For Honor Classes Guide and Winning Strategies for Beginners

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For Honor releases today, so make sure you’re prepared with these winning strategies for your first few hours in the game, complete with a guide to all 12 Heroes.

It’s been almost two years since For Honor took E3 2015 by storm, but after months of developer updates and both a closed and open beta, the highly anticipated title is finally here. Those still on the fence about the Ubisoft game can take one last look at For Honor‘s launch trailer and minimum PC specs while they make up their mind, but for the rest of us, it’s go time.

To that end, Game Rant has put together a collection of tips and tricks to aid you during your first moments out on the battlefield. Make no mistake, For Honor can be a complex video game and it will take some time to master the game’s controls and come up with a winning strategy. While For Honor does include a single-player campaign, this guide will focus mostly on getting you up to speed on the game’s 12 Heroes and PvP combat.

Three Factions, Four Classes, 12 Heroes

For the uninitiated, For Honor has 12 types of heroes split equally among three different factions, the Vikings, the Knights and the Samurai. There’s more to it than that, however, as the heroes are also grouped into four different classes, which are Vanguard, Assassin, Heavy and Hybrid. Here’s what you need to know:

Vanguards

Vanguards are units that can easily adapt to any situation and are the best options to start learning the game with. They are considered “all-around” units but they don’t excel in any particular area.

  • Warden (Knights Faction) Wardens use two-handed swords and can move across the battlefield with ease. They also specialize in interruptions and throws and pack a big punch with their unblockable shoulder tackle.
  • Raider (Vikings Faction) Raiders wield two-handed axes against their enemies. They are much slower than Wardens but pack a very strong punch and also do well against groups.
  • Kensei (Samurai Faction) Like Raiders, the Kensei are slow but powerful. The Kensei differentiate themselves with their long-range melee attack to counter their slow movement.

Assassins

Assassins are absolutely lethal in one on one combat but don’t fare as well when attacking multiple enemies at once. They use stealth and mobility to stay out of trouble before leaping back into battle to land the killing blow.

  • Peacekeeper (Knights Faction) Stealth is the name of the game when playing as a Peacekeeper. They stay in the shadows until the moment is right and then take out their opponent with a quick strike. In exchange for their incredible mobility, they have to deal with a very short attack range.
  • Berserker (Vikings Faction) Berserkers dual-wield axes and specialize in getting up close and personal. They excel at using speed and chain attacks to cut their enemies down. The Berserker is one of the hardest classes to master but are highly effective in the right player’s hands.
  • Orochi (Samurai Faction) The Orochi is one of the fastest fighters in the game and can be quite annoying to play against as they focus mostly on harassing and counter attacking their opponents. It’s not the easiest class to learn, however, as they can be left vulnerable if the player gets the timing wrong when attempting to counter.

Heavies

As the name implies, heavy class heroes have the highest defense and health pools in the game but all of that bulk saddles them with very slow movement. Opponents still need to be careful when cornering a heavy, however, as they can easily bash their way out of just about any situation with their incredibly powerful attacks. Use a Heavy when you want to control a choke point or defend a weaker teammate from harm.

  • Conquerer (Knights Faction) The Conquerer features high defense and hard hitting attacks and works best when counter-attacking the opponent with their ball & chain weapons. Conquerers also have a shield that can be used to bash your opponent off of a cliff when the time is right.
  • Warlord (Vikings Faction) The Warlord is somewhat similar to the Conquerer in that they focus on counter-attacking and harassment. The Warlord has higher sustained damage than the other Heavies, however, so you might be able to just duke it out in a straight fight instead of always waiting to counter.
  • Shugoki (Samurai Faction) Shugoki charge into battle with a Kanabo, a club-like weapon with spikes on the business end. The Shugoki are the easiest Heavy to master and feature a passive uninterruptable stance that allows them to be a little more aggressive when attacking. The Shugoki is the best Heavy for dealing with large groups.

Hybrids

Hybrids are classes that have elements from at least two of the other three classes in the game. They blend characteristics from multiple Heroes together to create a brand new playstyle.

  • Lawbringer (Knights Faction) The Lawbringer is one part Heavy and one part Vanguard. They excel at counter-attacking but can also be the aggressor when needed.
  • Valkyrie (Vikings Faction) The Valkyrie can adapt well to any situation like a Vanguard and will keep opponents on their toes with their Assassin-like speed. Valkyries use a spear and a small shield that is much better at attacking than defending.
  • Nobushi (Samurai Faction) The Nobushi use the Naginata in battle, a long weapon with a wooden shaft and curved blade that is excellent at striking from range. In fact, it’s the longest attack range in the game and they will use various abilities to try and keep their opponents from closing the gap.

Take Your Time

Now that you have an idea of the kinds of Heroes you’ll be taking control of, let’s talk about your first couple of hours in For Honor. When you first launch the game, you’ll be taken through a standard tutorial. But this tutorial alone isn’t really enough to give you a full understanding of the game’s complex fighting systems. After the initial tutorial is finished, you can find additional tutorials hidden behind the menu options. Look for the one that says “How to Play.”

After you’re acquainted with the various systems, it’s time to pick your class and Hero. If you read the class section above, you’ll know that the three Vanguard fighters are recommended for new players. But regardless of who you choose, you should spend the time needed to become an expert at one Hero before moving onto the next one.

Having 12 Heroes across four classes and three factions is a bit complicated, but really all you need to do is treat each of the 12 Heroes as a standalone experience. If you wouldn’t normally move on to learning Sub-Zero in Mortal Kombat until after you’ve mastered Scorpion, then don’t move onto the Raider until after you’ve learned the Warden.

Don’t Worry Too Much About Gear

For Honor features a gear system that can be used to upgrade your Heroes but it is also slow to unlock. All 12 Heroes are available at the start but in order to equip gear on your fighter, you’ll have to go through a process to “recruit” them. What you really need to understand about gear though is that it doesn’t matter at all unless you are playing 4v4.

Ubisoft has intentionally made gear cosmetic-only in the 1v1 and 2v2 modes so that those battles will always be decided based on skill, not by who has the best gear. 4v4 also has other systems in play like special abilities so it’s not recommended until you have a full understanding of all 12 fighters.

While we’re talking about things you can ignore, don’t worry too much about War Assets and the Faction War at the start of the game. Most of the rewards here are cosmetic and the impact of any one player on the war in a game that’s being played by many thousands of people is minimal, no matter how much fun you’re having.

Don’t Be A Button Basher

Button bashing might have helped you cut through that block of stone while playing those classic Mortal Kombat mini-games, but it will do next to nothing for you in For Honor. You’ll still need to have good reflexes to come out on top most of the time, but this is a game that rewards planning and tactical decision-making above all else. A few examples:

  • Positioning matters. Each fighter in the game has a different fighting style and a different attack range. Watch your enemy closely and learn whether it’s best to stay on them or fight from afar. If a fighter is having success harassing you from afar, they probably won’t fare as well if you can close the gap and get up in their face.
  • When attacking, try not to overextend. A number of fighters excel at counter-attacking so while you will want to move in quickly when you decide to attack, you’ll also want to save a dash or a defensive ability to help you get back out if things go wrong.
  • When on defense, sometimes it’s OK to just stand there and block. Trying to push back right away or turning around to run could leave you exposed, so it’s best to wait for the attacker to start losing some steam and then strike back when you spot an opening.
  • Parrying will open up opponents to attack early on. Eventually feinting will become a part of your repertoire, but parrying in the early stages is very useful. To execute a parry, simply do a heavy attack in the direction your opponent is attacking in, timed when the red attack arrow flashes. If done correctly, the parry should push your opponent back and leave them open to an attack.

If you want to learn some basic strategy before facing other players, the game has a decent duel system that will allow you to go up against some bots to help you get your feet wet.

For Honor is out now on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. If you’re looking to buy the game, check out our For Honor Game Deals guide, which breaks down the differences between the Gold, Deluxe and Standard editions.