This guide to the Black Mara class includes the skill build, crests, iframes, tips and tricks, and rotation provided by Joorji#4444. If you have any questions regarding this guide, please ask in the official Project Duck Discord server.
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Black Mara is an extremely flexible class that has a lot of skill expression with mobility and animation cancels. Black Mara is also very easy to understand the rotation at a base level but can be optimized to a high degree.
The main gameplay focuses around the [Ripping Combo] which consumes one of your two bubbles (Contracts) to continuously chain powerful attacks together just by holding down left click. There are also two distinct gameplay styles that you can pick from thanks to the A/B passives available to dark classes.
If you like flashy edgy skills, lots of mobility, and enjoy the color combination of purple and black then you'll like Black Mara
I will be giving tips, tricks, and other important things to note for each skill. Skills that are very self-explanatory will be skipped or have very brief notes. Transformed (Envy) versions of skills will be talked about in the Black Mara section as opposed to the Mara section.
These are about untransformed versions of skills (when applicable)
Untransformed mainline skills: [Ripping], [Ripping Combo], [Cleaving], [Void Coil], and [Black Strike] all generate Black Energy PER HIT which used to activate your transformation. The per hit nature of this interraction allows for you to instantly get to max Black Energy when hitting a mob of enemies.
[Turbulence] and [Haze] both grant Contracts which allow you to use the [Ripping Combo].
[Ripping]: This skill itself does not do any good damage on its own but it still contributes to your [Class Mastery II] effects. It has a short cooldown (6s) and can hold up to two charges so you can interrupt the cast to dodge and get back to using it again if you really need to. The main purpose of this skill is to activate the [Ripping Combo]. The only other use of this skill is for extending air time as you can cast it in the air. However, you cannot use the [Ripping Combo] mid-air so use it wisely as you may not be able to use your main combo if you consume all the charges.
[Ripping Combo]: This isn't a skill on the tree but an extension of [Ripping]. It's important enough to have its own section though. After casting [Ripping], hold the left click button if you have Contracts available to use the [Ripping Combo]. The [Ripping Combo] combines the attacks of [Cleaving] and [Void Coil] and allows them to be cast very quickly with no cooldown at the cost of reduced damage and consuming 1 Contract per use. This is the primary way of quickly building Black Energy which is your second bubble resource (more on that later). You should stop casting the [Ripping Combo] upon reaching 30-34 Black Energy as you don't want to waste Contracts and overstack your Black Energy. This skill does not do much damage.
[Cleaving]: Generally not used on its own except for very niche scenarios. You'll only really use this to snipe far away targets during mechanics. Your primary use of this skill is through the [Ripping Combo] and not actually the skill itself. You can charge this skill up to 3 levels similar to Pyromancer's [Fireball]. This projectile is NOT effected by gravity and has an absolutely insane range. It explodes on contact with a surface or enemy into smaller bolts that fall directly downwards from the explosion to deal more damage when it hits the floor.
[Void Coil]: Throw a lot of balls (12). This is a solid way of getting Black Energy during unimportant mechanics or trash targets.
[Black Strike]: Shoot a vortex of dark energy in front of you. This skill doesn't really do much and is hardly ever used outside of transformation.
[Smoke Storm]: Conjure a pool of dark lightning a short distance in front of you hitting 16 times over ~12 seconds. The individual hits don't do too much damage but they add up quickly if the boss stands on top of the dark lightning for the full duration. Each hit grants Black Energy over time. This is incredibly important as you can cast [Smoke Storm] before transforming using [Black Mara] and maintain your Black Energy while transformed.
[Agonal Shadow]: Cut enemies in front of you, and then move forward for a finishing blow. This skill does a LOT of damage as burst. You can use the forward movement to follow bosses as they run away as the skill as a fairly generous range. This is a very high priority skill. Cast it as soon as its available.
[Haze]: This is your bread and butter of obtaining Contracts. Depending on your A/B choices, this can be used in the air to quickly land you on the ground or have an additional attack. If you cast this skill without pressing [W/A/S/D], you'll use it in place very quickly. If you hold a directional key while casting, you'll dodge in that direction before swiping enemies. While dodging, you're invulnerable.
[Wraith Form]: Instantly become a cloud of smoke for 3 seconds which makes you invulnerable for the full duration. This is one of the strongest utility skills in the game. You can cast it to immediately escape from most hit states such as airborne, knock-up, stun. You cannot it to get out of AD mechanics, spacebar mechanics, or when you're on the ground. If you take [Forgotten Wraith], this skill additionally recovers HP (15% of your max HP) and all skill cooldowns (3s/second) over time. This cooldown reduction applies to all active skills and passive skills. You can also use this skill to cancel animations to do more DPS or to get out of tough situations. I recommend to save this skill for dangerous situations more so than animation cancels if you're still unfamiliar with the class or the content you're running.
[Shadow Shell]: Use this skill as often as possible or save it for big attacks. The damage reduction and super armor are very useful.
[Entomb]: Place a shadow resonator above you which shoots dark energy when main skills or [Agonal Shadow] are used. You should keep this on the field as often as possible as it shoots 2 dark orbs for every cast that you do. This means the faster and more often that you use skills the more you get out of [Entomb]. The dark energy orbs have a range but will auto target the closest enemy.
[Ebony Spark]: You can cast this after [Blink], [Black Mara], [Inhale], and [Exhale] by pressing left click or right click. The left click version shoots out dark flames that do tiny amounts of damage while the right click pops you into the air for a short duration. The right click version can be used to control the amount of distance you teleport using [Blink] as you can cancel [Blink] prematurely with [Ebony Spark]. The jump on the right click can also be used for jumping stomps.
[Air Blink]: You can use this to dodge in the air and also extends your air time. Since this class already has so much air time, I don't take this skill. If you want to take it, you can remove some points from [Mental Fortitude] or [Turbulence] or any combination of the two.
[Insult]: Can only be used in the air with left click or by pressing left click after [Wheeling Staff] thanks to your [Class Mastery III]. This is a great tool for extending your air time and does good damage. The dark sparks that come from you fall underneath you dealing damage as it hits the floor.
[Turbulence]: Spin a scythe around that grants Contracts. This is one of the main ways of obtaining Contracts. Ideally, you'll want to use this almost as often as possible. You'll generally want to pair this with either [Haze] (if you have [Haze (A)] or [Black Mara Transformation]. Casting [Turbulence] on its own leaves you in their air for a while, leaving you vulnerable, and also unable to get back to using damage skills. If you cancel the airtime with either of those skills, you can get back to doing damage immediately.
This can be cast by pressing jump while you're mid-air. You can cancel most skills early by pressing jump to use this skill. The jump on this skill is good enough to help you dodge stomps while granting you Contracts. This can be used in many stylish ways. You can also use this during [Blink] to increase your directional movement and when paired with [Haze (A)], immediately drop you to the ground once you moved the distance you want to.
This section will cover the transformed versions of main skills, [Inhale]/[Exhale] and your passives.
While transformed, Envy versions of skills no longer grant Black Energy
[Black Mara]: This transforms you when you have at least 30 Black Energy. When transforming, dash forward. You'll stop when you collide with an enemy creating a vortex doing damage in a rectangle in front of you. The entire dash animation and hit animation is an iframe. The iframe is incredibly long (1.5s). Alternatively, you can hold [S] to stay in place and transform by slamming the ground hitting a very wide circle around you. After learning [Aftermath], this attack additionally debuffs enemies to take 20% more damage for 30s. The [S] version also has an iframe of roughly the same time. Transforming resets your main skills and enhances them to their Envy variants which have different animations, hitboxes, and increased damage. While transformed, consume 1 Black Energy per second. When you run out of Black Energy, you'll untransform. More on how to use Black Mara and when to exit in later gameplay sections.
[Inhale/Exhale]: While untransformed, this skill is [Inhale]. While transformed, this skill is [Exhale]. [Inhale] and [Exhale] can be used to dodge backwards to avoid attacks. However, [Exhale] untransforms you (removes the effects of [Black Mara]) and leaves a scythe behind that explodes after a short delay. Both version of this skill can be used to dodge attack as they're both iframes. You're invulnerable for about ~0.5s.
[Envy Ripping]: This skill still does nothing on its own but maintains the same attributes as the untransformed cast. Use it the same way as before.
[Envy Ripping Combo]: The combo gets upgraded while transformed to do [Envy Cleaving] and [Envy Void Coil] which does significantly more damage. This is the highest priority skill while transformed. It still consumes Contracts per cast and maintains the same attributes as the non-transformed version except that it's now a melee attack and not ranged.
[Envy Cleaving]: This transformed version no longer has a charge system and instead now has a cast time. After a brief delay, do a massive amount of damage in a single hit. It has a fairly generous range and can chunk enemies. This is a medium priority skill.
[Envy Void Coil]: Spin the scythe around in a medium range in front of you. This is the lowest priority skill while transformed.
[Envy Black Strike]: Rend enemies while moving a large distance forward. You can hold the [S] key to shorten your dash distance at the cost of a longer cast time but more reliable hitbox. After dashing, you can press right click to dodge backwards the same distance that you dashed. You can also press right click to dodge backwards at any time while using the [S] version. The dodge backwards is an iframe for the full duration while invisible. If you're chaining skills after [Envy Black Strike], it's actually faster to press right click to dodge backwards but while dodging backwards cancel the dodge with a different skill cast than it is to wait for the lockout to end when not pressing right click (example below).
[Envy Smoke Storm]: Create a deadly tornado doing damage in a short-medium distance around you. This does a ton of damage and is high priority while transformed.
[Class Mastery]: This passive is how you gain Contracts and Black Energy. When [Turbulence] or [Haze] hits enemies, grant Contract. When main skills hit enemies, gain Black Energy. The main parts of this are already explained in above sections (particularly the [Ripping Combo] section).
[Class Mastery II]: When you hit enemies with main skills (including their Envy variants), the cooldown of [Agonal Shadow] and [Entomb] are reduced by 3 seconds. This does not apply to the [Ripping Combo] variants of [Cleaving] and [Void Coil]. This makes you want to play faster and cast skills as often as you can to ensure that you keep [Entomb] up with 100% uptime and cast [Agonal Shadow] as often as possible for major burst.
[Class Mastery III]: Just do as it says. Try to use [Insult] with [Wheeling Staff] and never on its own.
There are a few major decisions to be made here. The first of which is the biggest gameplay choice.
Entropy A vs B
This option locks you into a gameplay style that completely revolves around [Ripping Combo]. Around ~55% of your damage will come from this combo alone as [Insult] and [Ebony Spark] now additionally grant Contract. Since you have more ways of obtaining Contracts, you'll spam [Envy Ripping Combo] way more often. It's very simple to play this style and you spend most of your time holding left click. You'll use use all your contract gaining skills as frequently as possible to use [Envy Ripping Combo] as often as possible. [Insult] along with its [Class Mastery III] grants max (10) bubbles so long as you hit most of your sparks. Use [Insult] when you have 0 bubbles cause otherwise, you'll overstack them. When using [Entropy A], you will hardly use your Envy main skills outside of [Envy Smoke Storm] and occasionally [Envy Black Strike] to chase bosses.
I personally don't use [Entropy A] as it's boring to me. If you're interested in playing it, go for it. [Entropy A] is generally weaker than [Entropy B].
This option has a much more dynamic gameplay style and is harder to play and is the main style covered in this guide. While you still use [Ripping Combo] as your main damage source, it's not as often as [Entropy A]. [Haze] additionally resets the cooldown of [Envy Black Strike]. This interaction allows you to reduce the cooldown of [Entomb] and [Agonal Shadow] even more often and propels [Envy Black Strike] to one of your main DPS skills. On top of that, main skills and [Agonal Shadow] deal increased damage. This gameplay style revolves around using all of your main skills (except [Envy Void Coil]) while transformed after using [Envy Ripping Combo]. You'll want to use [Agonal Shadow] as often as possible as it has an insane amount of burst with [Entropy B] alongside your other Envy skills. After you run out of skills in transform. You can untransform with [Exhale], then (if available), use [Smoke Storm] before transforming again with [Black Mara] (if you have enough Black Energy. Otherwise, use [Ripping Combo] to get enough) as transforming resets the cooldown of main skills.
As you might imagine, [Entropy B] jumps in and out of the fight very often and moves around a lot more than [Entropy A].
Enhanced Ebony Spark A/B
Ebony Spark A
Throw out two additional flames. This synergizes with [Entropy A] as it grants 2 additional contracts to each cast of [Ebony Spark].
Ebony Spark B
The hop explosion of the right click does more damage. That's about it. You won't take this if you use [Entropy A]. Even on [Entropy B], it doesn't make much of a difference which one you pick between [Ebony Spark A] or [Ebony Spark B].
Enhanced Haze A/B
Allows you to use it in the air which immediately drops you to the floor doing damage in a line in front of you. The air cast version does not have [W/A/S/D] dodge support and does not have an iframe. This does not remove the ability to use [W/A/S/D] on the ground but rather just allows you to additionally use it in the air.
Adds an additional attack to [Haze] that you can trigger using the left click. From my experience, this version is hardly ever taken as [Haze] isn't really used for damage anyway and [Haze A] grants more Contracts anyway.
Enhanced Turbulence A/B
Shoot the scythe forward instead of spinning it around you. This projectile goes a moderate distance forward before exploding upon enemy contact for two hits. This grants the same amount of Contracts as the normal version and Turbulence B with the added bonus of more range. That being said, doing animation cancels with [Turbulence] --> [Black Mara Transformation] is a tad slower since you have to wait for both hits to come out on [Turbulence A].
The damage of [Turbulence] is increased. The damage increase is quite significant. However, [Turbulence] on doesn't have that high of a base damage to begin with so I think in most cases you're better off taking [Tubulence A]. If you get really good with controlling your movement, you can take [Turbulence B] for a minor min-max of damage.
Skill Build (Entropy B)
Build is mostly the same except take:
[Enhanced Ebony Spark A]
Max [Insult] (+11) removing points from [Turbulence]
[Enhanced Turbulence A/B] is personal preference for the most part. I like both but [Enhanced Turbulence A] is easier to play with.
For unified skills, I take Ultimate Skill Cooldown Reduction (-10%) for [Entropy B]. If you're playing with [Entropy A], I would pick Final Damage increase (+3%)
Entropy A Crests
- [Smoke Storm DMG]
- [Insult CDR]
- [Entomb CDR]
- [Void Coil DMG]
- [Black Strike DMG]
- [Wraith Form CDR]
- [Agonal Shadow DMG] (Optional)
Entropy B Crests
- [Smoke Storm DMG]
- [Void Coil DMG]
- [Black Strike DMG]
- [Haze CDR]
- [Entomb CDR]
- [Agonal Shadow CDR]
- [Wraith Form CDR]
Lingering Black Energy
While untransformed, use the [Ripping Combo], and transform with [Black Mara] as you hit 33-35 [Black Energy] while [Ripping Combo] is still in the air. The closer you transform to 33-35 the better as the shards that fall downwards from [Contract Cleaving] will grant you additional Black Energy. Your [Black Mara] transformation will consume 10 bubbles but you will immediately gain 5-10 back as the [Contract Ripping Combo] projectiles continue to hit.
Additionally, you can also use [Smoke Storm] before transforming to continue gaining [Black Energy] while transformed. This combined with the above technique typically puts you at around 36 or more [Black Energy] which gives you extra time to DPS with [Envy Contract Ripping] combo and other Envy skills. If you use [Exhale] with more than 30 Black Energy, you can hop right back into [Black Mara] as you have more than 30 [Black Energy].
Entropy B Black Strike Combo
You can quickly gain 6 Contracts with this simple double [Envy Black Strike] combo.
- [Envy Black Strike]
- Right click
- Jump to trigger [Turbulence]
- [Haze] to fall to the ground quickly
- [Envy Black Strike]
This combo also works well with [Envy Cleaving] and [Envy Smoke Storm]. Just try to [Envy Black Strike] first if it's available so you get the full value from the [Haze] CD reset.
Skill Spread (BDNTA) Entropy B
- [Inhale] / [Exhale]
- [Black Mara transformation]
- [Envy Black Strike] right click
- [Wraith Form]
- [Blink] / [Air Blink]
Rotation (Entropy B)
I'm not too happy with this run but it works for the purposes of showing the general gameplay loop.