Gather round, yuenglings! This manual of ancient polearm lore has been passed down since ancient times. The polearm style, an often misunderstood weapon style, takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master. With the help of this guide, you too can be a mobile, untouchable killing machine.
Part 1: Footwork
Footwork is absolutely critical for polearm fighters. When your enemy is at maximum range, a single step can make the difference between a hit and a whiff.
- Keep your weight balanced between your feet. This makes it easy to step forward or back. If somebody swings for your foot, you can pull it up quickly without losing your balance.
- Always be ready to jump back. Make sure the people around you know that you need some room behind you to fight effectively.
- When your enemy advances at you, he will put his right foot forward. Strike as he steps. If he’s guarding his foot with a shield, go for the shoulder instead.
- If your enemy steps forward while taking a swing at you, step back while swinging at his sword arm.
- In many cases, stepping to the side is better than stepping backwards.
- When strafing or circling around your opponent, move towards his shield side. This forces your enemy to attack around his shield, which reduces his reach.
Part 2: Offense
Whenever you attack, you telegraph a vulnerability to your opponent.
- Be sensitive to this weak point and correct for it in advance. For example, if you swing low, be ready to pull your weapon up and block your right shoulder. Make this part of your attack motion.
- Polearm style relies on speed and precision. You should only be hitting with the top six inches of the weapon. This is a “lightest touch” style – use your wrists and forearms, not your biceps.
- Feinting against a shield fighter makes him waste a lot of motion and breath. Feint for the foot to make them lower their shield, then go for the shoulder. Even if you’re not fast enough to land the hit, you’re making them spend their stamina faster than you.
Part 3: Defense
- Footwork, footwork, footwork. The best defense is to not be there when they swing. Polearm is a very mobile style – if you’re getting hit, it’s probably because you’re standing still. Be a moving target.
- Scorpion Stance: Scorpion stance is a defensive posture. It’s a good defense against somebody moving directly towards you. Turn your shoulder towards your opponent and make your body as narrow as possible. Hold the polearm blade down, keeping your body behind the pole. One hand should be high, by the butt end. The other should be about halfway down the grip. Keep your legs wide and your posture low. From this stance, it’s easy to block your entire body and thrust at your opponent’s feet. You don’t need too much motion to block, just lean away from the attack and your polearm will already be in the right spot.
- If your opponent lands a few hits on you, switch stances so they have to re-learn where your vulnerabilities are.
Part 4: Dirty Tricks
Pythagoras, the Father of Polearms
Pythagoras was a philosopher and mathematician who invented many of today’s devastating polearm techniques. He is known as the Father of the Polearm style. The Pythagorean theory of polearm maximizes reach by NOT attacking along the hypotenuse (longest leg of the triangle).
You have the greatest reach when you are attacking straight forward. When making a low attack, you get another few inches of reach by ducking.
(tip of the hat to Ted Marston)
In a line fight, a polearm is a weapon of mass destruction.
- Pair up with a shieldmate who will block for you. If an enemy draws too close, step back, adjacent to your ally’s shield.
- Don’t focus too hard on the person you’re engaged with. You can make an attack of opportunity against anybody within your reach. Swing when they swing.
- In a line fight, or if your opponent is engaged, you can often step back without giving your enemy an opportunity to advance. Stand a step out of reach, with your left foot forward. Step forward and swing, then step back.
Here’s a teamwork technique—
- If you and an ally are engaging the same target, call either “high road” or “low road”. This indicates to your ally that you will be aiming at high targets (arms and shoulders), or low targets (legs and feet). Your ally will take the opposite height.
- Coordinate your swings so that you are attacking at the same time.
- Your opponent cannot block both spots at once without entering into a totally defensive posture. And he cannot win the fight without attacking.
The Byronic Hero
Named for Sir Byron LeVolant, notable dandyman and braggart, this is a two hit combo which is designed for duels against shield fighters.
- Start with a low leg sweep. This telegraphs to your opponent that he should attack your shoulder.
- Be ready for the incoming shoulder attack. Pull your sweep up into a high block. For maximum style, this should look like you are curling a barbell.
- As you block, step back and strike your opponent’s extended sword arm.
- If you time it right you will have hit them twice while they have only swung once.