Tactician/Wizard - Bloodmage is really the only sub to consider. Do you mostly use Empower to refill? Go Bloodmage. Mostly to supercharge? No-sub. Evoker is pretty good but you definitely don't want to lose Chillfog.
Blackjacket/Skald - Not much to say here, other than don't forget Sasha's Singing Scimitar. Very fun with Blackjacket. Amira's Wing, Chromoprismatic Quarterstaff, and Watershaper's Focus are all also nice when you get Eld Nary. Chanters have some pretty high break points for INT and sending PER through the roof is always useful on a Skald, so I'd make this the Watcher on this team just for the BB attribute boost.
BTW, two weapon is way better for crits than one-handed.
Priest/Druid - Priest is way better single class. Druid is also better singleclassed but pairs well with Barbarian or Helwalker Monk. Druid is a great nuker/controller, Priest is a great buffer/nuker. Subclass-wise, it depends on your role. Priest: Wael is the best generic Priest sub, Skaen has some much needed mobility, Woedica has the best control, Rymrgand is the best nuker. Druid: Fury if you don't care about being the healer, Lifegiver if you do.
Ghost Heart/Cipher - Beguiler would complement your Tactician. Soulblade works with the plan to use the leash Powers like Ectoplasmic Echo, since they're pretty cheap and don't stop you from spamming Soul Annihilation. Ascendant is fairly hard to pull off in TB, since you need INT through the roof and you can't actually spam in TB. +3 PL is still very good and it's not hard to ascend. It's 19 INT for a 4 round Ascendance, and 30 INT for 5 rounds, BTW (you can also hit 5 rounds with a 22 INT character who wears Strand of Favor and eats Mari Crudia - that's 22 before the Mari Crudia and Strand of Favor INT bonuses).
I'd personally go Beguiler, since its "drawback" is basically meaningless in a team - it will be way rarer that an enemy doesn't qualify for sneak attack. Beguiler is head-and-shoulders the best caster Cipher in TB.
Berzerker/Bleakwalker - Not much to say here, it's a decent way to wield the Willbreaker. If you're targeting FORT, don't forget Spirit Frenzy adds Staggered on hits, so you can pretty reliably apply -45 FORT (and a decent WILL penalty from Terrified and the Willbreaker).
Tactician/Cipher - You're right that Wizard is probably better.
Sharpshooter/Skald - 'Fraid that's a non-bo. Skald is melee only crits. If you stay Skald here, I'd make this the Watcher for the same reasons as above.
Berserker/Bloodmage - Yup, it's fun. Highly recommend Human or Death Godlike because their racials work really well with hurting yourself and it's also useful to get a notification that it's maybe time for some heals.
Blackjacket/Fury - I'm going to recommend Helwalker/Fury as a pretty much straight upgrade. Druids don't really need to be tanky in TB, they just need to resolve Relentless Storm to stop the entire battlefield from acting, and LD Voulge hits hard. You can attack with it and cast with it, there's no need to switch.
Some Sort Of Priest - I know you're trying to do hirelings, but single class Vatnir is the best priest. Rymrgand bonus spells actually fill a hole in the Priest spell list (non-fire damage) and Vatnir has sensible attributes for the job. My runner up would Assassin/Skaen. Stealthed Pillars of Fire wreck stuff and rogue passives are helpful on a priest.
Priest/Beckoner - I personally find being forced to micro every summon in TB very tedious. Once again, I'll mention that a single class Priest is way better at Priest stuff. Troubs and Brisk Recitation are probably also way better at summons. I hate to recommend it (because it gets recommended all the time), but support/summons is definitely best filled by a Herald.
Blackjacket/Fury - See above. +15 MIG and +10 INT from Helwalker > anything a Fighter offers a Druid.
Everyone Else - Already said my piece. There is some very minor conflict with the Bleakzeerker if you take my suggestion to use a Herald. Bleak Walker is the "worst" Paladin order for a Herald, and the only Paladin order with compatible disposition is Steel Garrote, which is probably the second "worst". Both still make great Heralds, it's just that Kind Wayfarers and Goldpact Knights are the best Herald orders.
I'd go with Ghost Heart as the Watcher on this team. No one needs the extra attributes and Ranger Watchers get some good extra dialogue.
My Suggested Team
Tactician/Bloodmage - Despite seeming redundant, they go surprisingly well together. Getting 2 spells back a turn means you can buff up and still spam.
Single Class Vatnir - Could also be a hireling if you get the "unlock all subclasses" mod. Priest of Rymrgand nukes like mad, buffs like mad. It has the same disliked dispositions as Bleakwalker, too, so if you remember to be Honest and Rational in addition to Aggressive and Cruel, you'll have a decent Holy Radiance.
Blackjacket/Skald - What you were theorycrafting with this one is pretty much on the money. Here's my big discovery from playing something similar: 21 INT+Tactical Barrage makes The Thunder Rolled into a 2 round stun (at level 19+). Same as above, I'd make this the Watcher.
Bleakzerker - You brought this up twice, you clearly want to play it. It's a good build, so you should play it.
Helwalker/Beguiler - Complements the Tac/Blood and absolutely wrecks with dual Hand Mortars. Disintegrate is a very nice ability to have in your pocket with some of the health bloat enemies in this game. The typical Helwalker/Ascendant is doable, too, but I really feel like Beguiler is the stronger sub for team play.
You could still do the Ghost Heart Cipher here too. Cipher is really the key part of the build - they're just useful to have on a team. If the reason you're interested in Cipher is to do leash tricks with the Ghost pet, then Ghost Heart is definitely the way to go.
Some general stuff:
Priest/Paladin dispositions are always based off the Watcher. Your hirelings will use your Watcher's disposition, so you don't need the Watcher to be the party's Paladin/Priest.
Single class Wizard, Priest, Druid, Cipher, Monk, Ranger, and Barb are all easily as good as most of their multiclass variants. I didn't overly suggest it because you seem interested in multis (except with Priests) but if the reason you're interested in any of those builds is because of one of the listed classes, you really ought to try the single class.
Druids are super powerful but boring as all get out in TB, and it's entirely due to Relentless Storm. You listed a Druid in every team, so I assume you want to play one but I really gotta warn you that they trivialize every single combat where the enemies don't have MIG resistance/immunity. They also act as a sort of gravity well in a team, where they heavily push everyone towards DPR so that you can end an encounter before Relentless Storm wears off. I beat the game with one, I personally like absolutely crushing foes but after a while it got pretty boring since every fight was the same and way too easy.
Blackjacket quick switch is fun and all but the Dagger/Shield thing loses value in the parties you want to play, since they'll be able to control the enemies well enough that you don't need to tank up super hard. I'd put heavier priority on getting stat sticks for your Blackjacket is what I'm saying here. For example, if you do use Blackjacket/Fury, I'd go with something like Watershaper's Focus, Spine of the Thicket Green, and LD Voulge. Weapons with powerful activated abilities are also worth looking at - I used the Kitchen Stove's Thunderous Report fairly frequently on my last Blackjacket.
You should probably prepare to have Serafen on your team for a while, since doing his quest and reaching disposition 2 with him gets you two very useful items - Fire In The Hole (dual Mortars forever!) and Fair Favor (all those Skalds you brought up want this). He slots into the Bleakzerker spot as a single class Barb for the little while you'll have to lug him around.
Edited by Taudis, Yesterday, 07:34 AM.