Maelstrom – Fury’s Hold Guide with Builds

This guide explores the power of the Human battleship, Fury’s Hold.

Intro / Overview

My relation with this ship has had a rough road. It went from the only battleship I could play, to the only human ship I would play, to the only ship I wouldn’t play–and now it’s just a really great ship that I enjoy playing.

From the “Getting Started” guide:

Fury’s Hold is the battleship of the Humans. Rows of artillery will shred opponents from afar, provided she can manage the firing delay. Decent armor for a Human ship, but poor maneuverability make it difficult to fight in tight spots.

  • Increased range, cannonball velocity, and firing delay. Damage increases with distance traveled.
  • Tier X: Marksmen Towers (snipers pick off crew of ships in range)
  • Pros and cons:
    + Good firepower which can punish at a distance (highest range of the game)
    + Cannons on all quadrants
    + Good armor
    – Best in open waters; poor with currents or enclosed water
    – Slow to accelerate and turn
    – High firing delay and projectile velocity require aiming tactics different from other ships

Though my first exposure to this ship was early, it ended up being one of the last I brought into 3k+. I didn’t quite know how to adjust for the Tier X, or make proper use of it to stay viable in those brackets. Balancing durability with damage is also a hurdle, because with the high firing delay, missing a lot of the shots makes damage buffs less appealing since you need more time to take down targets. All these factors kind of pulled away at each other and pushed me away from Fury’s Hold as other ships took the spotlight. But, after careful observation of the best Fury builds I could find in action, I finally found something that works and took off from there.

Fury’s Hold is obviously designed for longer range combat (but not too far because of firing delay). Having the longest range in the game, every other ship is going to do what they need to so they can close the gap. Acknowledging this, Fury should also be able to take a good beating, so improving on its high base durability will be valuable.

One of the best advantages Fury has is its Marksmen Towers ability. From the moment an enemy comes within range, you know where they are and the pressure is instantly applied. No one likes being crewed, and facing this ship without a surgeon means there’s a finite amount of time before that happens. If you can survive a good amount of damage, lasting long enough to cripple the tougher builds, they’ll have a hard time getting to you before you shred them.

Here are my builds.

Overbearing Fury

This focuses on Fury’s smothering presence, becoming an oppressive giant that leaves all adversaries dead to rights.

Captain: Flint Brinetide


  • Bosun–Legendary; Freckles Peppins
  • Master Gunner–Sail; San [Stinkeye Humphreys]
  • Shipwright–Legendary; Ross the Architect

Level 5 Traits: Thrill of Victory, Zephyr, Guarded, Sneaky


  • Cannons: Ironhead
  • Utility: Stargazer Mast
  • Defense: Reinforced Bulkhead
  • Offense: Spearhead Keel

Flint Brinetide serves several extremely useful purposes, not just to Fury, but Humans in general. Humans need to turn. In the case of Cinder and Ashborne, they only have cannons on broadsides. Fury has to compensate for its firing delay, which is not helped at all by substantially low turn acceleration. And all lack great fore and aft armor, so ramming and awkward boarding angles can cause much trouble. Unless it’s a solid fore/aft board, 4 out of 5 times Balefire Blast will still reach them. Flint also gives turning buffs in the right-hand tree, and allows Fury to have the breathing room its gameplay often demands. You control when you do and don’t want a boarding action. You can shove them away if caught at a bad angle, or to hasten the process after grappling them to empty a broadside close range.

Aside from this, Balefire Blast allows you to vaporize crew even faster than with Marksmen Towers alone. This combination of iron and crew damage modes is deadly; most ships can only hope to achieve this DPS for one type at a time, but Fury does both simultaneously. Flint’s upgrades (cannon disable, extra crew damage, burning, stronger push…) really drive this point home, giving you further control on the battlefield and higher damage output. Head-on combat may not be Fury’s purpose, but all this makes it scary for any other ship to try (though scarier is staying at distance, so they’ll get close, don’t worry). You’ll wear down their crew with tier X and captain abilities, armor with the obscene amount of cannons you have, and hull directly with boarding and potential burning.

Regarding mates, Freckles Peppins and Ross the Architect are honestly some of the best ones in the game. Peppins gives armor resist, repair, and turn rate to boot. Ross doubles your hull, and gives a damage buff. Hard to beat these two, as their amazing defensive bonuses are supplemented by offensive ones that particularly compliment Human ships.

Stinkeye Humphreys makes the firing delay much more manageable (standard MG stat), and gives a small sail damage buff that is still useful. However, he also comes with an unparalleled accuracy buff and a crit damage boost. San works very well if you don’t want the captain debuff.

Now it’s not as easy for Fury to go full crit, as Phoenix cannons are not an option. But Fury crits hurt. A lot. When Thrill of Victory is on here (and Fury can often end up in multi-ship brawls), your cannons will melt through armor like you’re ironing a stick of butter. Fury’s great at attacking from fog, so Sneaky might be another valuable investment.

A word about hardpoints: These aren’t set in stone for me, but I’ve found they work well. Battleship Plating is a great hardpoint, but I didn’t want to further hamper Fury’s mobility. Reinforced Bulkhead has nice defense boosts that apply to armor, hull, and crew, so I’ve gone with those for now. Also, Spearhead Keel gives fore armor with its ramming, which I find to be more useful than augmenting Fury’s already outstanding range.

Cannons are even more questionable. I opted for Ironhead, and they’ve served me well–really well-balanced combination of range, damage, and firing delay. But it’s worth investigating the others.

Relentless Fury

This build takes advantage of captain talents to produce some interesting stat combos, making for very rewarding gameplay and powerful defense.

Captain: Axton Harrowfel


  • Bosun–Resist; Anastasia [Freckles Peppins]
  • Cook–Captain; Bones [Piersen the Carver]
  • Shipwright–Resist; Holden

Level 5 Traits: Guarded, Zephyr, Cautious, Dead Water Sprint


  • Cannons: Harbringer
  • Utility: Stargazer Mast
  • Defense: Reinforced Bulkhead
  • Offense: Spearhead Keel

Dump as many points as possible into Axton’s right-hand tree, Inspired Leader. This gives 20% damage resistance to crew and sails (amazing with these utility/defense hardpoints), and the capstone talent Brace for Impact enables up to +40% hull and armor damage resistance during Widow’s Powder. This combos with the mates you have for 60-70% armor damage resistance (better with Guarded), and 90% hull damage resistance. What’s more, Axton has the highest cooldown of any captain in the game–so any percent decreases apply even better. The most you can get with humans is -30%, so this brings you down to 35 seconds cooldown. That’s decent, offering better damage and firing delay with nigh invulnerability. Piersen gives this same cooldown with superior crit and accel buffs while only sacrificing any flag capabilities (and some turn rate, but Freckles can handle it). Great pick if you can land him.

The next-highest priority in Axton’s abilities is Extended Focus, adding another 5 seconds of time to Widow’s Powder. Not only does this give enough time for multiple volleys of enhanced cannons on the same quadrant, but it makes you invincible for longer. 15 seconds duration with this cooldown means you spend only 20 seconds not doing Widow’s Powder. In between ranks, grab the reduced firing delay from Accelerated Rounds. You can also go for Blunt Force if you like, as it’s already in Inspired Leader. Depends on how much you like keeping your distance.

As you can tell, this is one of the tankiest tanks possible, with Fury’s unparalleled firepower to back it up. You get the highest possible hull and armor resistance in the game, with outstanding bulk. The sheer power of reducing incoming damage by a factor of 10 (if only for a while) can lead you to the greatest of victories.

Vehement Fury

Captain: Morrigan Shale

Optimized for offense, this build racks up kills as fast as I’ve ever seen on a Fury. Quick and powerful, there is a much lower focus on defense, but brawls are no issue with your ability to simply destroy every ship in the throng. This is actually one of the quickest successes I’ve had with a build, hardly needing any calibration. Let’s have a look.


  • Bosun–Bulk; Edeva [Freckles Peppins]
  • Master Gunner–Crew; Jussom [Stinkeye Humphreys]
  • Powder Monkey–Iron; Frost [Ashy the Raven] -OR- Navigator–Speed; Bartholoemue [Horace the Slug]

Level 5 Traits: Dominion, Guarded, Killer Instinct, Disruption, Dead Water Sprint


  • Cannons: Levi’s Jeans
  • Utility: Stargazer Mast
  • Defense: Battleship Plating
  • Offense: Longshot Deck

Between Longshot Deck, Fury’s passive, and some of Morrigan’s left-hand tree Phoenix Bright, you can easily get upwards of 1700 range on these cannons, notorious for their high damage but short range. For comparison, Harbringers have a default 2200, so it’s quite a bargain. The Master Gunner cuts down the firing delay to a manageable 2 seconds, not the best but still good for Fury. You may want to opt for Jussom instead of San to work in more crew damage, as Morrigan can handle sails just fine.

Considering armor, I found it nice to opt for bulk instead of full resistance. This part will get a little technical for those who’d like to understand the why behind this concept I call “Effective Armor”. I’ve been using this in all my build calculations, so here’s how I do it.

Effective armor is the amount of armor you have above default (so factor in any percent bonuses) divided by 1 – armor damage resist [decimal]. To explain the factor of increase, I look at 1 armor point. Its default value is 1, of course. If the armor boost is A and damage resistance is D, then the effective armor is (1 + A) / (1 – D). [If using percentages, just change the 1’s to 100’s.] For example, on Cleaver with Prow Armor (80% fore) and Kaleshark (30% resist), the effective fore armor is 1.8/0.7 = 2.57. This fore can take 2.57 times the punishment of a default Cleaver’s fore.

Back to Fury’s Hold, Battleship Plating with Edeva (Bulk) will give a boost in effective armor of 1.88. Battleship Plating with Anastatia (Resist) gives 1.86. If you run Ashy and the hardpoint, it gives 1.67 with Edeva and 1.63 with Freckles. Worst case of this loadout is Freckles with Ashy and hardpoint (no mate bulk, 10% net resist), giving 1.44. I went for the first option, with the highest effective armor. More bulk to augment with still decent resistance gives the best results. If you really miss the regen and turn rate, put Freckles on, sure.

For the third mate, I really prefer a Navigator; bonus points for Horace the Slug. I feel much more comfortable knowing I have better acceleration and armor than the damage from Ashy. It is exhilarating knowing that whenever you fire a broadside you can take out an armor quadrant, but the cannons really do fine on their own anyway, and to me the defense/mobility is more worth it.

Morrigan’s obvious talent picks are increasing burn damage and duration. The capstones focus on making the phoenix hit more ships, and I prefer Flare Up since you don’t have to rely on turning and can sweep an entire radius. Extra impact damage and healing are nice icing on the cake if you like.

I’ll spare you the description and leave it to you to see first-hand the prolific melting capabilities of this build.

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