well. Just like in a real sword fight, most attacks in Mordhau are parried — or should be — and you are always only one or two hits away from ending a fight for good.

A melee in Mordhau. Triternion

Kicking is risky and necessary

A kick in Mordhau is a low-damage attack that briefly stuns whoever it hits. It’s also unblockable. So, if you’re facing someone who has a shield, your best option is to kick them then follow it up with an attack. The problem with kicking is that your legs are as long as a sword held out in your arms, so you have to be up close to hit your target.

Kicking can also be a great way to break up a fight full of parries, but be sure to only take the risk when you’re sure your opponent isn’t going to attack. If your opponent has started to swing or their walking toward you like they might attack soon, it’s best to run back out of their range. If you kick and they swing, you might just lose your leg.

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