To finish out the week, Game Designer John Bautista is back to chat about some of his favorite tips and tricks for Valhalla’s favorite Viking, Thorgrim. Take it away, Bau!

The Right Role

A tank’s role, especially in Breakaway, is to initiate teamfights, push the team forward or peel for your teammates. If you see a teammate who is low on health and being attacked, jumping in to disrupt the attacker and allowing your teammate the time to reposition, heal or so on, is what peeling is all about. Whatever it takes to keep your teammates in the fight.

During a teamfight, for example, if you’re up in the front line as a tank and you hear a teammate call for a peel, like if a Spartacus is chasing them down, then it’s your job to disrupt that enemy and get your teammate to safety. Map awareness is huge part of the game, and will help you keep an eye on your teammates in order to help keep them alive.

In Breakaway, one of the additional roles for a tank is to babysit the Relic. The durability tanks have increase their survival chances during fights and it allows them to approach the Relic, pick it up and battle for control. For example, Spartacus is an amazing Relic runner. He has great mobility with his Ramp and his move speed. But he doesn’t have the survivability that tanks do. If Spartacus breaks away with the Relic, it can work out if the opposing team isn’t paying attention, sure. If the enemy team is watching, however, then they can collapse onto the Spartacus and wipe him out.

It happened a few times during last week’s Throwdown Thursday match. Godspeed would overextend with his Anne Bonny on a breakaway, our team would focus on that squishy and spoil their attempt at a score.

On the other hand, tanks have the health and armor that help them survive those confrontations better. So they can approach the Relic, take a couple hits, and push the Relic forward. A tank’s job is to find the right role for whatever situation their team is in. Whether it’s pushing the Relic forward, peeling or otherwise, tanks have to be ready for anything.

Living on the Edge

Let’s talk about Thorgrim’s abilities.

His defensive ability is Armor Up, which makes him invulnerable for a brief period of time. One of the cool things about this ability is that anyone who attacks you while it’s up will get pushed back a short distance. Here’s a tip: if you’re fighting along the edge of a map, activate Armor Up, then position yourself to force your opponent to fall off the map if they try to attack you. Say goodnight!

Rib Splitter is an underrated ability at the moment. It’s really strong at clearing opponents out. In its most basic form, Thorgrim spins around and knocks enemies back a short distance. It also reflects projectiles. One of the most effective ways to use it, however, isn’t on the ground – it’s in the air. Zin Ramu mentioned it during Throwdown Thursday last week; an awesome combo with Throwgrim is to throw an enemy up with Ram’s head, jump up and hit them with your Primary Attack, and then cancel into Rib Splitter.

Some of the interesting side effects of performing Rib Splitter in the air is that, if you time it right against an airborne opponent, you can hit them multiple times with the ability. In addition, if you short hop before using Rib Splitter, you’ll knock the opposing warrior back a bit more than if you were on the ground while using the ability. Rib Splitter is powerful tool when used around map edges.

Rib Splitter is great when used as disruption when there’s a Relic battle happening on the map. Thorgrim can jump into the teamfight, pop Rib Splitter and he’ll knock opponents away from the Relic. This happened a bunch when Team Salty Runback played against Team Robot Crew on Throwdown Thursday. Our Thorgrim did a short-hop into Rib Splitter, and knocked back the enemy Hull Buster from Anne Bonny. It did a ton of damage to Team Robot Crew, and Rib Splitter just has a ton of utility.

Ram’s Head is the throw that everybody loves right now. There’s utility in it, sure. It’s a great crowd control move. It’s beautiful when fighting near edges. Or if you’re able to approach a squishy and you want to move them into a disadvantageous position, you can use Ram’s Head to toss them into the middle of your team so they can chew ‘em up. In fact, if you see an Alona that’s out of position, Ram’s Head her into your team and have them take her out. And suddenly the opposing team is down a warrior and they lost their healer.

Ram’s Head is really good at peeling, because it takes your opponents out of combat and gives your teammate enough time to get back to safety, to reposition and so forth. If there are multiple opponents that you need to peel from your teammates, Ragnarok is a good choice.

Ragnarok is Thorgrim’s ultimate ability, where he jumps up in the air and does a huge AOE attack. It knocks all enemies back and does pretty good damage, but the CC is the biggest aspect of the ability. One of the secondary elements about Ragnarok that some people may not know about is that there are invulnerability frames when Thorgrim is jumping up during Ragarok. So if you’re in a high-pressure situation, you can use Ragnarok to escape, then you’ll hit the enemy team with your attack. Oh, and you can activate Ragnarok while you're mid-air, too. 

It’s been implicit but I’ll just say it here: Thorgrim is absolutely deadly around the edges. You can play footsies with the enemy by just moving around, trying to get in position for a ring out opportunity. In particular, I’ll wait until my opponent is stuck in an attack animation, then I’ll use Armor Up to close the distance, then I’ll use whatever ability I have ready to knock the enemy off of the map. It takes practice, sure, but once you master timing, no one will want to fight you next to the edge of the map.

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