“Enlightenment is achieved by mastering not only the body, but the soul. Only then can a warrior truly understand the value of life, and why it should be protected at all costs.”
- - Belannaer of Hoeth, Bladelord of the White Tower
The Swordmasters of Hoeth are perhaps the greatest martial artists in the world of Warhammer, warrior-ascetics who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of obtaining perfect balance between mind and body, between the cultivation of wisdom and the study of war. For thousands of years, Swordmasters have been the guardians of the White Tower of Hoeth, the high temple to the Elven God of Wisdom and the greatest training ground for mages in all of Ulthuan, standing like a beacon in the heart of mystic Saphery.
Over hundreds of years of meditation and training, the Swordmasters cultivate their minds and bodies into a perfect instrument of war, favoring the Elven greatsword above all else. These double-edged and wickedly-sharp blades are a full six-feet in length, yet the Swordmaster is so skilled in their use that they can wield these swords as fast as an ordinary warrior might wield a one-handed blade. It is said that the Swordmasters can fight in complete darkness, guided by the sound of their opponent's breath, that they can cut a candle in half without disturbing the flame or even deflect arrows in midair, and that many a foe barely registers their swords leaving their scabbards.
Although Swordmasters are well-armoured by Elven standards, they differ from those in other defensive careers in that they focus not so much on absorbing damage as avoiding damage, using both combination attacks and magic to deflect and misdirect attacks, while performing the traditional duties of the tank - protecting allies from harm and redirecting attacks from enemies from their allies to themselves.
Swordmasters are able to equip a shield and use a one-handed weapon if they so choose, but most of their combat prowess revolves around their signature weapons, the majestic elven two-handed greatswords. They are more defensively capable with these weapons than any other class. This means that, conceptually, the Swordmaster is somewhere between the immovable bulwark that is the standard tank class and the furious damage dealers that make up the melee dps classes.
The most important mechanic of the Swordmaster is his Blade Dancing - a combo system in which the Swordmaster strings together different attacks and abilities that slowly build to powerful finishing moves. These different Blade Dances have very different functions; some are designed to help ward off damage, some are designed for dealing damage, and others presumably for taunting targets off of the Swordmaster's allies.
As he uses different Blade Dances, the Swordmaster builds up Balance - a mechanic that represents the Swordmaster's disciplined practice of drawing their opponent off-guard, while placing themselves in the perfect position to strike. Balance is built and maintained in three distinct stages, Normal Balance, Improved Balance, and Perfect Balance. At each stage, the advanced Swordmaster has a number of options available to him: attacks and stances that increase, decrease or maintain his Balance level. Just as you would expect, the most powerful abilities are the ones that simultaneously reduce the Balance level, thus making each action in combat a trade-off between immediate gain or improved overall effectiveness.
Each mastery tree allows the Swordmaster to focus his abilities according to play style and taste.
Path of VaulEdit
The Path of Vaul provides protection-based masteries, specializing in group defenses and shields, and the mitigation of enemy damage.
Path of KhaineEdit
The Path of Khaine allows the Swordmaster to learn offensive masteries that improve his ability with a greatsword. A master of the Path of Khaine can deal greater damage using a greatsword and can also use it to lower his opponent's defenses.
Path of HoethEdit
A specialist in the Path of Hoeth has a much greater control of the winds of magic, giving them a range of magical abilities useful in both attack and defense.
The Swordmaster is one of the most dangerous offensive tanks in the game, dealing high busts of spirit damage with his twohanded sword or in rarer cases with sword an board.
Changing through the different staces of his balance-mechanic, he has to decide on any step, if he wants to increase his personal protection, debuff an enemy, buff the damage dealt by him or his group or apply crowd control.
His strongest suit is his own damage or his personal defences, followed by buff and debuffing options, while crowd control is his weakest point.
The main job in groups is therefore using guard and assisting a dps-carrer, similar to the job an ironbreaker does but solved differently.
Masteries allow the swordmaster some basic specialisation. In all three trees, the only ability considered worth the points is usually the one at 13 points.
Khaine is the most offensive path, but also the path, that allows for good buff-support for your group, due to having a higher amount of stolen stats via Nature's Blade.
Vaul is considered a solo-roaming or pve-path, since it mostly increases the swordmaster's own defences. Speccing the knockdown at 13 points is considered the only excuse in groupplay. In later tiers, the absorb of phantom's blade are ususally considered to under-perform.
Hoeth is the second offensive path, bringing resist-debuffs, that make a swormaster and some magic damage classes way more dangerous. This is archieved by stacking Heaven's Blade with Wrath of Hoeth. Whispering Winds at 13 points is considered the best group-utility a swordmaster has, but requires a lot of coordination.
See full Swordmaster Abilities page.
- Adam Gershowitz's Swordmaster Career Preview Video 
According to Paul Barnett, the Swordmaster is "a cross between a U.S Marine and a proto-Jedi."
It is "probable" that the Swordmaster will be able to acquire a personalized, customized, and named Greatsword as one of his epic weapons.
Many of the Swordmaster's abilities are named after important parts of elven culture, such as mystical animals like the Phoenix or Dragon, or places like the Vortex on the Isle of the Dead.