Becoming the Ultimate Slayer in Dauntless

Dauntless launched in mid-2019 as a free-to-play, less complex Monster Hunter alternative. It features a playful visual style, plenty of customization options, several weapon types, and dozens of behemoths to conquer!

Last year, I made a Dauntless guide which served as an intro for any new players looking to become an effective slayer. Since the latest Reforged update dropped last month, the game’s complexity levels have gone up.

In this updated guide, I’ll go over the new hunts Slayer’s Path, and tips to help you become the ultimate slayer in 2021!

Dauntless Basics

At its core, Dauntless is a game about killing beasts, collecting crafting materials, upgrading gear, and battling even tougher behemoths. In the midst of this cycle, you’ll find yourself completing various missions to speed your progress.

Weapons in Dauntless

At the time of this writing, Dauntless has six weapon classes to choose from: axe, sword, hammer, war pike, chain blades, and repeaters. Within each class, there’s a bunch of variations to choose from which give you elemental bonuses and slots for specific cells (more on this later).

Rather than having classes to shape your slayer’s development path, you’re able to customize your character by using a combination of equipment and items. There are plenty of builds available online so I won’t get too much into those here. My advice is to try all six weapons, find the one you like most, and just copy a proven build from the interwebs.

If you don’t feel like experimenting with weapons, my recommendation is to go with a sword loadout that feeds off the OP-ness of the Adhesive Hilt mod. With this attachment, you’re impervious to being staggered while in special and can use Ardent Cyclone to quickly take down behemoths!

Dauntless Guide - Damage Type

Armor in Dauntless

You can equip 4 pieces of armor in Dauntless for any loadout which corresponds to a specific part of your slayer’s body: head, torso, arm, and leg. Similar to the weapon customization, each piece of armor has bonus resistance to an element and specific slots for cells. 

Most pieces of armor also have a cell effect built-in (more on this later). You’ll need to take these into consideration when creating your final build, but don’t worry about it when you’re just getting started.

In the early goings, you’ll want to just get the Gnasher set of armor. While this armor doesn’t provide any elemental bonuses, it also isn’t weak to any specific element. Don’t make the same mistake I made by wasting your early resources on crafting every piece of armor!

Lanterns in Dauntless

Aside from your 4 armor items, you can also equip a lantern that grants you special abilities in battles. Lanterns have two abilities that can be used depending on whether you tap or hold the mapped button.

If you’re using a slow weapon like a Hammer or Axe, I highly recommend equipping the Embermane’s Rapture. This lantern will boost your attack speed and effectively increase your DPS of these heavy-hitting weapons.

For faster weapons that deal less damage per hit, the Drask Eye is the way to go. The tap ability increases your weapon damage and the lightning bolt gives some nice burst damage.

Cells in Dauntless

Think of cells as modifications to your slayer that can be equipped by attaching them to a piece of weapon, armor, or lantern. Each one has three levels of buffs – +1, +2, and +3 – with increasing bonuses as the cells get to higher levels. 

You can combine cells, and armor effects, for a total of +6 on any bonus. Once you go over +6, you won’t receive any additional benefits. Try to create a build that has +6 of a handful of buffs to maximize your slayer’s potential.

Iceborne has become the go-to cell of choice in the Dauntless world. This cell grants you life steal, making you much tougher to kill and allowing you to play aggressively against behemoths. Iceborne is especially crucial once you get to higher difficulties since behemoths deal a greater amount of damage.

Another popular strategy is to equip the Discipline cell, which caps your health at 50%, and pairs it with cells that grant you buffs when at or below 50% health:

  • Rage – increased damage
  • Wild Frenzy – increased attack speed

If you can manage to get +6 Iceborne, +3 Discipline, and +6 of these two cells, you’ll have a slayer with high sustain and great damage output!

Lastly, once you’re beyond the early game, it’s important that you either get your cells to +3 or +6 to get the most value out of the equipped slot. You can combine cells at the Middleman, who will produce cells with increased levels based on what you provide as crafting resources. Ideally, you’ll have two of the same cell – ie. +1 Iceborne fused with +1 Iceborne to produce +2 Iceborne – to build toward your ideal loadout.

Dauntless Guide - Potions

Consumables

You can carry a maximum of four consumable types on your hunts. One slot is reserved for healing flasks, so you can customize the other three to your playstyle.

While it may be tempting to load up on explosives, the grenades in Dauntless don’t have much of an impact on most of your battles. I recommend staying away from these once you’re able to craft some potions.

You’ll find crafting materials scattered throughout the environment and can interact with them to add them to your virtual inventory. Once you have enough, return to Ramsgate to begin crafting.

Some of the best potions to equip are Assault Tonic (increases stagger damage), Blitz Tonic (increased attacked speed), and Frenzy Tonic (increased damage). For behemoths who are especially tough, particularly the escalation bosses, it’s nice to have Bulwark Tonics in hand to avoid dying to a single attack.

Slayers can also purchase consumables in Dauntless, but you’re likely to end up with hundreds of crafting materials through your inevitable playtime. Save your coins for the Slayers Path!

The Slayers Path

Now that you know the basics, we’ll get into the meat of Dauntless – the Slayers Path. Introduced in the Dauntless Reforged update in December 2020, this skill tree completely changed the game!

At a high level, the Slayers Path is a way to upgrade all of your Slayer’s attributes by spending currency. Look closer, and you’ll notice that the system is a major step up from the progression mechanics pre-Reforged!

Rather than unlocking random upgrades as you level up, slayers can now pick and choose which areas they want to improve. Through a combination of spending Rams and Merits, you’ll purchase upgrades that make your character stronger over time.

Most of the upgrades are straightforward – hold more flasks, increase damage with a particular weapon, etc. However, the weapon system got a bit more confusing than the original.

Back in the day, you would level up a weapon by collecting the relevant crafting materials. This system was the same for taking it from level 1 to level 15. 

In 2021, we now have a mechanic where weapon classes now go from level 1 to 20 AND you can prestige the weapon class. This means resetting your weapon level to 1 in favor of getting valuable materials and the prospect of increased overall lethality.

Once you improve a weapon class to level 20, you can ‘Reforge’ it at the Sparkforge with Aetherspark, effectively taking it back to level 1. In return, you receive an Aetherheart, which is used to power surge weapons. This grants a permanent power increase to a specific weapon or armor.

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