Warhammer: Vermintide

The problem with Witch Hunter Captain

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Similar posts about 2H Swords : Part 1, Part 2
Similar post about Shields


First of all, I want to apologize to anyone that was waiting for this post (if any). I was busy with another big project that sadly have nothing to do with VT2. I also wanted to make a post about the balance changes from 1.2 but a lot of time has passed. In short : changes are good.

Anyway, on topic. Alongside Battle Wizard, Witch Hunter Captain is considered one of the weaker careers. As someone who plays WHC a lot and loves him, I can confirm this is sadly true. BUT, the community is also exaggerating his weaknesses and underestimating its strengths. WHC is a perfectly viable and playable career but visibly weaker than the others.

Many had troubles finding what role WHC is supposed to fill. Melee fighter ? Support career ? An anti-special ? Truth is, it's a mix of them all. I remember someone giving a good definition of what WHC is supposed to be : a commander. He stays at the front with other melee careers, boost everyone thank to his main passive and ultimate, while taking down specials and other elites before they close up on his team.

But some of his passives and talents do tend to prevent WHC from doing that. Let's go over them.

First of all, Witch-Hunt. +20% damage bonus against marked targets from all sources.

I don't think many realize how insane that is : a free 20% damage increase, against anything that isn't a trash mob, for your whole team. This is insane in two categories :

  • Breakpoints. It might not change a lot for your teammates, maybe one or two less hits on a Chaos Warrior at best, but for you as a WHC, this is big. This is your main tools for taking out specials and elites while saving some attributes on your equipment for more important things. Let's take for example the Crossbow. Normally, you need +40% against Stormvermins to kill them in one bodyshot, which means all of your Crossbow + Charms attributes on vs Skaven and Armor. But with Witch-Hunt, you only need 2 attributes and can use the other two to reach breakpoints against Chaos specials and kill them in one bodyshot too.

  • Bosses. A 20% damage bonus for everyone against bosses. Alongside your ultimate, you team pretty much melt bosses with a WHC. Bonus points if you have a Shade or Huntsman in your team. Those two will be your best friends for ever. And Pyromancer too.

Some might complain that it's not that reliable because the tagging system isn't that reliable, but this is a problem with the tagging system, not WHC. But true that it would be a decent buff for him.

Then you got Eternal Guard. Light attacks from the front doesn't reduce your stamina.

It's possible to guess what's a light attack : anything that's not an overhead from an elite or a boss attack is light. As for what is considered "front", that's your block angle. All of Saltzpyre's melees have a 90° block angle, which means you can upgrade Eternal Guard's effect from 117° to 144°, depending on if you have +30% or +60% push/block angle increase.

This isn't a tool to make WHC a tank, but to allow him to revive teammates in peace and mostly spam push-attacks without worrying about stamina. And most of Saltzpyre weapons have a pretty good push-attack (2H's is good against armor, Rapier's to reset the attack pattern, Flail for cleave to anti-armor…)

And for the last passive, we got Killing Shot : instant-kill any man-sized enemies with a critical headshot. Just so you know, this affects melee attacks, ranged attacks and, funny enough, grenade throws. This isn't only a melee tool, but also a ranged one. The main complain about this passive is that everything man-sized dies to a crit headshot anyway, but that's not true. This passive is here to help you deal with specials and armors.

And that's the first problem here : WHC already got Witch-Hunt for elites and specials. You can either rely on numbers and breakpoints or RNG that goes from 5% to 15% (23% with Wild Fervour active) that only activates if you hit a headshot. This is even worst considering WHC have Deathknell which makes this passive even more useless.

This passive have to go. It is useless for WHC. But it should be replaced as WHC still needs something to be equals to other careers. He doesn't need anything else to help his team, so something for himself can help. Nothing too fancy either is needed : attack speed, dodge range, etc…


Some also suggested a +25hp increase. In my opinion, this is a "Why not" buff. It won't change WHC that much. This suggestion is rather common because WHC lacks survival tools other than Eternal Guard and dodging. I can't argue in favour, but also not against this.

I'm not going to go too much in depth on talents, as I think this is another subject, but I want to speak about one in particular : Justice's Bounty. When a taggable enemy dies, everyone gets +2 temp hp.

The problem with this level 15 talent is not that it's competing with two other viable talents, but it's competing with the level 20 talents everyone have. Temporary health-based talents becomes useless once you reach level 20 (unless you play a career that doesn't kill a lot of stuff) and Justice's Bounty is no exception. Additionally, 2 temp health goes away really fast.

A common suggestion is to replace the temp health with permanent health. If this does happen, the health gain should be reduced to 1. This would prevent the talent from being a reliable healing source (which it should not be) while not being increased by Shallya's Boon. An other team-focused talent would also be a good suggestion, as in this state, Justice's Bounty is useless.

And finally, the active. Animosity : AoE push and +20% crit chance for you and any teammate close for 6 seconds.

I am going to compare this with the Mercenary's active, Morale boost, because Mercenary is better than WHC and he have an AoE active that have the same cooldown.

First thing first, 6 seconds is a really short time in VT2. Morale boost allows you to keep the temp health gain for much longer than that, even if you take a hit or two while fighting a horde. Even if this is designed to trigger on-crit effects like Swift Slaying and Scrounger, you can barely feel the effects of Animosity unless you take Resonating Faith, which increase the duration to 10 seconds.

Then, the cooldown is so, goddamn, long. It's 180 seconds. That's forever unless you take Redoubled purpose, which reduces it to 126 seconds. But if you take this talent, you can't make it last long enough to profit from it.

Finally, due to how situational it is, you can't spam it. Opposed to Morale Boost's requirements that can be summed up to there's stuff and my team needs health, Animosity requires an actual threat, like a dangerous ambush, a patrol (but if you get Sheidvermins, sucks to be you) or a boss. You want to meet those requirements because it's on a long cooldown and it will be useful for a very short time period.
But you won't necessarily meet those situations in the first place, and it's not unusual to go a whole mission without using Animosity, since you want to save it up opposed to Morale Boost.

Also, what's the point of Fierce Oratory, which increase Animosity's range by 50% ? Does Animosity have a shorter range than Morale Boost ?
If no, then it should be. Such active requires to be activated at some specific occasions and to affect your whole team to make it worthwhile. Otherwise, it will always be a bad active. Even worst since you kind of both need the other two level 25 talents to make it decent.
If yes, then that talent is useless. Morale Boost have a big enough range to allow for a bit of space between you and your team while making it useful, and so is Animosity in that case.

But what can it be replaced with ? I do have two ideas but I wouldn't be surprised if there's some better ones.
First one is to have even more crit chance. Nothing big, like 5%, just to make it attractive to crit-focused WHC builds.
Second one is the ability to revive downed teammates, like Mercenary's On Yer Feet, Mates!. This would allow WHC to have more ways to be more of a support-based career, and somewhat challenge Mercenary in the Support category.

In short : Animosity needs a buff. Lower cooldown, longer active time, anything. It's too weak in this state.

And that's it for WHC. Thank you for taking the time to read it all the way. I would like to speak about Battle Wizard next, but I think I should speak about Sienna's overall weaponry first. See you on the next post !

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