Preview: Aether Strikers

When we first welcomed Closed Beta Slayers to Dauntless, there were only four weapons available in the game: the sword, the hammer, the chain blades, and the axe. Weapon mods and alternate specials were barely an idea yet, and even the war pike was still in development. Today, the Dauntless arsenal comprises six unique weapons, and on September 26 we’ll be adding our seventh: the aether strikers.

THE WAY OF THE FIST

In the hands of an experienced Slayer, a weapon is an extension of intent, able to translate thought and instinct into effective, decisive martial action.

The aether strikers are different.

Instead of acting as an extension of self, the strikers function as a catalyst, transforming the very Slayer who wields them into a weapon of flesh and deadly focus. But the aether strikers can only enhance what is already there. If you truly want to master the Way of the Fist – and prove your worth to the Scarred Master – you’ll need to do more than throw a quick punch. Combos. Chains. Mantras. Techniques. Each aspect of the aether strikers must be understood, practiced, and honed to perfection.

HANDS-ON SLAYING

The strikers are pugilist’s weapons, but they also have a spiritual component. To truly master them, you’ll need to learn to charge up special energies called Mantras, and understand when to unleash their powers.

COMBOS & MANTRAS

There are three basic combos that feed into your Mantras: Focused Assault, Spirit Barrage, and Mighty Squall. Successfully completing a combo by landing all three hits will charge its corresponding Mantra.

Aether strikers combo list.
Aether striker combos (PC controls).

Once you’ve charged up a Mantra, you’ll see a timer and two special skills light up on your UI.

Aether strikers UI.

The first one is Surge: a skill you can use after gaining any Mantra or using any technique. Tap your special button to execute a dash attack that punches through enemies and – this part is important – refreshes your timer.

Timing is Everything

Before we go further into techniques and combo chains, let’s explain the Mantra timer. This glowing meter lets you see how much time you have left before your current Mantra(s) expire. You can refresh it by either (a) activating Surge or (b) landing another successful combo before it times out. If it expires, you’ll lose all of your current Mantra charges and have to start over with another combo.

TECHNIQUES

Perhaps the most important component of the aether strikers system are techniques. These are special moves that vary depending on how many Mantras you have charged up.

Tempest Form is the simplest technique, requiring only one Mantra to use. Activate it to focus your energy and increase your attack speed. This is a relatively long boost.

Tempest Form
Tempest Form

Karma Breaker requires two Mantras and unleashes a forward strike. This strike damages the first target it hits and deals damage over time for an extended period.

Karma Breaker
Karma Breaker

Adamant Bolt releases a focused, cannon-like blast of energy, dealing damage to the first enemy it hits. It also deals bonus damage if either Tempest Form or Karma Breaker is active, and even more damage if they’re both active. You’ll need to light up all three Mantras in order to use this one.

Adamant Bolt
Adamant Bolt

MIND OVER MATTER

While you might be tempted to blast Adamant Bolt after Adamant Bolt, you won’t get the full benefit of your strikers without putting your strategic mind to work. First, consider that Adamant Bolt does its maximum damage only when Tempest Form and Karma Breaker are active. That means that you’ll want to think ahead and consider:

  • The amount of time it takes to activate both Tempest Form and Karma Breaker
  • The amount of time it takes to charge all three Mantras in preparation for Adamant Bolt
  • When those times line up with a good window for unleashing Adamant Bolt
  • How to best use combo chains and Surge to keep your Mantra timer from expiring

The more you play, the more your sense for striker timing will develop. And don’t be afraid to practice on some Lesser Behemoths if you need the breathing room. As our most technically difficult weapon to date, the strikers may take a while to fully master.

INTERRUPTED

One more thing to consider before you strap on those strikers is the type of damage you’ll be doing. Aether strikers deal blunt damage – a type of damage best suited to staggering Behemoths and cracking through Skarn armour. As a bonus, the strikers’ heavy strikes can also interrupt. So the next time you see a Shrike charging your way … go ahead and punch it right out of the sky.

MASTER & CRAFTER

Once Dauntless 1.0 launches on September 26, your source for all things strikers will be the Scarred Master: the herald of the Aether Unbound season. Look for her in the crafting quad near where Moyra and Wils have their shops.

The Scarred Master's new home in Ramsgate.

Slayers will get access to the aether strikers fairly early in progression – right around the same time you get your first pair of repeaters. Once you’ve grabbed the Scarred Master’s quest, you’ll be able to talk to her for all of your striker crafting needs. And there will be quite a few! Just like with the sword and war pike, you’ll be able to craft a unique set of strikers for each Behemoth you slay.

Aether strikers concept art.

We’ve also added a Mastery card for the aether strikers, full of special objectives (and unlocks) built specifically for our newest weapon. Take a look after your equip your first set.

See you in 1.0, Slayers!

Choose Your Platform

PlayStation 4

Xbox One

PC

Nintendo Switch and mobile versions are currently in development.