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Posted (edited)

 I feel as if I need to be a single class Cipher to get the most out of the Ascendant subclass. Once I get to max focus and become ascendant, I start casting Disintegration on everyone which is the highest power level spell I have at the moment (I'm only level 16). By the time the ascendant effect wears off and my focus resets to zero, I feel as if the number of casts I can get off amount to the same as if I didn't have the free focus costs. So if I'm at 240 focus and I wasn't Ascendant, I can cast Disintegration 4 times before reaching 0 focus. This is about the same amount of casts I can get off before the ascended effect wears off. So what's the point? Of course, the spells do more damage while ascended, but I don't know if it's worth picking the subclass for just the increase in power level.

I wanna add that if I pick a single-class Ascendant, there's the matter of not generating DPS quick enough to attain the ascended state. Also, the higher level Cipher spells aren't that great tbh.

Maybe a multiclassed Ascendant really shines once it gets access to level 7 spells. Anyone got recommendations for good level 7 Cipher spells to cast while ascended?

Edited by Seriphos

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If you do multiclass ascended you want bonuses to attack/casting speed and/or recovery and/or INT bonuses and/or MIG bonus and/or PEN bonuses.

You can achieve that via Berserker (+2 PEN, +30% attack/casting speed and +5 MIG via Frenzy, Bloodlust, most notably Blood Thirst, even AoE Staggered via spells+Spirit Frenzy).

Or Streetfighter (-50% recovery time, fast focus gain). Use mortars with powder burns.

One of the most popular, especially with DoTs, is Helwalker (+10 MIG, +10 INT, a little speed via Swift Strikes, +2 PEN, +12 ACC via Enduring Dance...).

Priest with high INT and Salvation of Time also works well with Ascendant. SoT prolongs ascended state as well.

You want speed and shorter recovery so you can cast faster while ascended. You want more INT so ascended and DoTs lasts longer, you want higher MIG so the ticks of DoTs are higher.

If you go single class Ascendant you want Time Siphon for the same reasons: cramp as many casts into the ascended phase as you can.

In general you want high DEX and Fast Cast passive. 

Bet thing is the power level bonus, not the 0 focus. Ascendants generate more focus per point of damage while not ascended. With Draining Whip (never take Biting Whip) also a SC Ascended can generate plenty of focus quickly. 

I personally find that Beguiler has the superior mechanic, but you can cheese around with Ascendant quite a bit (see Helwalker/Ascendant or Priest/Ascendant).

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Posted (edited)

What's DoT? Damage over time?

I'm currently running an Ascendent/Trickster for RP'ing purposes but I'm still min/maxing where I can. I have MIG 15 CON 3 DEX 22 PER 19 INT 19 RES 5, so I've got all those bases covered.

Plus, I'm using an Arbalest and make heavy use of the Rogue's Strike/Pierce the Bell ability to build up my focus at the start of battles which gives a whopping bonus of +5 PEN and +45% damage. I've also picked up all passives that give a bonus to PEN. So I've got that covered as well.

And I just checked, and it looks like I don't have the Rapid Casting ability...yet. I don't know how I missed that one. I'm using no armor (only regular clothing) so I have +0% recovery time. Plus, I'm using items to boost my INT.

And yes, I have Draining Whip.

TBH, generating focus is not the problem for me. I do that fairly quickly-- the problem is not getting enough casts off while in the ascended state which I'll now rectify with getting the Rapid Casting passive.

Edited by Seriphos

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Ascendant/Trickster has no significant synergies. I mean concerning the special mechanics of Ascendant. Maybe that's why you feel multiclassing Ascendant isn't worth it.

It is though if you find those speed synergies.

Although I personally prefer SC Ascendant due to the great PL8 and 9 abilities.


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Posted (edited)

I'm incredibly fragile, so I picked up Trickster for access to Illusion spells to boost my survivability. And the Rogue abilities like Escape and Smoke Veril are great for getting out of tough situations when my Cipher gets swarmed with enemy attention.

Which Cipher abilities would you consider great? 

 

Quote

It is though if you find those speed synergies.

So basically the MC Ascendant is useless except if you find speed synergies with another class... That's good to know.

Edited by Seriphos

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Not useless. That's a term that's used very often here but almost never is correct.

Not useless, but also not particularly special or effective. 


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I mean, pretty much any build is viable, even on the highest difficulty (as long as you don't go out of your way to make stupid decisions). I think what most people mean by the term "useless" is when comparing it to peak/optimal min/max standards.

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On 7/8/2019 at 1:52 AM, Boeroer said:

If you do multiclass ascended you want bonuses to attack/casting speed and/or recovery and/or INT bonuses and/or MIG bonus and/or PEN bonuses.

You can achieve that via Berserker (+2 PEN, +30% attack/casting speed and +5 MIG via Frenzy, Bloodlust, most notably Blood Thirst, even AoE Staggered via spells+Spirit Frenzy).

Or Streetfighter (-50% recovery time, fast focus gain). Use mortars with powder burns.

One of the most popular, especially with DoTs, is Helwalker (+10 MIG, +10 INT, a little speed via Swift Strikes, +2 PEN, +12 ACC via Enduring Dance...).

Priest with high INT and Salvation of Time also works well with Ascendant. SoT prolongs ascended state as well.

You want speed and shorter recovery so you can cast faster while ascended. You want more INT so ascended and DoTs lasts longer, you want higher MIG so the ticks of DoTs are higher.

If you go single class Ascendant you want Time Siphon for the same reasons: cramp as many casts into the ascended phase as you can.

In general you want high DEX and Fast Cast passive. 

Bet thing is the power level bonus, not the 0 focus. Ascendants generate more focus per point of damage while not ascended. With Draining Whip (never take Biting Whip) also a SC Ascended can generate plenty of focus quickly. 

I personally find that Beguiler has the superior mechanic, but you can cheese around with Ascendant quite a bit (see Helwalker/Ascendant or Priest/Ascendant).

What makes you like beguiler better? Do you have a go to combo for sc Beguiler?

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Posted (edited)

Think of beguilers like this:  Almost by definition, you want to be casting spells more than you want to be attacking-to-generate-focus-to-cast-spells.  Because if you'd be better off just attacking, you could do that at any time!

The beguiler mechanic works like this: If you are casting a Deception spell, you pay the focus cost normally.  But for every target you hit that has an affliction (including grazes, and INCLUDING the affliction you might have just applied with this very spell cast), you get 5+PL points of focus back.  If you hit multiple targets with a relatively low-focus-cost spell, you GAIN focus.  Even for higher-cost spells, if they hit multiple targets, their focus cost is significantly reduced.  The two stars for this: 1) Eyestrike (only costs 10 focus, at max level you gain 2 focus (5+PL 7) only hitting only 1 target, and if you hit 2 or more you rapidly turn a profit).  2) Phantom Foes (costs 20 focus, but affects a MUCH larger area, so it is very easy to rack up a lot of focus if the board is full).  Play your cards right, and you should be able to spend most of the fight casting Deception spells without needing to stop and make weapon attacks.

This shines in particular in multiclass with casters.  Normally that would be a bad choice because spellcasting from the other class doesn't generate you any focus.  But if your primary goal is casting Deception spells mostly/exclusively, you don't NEED to generate much if any focus to do that, so you're more or less free to cast either kind of spell without worry.  Psion has a very similar friendly-to-caster synergy because they generate focus even while spellcasting, but most people still prefer Beguiler overall for that role.

This also can be friendly for tanks, because there are a ton of fast-casting Deception spells which even a tank can safely cast without worry of interrupts, it plays well into the tank's role of board control, and the tank's typical downside of slow action speed and long recovery is mitigated by the generally long-term payoff of long-duration debuffs, which don't need huge throughput to get coverage.  On that note, Borrowed Instinct IS a Deception spell, and it is amazeballs-effective for a tank.

So what's the downside?  The chief downside is that beguilers' focus generation from attacking is poor compared to vanilla ciphers or ascendants.  With Draining Whip (the default, and the way you should basically always be thinking about your focus generation), vanilla ciphers get 100% Focus per point of damage, Ascendants get 125% Focus per point of damage, and Beguilers get 75% Focus per point of damage if the target has an affliction, or only 50% if the target does not have an affliction (although if you're in this situation the fight should be well advanced enough that you should at least have Flanked, so it's your own damn fault if the target isn't afflicted).  So if you wind up using up your focus, and either don't have enough to cast the Deception spell you want, or if it's late enough in the fight that there's no sufficient cluster of enemies to generate positive returns via your Deception focus mechanic, then you will be regaining focus more slowly than you otherwise would.  This is partially mitigated if you're saving up to cast Deception spells, because you will need to still save up the full price, but you'll still be getting some of it back even if you only hit one target.

Edited by Wotcha
correct ascendant focus generation
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If you do it right (high INT, hit as many enemies as possible with stuff like Phantom Foes, Eyestrike or Secret Horrors) you can alter between Deception spell and damaging spell (like Amplified Wave) without the need to attack with a weapon at all. 

Especially the high level passives that buff powers that target will, increase AoE based on held focus etc. are very nice for SC Beguilers.


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Could you make the case for picking Ascendant for any type of Cipher build whatsoever? Even one that spams charms all day long? It's simply because Ascendants have the fastest focus generation (150% with draining whip) out of every other subclass. I think Ascendants may be better than Beguilers at their own game.

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Only when you have a serious speed buff.

Beguiler is better if you don't want to stop casting (e.g. because your weapon dmg sucks anyway).

Ascendant needs to use his weapons every now and then to refill focus. And once he does ascend he wants to spam spells as fast as possible. Else he could have just spend his focus the normal way and might have had the same results (see Disintegration example - except PL bonus).

If you want to spam damaging spells and nothing else really fast then Ascendant may be your thing. But you'll have to pause casting in order to refill focus (with a weapon).

If you want to cast nonstop and are fine with alternating between cc and dmg a Beguiler may be better because you don't need to interrupt your spell casting.

Both are pretty great with Shared Nightmare: Beguiler's Deception spells can be cast without dropping below max focus (if you focus on deception only in that case) - giving you huge AoE with again gives you huge focus refunds. Ascendant will not spend focus while ascended and has more max focus which will lead to huge AoE sizes (that don't change) while ascended.

Edited by Boeroer

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