How to Stagger Behemoths in Dauntless

While other weapons in Dauntless can inflict stagger damage, the hammer is your best friend.

While other weapons in Dauntless can inflict stagger damage, the hammer is your best friend.

Stagger is an important status effect in Dauntless. While it doesn’t deal direct health damage to behemoths, it can leave them open to more high-damage attacks from your hunting party. 

Out of all of the weapons in Dauntless, the hammer is the best choice for the task. It deals the most damage from the start of the game, because its base multiplier is higher than other weapons.

It’s true that other weapon types can stagger, but almost all of those must be buffed with Perks do deal worthwhile damage.

Axes come in a distant second. Two of them come with the Knockout Perk, making them good options if you just hate the hammer. However, they don’t have any special stunning effects like some of the hammers do.

And as we’ll see, axes also don’t have an important hammer ability that simply melts behemoths. 

Using the Hammer and Aetherslam

The hammer may be slow, but it’s extremely powerful. That power is magnified by the Aetherslam. It’s a special attack you can pull off at the end of any combo that inflicts massive amounts of stagger damage at one time. 

Success hinges on the ammo canisters you see underneath your health bar, the same ones you use to power a Concussive Salvo. Save all four of the canisters for the Aetherslam combo. 

The most interesting aspect of this, as pointed out by PlayStationGrenade, is that if you land the Aetherslam correctly, all four of your ammo canisters will automatically reload. This time they will be supercharged, letting you deal even more damage if you can pull the combo off again. 

If you understand the timing, it’s also possible to charge each attack in a combo by inputting the first command, then hitting the secondary attack button, then inputting the second command, and so forth. It’s quite powerful. 

On an Xbox One controller, a basic attack combo followed by the Aetherslam would look like this: 

  • X -> X -> X -> Y

However, the charged variant followed by the Aetherslam would look like this: 

  • X -> Y -> X -> Y -> X -> Y

Essential Perks for Inflicting More Stagger

The three perks you’ll want to have are Knockout King, Pacifier, and/or Weighted Strikes. 

How Perks Stack in Dauntless

To get the most out your weapons and armor, it’s important to know that Perks stack. When you open a Hunter Core at the Core Breaker, you get a Cell. Cells then provide Perk bonuses depending on rarity.

There are three rarities: 

  1. Uncommon: +1
  2. Rare: +2
  3. Epic: +3

Each Perk can be increased to a maximum rank of +6 through a combination of Perk bonuses and rarities. For example, two epics or three rares.

Loadout screen showing weapons, mods, cells

Knockout King, Weighted Strikes, Pacifier 

Knockout King and Weighted Strikes are the most powerful for several reasons. First, both deal stun damage to behemoths whether they are enraged or not; Pacifier only deals damage to enraged behemoths. 

Second, but perhaps more important, both Knockout King and Weighted Strikes receive dodge multipliers once they reach +4. After dodging through an attack, you will receive a percentage boost (Knockout King) or point boost (Weighted Strikes). 

For a clearer picture, here’s how that breaks down per the Dauntless wiki:

Knockout King

Level Effect
+1  +5% Stagger damage
+2 +10% stagger damage
+3 +15% stagger damage
+4 +20% stagger damage
Next weapon attack after dodging behemoth attack +50%
+5 +25% stagger damage
Next weapon attack after dodging behemoth attack +50%
+6 +30% stagger damage
Next weapon attack after dodging behemoth attack +100%


Weighted Strikes

Level Effect
+1  +5 Stagger on hit
+2 +10 stagger on hit
+3 +15 stagger on hit
+4 +20 stagger on hit
+200 stagger after dodging through attack
+5 +30 stagger on hit
+200 stagger after dodging through attack
+6 +40 stagger on hit
+400 stagger after dodging through attack
Ranged swings and missile interrupt unstable behemoth attacks



Pacifier simply stacks stun damage by 10% per level, maxing out at 60% at +6. It is one of the more common Power Perks, and it is one you’ll come across very frequently in the early game. 

Mods You Should Consider for the Hammer

You can also equip mods to your weapons:

  • Weighted Crown: The removes the 50% “penalty” for attacking the legs of a behemoth. 
  • Impulse Crown: This is secondary to Weighted Crown. It increases damage dealt using an Aerial Strike. It doubles damage when striking a behemoth in the head.  

Shrikedown Gloves in Dauntless

Armor You Should Consider

The Shrikedown Gloves in the Shrike armor set can reach Weighted Strikes +3 after reaching Level 10. Although they don’t have any elemental strengths, they also don’t have any elemental weaknesses. 

Both the Brow of Ice and the Arms of Ice in the Pangar armor set can reach +3 Knockout King at Level 10. 

As with Perks, there are other armors that increase damage across the board, but these are the most specific for stagger. 

Weapons You Should Consider

It’s worth noting that all of the Skarn weapons provide some type of modifier at their base level. This essentially gives you a free Knockout King or Weighted Strikes buff on every weapon type in the group. 

Alternatively, all of the Pangar weapons are the same as well. 

How Do You Know You’re Dealing Stagger Damage? 

Now that you know about the perks you’ll need, it’s worth noting that there are four damage types in Dauntless. Each is indicated by a different color: 

  1. Basic (white)
  2. Part (yellow)
  3. Stagger (blue)
  4. Wound (red)

Hit a behemoth in the head and in the legs. Damage values vary based on behemoth, weapon, perks, and weapon level. However, striking behemoths in the head is more damaging than striking them in the legs. 

Once enough stagger damage has been inflicted, small white spirals will begin to circle a behemoth’s head. Continued hits will stun the beast and put it on the ground for a short period of time. 

Those are all the major things you need to know about inflicting stagger damage. For more tips on Dauntless, be sure to head over to our growing guides page for the game

About the author

Jonathan Moore

Jonathan Moore is the Editor-in-Chief of GameSkinny and has been writing about games since 2010. With over 1,200 published articles, he's written about almost every genre, from city builders and ARPGs to third-person shooters and sports titles. While patiently awaiting anything Dino Crisis, he consumes all things Star Wars. He has a BFA in Creative Writing and an MFA in Creative Writing focused on games writing and narrative design. He's previously been a newspaper copy editor, ad writer, and book editor. In his spare time, he enjoys playing music, watching football, and walking his three dogs. He lives on Earth and believes in aliens, thanks to Fox Mulder.