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  1. 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.
  2. The Tempest Lifeshaper Here’s a build I’ve been floating around the forums lately: a Furyshaper/Lifegiver that fits the RP and aesthetic of a Witch Doctor or Shaman. The Tempest Lifeshaper is meant to be used in a party setting, and can deliver powerful DoTs and HoTs, and support via speed and defensive buffs and Afflictions. As you can guess, this build is held together by The Spine of Thicket Green’s +3 to Beast and Plant PLs, Lifegiver’s +2 PL to Rejuvenation, and Nature Godlike’s Wellspring of Life for an additional level. Furyshaper was chosen for the totem aesthetic and bonus party speed via Shape Ward: Frenzy. Since Druid’s DoTs are mostly raw damage, and because this is a mid to backline character, this multi doesn’t benefit much from Berserker’s bonuses. The +10 accuracy versus spirits serves the RP. Lifegiver can’t cast Druid summons, which isn’t a problem since totems takes up the slot anyways. We’ll also want to keep the Spine of Thicket Green’s bonuses up and will refrain from shifting to avoid the PL penalty - +3PL to Rejuvenation works just fine. Mind that this isn’t one of those ultra-hardcore min-maxed to the marrow kind of builds. [Nalpazca]: “Those circles, man…” ------------------------------------------- Game version: 4.1 Difficulty: Veteran/PotD (upscaled) Tested: Veteran/Upscaled (about halfway through PoTD atm) Solo: That ain’t my bag, baby! ------------------------------------------- Race: Nature Godlike Class: Tempest (Furyshaper/Lifegiver) Culture: Deadfire Archipelago or The Living Lands Background: Whatever suits you. I’m fond of Clergy or Explorer. ------------------------------------------- Stats: (Note that I’m one of those weirdos who doesn’t like to min-max so adjust these to your liking. This multiclass suffers from penalties to Deflection and Will so dropping Resolve too much might not be the best idea.) Mig: 17 (+2 BB) Con: 8 (+2 BB) Dex: 11 (+1 Godlike, +2 BB) Per: 13 (+2 BB) Int: 17 (+1 Godlike, +2 BB) Res: 8 (+2 BB) ------------------------------------------- Skills: Active: Again, whatever suits you. Arcana offers some extra abilities via scrolls while Stealth is useful for early combat buffing. I like investing three points into Athletics for old times’ sake. Passive: Survival, Insight, and Intimidate fit the RP. ------------------------------------------- Abilities: Character Creation: (Furyshaper) Frenzy: Frenzy is the cornerstone of this build, providing Strong (+15% Damage and Healing, +10 Fortitude), Fit (+15% Health, +10 Fortitude), and a 25% bonus to Action Speed. Naturally, this will be your main trigger for Nature Godlike’s Wellspring of Life so you’ll want it on all the time – though remember it lowers Deflection by 10. (Furyshaper) Shape Ward: Frenzy: Shape Ward: Frenzy is why we decided to go for Furyshaper. While the +10% Action Speed bonus isn’t huge, it applies to a wide area and stacks with similar bonuses (including Frenzy), making it ideal for allied casters and archers/gunners. (I’m fond of stacking it with a Chanter using Sure-Handed Ila and Gersnic.) Positioning the totem can be a bit tricky and often depends on terrain and your party composition. I usually try to summon it in the midline and away from my party’s direct path: just enough for it to cover the team while keeping it out of enemy AoE. I also try to summon it from Stealth to lower the recovery time. Try to keep your totem from expiring (either through damage or time) because you will incur a universal -1 penalty to your PL. Enemies don’t target it often but it has weak defenses and will fall fast to splash damage. Note that your defensive and healing spells will affect it and summoning a new totem while the current is active will not trigger the penalty. (Lifegiver) Sunbeam or Charm Beasts: Sunbeam doesn’t fit the build as thematically well as others but it has a long range, offers Blind, and when used in conjunction with Spirit Frenzy (Staggered), is a nice way to apply two afflictions at once. Charm Beasts is situationally useful and pairs better with the core theme of this multiclass, though I find Hold Beasts’ Paralyze a bit better for the bonus chance to crit. Note: Tanglefoot is a fair choice since it’s keyworded to Plant and can be negated through Form of the Delemgan. However, our Spirit Frenzy will still apply Staggered. (Lifegiver) Nature’s Vigor (Free): It’s free but Frenzy already covers our Wellspring of Life. Save this one to counter Con afflictions. (Lifegiver) Spiritshift: Pick what you’d like. Since we want The Spine of Thicket Green glued to our hands, we won’t go into animal form often. ------------------------------------------- PL1: Fast Runner: Fast Runner is useful since some of your more powerful abilities (Nature’s Balm, Venombloom) are short range and you may need to re-position your totem during longer battles. (Lifegiver) Touch of Rot or Charm Beasts or Nature’s Mark: Touch of Rot scales well with PL but has problems reaching PEN on PoTD when multi-classed. Nature’s Mark is decent early on. ------------------------------------------- PL2: (Furyshaper) Thick Skinned: The extra engagement is marginal since we’re hugging the back/midline but +1 AR versus physical damage ain’t bad. (Furyshaper) Wilder Hunter: A situational +25% damage versus Wilder, which will translate to our DoTs. We’re picking this one since our passives are limited – the weapon passives won’t do much for us since Spine of Thicket Green is a stat stick. (Lifegiver) The Moon’s Light (Free), Insect Swarm, and Hold Beasts: At PL2 we finally get access to our first HoT with The Moon’s Light; and our first Beast DoT with Insect Swarm (which prevents enemy Concentration!). Hold Beasts is situational but has a hefty 20 second base duration and a long range at 15m. ------------------------------------------- PL3: (Furyshaper) Bloodlust: Bloodlust is a bit clunky as we rely on DoTs for damage but the effect will trigger enough against larger groups. More speed is always appreciated. Bull’s Will: A crucial defensive bonus since this multi has awful Will. (Lifegiver) Nature’s Balm (Free) and Infestation of Maggots: Garcon! More HoTs and DoTs, please! ------------------------------------------- PL4: (Furyshaper) Shape Ward: Fear (Free): Our second and last ward as a multi-classed Furyshaper. This one pulses Terrify versus Will every three seconds, and works well as a defensive tool but the pulse range seems bugged (it’s roughly half of the circle). Between it and Shape Ward: Fury, I prefer the latter since there’s other sources of Terrify and Venombloom procs Frightened. Also, passive bonuses won’t apply to it and PL only increases its duration, so it doesn’t mesh too well in PotD. (Furyshaper) Spirit Frenzy: Spirit Frenzy is another one of our core abilities, so pick this up as soon as you get to level 10. The Staggered proc combines well with all of your offensive spells, notably Plague of Insects and Venombloom to lower the enemy’s outgoing and incoming healing. Like I mentioned above, it also pairs well with Sunbeam for backline harassment. (Furyshaper) Unflinching: For one humble ability point, we gain Resistance to Mig, Con, and Dex afflictions so long as our Tempest’s health remains at 75 percent and above – not too shabby considering it prevents our Frenzy Inspirations from being stripped by Staggered and Sickened. (Lifegiver) Moonwell (Free) and Form of the Delemgan: Moonwell is another solid HoT that provides some fair (+10) defense though I think The Moon’s Light scales better with PL since it’s a lower-level spell. Form of the Delemgan deserves a slot for its swath of bonuses (+25% Stride, +20 Defense while disengaging, immunity to Dex afflictions, +6 AR versus Burn, Pierce, and Shock): handy versus archers, gunners, spiders, Rathun, and the like; and it couples well with Wizard’s Binding Web. ------------------------------------------- PL5: Note: I don’t like the Empower mechanic much, so we’ll be dipping into more PL5 passives to help solidify the build. (Furyshaper) Leap: Leap is useful as an escape or repositioning tool but use it sparingly since it’s costly. (Lifegiver) Cleansing Wind and Plague of Insects Cleansing Wind is meh since it’s not tagged as a Rejuvenation spell, and therefore won’t be affected by Lifegiver’s bonus. Plague of Insects is our most powerful friendly-fire DoT: combining damage, Sickness, and Concentration disabling; its wide area and superb range (15m!) lets you cast it from safety. Rapid Casting, Practiced Healer, Other Defensive Passives They do what they say on the tin. ------------------------------------------- PL6: (Furyshaper) Tough: We’re not going to be investing too much into Furyshaper’s abilities at this point so Tough can be reserved for this PL. (Lifegiver) Garden of Life (Free), Venombloom, *Rot Skulls: Admittedly, I haven’t used Garden of Life enough to vet it (the other HoTs do the job fine) but it seems alright so long as gibs are turned off. Venombloom is a powerful friendly-fire Plant DoT that also inflicts Weakness and Frightened (and Staggered!) – it has a short range and can be hard to see in the heat of battle so be wary. *Sometimes I like to use One-Handed Style and Rot Skulls against trash mobs and for fun/RP. Note that this will reduce the strength of your ongoing Beast and Plant DoTs since the skulls replace SoTG. (Lifegiver) Quick Summoning or Spell Resistance Totems are slow to cast/recover, and you have low Deflection and Will. ------------------------------------------- PL7: (Furyshaper): Blood Thirst Like Bloodlust, Blood Thirst will trigger sporadically but negating the recovery time on your next action has immense value. (Lifegiver): Nature’s Bounty This is a weird spell that’s a bit finicky to use but the +20% Action Speed is there for classes without those bonuses and the healing is decent. (Lifegiver): Rusted Armor or Weather the Storm Both are situational; note the Burn and Shock AR on Form of the Delemgan won’t stack with Weather the Storm. ------------------------------------------- Gear: The Furyshaper/Lifegiver is a character meant to support a party, and as such, as your gear choices will vary based on party composition. Generally, I go with: Weapon: The Spine of Thicket Green (duh) upgraded with Empowering Instinct and Purifying (it seems Poison/Disease threats are more common than Plant/Decay). The bonus accuracy and damage versus vessels applies to your DoTs! Armor: Fleshmender’s (relatively) higher AR may deter ranged enemies from targeting you. Aloth’s Leather Armor has some nice upgrades. Changeling’s Mantle would fit it well thematically but I haven’t tried it yet. Armor (Modded): Checoden’s Deadfire Tweaks mod makes Xoti’s vestments a proper enchantable armor suited for healing. Head (if not going Godlike): Helm of the White Void adds +10 Accuracy to abilities attached to Afflictions. (I wonder how Spirit Frenzy would work with this?). The Helm of Grotto’s Deep is nice for its +2 INT. Necklace: Charm of Bones for +2 Int and more accuracy versus Vessels. Cloak: Cloak of Greater Deflection/Protection by your preference. Cloak of the Theocrat is alright if you can find one. The Magnificent Escape Cape is good in a pinch. Hands: Gauntlets of Ogre Might (+2 Mig) or Woedica’s Strangling Grasp (+2 Mig, +2 Burn AR) Rings: Rings of Minor Protection, Unshackling, and Overseeing depending on the situation. Waist: Belt of the Upright Captain. One bad pull or push with wreck you fast. Boots: Footprints of Ahu Taka for +2 Dex and +10% Healing. Pet: Nalvi ------------------------------------------- Thanks for reading. Like I said, this build won’t let you solo Sissak on PoTD/upscaled while singing Aim Spirente in your shorts but it’s definitely fun.
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