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Posted (edited)

The Shattered Mind - no one knows whether it refers to the mind of his foes or of the Wild Orlan Cipher...Be that as it may, whenever he wields his fearsome warhammer "Shatterstar" most foes would be wise to run for cover.

The idea behind this build was to make a melee cipher. @Raven Darkholme created one and chronicled his entire POTD solo adventure on YouTube under the moniker Victor Creed. Another player called Vlado Bl on Youtube had a dual wielding melee cipher who was fearsome to behold. What follows is my build and tactics used to obtain the Ultimate achievement. I used the @Wodjee YouTube video for his Ultimate Run with a rogue as inspiration and almost carbon-copied Act I. During Act II, I started doing things differently, but several tougher fights were still done using his blueprint. Although, with a cipher several fights should be done differently to use the cipher's strengths.

This specific build relies quite heavily on disabling foes and then getting crits to quickly build focus. It is quite simple in concept and I found him to be quite powerful as long as I kept at least one foe disabled as a "focus battery".

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The Shattered Mind

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Difficulty: PotD v. 3.02 onwards – solo

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Class: Cipher

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Race: Wild Orlan - I chose Wild Orlan as I wanted the defensive bonus from Defiant Resolve. Any race will do as combat tactics are more important than the racial bonuses.

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Background: Rauatai - Background : Drifter (+1 Stealth / + 1 Mechanics) - I tend to always choose Drifter as the Stealth and Mechanics bonuses are extremely useful in Act I.

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Stats:

MIG: 19 (Base 15 -1 Orlan +1 Gift from the Machine +1 Galawain's Boon +3 Garodh's Chorus)

CON: 19 (Base 11 +1 Rauatai +4 Iron Circle + 3 Woodland Trails Resting Bonus)

DEX: 17 (Base 13 +4 Viettro’s Formal Footwear

PER: 18 (Base 11 +2 Orlan +1 Song of the Heavens +4 Mantle of the Excavator)

INT: 20 (Base 16 +4 Gwyn’s Band of Union)

RES: 10 (Base 9 +1 Orlan)

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Skills:

Stealth: 12 (Base 8 +1 Cipher +1 Drifter +1 Blooded Hunter +1 Dungeon Delver)

Athletics: 4 (Base 1 +1 Galawain's Boon +2 Woodland Trails Resting Bonus)

Lore: 11 (Base 7 +1 Cipher +3 Viettro’s Formal Footwear)

Mechanics: 8 (Base 5 +1 Cipher +1 Drifter +1 Dungeon Delver)

Survival: 6 (Base 4 +2 Mantle of the Excavator)

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Talents obtained at level-up:

Draining Whip - because every Cipher needs as much focus as quickly as possible

Weapon and Shield Style - I like weapon and shield style as it increases my odds of survival.

Biting Whip - more damage = more focus. What's not to like?

Spirit of Decay - to increase damage from Antipathetic Field and corrosion's green colour matches nicely with my armour.

Greater Focus - I know several posters regard this as a wasted talent, but it allowed me to cast Borrowed Instinct at the beginning of the encounter without needing to attack first. This can be a real game changer for difficult fights.

Bear's Fortitude - because the worst afflictions target Fort.

Deep Pockets - because I am addicted to scrolls.

Psychic Backlash - to make dragon fights easier.

 

Story talents:

The Merciless Hand - this build needs to crit hard.

Gift From the Machine - why not?

Blooded Hunter - for the stealth bonus

Song of the Heavens - again, why not?

Dungeon Delver - extra crit damage, +1 stealth and +1 mechanics - sign me up!

Dozen's Luck - why not?

Flick of the Wrist - why not?

Galawain's Boon - +1 Might, but any option could really be chosen

Scale Breaker - no dragonslayer is complete without this ability.

 

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Weapon Set 1: Shatterstar (Legendary / Durgan-Reinfored) / Litte Saviour or Aila Braccia (Legendary / Durgan-Reinforced for both shields)

Weapon Set 2: St. Ydwen's Redeemer or Steadfast and one of the above shields depending on the foes faced.

 

Head: Garodh's Chorus (Preservation options)

Chest: Argwes Adra (Legendary / Durgan-Reinforced)

Hands: Gauntlets of Swift Action

Ring 1: Iron Circle

Ring 2: Gwyn’s Band of Union

Feet: Viettro’s Formal Footwear

Waist: Looped Rope

Pet: Concelhaut’s Skull

Quick Items: Potion of Deleterious Alacrity of Motion, Potion of Infuse with Vital Essence, Potion of Major Endurance, Scroll of Valour, Scroll of Moonwell, Scroll of Defense

 

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Cipher Powers:

Level 1

Antipathetic Field - One of the best damage dealing powers available. Combine this with Combusting Wounds from a Ring of Searing Flames and watch enemies melt.

Whisper of Treason - I used this way too infrequently, but it is a great power. Wreak havoc in the enemies' back line or use this to neutralise those pesky spellcasters.

Tenuous Grasp - Can be cast from stealth, but the results are a little unpredictable. Did not use it much.

Eyestrike, Mindwave and Soul Shock - never once used them in this run

Level 2

Mental Binding - This is the build's bread and butter power. A paralyzed foe is a good focus battery cause crits are easier to land. The AOE can also cause enemies to be stuck which allows the cipher to reposition. Unless I wanted to do damage to a larger group of foes, I preferred this over Silent Scream.

Recall Agony - Great power once you have Disintegrate.

Psychovampiric shield - Did help me survive until I got Borrowed Instinct, but thereafter it saw no use.

Phantom Foes - could have been a useful power if I had chosen Apprentice's Sneak Attack as a talent, but I did not have issues dealing damage, therefore I chose a different route.

Mind Blades - never used this once in this run

Level 3

Secret Horrors - This is a great primer for my Disintegrate combo as it targets will and sickens them leading to a Fort debuff.

Fractured Volition - Once Fort has been debuffed with Secret Horrors, this has a much better chance of landing. Once this lands, the debuff allows Disintegrate to land much easier.

Soul Ignition - If I was not sure that my Disintegrate combo would kill of an opponent, I added Soul Ignition to the mix.

Puppet Master - In theory this should be better than Whisper of Treason, but I hardly used this. A dominated foe does not have any debuffs whereas a charmed foe does. I like it if the enemies can at least kill the charmed foe, therefore I hardly ever used this. A valid alternative though.

Level 4

Silent Scream - The big AOE damage dealer for a cipher. Useful at times, but me mindful than the debuff for stun is not quite as good as the debuff for paralyze. Therefore, it may be better to paralyze tougher foes with Mental Binding.

Body Attunement - Great power for reducing DR of targets. Effect ends once the target dies which is unfortunate. You can either use it to buff your own DR, i.e. choose a foes you do not need to take down quickly, or to debuff a foe with high DR.

Wild Leech - Another great power. Unfortunately the effect ends once the target dies. Use it in the same way as Body Attunement and it is very powerful.

Mind Lance - I used this a couple of times when I had surplus focus and everyone was already stunned from Silent Scream.

Level 5

Borrowed Instinct - Game changing power. I chose Greater Focus just so I could cast this as a combat opener.

Ringleader - never used in any of my playthroughs.

Level 6

Disintegrate - Best single target damage dealing power and very useful against dragons. Typical combo would be Secret Horrors, Fractured Volition, Disintegrate, Recall Agony and Soul Ignition. If they all hit, then nothing remains standing.

Level 7

Time Parasite - Once I got access to this power, it would be the first I would cast in combat. However, that meant that I did not get off a Borrowed Instinct that quickly. Therefore I changed my combat openings to Potion of DoAM, Borrowed Instinct and only then Time Parasite once the potion was about to run out.

Stasis Shell - Never used

 

Edited by grausch

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Posted (edited)

Survival Guide for the Shattered Mind

As discussed above, Act I was based on Wodjee's guide. With the exception of the Caed Nua throne room, anyone can complete Act I with the minimum amount of fuss. To complete the throne room, use the Bronze Horn figurine to summon the Animat and let it die fighting the spirits while you hide near the stairwell. Close the door behind you to ensure combat ends once the animat dies. In order to kill Maerwald, I chose to use a Potion of Fleet Feet to ensure I could get both the beetles and the spiders in on the act while I hid in his room. Sometimes it works perfectly, other times you will need to fight one of the blights. Leave the rest of the Endless Paths until you have Soulbound weapons that need upgrading (Steadfast, Unlabored Blade and Stormcaller) as level 2 and 3 should allow you to max them out quite easily.

Once I got to Act 2, I bought Shatterstar quite quickly. Still used Wodjee's guide, but I went back to Act I to clean up some easy quests. I also modified the quest sequences slightly but still followed his template for encounters, i.e. Rotfinger Gloves and Ring of Searing Flames. If you use the Antipathetic Field in conjunction with the Combusting Wounds from the Ring, the damage output can be very, very good. Cliaban Rilag presents a unique challenge, but the solution presented here helps, i.e. Stealth 12, Mechanics 8, Lore 4, Rite of Walking Shadows. With the Boots of Stealth and the Gloves of Mechanics, this should be easily achievable.

 

Once I got to Act 3, I had enough freedom to do quests my way. I can't remember exactly when I when to Stalwart, but the same strategy of keeping one foe paralyzed, using Antipathetic Field and Combusting Wounds worked quite well. WM1 was difficult, but manageable. For my Ultimate run, I used a test char and tended to perform difficult fights at least 3 times before attempting them with my Ultimate save. WM2 was a cakewalk and most of the dragons too. Everything relating to Concelhaut was tough and Llengrath too - there I chose the most direct route I could and did not clear any more of the maps than necessary.

After defeating Llengrath quite easily, my first attempt at Thaos resulted in a very quick victory. Thereafter though, I got brought back to earth quite quickly. Once Despondent Blows and Devotions for the Faithful landed, I could never hit anything. The only way I found to neutralise those spells was to run around until they expired. A ring of suppress affliction may have been useful... I was lucky with my Ultimate save as the top judge sometimes buffs first and sometimes attacks first. If he buffed first the fight would have looked very different.

Edited by grausch

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Posted (edited)

I did spend a fair amount of time running around with the Nalrend bounty. Based on how I play the game now, I probably could have used Moonwell and some potions and hacked it out, but I was not comfortable with too much risk at this point.

 

Edited by grausch
Started youtube video at the beginning

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Concelhaut - I chose to use Steadfast for this bounty due to the Ancient Death Guards causing the Terrified affliction which of course debuffs Accuracy so much that it becomes impossible to hit anything. Steadfast granted immunity to Terrified, but it did not do enough damage to the Death Guards to allow me to keep them paralyzed. Therefore I used Wodjee's strategy of using Scrolls of Twin Stones. I also used these scrolls to clear a path to Concelhaut in Craigholdt Bluffs. However, while I did manage to complete this quest, I was never happy with how I accomplished it. It seemed that I needed 10 Scrolls way too often - ok, only twice, but I used tons of them on this quest.

 


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Unfortunately I forgot to record the fight against the Sky Dragon. However, I can report that it was one of the tougher fights as I did not have any adds that could be used as focus batteries. Concelhaut saved my skin in that battle and thereafter I started using potions and scrolls a little better. It was still a work in progress though, but as can be seen in the video of my fight against the Adra Dragon, I started on the right path. Still needed to use Potions of DAoM though...

 


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The Alpine Dragon was pretty easy due to the number of adds blocking the dragon from getting to me. Moonwell helped and this fight was a good example of my Disintegrate combo hitting properly. Not much else to say.

 


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Magran's Faithful was quite a tough bounty. My test cipher died quite a few times until I found the spot at the tree. The Frozen Lance walked over this bounty quite easily using his nuking tactics. However, with the potions, scrolls and proper positioning, I managed to win the test fights frequently enough to make me comfortable with this fight before I attempted it with the Ultimate save.

 


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The Brynlod bounty was another that required smart positioning and quite a lot of tests before I was comfortable doing this fight with my Ultimate save. The chanters were a particular thorn in my side and as with the Magran's Faithful bounty, I did not really use Whispers of Treason. In hindsight, that could have made the fight somewhat easier. I could not use Wodjee's tactics as I had killed the enemies at the entrance to the temple. Not sure if I would have been able to complete that temple quest the back way though, so this was the only option I had.

 


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Posted (edited)

This is where I almost died due to video recording issues...did not start recording where I wanted and then jumping around with the recording software and not pausing at the right time almost ended this run. Ironically, the test runs with my test save were pretty easy. Looking at the video now, this fight was one of the tougher ones when compared to my test runs. The one Vithrack next to the Radiant Spore spawned in an unusual spot. Usually I was able Disintegrate all of them from my Moonwell position. The end result still looks quite decent, but I was a little worried after the start if the fight.

 

Edited by grausch

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After having a really easy run with my test character, I decided to show how I did Caryon's Scar. The Lagufaeth were already cleared as they had some treasure I wanted, but it does show just how powerful Mental Binding really is. Getting to the Lair of the Eyeless took some time, but never got out of control.

 


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The Kraken itself was a fairly easy fight. Unfortunately I managed to not record the fight with my Ultimate save, therefore I redid it with my test character after the fact.

 


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Llengrath was a fair bit easier than expected. Charming the acolyte seems to be key to this encounter. I even managed to survive one of the test runs where I was grazed by Form of the Helpless Beast by Llengrath. Was quite confident going into this fight.

 


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Posted (edited)

Thaos is where things really went wrong. My first crack at him ended up with both judges being dead after the first hit each. The whole fight was probably over in less than a minute. The second test run ended with me dying, as well as the third. I probably did about fifteen or more test runs and probably only beat half of them. If the Judge buffed, I lost the fight. If he chose to attack, I stood a chance if I managed to destroy him before he buffed. The Headsman was usually easy. If they had buffed during my Ultimate run, I would have run around trying to not aggro the Headsman and just waited for their buffs to expire. It sort of worked with my test character...Not really happy with this fight as it was the only one where I probably had a 50% chance of survival.

 

Edited by grausch

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Posted (edited)

I was not happy at all about the previous fight vs Thaos. Spent quite a fair bit of time reviewing Raven Darkholme's video of his Thaos fight again. Ironically, I encountered the same bug he did (twice) where the game does not respond to any actions and needs to be force-quit.

A key to this fight seemed to be neutralising Woedica's Judge as quickly as possible. I tried a couple of times to paralyze him with Mental Binding as the opening move, but had about a 50% chance of succeeding and if it did not work, then I wasted too much time and focus which made winning the fight almost impossible. Using A Scroll of Valor increased the chances of hitting with Mental Binding, but also meant I still had Aila Braccia equipped when the first Cleansing Flame was cast at me. Usually the first Cleansing Flame either missed or got reflected back at Thaos. It only hit once out of 5 attempts and it was the only time I lost the fight. I have also had one attempt where I needed to wait for the Judge's buffs to expire. He will recast Devotions for the Faithful and as long as I avoided that I was fine. The Headsman never lasted long in any of my runs.

Typical fight went as follows: Judge paralyzed -> Thaos hits himself with Cleansing Flame and goes into stasis -> Judge destroyed with Redeemer -> Thaos gets back up and rejoins the fight -> I take him out with melee (or Cleansing Flame kills him again) -> Thaos dies -> I paralyze the Headsman and he gets taken out quickly

If Cleansing Flame does not hit Thaos then the fight can be significantly longer but still winnable. If Cleansing Flame hits me while Woedica's Judge is still alive odds of survival are pretty slim. Beating both Thaos and the Judge if they are buffed is something I did not manage to do. If the Judge is down when Cleansing Flame hit me, then it is manageable assuming I did not get confused, dominated, etc.

Ring of Suppress Affliction may have helped to survive a Cleansing Flame hit. Did not try it as I only got hit with Cleansing Flame once. In any event here is the final fight again with my test character (for the additional information available). Much, much better fight this time. Oh, and don't forget to ALT-TAB before the fight as the auto-pause does not always trigger.

 

Edited by grausch

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