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[Class Build] The Mind Captain (Psyblade: Beguiler/Tactician)


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The Mind Captain

 

A party leader that jumps into the fray being an offtank (and main tank later) and inflicting a lot of debuffs and cc, as well as dishing out decent melee damage when needed.

 

Cipher (Beguiler) / Fighter (Tactician)

 

Difficulty: 5.0 PotD (level scaling up)

Solo: not tested, most likely not possible in high difficulties

 

Introduction:

 

It has been a while (and a lot of different watchers) since I wrote a full character guide, but I had so much fun with this one that I wanted to share the experience.

As always, I try to balance efficiency with fun and roleplaying. There will be no min-maxing here. That being said, the character is still very efficient. This build was all about finding synergies and solutions to undermine the weaknesses of classes. I wanted to play melee multiclass cipher, but soulblade never really attracted me (too straightforward), and I like my watcher to be able to hold his own in melee combat and be at least offtank.

However, tanking as a Cipher is, in most cases, not the greatest idea, as the core feature of the class, aka focus generation, gets better the more damage you deal. The beguiler pick was obvious for the non-damage tied focus generation, and mind deception spells was a playstyle I wanted anyways.

Fighter would provide some durability and nice passives. The tactician subclass can be very powerful, and it is known that cipher has, from the very beginning, efficient ways to enable flanked on a lot of ennemies (eyestrike and phantom foes). There are quite a lt of tactician psyblades guides out there, but they are mostly ranged, to avoid the pesky tactical dilemma debuff. I found it was not too hard to work around it.

The character got fine tuned during the playthrough. Every new level brought more options and interesting synergies. I felt definitely starved in terms of ability points (as are most multiclass characters), respec came handy in keeping every level relevant.

In the end (I take PotD Forgotten Sanctum as a reference), the character flawlessely achieved what I wanted in the premise: Sufficient survivability to tank late game, plenty of CC/debuffs, and decent melee damage when required.

 

Race: Human was picked for RP preferences. Pick the one you enjoy the most.

Origin: None of the stats are min-max. Pick what you like and adjust.

 

Stats :

 

          10  Might

          10 Con

          10 Dex

          16 Per

          18 Intelligence

          14 Resolve

 

(I got Blessing of Berath for M12 CON12 DEX12 PER18 INT20 RES16 but it is not critical).

I like having high mental stats for roleplay purposes. He is a captain after all, so it is normal that his intelligence and resolve are high. Per is incredibly valuable to land cipher spells, and intelligence is a must to sustain the afflictions and nice self buffs.

You don’t need more than 10 con for survivability thanks to decent resolve, party buffs, defensive passives, and the very long duration on your constant recovery.

Might is additive so left at 10(12 with BoB), dex could benefit from being higher, but a lot of cipher spells are quick cast, and the character will have a low recovery anyways.

 

Skills:

 

I chose my passive skills for roleplay purposes: diplomacy/bluff/metaphysics, but get the ones you want, it has no impact on the build. Intimidation and Insight are good candidates.

In terms of actives, I went for athletics and alchemy.

 

Proficiency/Fighting style:

 

Weapon and shield.

You can consider other options if you are playing on normal/veteran, in which case I would recommend two-handed

 

Gear:

The most important for the gear in this build is to offset the tactical dilemma debuff. There are two ways to do it:

- Getting immunity to flanked:
This is the most straightforward, but locks your weapon options to Squid's Grasp and Kapana Taga (club modal debuffs will which can help us a lot). Although they are decent weapons (especially kapana, squid having the often resisted pierce damage), there are plethora of great weapons, and you might want to vary things a bit

- Getting resistance to mind and intellect affliction:
This is the alternative, instead of not triggering the effect, you cancel the consequences.
You can get the fearless ability so that you do not have to worry about Shaken, and any mind immunity/resistance, via food, chanter, or Modwyr. DoC breastplate is an option as well, but I do not like the +35% recovery, even with armored grace (see below).
This solution is less ideal, as you would still get the flanked debuff and therefore be unable to trigger Brilliant, but it has the advantage of opening the weapon slot to whatever you fancy, and protects from other sources of these afflictions as well.

Note that later in the game, it matters much less as a lot of ennemies will have cc or debuffs preventing them from flanking you. Then you just have to worry about perception afflictions that will get you flanked (looking at you, persistent distraction principi rogues).


Armor:

As the levels increase, so does your survivability through debuff/cc and self buff. I started with a medium armor for the early parts of the game, then switched to Miscreant Leathers, which with armored grace actually deacreases recovery time.
Later on, I switched to robes for the affliction immunities (Effigy's Husk and Spider Silk robe), respecing armored grace and saving me a precious ability point. 7 armor (9 with body attunement, 10 if you burnt a Mythic Adra Stone on it) will not mitigate any damage but will most of the time prevent overpen, and you get missed/grazed a lot, so I found it very sufficient.
Main drawback is that robes look ugly, an issue that can be solved by mods (I modded Effigy's Husk and Spider Silk to look like the Valian Frock Coat ❤️ )

Other equipement:
Fair Favor if you are using a compatible weapon, otherwise any good helmet. Mask of the Weyc is nice, pearlescent rombstone etc.

For the rest I swapped things around often, prioritizing survivability, per and int, as well as dialogue stats.

 

Ability Choices:

 

This is where the synergies really start to kick in.

Cipher:

  • Eyestrike

Lvl 1 pick, usefull through the whole game. Blind is a great debuff in itself, and it triggers flanked which is amazing for tactician.

  • Phantom Foes

Eyestrike's only drawback is the small aoe. 1 cast of Phantom Foes with our high int is likely to flank the whole battlefield, triggering Brilliant, and generating tons of focus.

  • Secret Horrors

Fast debuff, decent aoe ususally refunds itself.

  • Borrowed Instinct

Excellent offensive and defensive self buff + debuff. Have it constantly on

  • Body Attunement

Situational but i like to have it handy for heavy armored ennemies

  • Whispers of Treason>Ringleader

Take whispers first, then respec when you get ringleader. Charm/Dominate is the most powerfull CC in the game, and ennemies have their will destroyed by all the previous spells, coupled with our sky high accuracy and various cipher passive bonus to will targeting spells to almost guarantee hits/crits. Honestly, Ringleader trivializes most of the encounters, no matter the difficulty. (Except mind/intellect immune obviously)

  • Mind Plague

Very valuable for us, as it lowers ennemies will (confused) preparing for more cipher spells, lowers their damage output by a lot (Dazed). And dazed ennemies cannot flank you, which is great for tactician. Also, mind plague is a great beguiler spell as it will still jump to already affected targets, generating more hits and therefore more focus as long as there are two ennemies left. (As opposed to aoe deception spells that can only hit once per ennemy).

  • Any Cipher Damage Spell

Get one you like (I recommend amplified thrust , but any can work. Ectopsychic Echo if you do not mind the micromanagement) until you get amplified wave, then respec it.

  • Amplified Wave

Get it and spam it.  It will affect a huge aoe interrupt, multiplying our chances at getting some discipline back through tactician passive, even without brilliant. Damage is not too bad either on trash mobs.

  • Passives:

Are not a priority, but whenever you have spare points get:  Draining Whip, Lingering Echoes, Empty Souls, Hammering Thoughts, The Complete Self, Rapid Casting, Psychic Backlash, and any you like.

 

Fighter:

  • Disciplined Strikes

Acute is very strong with our cipher spells. Have it constantly on. Can also be recast to get rid of a per affliction (getting you flanked). Always useful

  • Mule Kick/Penetrating strike

Pick one. Mule Kick does more damage, accuracy  and CC, refunds itself on interrupt and is a primary attack which is relatively better for 1 hand users, but costs 2 ability points. Penetrating strike is good against most bosses, but looses a lot of it's value as a full attack. I played most of the game with penetrating strike but would actually recommend mule kick now.

  • Fighter Stances

We want to be in conqueror stance for that +acc +def

  • Unbending>Unbending Shield

Improves survivability a lot, lasts long thanks to our high int, can be spammed thanks to brilliant, and gets you resolute, solutionning the problem of getting your cast interrupted (that you only have on mind plage and amplified wave, all the other abilities are quick casts). I would take this over more healing.

  • Vigorous/Refreshing defense

I didn't use it because I was starved for points and never felt the need for it (I have a very defensive party), but I see it being very good, combined with already high defenses and borrowed instinct being always on. It might be an even better defensive tool than unbending, I just really liked the perma Resolute.

  • Power strike

Expensive, especially as a multiclass when you cannot upgrade it to inspiring strike, But since you can proc Brilliant very easily by the time you get it, as well as multiple interrupts with amplified wave restoring your discipline, the cost is not that steep.
Getting this is the reason why I prefer mule kick over penetrating strike now, Power Strike taking the role of that armor penetrating heavy melee attack.

  • Passive

Armored grace if you are not using robes, weapon and shield style, fearless if you have no other way of mitigating tactical dilemma Shaken (otherwise unbending Shield will take care of your resolve afflictions), Uncanny luck.

 

Strategy and gameplay :

Cast Disciplined Strike and Borrowed instinct (always have both on), run into melee, then cast debuffs/dominate. You should have all your ennemies afflicted by plethora of debuffs in no time, letting your party wreak them . When focus piles up from your deception spell casts, use amplified wave liberally. Use mule kick for quick damage (and focus regen)/interrupt. Have unbending shield on when you start taking a bit of damage. When you trigger brilliant, feel free to, use your discipline more offensively (Power Strike!).

Conclusion:

There it is, my fantasy of a watcher running in the fray, hacking and slashing, and messing up ennemies minds is finally fulfilled.

Edited by Myrtillo
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11 minutes ago, Waski said:

Why no gipon prudensco (immunity for flanked) for armor?

It is a viable option (especially with access to armored grace), and it does look awesome, but I tend to avoid including items that are locked to specific reputations/story choices. Not everyone wants to be an enemy of the Principi ;) 
Also, the immunity to dex afflictions from Spidersilk Robes is a saving grace in a lot of the toughest fights. By mid game, being flanked is a really rare occurence.

Edited by Myrtillo
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With some points in athletics, armored grace and armor recovery reduction pet (cutthroat cosmo/abraham/nalvi), Contender's armor can be even faster than naked. Also provides better AR.

Immunity for dex afflictions can be achived by using captain's banquet. Svef and wood elve race gives you resistance for dex aff, so basically immunity fo persistent distraction and blunderbuss modal.

Did you tested how power strike works with aoe weapon, like WotEP?

Clear out would be very usefull for this build. You could:

1. Debuff multiple enemies at once with Kapana Taga

2. Deal nice damage with blunderbus in main hand + any weapon or striking shield in offhand, or WotEP

3. Push back enemies if flanked

Hot Razor Skevers food +1PL should stack with +1PL from Brilliant (as it's from passive ability), i think. It also gives you +2 pen

 

Edited by Powerotti
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5 hours ago, Powerotti said:

With some points in athletics, armored grace and armor recovery reduction pet (cutthroat cosmo/abraham/nalvi), Contender's armor can be even faster than naked. Also provides better AR.

Immunity for dex afflictions can be achived by using captain's banquet. Svef and wood elve race gives you resistance for dex aff, so basically immunity fo persistent distraction and blunderbuss modal.

Did you tested how power strike works with aoe weapon, like WotEP?

Clear out would be very usefull for this build. You could:

1. Debuff multiple enemies at once with Kapana Taga

2. Deal nice damage with blunderbus in main hand + any weapon or striking shield in offhand, or WotEP

3. Push back enemies if flanked

Hot Razor Skevers food +1PL should stack with +1PL from Brilliant (as it's from passive ability), i think. It also gives you +2 pen

 

 

I didn't play SSS with this character (yet, I actually just finished the first fight), but will give contender armor a try when I get it.
However, I like having the +5 accuracy with spells for party pet, as I tend to play with a spellcaster heavy party (wiz/contemplative/theurge + my psyblade, the 5th slot varying) and found it very valuable. It will be tough to part from it 😄
However, a 0 recov medium armor looks great on paper, even if I never felt the need for more armor than light in the beginning and none past mid levels.

Didn't test WotEP, as I stated I only played with 1 handed and (small) shield, but my guess is: very good for CC (cone stun), meh for damage (low base damage of WotEP do not benefit that well from +200%). But don't quote me on that it is just speculation.

About clear out, I am partial. I don't think it works the way you describe. With a blunderbuss in main hand, the swipe attack is executed with the offhand weapon/striking shield.
It can still be a good ability if you are using a strong debuffing weapon to apply it in a wide arc, but I see very few situations where it is better than using Mule Kick which has +10 acc and +25% damage on a single target. The character can already interrupt reliably in a crazy wide aoe with amplified wave. Also, it uses one of your precious PL6 ability points.

Finally as a general note I tend to not rely too much on high level food, as it is a quite rare ressource (unless you are willing to cheese the merchants with the wait button, which is not the way I play). I definitely used up all my shark soups for Belangra, though 😄

Edited by Myrtillo
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4 hours ago, Myrtillo said:
About clear out, I am partial. I don't think it works the way you describe. With a blunderbuss in main hand, the swipe attack is executed with the offhand weapon/striking shield.

It always use main hand, if mele weapon is equiped. At least it worked this way last time i cheked

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Still works, i checked it just now. Also, with hot razor skewers, ring of the marksman and hammering thoughts, penetration should be enough high for most enemies 😉. Add fire in the hole bounce, blunderbuss modal and avenging storm (helmet or scroll), and your enemies will melt together with your graphic card 😁

With power strike + WotEP i was curious about similar mechanics (weapon aoe*ability aoe), but it hits only one enemy with both WotEP and mortar, then do raw cone attack. If you care about maximum damage from PS, use some 2h weapon with empower (voidwheel, karaboru, chromostaff, amra or oathbreaker should be good).

Edited by Powerotti
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2 hours ago, Powerotti said:

Still works, i checked it just now.

Not in my game. Tried it with any combination of Fire in the Hole/Kitchen Stove in main hand and Magran's Shield/Modwyr in offhand. In 100% of the cases clear out hit with the offhand melee weapon or shield.

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1 hour ago, Ivanfyodorovich said:

I believe you have to reverse the order for it to work. Blunderbuss in Offhand, melee weapon in main. 

 

That would make even less sense. But no, it doesn't work: if you reverse it obviously does the primary attack... with the primary melee weapon 😄

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Last time I tried Clear Out with a ranged weapon (in main hand obviously) you just had to command the attack when at range. The char then would walk into melee range but still use the primary ranged weapon once he got there. Impressive with mortars. But I may very well be that this got patched out silently.

It worked with bashing shields as well as other melee weapons in the offhand. You just had to command it from ranged so that the game didn't pick the melee weapon right away.

Edited by Boeroer

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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