So, over the last few days, I've had a vision of a character that evokes the ideal of the consummate professional. A company man through and through, with a specialty in espionage, interrogation, and assassination, he completes each mission assigned to him efficiently, with no loose ends. He's fiercely loyal to the cause that his faction fights for, and puts his unique set of skills to use daily to ensure that their goals are reached.
After a lot of throwing ideas at the wall to see what sticks, I think I've managed to come up with a Mindstalker build that evokes a lot of what I'm going for thematically. It's intended as a Gunslinger build, blasting foes from range to build up Focus to Ascend and set up Sneak Attack conditions, then repeat the process with additional damage once Sneak Attack ends. It uses Pierce the Bell later on in addition to Hammering Thoughts for pretty huge Penetration on ranged weapon attacks, as well as potent Cipher debuffs to lower the target's defenses and boost its own Accuracy.
(Plus, did I mention that Secret Horrors sets up Deathblows on its own? Because it does)
The only downside is that this character is pretty frail. He'll have a little bit more HP than base, but Cipher/Rogue is already on the bottom end of the HP pool, so 10% extra really won't do a whole lot for him.
This build is intended to work with either the Streetfighter subclass, for more potent Sneak Attack damage and faster casting of Cipher spells, or the Trickster subclass for a slower, but sturdier, character. I'm personally partial to the Streetfighter myself, because setting up its conditional with a Blunderbuss isn't terribly difficult, but the Trickster could definitely work well here.
Race: Human, though any race except Godlike would work. As cool as Godlikes are, Acina's Tricorn is VERY important for this build.
Class: Cipher (Ascendant)/Rogue (Streetfighter)
Culture/Background: Rauatai/Aristocrat (For the bonus to conversational skills, as well as additional dialogue options)
Skills: Alchemy and Explosives (Actives)/Insight and Bluff (Passives)
(Unfortunately, this has proven harder than expected). This is my best attempt at what I had in PoE1, but it's definitely open for improvement.
Level 2 - Soul Shock or Mind Wave (Respec to Escape at level 5)
Level 3 - Penetrating Visions
Level 4 - Two-Weapon Style/Draining Whip
Level 5 - Mind Blades (Respec to Mental Binding at Level 10)
Level 6 - Dirty Fighting
Level 7 - Secret Horrors/Strike the Bell
Level 8 - Hammering Thoughts
Level 9 - Puppet Master
Level 10 - Silent Scream/Shadowing Beyond
Level 11 - Bear's Fortitude
Level 12 - Finishing Blow
Level 13 - Pierce the Bell/Borrowed Instinct
Level 14 - Rapid Casting
Level 15 - Tough
Level 16 - Amplified Wave/Devastating Blow
Level 17 - The Empty Soul
Level 18 - Disintegration
Level 19 - Ancestor's Honor/Deathblows
Level 20 - Echoing Horror
The only options I'm not sure on here are Finishing/Devastating Blow. My thought process was that they could serve as a nice way to quickly Ascend by serving as a coup de grace to an enemy, but I'm not sure if the Guile cost is worth it when I could be using it for Pierce the Bell with more penetration and bonus damage. Any suggestions on what I could swap those out for would be appreciated.
A note on respecs. I've heard that losing your starting skills when respeccing only applies if you take upgrades to those skills (Like if I were to take Arterial Strike, I would lose Crippling Strike). So I ought to be okay respeccing as long as I don't do it after I unlock Finishing/Devastating Blow. 'Should' be. That said, I really don't want to be out an attacking power until level 10, so I suppose I'll risk it. Maybe I'll try resetting in the Kraken's Eye to see if that does it.
Weapons: The Kitchen Stove(MH)/Scordeo's Trophy (OH) - The Kitchen Stove, upgraded, gives you a per encounter AoE attack that can generate enough Focus for you to immediately Ascend. Scordeo's Trophy with the Modal equipped gives 50% reload time with -15 Ranged Accuracy. Unfortunately the PoE wiki is a little sparse on what its enchantments do. Can someone fill me in? You can also use Thundercrack Pistol in your other weapon slot for Storm Rune shot for a quick Focus boost.
- Can you get the "Anything and Everything" Enchantment for The Kitchen Stove with Thunderous Report?
- How much of a hindrance is the fact that The Kitchen Stove and pistols only do Pierce damage?
Armor: Miscreant's Leathers is my personal pick for the 5% chance to just ignore an attack. Furthermore, when used with Cutthroat Cosmo, it just... doesn't have a Recovery penalty. Plus it looks stylish, and Blow the Man Down is easily my favorite quest for all of the ways you can solve it. I'm definitely open to other suggestions though. Maia's armor seems like it'd be good for the 20% hit to crit on dodging a ranged attack, but that requires... dodging a ranged attack. Plus it's a % chance to happen, not a guarantee.
Helm: Acina's Tricorn is why this build doesn't work with Godlikes unfortunately, as well as why Miscreant's Leathers is my favorite piece of gear to go with it for style points. Get it, love it.
Rings: Chameleon's Touch and Ring of the Marksman. Chameleon's Touch can be acquired on Neketaka (Though the bounty to get it can be pretty rough) as can Ring of the Marksman (Though this is VERY important, and I'm putting this here so I won't forget. You must pickpocket it off of the Rauatai Sailors as part of the Valera portion of the Family Feud quest. As a pro-Rauatai character, obviously I can't kill them. As for... why I decided to steal their ring? Well, they weren't using it, I guess).
Cloak: Cloak of Greater Protection - It's like Giftbearer's Cloth for people who A: Don't need the extra weapon/quick item slot and B: Don't overindulge in History.
Neck: Token of Faith (+2 Resolve) or Amulet of Greater Health (25 max Health) - Lots of not unique items here, but I can't really think of many good neck slot items I've come across. The amulet brings us to 273 HP. Cipher's Shackle could also work for the +Con and Dexterity Affliction resistance.
Gloves: Bracers of Greater Deflection - They're bracers that deflect things. Both this and the Cloak are taken in the event that you might be hit eventually and that if you are, you probably want to make sure you're at least not crit and killed before you can teleport away.
Belt: Belt of Eoten Constitution - Mostly so that your 8 Con becomes 10 Con again. That adds an extra 21 HP. I'm not entirely sold on this one, so other Belt options would certainly be welcome. Maybe Gwyn's Bridal Garter for the added resistance to Dexterity Afflictions?
Boots: Boots of the Stone. If there are better boot options, please let me know.
So, there you have it...
It's done! Well, save for a bit of feedback from you all. I've listed the two most important points here.
1. Stats - Is 23 Might too absurd? Should I drop it down and put the extra points into Dexterity, or even Constitution? Keep in mind, I know Streetfighter can live without high Might, this is mostly for the Cipher's damage powers (Which for me will be Amplified Wave, Silent Scream, and Disintegrate)
2. The Gear - Am I overlooking a really good piece of gear for this build? Please, let me know. Keep in mind, this is mostly gear from the early game because that's what I'm familiar with, and I'm looking for stuff that'll be good consistently throughout.
3. The fun factor. How fun is a build like this going to be right now? Provided they leave Cipher and Rogue as they are (Or buff Cipher some more, which would be nice!), is this build enough to at least see some really big numbers with Sneak Attack/Into the Fray? I know I won't be topping the DPS charts, but as long as I'm not plinking off of everything I try to hit, I can be happy with that. Of course, that doesn't mean I'm opposed to seeing huge damage numbers from time to time, but I'm also not silly enough to be thinking I'll outdamage my Streetfighter/Berserker Marauder any time soon.
Thanks guys, and happy adventuring!
Edit - Swapped out Ringleader for Tough. Considering swapping out The Empty Soul for Ringleader , especially since Borrowed Instinct lowers enemies' Will by 16 anyway. Thoughts?
Edited by Cyrus_Blackfeather, 13 July 2018 - 06:26 AM.