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THE THUNDERCAT 2.0 Class: Lifegiver / Blood Mage Concept: Fast, sturdy and fun Caster/Melee hybrid that relies upon strong synergies between classes to keep spiritshift, buffs and healing up forever, unleashing devastating combos of CC/Damage spells before optionally finishing up foes with claws. Optimized for a No-Rest run. Game Version: RTwP. Works with latest updates and DLCs as of v5.0.00040. I recommend the Full Community Patch and the No Forced Rests mod (otherwise just metagame around them, it’s fully viable but just a bit annoying). Upscaled PotD Solo Viable: Yes. Companion: Nope (meant to play solo by definition, no companion can use this template). As always, this is going to be a somewhat long post so please bear with me. I’ll explain briefly why I think this toon is interesting and illustrate how it comes together with a short video, then go over the key stats, equipment and abilities. -----INTRO------ The Thundercat is a beloved PoE1 Druid build by @L4wlight (I definitely won’t take credit for the original idea!). The idea: a very fast-paced and explosive Druid that loves lightning, using the Cat form for extra speed, being able to dish out lots of damage via spells and melee, inflict a lot of debuffs/CC and even healing and moderate buffing. My goal was to adapt the core idea to Deadfire minus the Britney vibe and to make it viable for Solo PotD. Multiclassing with a Blood Mage became quite obvious because of certain synergies: Lifegiver in Cat form has amazing action speed, stellar healing over time and some really cool offensive spells, but it can’t keep those up forever, its defenses aren’t great and it runs out of resources fast. Blood Mage uses healing as a resource to replenish spells at will, it can prolong beneficial effects forever with Wall of Draining (including Cat form, Flurry, Healing over Time…) and it has some of the strongest buffing, defensive and offensive spells in the game. Yay, the sweet smell of synergy! So far I totally realize that I’m not saying anything fundamentally new, so I’ll go in a bit more detail on each of the cornerstones of the build to explain why this toon has a special place in my little . Speed: This is a key enabler of this build’s playstyle. Action Speed has linear returns (thanks @thelee and others for the patient demonstrations) but with enough investment and the right build, I find that it can also somewhat alter your action economy and enable new combos, which is what Thundercat 2.0 is all about. It will all become clearer in a few paragraphs but at this point I’ll just mention that at the top of his game, this build reduces total action cycle time (Action + Recovery) by -55%. So a spell that would take 7.5s with a neutral-speed toon (4.5s + 3s) takes 3.4s (2s + 1.4s). Claws attacks have a total cycle time of 1.3s (0.2 + 1.1s)... How do we reach this speed? Cat Form has zero armor recovery, Cat Flurry is a huge speed buff, Captain Banquet stacks if you save/reload, we have lots of DEX, Fleet Feet, plus rapid casting and 2 weapons-style. Healing: Another key enabler for survivability and fuel for Blood Sacrifice. In Cat Form, we have lots of PL boost to Rejuvenation and we can stack outstanding HoT: Moonwell, Nature’s Balm, The Moon’s Light, the occasional Garden of Life… Not all of those HoTs get prolonged by Wall of Draining but Nature’s Balm and The Moon’s Light do (for Moonwell, only the +All Def bonus is prolonged). You also get some bonus from Dawnstar’s Blessing, Practiced Healer, Footprints of Ahu Taka, a bit of MIG). Net net, you can stack a consistent healing of ~60 health/3 sec, and easily spike over 100 health/3sec. Defense: The Thundercat 2.0 is no Arcane Knight, but he can still hold his ground. We stack bonuses with passives, accessories and buffs, in particular there is something nice with Captain Furrante’s breastplate “First to the Fight” effect not being removed by Spiritshift and extendable via WoD. (Doesn’t work with weapon effects like Sheltering Light and Drawing Parry). We can get REF and WIL over 200, FOR and DEF over 170 (non-veil piercing attacks). We have immunities or resistance to most problematic hard CC effects. Our AR is routinely at 17. We’re immune to Interrupt. Nothing stellar overall and we will get hit by high level foes, but we can take it, especially because we have other layers of active protection… Crowd Control/Debuff I think that the Thundercat 2.0 may be one of the best debuffers in the game. We can drastically reduce every single enemy offensive and defensive stat. Every stat. And easily inflict soft and hard CC. We have Afflictions across all stats, several Tier 3+ as well as Tier 1 & 2 with decent duration that are mostly attached to damaging spells in large pulsing AoE. And we can chain-cast those nasty effects very fast, potentially reducing literally everything on one sorry group of enemies. This enables to play very strategically on enemies weaknesses, or just to go bonkers throwing spells around that are randomly going to synergize with one another. Damage This is where I got really impressed. We have literally tons of casts of pulsing/ticking and DoT spells and we have 2 awesome force multipliers: Combusting Wounds and Infestation of Maggots. We also have a decent accuracy with most spells being around ~120 ACC and all those debuffs attached to help them land better. We also have a lot of INT so hazard areas and DoTs will last longer. If you combine all this with super-fast spell casting, you can very quickly get a snowballing, layering effect that overwhelms the enemy, creating an exponential stream of DMG that will leave all but the sturdiest of opponents standing. And when you’ve thinned the herd and supercharged your spiritshift duration, you can just go nuts in melee with one-second Greater Wildstrike Shock auto-attacks. Because you can’t swap grimoires when spiritshifted, unfortunately it is hard to use Zandethu’s Draconic Fury but hey, we can’t have everything all the time! Bringing everything together: Here is a small video that I recorded of the Sea-Lashed Crypt entrance fight where I am using all the mechanics described above. I know it is not a very hard fight by any means, the goal is just to show the different mechanics of the build easily, with a decent variety of enemies, some tanky enough to be able to show the snowballing damage effect. -----SPECS------ Race: Wood Elf (DEX Affliction resistance and +PER) Background: The White that Wends – Explorer FINAL STATS WITH ALL PERMABUFFS AND NO-REST BUFFS AS OF 5.0 (without combat buffs): MIG 13 (8 Base +2 Berath +1 Gift from Machine +2 Alchemic Brawn) CON 17 (8 Base +2 Berath +2 Alchemic Brawn +2 Konstanten Boon +3 Girdle of Eoten CON) DEX 24 (15 Base +1 Elf +2 Berath +2 Alchemic Guile +2 Amira’s Blessing +2 Footprints Ahu Taka) PER 28 (18 Base +1 Elf +1 White that Wends +2 Berath +1 Konstanten Boon +1 Effigy: Sagani +2 Alchemic Guile +1 Savage Cunning +1 Cauldron Brew) INT 25 (18 Base +2 Berath +1 Konstanten Boon +2 Alchemic Wits +2 Charm of Bones) RES 18 (8 Base +2 Berath +2 Alchemic Wits +2 Nature’s Resolve +2 Rikuhu’s Blessing +2 Eviee Pet) ADDITIONAL PERMABUFFS: Food: Captain’s Banquet Adratic Glow All Trainings Dawnstar Blessing Luminous Adra Potion Nature’s Resolve (Accuracy) Savage Cunning (Survival) Galawain’s Gift Magran’s Blessing Infamous Captain, Bonus Skills, Champion Stats, Port Maje vendor, Fully discovered Map, Bonus Money… invested all 105 Berath’s Blessing Points SKILLS: History at 20, Mechanics at 13, rest in Athletics and Survival. Diplomacy early on for quests. ----- ABILITIES ------ LIFEGIVER SPELLS Nature’s Vigor, Nature’s Mark, The Moon’s Light, Insect Swarm, Nature’s Balm, Infestation of Maggots, Moonwell, Wicked Briars, Cleansing Wind, Relentless Storm, Garden of Life, Venombloom, Nature’s Bounty. BLOOD MAGE SPELLS (optimized for Using Grimoire of Vaporous Wizardy) Learned: Chill Fog, Fleet Feet, Eldritch Aim, Combusting Wounds, Infuse With VE, Llengrath’s Safeguard, Freezing Pillar. From Grimoire: Thrust of Tattered Veils, Minor Missiles, Necrotic Lance, Binding Web, Expose Vulnerabilities, Fireball, Concussive Missiles, Confusion, Malignant Cloud, Call to Slumber, Gaze of the Adragan, Chain Lightning, Delayed Fireball, Wall of Draining. PASSIVE ABILITIES Wildstrike Shock, Greater Wildstrike Shock, Two Weapon Style, Bull’s Will, Bear Fortitude, Far Casting, Rapid Casting, Tough, Practiced Healer, Secrets of Rime, Heart of the Storm, Uncanny Luck, Improved Critical. -----GEAR------ Weapon Set: Duskfall (Drawing Parry), Lethandria’s Devotion (Sheltering Light). Doesn’t really matter, just in case you get targeted before Spiritshifting. Keep handy Lover's Embrace to cut some cheese. Grimoire: Of Vaporous Wizardy. Keep handy Illuminating Discoveries. Head: Rekvu’s Fractured Casque. (the Wrenched Knee injury is best here, you can get tons easily in the Poko Kohara dungeon if you don't disarm the traps). Neck: Charm of Bones. Chest: Captain Furrante’s Breastplate (First to the Fight, Vigorous Protector) . Cape: Giftbearer’s Cloth. Gloves: Bracers of Greater Deflection. Keep Burglar’s Gloves, Firethrower’s gloves and Woedica’s Grasp handy. Rings: 2 X Rings of Minor Protection. Boots: Footprints of Ahu Taka. Keep handy Boots of the Stone, Sandals of the Water Lily. Belt: Girdle of Eoten Constitution Pet: Eviee. -----THE END------ That’s it. It’s not a ground breaking build but it is quite powerful, versatile and very fun. Another strong Blood Mage + X to solo the game, and one of few Druid options that can solo as far as I know. Always happy to read your thoughts and potential for improvement or tweaking. I'm sure it can be steered in other directions, in particular for party play.
BLUF: Hung up on the decision to go Vaniila Wiz/Helwalker or Blood Mage/Helwalker and optimization choices (POTD, all DLC content, with a story companion party) I've looked at some of Cyrus_Blackfeather's and Whimper's builds on the list but they are somewhat dated so don't know if they are viable. I have also seen Waski's solo mega boss fights with a Sage (BM/HW) but don't know if that will work with a party or if it's better to just go vanilla wizard with a party. ***I understand the different playstyles and have messed around with them in some old saves.*** Context: I played through POE 1 a long time ago as a Cipher and recently revisited it as a Wizard. I am now looking to play through Deadfire on PoTD as a similar character with a full party of my team from POE1, plus extras (Eder, Pallegina, Xoti, and Ydwin) . I've played through on Veteran difficulty and PoTD with other classes to include Votary, Arcane Knight, SC Wizard, and Transcendent (with other party combinations), but never as a Sage. I found some of the Paladin multi-classes fun, but "safe" and I tend to like the higher risk/reward play-style better. I also am a big fan of versatility and typically gravitate to casters, but fast paced melee is also appealing. With that said, and after reading through many of the topics on these boards I am finding it difficult to decide between between blood mage or vanilla mage for the xxx/Helwalker as the optimal choice. From what I understand for Solo runs the Blood Mage is optimal but would it still be fun and viable with a party or would vanilla wiz end up more powerful with party support? Any other tips or advice regarding race, culture, etc are also welcome. Thanks in advance!
Didn't have time to stream today, since we're moving soon and I spent most of the day packing, but while theorycrafting on the side, mainly thinking about how to stack Walls of draining quicker vs Dorudugan, which I found an answer too with belt of Magran's chosen, I alos realized you can use Wall of Draining for Potions of the fiunal stand!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msDbqaDD75Q&t=101s Blood Sage is making fight against Belranga ridiculous.