Mirror WAR – WH v. WE
Today we explore the shady corner of Warhammer, the circles where people of lesser repute travel. That’s right, the topic of today’s discussion is the Witch Hunter (WH) and Witch Elf (WE); two melee dps classes clad in light armor, a misfortune compensated for by their fancy hat and big… daggers. Their mechanic is one of building up points (Accusations/Blood Lust) through their attacks, points which are spent towards vicious ‘finishers’ or Executions for the WH, and Frenzies for the WE. Also in their tool-belt and thong is the ability to go stealth and lurk the lakes in the shadows so they can pop on you and bust a cap in your ass! Err… I mean so they can use a ‘opener’ on you (which tends to build more Accusations/Blood Lust) and then whack you a few more times before they finish you. Let’s see just how close these mirrors are! For this pairing I will lump abilities per mastery tree in their categories, as the categories are the same across the board: core attacks (2 per tree), core opener, core finisher, proc-buff, mastery defensive buff, mastery attack, mastery finisher. All ‘openers’ require stealth, build 2 secondary points, and reduce the cost of the characters abilities by 50% for 10 seconds. All ‘finishers’ cost 20% less AP per secondary point, making them free if all 5 points are used.
- Aside from the usual AoE detaunt and root breaker, the WH and WE share quite a few other core abilities which define their class and aide in the execution of their foul business. As mentioned above, both classes have a stealth ability in which they can move around to plot the death of their foes. Also in their arsenal is a sever-blessing which is standard among tanks, a 7 second buff which allows them to ignore positional requirements, a range attack which can also snare their target if they nail the target in the back, and an ability which causes the character to stagger their target for 3 seconds and leap backwards so they can flee to fight another day.
- Of the core morales one is shared while two pairs are different. Both M2’s are a 65 foot attack that deals 1360 damage to all enemies in this range, with the particular distinction that the WH’s Reversal of Fortune is a 65 foot ‘line’ while the WE’s Web of Shadows has an unspecified width, presumably a cone.
- For M1 the WH has Exoneration which recovers 1356 HP and 180 AP over 9 seconds; and at M3 Witchfire Protection which increases his groups parry by 50% for 10 seconds. The WE at M1 has Dance of Doom which deals 340 damage to their target every second for 3 seconds; and at M3 Death Reaper which increases their groups chance to critically hit by 50% for 20 seconds.
- Witch Hunter
- Blood, Faith, and Fire – On kill-blow, your group-mates within 30 feet regain 75AP
- Encourage Confession – Bullets of Confession (outgoing heal debuff) make your target 5% easier to critically hit
- Flowing Accusations – Executions have a 50% chance to recover 2 Accusations
- Inquisitional Fury – On crit, your auto-attack is increased by 50% for 10 seconds
- Last Rite – On kill-blow you regain 639 health over 9 seconds
- Penetrating Barbs – Fanatical Zeal, Burn Armor, and Sudden Accusation (openers) last 5 seconds longer
- Righteous Steel – +10% parry
- Vindication – On disrupt, you deal +35% damage for 10 seconds.
- Witch Elf
- Baneful Touch – Anytime you attack your target from the side or rear, you regain 15 AP
- Exotic Venom – Vehement Blades, Enfeebling Strike, and Treacherous Assault (openers) last 5 seconds longer
- For the Hag Queen! – Frenzies have a 10% chance per Blood Lust point spent to knock your target down for 3 seconds
- Frenzied Mayhem – Your chance to critically hit is increased by 3% per Blood Lust point
- Sacrifices Rewarded – Fleet-Footed (root breaker) also increases your movement speed by 25%
- Taste of Blood – On taking damage, there is a 25% chance you deal 15% more damage for 10 seconds
- Whirling Blades – Attacks that build Blood Lust have a 33% chance to build an additional Blood Lust point
- This mastery path focuses on face-to-face combat. As mentioned before each tree is broken down into a basic pattern which I will follow in discussing core and mastery abilities. While many abilities are in the same category, they do not mirror each other.
- For the core proc-buff the WH has the Blessed Bullets of Purity which cause every Execution to deal an additional 500 spirit damage and decrease the target’s initiative by 62 for 10 seconds while raising the WH’s initiative by 62 for 10 seconds. The WE has Kiss of Agony which has a 25% chance on attack to deal an additional 330 corporeal damage and to reduce the target’s initiative by 50 for 10 seconds while raising the WE’s initiative by 50 for 10 seconds.
- For the core attacks we have: a basic attack that costs 40AP, builds one Accusation/Blood Lust (Razor Strike/Slice). The second core attack differs between the two classes – the WH gets Seeker’s Blade which is a 45AP, 10s CD attack that cannot be defended and leaves an ailment on the target for 15 seconds lowering their chance to block, dodge, parry, and disrupt by 5%; the WE has Sever Limb which requires a parry and disarms the target for 4 seconds. All four core attacks have a 711 tool-tip value.
- For the openers: the WH has Burn Armor which is a 15 second ailment that deals 152 spirit damage every time the target uses a melee attack; the WE’s Vehement Blades has the same effects except with corporeal damage.
- For the finishers: the WH has Trial By Pain which is a 3 second channeled attack with a 30 foot range, it can deal between 186-314 damage based on Accusations used; the WE has Ruthless Assault which is also a 3 second channeled attack, but melee, and it hits 6 times over 3 seconds dealing between 1596 to 3000 damage based on Blood Lust used.
- For mastery abilities we once again split up the abilities into their categories of buff, attack, and finisher.
- For the short-term buff the WH has Shroud of Magnus which increases the WH’s chance to disrupt by 100% for 7 seconds. The WE has Elixer of Insane Power which allows the WE to ignore 50% of their target’s armor for 7 seconds.
- For the attack the WH has Repel Blasphemy which deals 763 damage and increases the WH’s chance to parry by 100% for 5 seconds – it has a 30s CD. The WE has Pierce Armor which deals 705 damage ignoring all of the target’s armor, and additionally if the target is under the affects of an ailment (an opener for example) then the WE’s weapon skill is increased by 90 for 20 seconds.
- For the finisher the WH hsa Dragon Gun which is a 30 foot attack that deals between 397 damage to all enemies in a 30 feet cone, to 763 damage to all enemies in a 48.3 foot cone. The WE has On Your Knees which knocks the target down for 2 seconds and hits the target and all enemies near them twice, ranging from 313 damage twice to enemies within 30 feet of the target, to 611 damage twice to enemies within 48.3 feet of the target.
- For mastery tactics the MR11 tactic is shared – Sweeping Razor for the WH and Broad Severing both make their core attack (Razor Swipe/Slice) hit two additional enemies within 25 feet of your target but deal 10% less damage.
- At MR3 the WH has Seeker’s Triumph which allows Seeker’s Blade to ignore 50% of their target’s armor and reduces the cool-down of that ability by 5 seconds. At MR7 the WH has Sanctified Bullets which makes the Bullets of Purity heal the WH for 100% of the damage dealt.
- At MR3 the WE has Sharpened Edges which on being blocked or parried the WE deals 165 damage to the target, this cannot proc more than once every 3 seconds. At MR7 the WE has Swift Blades which increases the WE’s chance to parry by 10% and on parry the WE regains 20AP, which cannot proc more than once every 3 seconds.
- For morale 4s the WH’s Divine Blast deals 2720 damage to all enemies in a 65 foot cone. The WE’s Blade Spin deals 2720 damage over 3 seconds to all enemies within 30 feet of her.
- This mastery path for both classes focuses on damage-over-time abilities.
- For the core proc-buff the WH has Blessed Bullets of Confession which cause executions to deal 455 additional spirit damage and decrease the outgoing heals of the target by 50% for 5 seconds. The WE has the Kiss of Death which has gives the WE’s melee attacks a 25% chance to deal an additional 330 corporeal damage and decreases the target’s outgoing heals by 50% for 5 seconds.
- For the core attacks we have: a damaging attack with a 9 second DoT that stacks 3 times, with a tool-tip value for both of 426 direct damage and 468 damage over 9 seconds (Fervor/Envenomed Blade). The second ability is different for both classes: the WH has Confess! which like the WE’s Sever Limb requires a parry and disarms the target for 4 seconds; the WE has Wracking Pains which deals 1501 spirit damage over 15 seconds, and if the target is ailing then their toughness and weapon skill are reduced by 93 for 21 seconds.
- For the openers: the WH has Sudden Accusation which is a 15 second ailment that deals 92 spirit damage every second the target is moving; the WE has Enfeebling Strike which does the same thing but with corporeal damage.
- For the finishers: the WH has Burn, Heretic! which is a 10 second DoT dealing between 1062 to 1746 damage, based on Accusations used; the WE has Heart Render Toxin which is an attack that hits the target twice and debuffs their wounds for 10 seconds ranging from 313 damage per attack and a 25 wounds debuff to 551 damage per attack and a 58 wounds debuff.
- For the mastery abilities:
- Short-term buff: the WH gets the Seal of Destruction which allows the WH to ignore 50% of their target’s armor for 7 seconds (akin to the WE’s Elixir of Insane Power in their Carange tree); the WE gets the Elixer of Blades which is a 7 second buff which causes the WE to deal 330 damage back to melee attacks.
- Attack: the WH gets Punish the False which deals 726 damage and reduces heals (the tool-tip does not say if they are incoming or outgoing, but presumably incoming) by 50% for 10 seconds; the WE Black Lotus Blade with the same tool-tip and effect.
- Finisher: the WH gets Exit Wound, a 30 foot shot which damages the target and decreases the targets strength, toughness, and weapon skill for 10 seconds, ranging from 603 damage and 102 stats lost to 1043 damage and 204 stats lost. The WE gets Witchbrew which allows the WE to deal an additional 340 corporeal damage per attack, ranging from the next 2 attacks to the next 6 attacks.
- For the tactics both MR11 tactics grant the character a 617 absorb bubble when they leave stealth (Protection from Heresy/Enveloping Shadows).
- At MR3 the WH gets Full Confession which makes Confess! cost no AP and always critically hit. At MR7 Prolonged Confession which causes all attacks that build Accusations to have a 50% chance to build an additional Accusation (like the WE’s core tactic Whirling Blades).
- At MR3 the WE gets Septic Blade which makes Envenomed Blade (stackable 9s DoT) also reduce the target’s chance to critically hit by 25%. At MR7 the Kiss of Doom which makes the Kiss of Death heal the target for the damage dealt (like the WH’s Sanctified Bullets in their Confession tree).
- For the M4’s the WH has Excommunicate which causes your target to not receive heals for the next 15 seconds and deals 1715 damage over 15 seconds to your target and all enemies within 20 feet of your target. The WE has Fling Poison which deals 2720 damage over 5 seconds to all enemies 65 feet in front of the WE.
- This mastery tree for both classes focuses on positional attacks.
- For the proc-buff the WH has the Blessed Bullets of Cleansing which cause executions to deal 560 additional spirit damage and steal 20 AP from the target to the WH. The WE’s Kiss of Betrayal gives the WE’s melee attacks a 25% chance to deal an additional 330 corporeal damage and steal 20 AP and give it to the WE.
- For the attacks both are mirrored: we have an attack that ignores all armor if the WH/WE is behind their target dealing 651 tool-tip damage for both (Torment/Agonizing Wound); and we have a silence that deals 681 damage if they are behind their target (Silence the Heretic/Throat Slitter).
- For the openers: the WH has Fanatical Zeal which is a 15 second ailment that causes your target to take 212 spirit damage every time they use a magical ability. The WE’s Treacherous Assault has the same description except with corporeal damage.
- For the finishers: the WH has Absolution which is a 30 foot burst of damage dealing between 553 and 927 damage, again based off of Accusations used. The WE’s Puncture is a double attack dealing between 356 damage per attack to 650 damage per attack.
- For mastery abilities:
- Short-term buff: the WH gets Van Horstmann’s Speculum which is a 7 second buff that causes the WH to deal 366 spirit damage back to melee attacks (akin to the WE’s Elixir of Blades in the Suffering tree). The WE gets the Elixir of the Cauldron which increase the WE’s chance to disrupt attacks by 100% for 7 seconds.
- Attack: both MR9 abilities are a positional attack that is also a 2s knock-down – the WH’s Pistol Whip deals 838 damage while the WE’s Heart Seeker deals 763 damage.
- Finishers: The WH gets Burn Away Lies which is a melee positional attack that is a 9 second DoT with a burst at the end, ranging from 1284 damage over 9 seconds and a 569 burst to 2259 damage over 9 seconds and a 1065 burst. The WE gets Sacrificial Stab which is a double attack that heals the WE for the damage dealt, ranging from 332 damage per attack to 594 damage per attack.
- For tactics both MR7 tactics increase the damage dealt by critical hits by 50% (Fanatical Cleansing/Increased Pain)
- At MR3 the WH gets Atonement which causes Absolution (burst range finisher) to crit 25% more. At MR11 the WH gets Vitriolic Judgement which gives positional attacks a 25% chance to cause the victim to lose 225 morale.
- At MR3 the WE gets Swift Movements which decreases the CD of Feinted Positioning (core ability that ignores positional requirements) by 40 seconds (to 20 seconds). At MR11 the WE gets Masterful Treachery which gives the WE a 15% damage boost for 10 seconds after using a opener
- For morale 4’s the WH gets Expurgation which snares all enemies within 30 feet of the WH by 60% and deals 2285 damage over 10 seconds. The WE gets Overwhelming Dread which causes all enemies within 30 feet of the WE to instantly lose 125 AP and regen AP at a 50% lower rate for 10 seconds.
To compare the Witch Hunter and the Witch Elf it would be easier to do so by comparing them across the break-down of their abilities – core attacks, core weapon buffs, openers, core finishers, mastery 7s buffs, mastery attacks, and mastery finishers – and of course mastery tactics and morales. But before doing that lets quickly look over the core tactics and morales; we can exclude core non-mastery tree abilities since they are all identical.
For the core morales, both M2’s are identical in essence so the competition is between the M1’s and M3’s. The WH’s M1 is a rather weak HoT while the WE gets a rather weak 3 second attack… neither is great but I suppose the WH’s wins for the AP regen, though in the end I’d be willing to bet neither slots their class-unique M1 and goes for Confusing Movements. The WH’s M3 is a group parry buff, which is great if you’re running with tanks, mdps, and WPs but with rdps and caster-healers its not so great. The WE on the other hand has a morale which is incredibly potent, perhaps too potent for a burst dps like the WE – a 50% crit buff for the whole group. M1 aside, the WE wins the morale competition almost exclusively with Death Reaper. Going to M4’s the WH’s Confession M4 beats the DoT the WE deals (direct damage always trumps DoTs of equal value); the WE in the middle tree again has a DoT, and while the WH’s center M4 has lower damage it has a far deadlier implications of 5 seconds when the target cannot be healed; but for the right tree I think the WE’s Overwhelming Dread beats the WH’s Expurgation. I’d say the WE has the strongest core morale and one good M4, but the WH has two better M4s.
In terms of core tactics the WE has some AP management built in with Baneful Touch which the WH does not have, and most importantly the WE has 15% additional critical damage with Frenzied Mayhem which the WH cannot achieve. This leads to an interesting situation where most WE’s opt to hold onto the 15% crit and not use any of their finishers because it is more advantageous to have higher crit all the time than to use finishers, which frankly for the WE’s aren’t that great. Delving deeper in the matter the WE can get a nice speed boost with their root-breaker to help counter kiting classes and the potential for a knockdown on any attack with For the Hag Queen! While the WH has a core tactic that increases parry, the specced version of the WE’s parry tactic returns AP on parry. Most importantly, the WE has a tactic which reduces the CD of their positional-ignore buff by 40 seconds – a 10 second buff that allows the WE to ignore positional requirements on a 20 second CD, that means half their attacks could always ignore positional requirements. Most of the WE’s unique mastery tactics have a certain appeal to them and while the WH’s do too, many of the WH’s tactics focus on modifying one ability. I’d say the WE has the better share of tactics, though both sides no doubt have tactics the other wants.
Moving onto the meat of the matter we begin to look at the mastery-tree abilities. Let’s begin with the buffs on the weapons which are perhaps one of the better points of contention. The WH’s Bullets all have a 100% chance to proc, but only on Executions. While the Bullet’s damage is higher than the WE Kisses, the Kisses have a 25% chance to proc on all attacks. This leads to a simple battle of the ‘mathz’ – the WH can opt to use his Execution with only one Accusation and have a 100% proc on every other attack, but they would be rather weak Executions, or he can wait to have a very potent Execution with a further buff. The WE on the other hand with Frenzied Mayhem already has little incentive to use Frenzies, and with this ability proccing 25% of the time it is bound to proc at least once before they use a Frenzy anyway. In the recent age of ProcHammer we have all seen that ‘10%’ really doesn’t mean much because procs in Warhammer seem to proc far more often than their percentage would lead one to believe. For this simple reason I would say the WE’s Kisses could potentially be stronger, but in the end I’m no math person.
Of the six pairs of core abilities five are shared, though one pair is split in different trees. The difference comes down to the WH’s defense debuff (Seeker’s Blade) and the WE’s toughness and weapon skill debuff (Wracking Pains). The damage of Wracking Pains is negligible as it is split over 21 seconds rendering it a very weak DoT, its appeal comes to the ‘if ailing’ debuff which is meant to lower the target’s survivability. However the flat 5% parry debuff from Seeker’s Blade, which is undefendable, easily outdoes the weapon skill that Wracking Pains can debuff, and even beyond that Seeker’s Blade makes a target less defensible against all foes and against all types of attacks which Wracking Pains perhaps cannot. It comes down to one ability deciding the fate of the core mastery-ability struggle, and the victor would be the WH. Looking at the mastery abilities two pairs are the same with an incoming heal debuff in the middle tree and a 2s positional knock down in the right tree. The only different attack is the one in the left tree which for the WH is a 5 second parry buff and for the WE is an armor ignore with a weapon skill buff. The WH’s is for survivability while the WE’s is for the offensive mind-set. Two different approaches but I think the WE’s is the true winner in the end as it helps the WE kill any class while the WH’s parry buff is a quarter of the duration of the WE’s weapon skill debuff and it only counters melee attacks.
Skipping over the ‘openers’ and mastery-buffs since they are all exactly the same we move onto the finishers. As I mentioned before, with Frenzied Mayhem WE’s have little incentive to use finishers, but this is but one reason. The second reason is that the WE’s finishers aren’t terribly potent, at least in comparison to the WH’s finishers. While the WE’s finishers have higher tool-tip values, they are spread over many attacks and as any melee class knows, the more attacks you throw out, the more attacks you have to get parried or blocked. One may argue that with all of the burst put in one attack for the WH all their potential could be lost if that one attack is defended against and a WE could at least land some blows and achieve some damage with her attacks being spread out, but this is viewing the battle in terms of a longer durations – WAR is increasingly not about long duration battles, but about burst. One of the key advantages the WH has in finishers is that 4 out of 6 have 30 foot ranges, while all of the WE’s are melee.Let’s try to look at the pairs to see who wins.
- Trial By Pain is a horribly weak channeled attack which peaks at 314 damage per second, while the WE’s Ruthless Assault peaks at 500 damage per half second – in this case the WE wins by a long shot.
- Dragon Gun is a crappy AoE attack, the only one for the WH and for a single target class it is out of place; the WE’s On Your Knees on the other hand, while also being AoE, more importantly is a 2s knock-down – yet another knock down for the WE.
- Burn, Heretic! is a pretty weak DoT (174 dmg/s at max), not to mention its melee, while Heart Render Toxin can hit for up to 1k damage and debuff 58 wounds leading to greater damage potential.
- Exit Wound is a pretty nasty finisher, definitely better than the aforementioned 3 WH finishers, with a 204 debuff to toughness, strength, and weapon skill – rendering any melee class in a nasty position. The WE’s Witchbrew can potentially get 2040 corporeal damage wrung out of it, but that’s a big commitment into the DoT tree for 2k damage spread over 6 attacks.
- Absolution is a pretty nice range finisher topping off at 927 damage (many WH’s use it at the guy trying to run away at like 10% health). Puncture deals up to 650 damage twice, so its 1300 damage outweighs Absolution, but the range of Absolution and the single burst helps it win.
- Burn Away Lies for all its hype isn’t the belle of the ball – its a 9 second DoT with a burst, that’s 9 seconds a healer can cleanse it. Perhaps when the healers are overwhelmed, in one-on-one’s, or when a healer can’t cleanse ailments it shows the brunt of its force with a 1065 burst on end at 5 Accusations, but when you think of Word of Pain and Boiling Blood hitting for 2k in 5 seconds… BAL isn’t the worst of the burst foes in the game. That’s not to say that Sacrificial Stab is any better, its a pretty pitiful self-heal which a healing pot can out-do.
In the end the WE has 3 finishers that are better than the WH counter-part, and the WH likewise has 3 better than the WH counterparts. Is it a tie? No. With the main focus of most WHs and WEs being their positional trees, the WE has little incentive to get their finisher in this tree – this leaves the choice of sticking with Heart Render Toxin or speccing up to On Your Knees for the additional knock-down. The WH on the other hand has far more incentive to stick with their positional tree and/or perhaps go into the DoT tree for Exit Wounds (no sensible WH would get Dragon Gun…)
Are the WE and WH mirrors? Well in terms of core abilities they are. In terms of play style they are. In terms of ability and tactic balance it is hard to say they are. They share little in terms of tactics and many of the WE’s tactics have greater appeal. With Frenzied Mayhem and the weak potential of the WE finishers, the WE may be better off sitting on her Blood Lust and fighting away at 15% crit. The WH with Flowing Accusations and more potent Executions is lead more down the path of using their finishers. Due to these different approaches to the class its hard to call them mirrors, particularly when the WE can slot Swift Movements, thus ignoring positional requirements 50% of the time, and spam Agonizing Wounds to crit 15% more. So I’d say while they are mirrors in essence and can be mirrors in truth, they fulfill their roles differently and are lead to do so because of how their unique abilities and tactics direct them. Perhaps if the WE’s finishers were bumped in potency then we could see the WE pursue a closer play-style to the WH, and perhaps if the positional tree for both classes was made less potent we could see some greater variety across the board.