A slew of tips for new players to Darktide's Ogryn Skullbreaker class.

Warhammer 40k: Darktide — Ogryn Tips Guide

A slew of tips for new players to Darktide's Ogryn Skullbreaker class.

To say there’s a cult of personality around the Ogryn in Warhammer 40k: Darktide would be an understatement. They’re all big, good lads who love the Emprah. Simple as that. This guide is here to give you some tip on rollin’ through enemies as the resident big boy. 

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The Ogryn Skullbreaker’s large size, Bull Rush ability, and the fact they can wield a Slab Shield lead newer players to believe the game’s big’uns are meant to be played as tanks. It’s true that they may be tankier than the other classes in Darktide‘s launch lineup, but their ability to soak damage isn’t that great unless they are actively ripping and tearing their way through heretics and have their Feats slotted for survivability.

A good Skullbreaker is a credit to any strike team. If you’re not convinced, or you’re a new Skullbreaker looking to learn the ropes, read on to find out what these massive, endearing brutes really bring to the table.

Ogryn Skullbreaker Iconics, Ability, and Aura

The first things you need to know are the Ogryn Skullbreaker’s unique aspects through its Aura, Iconics, Ability, and Blitz. These are some of the first things players of any class look at. In the case of the Skullbreaker, it’s no surprise many assume this class is meant to be played as a tank.

  • Blitz — Big Box of Hurt: This is the Skullbreaker’s grenade, which is actually just a box of explosives that you hurl to deal a huge chunk of single-target damage. These are best used on bosses, Crushers, or Reapers.
  • Aura — Intimidating Presence: This grants +10% Heavy Melee Attack Damage for allies in Coherency. It’s not something the Ogryn will pay much mind to, but this can be a boon for Zealots.
  • Ability — Bull Rush: This is what Skullbreakers are best known for, as the big lug charges through enemies and boosts its own Attack and Movement Speed by 25% for 5 seconds. Any strike team is going to see their resident Ogryn charge into the heat of battle. But, a good Skullbreaker is going to use it deliberately. We’ll talk more about this later.
  • Iconic — Thick Skin: Grants +20% Toughness Damage Reduction and Health Damage Reduction.
  • Iconic — Excessive Force: Grants +25% Melee Stagger.
  • Iconic — Loyal Protector: Ogryn are not interrupted by taking damage when reviving or assisting allies.

The Ogryn Skullbreaker is a beefy guy, but he’s certainly not Darktide‘s tank. Any Skullbreaker that’s been in the line of Shooter, Shotgunner, Reaper, or Sniper fire will tell you that they fall just as quickly as anyone else under the right (wrong?) circumstances. Maybe even more quickly because of their massive hitboxes.

Rather than being an actual tank, the Skullbreaker is a tanky support with a fair amount of crowd control options between its weapons and Bull Rush.

Ogryn Skullbreaker Feats

Do you focus on Feats that provide damage, or Feats that grant survivability? Chances are, you’re going to have a mixture of both. This is especially apparent in the Blood & Thunder + Bloodthirst + Bull Gore combination of Bleed and damage reduction.

Read more about the best Ogryn Skullbreaker feats in this guide.

Ogryn Skullbreaker Tips

Ogryn are very large, meaning you’ve got to maneuver a little different from the punies.

Awareness of your size and location, as well as the locations of your strike team members, goes a long way to being an effective Skullbreaker and not just some big dude that soaks friendly fire for fun.

  • Pay mind to cover you can actually use. You might be big, but you’re not so big you can’t make use of cover. Stick to walls and use them as cover from enemy fire and for safety when reloading. Don’t forget you can crouch, too. You won’t be crouching to hide behind the same terrain as humans, but you do have options and you should use them.
  • If you’re using a Heavy Stubber, reload safely. The Heavy Stubber takes a long time to reload, and its staged reloading isn’t as helpful as most other weapons. If you run out of ammo with the Stubber in an engagement, either get in cover and reload or swap to melee. Don’t just stand there reloading.
  • Bull Rush is best used defensively. There are a plenty of times where you’re going to charge into a Crusher or Reaper for the safety of your team, but there are not a lot of instances where it’s a good idea to charge into a horde of enemies even if you are running Bloodthirst, Blood & Thunder, and Bull Gore. The mitigation can only reach 50% and that only goes so far.
  • You don’t necessarily want to be in front. You’re a big boy, and since you’re so big, you’re going to both get in the way of your team’s fire and enemies are going to notice you first. Unless you’re running Slab Shield and dealing with a lot of Gunners, Snipers, and Reapers, you don’t necessarily want to lead the charge.
  • Dodge dodge dodge! I see a lot of Skullbreakers think they’re better than dodging. They’re not. You should be dodging between heavy melee hits, while trying to stay out of the line of your team’s fire. You want to be to the side.
    • But don’t hit -> dodge -> hit -> dodge around Crushers or other tough enemies. It’s very tempting to dodge circles around these guys, but it gets in the way more than it helps.
  • Heavy attacks are where it’s at. You should choose your melee weapon as a Skullbreaker based off its combos, as this class excels at cleave attacks in melee range. Even both types of Cleavers, which have a much shorter range than its other melee weapons, excel at cleaving. Be aware of and memorize your attack combos to make the most of your cleaving abilities, as other classes are far more effective at close-range elite kills.
  • Don’t be shy with grenades. The Skullbreaker’s grenades hit a single enemy very hard, which is very different from the grenades used by other classes. If you come across a Crusher, Reaper, Rager, or even Mutant or Trapper that you know is going to make an overwhelming situation even worse, chuck a grenade at it. Just do it.
  • Don’t rez other players when you’re low and getting shot at. This seems a bit obvious, but we’ve all seen Ogryn Bull Rush to an ally who’s been downed by gunfire only to be shot to death during the process or shortly after. If you’re in a firefight, deal with immediate threats before putting yourself in the line of fire to pick someone up. You don’t want to be that guy.
  • You are at your strongest in melee. It’s just the nature of the class. Despite being in more danger in melee range, the Skullbreaker’s Feats make you far more survivable while ripping and tearing enemies in close quarters.
  • You carry things easier than humans. That’s right — any of those missions where you have to manually lug stuff around, you are best suited to carrying the power cells, ammo, or whatever it is the mission tasks you to carry because they do not slow you down. This also counts for Medicae power cells. You’re easily the best man for the job, so why not do it?

Best Ogryn Skullbreaker Weapons

We’ve got a whole guide to the Skullbreaker’s weapons coming soon, but let’s briefly touch on some of the easier and more effective weapons to wield.

Heavy Stubber

The Heavy Stubber is one of two common and surprisingly useful Ogryn weapons, but in this one’s case, it’s used for its crowd control. The Heavy Stubber is an great source of suppression, allowing you to rapidly fire at enemies and suppress them, causing them to stop shooting. Fire into a crowd of ranged enemies to see this in action, and get used to it because it’s an incredible piece of utility on Heresy and Damnation difficulties.

Grenadier Gauntlet

Skullbreakers don’t have much in the way of single-target damage and tend to let their smaller friends deal with elites, but the Grenadier Gauntlet allows you to take out elites from afar. The Rumbler also has this benefit (alongside quick reloads), but the melee capabilities and damage of the Grenadier Gauntlet make it more effective and easier to use.

While all this is certainly not all you need to know about playing a Skullbreaker in Darktide.

Slab Shield

I don’t like the Slab Shield myself, but there’s something to be said for having a skilled Slab user on a team. Ogryns wielding Slab Shields become mobile cover for their teammates, able to move forward with the shield up or slam it down to create a static perfect guard. The downsides are the slow melee attacks and reduction in vision, but Slab Skullbreakers do have their uses.

Krourk Mk VI Cleaver

This is the rip and tear melee weapon that Skullbreaker players have at their disposal. Pay attention to that roman numeral VI, because Krourk Mk IVs are actually Bull Butcher cleavers with a new name. You want an Mk VI. The Krourk Mk VI has very fast single target light hits, and is all cleave with its heavy melee hits. The charge on its heavy melee hits is also quite fast compared to other melee options, making this an amazing wave clear weapon.

There’s a lot to know about being one of the biggest guys in Darktide, and hopefully the tips laid out in this guide can help newer players get a better handle on the Ogryn Skullbreaker. Because, really, they’re all good lads. If you found this guide helpful, check out our other Darktide guides here on GameSkinny.

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Ashley Shankle
Ashley's been with GameSkinny since the start, and is a certified loot goblin. Has a crippling Darktide problem, 500 hours on only Ogryn (hidden level over 300). Currently playing Darktide, GTFO, RoRR, Palworld, and Immortal Life.