Hailing from the northern reaches of the world, the Vikings venture south in search of pillage and plunder to sustain their way of life. Among them, the crazed, the brave and the bloodthirsty alike flock to become Berserkers, bringing death through their unique fighting style: Flurries of blows rain down upon their enemies, whilst their lighter gear keeps them quick on their feet, allowing them to manoeuvre around the battlefield with ease.
With their signature dual hand axes, their attacks are both quick and lethal, while their executions are both bloody and brutal. A well played Berserker will strike fear into the hearts of any player, and their diverse and unique moveset allows for the quick and responsive dispatch of anyone that stands in their way.
The Rampaging Assassin
The Berserker in For Honor is part of the Assassin class, with the other classes in the game being the Vanguard, the Heavy, and the Dynamic. The Assassin class is built for duels, not only gaining more points for the elimination of enemy heroes, but also giving them powerful feats that can turn the tide of any battle. In this regard, the Berserker is no different.
So then, what are the strengths and weaknesses of the Berserker at a glance?
- Very fluid moveset
- Strong Offense utilising their special moves and passives to gain tempo
- One powerful defensive move in their Deflect ability to allow them to reset fights or take control
- High stamina pool
- Amazing harrass with their fast light attacks
- Looks amazing (Skulls and tattoos!)
- Sounds amazing (Chopping sounds!)
- Very short range (Axes are cool but short! Get in close!)
- Low health pool
- Smart enemy positioning may remove some of their defensive strength
- Heavy attacks are slow unless used in a chain
- Does require knowledge and practice to play well, not an easy character to pick up.
Now that the strengths and weaknesses of the Berserker are out of the way, I will touch on their unique moveset. The Berserker is the class which ‘flows’ the most. From a solid defence utilising their deflect mechanic, to bursts of aggression, the Berserker is adept at rapidly switching the stance they take in a fight.
The Berserker, as you might expect, is all about their chains and combos to effectively deal damage. Whilst single use attacks such as their rather fast light attacks are good for harrassing your enemy, you will deliver most of your damage through your heavy attacks. These however, are rather slow. Fear not however, as using them in chains, specifically in conjunction with your light attacks, usually make them either faster, or uninterruptible. More damage for you!
One particularly brutal combo is your triple heavy combo, initiated by (You guessed it!) heavy attacking thrice. It is particularly lethal at the end of a combo such as the infinite chain, this triple heavy chain will always land the final blow overhead, dealing HUGE damage to your opponent. This is a particularly strong finishing move to get that sweet execution. Take a look below:
Additionally, you may want to throw in a feint during one of your chains, which will allow you to not only confuse your enemy, but pick up another chain from a different direction shortly after. Take a look below:
As you may have guessed by now, the Berserker is also adept at harassing their opponent. Their lights are quick, as previously mentioned, and can simply be thrown in a single attack every now and again to get quick damage off on your opponent. Another interesting combo with the Berserker is that they can dodge to cancel their own light attacks, allowing you to perform a pseudo feint to confuse your opponent.
Take a look below to see this in action:
One of the core mechanics of the Berserker is Dauntless. Dauntless is a passive ability which is activated by successfully landing 4 attacks in a row on your opponent. Once it is activated, your attacks become uninterruptible. This means that your unfortunate opponent cannot stop the blows you are raining down upon him by landing an attack of his own during the windup period of your attack, forcing them to either block, or back out of the fight completely. Not only does it make your attacks uninterruptible, but also makes them spend less stamina too, keeping you in the fight for longer! You will notice the Dauntless effect by a white sheen that comes off of your body and weapons when you attack. Take a look at the gif below! This passive is especially useful when used in conjunction with your infinite chain, another one of the Berserker’s special moves, which I will touch on now.
See the infinite chain GIF to see Dauntless in action
One of the Berserker’s signature moves, the Infinite Chain is an amazing way to pile the aggression on your opponent, landing blow after blow as your enemies desperately try to anticipate which direction you will attack from next. The infinite chain is a special type of chain attack in For Honor – that is, there is no end to the chain and the benefits it brings whilst it is in use. The infinite chain is initiated with the following attacks:
Light > Heavy > Light > Heavy > Light > Heavy, and so on. As soon as the first light attack hits, the chain becomes available for you to use.
Take a look below for one example of the infinite chain in use!
There are many important points to maximise the benefit that this chain gives you, and I will go into these in detail, seeing as this mechanic can become quite complex.
Firstly, it is important to note that an attack in this chain CAN be blocked by an opponent, whilst still allowing you to continue the chain. Whilst performing the infinite chain, if your opponent blocks one of your heavy attacks, you are free to continue the chain without much interruption. The chain is ended however if an opponent manages to block one of your light attacks.
Secondly, it is important that unless you want your combo to end, you DO NOT heavy attack your opponent over the head. This will end the chain entirely.
How then, do I minimise the chance for my opponent to block one of my infinite chain attacks? There are two answers to this: alternation, and feints.
Alternation refers to your ability, as a player, to alternate the directions of your attacks. The chain can be used from any direction, meaning that, for instance, you could:
Left light, Right heavy, left light, right heavy, up light, left heavy, and so on, in any combination that does not include an upper heavy attack, as previously mentioned.
By mixing up your attack directions, it makes it more difficult for your opponent to anticipate your attacks. Will you attack left? Or right? How about overhead? Your opponent will never know for sure!
The other way of maximising the usefulness of your infinite chain is through feinting. If you do not know what feinting means in For Honor, effectively, you are able to cancel heavy attacks, making the opponent believe you will be attacking in one direction, then quickly switching to another. In this way, you are able to create diverse and complicated combos with your characters. In the Berserkers infinite chain, this becomes doubly important.
Previously I mentioned the significance of the light attack in the infinite chain. That being, your opponent will be looking to block them in order to stop your chain entirely. This is where feinting comes in. By mixing up a feint here and there in your combo, whilst also using the method of alternation, you can quickly overwhelm your opponents with the sheer unpredictability and speed of your attacks. I have personally 100 – 0’d people in the previous alphas simply by beginning with an infinite combo, and ending by cutting off their head in an execution shortly after. It may seem complicated to the new Berserker player, but practice is key to properly utilising this amazing tool that the Berserker possesses.
Finally, chains can be initiated FROM the infinite chain, as sort of a finishing move. The aforementioned triple heavy chain can be used to great effect here: Once you have whittled away your enemies health pool, a particularly brutal series of heavies will be sure to finish off your opponent.
Take a look below to see how it can be used off the back of an infinite chain attack!
Whew, that was a long section. Let’s move swiftly onward to the Berserker’s primary defence mechanic, the deflect!
Call it how you like, the deflect ability is the core defensive tool of all Assassins in the game. In it’s current state, it is a very strong tool. Doubly so for the Berserker, who can use it in a variety of ways to grab the upper hand on his opponents. A deflect, in it’s current iteration, is simply an improved version of the regular block. It is also known as a reflex block. The Berserker, and the Orochi share this type of blocking. Unlike the other classes such as the Warden and the Raider, the Berserker cannot simply adjust his weapons posistion in the Art of Batlle mechanic to block opponents attacks coming from the direction that you can see on your opponents Art of Battle UI element.
A reflex block character will instead, as the name suggests, block within a specific timing window as the enemy attack is approaching. Whilst somewhat detrimental to your defence, and somewhat harder to pull off, this block brings with it a number of class related benefits, although we will be focusing on the Berserker for now.
So what does this mean for the Berserker?
This means that the Berserker is able to, on a successful deflect, impose a free guard break on his opponent. If you are currently unaware of what a guard break is, a successful guardbreak in For Honor allows you to score one free hit (type depending on class), or throw your opponent in a specific direction of your choosing.
So why is this so powerful for the Berserker?
Think of it like this: You are facing a skilled Berserker. After enduring a particularly punishing infinite combo, you decide to go on the offensive. Seeing your opportunity, you rush into attack, only to be swiftly deflected, and guard broken. Your tempo gone, the Berserker then throws you off of a particularly steep cliff. Yes, you are dead. The ability to throw on every deflect that you successfully pull off makes the Berserker the undisputed king of ledges, high places, or anywhere near a wall.
No handy building to throw your unfortunate opponent off of? Try a wall of other object instead. Throwing your opponent into a wall or other object (Crates! Wagons! Pillars!) will successfully stagger them, allowing you to pull off a free heavy attack on them. (Particularly lethal to the head!).
Take a look below to see how you can deflect into a throw, allowing this Berserker to get a free hit off, starting a chain!
If your are facing a Berserker, make a conscious effort therefore to avoid fighting him or her near any solid objects, or high ground for that matter. It’s to their advantage.
It is also useful as a method of resetting tempo in a fight. As it is usually beneficial to be on the aggressive in For Honor, skilled players will be seeking to obtain tempo in a fight, forcing their opponent onto the defensive. As a Berserker however, you can completely neutralise the aggressiveness of the enemy through a deflect > guard break. You can then, if you so choose, take the tempo in a fight for yourself, by opting to attack your enemy immediately, or by utilising the free throw to move your opponent around to your liking. Such as in a spike pit. Or a flaming cart. The possibilities are infinite!
The Berserker’s zone attack is initiated similarly to the other classes zone attacks. This is done by pressing both the light and heavy attack simultaneously. The Berserker’s zone attack is an attack which spins the Berserker around, chopping at enemies all around him. Primarily, this is used for clearing minions at the centre point. However, it can also be used to harass your opponent with four swift strikes. If your opponent does not block the first attack, the next two are guaranteed to hit, with the opponent being able to block the last one. I would recommend not using this versus any opponent that can deflect, as you can get punished by a knowledgeable player who knows they can always block the last strike for free.
Before moving to the last move of note, the spinning chop is an important retaliatory or aggressive move that you can use against your opponents. It combines a dodge with an attack, which can be used to punish enemies for their aggression. By initiating a dodge followed by a light attack, you can dodge to either the left or right and deliver an overhead strike to your opponent.
One final move which is important to know on Berserker is the jumping split strike. By unlocking your camera on your opponent, you can quickly suprise them with a savage jumping overhead attack. This is particularly useful when engaging an unaware enemy, or forcing an engage as fast as possible. It is initiated by sprinting towards your opponent, and pressing the heavy attack button.
Keep up the aggression! Unless your are fighting and in a position where being directly offensive is detrimental, such as when you are facing an Orochi or another Berserker (Deflecting hurts!) It is usually a good idea to keep the pressure on your opponent, keeping them on their toes and unable to fight back. The Berserker is amazing at this, whether by dodging left and right to strike their unfortunate opponent, or by stringing together their attacks into various chains and combos to furiously melt your opponents health bar. (And your own stamina bar if you are not careful!)
Mix up feints in the process to bait out parries, giving you a convenient attack to deflect and further your aggressive advances. This has been mentioned before, but pick your ground carefully! With a little bit of planning (Forcefully pushing your opponent works too) you can create a situation where it can be very detrimental to your opponents to attack you and play aggressive. After all, who would attack a Berserker near a ledge or cliff? You will be surprised!
To finally conclude, the Berserker is truly a force to be reckoned with on the battlefields of For Honor. Whilst it takes time and practice to fully realise the potential a Berserker can bring, a skilled and knowledgeable Berserker really shines on the fields of battle. Moving from battle to battle and duel to duel, the Berserker has the tool set to make each and everyone one of your opponents hit the dirt, heads severed from their bodies.
The plethora of combos and aggressive options flow into each other with each landing of your axes, punishing your opponents for even daring to strike back at you. Whilst they lack in health, they make up for it in stamina and speed, dodging attacks left and right whilst skilfully deflecting and controlling the battlefield to your advantage.