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I'm going to do a single class character for my first playthrough. I wanted to do a Spellsword, I didn't even realise initially there's a Spellblade dual class. So how viable to be a pure Wizard and focus on the Conjurer spells to summon weapons, augmented with the odd spell from other schools? And yeah, I know Josh says everything is viable in PoE, but there's viable and then there's scraping by barely after every fight. :)

If so, any suggestions for the starting stats? It's hard to pick. It seems like Intellect isn't that important since it doesn't appear to affect how long your things are summoned for, and AoE doesn't seem to be relevant here. I guess Dex to get things cast more quickly, but then Might, Perception, Resolve, and Consitution all seem important since you'll  be getting up close and nasty with the enemies. I'm really not sure what to go for here.

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My first advice is: Don't take Conjurer. It locks you out of to many good spells while the benefits are meh. Summoned weapons' quality scales with char level, not Power Level, so the additional PL won't do much for summoned weapons except longer duration.

The whole concept is viable because you get some nice self buffs - but mostly because of high level spells like Minoletta's Piercing Sigil or Cloak of Death.

I played a melee wizard with lots of RES and focus on defenses (buffs like Mirrored Image + Safeguard etc.) + Offensive Parry from Whispers of the Endless Paths. While there might be other class combos that rock Offensive Parry even more - it is cool to deal melee damage via retaliation while casting a lengthy spell. It works quite well - but only once you get up your buffs. But it was fun.

Obviously you can also use the summoned weapons like Spirit Lance which is strong. Never forget Essential Phantom when you have a potent weapon/armor setup - the phantom usually does pretty well and if you summon it while holding Spirit Lance in hands it will also have it. 

One summoned weapon that's very powerful but usually not worth investing in is Concelhaut's Draining Touch. It has the highest base damage of all one handed weapons, it deals corrode damage, has ok PEN, targets Will instead of Deflection (cast Miasma first to drop Will into nothingness) and also drains 20% of the dmg as health. And while it is my no.1 weapon for the Essential Phantom (where it will stay until the phantom vanishes) it's usually not that useful because it vanishes after a successful hit. But there's a trick:

Don't pick the spell at level-up but rather get a grimoire with the spell in it. Cast it from the grimoire. Now switch to another grimoire which doesn't have the spell before attacking. Now you can hit with it as often as you want - it will stay until the end of the fight. 

If you get a shield for the offhand you can be more tanky - if you choose a club with modal for the offhand you can drop Will even further (by 25 - together with Miasma that's -65 Will). Crits are common with this method. Also in this case: Essential Phantom is great, even though it can't use weapon modals. 

Edited by Boeroer
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1 hour ago, Boeroer said:

My first advice is: Don't take Conjurer. It locks you out of to many good spells while the benefits are meh.

i would kindly disagree here. It is true that conjurer doesn't get as much of a benefit from the +2 PL as a few other subclasses, there are still a few spells that get decent benefit (e.g. corrosive siphon), but more importantly their unique summon that gives you a guaranteed, stacking +1 PL bonus, along with some random other bonuses. you do miss out on illusion magic, but you still get arcane veil; but most importantly the survivability of a conjurer comes from reach (qstaffs and pikes) or range (kalakoth, black bow), not from evasion.

i think the bigger deal is that a single-class wizard isn't going to help out too much for a dedicated spellsword; my argument that the conjurer doesn't suck is simply because you get a bunch of other stuff at +1 PL as well, which may not be "on theme" for a spellsword (though i think slickens and frozen pillars and even binding web are decent complement). and citzal's enchanted armory at AL9 isn't worth the payoff for a spellsword, except on lower difficulties, simply because the survivability of standing behind a tank while using a reach/ranged weapon is almost infinitely greater than relying on an autoscaling breastplate that won't help significantly defend against the boosted PEN of potd and maybe even veteran difficulty.

 

that being said, if you're set on a single-class wizard, an enchanter might be a better choice. you get access to illusion magic as well, and the spells you miss out on (transmutation, evocation) are more likely the ones less "on-theme" for a spellsword. The +10% recovery penalty doesn't even hurt you too much because summoned weapons don't have any recovery. the class bonus is a little less good than the conjurer, but might be worth the tradeoff to pick up more "on-theme" magic from the illusion school.

 

5 hours ago, Matroska said:

If so, any suggestions for the starting stats? It's hard to pick. It seems like Intellect isn't that important since it doesn't appear to affect how long your things are summoned for, and AoE doesn't seem to be relevant here. I guess Dex to get things cast more quickly, but then Might, Perception, Resolve, and Consitution all seem important since you'll  be getting up close and nasty with the enemies. I'm really not sure what to go for here.

1. intellect does influence how long things are summoned for

2. intellect will boost the AoE of kalakoth's minor blights and citzal's spirit lance, so can be relevant. it will also influence how long the debuff of black bow will last for.

you can forget about resolve, unless you are going to go with boroer's suggestion with a shield. the way defenses work (especially on PotD) you have to invest in a lot to get good returns from them, which sorta necessitates a shield (which itself obviates the ability to use most of the summoned weapons). arguably you can worry less about constitution because you have Vital Essence at AL2, which is an easy way to get Fit (+5 con) for a real long time. you can also pick up Tough earlier as a single-class, which gives you a massive health boost.

perception can be important, but a wizard can just cast Aware if they're having trouble landing some abilities. Has really short duration early on, but scales generously all the way to level 20, and can be extended with a Wall of Draining to last an entire fight.

that sorta leaves dex, might, and intellect as important stats. Personally I would never dump intellect below like 15 for most caster-y classes and only go down that low if it can be justified (a conjurer can sorta justify it because many of their spells last so long innately). Dex is the king stat for offense - it makes your spell casting faster (still matters for a spellblade/sword-type because a faster cast time means less chance of being interrupted) and increases your net damage close to 3% per point (whereas might--because it's an additive bonus with so many other bonuses--is closer to 2% on average); so even though you can boost dex easily with Fleet Feet or Deleterious Alacrity of Motion it's still worth investing in a lot (versus perception or con). that being said, if you do want to use something like concelhaut's corrosive siphon or a draining spell like ninagauth's missiles, might is more important because it's more important to get more out of those spell casts instead of doing them slightly faster. if you put a gun to my head to decide right now, i would probably do a stat spread like 15m 10c 18d 9p 15i 8r, with any racial bonuses added in on top of that, and then choose whatever +1 stat from background you want that gives you might, dex, or intellect.

 

1 hour ago, Boeroer said:

I played a melee wizard with lots of RES and focus on defenses (buffs like Mirrored Image + Safeguard etc.) + Offensive Parry from Whispers of the Endless Paths. While there might be other class combos that rock Offensive Parry even more - it is cool to deal melee damage via retaliation while casting a lengthy spell. It works quite well - but only once you get up your buffs. But it was fun.

yeah, this is a real fun way to play. if you don't want to do 2h sword, there are shields that do some retaliation attacks (not as much damage though) for an even more defensive build. just be careful about arcane dampeners :)

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If you summon your familiar you can't summon Essential Phantom (I mean you can, but what was the point summoning the familiar then?). And this (for me) is the biggest flaw of the Conjurer: you are specialized on conjuring/summoning stuff but can't have your class defining familiar and a phantom at the same time. 

And yes, you lose access to all the illusion spells. Those are not only some really nice self-buffs but also very good stuff for (melee) wizards in general, like Dazzling Lights (lvl-1 access to Daze=-4 PEN but also great to lure enemies from stealth), Miasma (not only lowers Will like crazy as I said but also drops enemies' ACC by 10 through -10 PER, stacking with other ACC debuffs like from Blind from Chillfog or Curs of the Blackend Sight), Repulsive Visage, Enervating Terror and Wall of Many Colors - amongst others. 

Besides that you'll give up on all evocations, too. You will never be able to cast a Fireball and friends. This may not have been your go-to spell in the first place since you are a spellsword. But skipping them all?
And then there's the recovery malus for all other spells that are not conjurations. All in all it's not worth the potential +2/+3 PL on some of the conjuration spells that do actually profit from it (like Death Ring or whatever). 

Now - if you never planned to summon a phantom then my first point is not a big deal - but given the synergy of phantom + summoned weapons it's just another drawback. 

And what makes the single class "Spellsword" worthwhile is - as I said above - the possibility to reach Piercing Sigil and Cloak of Death (and getting to Draconic Fury earlier which is also a beast - and here th +10% recovery time would also hurt). They don't stack too well so you shouldn't use them at the same time. But those are pretty cool for a melee wizard. Especially if he also uses Offensive Parry with Whispers otEP. By the way Draconic Fury's lashes don't work with the AoE of Spirit Lance or WotEP.

I agree on the INT: it's still important. Self buffs and summons do get influenced by INT and so does AoE of Spirit Lance or WotEP etc.

A nice trick for melee wizards: once you get the Mask of the Weyc you can use Wall of Draining to prolong its +50 deflection buff. Since it comes from an item and is passive (automatically starts once combat starts) it stacks with everything, making you basically untouchable if you also use self-buffs like Mirrored Image etc. Offensive Parry will trigger nearly 100% of times then. 

My recommendation for subclass would either be vanilla or Blood Mage. Blood Mage + Corrosive Siphon is a pretty nice combo. You can spam it at some point since the healing you receive from multiple opponents will be way higher than the damage you get from Blood Sacrifice (given your defenses are good so you don't get pommeled too hard). I seriously don't recommend any wizard subclass besides vanilla or Blood Mage for any build (besides some really special weird builds or the occasional Evoker who hopes for double casts). Their drawbacks are worse than their benefits if you are looking at a whole playthrough. It would be different if all spells from grimoires could be cast no matter the subclass and if the limitations were only for "learned" spells. It would also be different if their special abilities such as Conjure Familiar (can't stack with other summons, can't choose the familiar) or Form of the Fearsome Brute (look at the armor...) etc. weren't too weak. 

And yes: Arcane Dampeners will screw you. You could counter with Thrust of Tattered Veils - but it's an evocation. ;)

Edited by Boeroer
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32 minutes ago, Boeroer said:

A nice trick for melee wizards: once you get the Mask of the Weyc you can use Wall of Draining to prolong its +50 deflection buff. Since it comes from an item and is passive (automatically starts once combat starts) it stacks with everything, making you basically untouchable if you also use self-buffs like Mirrored Image etc. Offensive Parry will trigger nearly 100% of times then. 

😮

is this tested? I always assumed it was just going to cast the Arcane Veil effect, not be a separately implemented passive item buff. sweeet jebus. could a wizard/priest of wael do arcane veil as well then (they don't clash?) for a stonking +100 deflection?

 

33 minutes ago, Boeroer said:

And yes: Arcane Dampeners will screw you. You could counter with Thrust of Tattered Veils - but it's an evocation. ;)

in such a case a conjurer should flee by casting arkemyr's brilliant departure-... oh wait, oh no

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3 hours ago, thelee said:

is this tested? I always assumed it was just going to cast the Arcane Veil effect, not be a separately implemented passive item buff. sweeet jebus. could a wizard/priest of wael do arcane veil as well then (they don't clash?) for a stonking +100 deflection?

yeah,  tested 

198 def with WotEP and 11(9+BB) resolve and non deflection boosting armor, 

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8 hours ago, Boeroer said:

...

 

10 hours ago, thelee said:

...

Thanks for all the responses, it helps a lot. One thing I just realised I should've said before; I'm playing in turn-based mode. Does that change any of the advice above? I've noticed the duration of things, at least in turn-based, doesn't have the blue highlightable text which you'd normally get if it can change based on your stats. For example, Eldritch Aim says it lasts for 1 round and it looks like that's a set thing. If it doesn't go above that, that seems terrible (even though it's a free action, it's still taking up a per-battle cast).

Edited by Matroska

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I can't say anything about turn based since I only tried it briefly. But judging by what I read about it it's mostly action speed/recovery time that has less impact in TB mode. Durations + INT bonus should still play a role.

Another thing is: the miss/graze ratio in the TB mode is different (misses less likely to happen). So maybe Offensive Parry isn't that strong here. But others might have to verify what I'm only speculating about right now. If it is so then stuff like Piercing Sigil and Cloak of Death (and also Repulsive Visage, Flame Shield, Draconic Fury and other spells that help to avoid getting hit without using defenses but CC) become even more impactful.

Edited by Boeroer

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11 hours ago, Matroska said:

For example, Eldritch Aim says it lasts for 1 round and it looks like that's a set thing

it's actually extremely weird. The game still tracks the per-second duration under the hood, but then rounds at the very end.

  • all durations less than 6s in RTwP become 1 round
  • all other durations are rounded down to the nearest 6s increment
  • chanter chants are specifically adjusted to have more meaningful durations for TB mode.

This means there's a huge range where effects just last 1 round, from 0.1s to 11.9 s.

It also means that intellect has non-linear returns. For example, with no PL Scaling, the difference in duration on "Eldritch Aim" between 13 intellect (11.5s innate duration that rounds down to 1 round) and 14 intellect (12s innate duration rounds to 2 rounds) is massive, but then you need a gigantic amount of additional intellect to make a further difference in duration (you would need 26 intellect to get up to 3 rounds, which is possible but not exactly a number a causal build can hit; though with PL scaling a three-round Eldritch Aim is pretty easy to hit, and a four-round Eldritch Aim becomes feasible).

I think @Raven Darkholme did some initial numbers in a video somewhere and concluded that 15 intellect is a good "all purpose" target for durations, due to how base durations tend to cluster around multiples of 5. But for great success, you should actually find the abilities and spells you care about the most and do the numbers to see what you need to get an extra round or two of duration (keeping in mind that PL Scaling gives you multiplicative returns).

PS. I actually don't know how effects like Wall of Draining or Salvation of Time or Ooblit work in TB mode (I have only slightly played around with TB mode). The game might literally track all effects internally as seconds even in TB mode and so those effects (which give +1s/tick, +10s, and +3s to effects, respectively) might give you partial round durations that can be combined with other partial rounds to give you additional round of duration on things. At least, that would be much better than the possibility that Wall of Draining and Ooblit do nothing whatsoever or that Salvation of Time has "wasted" effect beyond 1 round.

Edited by thelee
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6 hours ago, thelee said:

 

PS. I actually don't know how effects like Wall of Draining or Salvation of Time or Ooblit work in TB mode (I have only slightly played around with TB mode). The game might literally track all effects internally as seconds even in TB mode and so those effects (which give +1s/tick, +10s, and +3s to effects, respectively) might give you partial round durations that can be combined with other partial rounds to give you additional round of duration on things. At least, that would be much better than the possibility that Wall of Draining and Ooblit do nothing whatsoever or that Salvation of Time has "wasted" effect beyond 1 round.

I'm not sure if seconds are tracked internally or not, but very short durations are usually very beneficial on tb since they just get rounded up to 1 round.

A very good example is the fighter's knockup from the upgraded knockdown, while in rtwp it is less than 2 seconds even with goodish Int, on tb it gets rounded up to 1 round, which is almost the same duration of the distracted debuff which is really long with good Int. 

This gets even sillier if you delay your turn both distracted and knock up will end at exactly the same time, not only can you permanently knock up an opponent (or several with wotep) but with delayed turn the distracted will end each turn, so if you play a tactician you will lose and regain brilliant each turn in a 1v1 or if you can knockup several opponents with wotep and kiting them so they#re clustered, gaining 2 resources per turn, more than you can spend with an ability that costs only 1 discipline!

 

Ooblit is also insanely good with tb and SOT, doubling SOTs duration (originally it's 1 round, you can however get it up to 2 rounds with real good Int, so then ooblit wouldn't double it but just add 50% which is still really good ofc.

Draining wall also is quite good since on TB it is really easy to reposition and make the enemies walk over the wall or even use pull of eoara to pull them over it and then they'll walk back over towards you again proccing another tick.

I haven't really seen any wasted durations so i would assume it is always at least one round added.

One thing which is really iffy with not maxed Int is effects not procced directly by you however, for example brilliant cloak can totally proc during an opponents turn and run out before it's your turn, which is why these days I always max int even on tb.

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