Dauntless currently has six weapons, offering pretty varied ways of tackling fights with Behemoths, but on September 26, its arsenal will be getting another addition. Coming with the Aether Unbound 1.0 update, Dauntless will introduce the Aether Strikers.
The Aether Strikers in Dauntless will be unique in a couple of different ways. First of all, they’re fist weapons — think fancy brass knuckles — meaning you have to get right up close to do damage. They’re also much more technical than the most advanced weapons currently in the game. They require Slayers to juggle several different resource pools, timers, and buffs.
Where do you get Aether Strikers?
Before you get your hands on Dauntless’ newest weapons, you’ll need to craft them like any other piece of gear. Wils build most weapons in the plaza at the back of Ramsgate. However, the Aether Strikers have a separate crafter, much like the Ostian Repeaters. Fortunately, the Aether Strikers smith, named the Scarred Master, will set up shop in the same area.
You won’t have access to Aether Strikers right away if you’re starting in Dauntless. You need to complete your first couple of hunts with standard weapons, like the sword, to get a feel for the game. But after a little bit, you’ll get a quest from the Scarred Master, which unlocks the ability to forge your Aether Strikers. According to Phoenix Labs, you can claim your Aether Strikers around the same time you can start using the Ostian Repeaters.
How do you use the Aether Strikers?
As you might imagine from weapons strapped to your fists, the key to using Aether Strikers is attacking quickly and decisively. Aether Strikers deal blunt damage, which allows them to stagger Behemoths and even interrupt them with heavy attacks. You can use that to your advantage, knocking Behemoths off balance to give yourself an opening to pull of multiple combos. It also means Slayers with Aether Strikers need to think about positioning a bit like those who use the hammer. They need to focus on the head and legs for maximum stagger damage and break Behemoths’ armor plates when necessary so teammates can do maximum damage.
Aether Strikers are also heavily combo-based, requiring their wielders to land the final hit in a three-hit combo to get the full effect of any attack. Completing any combo activates a Mantra, one of the Aether Strikers’ most essential mechanics, which enables you to use several unique skills. There are three different combos for the Aether Strikers, using three light attacks, three heavy attacks, or a combination of both. Each generates a different Mantra: Focus, Spirit, or Might. When any one of them activates, you gain new abilities for a short time. To keep your Mantra active, you need to use another full combo or enable Surge, a dash attack that’s available when you a Mantra up.
How do Aether Striker Techniques work?
Things get more complicated from here. To properly use an Aether Strikers, you need to use your Mantra to power Techniques. You’ll get a different Technique depending on how many current Mantras you have. Which Mantra you activate first doesn’t matter; what matters is the number of various Mantras you have active.
While under the effect of any Mantra, you can use the Tempest Form. This form grants you a long-lasting buff to attack speed, letting you deal more damage and power up a subsequent Mantra even faster. Keeping Tempest Form active is the key to charging your Mantras and getting the most out of the Aether Strikers.
With two different Mantras, you can perform Karma Breaker. It’s a powerful charged strike that deals a burst of initial damage to its target and applies a damage over time effect. It’s also strong enough to interrupt attacks, making it invaluable against Behemoths like the Shrike or Embermane.
When you have all three Mantras active, you’re able to unleash the Aether Strikers’ ultimate ability, Adamant Bolt. Adamant Bolt fires a beam of energy at your target, dealing a large amount of damage. It becomes even more potent if you have Tempest Form active or the Behemoth is under the effect of Karma Breaker. You reach maximum damage if both previous Techniques are still in play. Setting up a perfect attack takes a lot of preparation, charging your Mantras to power both Tempest Form and Karma Breaker while timing their use. You want them both active by the time you recharge all three Mantras and position yourself for a well-timed Adamant Bolt.
The Aether Strikers look like they’ll add a good deal of complexity to the Behemoth-hunting strategy in Dauntless. It will help keep the attention of players who find the current options a little too simplistic. Of course, Dauntless is a team-based game, so the real test is how the Aether Strikers complement other weapons in hunting parties.