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[Class Build] "Mirrorback" (Sage)


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#1
whimper

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"The Mirrorback" (Sage)

Introduction: This build aims to take advantage of two clusters of class synergies.

The first synergy is between abilities and class-tied items that help you not get hit (e.g., Blade Turning, Tuotilo's Palm, Mirrored Image, (Minor) Arcane Reflection, Chill Fog) and abilities and class-tied items that benefit from not getting hit (e.g., Mirrored Image, Enduring Dance, Soul Mirror, Grimoire of Vaporous Wizardry).

The second synergy is between Monk abilities that boost Intellect and Might (e.g., Helwalker, Thunderous Blows, Duality of Mortal Presence) and Wizard spells that most benefit from Intellect and Might increases (see below).

The result is a versatile build that can shift between powerful AOE blasting, single target DPS, and a "mirror mode" in which they reflect attacks and spells back at their attackers.

Difficulty: Solo PotD v.2.1

I completed my Solo PotD run using Berath's Blessings and No Scaling. It should run fine without Berath's Blessing; I'm less confident about how it would hold up with level-scaling.

Classes: Sage (Helwalker/Wizard)

On the Monk side, we take the Helwalker subclass so our wounds boost Might as well as Intellect. This makes us a bit fragile, but our high defenses offset this.

On the Wizard side, we take no subclass. It's tempting (and probably viable) to choose Evoker instead, given the recent boost to Evokers. But many of the spells that benefit most from our sky-high Might and Intellect aren't evocation spells.

To spell this out a little, the spells that deal the most total base damage are duration-based damage-over-time spells: spells like Chill Fog, Ray of Fire, Ninagauth's Death Ray, Malignant Cloud, Ninagauth's Bitter Mooring, and Ninagauth's Freezing Pillar. Furthermore, while the total damage of most evocation spells can only be increased by boosting Might and Perception, the total damage of these spells can also be increased by Intellect, since this extends the amount of time they're dealing damage. And the damage boosts due to high Might, Intellect and Perception are all multiplicative. Since in this build all three of these stats are extremely high, these are the spells we want to focus on.

Race: Wild Orlan

Orlan boosts both our most important stat (Resolve) and our next most important stat (Perception), and the Wild Orlan gives us resistance to the afflications which decrease our most important stat (Resolve).

Background: Ixamitl Plains (Mercenary)

Ixamitl Plains for the Resolve bonus, and Mercenary for the boosts to Intimidate and Athletics, both which boost the deflection bonuses of our final gear.

Stats:
Might: High
Constitution: Low
Dexterity: Medium
Perception: Very High
Intellect: High
Resolve: Max

We want to maximize Resolve, since one of our primary goals is to not get hit.

We want Perception to be very high to make sure our super-powered spells and attacks hit.

We want both Might and Intellect high, but they'll already be getting large boosts from Helwalker. And making them too high is wasteful given the 35 stat cap (e.g., a 20 starting Might + 10 from Helwalker wounds and + 5 from Tenacious already puts you at 35, wasting any food or gear bonuses).

Dexterity is great, but it's a lower priority than the other four.

Constitution can be low, since we're planning on not getting hit much.

(For reference, in my run my starting stats were M15, C6, D10, P22, I15, R22.)

Skills: In the early game, I'd recommend a handful of points in Stealth, a fair amount in Mechanics, and the rest in some social skills (Diplomacy is a good bet).

For the late game, you'll want to respec your passive skills and maximize Intimidate (if you're wearing Casita Semalia's Legacy). You'll also want to respect your active skills to match your plan for dealing with the Guardian of Ukaizo; I maximized Athletics to boost my deflection with Cadhu Skalth, but there are other (and probably better) options (e.g., boosting Arcana for scrolls, boosting Alchemy for drugs, potions and poisons, etc).

Abilities: Highly recommended abilities are underlined:

  • Swift Strikes, Chill Fog
  • Lesser Wounds
  • Any (Spirit Shield or Wizard's Double are reasonable options)
  • Weapon and Shield Style, Mirrored Image
  • Dance of Death
  • Any (Two Weapon Style is good if you're using Tuitolo's Palm a lot)
  • Soul Mirror, Bear's Fortitude
  • Blade Turning
  • Bull's Will
  • Duality of Mortal Presence, Minor Arcane Reflection (or Ironskin if you want to pick up Arcane Reflection instead)
  • Enduring Dance
  • Thunderous Blows
  • Enervating Blows, Rapid Casting
  • Any (Crucible of Suffering, Rooting Pain, Malignant Cloud, Snake's Reflexes and Uncanny Luck are all decent choices)
  • Any
  • Turning Wheel, Arcane Reflection (if you don't have the minor version) or Improved Critical
  • Any
  • Any
  • Heartbeat Drumming, Citzal's Martial Power or one of the earlier left-over options
  • Any

A note: Crucible of Suffering looks lackluster, but in tough fights we'll be hit with a reasonable number of afflictions and quickly shrug them off (with our sky-high Resolve). Getting a long-lasting and substantial boost to defenses after this is pretty good.

Gear: Highly recommended gear is underlined.

  • Pet: Socrates. (Since we don't have any healing abilities, the health on kills is extremely valuable. And the boost to melee deflection is great for this build.)
  • Grimoire: Ninagauth's Teachings (The Grimoire of Vaporous Wizardry is a good quick slot option for that extra spells after you run out.)
  • Armor: Casita Semalia's Legacy. As a back-up, you'll also want a set of legendary plate to switch into for certain fights (e.g., Neriscyrlas).
  • Shield: Tuotilo's Palm, and Cadhu Skalth (Tuotilo's Palm is your default shield; it doesn't hurt your accuracy and gives you nice deflection bonuses and other perks. Cadhu Skalth is what you bring out for the long fights.) Other good large shields, like Bronlar's Phalanx also serve a decent backup shields for a second weapon set.
  • Weapon: Gladiator's Sword (early game), Kapana Taga (late game). (Kapana Taga is amazing for this build. The Lone Champion enchantment gives you +4 deflection and +1 AR whenever there are no nearby allies (i.e., always), and the All Comers enchantment makes you immune to flanking, a potential -10 deflection penalty.) You'll also want the Animancer's Energy Blade as a backup weapon for certain fights (especially in the BoW DLC).
  • Rings: Ring of Major Regeneration and the Entonian Signet Ring or a Ring of Minor Protection.
  • Hands: Bracers of Greater Deflection, or Firethrower's Gloves (If you can't find the bracers; there's no 100% reliable way to get them, unfortunately.)
  • Cloak: Cape of the Falling Star. (The best defensive option when playing solo, by far.)
  • Belt: Girdle of Eoten Constitution or The Undying Burden.
  • Head: Blackened Plate Helm, Mask of the Grotto Deep, Cap of the Laughingstock, or anything else you like.
  • Neck: Token of Faith or Stone of Power (We'll frequently be using empower to replenish our spells, so we'll be resting a lot. As a result, we can use the +1 PL ability of the Stone of Power every big fight without worrying about it.)
  • Food: This build benefits from pretty much every incredible-quality food, but the +7 to all defenses given by Ekkevit, and its relatively cheap price, makes it arguably the best default food for this build.

PROs of this Build:

  • It offers a fun and versatile playstyle. We can shift between three modes -- blasting away with spells, engaging in melee, or mirroring opponent's attacks back at them -- and adjust in response to the circumstances and opponent.
  • The biggest drawback of Wizard spells -- friendly fire -- isn't a worry on a solo run. When combat starts, we run to the nearest wall, cast our buffs, and then start casting AOE spells around us, keeping ourself in the yellow ring.
  • Tough fights involving lots of opponents (e.g., killing the Queen and her guards) are easier for this build than for many others, since this build has lots of ways to temporarily boost defenses, and enough AOE damage capabilities to quickly take down large swathes of enemies.

‚ÄčCONs of this Build:

  • Abilities that bypass defenses and aren't affected by Arcane Reflection are our kryptonite, given our low health and increased damage-taking (e.g., Paladins who hit you with Brand Enemy, the Cave Grub's Crush attack, and the Guardian of Ukaizo's Consume Essence attack). Try to kill these enemies off first. In some cases you can just run away when you see them starting to activate the ability so you're out of range when it goes off.
  • Abilities that target Fortitude, our weakest defense, can also be a pain. With a little planning, food can help a lot here (e.g., Khapa Tea before fighting opponents who rely on fortitude-targeting poisons).
  • Super-tanky boss fights -- e.g., the Engwithan Titan, the Kraken, and the Guardian of Ukaizo -- are tough for this build, since we'll run out of spells before we can drop them, and they'll generally have a high enough accuracy to hit us. Some tips for these (very tough) fights:
  1. Pick off the weaker "helper" enemies first.
  2. Use Enduring Dance to spam Blade Turning, interspersed with melee attacks, to wear them down.
  3. Take advantage of layered defenses (i.e., use Ironskin or Spirit Shield) to help protect us from attacks that make it through our defenses.
  4. Have plenty of healing consumables.
  5. Have a source of regeneration (since these fights last forever).
  6. Remember that we can spam wound using abilities (e.g., Thunderous Blows) to quickly drain all of our wounds if we need to lower the +% damage penalty that Helwalker imposes for a bit to heal up.
  7. I recommend starting the game with Hylea's ending, so we can use Hylea's Bounty to boost our defenses before the fight with the Guardian of Ukaizo.

Edited by whimper, 17 September 2018 - 03:49 PM.

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#2
gkathellar

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Not only does this look really cool, you also did a great job of writing it up and explaining all of your decisions. I also like that you're getting serious mileage out of Tuotilo's Palm and the Gladiator's Blade - the former needs to be used more often and the latter is just kind of fun.


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#3
whimper

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Not only does this look really cool, you also did a great job of writing it up and explaining all of your decisions. I also like that you're getting serious mileage out of Tuotilo's Palm and the Gladiator's Blade - the former needs to be used more often and the latter is just kind of fun.

Thanks!

 

If anyone has any thoughts for how to make fights with the super-tanky bosses quicker and more reliable, I'd love to hear them.

 

(Would also love to hear where people have found the Bracers of Greater Deflection. Are these just random drops you have to be lucky to find? Or can you only get these using the console?)



#4
whimper

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Updated to fit in new equipment and consumables from recent DLCs.



#5
Mocker22

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Looks like a cool concept and as stated above, well written. I gotta say, its hard to picture a Sage that doesn't abuse the **** out of Citzal's, Swift Flurry, and Heartbeat drumming. Don't think it would really interfere with ny of your themes either. I suppose one downside is you tend to just mow through stuff at a stupid OP rate.


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#6
whimper

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Looks like a cool concept and as stated above, well written. I gotta say, its hard to picture a Sage that doesn't abuse the **** out of Citzal's, Swift Flurry, and Heartbeat drumming. Don't think it would really interfere with ny of your themes either. I suppose one downside is you tend to just mow through stuff at a stupid OP rate.

Glad you enjoyed the read!

My original reason for avoiding Citzal's Spirit Lance was that switching to that 2H-weapon means you lose the defensive benefits of Cadhu Skalth and Kapana Taga, which nets a 38(!) point drop in Deflection. And with a 6 con, the +50% Helwalker increase to damage taken, and only middling armor, I was worried that I would have a hard time surviving...

I'm playing this build through the BoW DLC right now, and I actually haven't been getting much of a chance to attack with weapons. I initiate combat, kick in Mirror Image and Enduring Dance, and then carpet bomb them with AoE blasts and ray spells. They're usually all dead before I run out of spells.

But working in Citzal's Spirit Lance is an intriguing idea. And with the recent defensive boosts that the new gear gives this build, it might be able to survive the drop in deflection. I'll have to try it out and see how it goes.

Thanks for the suggestion!

Edited by whimper, 18 September 2018 - 03:18 AM.


#7
whimper

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So I tried Citzal's Spirit Lance in several fights, and there was a dramatic transition from "unhittable artillery tower" to "OMG why is everything killing me?!"

 

In the fights that I managed to survive, Citzal's was pretty nice. But it didn't seem to take them out faster than my AoE spell carpet-bombing did... But maybe an interesting option for drawn out fights where you're going to run out of spells, and need something longer lasting? 

 

In any case, given the low con, low AR and extra Helwalker damage this particular build takes, I don't think it's hardy enough (sadly) to survive regular use of Citzal's Spirit Lance... :( 

 

(Now I'm curious as to how these other Sage that rely on it stay alive. I guess they must pump AR or something? Or maybe they're not intended for solo PotD play?)



#8
Mocker22

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It is used with the long pain. With Citzal's being a reach weapon your range is almost as good as an aquebus, but it still hits in the AoE and counts as a melee weapon for proccing swift flurry and heartbeat drumming. Not to mention an AoE Stunning Surge for CC. With good acc you can basically perma spam this. In solo ya its probably tough to pull off tho.


Edited by Mocker22, 19 September 2018 - 12:42 AM.

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#9
whimper

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It is used with the long pain. With Citzal's being a reach weapon your range is almost as good as an aquebus, but it still hits in the AoE and counts as a melee weapon for proccing swift flurry and heartbeat drumming. Not to mention an AoE Stunning Surge for CC. With good acc you can basically perma spam this. In solo ya its probably tough to pull off tho.


Oh, long pain. Nice.

Sounds like a fun set-up with a party!

#10
Haplok

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Instruments of Pain. Yeah, it's nice. But you have to consider that it's doable at level 19, when the game mostly ends.

Meanwhile if swift flurry and heartbeat drumming aren't a priority, you can achieve somewhat similar results with dual blunderbuss mortar weapons, obtainable at level 5.


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