Monday, June 27, 2016

Blade & Soul - Kung Fu Master FOR DUMMIES: A beginner guide to KFM PvE by Turbozpeed99

Hello! My name is Turbo and I play on the Poharan server on NA. I have been looking through Reddit a lot recently and I saw that a lot of new KFM's have been popping up recently and I wanted to make a basic beginners guide with builds, tips, and general KFM knowledge.

Disclaimer: I am not the best KFM out there. I am a slightly undergeared HM8, but I have tanked every 4 man out there and have enough knowledge of the class that I wanted to make a guide to help newer players. Here is my character if you are interested:

This guide will be split into 4 different sections: Abilities, Leveling, Level45, and Level50 (Endgame)

Keep in mind KFM is a TANK class. If you do not plan on tanking higher level content, I recommend a different class as the damage output from a KFM is somewhat low compared to other DPS oriented classes. Tanking in this game is NOT taking damage. In this game, tanks are classes who have the ability to avoid taking damage while keeping aggro on a boss and keeping it positioned for your team to do damage without them having to worry about the boss hitting them.

Note: I will mostly go over only speccable abilities (so no grapple abilities or escape abilites)

[Tab] Grapple/Ice Guard/Fighting Spirit: This ability is never specced to Grapple unless you want to use it in PvP (which you normally wouldn't anyway). Ice guard is only specced in PvP and when you need a few extra iframes (i.e. to do all 8 ice slams in yeti).But in 95% of PvE content you will spec it to Fighting Spirit, which is a party buff that increased crit and crit damage for the entire party. When doing solo content (i.e. Mushin's Tower) you will spec it to Focused Fighting Spirit which only works on yourself. Both types of buffs will refresh the cooldown on your 4, Comet Strike. Regular Fighting Spirit will be reduce the cd when your party members hit a target, and Focused Fighting Spirit will reduce the cd every 2 seconds.

[Tab] Flying Slam: This ability is a basic gap closer which I normally will spec for threat generation to help when tanking. DO NOT SPEC FOR KNOCKUP (unless you are doing PvP). When an enemy is knocked up, only 1 person can hit the target at a time, this will waste time, annoy others, and reduce DPS. On bosses, you wont be able to knock them up anyway, but speccing into it doesn't give any other benefits in PvE so you shouldn't waste points unless you are speccing into form 1.
Note: if a target is knocked up at anytime, you can use your [Tab] to push them to the ground and grapple automatically even if grapple is not specced. This can help pin down the target and let your team do more damage.

[Tab] Second Wind, this ability only needs 1 point for PvE content and can be specced an extra point in PvP depending on the Matchup

[F] Smite: This ability should also not be specced to knockup similar to Flying Slam (again unless you are using it for PvP). Instead spec it either leftmost of rightmost (depending on build) for extra damage. Rightmost will allow Searing Palm to be used, and I will go into how that works later on, and leftmost gives a more damage to an enemy afflicted with Searing Palm.

[F] Cyclone Kick: This ability is core for a both fire and wind builds. It will be specced to form 2 for wind build and form 3 for fire build.

[F] Iron Shoulder: This ability can be specced in many ways, with form 2 and 4 removing the knockback but adding damage. Most of the time you will spec it to form 2 so you can proc Hellfire Kick and reduce the cooldown of Searing Palm.

[1] Counter/Elbow Smash: This is your main ability for tanking and avoiding damage. If you are soloing you want to spec it on the rightmost side for extra hp regen. Elbow Smash is an attack that counters an attack. Most of the time you won't be using it but try it out, you might end up liking it and I know some players use it for solo content instead of the form 1 counter. The 3rd form you don't normally use as it increases the cooldown of the skill significantly. When tanking dungeons you want to spec it to form 4 as it will also provide threat generation so you can keep aggro.

[2] Swift Strike/Tiger Stike: This is your #1 ability for KFM and the button you will be pressing most of the time. For wind build you will spec straight down and for fire build you will spec tier 4 as tier 3 doesn't nearly have as much damage.

[3] Leg Sweep/Shin Kick: This ability you want to keep it at Shin Kick (Form 2 Tier 3) all the time. Shin kick can only be used on a grabbed, phantom gripped, stunned, or dazed enemy so it will be leg sweep by default and will turn to Shin Kick when the requirements are met. This is a core ability for either build as it is a basic damage boost.

[4] Comet Strike: This is the only ability that can be interchanged and switched up depending on your build/playstyle. Some of the forms have a cast time and some don't. The only thing I recommend is not speccing form 4 unless you need it for CC or PvP. Try out each one, and find the one you like to use the best.

[4] Hellfire Kick: This ability is very good for both builds and is just a basic damage skill so just use it whenever it is up. It is mainly used to proc Searing Palm when you do unlock that ability.

[LMB] Straight Jab: Another main ability for KFM but it is mainly used to proc other skills and gain back focus or regen health. Speccing into form 1 will let you increase crit while gaining back focus. form 3 will let you regen health, so try both out and see what you like.

[LMB] Tiger's Pounce: This skill is available when you Backstep [SS] and is used as a basic knockdown skill.

[LMB] Swooping Crane: Similar to Tiger's Pounce only you use it when you are windwalking. Another basic knockdown skill to help with those double CCs.

[RMB] Guiding Fist: Another approach skill, also the only skill KFM's have to stack bleed. If you spec 1 point into it you can increase threat but it goes on a longer cooldown.

[RMB] Triple Kick/Firestorm Kick: Triple kick is mainly only used for PvP, as it allows you to stun the target if they are defending (i.e. Blade Master block). In PvE you want to use Firestorm kick, either with or without the stun depending on your current situation. In most cases you want to take Form 2, as it has a shorter cooldown and gives focus back.

[RMB] Avenging Fist: This skill HAS to have a point specced into it to use it. It is a approach skill you can activate when you counter an attack (has to be specced to form 3 for to be used with Elbow Smash) and can be used as another knockdown but most of the time you want to spec it to form 3, as it allows you to use it while using counter, not after countering an attack and so you can activate Searing Palm.

[V] Tremor: Mostly a utility skill if anything, but also used to boost damage. Form 1 is used as a stun in PvP or certain dungeons (don't spec tier 4 form 1 as it will knock up stunned/dazed enemies). In tier 4 for form 2 and 3, this will increase crit damage for everyone in the party that is in the zone that it creates after using it. Form 2 can be used to pull enemies in a 8 meter radius and form 3 is used for threat generation.

BEFORE WE GO ANY FURTHER: You need to know what iFrames are if you do not already. iFrames are skills that let you become invincible from damage/cc (depending on the ability) for a certain amount of time (hence the name iFrame = invincibility frame). These are very important for not only avoiding damage as a tank, but avoiding boss mechanics that would otherwise get you killed. Every class has them, but they are more important for KFM as you will be tanking in dungeons.

[C] Flurry: Can be specced into a daze for PvP, but most of the time specced into form 1 or 2. Form 2 gives an iFrame throughout the duration of the ability. Form 1 has more damage, but only gives an iFrame for 0.8 seconds, but can reset the cooldown of Searing Palm and its own cd so try both and see which you prefer.

[Z] Rising Dragon: This is your main regen ability, and also an iFrame. Speccing into it will allow you to get back some health. The main use for this is an extra iFrame on form 1. Use form 2 for a stun in PvP or in dungeons with CC mechanics.

[SS] Backstep: This is one of your main iFrame abilites. You don't want to spec into it as it increases the cooldown.

[Q/E] Shadow Dance/Footwork: This ability is CORE. It is your main iFrame skill and lets you survive for extended fights without getting hit. You ALWAYS want 3 points specced into it (both share skill points). This ability will regen hp, reduce cooldowns, and increase your agility. The iFrame on this ability will feel very long, as it will resist throughout the animation and 1 second after it so you can be a bit lenient in iFraming big boss attacks so your iFrame doesn't have to be instant.

[X] Leading Palm: This ability is used to proc searing palm, but you will mostly use it at the end of stacking your searing palm as it will quadruple the damage dealt so get used to not using it to proc Searing Palm.

[X] Searing Palm: Last but certainly not least is the KFM's main ability, Searing Palm. This ability is only unlocked when you reach Level45 and is the KFM's main damage ability. You only use form 2 for PvP so i will only be talking about form 1. The moment you hit Level45 you want to spec 3 points straight down in form 1. This ability does a lot of things, from buffing to yourself that increases crit chance and crit damage, generating focus, and giving the enemy target a debuff that increases the crit of your teammates that are hitting the target. The hardest part of playing KFM is this ability and its stacking portion of it. On activation, this ability will go on cooldown, but you will have 10 seconds to activate the next stage of Searing Palm. This ability has 4 stages in total, with the last stage increasing your crit damage by 50% and increasing crit chance by 100% (doubles your crit chance, does not mean you have 100% crit) Activating this ability is very confusing and here is a graph I took from Shiro's video to help better explain how to proc searing palm to move on to the next stage. When you have reached stage 4, you will have to wait for the ability to be off cooldown (from the time you first activated it) to go reactivate the skill and be back at stage 1.

Wow you got it this far! Thanks for enduring that, now onto more exciting stuff :)


Now if just made a new KFM you want to pay attention to this. During the course of your leveling you can use either use a basic Wind or basic Fire build to get you going as you level. Early on use the recommended fire and wind builds that the game gives you, this will do you well as you get to learn the class and play it more and more. When you start gaining more and more skill points you will want to be assigning these to certain abilites based on what build you are using.

BIG NOTE: If anyone tells you to do 3rf, DISREGARD IT. 3rf is a combo used by the KFM to do damage and you press the buttons to pull off this combo accordingly: 3 , R(LMB) , F. 3rf is the combo used for PvP only as it requires the target to be stunned and while leveling / doing dungeons you will rarely cc the boss/adds to be able to hit your 3rf. If a boss / enemy is stunned or dazed however, feel free to 3rf. I am just pointing out that this is the wrong combo to be practicing in PvE while you are leveling.

Wind Build
1) Swift Strike
2) Counter
3) Shadow Dance/Footwork
4) Cyclone Kick
5) Focused Fighting Spirit
6) Comet Strike
Here is a wind build accordingly for level 30

Fire Build
1) Tiger Strike
2) Counter
3) Shadow Dance/Footwork
4) Searing Blow
5) Focused Fighting Spirit
6) Comet Strike
Here is a fire build accordingly for level 30

Keep in mind that your Comet Strike is personal preference so spec all of them and see which one you like the most. Some tips:
  • Hit your searing blow/cyclone kick whenever you crit with your 2
  • Hit Hellfire Kick whenever its up for some extra damage
  • Use Focused Fighting Spirit to take down adds with lots of HP and spam your Comet Strike during the buff
  • Don't forget to use those iFrames and Counter to increase your survivabilty
Remember as this is when you are still leveling, try stuff out! Don't be afraid to use new abilities you find or mess around with your build. As you gain more and more skill points, put them in random slots, try and see what you like. And remember my builds aren't "perfect" they are just recommendations for learning the class and the abilities each build uses.


Congratulations you've reached level 45! At this point you have unlocked Searing Palm and you will start running more and more dungeons for your dailies along with leveling to 50. As for your builds you are going to have to change them up as they will be different from now on. You have more crit so you will now be able to pull of different combos. At this point you will start to get a better feel for the class along with more knowledge of your abilities. Now once more you can choose between Fire and Wind builds so see which one you like better.

Wind Build
Now for wind build you have enough crit to go ahead and start using your basic combo, 2rf. Hitting your 2rf mostly relies on you criting on your [2] Swift Strike so you can hit [F] Cyclone Kick. The reason you have a [R/LMB] Straight Jab is to regen more focus while increasing your crit chance. If you are having trouble maintaining focus, feel free to add an extra [R/LMB] to the rotation making it r2rf. If you do not crit enough for [F] to land, just keep using 2r2r2. Here is the corresponding wind build.

Fire Build
Fire build mainly relies on you criting with your [2] Tiger Strike so that you can proc [F] Searing Blow. Searing blow not only does good damage, but will reduce the cooldown of Searing Palm. Realistically your combo is the same as wind build, but in practicality you can just spam [2] and [R/LMB] until you crit to proc Searing Blow. If you do have 100% crit chance (possible with Searing Palm Stage 4 and Focused Fighting Spirit and enough base crit chance) you can just 2f. This is very focus consuming as [2] takes up 3 whole focus but the focus gets replenished with [F]. Here is the corresponding fire build.

Remember if you have problems activating Searing Palm refer back to this picture. Also keep in mind if you are having trouble getting enough abilities to proc Searing Palm you can also spec Comet Strike form 1 to help you out.

Level50 / Endgame / Final Tips and Tricks

Wow! You've just reached the highest level of the game and have just begun in your journey! Endgame is pretty difficult but practice makes perfect and you will gradually learn the mechanics of each dungeon and how to tank each. Speaking about endgame dungeons, you are now officially a tank! You will now have the responsibility of holding aggro and avoiding damage to make sure your team has a more successful time in doing DPS (unless there is a better tank in the party :3). Here are some new builds for Wind and Fire builds. Included in these are more threat generation techniques in order for you to better hold aggro during a boss fight, another iFrame on your [C], and the change from Focused Fighting Spirit to regular Fighting Spirit, so that your whole party can have the buff.

If you do not plan on tanking right away, here are the builds that will add an extra iFrame to your [Z] along with making your [V] be able to pull enemies. Wind and Fire

HM Skills
Many people ask about HM skills and currently there are a few HM skills available to us and what they will be used to do:
  • [4] Comet Strike: This is a straightforward HUGE damage boost to your comet strike. A must have.
  • [1] Counter: Changes it so the iFrame after you successfully block goes from iFraming 1 attack to iFraming everything for 1 second. Good on bosses that have a continuous attack (hae mujin's spins/silver's spins in asura)
  • [LMB] Straight Jab: A must have for wind build. Makes it so on crit, automatically will proc [F] Cyclone Kick.
  • [2] Tiger Strike: A must have for fire build. Makes it so your Tiger Strike will do additional damage to enemies inflicted with Searing Palm.
  • [Z] Rising Dragon: This is not out on NA at the moment of this guide being made, but it is mostly only used for PvP as it pulls the target while stunning/dazing them.

iFrame Rotation
Now many people have asked for the rotation for doing all 8 yeti slams. You can only do 6 without speccing and you have to spec out of damage for 8. [Tab] Ice Prison, lets you freeze yourself for 2 of the slams but you have to sacrifice your blue buff (Fighting Spirit) for that. Normal rotation for yeti would be:
(Tab)* , SS , C , Q , E , Z , SS , (Tab)*

*You can tab at the beginning or end, it's preference. Tabs are only if you are doing all 8.

Keep in mind that you can switch up the order of everything but your SS. As all of your other abilities have long cooldowns you want to use your SS first so you can use it twice in the entire rotation.

I also use this for necro when doing all 6 waves only without [Tab] Ice Prison as I know I can do all 6.

Holding Aggro
Aggro in this game is based on damage, similar to many MMOs. Since KFM has lots of threat generation skills, you can hold aggro against people even 100AP higher.

Ways to increase your threat are:
  • [Tab] Flying Slam
  • [RMB] Guiding Fist
  • [V] Tremor
  • [1] Counter
Keep in mind you need to spec for aggro on each of these skills.

You want to grab aggo at the beginning of the fight so you can hold it throughout the fight. I usually use this rotation to grab and hold aggro:

Start with [Tab] to gapclose, as you want to save your [RMB] because you can use that at close range, when [Tab] you have to be far away. Follow up with [V] then [Tab] Fighting Spirit. Now start spamming [4] Comet Strike. When this is over proceed to use [RMB] to seal the deal. This will almost always guarantee that you hold aggro at the beginning of a fight. In terms of holding aggro throughout a fight, you want to use your [RMB] whenever you get the chance you in between your damage rotation (it will also stack bleed). You want to block as many attacks as possible as you don't want to be moving around too much so your teammates can DPS and so you can increase threat. Don't worry if you don't get it at first, tanking and holding aggro will take practice to get down (even I have trouble doing this). Play with a lenient group that will let you mess up and keep practicing!

Final Thoughts and Credits

My Build
Personally I prefer to use fire build, and Here my build in case you all are wondering.

Final Thoughts/Credits
Thank you all so much for reading! I had an awesome time making this guide and I hoped this helped you guys in some way. As I am not perfect, if there were any mistakes or things that I might have gotten wrong, feel free to point them out in the comments. As all KFM's play differently, everyone has a different build and way to play. If any high up KFM's notice any false information don't hesitate to say so and I will adjust my post accordingly.

There are many different people that have helped me out to get this far as a KFM and I would like to give them some recognition (also if this guide was confusing I recommend watching these guys' videos):
  • Shiro
Shiro is an amazing KFM, from soloing Heaven's Mandate, to being one of the top KFM's in PvP in EU, she has amazing guides, please check them out!
Shiro's KFM PvE rotation guide
Shiro's Youtube

  • AALaguna
This guy is one of the most popular KFM streamers out there and probably one of the most popular Blade and Soul streamer in general. His Youtube guides and stream are always fun and informative to watch!
Laguna's KFM PvE rotation guide
Laguna's Youtube

  • Radeyzz
I haven't been watching this guy for too long, but his videos have been really good nontheless! His streams are also very good PvP wise.
Radeyzz's Youtube

  • JinOkami
One of my friends on the server, has very nice videos especially if you are struggling in Mushin's Tower.
JinOkami's Youtube


  • 6/21/16: Uploaded
  • 6/21/16 (later in the day): Adjusted a few sections and added a "Holding Aggro" section into the guide
Thanks to the people who noticed my mistakes and helped improve this guide!

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