Welcome to our series of For Honor character guides. In these articles we are going to break down each faction into their four component characters and playstyles. While we won’t be teaching you any advanced mix-ups or tactics, we hope that these guides will give you a basic understanding of how each character plays, enough to get you started down the road of medieval domination.
We start our guide series with the Knights, an odd bunch. Most Knights are considered “heavy” warriors, winning matches with heavy strikes and guard breaks… that is except for the Peacekeeper, who is easily the fastest character in the game. One thing that all Knights have in common, however, is that they rely on the fundamentals. Blocking, parrying, dodging, and mixing up your stance all factor heavily into the Knights playstyle. They are a great faction to try if you don’t know where to start as they, more than any other faction, reward simple, solid play.
If you are just getting started in For Honor, the Warden is likely your first stop. He is the “Ryu” of the game – the character with no real strengths and no real weaknesses. His combos are easy, his abilities are straightforward, and his battles are won through mastery of the fundamentals. The Warden was the very first character to be made in the For Honor engine, and has had the most time to be balanced and refined, which you can use to your advantage.
The Warden is a box full of toys for you to play around with. There is no one strategy that dominates Warden play, so you’ll have to know when to switch from offensive to defensive, fast to slow, technical to aggressive. When attacking, you’ll want to pay close attention to your stance. In a side stance, the Warden’s light attacks chain into a guaranteed two-hit combo, while in top dance, his light attack operates as a powerful counter strike when timed correctly.
The Warden’s shoulder bash is his cheapest move, easily able to dismantle newbies. It can be performed either after a dodge or a light attack and it acts, for all intents and purposes, as a guard break with a ton of range. Don’t get greedy though. Spamming this will make you easy to read, and able to be countered with a fast light attack or well-timed dodge.
The Warden’s zone attack is one of the fastest in the game, at the expense of range, crowd clearing capability, and half your stamina. This makes it uniquely useful for duels compared to other zone attacks.
On defense, the Warden needs to once again rely on fundamentals. Basic parries and good reads will save the day here. The Warden’s dash is, unfortunately, one of the worst in the game, and while he can perform a dashing attack it is incredibly telegraphed. You’ll also want to save your heavy attacks for moments where the opponent is way off guard or for parries, because your heavy attacks, while powerful, are also some of the slowest in the game.
There is no gimmick to the Warden that will allow you to master his fighting style. Vary your guard, break turtling opponents, block well, and the match will be yours. When in doubt, shoulder charge – just don’t get too greedy with it.
If you like feeling like an unstoppable force of nature, The Conqueror is the Knight class for you. The Conqueror trades all of his speed, not for power, but for versatility. He is one of the only characters in the game that prefers heavy attacks to light attacks, and using him requires reading your opponent’s aggression and responding in kind.
The first thing you’ll want to get used to when playing with The Conqueror is his range. The Conqueror uses a flail whose range can be a little wonky. His Zone attack, for example, easily out matches most swords in the game, but his light attacks are all pulled in tight to his body. You’ll want to use your heavy attacks well before your opponent steps inside your guard to keep him from overwhelming you with speed.
Luckily, your heavy attacks are some of the best in the game. They have the “superior guard” trait on their startup, which in fighting game terms basically means you have super-armor. You can also charge up your heavy attacks for extra damage, and still guard while doing so. Just be careful, as charging your attack too long will actually reduce your damage output, and making your attacks too obvious will cause the opponent to counter with a guard break. There’s not much you can do about this because, unlike every other character in the game, the Conqueror cannot cancel his Heavy Attacks into a feint. So you have to commit to each and every swing of your flail.
If you manage to land a heavy hit, you’ll want to take advantage of your Shield Bash Mix Up. This allows you to intersperse heavy attacks with guard breaks, forcing your opponent to back off and catching him in a horrible damage vortex if he is caught against a wall. Just be wary because it takes a lot of your stamina to use, and you don’t have enough stamina to use this mix-up to kill a full health character. Being caught without stamina is a death sentence for the slow-moving Conqueror, so be careful.
Unlike most characters who like to counter with heavy attacks when the opponent gives them an opening, the Conqueror prefers light attacks as his counter option. His light attacks basically chain into each other infinitely, so consistently mixing up your stance and pelting your opponent with lights will create an offense that is hard to counter. Unfortunately, even your light attacks have quite a bit of lead-in time, so it’s only recommended you use these after you successfully block your opponent. It also takes a lot of stamina to continue to chain.
Finally, if an opponent does manage to step inside your guard, you can always fall back on your shield. The Conqueror is one of two characters in the game that has a full block stance, a stance that defends against all directions of attack. He can also perform several attacks with his shield, all of which are unblockable, all which act as a guard break, and all of which set you up for further heavy attacks. Once again, all of these moves, including the full block stance, cause a hefty drain to your stamina.
With all of these powerful unblockable moves and a perfect defense you might be asking, “What is the Conqueror’s weakness?” One word: guard breaks. If you screw up and let the opponent into your guard, you are going to be in a lot of trouble. All of your attacks start up far too slow to be effective when the opponent is right up in your face, and while your superior blocking heavy attacks are useful, they don’t do much against an opponent who can throw you, or dart around you at high speeds. Opponents will attempt to pelt you with light attacks if only to drain your stamina. Perhaps more than any character, the Conqueror benefits from a well-timed retreat when out-matched. With a full stamina bar, he is a force to be reckoned with. But when partially depleted, he loses his edge quickly.
The Peacekeeper is the ultimate offensive character, trading all defense for speed and power. A glass cannon with low health and few defensive options, The Peacekeeper is a character for players who like to bring the fight to their opponent. Don’t think that this means you can mash your way to victory, however. The Peacekeeper is easily one of the most technical characters in the game, requiring extensive knowledge of her skills and abilities to play on even a semi-competent level.
Do not think about blocking with the Peacekeeper. Just don’t. She has a special trait called “reflex,” which means her guard stance wears off over time, and that time is less than a second. You basically have to switch your stance immediately before an attack hits to hope to block it, and mistiming your guard will open you up to a world of hurt.
Luckily, you have a better option: the deflect. This is executed by dodging in the direction of an attack at the moment it hits. Deflecting has a stricter timing window than guarding, but not by much. If you can learn to do one, you can learn to do the other. Deflecting an attack allows you to get a guaranteed follow-up strike that causes the enemy to bleed.
Bleeding attacks are one of the Peacekeeper’s greatest strength. You’ll notice that she has many combos and abilities that cause the bleed status, and you want to focus on these primarily. Bleeding turns a portion of your opponent’s life-bar red, which then slowly depletes over time. The thing is, bleeding attacks do more damage combined than most standard attacks. Once your opponent’s life-bar is fully red, feel free to run away for the rest of the match. While this might get quite a bit of vitriol spouted at you from your opponents its undeniably effective, and it also turns match replays into a delightful Benny Hill style chase scene!
The Peacekeeper’s next important offensive tool is her dagger cancels. Dagger canceling allows you to interrupt a heavy attack with a light attack before it executes. It’s far better than the standard feint, and you can change your stance between the startup of the heavy and the execution of the follow-up light. It’s a fantastic way to mix-up your opponent and it works wonders for baiting parries and other modes of special defense. This makes the Peacekeeper fantastic at picking apart heavier characters that like to turtle up. It’s also worth noting that the follow-up light attack is very quick, quicker than some standard light attacks, and it also inflicts bleed. So if you are playing footsies with your opponent, instantly canceling a heavy attack into a light attack is a great way to catch them off guard and cause significant damage.
The Peacekeeper’s game revolves entirely around mobility. Aside from the ability to deflect, her dodge is one of the best in the game, and her sprint is one of the fastest. She can also attack out of a sprint or dodge, though most of these attacks are heavily telegraphed. A much better tactic is to guard break from a sprint, which executes very quickly and tends to take an opponent who is readying himself for a lunge off guard. After guard breaking, you can then use your light attack to stab the enemy in the side which, sure enough, inflicts bleed damage.
Your goal as the Peacekeeper is to get up close and personal. She has very bad range and is easily out-poked by every other character in the game. If an opponent manages to keep you at the tip of their weapon, you are in trouble. Instead, you want to use your dodge attacks to get in, deal a lot of damage and inflict a lot of bleed, and then get out. You are hard to keep up with, but you have low health and a few tiny mistakes will cost you dearly.
Use your weaknesses to your advantage. While you cannot hold a guard in any stance for long, this has a double function of hiding your stance from your opponent. As long as your guard time has run out, your opponent will have no idea what direction the Peacekeeper’s blows are coming from. If you are fighting at the range you should be, your stance changes will be almost undetectable to a bleeding and frustrated opponent. Just remember, once your opponent is bleeding out your job is to get out of there and let them die.
Finally we have the Lawbringer, whose game is all about range. His massive polearm allows him to deal quite a bit of damage at relatively safe distances. The Lawbringer’s abilities are all about turning the tide of battle. They are adept at turning the opponent’s momentum against them. They have a variety of unblockable attacks, status effects, and special chains that prevent your opponent from defending against you, or mounting an advance.
The Lawbringer has a lot of combos to remember, but in general they allow him to mix up his light and heavy attacks on the fly. Your goal here is one of two things. You can combo into a top stance heavy attack, as all of the Lawbringer’s top stance heavies inflict stun. Stunning attacks make your opponent unable to defend and turn your own stance invisible.
Otherwise, you can use Judge, Jury, and Executioner (light, heavy, heavy) to combo into an unblockable attack. This attack is easily interrupted, but not so much if the opponent is stunned. Catching the opponent off guard like this allows you to do massive damage, usually setting up for an execution. Just don’t use it too often or you’ll be punished.
Your goal, oddly enough, is to make your opponent want to attack you. Since they cannot defend while stunned, and since you have unblockable attacks that beg to be interrupted with quick light attacks, its only natural for every Lawbringer’s opponent to eventually come in blades swinging. But this puts you at an advantage since you have an entire move-set that chains off of successful parries. These combos are nearly guaranteed, allowing you to combo into another stun, another unblockable, a throw, and more.
Once you have made your opponent afraid to attack lest he be parried, you have a variety of tools to open up the opponent’s defense. The Lawbringer’s Shove is a quick unblockable push that sends the enemy staggering back, but it’s real strength is that it chains into any of the Lawbringer’s bread and butter combos. This allows you to once again shift offensive momentum in your favor, getting into the same vortex of stuns and unblockable moves that your opponent was trying to avoid. And if you think that your opponent can avoid these follow-up combos through keen blocking, think again. The Lawbringer can interrupt his combos with another Shove, allowing him to throw in guard breaks for anybody who wants to turtle up.
So how do you beat a Lawbringer? Play his game against him. His heavy attacks are pretty slow, so instead of blocking them and giving him the advantage of a guard break, parry them. If you space parries right, you can get yourself into a sweet spot that will allow you to successfully handle incoming attacks, and simultaneously catch a shove in the face with a fully executed heavy attack if they get too aggressive. In general, don’t play the game the Lawbringer wants you to play. If he is fishing for a parry, back off and make him run after you. His slow movement speed will put you at an advantage. If he’s trying to pressure you with stuns and mix-ups, get close inside his guard and out-speed him. Your moves will likely interrupt his. Remember, he doesn’t have any special guard properties, so if you can screw up his parry game he’s actually safer to attack than most characters.
That’s all we have for you this time. Come back next time when we break down the Viking Horde.