Warhammer: Vermintide 2

Warhammer: Vermintide 2

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Tweaking Your Build (Supplement to the Build Guides)
By Sleezyrats
This guide is made to supplement the Cataclysm build guides Royale w/ Cheese and I made for every career. Every player has a different play style, and every team has different needs. This supplement is designed to help you tweak the builds to maximize your teams chance of success.
Tweaking Your Build
By now, you have all had a chance to see the build guides posted for all careers. If not click here to see Kruber, Bardin, Saltzspyre, Kerillian, or Sienna. While reading over the builds, you probably found yourself thinking, “why would they choose Smiter here?” or “why would you run Block Cost Reduction on a spear?” The answer is that, in 2.0, there are no longer set-in-stone, cookie cutter builds. Various properties and gameplay styles are viable. With the new stagger system and corresponding stagger talents, you can choose the way you play and tailor your build accordingly. In this guide, I am going to provide some information to help you decide how to choose the talents, properties, or traits that are best for you.
Defensive Properties on Your Weapon
In 1.7, when you got your red meta weapon, you simply slap on some Attack Speed and some Crit Chance and que up a game. In Cataclysm, life just isn’t that simple. Defensive traits on weapons provide utility, survivability, and damage. Here, we are going to take a look at Block Cost Reduction and Stamina.


2.0 Stamina will add one shield to your melee weapon. Stamina provides extra block and extra pushes. Stamina also adds damage to weapons that frequently utilize push follow-up attacks. For example, this would include Dual Axes, Bill hook, Axe and Falchion, Halberd, Spear, and several others.

Block Cost Reduction

Block cost reduction will….. reduce the stamina cost of blocking. Well, I am going to guess you were smart enough to figure that out without a ton of research. However, many people fail to realize the importance of Block Cost Reduction and the utility it provides. In Cataclysm, enemies chew through stamina shields like a fat kid through cake. Getting revives in Cataclysm is no easy task. Block Cost Reduction effectively gives you more time to get revives off without your guard being broken. Because of the way “aggro” works in Vermintide 2, the game gets exponentially harder as your team dies off. What would be a cake walk for four people is an absolute battle with two or three. Thus, consistently getting revives in high pressure situations is crucial.

Block Cost Reduction vs. Stamina

Deciding between the Block Cost Reduction or Stamina properties is not as straight forward as one would assume. Stamina is a resource used for pushing out of tight corners, crowd control, and damage with push-stab attacks. In addition, adding additional stamina shields increase the amount of attacks you can block. I never run with less than four stamina shields (exception being three on daggers because you get two pushes per shield). However, some people choose to run with three. I would recommend always having at least three shields, at minimum. In addition, adding additional stamina shields increases the amount of attacks you can block. However, stacking Block Cost Reduction makes your block very strong Here is the math on how to figure out your effective block:

S= Number of Shields
E= Effective Block
30% BCR - (S/0.7=E)
60% BCR – (S/0.4=E)
90% BCR – (S/0.1=E)

The math shows that with two Stamina shields, 60% Block Cost Reduction provides 5 effective shields. However, 30% Block Cost Reduction only provides 2.86 shields. This means that the only time Stamina provides more effective block is when going from two to three shields with only 30% Block Cost Reduction. In short, stacking 60% Block Cost Reduction on ANY weapon gives more effective block than adding 4.0 Stamina.

Now that you know how much effective block you have, you can determine which property to run. For push-stab heavy weapons, you may still take stamina over block cost reduction for the added damage. Conversely, players who play aggressively and frequently reaction block may simply wish to maximize their effective block. Finally, some players may play a less aggressive style, or a build that requires no defensive properties on melee weapons.
Stagger Talents
Stagger Talents

For the mathematic calculations on how stagger works in 2.0, click this Link. I do not wish to get deep into the numbers again. However, I would like to give some guidance on how your weapon choice and playstyle can determine which stagger talent you take. It is important to note there are three levels of stagger. These will be referred to as levels 0,1, and 2. The baseline stagger multiplier for the three levels are 1, 1.2, and 1,4, respectively. Very briefly, Mainstay changes these multipliers to 1, 1.4, 1.6; Smiter is 1.2, 1.2, 1.4; Enhanced Power is 1.07, 1.3, 1.5 (rounded); and Assassin is 1, 1.2, 1.4 with 40% bonus crit and headshot damage which replaces your stagger damage bonus when you crit or headshot. Bulwark is 1, 1.2, 1.4 but adds a 2 second debuff to all staggered enemies which causes them to take 10% extra damage for 2 seconds.
Now that we have refreshed ourselves on each talent, let’s get into when to choose each talent:


Smiter is very good for high damage, slow attacking weapons. For example, War Pick and X Sword benefit greatly from this talent. Smiter can actually enable you to hit some crazy 1 shot break points. For example, you can use it to one-shot bestigor’s in the body with a war pick. In addition, you can one-shot Storm Vermin in the head with an X Sword (requires 10% Skaven). Also, it can be good for high mobility, single target weapon. For example, dodge dancing and jabbing with spear synergizes well with Smiter.


Mainstay serves two purposes: 1) it excels on high stagger, high cleave horde clear weapons (or push stab spamming weapons); or 2) it can be used on faster, high stagger power single target weapons to bully elites into submission.
Examples for horde clear weapons with Mainstay: 2H Hammer, 1H Hammer, Spear, Kruber Spear, Axe and Falchion, Bill Hook, Dual Swords, etc.
Examples for elite killing with Mainstay: 2H Axe (light attacks), 2H Hammer (light attacks), 1H axe, Axe and Falchion (light attack the head), Spear (jab combo on head), Kruber Spear (push stab into heavy jab), etc.


Assasin is only useful for low stagger weapons with high finesse multipliers. Really, what I am saying is that you should only run assassin with Dual Daggers and high Crit Chance or with Rapier. Getting the finesses bonus removes you stagger buff. Thus, if you are fighting with your team, Enhance Power or Mainstay will actually do more crit or headshot damage to staggered targets. This makes assassin very situational. For example, even if you have Dual Daggers and 45% crit chance, Enhanced Power would probably be better if there was Conflagration Staff Sienna in the group.

Enhanced Power

Enhanced power is a great middle ground. It is basically half (1.5 (plus additional cleave) vs 1.6) as effective as Mainstay for those horde clear weapons and basically half (1.07 vs. 1.2) as effective as Smiter for those single target weapons. In addition, the real power of this talent is that it works on ranged weapons. This makes it very strong for hitting special break points or for AOE-focused ranged classes.


Bulwark is the team buffing talent. I strongly recommend bulwark for any shield build or even IB with 2H Hammer or Dual Hammers. When you stagger enemies, those enemies will take 10% more damage from all sources. So basically, you spam shield bash and watch your ranged DPS shred through the hordes.
Necklace Traits
Here, I am going to focus on two traits, Barkskin and Boon of Shallya. Before we get into the nitty gritty, let me first say that Natural Bond is absolute trash. Instead of making my logical arguments and spawning a thousand “yeah buts,” I am going to lay out the math. In a 20 minute map, you will gain 240 hp with Natural Bond. However, you will gain zero hp any time you have at least 1 (one) temp health. Thus, if we assume you do something besides hold block, you should have at least 1 (one) temp health for 70% (should be like 95%) of the map. This means you will gain 72 hp from Natural Bond. This is abysmal. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at the two best (by far) options for Necklace traits.


Barkskin is still very viable. Where it really shines is if you get pounced by an assassin or hooked through a horde. Barkskin effectively gives your team 40% more time to react to the situation. That amount of time could easily be the difference in you going down and your team quickly following, or you getting back up and getting back to work. In addition, Barkskin provides damage reduction for multiple hits in hordes. In Cataclysm, a mistake while fighting hordes can easily take you from full HP to zero when fighting against density. Barkskin can provide you some protection from those otherwise fatal mistakes. Finally, Barkskin is very strong if you are running with a lot of friendly fire classes. Barkskin is procced by friendly fire. Thus, if you have a Conflagration wiz constantly spamming her staff or a Hagbane dotting you up, you will have insane uptime on the 40% damage reduction buff.

Boon of Shallya

Boon of Shallya is my default trait for every class. With the overall nerfs to temporary health generation, Boon is almost required to be able to efficiently generate health. Without boon, taking damage feels very difficult to recover from without drinking a health pot. Some classes (read Zealot) still generate temp health very efficiently. Thus, Barkskin may be a competitive choice for those classes.
Attack Speed Vs. Crit Chance
The decision to run attack speed or Crit Chance is definitely weapon dependent. However, there is one rule that is virtually universal: Crit chance is almost always better than attack speed until you have 100% Swift Slaying uptime (or close to it). For weapons, this is around 15-20% crit. I would generally recommend stacking at least 20% Crit before I begin to value Attack Speed over Crit Chance. When calculating your Crit Chance, do not forget to add in the baseline 5% Crit Chance, Crit Chance from talents or passives, or bonus Crit Chance from specific attacks on various weapons. Once you have enough Crit Chance to keep Swift Slaying up consistently, the calculation becomes very simple. For weapons with a crit multiplier of 2.2 or less, stack Attack Speed. For weapons with a crit multiplier of 2.3 or more, stack Crit Chance.

Here is the breakdown of the math:

5% Attack Speed at 20% Crit (per 100 hits): Assuming 20% or 1 of the 5 hits will be a crit, on average. This will add 4 hits and 1 crit to every 100 attacks. With a crit multiplier of 2.2, the formula looks like this: (100+4*1+1*2.2 = 106.2). With a crit multiplier of 2.3, the formula looks like this: (100+4*1+1*2.3 =106.3)

5% crit (per 100 hits)= Assuming a crit multiplier of 2.2, you will have 5% of the 100 hits do 2.2 times their normal damage. The remaining 95 hits per 100 will do no additional damage. (0.05*100*2.2+95=106). Assuming a crit multiplier of 2.3: (0.05*100*2.3+95=106.5)
autodidakto Jan 31, 2023 @ 5:30pm 
@TheGreenFellow I think he mean that if you have temp health there, overwriting it with permanent is meaningless unless your temp health runs down to nothing; On Cata, there are so many enemies you shouldn't let it fall to nothing. (people dont do books or grims on cata).
TheGreenFellow Dec 22, 2022 @ 3:59am 
Also I'm pretty sure Natural Bond currently gives health even when you have temp HP, so the guide's advice needs reconsideration (also bearing in mind full book + grim runs?)
TheGreenFellow Dec 22, 2022 @ 3:57am 
Something I noticed might be outdated - Bulwark in game states "10% damage for all *melee* attacks*", the guide states it's *all* incoming damage?
TheGreenFellow Nov 27, 2022 @ 12:55am 
Very helpful for understanding Stagger Talents, thank you
Amazo Yuuji Jun 12, 2022 @ 2:01pm 
thanks for the guide, it's great
one question: where do I look up weapons crit multipliers?
there's no info on it in the game, in armory or on wiki
crit multiplier is not crit power, right?
sp56 Nov 30, 2020 @ 9:58am 
@cG.vahnn yes its does increase temp HP generation by 30%, its what makes it good
cG.vahnn Nov 24, 2019 @ 9:02pm 
Am I to understand that Boon of Shallya increases the amount of temp HP by 30% as well?!
ramblingman.jones Sep 2, 2019 @ 11:28am 
@Sleezyrats Thanks for clarifying what I had assumed to be correct. You seem to have applied the same logic so that's good and fair enough on the IB front. I've only been playing for 2 weeks myself and was going to play slayer. However slayer is not so strong at the moment and there are careers which do similar things but better. So IB seemed the most sensible option. Each to their own I guess :steamhappy:

By the way just wanted to say thanks for the guides. They have been really helpful to a new player and it's very much appreciated considering the majority of the guides out there are quite out of date.
Sleezyrats  [author] Sep 2, 2019 @ 11:10am 
@ramblingman.jones I'm gonna be honest, I hate IB. Never play it. However, it sounds like you're going for a stagger-focused build. 5% attack speed lets you use your stagger abilities 5% faster. Especially shield bash. I'd take attack speed. That's not the gospel, though. I don't run shields, opportunist, or IB.
ramblingman.jones Sep 1, 2019 @ 3:48am 
Sorry I meant to add I'm playing IB.