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BLUF: Hung up on the decision to go Vaniila Wiz/Helwalker or Blood Mage/Helwalker and optimization choices (POTD, all DLC content, with a story companion party)

I've looked at some of Cyrus_Blackfeather's and Whimper's builds on the list but they are somewhat dated so don't know if they are viable. I have also seen Waski's solo mega boss fights with a Sage (BM/HW) but don't know if that will work with a party or if it's better to just go vanilla wizard with a party.

***I understand the different playstyles and have messed around with them in some old saves.***

Context:
I played through POE 1 a long time ago as a Cipher and recently revisited it as a Wizard. I am now looking to play through Deadfire on PoTD as a similar character with a full party of my team from POE1, plus extras (Eder, Pallegina, Xoti, and Ydwin) . I've played through on Veteran difficulty and PoTD with other classes to include Votary, Arcane Knight, SC Wizard, and Transcendent (with other party combinations), but never as a Sage. 

I found some of the Paladin multi-classes fun, but "safe" and I tend to like the higher risk/reward play-style better. I also am a big fan of versatility and typically gravitate to casters, but fast paced melee is also appealing. 

With that said, and after reading through many of the topics on these boards I am finding it difficult to decide between between blood mage or vanilla mage for the xxx/Helwalker as the optimal choice. From what I understand for Solo runs the Blood Mage is optimal but would it still be fun and viable with a party or would vanilla wiz end up more powerful with party support?

Any other tips or advice regarding race, culture, etc are also welcome.

Thanks in advance!



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2 hours ago, SavaSic3118 said:

With that said, and after reading through many of the topics on these boards I am finding it difficult to decide between between blood mage or vanilla mage for the xxx/Helwalker as the optimal choice. From what I understand for Solo runs the Blood Mage is optimal but would it still be fun and viable with a party or would vanilla wiz end up more powerful with party support?

Blood Mage is really powerful. There are some obvious "tricks" that you can use that make blood mage particularly powerful for solo builds, but unlike some tricky solo approaches I know of (tactician mostly), the class doesn't lose much power when in a party... you just have different power.

 

I haven't tried Blood Mage + Helwalker before, but it might be worth testing to see if Blood Sacrifice generates wounds. If so, then it seems to me that a Blood Mage + Helwalker would just be way better than vanilla wizard + helwalker, especially for a high risk/reward build. Not only would you be able to get spells back, but doing so would give you more wounds, which means more might and (eventually) more intellect. Sounds juicy.

Edited by thelee
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@thelee thanks for the feedback. That's kind of what I was thinking but wasn't sure. I will definitely test it out. 

I've read, what I think is, your FAQ also and just wanted to say it's very good, thanks for the work on it. 

 

 

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44 minutes ago, thelee said:

I haven't tried Blood Mage + Helwalker before, but it might be worth testing to see if Blood Sacrifice generates wounds.

It generates and it is super easy to manage how much wounds you have any given momen with thunderous blows (instacast, no recovery) and blood sacrifice( sub 1sec cast, no recovery)

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If you have low CON and don't time it right a Blood Sacrifice can kill you though.

Getting Wounds as a Wizard/Monk is easy anyway due to Alacrity - which grants a constant stream of wounds without any surprises and doesn't even mess with Dance of Death. And it scales its damage with PL as well so at higher levels the wound stream is really good. Once had a Nalpasca/Wizard Sage and the incoming wounds were too many to handle basically. ;)

I'd still use Bloodmage though - also because you can use Concelhaut's Corrosive Siphon unlimited times and that helps a lot. 

Also draining weapons with Swift Flurry can be cool when doing Bloodmage. Most players who are fiddling with Sage think about Spirit Lance. But Draining Touch + club with modal in offhand + Miasma + Swift Flurry/Heartbeat Drumming is a lot of fun and really powerful. It needs some casts and one grimoire switching before going melee though. If one doesn't like that micro but rather wants to rush into battle asap then it's not good. But once you get Stunning Surge... man. It's difficult not to crit with Draining Touch if your opponent's Will is suffering from a -65 debuff... and multihits with SF/HBD all drain life. Also thematically it's cool: A monastic Bloodmage, draining life with a nasty "unarmed" attack. :) By the way: if you use dual fists and then summon Draining Touch you will not be dual wielding anymore but instead the DT will be interpreted as a single weapon in the main hand.

 

Edited by Boeroer
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@Boeroer Thanks for the recommendations and advice. I definitely did not think about the possibility of using draining touch like that, although I feel like I saw this in a video somewhere, maybe on YouTube. 

@Waski, @thelee, and @Boeroer what would you guys recommend as far as race/species? I know the Nature Godlike is probably optimal but I don't really like the look of them/their portraits. My MC in POE1 is a wood elf but I almost feel like a Pale Elf or even a human may be better for this class/playstyle. Human for the fighting spirit, or pale elf getting the DR ? 

 

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I think wood elf is totally fine. Resistance against DEX afflictions means hobbled is out, immobilized turns to hobbled and paralyzed to immobilized. Those are afflictions that annoy a mobile monk the most (besides other hard CC). Wild Orlan is also good because becoming frightened or even terrified is annoying as well. But the look is not everyone's taste. Human is also good because you will get bloodied no question.

It doesn't really matter that much though. 

 

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1 hour ago, Boeroer said:

...Wild Orlan is also good ... But the look is not everyone's taste...

That is not nice !

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10 hours ago, SavaSic3118 said:

@Waski, @thelee, and @Boeroer what would you guys recommend as far as race/species? I know the Nature Godlike is probably optimal but I don't really like the look of them/their portraits. My MC in POE1 is a wood elf but I almost feel like a Pale Elf or even a human may be better for this class/playstyle. Human for the fighting spirit, or pale elf getting the DR ? 

 

I agree with @Boeroer that wood elf is really useful on a mobile, high-risk reward class. I think monks in particular do well. Something that might not be super obvious is that resistences are checked first before dispelling any inspirations, and for wizard/monk this means all those hobbled effects you run into throughout the game won't dispel swift strikes' quick, or nimble from fleet feet, or swift from deletrious alacrity of motion. All those seem like really important buffs for a sage (especially swift, since it will let you basically avoid any melee engagement you don't want to take on) and something you don't want to lose because of incidental level 1 effects the enemy has.

 

Human would be useful with blood mage/helwalker, but ironically you'll have so many damage bonuses and buffs at your disposal that it might not be very impactful (the damage bonus is additive with might and other bonuses, and you'll have a huge might in all likelihood (super easy to max out or get close to maxing out at 35 with a helwalker). The accuracy bonus is helpful, but as a blood mage you effectively have infinite access to Aware so it's also a bit less good (also dance with death). If you have a priest backup a death godlike might be better since the +3 PL bonus is effectively a multiplicative +15% bonus (along with a +3 to +6 accuracy and some PEN/duration), which would be even better with a huge might, but this interaction comes later (barring death's door + wall of draining or salvation of time) and is extremely high-risk/reward (one arcane suppression and you're basically screwed).

Edited by thelee
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On 4/18/2020 at 11:21 PM, Boeroer said:

Also draining weapons with Swift Flurry can be cool when doing Bloodmage. Most players who are fiddling with Sage think about Spirit Lance. But Draining Touch + club with modal in offhand + Miasma + Swift Flurry/Heartbeat Drumming is a lot of fun and really powerful. It needs some casts and one grimoire switching before going melee though. If one doesn't like that micro but rather wants to rush into battle asap then it's not good. But once you get Stunning Surge... man. It's difficult not to crit with Draining Touch if your opponent's Will is suffering from a -65 debuff... and multihits with SF/HBD all drain life. Also thematically it's cool: A monastic Bloodmage, draining life with a nasty "unarmed" attack. :) By the way: if you use dual fists and then summon Draining Touch you will not be dual wielding anymore but instead the DT will be interpreted as a single weapon in the main hand.

 

Boeroer, I want to make sure I understand this. I am aware that Corrosive Touch is a summoned single hand weapon that can only be used once unless you use the grimoire switch exploit. Are you saying that if you cast it unarmed in your main hand with a club in your offhand, it will summon as dual wield with Corrosive Touch as your main hand? That's cool! Have you tried summoning it with Tuotilo's Palm in the offhand? It would be nice to have the Corrosive Touch/Tuotilo's Palm combo against tougher foes.

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@dgray62: Hehe no.

You'll have a club + modal in the offhand and Draining Touch in the main hand. It's a nice setup because club+modal lowers Will by 25 points - and Draining Touch targets Will, not deflection. If you combine this wirth Miasma the enemy's Will is so low that crits become a lot more likely, thus leading to more Swift Flurry/HBD procs (and chain-procs).

The last part I wrote so that players don't expect to be able to use DT in main hand and monk fist in offhand. Doesn't work. You will be single-wielding DT then (what might be something you didn't plan - hence I pointed it out just in case). 

DT + Tuotilo's Palm works normally like any other weapon and shield combo. DT is not really a fist though (technically it's a "normal" weapon, just summoned). So it wouldn't profit from Tuotilo's enchantments (like increase ACC with unarmed attack). 

Edited by Boeroer
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Thanks for the clarification, Boeroer. Using the grimoire switch exploit, you can use Draining Touch repeatedly, but the duration is still relatively short, right? I believe it's 10 seconds plus the INT modifier, right? Still, you could get in several strikes that, with a good build, would be devastating for the enemy and also provide a nice self-heal. Plus you'd get +10 accuracy with Helm of the White Void since the attack weakens as well. There really are so many details and snyergies in this game that are not apparent when just read ability descriptions. It's one of the things that gives it so much replay value.

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No, not 10 seconds. It has no duration at all because usually it is dispelled on hit. Thus the duration with the grimoire exploit is infinte in the scope of an encounter. You summon it once and that's it. It will disappear once the encounter is over, not before.

If you have DT and summon a Phantom it will also have DT until it disappears or dies. 

Didn't even think about the Helm of the White Void. :) I didn't test it so I don't know how it would work with the auto-attacks from DT, but it's worth a try.

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Better and better! Thanks again, Boeroer. I'll try out the combo with a current game, a Tactician/Bloodmage with Monastic Unarmed Training, although it will take me awhile to get the helm. I report back if no one else does prior to then. Too bad that the Helm of the Grotto Deep is coded for poison rather than Corrode.

Edited by dgray62
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Posted (edited)

@Boeroer What exactly is the Grimoire switch that allows you to keep DT?

NVM, I found one of your explanations regarding it. Is this an exploit, bug, etc?

So putting this all together a full attack like stunning surge with this would be pretty awesome because as you said earlier with HBD/SF it can crit multiple times. 

Then throw in Helm of the White Void like @Waski and @dgray62 are discussing plus SoD we are talking some good damage.

 

To quote you from another post regarding a spell blade: 

"Concelhaut's Draining Touch (do not learn it, use it from a grimoire and switch the grimoire after summoning in order to keep it for the whole fight) has the highest base damage of any one handed weapon afaik and targets Will instead of Deflection. It also weakens the enemy and drains health. Give Aloth a club + modal in the offhand, summon Draining Touch and switch grimoire, cast Miasma, then attack the debuffed enemy with Full Attacks like Crippling Strikes. He will have absurdly low Will and Draining Touch will nearly always crit, doing very high damage. "

Edited by SavaSic3118
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Isn't Blood Mage / Helwalker dangerous because of the extra damage you receive? You may end up killing yourself with your blood sacrifice if that scales off of might. Does it?

I think I had this convo before on the helwalker. Since at +10 wounds it would seem it would take +50% extra damage? That would be insane. Imagine getting crit by an armsman...

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It does seem dangerous. While you can manage wounds, spamming abilities to keep them low when fighting powerful foes, one crit at the wrong time, right after a Blood sacrifice that restores a high level spell, could do you in. Definitely not the right build for a Trial of Iron run, unless you like high stakes gambles.

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They <=50% damage alone, since additive, isn't such a big deal. But the PL scaling with Blood Sacrifice combined with it AND up to +10 MIG is indeed something to juggle.

But I also played a melee Berserker/Helwalker and it was mostly fine. Went down a few times just by himself but that was to be expected. On the other hand: tons of wounds... so many wounds... ;)

Edited by Boeroer

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4 hours ago, Boeroer said:

They <=50% damage alone, since additive, isn't such a big deal. But the PL scaling with Blood Sacrifice combined with it AND up to +10 MIG is indeed something to juggle.

But I also played a melee Berserker/Helwalker and it was mostly fine. Went down a few times just by himself but that was to be expected. On the other hand: tons of wounds... so many wounds... ;)

So how much does it do with 10 wounds? What's the math?

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3 hours ago, AeonsLegend said:

So how much does it do with 10 wounds? What's the math?

it would be one of {5, 10, 15} * (1 + [PL * .05]) * (1 + [might_over_10 * .03] + [wounds * .05] + misc_dmg_bonuses)

a max-level bloodmage helwalker, with maxed out might, at 10 wounds, would be:

{5, 10, 15} * 1.35 * 2.25 = one of 15, 30, or 45 damage to self, on average 30 damage per use. 

honestly a lot worse than i expected (normally my characters have around 10 might and aren't helwalkers) - my typical end-game beefy character would barely survive ten spams of it, and forget about trying to get back a tier 7-9 spell (only one in three chance each use, so on average 90 health just to get one of those back). probably might want to invest in barring death's door, the last stand potion, or a shieldbearer, all plus a priest for salvation of time, or a cipher for brilliant to spam those abilities back.

Edited by thelee
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