Skills Documentation

A post which I wanted to do quite some time back but never properly had the time to sit down to work on until now. Allow me to present to you….Skills Documentation.

In the same vein as the minions abilities documentation list which GL, which you can check out here, do note that this is a documentation list and subjective opinions here are kept minimal at best. Additionally, this list attempts to sieve out whatever useful information one might need in figuring out certain skills.

But before I start, I would like to shout out to Strafez, who previously had made for the non-gear chest free skills, which he so excellently documented within his videos. Moreover, these videos saved me a lot of time in figuring out the specifics of skills which I did not possess. Do check out his channel here.

Credit also goes to Aqve Teig, who spotted all the mistakes in the initial draft of the document and also helped with some of the experimentation of the skills.

Skills Spreadsheet

Done in a google docs fashion and categorised according to elements, below are the different skills with their associated effects, number of charges, base cooldown time (in seconds), unique traits (for those at T6) and where to obtain them. They also include effect range, which can be found in response to this post.

Through the use of google docs, this list can be updated whenever is necessary. This maintains the database (which I will find somewhere more visible to place it) and provides a complete overview of the necessary information.

For those who wish to view the entire list, do check out the full link here.

Certain short form terminologies used are:

  • AoE – Area of Effect, referring to affecting enemies in neighbouring vicinity
  • DOT – Damage over Time, refers to receiving constant damage as result of certain skills
  • Buff – Temporary enhancement of specific trait(s)
  • HP – Hit Points
  • HP Shield – An active shield skill that has a fixed amount of HP, soaking up received damage until the limit is received
  • Knockback/ Knockdown/ Pushback – Incapitation of enemies by knocking them down onto the floor or back a distance (pushback is the official term)

Furthermore, if you would like to check out where to locate some of these free skills in missions and do not want to rely upon the bounty chest, do check out Raizel’s link for a complete list.

Base Cooldown

One of the aspects for each skill, which I foresee might incur some controversy, would be the cooldown of each skill.

Referring to how long the skill would take to refresh before the skill can be cast again, cooldown effectively decides how spammable the particular skill is. It is indicated by the red bar that fills up and disappears and/or remains there, showing when the skill can be reused again.

Having a short cooldown time (eg. Avalanche, Flame Eruption) or a skill that can be used while it is being recharged (eg. Ray of Darkness, Cyclone), means that you can constantly use it with little to no down time. On the contrary, AoE or persistent zone skills (eg. Static Burst, Ice Stalagmites) take an extremely long while before they can be used again, making sure they are not so rapidly used to avoid OP characters.

Ray of Darkness is immensely spammable from its ability to be used even during its charging phase

In this list above, base cooldown takes into consideration that there are no additional skill cooldown traits that assist in reducing the cooldown of that specific elemental skill. Timing of the skill was done without these gears (eg. certain armors, weapons) and measured when the red cooldown bar commences. All of these were recorded using the computer clock for greater accuracy.

Hence, if you observe that your cooldown does not exactly match the ones written in the list, do check whether you have any of these skill cooldown reduction gears first. Nonetheless, do let me know if the values are way out from what you have recorded for yourself.

The general trend of skill cooldowns can be observed as such, in descending order:

  • AoE & Persistent Zone – 20 secs
  • Defensive shields – 15 secs
  • Dash (action) – 12 secs
  • Projectiles – 8 secs
  • Spray – 6 secs
  • Ray – charging

As a side note, using another charge of the skill when it is still recharging causes the cooldown bar to pause momentarily until the skill has been performed. This effectively hampers the cooldown time, which might be worth considering otherwise during actual combat.

TL;DR: Cooldown is measured without skill cooldown reduction traits. AoE skills have the longest cooldown while ray skills have the shortest.

Active Skill Effects

Another topic to be addressed would be active skill effects.

Listed as the ‘effect‘ of the skill, this refers to the active effect triggered against both monsters and the user/allies. While this issue is not prevalent for self-buffs or defensive skills, the problem comes when these active effects are applied directly onto hostile monsters.

When I approached the devs about this previously, they forewarned that putting a numerical percentage for the effect is rather tricky and might be misleading. They explained that this is because certain monsters possess innate resistance towards certain crowd control effects (eg. knockback, stun, fear etc.), they might be more or less susceptible to the listed effects.

To sieve out which monsters affected by which effects however, would be tedious and might not be worthwhile the time and effort in individually experimenting all of the different minions. Fortunately, what we do know is that champion types have the greatest resistance, but are still vulnerable to fear (and reportedly stun as well). However, not all possess the same level of resistance as certain ones get feared more easily than others.

To increase the complexity of the situation, skills themselves have different activation chances of these skill effects. For example, Immortal Justice has an extremely high stun rate compared to the weaker Lightning Blast, resulting in a higher possibility of activation when used in combat.

Yet another layer of ‘icing to the cake‘ would be that passive crowd-control traits from other equipment are also applied to these skills when they are cast. If you have fear chance on your other gears, firing the multi-hit Darkness Spread might result in you inducing fear upon your opponents. This makes a potential strategy as having a specific passive trait of a high value is useful in enhancing your existing skill build setup (eg. HP/Hit build improves Ray of Darkness‘ relatively significant HP/Hit value).

Passive effects, like Bloodrage, work hand-in-hand with skills. In this case, it is triggered by a monster’s death from predatory strike, which further boosts existing skill damage by tenfold.

Last but not least, a critical hit (from either a skill or weapon) might in fact be responsible for knocking-down or staggering a hostile monster. Such was demonstrated in the later stages of SH v1.0, where an experiment against my stronghold resulted in my character getting knockdown-ed by my keeper gear upon a critical hit from his lightning shield’s bolt.

Hence, do let me know if I’ve not captured any of these skill effects within the list in the comments below. I’ll update them when I find the time to. 🙂

TL;DR: Active skill crowd control effects have different activation rates and are also affected by the monster’s innate resistance. Fortunately, these effects can also be enhanced or added by existing passive traits.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some of the frequently asked skill-related questions:

Q: Any useful and/or interesting observations from the list?

A: Yep definitely.

  • Avalanche boosts itself from having Skill damage bonus
  • Master Kick and Burning Phantasm are the only skills which boost attack speed
  • Earthen Wrath is the only skill with HP/Hit at T6 with the only unique skill with variable skill effects
  • AoE skills take way too long to cooldown, followed by defensive shield skills
  • By elemental skill active/passive traits:
    • Fire – Burn, Crit Hit Chance/Damage
    • Water – Slow, Dodge
    • Dark – Fear, Crit Hit Chance, Damage to Attacker
    • Light – Stun, Dodge, HP bonus
    • Nature – Slow, HP bonus

Q: How do I get event-specific skills now?

A: Unfortunately, event-specific skills (eg. Snowball and Master Kick) were only available during their respective events themselves, Xmas and EuroCup respectively. Hence, it is necessary to wait till the event happens again to obtain them.

Q: Why is my casting animation reduced?

A: This has been observed between Android and iOS devices where certain key heavier casting animation scenes have been cut out (eg. Entangling Vines, Nightmare Burst). Although this does not affect the overall damage being dealt, it does not show the skill in its full glory.

This was reported some time back to the devs about the animation and is most likely a porting issues, since the game was made for iOS. Hopefully, they’ll get down to fixing it.

Q: Is skill cooldown affected by tier?

A: While I don’t have a guaranteed answer for this, asking my friends and doing some self-experimentation does not yield to any positive results to that query. In short, no, evolving skills does not reduce cooldown, only skill cooldown trait is able to do it.

Q: Why are certain skills (eg. Ice Burst, Fire Cone) extremely rare now?

A: I don’t have any official answer to this, but if I were to speculate, these skills at T6 are making certain combat challenges much easier. Thus, the drop rates on chest pulls were reduced to ensure that they are much less obtainable.

Q: In your Seashore post, you mentioned that a new trident lands every 12 seconds from the destruction of the first one. However, my ice stalagmites seems to be in-sync with that timing even though you wrote 20 seconds. How is that possible?

A: This could be due to multiple reasons:
(a) Skill cooldown from gear reduces the skill itself to about 17 seconds
(b) There is a 1-2 secs delay between when the trident lands till silence activates
(c) The cooldown for Ice Stalagmites starts as soon as you cast it, hence, there is some additional time from when the first trident gets destroyed and the next one lands.

Q: When are the free skills going to be evolve-able to T6?

A: This, I am unsure of the answer and I guess only the devs know of how to reply to this question.

Q: Are there going to be another Legendary Skill type besides belts?

A: Again, no official answer from my side. However, if I were to make a guess, another legendary skill type might be due as there has been an increase in level cap and thus, an increase in weight cap. This means that a character at level 130 can carry up to 4 legendary items, opening up the possibility of using another skill item.

Hopefully, this answered your queries and would help you in selecting the right skill for you.


30 thoughts on “Skills Documentation

    1. I don’t find it extremely useful since its not so straight forward to use it and its doesn’t have fantastic traits. Additionally, there are better belt skills around which fare better in comparison (eg. leg belts, ray of darkness, burst belts, entangling vines etc.).


      1. What about Fire cyclone and Burning phantasm? Which is better? I have Fire cyclone at t5 max and I just got Burning phantasm (t3) from chest today. I can not decide which one should I evolve to t6.


      2. I’ve never used either at T6 before, but my guildmates have told me good things about Burning Phantasm since the disembodied self-targeting spirit is potentially useful for taking out assassins. Fire Cyclone, however, is more like a burst type AoE skill which has one charge for a relatively long cooldown time.

        Actually, since we are on this topic, which belts do you currently have?


      3. Thank you for your suggestion. So I will evolve my Burning Phantasm to t6. Before I asked for your recommendation on frozen blade, the t6 skill that I have is Nightmare Burst. Now I just evolved my frozen blade to t6 even though you told me that it is not extremely useful but it is the only t6-able water belt that I have. So I decided to evolve it to t6 and I find that it is not useful but I need water armor bonus. For the Poseidon’s Defense that you recommended, I evolved it to t6 and found that it is great and I can beat ruby stronghold with ease. Now I have to figure out how and when to use my frozen blade in a right and efficient way. Any suggestion?


      4. Frozen blades are quite tricky to use, especially in raiding where monsters (esp champions) don’t get stunned that easily. I’ve only used up to the T5 version but this is the main strategy I use.

        The strategy first follows how you would use any AoE skill, lure monsters close to you before using it. In this case, the blades ‘trap’ will stun/slow the monsters within its field of effect. Afterwhich, run/roll towards and past the monster you want to damage the most and if done correctly, the target monster should receive the highest amount of damage (multiplied by blades pierced through it).

        I’m pretty sure that this might be straightforward information to you and you’ve probably mastered it considering that you have it at T6. 🙂

        However, in the heat of the battle, I would rather use a simpler skill instead (eg. Nightmare burst). In fact, this might help you clear those pesky monkeys or even spirius in ruby/guardhouse configurations.


  1. I always enjoy reading your articles and find that they are always useful. I salute you for dedicating yourself to this game. I and other players will surely benefit from all of your hard work. Thank you very much.


  2. Hey Zung, it’s me again :). I have a question. So, before my skills are: Veil, MalRush, and Valor Totem (don’t have any otehr belot with dodge). I recently ditched my MalRush for a Flame Eruption (to get dodge). With a dodge rate of 54%, I can safely say that I can beat *more* strongholds these days.

    Using Hades Mantle (armor) and Death Incarnate (staff) and a DOT of more than 1k, my strategy’s quite simple: 1) activate Veil; 2) plant the totem without being interrupted (due to Veil); 3) hit stuff; 4) keep invoking invulnerability from Flame Eruption until Veil resets. Rinse and repeat.

    However, remember the SH you helped me put together? I can’t beat it. The ogres keep banding together, even when they’re going after me. As such, their HP keeps on regenerating. I can’t, for the life of me, make them separate. Any suggestions on how I can beat my SH using my gear setup? Or is this impossible (i.e. I should use a different loadout).

    As always, thanks in advance!


    1. Hey Garfried, I just wrote a post on how to raid/build ruby temple trap rooms which is scheduled to be released in a while.

      However, for your case specifically, you might want to separate the ogres first before starting to attack as they can be a hassle to deal with together. You can do this by outrunning them (since Ogres are naturally slow) or attacking one until fear kicks in (since Death Incarnate has good fear value).

      In terms of gear, you can also opt for a good secondary water melee weapon and a good water belt skill (eg. ice burst). These will help you take out the individual ogres much quickly before they start banding together.

      Ogres have a lot of HP and DOT is less effective as they can heal quickly through their regular ‘fire fart’ attacks, especially in a group, in addition to the healing they get from the crystal. Damage reflection is also amplified if you drop in ice burst/ immortal justice near them, reflecting up to 10% (*5) damage if you attack a group of 5 ogres at one go. Also, watch for their DOT as offered by the crystal, this can be pretty overwhelming quickly. Thus, it is optimal to make sure that you deal with each one separately if you don’t have strong water gear/skills to overcome their rate of healing.


      1. This is quite weird. So I tried again just now, and I was able to beat my SH 3 times in a row! I used the same tactic as before, but this time, they were separating due to (I think) more instances of fear. Nothing changed with my set except for a 100+ increase in attack and defense (from maxing Flame Eruption and Valor Totem). I currently have a global of 11.8k attack and 8k defense, and a dodge rate of 54%.

        I feel as though my SH became weaker today. Also, I just beat a couple of T6 Pits with multiple Ethera/Corvus (minion stats are around 6 – 8k), and my life stayed well above 50%. I’m hovering at Veteran 2 for two weeks now, and this has not happened before.

        Can Gameloft change SH settings server-side alone, without having to update the client game installations? *puts on tinfoil hat* –“this appears to be the case.”


  3. To answer your qns, yes they can make setting based on server-side changes, but this is usually in the form of a patch which players need to download before accessing the game. A precedence of this happened when assassins were immortal, right before SHv2.0 was implemented. This forced the devs to implement a patch to increase the upkeep of assassins to ‘999’ so no one could equip them.

    As to reply to your comment specifically…there have been player-reported instances where there have been minor tweaks in the game to modify the strength of attacks/ skills but there hasn’t been any official confirmation about this. Thus, this makes it hard to put a finger on since the game is largely a percentage based one, where the trigger chance of traits are all based on ‘player luck’ (eg. bloodrage, fear, crit hit etc.). Minor tweaks themselves are hard to prove since everyone’s SH is different and no one knows whether you’re raiding a 10% or 50% permanent minion bonus SH, or a +10 or +150 SF corvus (as a purely hypothetical example to prove this). Moreover, player concentration and mentality affects the outcome, where if you’re feeling impulsive at the moment, you might not bother about your HP too much (also a purely hypothetical example).

    All in all, this agglomeration of factors makes it hard to make a fair comparison ultimately and frantically analysing the game by the day is admittedly rather ridiculous. Therefore, my advice is that whenever you feel that you’re losing too often, stop raiding for that day. Usually the next 12-24hrs later would present a different raiding experience.


    1. I (would have to) agree with your points Zung. The DH5 framework has successfully put in place a preponderance of variables affecting gameplay, and made us actually look towards player psychology (i.e. the end user, not the game) as the tipping point of success or loss. Kudos to the designers.

      Don’t get me wrong, I actually like a game that feels ain’t perfect, but at the same time feels as if I (as the player) can always do better to beat it.


  4. There is one error in the list.
    Nightmare Burst has DOT as passive effect. Just test it.
    After casting all minions take DOT.


  5. Are you positive demonic shield does indeed have health hit? Upon testing briefly it did not seem to, been wondering this a while. If so, whar amount of hph does it give and does it have more hpk than shows on the bonuses? Same question for healing shields hph effect. Also does skill dmg bonus increase shield hp?


    1. Hi Viserion, I’ve not tested it formally since the update was released last Wednesday, but as of the last few updates it did have decent HPH values.
      As for the exact amount of HPH, I don’t know since the exact values for recovery don’t show.

      For your second question, this I’m also unable to tell but my guess is that this value is raised. However, there’s no specific indication of this now.


  6. Great thanks for answering that. I had a few other questions ive been wondering about for a while, and your minion skills guide brought about more questions as well. First, the ignicores stationary ability where you cant hit him says it reduces armor by 25%. Now is that only while he’s in that stance, or does it last for a certain duration? Also if using two ignicores, would the debuffs stack to 50%? Similar question about the dominator and his buff, how close do allies need to be, and do multiple dominators stack the buff? Also do champs have any crit chance before his 10% buff?


    1. For clarity, I’ll refer to Ignicore as ‘her’ as tied in with the mission storyline.

      There are 2 abilities which make her stand stationary for a longer period of time: Fury swipes & Multi-projectile
      The stationary ability which I’m referring to is when she swipes at you furiously (ie fury swipes). That is period of time you can’t hit her and it is better to dodge roll out of the way since she doesn’t change the direction of the attack.

      I think the one you’re referring to is when she launches projectiles at a distance as those projectiles are able to armor shred to your character. That one leaves her vulnerable and you’re free to hit her during that time.
      Armor shred (25%) only lasts for a short duration (I need to find out how long though) and no, I speculate the armor shred debuffs stack that way if not minions will be too OP. (I’ll probably investigate that at a later blog post)

      Typically, the dominator’s buff is about the same range as warcry (estimated diameter to be 1/3 – 1/2 the size of a guardhouse trap room). And for the same buffs stacking, I’m going to say that they don’t as well. Moreover, it is quite tricky to get the dominators close enough to cast it at the same time within the same range.

      For crit chance, Assassins and monkeys have a higher than usual crit chance. There’s no formal documentation on the crit rate of the minions though.


  7. Also wanted to ask again because it seems you overlooked my last question, but im unsure if you were referring to the healing shield question or the other. Do you know if skill dmg bonuses raise the hp amount shields have? Also another part to this, I would assume it does increase the dmg shields like bats deal correct? Mostly curious about the hp being raised or not, because a 30% bonus to a shield with 2200 hp is a decent amount more hp, and given how much super fusion added to them raises the hp amount, it would help alot to know this to decide if its worth using some on certain shields, or just sticking with raising minions since they gain far more stats per point added compared to armor, weapons, and all other skills.


    1. Hmmm…the question you’re referring to was answered in this line:
      “For your second question, this I’m also unable to tell but my guess is that this value is raised. However, there’s no specific indication of this now.”

      Unfortunately, I can’t give you a better reply than that at the moment.

      Indeed, HP shields (esp at higher SF) do benefit a lot if they were boosted by skill damage. But it’s honestly hard to tell until you can formally measure how much HP the shield takes before bursting.


  8. Sorry one last thing, your minion skills chart shows the fire Colossus flamethrower and meteor fireball attack have damage over time, this isn’t the case. The flamethrower just deals dmg while the flames are hitting you, but not after it stops and the meteors dont have dmg over time at all, the leviathan has actual dmg over time


    1. I think the term ‘damage over time’ is confusing in this context and I’ll probably do a blog post on that to explain it. But yes, you’re right to say that the ‘damage over time’ is inaccurate here because of the way the damage is inflicted (ie receive damage while you’re inside the attack; receive damage while you’re even outside of the attack). Perhaps ‘ongoing damage’ is a more suitable term.

      Additionally, just to clarify, the skills chart list isn’t mine and I wouldn’t dare take credit for someone’s hardwork. It was compiled by someone in GL so I’ll inform him about it.


  9. Great thanks for answering all of that to the best of your knowledge. So the dominators buff is not a constant on going buff, he has to actually cast it, and it would seem a bit unfair to me if having multiple of these champs doesnt allow for possible debuff stacking. If you are able id love to find out the duration of both the buff and debuff, and about ignicores armor shred, often at the start of the battle you’ll see her just stand there almost pawing forward, not her haste attack but the others which I thought was the armor shred, where she seems to dodge all incoming attacks. Itd be nice to know if the debuff can last long enough to still be on the player by the time she starts fast swiping. Also do you know what the dominator does when he uses his attk and crit buff? If you’re able to ask someone at gl about the debuff and buff stacking being possible id greatly appreciate it. I was thinking if the ignicore debuff could, used with light colossus, they could do some serious dmg to a water set if two ignicores could debuff them at once. Are you able to explain exactly how the dominators dmg reflects works?

    I also had one other thing I wanted to run by you and get your opinion on. I was thinking of possibly making a ruby setup with two m6 max or atleast 150+ sf ogres, with a similar light col, with a dominator, or maybe ignicore in the center, two ogres up front, with a spirius at m6 and max sf. My thinking was that the ogres reflect heal would help keep the spirius alive long enough to matter, plus being m6 super fused, and also the meros she spawns I imagine would both heal for quite alot, as well as deal high dmg especially to water builds, the heals would also help keep both the spirius and dominator alive, but also making the already tough ogres even tougher. This is all just speculating, but it sounded like it could potentially be a good setup, im unsure tho whether the spirius would survive well enough to be viable but I figured with 4 of 5 minions all being melee, they’d stick together which would mean theyd all heal each other, as well the spirius has knockdown stun and slowdown, as does the light col have stun. Just wanted to hear any thoughts or feedback you might have in regards to this setup idea.


  10. Hmm, I’ll probably do a buff/debuff post in the future to address all your queries. As for what I can answer now, here are my responses:

    – I’ve noticed the dominator usually casting the atk/crit buff right before he does his whirlwind attack.

    – The armor shred strategy does work very well especially in Ruby temple, but I’ll do more research into whether these debuffs actually stack.

    – Dominators reflect 10% of damage directly back at the attacker, think DTA but its a percentage based. This includes projectiles but fortunately I’ve not seen this for DOT-based damage.

    For your stronghold strategy, remember that most players probably have Ice Stalagmites/Mist of Death now so you probably might consider a variety of elements within that trap.

    I would also avoid Spirius as it does not last long (I’ve not fought a M6 one yet though) even within a light-based stronghold. While her heal is proportionate to her HP (and increases with mastery), Spirius does not perform well in larger rooms (eg Ruby) as players can ‘kite’ her from the main pack of minions. Expecting the ogres to be close to the Spirius is a slim possibility for experienced raiders, since the ogres simply lack the speed to catch up. Fortunately, the dominator is probably the main one to pose a threat against non-water types.

    Personally, I would suggest swapping the Spirius with a mastered Ignicore, and one of the Ogres with a mastered Monkey (since they are faster and have higher dodge). It also might be good to consider an Assassin or Corvus since these deal good DOT from far.


  11. Hi Zung,

    I’ve been lurking on your blog for a while and find your posts very useful.

    I have a question regarding the earthen wrath which I just got my hands on. In terms of the activated skill, it only seems to be doing what is described in a) thorns in a straight line in front of your character. Do you know if this has changed since the list was made?


    1. Hi Zung,

      I’ve been lurking on your blog for a while and find your posts very useful.

      I have a question regarding the earthen wrath which I just got my hands on. In terms of the activated skill, I can’t seem to activate description b) arc of thorns in front of character. Do you have any suggestions? This purely out of interests, I’m most likely going to use the large aoe all of the time.


    2. Hi John,

      Thank you!
      Earthern Wrath is not as straight forward as the other skills as it is not a single-push skill, but a charging-based skill.
      Think of Megaman where you hold down the skill button to charge the skill for a more powerful attack. The longer the time spent charging, the more powerful the effect (in this case, the larger the range).


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