You may have heard - from a friend, from a colleague, from us here in the office - that medieval decapitate-'em-up Mordhau is pretty damn good. But if you're a newer player struggling to get to grips with Mordhau's intricate combat system and you're constantly encountering Alpha players who block everything you've got and never seem to miss, then that fun can be tinged with periods of quite intense frustration. But now you've found our Mordhau guide and tips series, and we're going to give you every trick in the gory, bloodsoaked book of how to win fights and increase your personal skill as quickly as possible in Mordhau.
Mordhau guide - top Mordhau tips and tricks
Mordhau is basically a game all about a single system - combat. So, naturally, our guides series reflects this, and there'll undoubtedly be some crossover in what all these pages deal with. But I promise that if you read through the entire series you will emerge with a very accomplished understanding of how to slice/club/poke/shoot/punch your way to the top of the leaderboard. Click on any of the links below to be brought to any of our more focused Mordhau guides.
Mordhau guide series list
|Mordhau weapons||Learn how each melee, ranged, and throwable weapon differs in form and function, with full damage stats and practical tips.|
|Mordhau perks||Sort the wheat from the chaff with our perks guide, which walks you through which perks can help you survive longer and kill quicker.|
|Mordhau melee combat||Our melee combat guide walks you through feints, ripostes, chambers, morphs, and all sorts of useful melee techniques.|
|Mordhau archery||Ranged combat is a huge part of Mordhau, and we'll show you how to maximise your archery potential with these tips.|
|Mordhau horseback combat||Horseback riding is tough to master, but yields ridiculous rewards. Learn to ride (and counter) horses as effectively as possible.|
|Mordhau shields||How to use and counter Kite Shields and Heater Shields|
|Mordhau builds/loadouts||Learn how to create the very best loadouts by thoughfully splitting your points between weapons, armour, and perks.|
|Mordhau game modes||We'll go over each game mode in Mordhau and explain how you should play differently to excel at each one.|
|Mordhau Battle Royale||This guide'll show you how to tangle with the best players and prevail in Mordhau's Battle Royale mode.|
|Mordhau maps & locations||Explanations and tips for each map currently in Mordhau, plus info on a handful of upcoming maps!|
|Mordhau patch notes/future content||A growing repository of Mordhau patch notes, content updates, and upcoming features and changes.|
Alright! Now let's get stuck into talking about how you can improve your Mordhau skills in the shortest space of time possible.
Mordhau overview - how to play, how to fight, how to win
I won't spend much time on how to play Mordhau, because the game's tutorial is actually really decent at showing you the bare essentials before you start fighting other players. But, for completion's sake - Mordhau is a medieval melee combat game where you and many other players enter into the same battlefield and hack, slash, shoot, dismember, and decapitate your way to glory and honour.
There are a bunch of different game modes to choose from, from the 32v32 tug-of-war-style Frontline, which will be familiar to anyone who played Chivalry, to the free-for-all bloodbath that is Deathmatch. You can read about all of these different game modes and how to switch up your playstyle for each one in our Mordhau game modes guide. But when it comes down to it, whether with a longbow or a spear or a falchion or a zweihander, your aim will involve killing as many enemy players as possible while staying alive as long as possible.
I've added a list of useful and practical tips and tricks at the bottom of this guide, but before we get to the fighting, there's a very important decision regarding Mordhau's controls that you'll have to make.
Mordhau controls guide - 240 or keybinds?
When I start a new game, I always spend some time going through all the settings and keybinds before I actually start playing. With Mordhau, this process took nearly an hour. See, you've got to make a decision early on as to your style of control scheme for the melee fighting in Mordhau, and it's best to put some real thought into this decision because you don't want to start learning one way only to have to switch later.
These two control methods are generally known as the 240 system, and the keybinds system. We'll go over all the different melee attacks in a moment, but basically you can perform four weapon attacks (stab, upper strike, side strike, and lower strike), and each of these can be done either to the left or to the right. That means you've got eight different weapon attacks - which is a lot. You can cope with these myriad attacks in two ways:
- Keybinds system - you assign individual keybinds or keybind combos for each attack.
- 240 system - you just have the one or two keys for attacking, and you move the mouse in the direction you wish to attack.
There are various pros and cons for each type, but what it boils down to is this: the 240 system is intuitive and easy to learn, whereas the keybinds system provides you with full control and greater precision with your attacks. For example, sometimes the 240 system will misunderstand your intentions and cause you to swing in a different way than you intended - which would of course never happen with keybinds. But keybinds is more complex than the 240 system and will lead to a slightly steeper learning curve as you will often find yourself paralysed by the breadth of choice as the enemy's greatsword sails towards your throat.
You can also utilise a hybrid of these two system if you wish, assigning keybinds to various keys while still using your mouse to direct certain attacks. Personally, I use the keybinds method, but rather than having each of the eight attacks set to a different key, I assign keys for the four attack types, and then I hold the "Flip Attack Side" key as I attack in order to use the left version of that attack instead of the right. I find this limits the complexity of keybinds while still allowing you total control over your actions.
But in the end, it's all down to personal preference. Many of the top players in Mordhau use the 240 system, while many others use keybinds. None of the pros or cons are significant enough to warrant a decision made on anything other than your own preference.
Combat and fighting in Mordhau
As I've iterated multiple times already in this guide, combat in Mordhau is pretty complex. At its heart you've got two attacks - the strike and the stab - but the strike can be made in six different directions, and the stab in two. To defend against these attacks you can parry them with your own weapon; and if you immediately counterattack after parrying this turns it into a riposte, which speeds up the windup of your attack.
You can also chamber, which is where instead of parrying you mirror the opponent's attack (e.g. if they do an upper right strike, you do an upper left), and has the pleasant result of you immediately countering with your own attack in a much shorter time. But wait, there's more! You can also feint with your attacks to mislead your enemy, and you can morph one attack into another to mess up your opponent's timing. And that's not even talking about accels and drags, where you swing your body around as you strike in order to either speed up or slow down your attack to get around your opponent's parry.
I know I'm breezing through these techniques without actually providing much wisdom or knowledge for you. The reason for this is that we've got a trio of fully-fledged and far more focused guides that will teach you everything you need to know about Mordhau melee combat, Mordhau archery, and Mordhau horseback combat respectively. Take a look; you'll thank me later.
Mordhau weapons, gear, and perks
Next thing to deal with is your choice of weapon. And not just that, but your choice of person in general. Mordhau starts you off with the ability to select various premade mercenary loadouts like the Knight or the Huntsman, each with their own weapons, armour, and goodness-bestowing perks. But where's the fun in picking a premade mercenary when you can create your own? Mordhau has a dazzling array of weapons, gear, cosmetics, perks, and characteristics you can modify in order to create a mercenary who is truly your own. For instance, I made my best approximation of a medieval Magneto (pictured above).
But it's not all fun and games; your choice of weapons, armour, and perks have a massive impact upon your fighting and survival capabilities. With each character you make you have a total of 16 points to spend across weapons, armour, and perks. Each weapon deals unique amounts of damage to different areas of the body (head, torso, and legs to be precise), and you also have to pay attention to their effective ranges, alternate modes, attack speeds, and so on. Read more about all the weapons on offer in our Mordhau weapons guide.
To help soak up more damage, you have three slots for armour - yep, you guessed it, it's the head, torso, and legs. Each of these can be equipped with Light, Medium, or Heavy armour - or no armour at all. The Heavy armour soaks up more damage, but is more vulnerable to blunt weaponry and will slow down your movement speed. Light Armour makes you more nimble and free to spend your points elsewhere, but you're likely to die in one, maybe two hits. If you want some great ideas on how to spread out your 16 points to create the most powerful loadouts possible, check out our Mordhau builds/loadouts guide.
It can be tempting to think of perks as ways to just use up the points left over after you've picked your weapon and armour, to get some minor benefit or other. And yeah, some of the perks on offer are pretty useless. But there are others that are so game-changing that it's often an idea to forego the best armour or weaponry just so you can keep these perks on your person. For tonnes of info on every single perk in the game and how they compare to one another, look no further than our Mordhau perks guide.
Mordhau top tips on winning fights and improving your skill
And now we've reached the part you've all been waiting for - our general tips for improving your fighting skills in Mordhau as quickly as possible. Read, absorb, and most importantly, make a conscious effort to put them into action, because they really do work.
- Unbind your Parry key for a while to force yourself to chamber. I know it sounds crazy, but if you're having trouble winning fights because you're not yet adept at chambering, then unbind your Parry key so you're forced to chamber attacks to deflect them. I did it to begin with, and it helped me to master chambering so quickly, it's unbelievable. Just be prepared to die a lot as you're getting used to the change.
- Learn to ride (and counter) horses well. If you've come up against a good horseback rider on the Camp map in Frontline, you'll know why horses are so paramount. I'd go so far as to say they're a bit overpowered at the moment. Most of the time the only time you'll die on horseback is if you manoeuvre your horse into a bad spot. Learn to tap "S" to alter your riding speed on the fly so you can manoeuvre through these difficult spots, and learn to aim well with a long-reaching weapon, and you'll be top of the leaderboard in no time.
- Can't get through a shield-abuser? Kick to hard-counter them. Some shields allow you to block indefinitely, making them enormously more forgiving than normal weapon-based parries. This can make it very difficult to deal with shield-abusers - unless you know that all you need to do is bait them into getting close, then kick them. This will usually stun them long enough for you to land a devastating hit on them wherever you like. Rinse, repeat.
- Keep dying to rapier-stab-abusers? Learn to chamber-morph. I say rapier because players have quickly learnt how fast it is at stabbing, but this applies to anyone who abuses stab attacks over and over. First, you chamber their stab with a stab of your own. Then, during the wind-up of your counterattack, morph to a side strike instead. They'll be expecting a normal parry chamber, so they'll continue to stab to no avail as you chop into them from the side. Works 99% of the time against any stab-abuser. Seriously.
- Bloodlust, Dodge, Second Wind, and Friendly are all excellent perks. I say it again - not all perks are useless. Bloodlust is utterly overpowered in large team matches at the moment, and will allow you to survive even when outnumbered. Dodge and Second Wind are both fantastic, game-changing skills in 1v1 scenarios. Learn the value of all the Mordhau perks on offer.
- The key to 1vX situations is positioning, chambering, and target-switching. 1vX fights happen a lot in large 32v32 matches, and you'll die very quickly to them if you're not prepared. First, don't ever let them surround you. Second, don't go purely defensive with constant parries - you'll quickly die unless you chamber and counter with a more aggressive playstyle. Third, switch targets unpredictably. Chamber one, then use your counter-attack to damage another. If a player thinks they'll be attacked at any moment they won't be so quick to dive in on an outnumbered enemy.
- Learning to drag and accel will enable you to beat 80% of the playerbase in a 1v1. This is particularly the case if you combine your ability to drag or accel attacks with a weapon that already has deceptive timing to its wind-ups. A dragged Maul or Zweihander attack is so slow that you're almost guaranteed a devastating hit on any player who hasn't yet passed the "panic-parry" stage of their Mordhau journey. So yeah. Learn to drag and accel your attacks.
- Don't get too frustrated at dying constantly. Easier said than done, I know, but seriously. Mordhau is a game with a very messy player skill curve - by which I mean, no matter how good you are there can be situations where you die to someone much worse than you. Which means no matter how good you get, dying is part of the game, and if you want to play consistently well you'll have to train yourself not to get tilted when you die three times in a row to the same enemy. Breathe, think, and enjoy the game.
And with that, I think we'll call it a day for now. The above should hopefully have given you a decent overview of what to expect if you're one of the many players just beginning your journey into the blood-soaked world of Mordhau, and provided some more advanced tips and tricks for those looking to improve their fighting skills to the next level. Keep checking back as we add even more content to our Mordhau guides. Until then, see you on the battlefield. I'll be the one with the giant spear who looks vaguely like Magneto.