Master Strike is OP, needs serious nerf for player and AI


Hello all,

Its my first post. Firstly Id like to thank Warhorse Studios for the creation of this most wonderful game. Definitely my game of the year by far. Im a big fan. Thus far I have spent 39 hrs playing KCD. I am having a blast.

Despite this I have one complaint: master strikes. In summery a master strike is a perfect parry which is immediately followed by an uninterruptible counter strike. For the player it takes practice and skill to get the timing right, but really as you dont have to pick a direction and all you do is press one button its easier than normal blocking. For the AI to preform a master strike it is a roll of the dice (RNG). I feel master strikes leads to defensive boring turtle like combat. I will explain below.

When a sword is swung at a target (presuming the swing is in range) their are 5 possible outcomes:

  1. The sword hits the target dealing damage
  2. The sword is blocked by the target
  3. The target dodges and the sword hits noting
  4. the target parries the attack and can counter attack, which can be parried in turn by the initial attacker
  5. The target master strikes, thereby dealing unblockable damage to the attacker

For the player:

Outcome 1&2 are desirable, because with the right inputs you can still deal damage via a combo.

Outcome 3&4 are less desirable but even then you can exchange blows and parries and try to counter one another

Outcome 5 is undesirable, because the attacker takes damage.

There are two ways to achieve outcome 1 every time , on a attackers first sword swing, that is clinch followed by an attack, and to attack post master strike.

the problem arises when the attacker wants to try a combo. On their second swing which should follow immediately after the first, any of the 5 mentioned outcomes can occur (depending on what RNGesus decides), including outcome 5, which is when the attacker takes damage. So the reality of master strikes is: the player positions themselves perfectly, they input the combo keys in the right order and with the right timing, and despite the player doing everything they can do perfectly, on any stroke BAM masterstriked, player takes damage, player has to watch the slow motion thing which I found tedious after the 50th time. This results in a players ability to perform combos coming down to RNG deciding on the outcome of the swings, and RNG often results in the player taking damage. SO why would the player try??

So It is obvious to me that as a player, the safest, and therefore the best method to which conduct oneself in combat, which will reliably result in successful combat encounters, is to never attack and just either master stroke your way to victory, or clinch followed by a strike, as that way there is no risk of taking damage. Indeed I have bet Bernard this way many times.

With master strikes in place in its current form the game makes it undesirable to attempt combos, and i love including combos in combat. I get a real kick when I pull one off, and I feel like a badass. I have read posts on this very forum asking how to do combos from players with reportedly 100+ hrs in the game. They never learnt the combos because they didnt have to, because master strikes makes it undesirable to attack, and defense is so much safer. Even if you miss the master strike you’re gonna parry. Once you figure this out, why try to combo?

So I am currently in another TAB looking for a mod which disables/nerfs master strikes.

What I cant understand is who in warhorse studios thought master strikes (basically a quick time event) were a good idea. Why include feinting, combos, dodging and other techniques if “the best way” to play is master strike followed by regular sword swing.

Can someone please explain the logic behind master strikes to me? What are the pros to its inclusion in the game??

the only thing I can think of is someone who is bad at combat in warhorse studios complaining they couldnt beat the opposition and requested easier defense or something??? I honestly dont know.


The way I “get the most” out of “training” with Capt Punching Bag: back him into a corner by holding down W and then repeatedly tap F. Not sure, but I think these are “master strikes?”

Basically, as long as i keep doing this, and apart from it just being tedious, there is virtually no “cost” to doing it; with my build of Henry he can do it all day long without needing to pause (until his hunger grows I suppose), Capt Bernie stays in a perpetual loop of going from the “knocked back / off balance / aghast facial expression” to being punched with the right-hand pommel of whatever weapon I’m using.

This may require fairly high strength and vitality if not also some modicum of skill in the weapon in question. But I have the feeling just ~15 strength, ~15 Vitality and ~12 Agility is sufficient even if a particular weapon skill is at 0. Maybe warfare might need to also be in the 10 ballpark?

Easiest way to level up the combat related skills and abilities that I have found, though tedious.

WH is to be applauded for trying to deliver a truly immersive system for character growth and combat. But it needs a rework and it would seemingly be doable by adjust parameters or perhaps introducing a few more conditionals / functions into the underlying source code.


That is a clinch followed by a strike which you are preforming. Master strike is preformed by pressing Q before green shield appears when someone attacks you.

My issue isnt leveling up skills, its the player taking damage despite the player doing everything right. Also the player doing damage for a simple well timed button press.

Youve basically confirmed you dont do combos because you have the option of avoiding DMG completely via repeated clinches.


This is the main issue of the combat engine and has been like this for ages.
The skill scaling and the ease with which master strikes can be executed at high enough skill levels (11-12+) unfortunately turns combat into a series of quick time events. Press a button when the game wants you to and win.


Yep. I’ve tried combos against Capt Bernard: STR and VIT 20, AGI 18, level is at leat 15, Warfare and every salient weapon skill 15+ (some are lower but this applies to the higher ones just as much as the lower). I’d say they manage to penetrate his defenses maybe . . . 10% of the time?

Why bother?


Hmmm, well im glad im not he only one who feels this way, I downloaded no mo slo mo, only disables master strikes for the AI though, I do like the removal of the Slo mo though.

Any way to disable master stike for the player??

Ive been looking at other mods but they are all outdated,

oldonost causes crash
and combat improved uses old stats for weapons and armour


Oh no, don’t tell me that…I’m just about to reinstall the game after about 9 months and I was hoping I could maybe wring some sort of challenge out of the combat through mods, and here you are telling me they’re all outdated. -_-


want a challenge from combat? play hardcore mode and force yourself to use armour pieces with less than 20 defense and get into big group fights


Immersive Balance outdated

& Ultimate Realism Overhaul looks like its in date but I dont know if it would be fun


I noticed it too, that a lot of the mods were from earlier versions of the game and haven’t been updated.

It seems that most of the “mods” that address these things are actually just edits to a parameter file. I’ve been thinking how I would elaborate the perk system if I were to crack open those files; I have “perkaholic” but even that seems like it only goes part way . . . If I do look into those files, I will think about these matters as well.


IM looking through the disable AI master strike file in nomoslowmo mod to see if there is someway to disable it for the player, came across these lines, I suspect special perfect block is the master strike. I dont know if this has disabled master strike though

<row rpg_param_key=“MaxPerfectBlockSlotModifier” rpg_param_value=“0.85” /
<row rpg_param_key=“MaxSpecialPerfectBlockSlotModifier” rpg_param_value=“0.6” /

The below line is a negitive so maybe this disabled master strikes??

<row rpg_param_key=“CombatAutoSPBWeight” rpg_param_value="-1" /

Honestly I dunno. Im not a technical wizard so I dont know how to disable master strikes. I cant even fine the core games equivalence of this file


Im gonna play with masters strikes in place, as I dont want to be able to do them if the AI cant. God I hope someone makes a mod to disable or greatly reduce frequency of master strikes


There are ways to reduce the probability of Masterstrikes. For exemple, by landing a strike in a direction opposite to their weapon stance, the window for a master strike is significantly reduced.

On the other hand, you can make masterstrike easier on your part by moving your weapon stance to mach the ennemy’s side before they strike.


I suspected that after berand did the same master strike to me five times in a row when I tried scarmaker on him repeatedly ha! But the reality is he has master striked me mid combo when he was flinching from my strikes… obviously feinting will help reduce master strikes… but the majority of my combos start post clinch or post player master strike


Well, as for me, I definetely have problems with performing combos to start with (comfortable mouse sensivity for me while out of actual fight is too high to pick any certain direction really fast while in a fight - I miss needed side of attack, so have to start from the beginning). Also, only complete retard as an enemy will allow me to perfom some 3-stage combos, don’t even touch 4-stage ones, without actually interrupting me (and we speak just about 1 vs. 1 fight) - but do I really need combos in a fight with such enemy, when I can just stab him 3-4 times in a row and he passes out. Casual but it works.

When in a fight with full plate high level marauder, I chose not to fight first of all - and just turn him into the needle pad with arrows. When you roleplay light armored hunter/archer, other choices will be retarded. Especially trying to outmatch such enemy in swordsplay, when he CAN perform combos without much problem, but you are not. So, master strikes for me are the only choice to “do something cool”. As I play with hunting swords (or short swords), they don’t help much with one-hit-win-fight, just distract the enemy, but it looks “not bad”.


Im using the no slow motion mod, and I finding getting master striked much more tolerable now. A lot of my frustration with the system has gone. I think without the slow motion master strikes and parries dont break the flow of combat as much. The mod doesnt eliminate the base problem with master strikes just helps me tolerate them more.

To clarify I do really like the combat system in the game.

@Logist Im making a new thread now on Combos to discuss them, I blame the tutorial for alot of people not being able to carry them out.


As do I. It is just sometimes too unfriendly to such casuals as I. On the other hand, until game allows me to play through archery, short blades, stealth and poisons (my regular modus operandi since Skyrim), I’m okay with it.

Would appreciate, if you summon me there.


There is a mod on Nexus that might have what you want in terms of nerfing NPC use of Master Strike?

Makes too many changes for me, but if someone wanted to take apart his files and see how it is that he is changing the master strike stuff, might be of use.


@dichebach @CowabungaKid

That looks like a fun mod Dichebach, I might try it out next playthrough


I just installed the No Mo’ Slowmo mod myself and…DEAR GOD THIS IS SO MUCH BETTER. I actively hate myself for not finding that sooner. I mean…it’s still just QTEs at the end of the day, but the combat flow is so much better.
Although I will say that it feels like removing the slow-motion effects actually makes combat easier, which makes sense when you think about it…the slow-mo never actually helped with timing or anything like that because it only kicked in while the block/counter animations were playing themselves out. But I’ll also say that I used to have some minor framerate issues here and there due to the slow-motion effects and those are obviously gone as well.

definitely keeping this mod installed until the end of time and to be honest, having now tried it, I have to seriously question the decision to include any slow-motion effects in combat in the first place.

I might give this a try as well, thanks for linking it.