One of the most important divergences that Mordhau takes from the path set by the previous best-in-class medieval brawler (Chivalry, for those wondering) is its Perks system. Mordhau's perks allow you to invest your character's "points" into something other than your equipment and weaponry, adding little - or large - bonus traits and moves to your death-dealing repertoire. Our Mordhau perks guide, now updated for Patch #7, will walk you through which perks are worth taking and which aren't worth your hard-earned points.
If you're looking for a more general overview of Mordhau than this perks guide can provide, then you're best suited heading over to our main Mordhau guide, where we've got tonnes of beginner-friendly explanations and practical tips - alongside links to other areas of our guides series, such as our repository of Mordhau weapons stats and comparisons.
Mordhau perks guide - best perks ranked
You can customise your characters' perks in the Armory tab from the Main Menu, or in the loadout selection screen in-game. With each loadout you'll have 16 points to spend on weapons, armour, and perks - but don't be tempted to look at perks solely as a means to use up your remaining points. Some of these perks can be absolutely game-changing - as you'll see in a moment.
Below I've ordered all 19 perks currently in Mordhau into five tiers, ranging from S-Tier (best) to D-Tier (worst). Read further, or click on any of the perks in the below table, in order to skip ahead to my explanations of each perk and why I've ranked them as I have.
|S-Tier: Bloodlust :: Dodge|
|A-Tier: Friendly :: Scavenger :: Second Wind :: Ranger :: Huntsman|
|B-Tier: Fireproof :: Fury :: Rush :: Tenacious|
|C-Tier: Cat :: Flesh Wound :: Wrecker :: Smith|
|D-Tier: Acrobat :: Brawler :: Peasant :: Rat|
S-Tier perks (Bloodlust, Dodge)
Bloodlust is in the S-Tier because, simply put, it's an absolute game-changer for Frontline and other large matches. It's expensive, requiring 5 of your 16 points for a single perk, but being able to regain your full health on every melee kill is just crazy. It allows you to perform much better in 1vX fights (which happens a lot in Mordhau, as we all know), and to stay in the fight for much longer without having to step back and heal. To be frank, it's overpowered, and I expect we'll soon see a slight balance change to the Bloodlust perk to bring it more in line with the rest.
Dodge is the other ridiculously game-changing perk available in Mordhau, this time at just 4 points (still costly for a perk, but incredible value for money). Whereas Bloodlust is your friend for 1vX situations, Dodge is the king of 1v1 combat - though it is also very useful in certain larger team match situations. Dodge is the only perk that affords you an extra move to use during fights, allowing you to dodge quickly backwards or sideways by tapping Jump and moving in that direction. Otherwise impossible-to-avoid attacks can be neatly dodged with this perk, giving you a distinct advantage as long as you know when to use it.
A-Tier perks (Friendly, Scavenger, Second Wind, Ranger, Huntsman)
Friendly may seem like a nothing perk at first, but you'll come round to it after the inevitable game of Frontline where you can't move without being hacked to bits from behind by your own Executioner Sword-wielding madman of a teammate. It's a simple 1-cost perk that halves all damage you receive from teammates, and halves all damage you deal to them. That second bit, by the way, it pretty great if you're going round on horseback, where it can be hard at times to avoid trampling your own team as well as the enemy's. Friendly is a fantastic and underrated perk that might as well increase your maximum health on Frontline and Team Deathmatch.
Scavenger, another 1-cost perk that hides its true worth at first glance, is in truth another game-changing perk that you can use to subvert the whole idea of using points to balance out different character loadouts. For the uninitiated, Scavenger causes enemies you kill to drop all their weapons and any other items they're carrying as they die. Know what this means? If you're decent with the humbler blades out there (I'd recommend the 2-cost Arming Sword), you can create a character with a 3/3/2 armour stat line, then kill an enemy with, oh, I don't know, a Zweihander or a Halberd. Hey presto - you've got yourself a 24/25 point character ready to smash some skulls. Plus it's a great way to quickly learn a wide variety of different weapons.
Second Wind is just wonderful in 1v1 situations - a simple 2-cost perk that supplies you with 3 extra stamina with every successful hit. If you've duelled a lot in Mordhau, you'll know that you really need to keep a weather eye on your stamina bar, because if it drops low, you're in big trouble. Second Wind is truly a godsend, particularly when combined with Dodge to help counteract the latter's stamina depletion effect. But it's not to be sniffed at in team situations either. Stamina is important in any situation.
Ranger is of course a bit more niche, because it applies only to archers, but for those archers it is all but a necessity to pick up this perk. This one increases your movement speed while aiming with any bow - Longbow, Recurve Bow, or Crossbow. It'll save your life a dozen times over in large Frontline matches where the enemy archers are attempting to pick you off from afar, or when a crazed War Axe-touting mercenary is racing towards you and all you need are a few extra milliseconds to line up the crucial shot. And, with Patch #7, Ranger only costs 1 point instead of 2, which means you can pick it up alongside...
Huntsman is the other excellent archery Perk, and - as with Ranger - Patch #7 has seen fit to reduce it to a 1-cost pickup, which is why I've bumped it all the way up to A-Tier. This is a godsend of a Perk as an archer facing off against other archers in a large Frontline match. A good archer can absolutely determine the course of a match, and sometimes the only thing that can deal with one good archer is another. I've had matches that were all but decided by my choice to pick up this Perk, because it allowed me to more quickly deal with the one or two enemy archers that were racking up kills left, right, and centre until I stepped in with Huntsman on my side.
B-Tier perks (Fireproof, Fury, Rush, Tenacious)
Fireproof is not a perk I thought would be necessary when I first started playing, but as time went on and I saw just how many Fire Bomb-abusers there are in Mordhau at the moment, it occurred to me to pick this perk up once in a while when I had 1 point to spare. Very niche, which is why it's down in B-Tier, but a reduction of 80% in fire damage means those Fire Bombs aren't the death traps they once were. Plus it's a great feeling when you just charge through the flames towards the enemy who thought they were safe for the moment.
Fury is another strong pickup, though I'd like it much more if it only cost 1 point instead of 2. Still, it's a great 1vX perk for all the same reasons as Bloodlust as it refills 2/3 of your stamina bar with every kill. It's obviously far outshined by Bloodlust, which is why not many players are running it; but if the 5-cost Bloodlust is too steep for your current loadout, you might want to give Fury a try.
Rush is great for a particular style of play, I've found. I call it the "Confusing Bastard" playstyle, where you equip yourself with a big strike-heavy weapon like a War Axe or Zweihander, and you dip and weave in and out of fights with every swing, constantly holding down the "W" key as you do so. This is where Rush truly excels, allowing you to sprint immediately after you've killed someone so you've no need to ever slow down. It won't do you much against skilled opponents or 1v1 situations, and I often find it doesn't do enough to justify costing 3 points, but it's still situationally useful.
Tenacious, the old faithful, is a good, popular, and easy to understand perk that speeds up your passive health regeneration by 66% - for just 1 out of your 16 points. Other than Friendly, it's my go-to perk when I've just got a single point left over after I've equipped my character with everything else. The only reason it's not higher is because, to be honest, I've never found the default health regeneration to be slow at all, and if I'm being brutally honest with myself, I've never found that I really needed the Tenacious perk, or had a moment where I thought, "wow, I'm glad I picked Tenacious". But for 1 point, it's still a great pick. If there were an AB-Tier, it would live happily there on its own.
C-Tier perks (Cat, Flesh Wound, Wrecker, Smith)
Cat is not as fun as it sounds. Wouldn't it be amazing if Cat did something like allowing you to jump further with more forwards momentum, so you can properly spring in and out of combat like a cat? Alas, all Cat does is reduces fall damage by half. Yeah, it can save your life sometimes. But I'm of the opinion that it's a crutch more than anything. You shouldn't be taking fall damage in the first place. You're better off spending that 1 point elsewhere in my opinion.
Flesh Wound is hilarious. I mean, it's pure 2-cost comedic gold. Which for many of you will be reason enough to pick it anyway. In terms of actual benefits... yeah, not much. It does sometimes allow you to get the drop on an unsuspecting opponent who lets down their guard once they think you're defeated. But seriously, who wants a perk that only comes into effect when you die? I don't want to die!
Wrecker is a to-the-point 1-cost perk for players who want to win quickly in Frontline, allowing you to deal 50% extra melee damage against structures. So if you want, you could create an axe-wielding barbarian with the Wrecker perk, and enjoy a much faster rate at which you can chip away at your enemy's barricades. But I certainly don't rank it very highly. There are far better 1-cost perks out there to choose from.
Smith is for the builders at heart. Those who toil away repairing their team's broken barricades and defences while everyone else charges blindly into battle are the unsung heroes of Mordhau, and I don't wish to diminish their value. But you don't need the Smith perk to do this. Yes, it improves your building repair rate by 50%, but you usually have more than enough time to finish the job anyway, so I think it'd be a much better use of your points to invest in a better perk that will bring some more use to your time - like your ability to fight well and stay alive.
D-Tier perks (Acrobat, Brawler, Peasant, Rat)
Acrobat would be much more palatable, in my opinion, if it synergised well with Dodge. It's a 1-cost perk that reduces the stamina cost of your jumps by 50%. And seeing as Dodge uses jumping to dodge backwards or sideways, you'd think the stamina cost reduction would apply, right? Well it doesn't. I agree, it does suck. And it relegates the Acrobat perk down to the realms of the truly useless.
Brawler allows you to fight better fist fights. So if you want to fight better fist fights, then Brawler is your go-to perk. If, however, like me, you'd like to avoid at all costs the idea of fighting a fully armoured, Halberd-wielding enemy with your bare knuckles, then you'll surely agree with my declaration that Brawler is a very poor way to spend 2 of your 16 points?
Peasant is a meme perk. The highest-cost perk in the game will no doubt flummox players newer to the game until you select it and then head back to your gear selection, where you'll find that all the normal weapons and armour are gone, and all you're left with is peasant's clothing and a selection of implements such as Frying Pans and Hoes with which to vanquish your foes. Why does it cost 8 points? Probably to stop you from loading up on all the perks and peasant's weaponry you can hold. But in reality it's a way for decent players to humiliate their opponents by besting them with a Frying Pan. It's fun to try once or twice, but if you're actually interested in playing to the best of your ability, you can forget about this perk.
Rat is another extremely "meh" perk in my opinion. I don't know about you, but I don't think Mordhau is a game that's best enjoyed by being sneaky or stealthy. And what's more, when you're all surrounded by the din of metal clanging and angry men shouting, you don't exactly need your footsteps to be 75% quieter. And I don't really see the use for having a 10% faster crouch-walk - at least, not for a 2-cost perk, I don't.
Well, that's my take on all the Mordhau perks. Obviously this is all my opinion and you are completely free to make up your own minds about each perk. But hopefully this provides a starting point for those who are unsure how to proceed with picking the perks for their latest loadout in the wonderful, bloody, confusing world of Mordhau.