Warhammer: Vermintide

Fun Fact: Krubers riposte stance is a legit historical guard

warhammer 2 - Fun Fact: Krubers riposte stance is a legit historical guard

First off, I'm a historical fencer, practicing and teaching historical martial arts, especially longsword and messer in the german tradition and montante (greatsword) in the iberian tradition.

When I saw that the Grail Knight would get an actual longsword (two handed, but smaller and more nimble than a greatsword), I was really apprehensive how FS would be able to simulate the unique feeling of this weapon in a game which has no comparable weapon playstyle.

And to be frank, they knocked it out the park. It feels really good, weighty but agile if needed, packs a punch but not overly so, feels very technical with the different rotations for horizontal and vertical cuts etc.

But by far the best mechanic, which I have never seen so far in gaming, is the riposte stance, which allows blocking while readying a heavy.

Even though the term riposte is kinda wrong, this technique and exact stance is seen in historical fencing treatises from as early as the 15th. century.

On the left: Right ochs / In the back on the right: Left ochs

In the german tradition it is called "ochs", which just means ox (the animal), in the italian tradition posta de fenestra (Stance of the Window).

Posta de fenestra

As seen in the game, it can be used on both sides, protecting from downwards cuts with the point of the weapon threatening the opponents face at the same time.


Its use is connected to the basic tenement of medieval european fencing, which is more or less "Attack while defending".

This principle is called the indes, which is hard to translate into other languages, but means something along the line of in the moment.

There are some cuts which are called meisterhaue or masters cuts, which all follow this principle of hitting the enemy while blocking his line of attack.

The ochs stance is the starting point for a lot of these techniques. Although the meisterhaue are not in the game – which would basically be impossible to balance – the principle of a simultaneous guard and threat is perfectly realised in the riposte mechanic.

One of the reasons I consider VT to be the finest melee combat game I've ever seen, is that although its a fairly non realistic setting (considering the amount of enemies etc.), it communicates the feeling of actual armed single combat better than any other game.Some weapons do this better (rapier especially is incredible), others less so.The longsword just added a wonderful new layer of semi-realistic combat, based on actual martial arts from the period in real history, from which at least the empire and bretonnia takes its inspiration from.

There is basically no way that FS did this on coincidence, and I really appreciate them researching actual legit techniques for a new weapon.

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