Sabreclaw horde in Heretic E4M1

The Sabreclaw is a moderate-level enemy species in Heretic that first appears on episode 2. The Sabreclaw seems to be metallic, have no blood and explode when killed, though it is unknown how they came to be. It has a bladed tail, and axe-handed claws, which it uses to slice into enemies with.

Description from the manual: These hideous abominations of the dark world move bloody fast and possess deadly sharp blades for appendages. They can't fly and they can't shoot, but in close combat they'll tear you to ribbons.

Tactical analysis

Sabreclaws are harmless if you can keep distance or a barrier between you and them. They also have very low mass, meaning most weapon fire will knock them back; however, they are quick to recover. The Ethereal Crossbow is an efficient weapon against them, as anything less is risky and anything more is overkill.

If you're forced to use a melee weapon against them, use the Staff instead of the Gauntlets of the Necromancer. The Gauntlets will pull you towards the Sabreclaw, and its low pain chance means it will have the opportunity to attack back several times before you kill it. The Staff on the other hand will push the Sabreclaw back with each thrust and is fast enough to not let it remain close enough to try a slash; an agile player can use the Staff to eliminate Sabreclaws quickly and with impunity even if they are in groups of considerable size.

When killed, Sabreclaws explode and burn away, starting with their bellies and quickly moving to their arms and legs, and their armor collapses onto the floor. They sometimes drop Lesser Runes, so the Hellstaff is the choice weapon to deal with large groups of Sabreclaws at range.


ID #90 (decimal), ? (hex)
Hit points150
Speed14 map units per frame
(163.3 map units per second)
Reaction time8
Pain chance32 (12.55%)
Bits list



Affects Kill %

No Blood

Foot Clip

Pass Mobj

Sprites & sounds
Sprite nameCLNK
Alert soundCLKSIT
Action soundCLKACT
Pain soundCLKPAI
Attack soundCLKATK
Death soundCLKDTH
Sabre Claw melee attack
SoundCLKATK (swinging and repeated if landing a blow)
Slashes needed to kill1 Mean Standard
Min Max
Player (100%
health, no armor)
Player (100%
health, Silver Shield)
Player (200%
health, Enchanted Shield)
Player Chicken7?410
Bad Guy Chicken????
Fire Gargoyle??927
Golem (normal and ghost)??927
Nitro Golem (normal and ghost)23?1234
Undead Warrior (normal and ghost)45?2367
Disciple of D'Sparil??2060
Iron Lich??78234
Green Chaos Serpent??223667

  1. These tables assume that all calls to P_Random for damage, pain chance, impact animations, backfire checks, and smoke trails are consecutive. In real play, this is never the case: counterattacks and AI pathfinding must be handled, and of course the map may contain additional moving monsters and other randomized phenomena (such as flickering lights). Any resulting errors are probably toward the single-shot average, as they introduce noise into the correlation between the indices of "consecutive" calls.
  2. Hardcoded exception to infighting negates damage (excepting indirect damage caused by exploding puff pods).

Appearance statistics

The Sabre Claw is first encountered on these maps:

Episode 1---
Episode 2 E2M2: The Lava Pits E2M2: The Lava Pits E2M2: The Lava Pits
Episode 3 E3M1: The Storehouse E3M1: The Storehouse E3M1: The Storehouse
Episode 4 E4M1: Catafalque E4M1: Catafalque E4M1: Catafalque
Episode 5 E5M2: Rapids E5M2: Rapids E5M2: Rapids

The IWAD contains the following numbers of Sabre Claws:

Episode 1000
Episode 291139170
Episode 3???
Episode 4???
Episode 5???
Heretic monsters
D'Sparil | disciple of D'Sparil | gargoyle/fire gargoyle | golem/nitrogolem | iron lich | maulotaur | ophidian | sabreclaw | undead warrior | weredragon

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