Cleaving is one of the more important stats to survive hordes of enemies in Darktide. It is not only referred to by a weapon’s moveset but also by its stat modifiers. Every weapon has strengths and weaknesses, and very few weapons can fulfill a role in every situation.
When selecting a close-range weapon, gamers typically base their decision on that particular blade’s moveset. In this article, we will investigate the stat effects of Cleave in Darktide and how it affects the potency of the weapon.
So, What is Cleave in Darktide?
A Cleave moveset affects whether a weapon should be used for single-target damage or AOE. Weapons such as the Combat Axe have 100% single target attacks with both their light and heavy attack chains. The Power Sword, Devil’s Claw Sword, and Heavy Sword all primarily focus on wide sweeps that allow you to Cleave through multiple targets.
So aside from a weapon’s moveset, Cleaving dictates the number of targets you can hit with one swing. For example, a low power level Devil’s Claw Sword can cleave through a few enemies with its light attack and at least five Pox Walkers with one heavy attack.
If the same weapon has a higher Cleave weapon stat in Darktide, the Devil’s Claw Sword can hit even more targets with a single swing. So the more Cleave you have stated on your weapon, the more targets you can hit with each swing.
However, Cleave Damage in Darktide is a separate stat that not all weapons have access to. Let’s use the following Heavy Sword as an example:
This heavy sword not only has a 78% cleave target stat, which increases the number of targets a single strike can hit, but it also has the Wrath and Savage Sweep blessings, which can further increase its cleave when a large horde approaches.
This weapon also has access to the Cleave Damage stat, which increases the overall damage its Cleaving attacks will inflict. Without this Cleave Damage modifier, any blessings that buff Cleave will only enhance the number of targets it can hit, not the damage Cleave inflicts.
Cleave VS Hit Mass in Darktide
We previously covered what Enemy Hit Mass is in Darktide and how it impacts cleaving strikes in Darktide. However, we will still briefly explain the differences between Cleave and Hit Mass. Cleave allows you to hit multiple targets, and the higher your Cleave stat is, the more enemies you can strike. However, Enemy Hit Mass is included whenever you attempt to Cleave through a horde.
If an enemy has a high Hit Mass, your swing will stop after striking them instead of moving on to the next enemy. Pox Walkers have the lowest Hit Mass in the game, making them easy to Cleave through, but elite Ogryn enemies such as the Crusher or Reaper have a larger Hit Mass, making your swings prematurely stop even if you have a high Cleave stat.
You Should Balance Your Darktide Loadout
Suppose your primary weapon has a lot of Cleave effect in Darktide. It’s better for dealing with multiple enemies at once. If your ranged weapon is also great at cleaving hordes, you will be running a massive AOE build, but you will struggle when fighting against elites and bosses like the Daemonhost.
For example, if you are running a Zealot build and you use the Heavy Sword we showcased easier, along with a Flamer, you would be doubling down on the AOE. Single-target fights will become significantly more challenging for you to deal with. In that case, we recommend using a Bolt Gun instead, since your primary weapon already covers your need for horde clearing. Otherwise, you might need to rely on your teammates for high-armored targets.
With that aside, some Darktide classes have better and more reliable options for Cleave. Ogryn Skullbreaker players have an effortless time cleaving through hordes. This is because their weapons typically don’t need to stack the Cleave stat, thanks to their natural strength.
In comparison, the Veteran Sharpshooter class has a lot of single-target guns, so pairing them with a Cleaving melee weapon like the Power Sword will round out their loadout for any situation.
At Least Ensure Your Teammates Complement Your Build
If you want to run a focused AoE or single-target build in Warhammer 40K Darktide, that’s ok. You don’t always have to be a well-rounded player. As long as you can rely on your friends and allies to run complementary builds, you should be ok.
In the best scenario, when you have a team you know well and can coordinate both your builds and tactics, you can run whatever build you want, including very AoE cleave-heavy builds in Darktide. One great example of a heavily-focused loadout is the Soulblaze Psyker build.
However, if you are playing with random allies via matchmaking, you really do need to round out your build more to not leave any glaring weaknesses in your team’s composition.
Wrap Up on Cleaving in Darktide
That’s our short explanation of what Cleave is in Darktide. Remember that stacking Cleave will make you a monster when dealing with hordes. Yet, you should have a ranged weapon that compliments your hack-and-slash power. If not, some fights will prove harder to overcome once you start playing on greater difficulties.
Do you often run an AoE-focused melee or ranged build? What do you think of the game’s complex cleaving mechanics? Let your fellow readers and us know your thoughts or your best builds in the comments below.
Good hunting, Rejects!