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[Class Build] The Will-Bender (Ranger/Cipher)


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#1
Braven

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I mentioned this build concept in another thread, but thought I would detail how it works as a class build. I have not played past the tutorial area yet with this build, but it was pretty insane during that limited play time. How good it is depends a bit on whether or not there are a lot of enemies immune to charm powers. I plan to use it more and find out if there are any hardships farther down the road.

The idea of this build is to take the super cost effective ability, whispers of treason, and use it to dominate the game from start to finish. In order to make sure it never misses, and to provide yourself a bodyguard to delay enemies, you multi-class with ranger. Rangers have a ton of passive accuracy buffs that apply to both weapon attacks and your cipher powers. Accuracy is really important with spell-casting since grazes reduce duration by half and critical hits increase durations by 50%. Also, new in POE2, critical hits provide bonus penetration. This is good if you decide to use a low penetration, but high DPS weapon, like a hunting bow or blunderbuss.

As for whispers of treason... what is not to like? 20 second base duration charm, reasonable cast time, and the most powerful affliction in the game (charm/dominate), all at level 1. It was super powerful in the first game and it is even more powerful in this one. If you look at similiar powers in other classes, they are all gained at a much higher level and have a much shorter duration.

Notes about charmed enemies:
1) You can freely attack them; they don't care at all, so feel free to do so when you have run out of non-charmed enemies to attack.
2) You will not gain focus from attacking your charmed allies. I recommend saving them for last because of this and always keep one enemy not charmed.
3) You will eventually get more powerful charm-like powers, but I am not sure they are ever worth the power cost. I would rather have more charmed enemies than a single dominated one. In POE1, I would use the more powerful charm spells later on just because I had more focus than I knew what to do with. However, having too much focus is a good thing as an Ascendant providing even more reason to just stick with the level 1 whispers of treason. By doing this, you can just take passives instead on other levels and use all those ability points to max out your ranger passives (rangers have a ton of passives that they want).


Race: Nature Godlike is not actually that great this time because I don't think your ranger side benefits from Power Level very much. I still need to confirm this, but I think ranger animal companions scale just on character level and your main ranger ability, marked prey, is not helped at all by it. Whispers of Treason benefits only with a slightly increased duration, but you will already have a plenty long duration given your high accuracy and intelligence. Your late-game damage spells are helped by Power Level, but they already do enough damage without it. I think you would actually benefit quite a bit more from race that can wear a helm. I went with Hearth Orlan to continue the "critical hit" theme of the build.

Class: Ascendant Cipher / Ranger (your choice of subclass or vanilla; they can all work pretty well if played right. I think the ghost one is the most powerful, though I am not a big fan of the idea of summoning my pet and don't really like the aesthetics. You would rather spend your "bond" power source on things that help build your focus so you don't want to waste your "bond" on healing your pet and you really don't want the accuracy penalty if it should die making this subclass perfect. Stalker can have issues with the range limitation being anti-synergistic with ranger accuracy passives likes marksman and the general goal of being as far away from enemies as possible. Picking no subclass I think is pretty reasonable option if you don't like the ghost pets)

Below are the stat priorities:

Might: Low
Con: High
Dex: High
Per: High
Int: High
Res: Low

I would personally do this mix:

Might: 2
Con: 18
Dex: 18
Per: 18
Int: 18
Res: 4

Weapons: Club (only against high will enemies, due to modal, otherwise avoid melee) and either bows or guns. With guns, you can get the gunner passive for faster reloads, but currently reload time is bugged so I would avoid duel-wielding guns until that is fixed. With bows, you take the reduced recovery penalty passive ability since they use recovery instead of reload.  For unique items, there are a lot of good two-handed ranged weapons with reload, so I would personally go that route.  You can then benefit from the gunner passive ability fully and get a big alpha strike in for some quick early focus.

Armor: Cloth (you want to attack and cast as fast as possible and you don't really need heavy armor since you will try to avoid melee and stay out of range of enemies)

Accuracy abilities you want to pick up (they all stack and none applies a perception inspiration, so feel free to use an item or have a friend cast one on you)

- Marked Prey (+10 accuracy. Super fast cast and no recovery. Only costs one bond and can be upgraded to jump to new opponents so that you never have to recast)
- Stalkers Link (+10 accuracy)
- Marksman (+5 accuracy)
- The empty soul (+10 accuracy against will)
- lingering echoes (increased spell duration for longer charms)
- Survival of the fittest (+10 accuracy against enemies with less than 50% health)
- Evasive Fire (doesn't help accuracy, but I recommend using your bond on this. It only costs one bond and gives Quick inspiration for high casting speed and also functions like escape, allowing you get away from enemies who insist on trying to engage you in melee... all while dealing damage. Particularly good to use this right before you "Ascend" since casting speed is really important then)


Other build notes:

Resolve is the dump stat because, well, it is generally a weak stat and we are not going to engage in melee. You don't have any self healing and don't want to be killed immediately by ranged enemy attacks, so we want high CON. Might can be dumped since we have no synergies for it, other than the general desire to do more damage in order to gain focus, but dex/per/int helps your focus enough. Your late game damaging powers are deadly enough without extra might and you have no healing (pet healing isn't really worth over just resummoning). Dexterity is particularly important for this build because of the Ascended state. With that, it is all about pumping out as many spells as quickly as possible. It is also helpful early to get your charm spells out quickly before the enemy can hurt you too much. Int is good for a longer whispers of treason duration; I am not sure if it extends Ascended or not, but if so it is doubly good. Perception is good since it really hurts to miss with your powers as cipher. You could probably drop this a bit, though, if you wish since ranger provides a lot of accuracy. However, my opinion is to just go all out on accuracy so that you can benefit more from synergy with items that require critical hits and just give this character all of them you find.

The flow of combat is simple from the beginning to the end of the game. Whenever you have 10 focus, use whispers of treason, otherwise attack. If you are facing an enemy immune to charm instead try to max out your focus so you can power them down with damage spells after ascended. If facing a high will defense enemy, first hit them with a club using the proficiency modal; this will lower their will significantly. I would only do this against a "boss" enemy where that is the only way to hit them reliably, otherwise it isn't worth putting yourself in danger by entering melee and there is only one unique club in the game (and it is not a very impressive). If you get bored in later levels, you can forgo charming and just rush to ascended state and nuke with spells like detonate and disintegrate.

The true power of this build is that it is over powered right from the start of the game. Other build eventually become insanely over-powered after getting higher tier powers, but this one starts out over powered and stays that way. 100% of game time over powered > 10% of game over powered.

One final note: This build seems like it would work well with the beguiler ranger subclass since you are only ever spending focus on deceptive spells. That can be the most "focus" efficient indeed, but I don't like it because it is too fiddly. I don't want to have to worry about afflicting my enemies before charming them and you also miss out and the fun LOLs of nuking everything with high damage spells in the late game. Even if you never "ascend" in the early game, the ascendant subclass is still great because of the increased focus generation of draining whip and the higher starting focus.


Edited by Braven, 23 May 2018 - 01:54 PM.

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#2
Dorftek

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Nice i might give this one a try but the question is, can it solo?

#3
Braven

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Nice i might give this one a try but the question is, can it solo?

 

That depends a bit on if there are key enemies that are charm immune.  In theory it should do really well solo because:

 

1) It starts out really strong.  Probably among the strongest of any class combination in the early game.

2) It has great crowd control with charm abilities and your ranger pet.  Crowd control is really important when soloing.  In particular, the "ghost" ranger is good solo because you can recast your "animal companion" should it die and you don't take penalties when it dies... and it will probably die a lot since it is covering the tanking duties.  The "bond" cost isn't really a downside because you don't have anything you really need to use your bond on anyway.

3) In the mid-late game you get the most powerful damage spell in the game and you can cast it over and over and over again while ascended at no cost.  This will nearly instantly kill any enemy in the game.  It has a base damage of 240 every 3 seconds for 15 seconds.  Add in your high intelligence and high accuracy.... this does like 2-3k damage in a single cast.... for absolutely no cost when ascended.

 

By far the biggest danger with this build is that you have no protection against enemy afflictions, and your low resolve will make it tough to just eat them.  I suggest immediately charming enemy spell casters and also use items that grant resistances to afflictions that can disable you (intelligence, strength, resolve).  For solo, I would go with a race that provides resistance to one of those afflictions.  Wild Orlan is probably best since it helps your perception and protects against frighten/terrify afflictions.


Edited by Braven, 22 May 2018 - 02:25 PM.


#4
Dorftek

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Nice i might give this one a try but the question is, can it solo?

 
That depends a bit on if there are key enemies that are charm immune.  In theory it should do really well solo because:
 
1) It starts out really strong.  Probably among the strongest of any class combination in the early game.
2) It has great crowd control with charm abilities and your ranger pet.  Crowd control is really important when soloing.  In particular, the "ghost" ranger is good solo because you can recast your "animal companion" should it die and you don't take penalties when it dies... and it will probably die a lot since it is covering the tanking duties.  The "bond" cost isn't really a downside because you don't have anything you really need to use your bond on anyway.
3) In the mid-late game you get the most powerful damage spell in the game and you can cast it over and over and over again while ascended at no cost.  This will nearly instantly kill any enemy in the game.

Wich spell is that? Detonate?
Is the ghost pet a fast cast?

#5
Voltron

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Nice i might give this one a try but the question is, can it solo?

 

I think from damage perspective it is. However solo is often hard because of enemy CC. This build does not have any crazy defenses and needs to wear light armor. So unless you can make sure that your Charm enemy and pet always takes everything - it will work.

However, one CC and you are dead, especially in early-mid game.

But this sounds like really interesting build! Not another Fighter/something build or Monk/something build.

Ranger is so rare to see here and that combo seems to work really well.

I will give it a go OP at one point. Would be great if you could test it for solo more and make some adjustments if necessary :)



#6
Voltron

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Nice i might give this one a try but the question is, can it solo?

 
That depends a bit on if there are key enemies that are charm immune.  In theory it should do really well solo because:
 
1) It starts out really strong.  Probably among the strongest of any class combination in the early game.
2) It has great crowd control with charm abilities and your ranger pet.  Crowd control is really important when soloing.  In particular, the "ghost" ranger is good solo because you can recast your "animal companion" should it die and you don't take penalties when it dies... and it will probably die a lot since it is covering the tanking duties.  The "bond" cost isn't really a downside because you don't have anything you really need to use your bond on anyway.
3) In the mid-late game you get the most powerful damage spell in the game and you can cast it over and over and over again while ascended at no cost.  This will nearly instantly kill any enemy in the game.

Wich spell is that? Detonate?
Is the ghost pet a fast cast?

 

 

It's Disintegration. It has 3.0 sec cast time but I guess if you are ranger and your Charm + Pet keep aggro you can really spam it from distance, basicelly every fast is deleted enemy. Though it's quite late game with multiclass.



#7
Braven

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Nice i might give this one a try but the question is, can it solo?


That depends a bit on if there are key enemies that are charm immune. In theory it should do really well solo because:

1) It starts out really strong. Probably among the strongest of any class combination in the early game.
2) It has great crowd control with charm abilities and your ranger pet. Crowd control is really important when soloing. In particular, the "ghost" ranger is good solo because you can recast your "animal companion" should it die and you don't take penalties when it dies... and it will probably die a lot since it is covering the tanking duties. The "bond" cost isn't really a downside because you don't have anything you really need to use your bond on anyway.
3) In the mid-late game you get the most powerful damage spell in the game and you can cast it over and over and over again while ascended at no cost. This will nearly instantly kill any enemy in the game.
Wich spell is that? Detonate?
Is the ghost pet a fast cast?
It's Disintegration. It has 3.0 sec cast time but I guess if you are ranger and your Charm + Pet keep aggro you can really spam it from distance, basicelly every fast is deleted enemy. Though it's quite late game with multiclass.
Yep, that one. It is better to just charm when possible since it is cheaper and faster. A charmed enemy is better than a dead one. However, it is a good option when ascended since it is free and can be used to burst down “bosses” with large health pools. Also, late game you will have items to greatly reduce casting time/recovery.

Afflictions can be a problem. However, there are quite a few items that offer immunities and resistances. With a good knowledge of the game and encounters, I don’t think it would be a problem. Not sure if enemies are smart enough to ever remove your charms. If so, things could turn south fast. It really needs to be tested before I can certify whether it is solo friendly.

Of course, a super tank build is the easiest class to solo since it requires basically no encounter knowledge to be successful.

When I tested out the ghost ranger, the summon ability was nearly instant. With the ability to resummon, it is certainly the most powerful subclass. The little bit of deflection from stalker doesn’t compare.

Edited by Braven, 22 May 2018 - 03:51 PM.


#8
Braven

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By the way, I plan to play with companions for the story elements (and skill checks), but just leave them sitting at the start of each zone to make combat more challenging and reproduce the feel of a solo run.

#9
Braven

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Also, I agree that there should be more Ranger builds. I actually think it is a really great class and multi-classes really well with casters since they benefit so much from accuracy and rangers have more than any other class. Not to mention the free bodyguard to buy time to cast. Also, like paladin, they have a lot of useful passive abilities so they pair well with casters who have few. Cipher is great since you can just spam a couple of the best powers all game and can put all of the “flex” ability points into ranger. Wizard can do the same since they can just use a grimiore for extra spells.

Anyone have ideas about which animal companion to pick? I can’t decide which is best. I guess one of the defensive ones, like the bear or boar, but I am not sure what the “stat” differences are and I don’t have a lot of confidence that the devs balanced them well.

Edited by Braven, 22 May 2018 - 04:37 PM.


#10
Braven

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If you are looking for a tanky melee ranger build, I have thought about the following build concept (though have not tried it):

Stalker Ranger / Priest of Weal

Might: max
Con: average
Dex: average
Per: average
Int: max
Res: max

Weapon: Battle Axe + Large Shield
Armor: Medium/Heavy

First, stalker provides added deflection and armor. Then, Priest of Weal gets all the deflection and reflex boosting spells that wizard has to have really high deflection. They also have ways to deal with afflictions and good healing spells for yourself on your animal companion. The ranger side can compensate for the accuracy lost due to the large shield and low/average perception. Now, the key is to use your battle axe with the DOT modal once on each enemy to start the damage ticking. With high might, the DOT can effectively add up to +300% extra damage to your axe attacks allowing you to do similiar damage output to a striker role, albeit over a longer period of time. Because the damage is a DOT, your animal companions merciless ability that provides +50% more damage will always be active. Because you are fighting in melee, they will also get the sneak attack and flanking passive ranger perks.

Edited by Braven, 22 May 2018 - 05:06 PM.


#11
Edolamberto

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Question: in terms of dps I'm a full potd party how does it compare to a single class ascendant chiper? Are lvl 8-9 spell worth the single class?

#12
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Animal Companions do indeed scale with char level, not PL.

I put your build into the list.

#13
dunehunter

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Animal Companions do indeed scale with char level, not PL.

I put your build into the list.

 

Where is your builds Boeroer? Or you still waiting for patches?


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#14
Ophiuchus

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I really like combining the ghost pet with Ectopsychic Echo. Since it's immune to disengagement, you can freely control the beam.



#15
Braven

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I went with the bear and stalker to try it out, figuring that he would be pretty good with extra armor. Companions are not as tanky as they used to be. Poor bear gets beat up pretty quick with his poor deflection, but he lasts long enough for me to get charms out. Some CON is certainly helpful as ranged enemies like targeting the player instead of your companion; you need to be able to eat a rifle shot or two at the start of battle.

I noticed bear has zero default engagement and some enemies just walk past him. I think it is possible to get one or two with passives, but it is something to keep in mind. I tried to find choke points and used his big body size to physically block. Maybe one of the other companions would be better? I don’t like stalker with this build. Because you have to be close for the bonus, enemies are more likely to prioritize you and often ignore the companion.

I didn’t know the ghost animals were immune to engagement penalties. Cool! This build really has nothing to use bond on the first several levels so I am liking the ghost animals. I don’t think wounding shot DOT helps generate focus, making that option less exciting. The heal pet spell just takes too long to cast and costs 2 bond. A much worse version of lay on hands... i would rather just get a new bear after the first one is defeated; that is a much bigger heal for half as much bond.

I was so focused on ranger passives that I missed all the good cipher ones. They have an ability to add +10 accuracy to will attacks, increase casting speed, increase casting range, further increase duration of your charms... check them out!

Regarding late game cipher powers; I am not that impressed by them. Also, part of the goal with this build is to find a combination that is really good from the start. Everyone is super overpowered after leveled and geared up.

Edited by Braven, 23 May 2018 - 05:30 AM.


#16
Boeroer

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I really like combining the ghost pet with Ectopsychic Echo. Since it's immune to disengagement, you can freely control the beam.

And you can just drop it behind the enemy lines.

 

Another nice move is to cast Echo on an animal companion (doesn't matter it summoned or usual) and then use Evasive Roll (which has a huge range and is near instant).



#17
Flucas

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Anyone have ideas about which animal companion to pick? I can’t decide which is best. I guess one of the defensive ones, like the bear or boar, but I am not sure what the “stat” differences are and I don’t have a lot of confidence that the devs balanced them well.

 

Anyone got an opinion on this? Curious to learn to the differences.


Edited by Flucas, 23 May 2018 - 10:15 AM.


#18
Voltron

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I tried this build for PotD solo (scale All, only up), and although I was making progress the Companion die waaay too fast. Against group of enemies it just dies after few first attacks. Moreso if they have couple of rangers with firearms. I can keep calling back new ones but I takes Bonds (so I don't really use abilities) and it takes my recovery.

Charm is super good, but if you miss it when you need it- you are dead.

 

What I don't like so far is having to keep all Bonds for resummoning Ghost. On the other hand I am sure that only Ghost works in early game. Normal Companion would die many times and I would suffer penalties, with Ghost I just resummon, so subclass is definitely correct for this build.

 

But them dying fast gets another problem- if you are left with one enemy- you can keep charming him and attack him. But more than one survived- you are pretty screwed in early game on solo.

 


Build is definitely interesting and later on I guess could work but it's a little bit too big of chore for me in early-mid game because of how squishy companions are.

 

Probably Ranger/Chanter would work better. You could just ignore your companion, take Sharpshooter and focus on summoning and then being at range.


Edited by Voltron, 23 May 2018 - 10:51 AM.


#19
SamOftheUels

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Build seems fun and very different to most that are floating about, what skills are you taking and when?

 

At Level 2 - Do I get a level 1 cipher spells like Antipatheic Field, Soul Shock, or Lingering Echoes?

Are you taking any early damage spells from Cipher, or just focusing on Passives?

Do I want to increase my pets damage??



#20
Braven

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I just took passives, mostly; there are so many of them that are helpful. Probably want ring leader for AOE charm later on. I find damage ones early to not really be worth it. Your weapon does just as well and gives you focus while spells don’t. I took a couple of the pet ones, but they are not really needed. The armor one is good to help them last longer. The damage is not really important. Once you have them charmed, you can take your time killing them and your pets damage doesn’t help your focus. They are really just a meatshield to distract the non-charmed enemy and buy you time to charm and build focus.




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