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I've played a cipher in the first PoE and with my first PoE II character. I'm not really changing my Watcher class, but I'd like to ask how the "basic/no subclass" cipher compares to the Ascendant for a mainly pistols/blunderbuss dual wielding ranged char for my second game.

Mainly, the ascended time seems a little short, but also the high level spells consume lot of focus with the "no subclass" cipher, so replenish the focus in combat it looks not really different gameplay wise.

It is Ascendant really better? Or the no-subclass build despite being less powerful stays significantly more flexible?

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I'd call Ascendant MUCH stronger than a no-subclass Cipher. It's a slightly different playstyle, but ultimately much, much stronger. You're still a caster, you just need max focus before you start casting. But once you do, you don't stop, unlike a regular Cipher.

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Ascendant all day every day. Ciphers already need downtime between casts due to focus mechanics, so ascendant doesn't really cost you anything, and brings with it a whole bunch of shenanigans.

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If I'm typing in red, it means I'm being sarcastic. But not this time.

Dark green, on the other hand, is for jokes and irony in general.

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Ascendant is currently always better because they get more starting focus and focus per level and the -1 powerlevel malus to when not ascended does not affect your cc/control spells really only -5% damage to dame spells. On the other hand when ascended it is like +15% damage on spells. 

 

At high levels an ascendant can cast like 5-6 level 6-9 spells for free when ascended (at high dex+time parasite maybe even more) and that is like 500 focus for every 270 focus generated (at level cap I think you need about 275 focus to reach ascended state). 

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I'll echo the unanimous votes for Ascendant, and also mention that you can bump up INT to stay ascended longer and DEX to cast more quickly within that timeframe. You might want to try out the Red Hand arquebus, at least for your initial volley.

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Also Frostseeker can instantly fill your focus if you get a half decent proc, then swap to the Red Hand for mopping up after first ascneded phase is over.

Edited by thundercleese
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For pure class Cipher - Ascendant is the very clear answer.

 

I think the Red Hand arquebus is the best weapon option for pure Ascendant, by far. Every second shot is "free" recovery wise. And the Arquebus modal is pretty awesome too (+20 Accuracy for a fairly minor recovery malus).

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Ascendant is currently always better because they get more starting focus and focus per level and the -1 powerlevel malus to when not ascended does not affect your cc/control spells really only -5% damage to dame spells. 

 

That's... not quite true, as Power Level affects Accuracy (and durations) also. That said, -1 isn't such a big deal (and you can compensate with debuffs), while +3 IS.

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I'll split your question OP in two:

 

I'd like to ask how the "basic/no subclass" cipher compares to the Ascendant for a mainly pistols/blunderbuss dual wielding ranged char for my second game.

Ascendant is better.

 

I'd like to ask how the "basic/no subclass" cipher compares to the Ascendant in general.

Ascendant is better.

 


The thing is, that in Deadfire:

- with specific weapons / party composition, you can max focus really fast

- unlike in PoE1 the need to open the fight with a cc-power is lower, so you can afford spending the first 3-6s for building focus

these combined, result in ascendant having higher PL and better power spamability over other ciphers for most of the time.

 

Also have to note that ciphers in PoE1 and ciphers in Deadfire feel very different. Because:

- cc effects are weaker

- cc effects are harder to apply

- cc effects are less needed because you can decrease incoming damage by up to x4, via high AR. Plus there is no hard-cap on how much you can heal.

 

Not to mention that since ex-vancian spellcasters can cast right away without worrying about spell conservation, it became harder to compete with them.

So if a cipher wants to out-dps them (or martial/martial multi-classers), he literally has to chain-spam his powers. And ascendant at least can do that.

 

You might want to try out the Red Hand arquebus, at least for your initial volley.

The Red Hand is great choice.

But a little note about "Double-Tap" upgrade: it's better to avoid it on cipher, because the second consecutive hit on vessel destroys it before dealing damage, meaning that shot won't generate any focus.

Edited by MaxQuest
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The Red Hand

is great choice.

But a little note about "Double-Tap" upgrade: it's better to avoid it on cipher, because the second consecutive hit on vessel destroys it before dealing damage, meaning that shot won't generate any focus.

 

 

Good info, thank you. Though personally I'm more inclined to pick (double) knockback vs everyone rather then the specific vessel targeting ability.

 

But now I'm really glad I didn't pick the latter.

Edited by Haplok

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The Red Hand

is great choice.

But a little note about "Double-Tap" upgrade: it's better to avoid it on cipher, because the second consecutive hit on vessel destroys it before dealing damage, meaning that shot won't generate any focus.

 

 

Good info, thank you. Though personally I'm more inclined to pick (double) knockback vs everyone rather then the specific vessel targeting ability.

 

But now I'm really glad I didn't pick the latter.

 

I don't take either of those upgrades anymore. Killing a vessel outright is nice but not needed. Knocking enemies when playing in a party is annoying because you knock target away sometimes which are engaged by your other members resulting in slower kills. 

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I did my first game on PoE II (and also PoE I) using a light armor, it's the best choice o a higher armor rating is better?

Ai in deadfire is pretty aggressive in seeking out the most "squishy" character in a party. 0% Robes are in general are I find too light until maybe the very late game where there are very strong party abilities to keep everyone up, but leather armor especially when upgraded is good and there are some really nice unique ones.  So I use leather armors on ranged toons or padded/gambesons, but leathers have the better uniques.

 

On pure melee units I just give them the fastest 35% scale/breastplate armors I can find. Although there is an exception in the "Pale Hide" unique armor which is lighter 20% but is really good. 

 

Certain items like bounding boots (grant leap) and cape of the magnificent escape (grants escape when bloodies) are great on squishy ranged units. Also potions of invisibility to throw aggro off. 

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For an Ascendant (and any backline dps), you definitely want light armor or even robes if you have the safety of a party. I ended up using light armor for all of my ranged squishies, as robes felt a little too squishy, and you have ways (pets) to cut some of the armor penalty in this game.

Edited by Clerith
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Well, I tend to use breastplate on my characters. Preferably Devil of Caroc BP, especially for martial multiclasses.

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Miscreant's Leather is my favorite armor for a single-class Ascendant (or any non-martial back-line caster).

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Good info, thank you. Though personally I'm more inclined to pick (double) knockback vs everyone rather then the specific vessel targeting ability.

 

But now I'm really glad I didn't pick the latter.

In my previous run I used The Red Hand on Maia but completely forgot about the Double Tap.

I remember being puzzled on why do titans spawned by the Ukaizo Guardian are getting insta-killed :)

 

Before that I tried Spearcaster on her. And that Knockback was nasty when she was dominated)

But do agree with 1TTFFSSE that knockbacking enemies was kinda annoying in practice, plus it was de'engaging them from frontliners.

 

Btw there is one more thing to take into account: opening from stealth grants -85% recovery/reload time bonus. But it gets wasted on The Red Hand since there is no reload between 1st and 2nd shot. A character that has access to Quick Switch, might want to open with another 2H weapon (e.g. Dragon's Dowry or a good rod with modal on, and after that quick switch to The Red Hand).

 

I did my first game on PoE II (and also PoE I) using a light armor, it's the best choice o a higher armor rating is better?

Did the first run with cipher (devout/ascendant) in light armor as well, specifically Miscreant's Leathers.

But now, that early game was a bit increased in difficulty, I find heavy armor to be nice even on ranged dps'ers if they attack from 5m or closer.

 

Also I'd say which armor to choose, depends on your party composition, amount of hard-cc and your range with weapons and powers.

 

Ascendant generally wants as low armor recovery penalty as possible in order to get the most out of ascended state. But it depends on how low AR he can get away with without getting much aggro, and not getting focus-fired by enemy rogues or Necrotic Lances.

Speaking of ranged ascendant, you can try the following armors from top to bottom and stop once you feel comfortable:

- Effigy's Husk/Humility

- Sharpshooter's Garb (if you use arbalest/arquebus/crossbow)

- Miscreant's Leathers

- Aloth's Leather Armor

- Fleshmender

- Devil of Caroc Breastplate (bonus points if you multi-class with rogue/barb/monk/fighter/paladin since you get +2 to resource pool)

- Nomad's Brigandine

 

For example my lvl 7 ascendant/streetfighter wears Deltro's Cage atm, but that's because:

- it's early game

- she stays at 5m range (blunderbuss range)

- recovery penalty from plate armor is not that stingy due to streetfighter speed bonus

- do use Soul Shock often

 

But once I'll get access to Amplified Wave, will most likely equip Miscreant's Leathers, Aloth's Leather Armor or one of those robes.

Edited by MaxQuest
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Good info, thank you. Though personally I'm more inclined to pick (double) knockback vs everyone rather then the specific vessel targeting ability.

 

But now I'm really glad I didn't pick the latter.

In my previous run I used The Red Hand on Maia but completely forgot about the Double Tap.

I remember being puzzled on why do titans spawned by the Ukaizo Guardian are getting insta-killed :)

 

Before that I tried Spearcaster on her. And that Knockback was nasty when she was dominated)

But do agree with 1TTFFSSE that knockbacking enemies was kinda annoying in practice, plus it was de'engaging them from frontliners.

 

Btw there is one more thing to take into account: opening from stealth grants -85% recovery/reload time bonus. But it gets wasted on The Red Hand since there is no reload between 1st and 2nd shot. A character that has access to Quick Switch, might want to open with another 2H weapon (e.g. Dragon's Dowry or a good rod with modal on, and after that quick switch to The Red Hand).

 

I did my first game on PoE II (and also PoE I) using a light armor, it's the best choice o a higher armor rating is better?

Did the first run with cipher (devout/ascendant) in light armor as well, specifically Miscreant's Leathers.

But now, that early game was a bit increased in difficulty, I find heavy armor to be nice even on ranged dps'ers if they attack from 5m or closer.

 

Also I'd say which armor to choose, depends on your party composition, amount of hard-cc and your range with weapons and powers.

 

Ascendant generally wants as low armor recovery penalty as possible in order to get the most out of ascended state. But it depends on how low AR he can get away with without getting much aggro, and not getting focus-fired by enemy rogues or Necrotic Lances.

Speaking of ranged ascendant, you can try the following armors from top to bottom and stop once you feel comfortable:

- Effigy's Husk/Humility

- Sharpshooter's Garb (if you use arbalest/arquebus/crossbow)

- Miscreant's Leathers

- Aloth's Leather Armor

- Fleshmender

- Devil of Caroc Breastplate (bonus points if you multi-class with rogue/barb/monk/fighter/paladin since you get +2 to resource pool)

- Nomad's Brigandine

 

For example my lvl 7 ascendant/streetfighter wears Deltro's Cage atm, but that's because:

- it's early game

- she stays at 5m range (blunderbuss range)

- recovery penalty from plate armor is not that stingy due to streetfighter speed bonus

- do use Soul Shock often

 

But once I'll get access to Amplified Wave, will most likely equip Miscreant's Leathers, Aloth's Leather Armor or one of those robes.

 

In my first game I used Miscreant's leathers for most of the game and then switched to Fleshmender, I will probably do that again.

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Ascendant gets x2 starting focus and at least x1.25 focus generation (+150% compared to +100%).

Focus starved causes -1PL and -10% weapon damage.

 

I think Ascendant would even be a DECENT subclass even if they were totally missing the ascended part.

They would still be able to spam spells better than other Ciphers.

 

Awyway it is interesting to consider that you can start spamming if you need before Ascended without feeling that much gimped.

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