The Warlord, bestowed his name upon being vigilant on the battlefield, holds onto his fighting spirit with shield and sword in hand. With both at the ready the Warlord is master in gaining ground, and pushing his enemies outward. With fear cleansed from his body, his sharp wit and ability to reel in his shield to deliver a fatal blow is all that’s needed to rip through the opposing force. Deemed the “King of Trade,” and “Master of Exchange,” you may not fair to tell the tale of a Warlord.
The Warlord is classified as a Heavy character. He has a significant amount of health, but his swift strikes with his sword make him a unique character type. This would be viewed as probably a intermediate to advanced character type since he does not have a chain of combos to keep the pressure on, however for the more seasoned viking veteran he is perfect for the tactically-minded player. He still follows the ancient remedy of any viking class of carrying out obscene amounts of aggression, but you may have to apply some thought while playing as him which can make him all the more lethal.
Reassuring you the Warlord has a rightful place in the viking hierarchy, he is perfect for mixing up the combat. What I mean by this is several things. The Warlord is granted super armor upon taking a successful block, if someone is putting pressure on you wait out that player and pick the opportune moment to come out of blocking to go in for a successful strike. This will usually overturn the player causing them to consider other options. From here you can do a multitude of things, return to pressure them, stun and relocate them by charging at them with your shield, or continue to guard and utilise Perfect Defense until help arrives.
The Warlord’s stance with his sword and shield will throw off the opponent for several reasons. Upon coming out of a block, the Warlord although carrying a one-handed sword does have a good amount of reach to his strikes because he will step forward delivering a slash. The Warlord is meant to take pressure and reapply it in the opposite direction, towards the attacker. The Warlords reach will probably be underestimated in most regards.
It also helps that when pressure really starts to come at the Warlord you do have the Perfect Defense option to take a strike or two.
Despite Warlord brandishing a shield in battle, he has some serious offensive capabilities. His ability to come out from guard and deliver simple 1-2 chain’s really makes him a contender for applying serious pressure. He also is great at draining his opponent’s stamina and having an easy stun attack he can use, a headbutt!
Although smashing in faces with a sword and shield all day seems great, you have to be wary of your stamina usage. Warlord can get a few strikes in, but if you compensate against another player’s pressure with all-guard and constantly swing at them you’ll quickly become a snake in a fight against a mongoose if you’re without stamina. In other words, you’re going to have a bad time and bring dishonor to the All-Father.
The Warlord is very much a “pick your battle” kind of character. You will be mainly taking a defensive stance and waiting for a strike to come. If a player constantly baits you into striking them, you’re giving your opponent a substantial chance ifor victory. A level head, along with patience is what will grant you a brutal, grotesque, execution on your opponent.
Because of stamina being a viable asset to Warlord (just like most of these characters) the combo potential is low at best. They are quick, they get the job done, but trying to keep pressure with a good cross between chain’s is non-existent.
Warlord has two simple double hit chain’s.
Light Attacks – Despite Warlord’s bulky nature he can deliver quick strikes with his light attacks. His light attack chain’s are simple but effective Light -> Heavy. This chain is useful for interrupting opponents between heavy strikes and keep the offense going with the armored heavy attack.
Heavy Attacks – What he lacks in finesse he gains in pure strength of his heavy attacks. When in mid animation of a heavy attack, Warlord gains hyper armour, meaning even if an enemy attack lands, so will his. Use these powerful swings to trade with opponent’s attacks and follow them up with a Heavy -> Light chain for quick pressure.
Remember to take advantage of the ability to change the direction of your followup attack during a chain to throw your opponents off guard.
Despite the Warlord being classified as a Heavy you might be surprised how quickly he can turn the tide of battle and become the aggressor instead with his special moves.
Block and Counter – The first of the Warlords special abilities is his ability to counter attack off any attack.
Whenever an enemy attacks the Warlord if he does a light attack at the same time you would parry while blocking in the same direction as the incoming attack . He will block the attack and instantly counter with a swift sword strike.
Shield Charge – Like the Raider’s carry manoeuvre, the Warlord is able to reposition his opponents by pushing them with his shield, either by pressing guard break while sprinting or via a throw (press guard break again after successfully guard breaking an opponent).
Also like the Raider’s carry, if you drive your opponent into a wall, the result is a dazed opponent and an opportunity to get a quick strike in. Note, however, that (as the gif above illustrates) the Shield Charge ends with a shove of your shield, which pushes your opponent a reasonable distance away from you. Should you ‘shove’ your opponent into a wall, as opposed to ‘charging’ them into a wall by still being in contact with them, the daze effect is not applied, and even if they hit the wall and stagger, the distance between the two of you is usually too far for most attacks to reach.
Unlike the Raider’s carry, if performed out of a guard break, this manoeuvre is omnidirectional and dependant on which direction you throw them. Whereas the Raider can only carry someone to a spot directly in front of them, the Warlord can shove opponents all over the battlefield, in any direction he chooses, making his ability to control space exceptional.
Perfect Defense – This is the tool that makes opponents wary at approaching a Warlord. Moving your right thumbstick / mouse downwards executes a stance that makes the Warlord hunker down defensively and the ability to block from all directions simultaneously. This is especially useful when outnumbered and waiting for your teammates to arrive. Maintaining Perfect Defense is exhausting, so keep an eye on your own stamina bar.
The Warlord is able to use three different attacks from his Perfect Defense—light attack, heavy attack and guard break. After blocking an attack, you can quickly retaliate with a light attack, lure enemies closer only to slash at them with a heavy attack, or headbutt with guard break.
Headbutt – One of the greatest tools to truly beat your opponent into submission. When you want to quickly close the gap with the opponent or even bash them off the ledge, why not make use of that big head of yours!? Headbutt can be done in three different ways—either as a follow up from a forward dodge > guard break, Perfect Defense > guard break, or after a jumping heavy attack. All of them are great ways to quickly create pressure on the opponent.
Landing a headbutt also drains the stamina of your opponent but you want to be careful not to overuse it since you will quickly run out of stamina yourself. Warlord can also perform unique stab move after a successful headbutt, gutting the enemy with a forward thrust, by pressing the light attack button. During revenge mode headbutt will also make the opponent fall to the ground, leading for good opportunity to control larger fights.
Jumping Heavy Attack – Warlord has the ability to leap on an opponent by pressing heavy attack while running or after a forward dodge. It covers a fair amount of distance and is best used to catch running opponents or to quickly join a fight.
The fearsome leap has the uninterruptible status on it, similar to normal heavy attacks from the Warlord. It can also be chained into a headbutt > light attack for added pressure.
Try to avoid using the jump attack as your default opener every time since a simple sidestep from a suspecting foe opens you up for an easy punish and it drains a hefty amount of stamina as well.
Shield Bash Counter – When you are getting relentlessly assaulted by an opponent, Warlord’s parry into shield slam is a real momentum shifter. You execute the move by quickly pressing guard break after parrying the opponent’s strike. Slamming the shield on the opponent’s head causes them to lose stamina and be stunned, making their screen blurry and unable to see which side you’re striking from. Warlord can finish the chain with a heavy attack making the entire sequence parry > guard break > heavy attack, which is an effective way to maintain aggression on a stunned opponent.
Zone attack – Another great tool to really mix up your offense. Pressing Light attack + Heavy attack at the same makes the Warlord take a step forward and slash out with his sword and shield. Zone attack is best used to surprise your opponent when you’re both sizing each other from a close to mid range. It’s quite similar to the full block stance > heavy, main differences being the zone attack drains more stamina, but can be used without the setup from full block stance. Both of these attacks always hit from the left side from the Warlord’s perspective.
Warlord truly excels when played like an impenetrable, patient wall. Baiting out the opponent to approach while you are in full block stance, only to get headbutted or hit with a heavy attack is a great way to make opponents wary to approach the Warlord head on. Taking a more defensive approach is generally a good idea for most characters, but especially for the Warlord, since he has multiple counter-attack mechanics to quickly turn defense into offense. The obvious examples are Block and Counter and Shield Bash Counter, but a quick light or heavy out of Perfect Defense is very effective as well.
Positioning is also a key component to any defense. Having the advantage of Perfect Defense and the ability to push people around makes the Warlord shine when positioned properly. Warlord has great tools to punish careless opponents. The Shield Charge can knock an opponent into a wall or off a cliff from surprising distances. Remember that you can always choose the direction you want to throw the opponent into.
This does not mean that you should only sit idly and wait. Try to be proactive and take initiative more often than not. Despite being built and equipped to function like a wall—between his stocky frame and brandishing a shield—the Warlord has explosive offense.
Between the Block and Counter and Shield Bash Counter, you can easily stop an aggressive opponent in their tracks, deal a bit of damage, and turn the tables on them. Remember that the Headbutt can be performed directly out of Perfect Defense, so if you see an attack coming, it’s easy to turtle, block, and immediately counter, gain some space, and drain a bit of your opponent’s stamina. This gives you a short window to start your own offense with a light / heavy attack, or guard break if you’re close enough. If you recognize the opponent prefers light attacks, don’t hesitate to trade with the small blow with an armored heavy attack.
One thing to always consider while on the offense is the Warlord’s short range. Being up close is essential to the Warlord’s offense since he lacks the long range of other characters. Try to maintain good spacing and make sure you are within their reach before you start swinging. This is especially important against characters with longer range weapons like the Nobushi. You can also bait the opponent by just hitting the air with a light attack to make them approach you, just to follow up with a heavy and score a hit.
Once you manage to close the gap with a something like a dashing Headbutt, take advantage of your superior stamina and remain relentless in your attacks. If they are completely out of stamina you can try to get a knockdown with a throw or keep going offensive with light or heavy attacks. Headbutts within the onslaught are also great at keeping your opponent’s stamina low.
Just like with defense, positioning is equally important with offense. If you manage to chase an opponent near a cliff or a wall, start utilizing your Headbutt to keep them on the defensive. Catch your opponents off guard with a Shield Charge to push them off a cliff after you’ve gotten them to defend against headbutts and normal attacks. Try not to get too reckless though since you can quickly find yourself falling down a pit instead.
In the right hands, the Warlord is an aggressive powerhouse who thrives in situations where he is in the enemy’s face and countering their attacks. He will make every attack against him risky and will put pressure on even the safest heroes.