First, an introduction before I unleash questions I've got.
Hey, I'm new to the game (Humble Monthly), I got inspired to play cipher. I've been constantly trying to identify how to play cipher optimally and I find myself constantly feeling like I'm doing it wrong.
My party is Monk (monksterlasher), Druid (bat****), and Chanter (drake ambassador) in the frontline, with Priest (Godhammer), Wizard (Hurtstacker), and Cipher in the backline. I'm pretty reliant on the AI to micro my party for me because I just don't know how to use everybody very effectively -- especially Druid and Priest. Chanter doesn't have much to do except wait for invocations, Monk is pretty simple to micro (he just needs to be positioned for Torment Reach). Wizard I sometimes try to micro but I only use one Grimoire's worth of spells -- they mostly debuff, autoattack, or get KO'd. The Priest I make him manually heal people as necessary and I have him open fights with Painful Interdiction.
Cipher is currently using Leadspitter, he basically dumps damage into a squishy -- then detonates them if they live, else he uses Body Attunement to steal DR from a tanky target. Also uses debuffs or Ecto Echo / AP field if the opportunities present themselves. Mental Binding or Whisper of Treason generally takes care of anybody trying to engage my backline. I generally don't have to worry about my spells being resisted because my party uses so many afflictions that something lands and makes everything else easier to land. I do plan on switching my cipher to war bow soon (I have Borresaine and Cloudpiercer in inventory but waiting on respec).
Anyway, I wanted to ask, how should I be respeccing for end game when using a cipher? Currently I'm level 8-9 and haven't done any White March content, but I was looking at Cipher's 8th level powers and I feel like I'm doing everything wrong.
Defensive Mindweb seems too good not to exploit. Should I be using a Paladin, and switching the cipher to a reach weapon so Mindweb aura can reach frontline + backline? Would that even reach everybody?
Reaping Knives -- I don't understand how it interacts with builds already using weapons. Would it undermine the monk's lashing build? Do I need to rebuild him around being unarmed?
Wait, spells can crit?
I find the spell selections strange and was hoping you could explain. I've looked many other resources that disagree but you seem especially knowledgeable as someone giving advice on cipher for years.
Why not Body Attunement (lv4)? It's fast cast and it steals DR from the target. Maybe it's more useful to me with a Blunderbuss (many low damage projectiles), but still.
Why not AP Field (lv1)? It's crazy high damage and I'll still use it at level 9 if the geometry is there.
Why Tenuous Grasp, Puppet Master, Silent Scream, and Wild Leech?
Why is Mindweb so situational? Isn't it basically becoming invulnerable? Seems like any fight that's actually difficult, you would want to use it ASAP.