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The "Stop-N-Go" or "The Jumping Fortress"* (Holy Slayer) [*Thanks to Dr <3 for this more evocative name.] Introduction: The idea behind this build is take advantage of several defense-boosting abilities that require you stand still (the large shield modal, Bronlar's Phalanx, Stoic Steel), combined with the fact that you count as "standing still" when you use Escape to teleport somewhere. In practice, this build has two modes. In the first mode we rush into the middle of your enemies with two weapons or a two-handed weapon and get ourself Flanked and Bloodied as quickly as possible. In the second "Stop-N-Go" mode, we shift to a heavy shield/weapon set-up, activate our stand-still abilities and spam Sworn Rival. This allows us to comfortably sit in the Bloodied/Near Death zone while enjoying a number of abilities that are conditional on being low health. And when we need to re-position to get flanked again, or need to move to take out potential threats, we use Escape to teleport there. In the latter mode, we're extremely tanky -- we have a high deflection, substantial damage reduction (especially against ranged and reflex-based attacks), multiple sources of regeneration, and a 20+ armor rating -- and we can pull out Lay on Hands in emergencies. And we also have an impressive array of offensive boosts that allows us to quickly obliterate targets around us. Difficulty: Solo PotD v.2.1 (with Berth's Blessing and level scaling) I completed my Solo PotD run using Berath's Blessings and level scaling. Berath's Blessings aren't necessary, but the 50k bonus blessing is recommended, as it will help you get some key equipment much sooner.Classes: Holy Slayer (Streetfighter Rogue/Goldpact Paladin) Rogue gives us a number of great offensive boosts (e.g., Deathblows) and Escape, which is crucial for this build. The Streetfighter specialty adds some fantastic offensive boosts while Bloodied and/or Flanked, which is most of the time. Paladin gives us a number of abilities that allow us to be very tanky, including Stoic Steel, one of the best "stand still" abilities. The Goldpact specialty allows our Sworn Rival ability to provide a temporary stacking armor boost whose cost is refunded when the target dies. And since we kill things very quickly, we can keep that armor bonus up pretty much all of the time. Race: Human The Human bonuses to accuracy and damage when Bloodied are great for this build, since it's built around being Bloodied or Near Death.Background: The White that Wends (Hunter, or anything else you like) The White that Wends gives a bonus for our most important stat, Perception. There are a number of reasonable choices for background, but Hunter probably provides the most generally useful skill bumps (Mechanics).Stats: Might: Very High Constitution: High Dexterity: Very High Perception: Max Intellect: Min Resolve: Medium Perception is our most important stat: since we'll frequently be seeing the massive Streetfighter bonus to critical damage kick in, we'll want to crit as much as possible. And we'll generally have a large shield accuracy penalty to overcome. Dexterity is our second most important stat; it's always nice to be able to do more, and do it quicker. Boosts to Perception, Dexterity and Might are DPS increases that are multiplicative with respect to each other, so in order to be a DPS machine we want to boost all three. Might is our third most important stat. It's nice -- it boosts our damage and our healing abilities. But the damage bonuses from the Rogue and Streetfighter abilities will quickly dwarf any bonuses Might provides, making this a lower priority than Perception and Dexterity. We want a reasonable amount of Constitution, to allow us to comfortabley stay Bloodied or Near Death most of the time. But this build gets so tanky that after the first third of the game, that a small boost to Constitution suffices. We want our Resolve to be flat. We don't want it to be too high, because we still want to be hit in our warm-up mode, and we don't want it to be too low, because we don't want to be hit in our stop-n-go mode. Intellect is the least important stat, since little hangs on it -- in a solo run we don't care about how big our aura is, we don't have any other interesting AoE abilities, and the only class ability with a duration we care about is Lay on Hands -- and that's partially a good thing, since it gives us more fine-grained control of how much health we have, making it easier to say in the Bloodied zone. For reference, in my run my starting stats were M16, C13, D20, P21, I10, R10. In hindsight this was a mistake -- M21, C13, D20, P21, I5, R10 would have been better. Skills: For the early game, this can be whatever makes things easiest -- I'd recommend starting with a point or two in Explosive and Arcana to provides some AoE options on the first island, and then some points in Stealth and Mechanics. After that you can retrain to take whatever you like. In my run I invested heavily in Explosives, but after level 10 I never bothered using them -- it was easier to just kill things the old fashioned way. Class Abilities: (Highly recommended abilities underlined.) Escape and Lay on Hands (You won't use Lay on Hands in 95% of your fights. But it's nice to have for the toughest fights.) Deep Faith Retribution Zealous Aura and Weapon and Shield Dirty Fighting Any (Crippling Strike, Flames of Devotion, Divine Purpose and Inspired Defenses are all reasonable choices.) Sworn Rival and Riposte Any (Snake's Reflexes, Bull's Will, Bear's Fortitude, and any leftover options from above are all reasonable choices.) Any (Ditto) Exalted Endurance and Persistent Distraction (Exalted Endurance is a little funny -- in a lot of fights you'll never even use it. But it's great in tougher fights, since you can turn it on and off as needed to keep you comfortably in the Bloodied zone.) Any (Any of the leftovers from above or Adept Evasion are decent choices) Any (Ditto) Any (Any of the leftovers from above or Uncanny Luck are decent choices) and Deep Wounds Any Any Improved Critical + Slippery Mind Any Any Stoic Steel and Deathblows Any Gear: (Highly recommended gear is underlined.) Armor: Bloody Links (early), Reckless Brigadine (later). You'll also want a set of legendary plate armor for fights against enemies with strong piercing or corrode attacks. Shield: Bronlar's Phalanx Weapons: (Initial Mode): Any nice 2-hander or pair of weapons will do nicely.A couple nice 2-handed choices: Lance of Midwood Stag (you can start wailing away, and when you get Blooded Woodskin kicks in and you can shift to Stop-N-Go mode, keeping the Woodskin armor boost for a while); Voidwheel (the self-damaging aspect of this sword is actually a perk, since it helps you become Bloodied more quickly); Wahai Poraga (you're often swarmed with enemies, so hitting several of them at a time is nice). If you go with two weapons, I'd recommend Rust's Poignard (with persistent distraction, enemies are usually flanked and you'll get the flanking bonuses) and Stalker's Patience (ditto). (Stop-N-Go mode): Kapana Taga (The Lone Champion enchantment gives you a stacking +4 deflection and +1 armor bonus whenever there are no nearby allies (i.e., always); and the Champion's Relic enchantment increases damage with # of people engaged and increases engagement limit, which is great when you're used to being swarmed.) You'll also want to have the Animancer's Energy Blade as a back-up weapon against high AR targets (which is about half of the fights in the BoW DLC). Neck: Protective Eothasian Charm (early): +1 to most important stat (perception) and hefty damage reduction and healing when Near Death? Perfect fit for this build. It's a decent choice for the entire game, or you can replace it with something like Bone Setter's Torc (+ crit chance and + healing for emergencies are both nice) or Claim and Refusal. Belt: The Undying Burden Rings: The Ring of Mule's Wit is fantastic with this build -- it drops our Int to 1, but we won't notice, and it gives us resistance to all Mind Afflictions(!). The Entonia Signet Ring and Ring of the Solitary Wanderer are also nice options. Hands: Firethrower's Gloves, Gatecrashers, Woedica's Strangling Grasp are all decent. Cloak: The Cloak of the Falling Star is great for solo play, and thus great for this build. (Violet Redemption would be perfect for this build, fitting nicely with the stand-still effects theme. Sadly, we can't get it until the very end of the game. ) Head: The Cap of the Laughingstock looks silly, but it's amazing for solo martial builds, effectively increasing our accuracy by +10. And since this build wants to get as many criticals as possible, to take advantage of the Streetfighter bonuses, it's especially good for this build. (It does make our enemies immune to resolve afflictions, but we don't care about that.) Feet: The Rakhan Field Boots are a nice choice, as they effectively give you an additional 1/encounter teleportation option, which also inflicts a full attack on anyone in the way. The Boots of the Stone and Footprints of Ahu Taka are also decent. Pet: Jules (+perception, and bonus to healing is nice for the toughest fights) and Nalvi (+resolve and reduced recovery) are nice options after you get to Neketaka. Avoid pets that give you healing after killing things, though, since you don't want them to force you out of the Bloodied zone! PROs of this build: It's great against single tanky enemies, since it can last forever and wear them down. Once you get the key equipment and your level 10 class abilities, the build really starts to take off, so we have a fun build to play for most of the game. It's really, really tough -- once everything comes together, we can beat every fight on upscaled PotD without having to pull mobs or use consumables. CONs of this build: Certain kinds of enemies can be a pain (e.g., spellcasters); in these cases we'll want to use Escape to teleport next to the most threatening opponents and take them down quickly. Since you lack AoE attacks, swarms can take a while to get through. You can compensate by investing in Explosives or Arcana, but I usually just hacked my way through them. You won't get everything online until fairly late (level 19). But most pieces of the build will be in place (and the build is fun to play) long before then.
The Holy Hand Grenadier (OK, so he is really a holy hand mortar maniac… but I wanted the Monty Python reference!) Class: Holy Slayer Subclasses: Goldpact, Kind Wayfarer, or Bleakwalker / Streetfighter Description: This is a very straightforward build. You use blunderbuss modal to activate streetfighter’s amazing speed boost. The hand mortar and fire in the hole are both AOE weapons and can be used to quickly spread afflictions and Damage Over Time (DOT) to your enemies. Paladin provides a ton of defense which helps offset the downside of constantly fighting under the distracted affliction. The hat and rings make your FoD laser accurate. You can quickly move around the battlefield with escape, and your zeal will feel nearly endless for AOE ranged full attacks. Use escape to get really close, have a nice deflection, and blast enemies with hand mortar. I went with Goldpact for a more balanced, survivable build; however, if you want to maximize crowd control and AOE (Area Of Effect) DPS (Damage Per Second) I recommend Bleakwalker. The added corrode damage and sicken affliction are extremely strong when applied as an AOE. Goldpact is going to add a tremendous amount of armor which is going to go a long way to keep you alive and helps offset some of Streetfighter’s inherent weaknesses from fighting distracted. Kind Wayfarer is also great since you will be using Flames of Devotion often, but can sometimes work against wanting to stay blooded. The choice is completely up to you, the build works great with any paladin subclass, but if running Goldpact with exalted endurance, it gives you a way to keep your health at 50% in relative safety without worrying that your next FoD is going to drop your dps. Race: Human (Any will work) Race is very unimportant to this build. Pick what you like. I went with Human for the DPS boost while blooded, which is a state we like to be in anyway! Attributes – No Berath’s Might: 16 Constitution: 10 Dexterity: 10 Perception: 18 Intelligence: 18 Resolve: 6 Attributes – With Berath’s Blessing (Recommended) Might: 16 Constitution: 10 Dexterity: 10 Perception: 18 Intelligence: 18 Resolve: 18 Attributes – With Berath’s Blessing (Min Max DPS) Might: 20 Constitution: 8 Dexterity: 16 Perception: 20 Intelligence: 20 Resolve: 6 I personally hate min-maxing, so I made my character well rounded with a high resolve and nothing truly weak. Dexterity is unimportant to this build as you will get tons of speed from the synergy of streetfighter and powder burns. I like to run with a chanter in my party running Sure Handed. This build will also always dual wield. This game has a funny way of stacking speed where there is a diminishing returns on gains past a certain point of speed increase. I would keep dexterity as close to 10 as possible in your stats since the gain is quite marginal with so many sources of reload speed. Abilities: Level 1: Sworn Enemy, Flames of Devotion, Crippling Strike Level 2: Lay on Hands Level 3: Deep Faith Level 4: Zealous Aura, Blinding Strike Level 5: Two Weapon Style Level 6: Escape Level 7: Sworn Rival, Arterial Strike Level 8: Gouging Strike Level 9: Eternal Devotion or Shared Flames (if in party) Level 10: Exalted Endurance or Focus (your choice), Level 11: Strike the Bell Level 12: Finishing Blow Level 13: Deep Wounds, Psion of Flame Level 14: Eliminating Blow, Pierce the Bell or Ring the Bell (more dot damage) Level 15: Withering Strike Level 16: Virtuous Triumph, Toxic Strike Level 17: Improved Critical Level 18: Uncanny Luck Level 19: Stoic Steel, Death Blows Level 20: Whatever you want I took Strike the Bell for even more DOT stacking, but this is completely optional. Shadow step is one option, but IMHO the paralyze affliction doesn’t last quite long enough for the heavy guile cost. The core of this build is the combination of dual wielding aoe blunderbusses with rogue debuffs and using paladin’s great defenses to make you less of a glass cannon. There is actually a ton of room in the above abilities depending on your personal preferences. I stuck to ranged, so I skipped riposte and persistent distraction; however, you could easily work them in by dropping withering strike and toxic strike. You will have a ton of great damage abilities and sometimes it’s nice to have DPS do some off-tanking. Proficiencies: Blunderbuss Skills: Athletics, Explosives, History (if using Giftbearer’s) Weapons: Set 1: Hand Mortar and Fire in the Hole (upgrade for bonus damage <2m and projectile bounce) Set 2: Your favorite dual wield combo of melee weapons (Modwyr and Duskfall are great) Other Useful Gear: Head: Acina’s Tricorn, Ranged accuracy and reload speed Ring: Ring of Focused Flame, more accuracy with FoD Ring: Ring of the Marksman, more ranged accuracy and penetration Armor: Anything that improved recovery or action speed. Devil of Caroc and Miscreant Leathers are both great.