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[Class Build] Storm & Plague Caller


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#1
L4wlight

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The Storm & Plague Caller is a slight variation of the good ol' Stormcaller Ranger.
Thanks to WM II the Ranger Class has yet another great soulbound weapon to (ab)use and toy aroung with - the Twin Sting.
And yet again it's a 5th level druid spell proc, which makes it so good for rangers:
A freakin' 25% chance (!) to cast Plague of Insects on Hit or Critical Hit... Come on! I'm completely honest here. The weapon proc is "only" a modified version of the druid spell and is "only" single target (would be overpowered otherwise), but you can spread it to quite a few targets thanks to Driving Flight and it typically procs really fast.
So forget about Persistence (o.k. not completely...)! Self-sustaining Predator's Sense (thanks to the RAW damage DoT of Plague of Insects) and Merciless Companion (thanks to the Sickening debuff) for your pet is now easier than ever before.
The Spellbind of Deleterious Alacrity of Motion once per rest is the cherry on top of the cake and I better don't mention the huge improvment in the already great interrupting potential of the class. Even if your party members help you out by keeping Predator's Sense active through various DoT effects (which logically diminishes the use of Twin Sting a lot), inflicting Plague of Insects with Twin Sting and then switching on Stormcaller is always a damage gain - at least for single target damage on very sturdy or healthy targets.
The reason why I see this build only as a slight variation of the plain Stormcaller Ranger is quite simple: we use Twin Sting only to set up our pet's damage, i.e. covering as many foes as possible with Plague of Insects, and then switch on Stormcaller for - most of the time - the rest of the fight (Plague of Insects has a base duration of whopping 30 seconds!).

This build concentrates on...

1) maximising the damage and uptime of our pet,
2) maximising the amount of Stormcaller procs and
3) disabling and interrupting our foes.

Race, Pet and Background

Race: Wood Elf
This build focuses on ranged attacks and Distant Advantage is golden for that! Another decent race worth mentioning is the Boreal Dwarf, but we'd loose 2 points of DEX this way.

Pet: Wolf
The wolf is probably the best pet for dealing damage, due to it's inherend high basic damage. Another pet woth mentioning is the Stag, which is great for AoE damage. In Parties which make frequent use of Combusting Wounds the stags Carnage Attack can be quite devastating, but I prefer the high single target damage of the wolf.

Heritage: Deadfire Archipelago
Rule Number One: You can't have enough DEX with a Stormcaller Ranger!

Background: Explorer or Slave
We mainly choose them for the Surival skill point. Whether you take Explorer or Slave is dependent on which skill you want to push besides Survival. Personally, I'm for Explorer here, because Lore is great for every main character, as it opens quite some dialogue options.

 

 

Attribute Scores

Min/ Maxed Build:

MIG: 21 (18 base, +3 Girdle of Maegfolc Might) [+1 Gift from the Machine]
CON: 3
DEX: 26 (18 base, +1 Wood Elf, +1 Deadfire Archipelago, +3 Ring of Thorns, +3 Caed Nua resting bonus) [+1 Effigy's Resentment: Devil of Caroc, +1 Skaen's Boon]
PER: 21 (18 base, +1 Wood Elf, +2 Helmet Of Darksee)
INT: 17 (15 base, +2 enchanted armor)
RES: 3


More robust approach:

MIG: 16 (13 base, +3 Girdle of Maegfolc Might) [+1 Gift from the Machine]
CON: 8
DEX: 26 (18 base, +1 Wood Elf, +1 Deadfire Archipelago, +3 Ring of Thorns, +3 Caed Nua resting bonus) [+1 Effigy's Resentment: Devil of Caroc, +1 Skaen's Boon]
PER: 21 (18 base, +1 Wood Elf, +2 Helmet Of Darksee)
INT: 17 (15 base, +2 enchanted armor)
RES: 3

Notes:

  • THE most important Attribute for this build is DEX. This is due to the fact that we want to hit as fast as possible with Stormcaller to get as many Returning Storm Bolt procs as possible.
  • PER is also important. One of our core approaches is to interrupt and disable our foes!
  • INT is very handy in this build. It affects the stun duration of both Stunning Shots and Returning Storm Bolt.
  • If this Ranger is your main character: Effigy's Resentment: Devil of Caroc (+1 DEX) is pretty good, because it gives +1 DR bypass too.

 

Abilities

(a=auto, !=important, ®=recommended)

Distant Advantage (a)
Wounding Shot ®
Predator's Sense (!)
Stalker's Link ®
Driving Flight (!)
Swift Aim ®
Stunning Shots (!)
Twinned Arrows (!)
Defesive Bond (or Play Dead or Heal Companion or Revive Companion)

 

Notes:

  • Whether, or whether not, you repec out of Swift Aim is really a matter of play style and taste. I like to keep it, because I want to keep the phases in which I use Twin Sting as short as possible. If you hate too much micromanagement, I'd highly recommend to get rid of it at level 13.

 

Talents

(!=important, ®=recommended)

Resilient Companion (!)
Vicious Companion (!)
Merciless Companion (!)
Marksman ®
Weapon Focus Peasant ®

For the last three talent points, feel free to choose from the following pool:
Heart of the Storm
Apprentice Sneak Attack
Outlander's Frenzy
Interrupting Blows
(Penetrating Shots)

Notes:

  • In my opinion there is not much room for Penetrating Shot in a Stormcaller build, because it slows down the proc rate of Returning Storm quite a bit. Another reason is that Rangers are already pretty talent starved. If you beg to differ, feel free to use it anyway.
  • The same build can be used for Sagani.

Recommended Progression

1st level: Wounding Shot

  • We take it mainly to activate Predator's Sense, especially early on. Later we have (Persistence and) Twin Sting for that and the use of the two Wounding Shots dimishes, but keep in mind that the two Wounding Shots keep beeing usefull for mid-fight target switches!
  • Generally, once you unlocked the Plague of Insects proc of Twin Sting, respeccing into Marked Prey is a valid option, but I'd opt against it.

2nd level: Resilient Companion

  • The pet delivers a big chunk our DPS (this holds true for all Ranger builds), so we are naturally interested in keeping it alive. It's important to understand that most of the pet's survivability comes from it's DR, which thankfully scales with your level (9 base, then 2 DR every 3 levels after).
  • This talent further increases the pet's DR by 3 (plus 1 DR every 3 levels after). All in all, your pet will have 12 DR at level 2 and up to 27 DR at level 16. Not too shabby. Especially in the beginning, your foes will struggle to deal with that plate armor like DR and thus we take this talent as soon as possible. So with only one talent point, we get a decent enough off-tank and flanker.

3rd level: Predator's Sense

  • Even considered that the true power of this build lies in the (ab)use of Stormcaller, the offensive potential of the pet shouldn't be ignored by any ranger. Especially in the beginning, when your ranger doesn't own both soulbound weapons and the proper key talents und abilities to make them shine, your pet will be the main damage contributor. That doesn't mean that the pet becomes weak later on. The pet is an important source of damage through the whole game.
  • The main problem is the activation of this passive ability. Early on we are limited to two Wounding Shots. Before you own Twin Sting and Stormcaller, Persistence is your best friend - both damage wise and for preparing the enemy for your pet. Of course, depending on your party composition, you'll have no problem at all with keeping it active. (Notable Equip: Rotfinger Gloves)

4th level: Vicious Companion

  • The first third of the game is all about the pet. We are in a very comfortable position here. Our pet carries us until we have our end-game weapons.
  • Vicious Companion is a bit more reliable than Merciless Companion at this stage of the game. 15% more pet damage and 3 DR bypass more or less equals 30% more pet damage.

5th level: Stalker's Link

  • Let's work a bit on our accuracy. Rangers are here once again in a very comfortable position, because we can use an ability to improve our accuracy and therefore we can afford to delay talents like Weapon Focus and Marksman.
  • Vicious Aim would do the trick even better, but in order to get the most out of Stormcaller, we take Swift Aim at level 9 instead, until we get access to Twinned Arrows at level 13.

6th level: Merciless Companion

  • Now it's time to finish the work on our pet. The pet will deal the maximum possible amount of damge now.

7th level: Driving Flight

  • Now it's time to prepare for Stormcaller and double our damage output against two or more targets. Our main approach here is to improve the proc rate of Stormcaller's Returning Storm Bolts on per attack (!) basis, and we basically double (!) it with this nice passive ability.
  • It also helps us to spread Plague of Insects on more than one target.

8th level: Marksman or Weapon Focus or Heart of the Storm or Apprentice Sneak Attack or Outlander's Frenzy or Interrupting Blows

  • Weapon Focus > Marksman ACC wise. Marksman is more versatile. Heart of Storm affects the damage of Returning Storm and hopefully the damage of Stormcaller itself soon too. Outlander's Frenzy could save you from becoming addicted to Potion of Deleterious Alacrity of Motion. Interrupting Blow is always nice on a high PER character, even more with Driving Flight.

9th level: Swift Aim

  • We are running out of meaningful alternatives anyway and it improves the proc rate of Stormcaller even further. Our main approach here is to improve the proc rate of Stormcaller's Returning Storm Bolts (until we get Twinned Arrows) on per hit (!) basis.
  • Later on, it even shortens the amount of time we need to land Plague of Insects with Twin Sting.
  • You are free to respec out of it at level 13, because it does not stack with Twinned Arrows. If you use Twin Sting a lot (like me), you can even keep it. You just have to switch between the two modal abilities like you do with the two weapons.

10th level: Marksman or Weapon Focus or Heart of the Storm or Apprentice Sneak Attack or Outlander's Frenzy or Interrupting Blows

 

11th level: Stunning shot

  • A great addition to our CC arsenal, but keep in mind that in order to make Stunning Shot work, you have to attack the same target as your pet. So coordinate your attacks accordingly.
  • Superior to Takedown and Master's Call in almost every single way.

12th level: Marksman or Weapon Focus or Heart of the Storm or Apprentice Sneak Attack or Outlander's Frenzy or Interrupting Blows

13th level: Twinned Arrows

  • Now the fun begins. Once again we double (!) the proc rate of Returning Storm per attack (and Stunning Shots too of course).

14th level: Marksman or Weapon Focus or Heart of the Storm or Apprentice Sneak Attack or Outlander's Frenzy or Interrupting Blows

15th Level: Defesive Bond or Play Dead or Heal Companion or Revive Companion

  • Doesn't really matter. Choose what complements your play style the most.

16th level: Marksman or Weapon Focus or Heart of the Storm or Apprentice Sneak Attack or Outlander's Frenzy or Interrupting Blows


Equipment

(! = important, ® = recommended):

Weapon 1: Stormcaller (!)
Weapon 2: Twin Sting (!)

Head: Helmet of Darksee
Neck: Stalker's Torc ®
Armor: Clothing (Durgan Refinded, Pierce Proofed, Intelligence +2)
Belt: Girdle of Maegfolc Might (or Sentinel's Girdle or Broad Belt of Power)
Rings: Ring of Thorns ® & Ring of Protection
Hands: Gauntlets of Swift Action (!) (or Gauntlets of Accuracy or Rotfinger Gloves)
Boots: Glanfathan Stalking Boots ® (or Boots of Speed or Greenstained Boots)
 

Notes:

  • I never felt the need for it, but Coil of Resourcefulness smoothens the switching between Stormcaller and Twin Sting quite a lot. It is also a good item, if your ranger is the mechanic guy of the party and you like using traps, which thematically fits rater nice into the rangers niche.
  • Helmet of Darksee is nice because nobody else uses it typically.
  • Durgan Refined Angio's Gambeson is also worth mentioning (Deleterious Alacrity of Motion once per rest), but I'd switch it out for clothes after the spellbind is exhausted.
  • Rotfinger Gloves are a nice tool for activating Predator's Sense.

Edited by L4wlight, 21 March 2016 - 12:36 PM.

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#2
Blunderboss

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Very nice build , with alacrity , high dex , and gloves this ranger is closing to almost no recovery like the melee builds

Edited by Blunderboss, 20 March 2016 - 11:41 AM.


#3
KDubya

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Would it be better to have your MC Ranger use one of the weapons and Sagani use the other?

 

1.) Keeping a DoT effect going on whomever your pet is attacking is the key to getting lots of damage.

2.) Keeping Stormcaller firing quickly is the key to proc'ing Returning Storm

3.) You can't do both #1 and #2 at the same time.......

 

I like the use of Twin Stings and maximizing the pet damage, it makes for a nice thematic change from the typical Stormcaller twin arrows build. But then it shoehorn's in the Stormcaller build on top of it all.

 

If you went all in with Twin Stings - Knight weapon focus, Swift Aim for the big reload boost, Gunner for even faster reloads and Interrupting Blows to make use of the big interrupt from crossbow, would that be better?


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#4
L4wlight

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If you like to have two Rangers in your party, then yes, it sure would be better to specialize your MC on Stormcaller and Sagani on Twin Sting. They'd make for a damn good duo!

 

But my party usually has only space for one Ranger (be it my MC or Sagani) and a standard Stormcaller Ranger has all it needs to use Twin Sting effectively (besides Gunner, which is only usefull if you use Twin Sting all day long). Remember that the Weapon Focus does not matter at all, because they're both universal weapons. Besides that, the proc rate of Plague of Insects (a very long lasting DoT) is really high and you only need to reload Twin Sting after every second shot. So you typically start your fight with Twin Sting and Swift Aim and you can switch to Starcaller/ Twinned Arrows right after Plague of Insects procced, which is most of the time even before the reload time comes into play (at least it felt that way on average). Btw the pet deals increased damage after the first shot of Twin Sting, because it also comes with a small raw DoT. For mid fight target switches you also have two Wounding shots. For really long lasting targets it's also nice to keep the raw DoT of Plague of Insects rolling. It's a nice addition. Nothing more.

 

Yes Twin Sting is only the gimmic in this build. The star is Stormcaller.


Edited by L4wlight, 20 March 2016 - 01:45 PM.

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#5
Boeroer

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Two rangers rock. :)

 

I didn't know the Plague from Twin Sting does only single target damage. Weird stuff...



#6
hilfazer

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11th level: Stunning shot

  • A great addition to our CC arsenal, but keep in mind that it only works on targets also attacked by our pet!

 

I think you should test it just one more time, with Driving Flight and Twinned Arrows. Just to be extra sure  :shifty:



#7
L4wlight

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Probably bad wording from me. I meant to say that in order to make Stunning Shot work, you've to attack the same target as your pet. I know that the secondary target(s) get affected too.



#8
InsaneCommander

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I never had a ranger in my group before (except Sagani, for a short time) and I have a Stormcaller now. I appreciate your detailed guide here. Nice build!


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#9
GuyNice

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Very cool build, thank you for the guide. For a single Ranger in the party it might be worth going for Island Aumaua and use Twin Sting + Stormcaller + Persistence. That way you have the benefit of opening with Twin Sting and the versatility of Stormcaller/Persistence, against stun immune mobs or powerful single targets/bosses.


Edited by GuyNice, 18 September 2016 - 02:40 AM.


#10
rheingold

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Very cool build, thank you for the guide. For a single Ranger in the party it might be worth going for Island Aumaua and use Twin Sting + Stormcaller + Persistence. That way you have the benefit of opening with Twin Sting and the versatility of Stormcaller/Persistence, against stun immune mobs or powerful single targets/bosses.


Only problem with that route is one character ends up hogging the 2 best bows. It would work if the Ranger is the only ranged party member otherwise it's kinda a waste.

#11
Lampros

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May I ask why Peasant Focus is needed, since Stormcaller is a Soulbound and does not need a specific Weapon Focus?



#12
JerekKruger

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Presumably because before you get it you'll be using a non-soulbound hunting bow (persistence), and after you only use soulbound weapons so it didn't matter which one you take.
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#13
Boeroer

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What do you mean? It works with any weapon focus, but you need to take one if you want to get +6 ACC. You could also take WF Adventurer and use a war bow until you get Stormcaller. But if you want to stick to a hunting bow until you find it then WF Peasant will be your best pick.

Edit: those ninjas these days... ;)

Edited by Boeroer, 23 September 2017 - 11:00 AM.

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#14
Lampros

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What do you mean? It works with any weapon focus, but you need to take one if you want to get +6 ACC. You could also take WF Adventurer and use a war bow until you get Stormcaller. But if you want to stick to a hunting bow until you find it then WF Peasant will be your best pick.

Edit: those ninjas these days... ;)

 

Yeah, I wanted to use Borresaine until Stormcaller, because I thought that was the best bow for the CC Ranger?

 

Also, is Stormcaller really better than Borresaine, if your primary purpose is CC?



#15
Boeroer

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What is a CC ranger? :)

If your primary purpose is CC, then better not bring a ranger. If you want to combine good ranged weapon dps and great CC, take a cipher instead. Works great with Stormcaller, too.

Edited by Boeroer, 23 September 2017 - 11:31 AM.

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#16
Lampros

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What is a CC ranger? :)

If your primary purpose is CC, then better not bring a ranger. If you want to combine good ranged weapon dps and great CC, take a cipher instead. Works great with Stormcaller, too.

 

Cipher required too much micro though. Hmm, what about a ranged Chanter? This was my initial choice, but I think Dragon Thrashed won't apply much on the enemy back-line?



#17
bigwillystyle

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I spent some time building what I thought of as the ultimate "low micro" party.  That included two rangers - Sagani as a Stormcaller Ranger and a hireline NPC as a Plaguecaller Ranger.  Twice is nice with less micro overall.  

 

Overall party was:

 

PC Kind Wayfarer

Zahua (the AI is *solid* for monks)

Hiravias (the only character with meaningful micro)

Kana Chanter

Sagani Stormcaller

Hireline Plaguecaller

 

Add a few scrolls for various immunities / hard counters and you're good to go.


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#18
Lampros

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Can you suggest a party that works well with this crew? Must it have a Druid to exploit the shock damage?

 

Also, roughly where should the Ranger and the pet be positioned in terms of formation?



#19
Lampros

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I spent some time building what I thought of as the ultimate "low micro" party.  That included two rangers - Sagani as a Stormcaller Ranger and a hireline NPC as a Plaguecaller Ranger.  Twice is nice with less micro overall.  

 

Overall party was:

 

PC Kind Wayfarer

Zahua (the AI is *solid* for monks)

Hiravias (the only character with meaningful micro)

Kana Chanter

Sagani Stormcaller

Hireline Plaguecaller

 

Add a few scrolls for various immunities / hard counters and you're good to go.

 

Hmmm, I thought Rangers were a mid- to high- micro class due to the pet? One of the main reasons I have not used them yet...



#20
Ymiraku

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What is a CC ranger? :)

If your primary purpose is CC, then better not bring a ranger. If you want to combine good ranged weapon dps and great CC, take a cipher instead. Works great with Stormcaller, too.

 

Cipher required too much micro though. Hmm, what about a ranged Chanter? This was my initial choice, but I think Dragon Thrashed won't apply much on the enemy back-line?

 

Micromanagement is one of the things that makes the game really fun on hard and PoTD. Maybe try a smaller party of no more than four and then you can focus more on getting the most out of each party member.


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