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I feel like Cipher is better as a multi unless you go Ascendent. Even so, Ascendent multis well.

Edited by Verde
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> In every way that isn't a charm bot

 

Umm...

 

Why would you ignore charm? It's virtually the signature ability of the Cipher.

 

Obviously if you look at everything but charm, the Cipher will be outperformed.

 

I'm not ignoring charm. I think the point of this thread is that Cipher's role shouldn't be exclusively a charm bot, because almost everything else about their toolkit is underwhelming. I mean, when I went from POE1 to POE2, I couldn't believe that Whispers of Treason was suddenly lasting upwards of 20+ seconds. I also couldn't believe that when the nerf bat came swinging, it hit Cipher's higher cost utility spells instead of the charms (though it's not to say that said utility spells didn't deserve a nerf either - Pain Block in particular was rather ridiculous pre-nerf).

Edited by Saito Hikari
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> In every way that isn't a charm bot

 

Umm...

 

Why would you ignore charm? It's virtually the signature ability of the Cipher.

 

Obviously if you look at everything but charm, the Cipher will be outperformed.

what difficulty are you playing on?

 

Ive tried numerous playthroughs now with a cipher on POTD and they arent working at all. They probably would be fine on the easier difficulties

 

On POTD they just cant be justified taking up a party slot when you take into consideration there very limited spell roster, mediocre effects and stupidly short ability duration's and they have to build up focus.

 

And ontop of that some of there spells dont even work at the moment look at defensive mindweb, go try using defensive mindweb on POTD and see what happens. Nothing will happen you will cast a spell for aboslutely nothing because anyone taking even 1 point of damage is straight away taken out of it 

Edited by antman45454

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The problem for ascendants is that they need to reach max focus before you really get the benefits of the subclass. Perhaps I built my witch wrong but I never managed to reach max focus before the combat was over.

 

 

Well, that's why it pays to multi an Ascendant with an aggressive damage class. My Streetfighter/Ascendant needs 1-2 Full-Attacks (of which he gets plenty as a rogue) to reach Ascension. Also if you can get him flanked (possibly by spells or with Blunderbuss Powder Burns), he will cast his Ascended spells much quicker. Sure, he looses 5 Accuracy if you apply Distracted to trigger Streetfighter Heating Up. But you can make up for that by targeting the weaker defenses of enemies and/or debuffing them with spells and/or having your tank use club/flail modals.

Edited by Haplok

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> In every way that isn't a charm bot

 

Umm...

 

Why would you ignore charm? It's virtually the signature ability of the Cipher.

 

Obviously if you look at everything but charm, the Cipher will be outperformed.

what difficulty are you playing on?

 

Ive tried numerous playthroughs now with a cipher on POTD and they arent working at all. They probably would be fine on the easier difficulties

 

On POTD they just cant be justified taking up a party slot when you take into consideration there very limited spell roster, mediocre effects and stupidly short ability duration's and they have to build up focus.

 

And ontop of that some of there spells dont even work at the moment look at defensive mindweb, go try using defensive mindweb on POTD and see what happens. Nothing will happen you will cast a spell for aboslutely nothing because anyone taking even 1 point of damage is straight away taken out of it 

 

 

Completed the game on POTD

 

Dominate in particular was instrumental in winning the final fight

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I never enjoyed playing a cipher in PoE1, as I feel they're too gimmicky as a single class - but multiclassing they are extremely effective and fun. A rogue/cipher is particularly deadly. The Rogue class gives you mobility and stealth, while the Cipher class boosts your damage and gives you crowdcontrol option and debuffs, which then upscales your damage agin. I consistently dealt ~100 in raw damage (pre nerf) as a Soulblade/Assassin, several times through combat with the soul annihilation + backstab attack.


Fortune favors the bald.

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I feel like Cipher is better as a multi unless you go Ascendent. Even so, Ascendent multis well.

This exactly. Both Serafen and Ydwin are very good if you multiclass them and build properly.

 

Although to be fair that makes them more "usable" than "very good"..

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Ciphers are insane multiclasses on POTD...

 

free 10+ acc vs will for all their spells

free +1 pen with BOTH spells and weapons!

free +20/30% damage

pain block as the best robust buff in the game

borrowed instinct as the best non armor self buff in the game

secret horrors and ectopsychic echo

charm

no spell limit

 

??? how many more op things do you need really??? the class is nutty af.

Edited by Zelse

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Ciphers are insane multiclasses on POTD...

 

free 10+ acc vs will for all their spells

free +1 pen with BOTH spells and weapons!

free +20/30% damage

pain block as the best robust buff in the game

borrowed instinct as the best non armor self buff in the game

secret horrors and ectopsychic echo

charm

no spell limit

 

??? how many more op things do you need really??? the class is nutty af.

Yep, they can nerf them x2 more :D And Ascendent will remain one of the best multiclass option

Edited by mant2si

Solo PotD builds: The Glanfathan Soul Hunter (Neutral seer. Dominate and manipulate your enemies), Harbinger of Doom (Dark shaman. Burn and sacrifice, yourself and enemies for Skaen sake)

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Finding cipher/rogue as a multi is awesome, both from rp and power. Certainly not weak. Finding amplified wave, disintegration, various charms, pain block, borrowed instinct ridiculously good. They have as much options as other casters. Single ciphers may be a an issue though it's tough to balance them because of the multi class issue - multi will be grossly op if you improve cipher.

I also think plain cipher or beguiler are the better options. Ascendant you end up saving focus instead of using your abilities and when you use them, they are slow to cast anyway. Soulblade is fine with specific builds but really I'd rather use focus to cast than do damage most of the time.

The class is pretty much fine, just some minor tweaks, particularly if they nerf some of the more overpowered classes.


"Those who look upon gods then say, without even knowing their names, 'He is Fire. She is Dance. He is Destruction. She is Love.' So, to reply to your statement, they do not call themselves gods. Everyone else does, though, everyone who beholds them."
"So they play that on their fascist banjos, eh?"
"You choose the wrong adjective."
"You've already used up all the others.”

 

Lord of Light

 

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I never enjoyed playing a cipher in PoE1, as I feel they're too gimmicky as a single class - but multiclassing they are extremely effective and fun. A rogue/cipher is particularly deadly. The Rogue class gives you mobility and stealth, while the Cipher class boosts your damage and gives you crowdcontrol option and debuffs, which then upscales your damage agin. I consistently dealt ~100 in raw damage (pre nerf) as a Soulblade/Assassin, several times through combat with the soul annihilation + backstab attack.

I generally agree, but with the backstab nerf, I never bothered to become invisible anymore.

It's more efficient to use crippling strike to build focus and then immediately deploy, as the attack build focus that itself goes into the raw damage.

 

When I first made my character, I saw that they'd left Backstab at 150% and thought "That's great, now Backstab is a viable option - it stays at 150% with everything else being toned down!" All my PoE1 playthorughs with Backstab-based rogues were pretty underwhelming, so that was a pleasant surprised. It felt about right, not weak, not OP, as it required a lot of positioning, guile to spend on invisibility (or a potion)...

Now with the nerf, no point  in using it anymore, apart from the opening attack from stealth :(


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Done with Moon Godlike Wizard

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It’s just for some classes, there are some obvious choice that is much better than other ones.

 

For example, wizard lvl 1 spells, chill fog >> sunless touch, cipher lvl 1 spell whisper >> rest, rogue gambit >> rest strikes.

 

Ciphers are not weak if u spam these very powerful mind-control spells, but it’s very boring, and turn them into one trick pony.

 

Interesting. I would say that the fact that cipher's spells of the same tier do not compete for limited amount of casts per encounter with each other makes the class, along with chanter, least compelled to be one trick pony. For example, even though Whisper is undeniably very strong, it does not prevent a cipher from taking, say, Eyestrike too, and casting it in the same battle, while wizard, priest or druid would be compelled to preserve their 2 casts for the most powerful spell of given tier.

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Hi there

 

I was a bit surprised by this topic (now i don't consider myself a power gamer by any means)

but i made a multi class soulblade/bleakwalker bit of a one trick pony perhaps but i find

it very effective and fun to play.

 

And ok i ignore all spells except body attunement.

 

Well wat can is say i don't think this multiclass is weak in any way

 

(please note this is only my opnion)

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Damage-dealing ciphers seem pretty weak, yes. Multiclassed ciphers that emphasize charm, crowd control and general utility are extremely powerful. For all the complaints about cast times, Phantom Foes, Secret Horrors, Body Attunement, Pain Block, Borrowed Instinct, and more are all 0.5s casts. The charm spells take a while to get off, but they last forever! Whisper of Treason is the most powerful first-level ability in the game on POTD, as far as I can make out.

 

On the other hand, the level 7 abilities are all pretty bleh.

Edited by Shake Appeal

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I remember Serafen being so powerful that he was blowing my entire backline in a single Wild Mind surge...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

:getlost: 


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I remember Serafen being so powerful that he was blowing my entire backline in a single Wild Mind surge...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

:getlost:

Or your party was weak.

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Got the game recently and at lvl 11 on PotD I've got 2 Cipher's in my party (1 hireling ascendant and Ydwin mindstalker) and they seem to do fine. Up to ability level 6 they seem to have some very good stuff, even ignoring charms. Ydwin just hands out Pain Block like candy, while the ascendant outdamages everyone in the party by big margin. Doesn't take very long to get to max focus, once there at lower lvls I spammed Mind Blades which is very effective due to how fast you can spam it, and now I can spam amplified waves which has a ludicrous radius and hits every enemy (and only enemies) for ~90 dmg every 5s while also interrupting. Is that really much worse than other classes at lvl 11?

 

EDIT: Also wow uniques with a weapon based nuke ability are crazy good with Ascendant. Kitchen Stove once per encounter AoE instantly ascends my guy, open with that then starting spamming  Amplified Wave 5 seconds into the fight...that's pretty good. Possibly this weapon is just OP though. 

Edited by aimlessgun

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Damage-dealing ciphers seem pretty weak, yes. Multiclassed ciphers that emphasize charm, crowd control and general utility are extremely powerful. For all the complaints about cast times, Phantom Foes, Secret Horrors, Body Attunement, Pain Block, Borrowed Instinct, and more are all 0.5s casts. The charm spells take a while to get off, but they last forever! Whisper of Treason is the most powerful first-level ability in the game on POTD, as far as I can make out.

 

On the other hand, the level 7 abilities are all pretty bleh.

 

You can build a decently useable cipher, especially if you multiclass, but for every purpose except a pure charm build, a XX/wizard build is stronger and more versatile than an XX/Cipher build, just because wizard spells are far more potent and grimoires give wizards a far broader power selection.

 

There are a lot of different issues going into that disparity but the main ones are 

 

1) lack of power selection -- the cipher ability roster is shorter with fewer functonal options than any other casting class, partly due to nerfs to CC and partly due to inadequate development of the late-game power list; ciphers get fewer power choices than any other casting class (priests and druids get bonus powers, wizards get grimoires);  a lot of the powers they can choose from are poorly balanced or outright useless (wild leech, ancestor's honor; mental binding's duration is the same as its cast time; etc.); 

 

and

 

2) the focus mechanic -- what was an advantage in the first game is now a relatively severe disadvantage now that everyone else is all per-encounter and very few fights last long enough for any realistic fear of running out of per-encounter casts (especially given the Empower mechanic to replenish casts). 

 

Net result, in the time it takes the average cipher to attack and cast twice each, the party's wizard has dumped his four most powerful spells, and on top of that each wizard spell is significantly more effective than the cipher's (compare haunting chains, single target, 9th level, vs. ryngrim's terror, AoE, 5th level). 

 

To really break it down I'll repost something I threw up on Somethingawful a few days ago regarding single class melee-build ciphers in Deadfire:

 

 

 
ou can make it mostly work if you use a quarterstaff. 
 
The problem is lack of self-heals or mobility or strong defensive buffs. Strong melee build in Deadfire mostly means either strong defenses, a strong heal-over-time effect (constant recovery, Robust, Ancient Memories, etc.) or a strong suite of defensive self-buffs (wizards with Infuse with Vital Essence, Mirror Image, Arcane Veil, spirit shield, fleet feet, wizard's double, etc. etc. etc.) or some combination of those. 
 
Ciphers can't really do those, they don't have the abilities for it. Body attunement could sorta make it work pre-patch due to the (admittedly very high pre-patch) armor buff but now it's "****ty wizard's shield plus ****ty single target expose vulnerabilities", and ciphers don't really have that many actual *self*-buffs past it; they basically get one solid self-buff every other tier (psychovampiric shield at 2nd, body attunement at 4th, borrowed instinct at 5th, then time parasite at seventh (defensive mindweb doesn't count because it's **** now). Note that I'm not saying these abilities are, like, powerful, just not-useless; they're among the best cipher spells more because of the shortness of the overall cipher ability roster than anything else (even the best of them, time parasite, at the new 25% effect is roughly comparable to the fighter's Armored Grace passive). 
 
So that's four non-negligible self buffs over the course of the whole character build -- if you focus on picking those powers they might be enough to go reasonably firmly into melee by level 15 or so. In contrast, a wizard gets access to that many self-buffs by 3rd level, especially if they use grimoires . . . and the wizard's first-tier and second-tier self-buffs are often stronger as self-buffs! (compare Wizard's Shield, first tier, +3 AR, vs Cipher body attunement, fourth tier, +2 AR self buff/-2 AR single enemy target).
 
Importantly though, none of those buffs give self-heals, mobility (my cipher relies on The Great Escape Cape), or particularly high defenses/deflection, so a melee cipher is very fragile and precarious, especially while trying to build the focus to cast the buffs in the first place (a hurdle other classes don't face). It's still playable even on PotD but the only way I've really been able to make it work was with a quarterstaff and after a certain point it's definitely the weak link in the party.
 
Net result is that a completely glass-cannon-spec'd single-class wizard can buy Llengrath's Martial Masteries for I think it's 5,000 CP from the Dark Cupboard and *instantly* be a better melee combatant than a non-soulblade single-class cipher. The wizard will have access to 14 melee self-buff abilities from the grimoire alone, the melee-focused cipher will still just have the four self-buffs named above.
 
 
. . . 

 

I think the optimal use of Ciphers right now is as a literal Charm Stick -- quarterstaff for melee and crushing damage option, your choice of ranged options, and just spam intellect afflictions as fast as you can with whatever focus you happen to generate..
. . . 
Ciphers are basically in a place similar to where Chanters were in the first game -- useful, but not especially fun, relatively weak compared to other classes, and in need of a ground-up rebuild. Chanters got that rebuild and they're pretty darn solid now.
 
 

https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3856099&userid=146846&perpage=40&pagenumber=13#post485114123

 

It honestly kinda feels like Ciphers were just kinda neglected in development, especially at higher character levels. The item lists are the tipoff -- there are a lot of items that boost Wizard and Priest and Druid keywords like Fire or Water but there isn't a single unique that boosts Cipher power keywords (even the cipher powers with corrosive effects don't have the Corrode keyword so don't benefit, etc.). 

Edited by Dr. Hieronymous Alloy
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Empower can replenish focus too, e.g. at the beginning of battle to get off a few spells quickly and only then make attacks to rebuild focus.

 

Yeah, but that's non optimal for a few reasons -- you don't want to use an empower at the start of a fight before you know if you'll need it, for one thing, and for another, it only gives like . . somewhere between a quarter and half? -- of your focus back, which is usually enough for, like, one cast of your top power, or 2-3 casts of lower level powers; in contrast, a wizard priest or druid can get nine spell casts back (one for each level!) 

 

Empower balance is its own distinct thing though so I don't want to go too far down that rabbit hole, i just raise it to point out the disparity between the focus mechanic and per-encounter casting. I get the reasons for the move to per-encounter and it was the right move for the former Vancians but the net result is that CIphers no longer have a niche as "the per encounter caster" and the focus mechanic acts as a hindrance rather than a help.

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 focus mechanic acts as a hindrance rather than a help.

 

 

Ascendant really is a bit of an exception to this though since you just get full focus at the start of the fight from Kitchen Stove or some other weapon ability and spam free high cost spells. 

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 focus mechanic acts as a hindrance rather than a help.

 

 

Ascendant really is a bit of an exception to this though since you just get full focus at the start of the fight from Kitchen Stove or some other weapon ability and spam free high cost spells. 

 

yeah but ascendant twist the use of focus, transforming a resource as a power gauge that allow you to unleash your full power when full.

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 focus mechanic acts as a hindrance rather than a help.

 

 

Ascendant really is a bit of an exception to this though since you just get full focus at the start of the fight from Kitchen Stove or some other weapon ability and spam free high cost spells. 

 

 

 

sure, *-ish*. Sorta.

 

Kitchen Stove's Wild Barrage can work well sure but it's per-rest so it has the issue all per-rest abilities have -- again, it's just a straight disadvantage vs. the per-encounter casters. Also, while that works on lower difficulties and in the early/mid game,, on higher difficulties and higher levels it gets less and less possible to "alpha strike" your way into instantly full focus, even with optimized gear combos. And meanwhile, the Wizard is nuking with an Empowered Minoletta's (a valid comparison since we're comparing per-rest). 

 

Ascendant does mitigate the problems because once you fire your opening salvo (whatever it is) with your weapon and do whatever else you need to do to max your meter, usually a couple more attacks depending,  then you can usually cast 4-5 times (a little less now post nerf) and then you have to get back up to max again. When I say ciphers are "playable" that's basically the build I played -- the only full run I've done so far was with an Ascendant cipher using Kitchen Stove + (other gun) as primary and quarterstaff secondary (for crushing). It was a lot of fun initially but there was a huge dive in utility, relative to the rest of the party, after about level 12 or so, and there were multiple levels ranges where my dude was basically reduced to chain-casting the same power over and over (i.e., levels 8 to 12 were mostly "get Ascended, then Pain Block everybody, plus Body Attunement on the boss monster" etc). And even then, a lot of the abilities I relied on were significantly nerfed in the most recent patch (looking at you, Body Attunement and Time Parasite). 

 

It's easy to miss the performance difference if you are just microing your main and using base AI, because the class is playable and functions, but if you set up your scripting properly (and there are mods now to set max focus as a conditional trigger, very useful for Ascended) the difference in performance between a properly scripted cipher and a properly scripted Wizard is extremely dramatic. Wizard spells are just across-the-board more effective and in a typical fight Wizards will be able to cast many more times than even a properly built, properly scripted Ascendant will, and each Wizard spell will generally be more effective to boot (compare Ninagauth's Death Ray vs. Ectopsychic Echo ; both powers are the same tier, 3; the wizard gets Death Ray for free from a grimoire; Death Ray does more *raw* damage than Echo does crushing).  The whole time you're building up your focus with autoattacks the Wizard is dumping their spellbook, and by the time they finish, there usually isn't much left for the Cipher to cast at. 

 

Net result, though --

 

Cipher has two big issues:

 

1) too short roster of *quality* power choices, and

 

2) focus mechanic hurts rather than helps.

 

You can kinda avoid #1 by going multiclass and just splashing in the few good Cipher powers which are still worth taking, and you can sorta partially dodge #2 by going either Soul Blade or Ascendant (as both rework the focus mechanic). That's why all the best cipher builds right now do both, and go like soul blade assassin or streetfighter ascendant or whatever. If you don't explicitly build to circumvent those two big traps, you're borked.

Edited by Dr. Hieronymous Alloy

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