Martial Arts Guide by Fungah

Version: Issue 6 | Updated: 01/14/06 | Printable Version

                                  MARTIAL ARTS
                             A Comprehensive Guide
                                   (Issue 6)

Part 1: Introduction     ||

I started my Martial Arts Scrapper around late May after the game went live,
and got him to 50 in early November of the same year. Up until his mid-40s I
played him casually, mostly soloing and duoing with a friend of mine, who
played as Fury. His main character was a Blaster, and we meshed well. I'm not a
power leveler, though I donít shy away from easy XP every once in a while. I'm
a fan of min/maxxing my builds, though Iím just as happy playing a more varied
character. I played a Scrapper solo, even through the times when people said it
was near impossible to get a Scrapper to 40 without help. I made this character
before Regeneration was FotM, and back when Martial Arts was the worst set. Way
back when Martial Arts was less popular than Dark Armor. What can I say? I like
a challenge. I've been through every change, every Regeneration nerf,
Enhancement Diversification, and gotten through it all unscathed. I suffered my
fair share of deaths, but I average only about 1 per level, as I learn from my
mistakes. I remember never seeing a Martial Arts guide back when I was just
starting out, so most of my experience is through trial and error (though I
made extensive use of the test server). I looked at the list of guides in the
Scrapper forum (at the time I released the first version of this guide) and
noticed that MA was lacking, so I decided to write an extensive guide on what I
have learned through my experiences. Why am I telling you all this? To give you
a look at the methodology I use when playing, so you can get an idea of where I
am coming from when you read this guide.

So you may be asking yourself, "What is Martial Arts good for?"
Well, a few facts are in order to answer this question...

1. MA Scrappers are mammals.
2. MA Scrappers fight ALL the time.
3. The purpose of the MA Scrapper is to flip out and kill people.

In all honesty, though, Martial Arts can be approached in several ways. One way
is to go all offense with damaging attacks. In this way, MA Scrappers are just
another flavor of melee damage that all Scrappers can deliver. Specifically,
with all of our one-hit attacks that do respectable damage, we have a
reputation of being the 'boss-killers'. I would say I'm very good at taking out
bosses and lieutenants before they get a chance to do any real harm to my
party. MA is also efficient when soloing, since the groups of mobs I face in
missions are small enough that using AoEs aren't optimal anyway (at least
before the difficulty slider is factored in). Itís also great to be able to
two-hit a pesky mob like Sappers, or at least Crane Kick them onto their butts
before they can do anything. Another approach is to use your status effect
powers to shape the battlefield to your liking. Cobra Strike has a 100% chance
to disorient enemies (unless they're resistant), and stuns lieutenants with
ease. Add to that your Eagle's Claw and/or Thunder Kick and you can stun
bosses. You could also make a combination of the two approaches, though the
most effective approach is to go all-out offensive in my experience.

Part 2: Powers           ||

Martial Arts is different than other Scrapper sets in that we only have one
attack that isn't a single-target attack, and that's Dragon's Tail, our melee
AoE. As such, the rest of our offensive powers make up for it with high damage,
low recharge time, and cheap endurance cost. This is what gives us the moniker
of 'boss-killers'. The only downside to all this damage is that everything we
dish out is Smashing damage, which is the most commonly resisted damage type in
the game. Another boon to MA, though, is that we have an inherent +10% accuracy
bonus. This is great for those who are anal-retentive about always hitting
his/her foe. I tend to 2-slot my attacks for accuracy, but with MA, I only need
1. One Single Origin accuracy enhancement of 33%, plus the inherent 10% is
enough to reach the cap for hitting +1 minions.

Before I list the powers, I will describe the format they will be presented in.
After the power's name will be a 5-point rank, with 1 being a useless power and
5 being absolutely crucial. Following the name will be a list of statistics.
These can be largely ignored if you're not a number cruncher and just want to
pick fun powers to use; my desriptions should be explanatory enough for casual
gamers to get the jest of them. I also recommend slotting for the powers, but
I'll leave some of the slots empty so you can make your own contributions.

For those who are not familiar with the Brawl Index measurement popularly used
on the CoH forums, it is a way to compare each power's damage output to one
another. It's based on how much damage a power does compared to Brawl, which
has a baseline score of 1. For example, Thunder Kick's BI value is 2.3, which
means it does 2.3x more damage than Brawl. Add 3 SO damage enhancements to TK
(for a +95% boost to damage) and the Brawl Index goes up to over 4.

THUNDER KICK                       5/5 |
Recommended Slots  1x accuracy         |
                   3x damage           |
Endurance Cost     5.2 endurance       |
Activation Time    1.1 seconds         |
Recharge Time      3 seconds           |
Brawl Index        2.3 Smashing damage |
Status             Disorient (minor)   |
This is going to be your basic attack that will fill out your attack cycle and
keep you constantly kicking. It'll be doing the least damage of all your
offensive attacks, but it's still better than nothing. It comes with a small
chance to disorient foes (approx. 20%), but it doesn't have a high enough
magnitude to make a dent on its own. Consider the stun to be a pleasant
surprise, but don't expect to see it happen often.

STORM KICK                         5/5 |
Recommended Slots  1x accuracy         |
                   3x damage           |
                   1x recharge rate    |
Endurance Cost     7 endurance         |
Activation Time    1 second            |
Recharge Time      6 seconds           |
Brawl Index        3.7 Smashing damage |
Ah, I remember back in Issue 1 when this was the "Smell my foot!" power...
The animation was a joke. It looked dumb and took forever and a half to
animate. The developers did MA good in Issue 2, though, and now SK is one of
the cooler looking MA powers! It does slightly higher damage than TK, and has a
smidgen more of an endurance cost. No status effect, but it doesn't need it.
The recharge time has been lengthened in recent issues, which is why I
recommend at least one recharge SO for it. It's a good attack. Get it, slot it,
and love it.

COBRA STRIKE                       2/5 |
Recommended Slots  1x accuracy         |
Endurance Cost     10 endurance        |
Activation Time    2 seconds           |
Recharge Time      20 seconds          |
Brawl Index        0.7 Smashing damage |
Status             Disorient           |
CS lands a high-magnitude disorient on enemies, and one application is enough
to drunkify minions and lieutenants. CS plus a lucky Eagle's Claw will make
bosses dizzy. The damage of this power, though, is laughable. Never slot it for
damage. Heck, never slot it period. I picked it up at 41 because I had nothing
else worth getting, and promptly respecced out of it and into the Concealment
pool. It wasn't for me, but after hearing a lot of feedback about this power
from other posters, many seem to enjoy it a lot more than I did. While I'm not
a fan, tpull wrote some good stuff in defense of this power in MARTIAL ARTS /

     "Cobra Strike (CS) is skipped often, but it is actually very useful.
     Playing solo, and up against a boss and three minions? You can
     Disorient the boss and take out one or two pesky minions. That Tsoo
     sorcerer keeps healing your enemy? Lay him out with a CS and proceed
     to take out the enemy, or knock out the sorcerer; he can't teleport
     away while he's stunned. Same effect on Avalanche Shamans and the
     like. There will be a few levels where it doesn't help much, but
     when you reach 40+, it comes in handy again. If you can spare the
     slots, two Accuracy SOs and two Disorient SOs will really make this
     a good power."

FOCUS CHI                          4/5 |
Recommended Slots  1x recharge rate    |
Endurance Cost     5.2 endurance       |
Activation Time    1.2 seconds         |
Recharge Time      90 seconds          |
Duration           10 seconds          |
Status             +62.5% accuracy     |
                   +100% damage (self) |
Mmmm, precious Focus Chi, how I love thee. It's MA's version of Build Up. I
personally have it 3-slotted for recharge and use it once or twice in big
battles on average. It's a great power to have. Try to put any spare slots you
have into this power, to a maximum of 3 to make it available every 45 seconds.

CRANE KICK                         5/5 |
Recommended Slots  1x accuracy         |
                   3x damage           |
                   1x recharge rate    |
Endurance Cost     8.5 endurance       |
Activation Time    2 seconds           |
Recharge Time      8 seconds           |
Brawl Index        5.4 Smashing damage |
Status             Knockback           |
This is one of the defining powers for Martial Arts. A high damage, fast
recharge, short animation attack? Sign me up! It's a satisfying kick to the gut
with a good chance (60%) to knock foes onto their butts about 5 feet away from
impact. One of my favorite things to do in Peregrine Island is to jump up to
building ledges where Crey Snipers are lurking, get in the right position, and
give them a swift kick, sending them off the edge and out of sight. It's
comical and I never get tired of doing it.

WARRIOR'S CHALLENGE                1/5 |
Recommended Slots  1x taunt            |
Endurance Cost     0 endurance         |
Activation Time    2.7 seconds         |
Recharge Time      3 seconds           |
Range              70 feet             |
Status             Taunt               |
I already have a few taunts. They're called Thunder Kick, Storm Kick, and
Crane Kick. So yeah, you can skip this power. Unless you team with squishy
friends a lot where it would be helpful, your power choice is better spent
elsewhere. I personally had it, but that was at 41, and only because I duo with
my Blaster friend who goes into his own form of Scrapper-lock, so I have to get
multiple mobs off his back constantly. With my recent respec I dropped it from
my build again. Oh, and it was nice to pull Lattices from Monster Island with
it in Issue 2. Alas, the good 'ole days of soloing monsters in 3 minutes are
gone... If you tank in groups more, you'll want it. If you solo more, you can
go without.

CRIPPLING AXE KICK                 3/5 |
Recommended Slots  1x accuracy         |
                   3x damage           |
Endurance Cost     5.2 endurance       |
Activation Time    2.2 seconds         |
Recharge Time      4 seconds           |
Brawl Index        4.5 Smashing damage |
Status             Immobilize          |
                   Slow                |
CAK does more damage than TK and lands a low-magnitude immobilize on foes
(or slows their movement speed if the mag isn't enough to immobilize them),
but the animation is kind of slow. You could take this power instead of (or in
addition to) TK, but your attack cycle will be a little wonky if you ask me.
The damage is good, and the activation time was quickened in a recent patch, so
this power went from being pointless to being a nice alternative choice. If you
take TK, SK, CK, and EC, you don't really need it, because your attack chain
will be pretty solid with those other 4 attacks. I have seen a few Scrappers
running around with this attack in lieu of the more traditional choices I
mentioned, and I have to say they did just as well. If you do pick it up, the
only power I can safely suggest replacing with this one is Eagle's Claw. I'm
going to quote tpull again on this one, since he makes some good points about
this power despite my position on it:

     "This secondary effect of the power can be used in tandem with the
     secondary disorient aspects of Thunder Kick, Cobra Strike, and
     Eagle's Claw. Add in Air Superiority from the Flight Power Pool,
     and you have a Scrapper designed to stun opponents, with as many
     Disorient Enhancements as you feel each power needs. Storm Kick
     can be skipped in this case, or a solo Scrapper might take CAK in
     place of Dragon's Tail. That said, this is a relatively rare

DRAGON'S TAIL                      4/5 |
Recommended Slots  1x accuracy         |
                   3x damage           |
                   1x endurance cost   |
Endurance Cost     13 endurance        |
Activation Time    1.7 seconds         |
Recharge Time      14 seconds          |
Brawl Index        2.8 Smashing damage |
Status             Knockdown           |
This is the only power that affects more than 1 mob at a time. You'd think it
would be an obvious choice, but it really depends on your build. Do you plan on
soloing all the time? Do you have a specific character concept this clashes
with? My experience with this power is that I went from level 1 to 38 without
it, not really thinking it would help that much. It's got a high endurance cost
and is situational. Then I respecced and picked it up (if you've been reading
up to this point, you can guess that I used all of my respecs, hehe). This
power changed me forever. I love it! I can jump into a group of mobs and pound
on the lieutenants/bosses while occasionally DTing all the minions around me.
Not only does it soften them up for later, but it also slows down their damage
output by planting them on their butts (not sure on the percentage, but it's
around 80%). Dragon's Tail does about the same damage as a Thunder Kick to
every enemy in a 5' circle around you. It's nice to see 1 or 2 of them get hit
with a critical hit, too. It isn't uncommon to finish off a boss and have 2
less minions to face solely from the help DT provides. Just be wary of the
endurance cost.

EAGLE'S CLAW                       4/5 |
Recommended Slots  1x accuracy         |
                   3x damage           |
Endurance Cost     10 endurance        |
Activation Time    3 seconds           |
Recharge Time      10 seconds          |
Brawl Index        6.3 Smashing damage |
Ah, I got comments from new players who saw this all the time... This is a
nice, flashy power. I love the backflip animation, especially since they
shortened it in Issue 2. Some people still don't like the activation time,
though, and as such the people who want to maximize DPS (damage-per-second)
would skip it in favor of Hasten, but this technique is not possible to the
same extent any more. I still like it. It's got an increased chance to critical
hit (+15%), plus a good chance to disorient foes (60%). There's nothing like a
Build Up-boosted final attack critical-hitting a boss! An even level boss loses
nearly half of his/her life that way. Nothing compares...

Fitness                  |
Martial Arts doesn't use too much endurance. To compare, we use less than
Broad Sword, but more than Claws. If you're not picking any of the utility
powers in the MA set, though, it shouldn't be terribly hard to find room to fit
Stamina into your build.

Flight                   |
Air Superiority is one of those things to think about. Sure, it breaks the
whole 'all-kick' theme, but combined with Crane Kick and Dragon's Tail, you've
almost got a Scraptroller attack style. I personally played this way up until
I got Eagle's Claw, at which point I respecced out of AS (and recently
respecced back into). Itís just something to think about.

Speed                    |
Ah, Hasten. Everybody picks it... or do they? Well, Claws Scrappers donít need
it, and if you ask me, neither do MA scrappers. I did perfectly fine without
Hasten, cycling TK, SK, CK and EC with nary a moment of downtime. Maybe once
every 20 seconds I'll have a 1-second downtime, but that's ok for me. One
thing to note, though, is that enemies using speed debuffs on me cripple my
cycles and really hurt. If you do get Hasten, don't slot it at all and just use
it when your speed gets debuffed.

Body Mastery             |
Focused Accuracy is a power worth considering. I run it with 3 endurance cost
enhancements because it's expensive. It's even easier to manage with Stamina
in your build. A word to the wise, though: don't take this and remove all of
your accuracy enhancements from your attacks! Some people do this so they can
put more damage in their attacks, but keep in mind that if you ever exemplar to
below level 41, you'll lose the power and be down to the base +10% that Martial
Arts bestows by default.

Part 3: Sample Build     ||

I'm recreating this build to loosely match mine, but be able to stand on its
own before reaching its prime. Keep in mind that while there are only 3 attacks
for the first half of your character's life, you can always add more power pool
attacks to supplement them, then respec out of it later by doing the Terra
Volta trial (up to 3 times). Your Secondary power set will affect when and how
you slot things, but since I'm a Regeneration Scrapper, that's what you'll see

01 Thunder Kick     Acc(1)      Dmg(3)      Dmg(5)      Dmg(15)
01 Fast Healing     Heal(1)     Heal(40)    Heal(40)
02 Storm Kick       Acc(2)      Dmg(3)      Dmg(5)      Dmg(13)     Rechg(33)
04 Reconstruction   Rechg(4)    Rechg(15)   Rechg(25)   Heal(25)    Heal(29)
06 Air Superiority  Acc(6)      Acc(7)      Dmg(7)      Dmg(11)     Dmg(13)
08 Crane Kick       Acc(8)      Dmg(9)      Dmg(9)      Dmg(11)     Rechg(33)
10 Quick Recovery   EndMod(10)  EndMod(23)  EndMod(23)
12 Focus Chi        Rechg(12)   Rechg(34)   Rechg(34)
14 Fly              EndRdx(14)
16 Integration      EndRdx(16)  EndRdx(17)  Heal(17)    Heal(19)    Heal(19)
18 Dull Pain        Rechg(18)   Rechg(21)   Rechg(21)   Heal(31)    Heal(31)
20 Swift
22 Hurdle
24 Stamina          EndMod(24)
26 Dragon's Tail    Acc(26)     Dmg(27)     Dmg(27)     Dmg(29)     EndRdx(33)
28 Instant Healing  Rechg(28)   Rechg(34)   Rechg(37)   Heal(37)    Heal(39)
30 Resilience       DmgRes(30)
32 Boxing
35 Tough            EndRdx(35)  EndRdx(36)  DmgRes(36)  DmgRes(36)  DmgRes(37)
38 Moment Of Glory  Rechg(38)   Rechg(39)   Rechg(40)

Part 4: The Arena        ||

I have played PvP extensively and have come to conclusions about some of the
powers (thanks in part to the free anniversary respec). I'll make a list of
everything I made note of, along with a new rating for 2 powers that should be
considered separately for PvP use. We are single target beasts. This puts us at
somewhat of an advantage in 1v1 fights, where we are at our best. Warrior's
Challenge means one less temporary power to lug around, and can be helpful in
team battles. The Presence power pool can give you crowd control with fear
effects. The Concealment power pool can give you terrain advantage and the
ability to sneak up on an opponent (great for smacking a Controller upside the
head with, hehe).

COBRA STRIKE                       4/5 |
Recommended Slots  1x accuracy         |
                   2x disorient        |
Endurance Cost     10 endurance        |
Activation Time    2 seconds           |
Recharge Time      20 seconds          |
Brawl Index        0.7 Smashing damage |
Status             Disorient           |
This power is now infinitely more useful. If your enemy has an annoying toggle
up, one fist to the face can bring their whole world crashing down. You can get
a similar effect with Brawl, yes, but with Cobra Strike, they can't immediately
retreat and put their toggles back up. A one-two combo of Brawl and CS works
well, too. Watch that pesky Invuln tank's life start to plummet! I really love
this power in PvP.

CRIPPLING AXE KICK                 4/5 |
Recommended Slots  1x accuracy         |
                   2x slow movement    |
Endurance Cost     5.2 endurance       |
Activation Time    2.2 seconds         |
Recharge Time      4 seconds           |
Brawl Index        4.5 Smashing damage |
Status             Immobilize          |
                   Slow                |
CAK now has lots more potential. If your enemy just won't stay still long
enough for you to kill them (don't ya hate when they don't cooperate?), kicking
them with this power can put the ball back in your court. It will also keep
Blasters, Controllers, and Defenders from getting out of your range. Since the
slow portion is rarely resistible with toggles and such, even someone protected
from Immobilize is susceptible to this attack, which increases its value to me.
Slot a few Slow enhancements in it and your enemies will fear you.

Part 5: Closing          ||

I hope this guide can help aspiring Scrappers, if only to give you an idea of
what Martial Arts is like. I had fun playing my Scrapper up to level 50, and
wish others to have as much fun as I did. The guide was fun to write, and if I
think of anything else, I'll be sure to add it (edit: which I have)! But now I
think this guide is complete. Barring any changes in the game in future Issues,
this will be the final version of my Martial Arts guide (edit: there have been
some heavy changes, and the guide has had some even heavier ones). After the
success of previous versions, and all the private messages I got, though, Iíve
felt inspired to possibly write other guides on other power sets I have become
familiar with (which I have). If you find any errors with the numbers I gave,
please, please, please let me know! I strive to make this guide as accurate as
possible! You can reach me via private message on either the CoH forums (as
Tulzar) or in the game (@Tulzar). You can also drop me an e-mail in CoH or at

Now go flip out and kill stuff!

Works Cited              |
by RisingPhoenix, 02-05-05

Martial Arts / Super Reflexes - The Advanced Guide
by tpull, 03-07-05

CoH/CoV Character Builder
by Sherkhan (Sherk Silver), 01-07-06

Legal                    |
Copyright 2006 Eric Gross.

The text enclosed herein is the sole ownership of Eric Gross,
This guide is intended for free use on the internet and may be distributed at
no cost on the condition that the original author is contacted, given
appropriate citation and the guide is in no way altered.

All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their
respective trademark and copyright holders.