The Queen's Executioner
Difficulty = PotD v. 2.0
Class: Swashbuckler (Assassin/Fighter)
Race: Hearth Orlan
Background: Old Vailia/The White that Wends
Introduction: I've been a little obsessed with the Oathbreaker's End axe ever since I started testing the new DLC weapons, as anyone who has read my thread about them will have noticed. So amid all the various tests on the other weapons I've been narrowing down what I feel will be the best build to maximize it's AoE burst potential, while not being useless for single target. What I've learned is that to get the most out of the axe you need three things; high crit chance, high damage modifiers, and an attack that can hit multiple targets at once. For single class Barbarian was the most standout, however the single target didn't feel very good. For multiclass, Swashbuckler was the best fit; Clear Out is the only multitarget melee skill available under PL8, and all of rogues passive damage works great for both AoE and ST. Assassin was the obvious choice for Rogue subclass, and while Devoted would do more damage, there is only one other unique battle axe in the game and it's not really attainable early, so no subclass (I have tested both and honestly it's not that noticeable). So finally, here are the fruits of my labour.
Base stats (Blessings)
MIG: 17 (19)
CON: 3 (5)
DEX: 18 (20)
PER: 20 (22)
INT: 18 (20)
RES: 4 (6)
Effigy's Resentment: Sagani is best - but not required. The secondary (+2 ACC) will apply to Found Guilty procs if they are far enough away. Devil of Caroc next best for the PEN.
Skills: You want high stealth, otherwise doesn't really matter. As usual I like to have at least 1-2 points in athletics - it won't heal you much but could save your life. You could get this from a background/Granis' Training if you'd rather pump everything into stealth. Getting arcana to 5 is a decent idea too, so you can use Pull of Eora. Again, this can be augmented by background/trainer.
Abilities: ! = Important
Lvl 1: Disciplined Barrage (!)/Crippling Strike (!)
Lvl 2: Escape (!)
Lvl 3: Knockdown OR Backstab
Lvl 4: Stances (!)/Dirty Fighting (!)
Lvl 5: Two Handed Style (!)
Lvl 6: Confident Aim (!)
Lvl 7: Disciplined Strikes (!)/Arterial Strike
Lvl 8: Finishing Blow
Lvl 9: Backstab (!) OR Knockdown
Lvl 10: Weapon Specialisation (!)/Smoke Veil (!)
Lvl 11: Persistent Distraction (!)
Lvl 12: Hold the Line*
Lvl 13: Armoured Grace/Deep Wounds (!)
Lvl 14: Devastating Blow
Lvl 15: Mob Stance (!)
Lvl 16: Clear Out (!)/Improved Critical (!)
Lvl 17: Mule Kick
Lvl 18: Unbending
Lvl 19: Deathblows (!)/Weapon Mastery (!)
Lvl 20: Anything
I recommend starting out using ranged weapons until you get Oathbreaker's End. Arquebus from stealth with the modal on, then immediately switch to something faster. I would take hunting bow since you can pick up the Essence Interrupter right away, and the modal makes you really fast. Frostseeker will probably be your next choice after leaving Port Maje. This is why my recommended progression picks up many melee abilities later (though some are unavoidable). You could always just go all in on ranged skills then retrain once you get the axe, though I prefer not to retrain if I can avoid it. Smoke Veil can be taken earlier, and I recommend doing so if you want to forego ranged in the early-mid game.
**Hold the Line is not mandatory, however it will help ensure that Found Guilty and/or Mob Stance will always get Sneak/DBlows against an adjacent target toward the end of combat. You can see an example of why this is important near the end of the Queen fight posted below.
Weapon 1: Oathbreaker's End (Legendary, Found Guilty)
Weapon 2: The Red Hand (Guilty Conscience)
Head: Horns of the Aurochs, Helm of the White Void, Whitewitch Mask, or anything that increases INT/PER
Neck: Precognition, Bone Setter's Torc, Strand of Favour, or anything with +INT/PER
Armour: Aloth's Leather Armour (Structurally Stable)
Rings: 2x Overseeing
Boots: Slippers of the Assassin
Cloak: Ajamuut's Stalking Cloak
Gloves: Woedica's Strangling Grasp
Belt: Magrans Chosen, Upright Captain, Undying Burden, Mortal Protection
Pet: Peter, Loki
- Oathbreaker's End, the centrepiece of the build. I recommend using ranged weapons before it; Frostseeker is a decent choice as you will have a large AoE and good crit chance. Watershaper's Focus could be good too with the modal.
- The Red Hand - you don't need to keep this equipped, just need to get 20 kills for the damage buff. (This is not required but is essentially +40% damage for free)
- For the head slot there's a few good options. Horns of the Aurochs will apply a frost lash to every other attack, so will probably be best from a pure damage perspective. It also has immunity to push/pull which is nice if you want to get into Pull of Eora shenanigans. Helm of the White Void for single target fights (+10 accuracy on your 1 cost attacks). Whitewitch Mask activates one of the most powerful hard cc spells if you start getting pounded. Or just something that increases INT/PER. Cowl of the Piercing Gaze for thematics (and +1 PER).
- Neck is also fairly flexible; Precognition for maximizing your alpha strike; Bone Setter's for a slight increase to crit rate (usually not worth it tbh); Strand of Favor for +1 INT and 10% increased durations (longer invisibility is nice); or stats again - eg Charm of Bones for +2 INT.
- Aloth's Armour and Overseeing Rings for max AoE - though these aren't necessary until you get the axe. Prior to this you can use Miscreants, DoC BP or just robes. For rings Ring of the Marksman and Chameleon's Touch would be best.
- Slippers of the Assassin will allow your first Found Guilty proc of every fight to gain the Assassinate and Backstab bonuses, though Backstab will only apply to mobs that are close to you. This should usually happen on your first Clear Out, unless you are unlucky. If this doesn't interest you (or on single target fights) then I'd probably take one of the affliction resist boots, or Boots of Speed.
- Ajamuut's for the stealth bonuses (mainly +5 accuracy). Anything else will also be fine though.
- Woedica's for max damage and Garrote - also, we are her executioner.
- Magran's Chosen (3% fire lash) if you want to squeeze every last bit of damage. Upright Captain if not using Horns of the Aurochs and are worried about push/pull (Pull of Eora can be a lot of fun). Others for pure defense.
- Pets: Peter and Loki both provide increased AoE. Loki's increase is bigger, however Peter also increases AoE damage. For ST bosses (there aren't many), pick your favourite.
For gameplay it's fairly simple. You want your tank to go in and start grouping things up. You then want to cast an AoE debuff on them. Some good options are any source of blind, Phantom Foes from a Witch with Spirit Frenzy (flanked + staggered), Ryngrim's Enervating Terror (terrified is very powerful, however it can mess with your grouping). Preferably anything that will activate deathblows (not as important before lvl 19 though obviously). You then sneak in with your executioner and use Clear Out on the most densely clumped section of mobs. Your AoE should be big enough to hit all the mobs surrounding your tank, many of which will be crits. If anyone that was crit dies, they will explode. Before they explode you will go invisible again thanks to Slippers of the Assassin (only for the first kill), which will grant the explosion extra accuracy/crit damage/pen/backstab bonus if they are close enough. This will also trigger a cleaving stance attack (with extended range thanks to our AoE). Both of these combined will usually kill at least one more mob, and if that mob has been crit by your axe, it will explode, cleave will proc, etc. etc. If you are having trouble keeping them grouped, or just want to see how big a massacre you can cause, throw a Pull of Eora on top of your tank (make sure you both have push/pull immunity though). Use Smoke Veil to go invisible again and repeat after they have grouped back up on your tank. You do want to be careful when you use this however, as if you go invisible right before a foe dies from one of your DoTs, it will trigger an attack (Found Guilty/Cleave/both) which will break your stealth. This can be either good or bad depending on positioning of both you and the enemy. You really want to be as close as possible to other enemies when they start dieing to capitalise on your procs.
An alternative for opening - if you'd prefer not to use a party member for debuffing - is to use a ranged AoE weapon (rod (Watershaper's Focus) with modal, Hand Mortar/Fire in the Hole), take Debilitating Strike instead of Arterial, and fire into the grouped mobs from stealth. You then immediately use Smoke Veil, swap to Oathbreaker and continue as normal. As an added benefit you will soften up the targets at the same time, all but guaranteeing a kill on the first Clear Out and thus kicking off the chain reaction. This will be especially helpful before you pick up Deathblows.
Fampyrs and friends at Sea-Lashed Crypt. Right when I thought I'd finished, a lone Fampyr up on the top deck decided to show himself. He took some time to finish off (Piercing Sigil is a real bitch).
Queen Onekaza and guards. Screwed up the opener, as I got revealed during my attack animation and didn't react in time.
Edited by thundercleese, 14 August 2018 - 03:28 AM.