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So, because i did my ultimate with monk, i want to try another one maybe. Wizard is a good choice and i came pretty far, but at the moment i'm pretty bored out by the idea. Cipher seems pretty good, the biggest question is, with which weapon can i generate focus very fast? I know that firebrand is pretty good for it, but the attack speed with it is pretty low. Is there a better weapon for it, except for the initial blunderbuss burst?

And on the other hand, when you use steadfast and are immune to frightened / terrfified in the dragon fights, will psychic backlash still trigger when they try to use it on you?

Edited by baldurs_gate_2
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Posted (edited)

I suspect it will still trigger since the attack roll should still be done? Not sure though.

A good cipher weapon is Bittercut. It has dual dmg (corrode/slash), its +20% dmg from Spirit of Decay always applies (even for the slash dmg), it comes with +20% dmg as all sabres and if you also put a corrosive lash on it you profit twice from Spirit of Decay (first you'll get +20% additive dmg bonus and then the lash gets raised from 25% to 30%).

Anything with speed and dual damage is also good (Last Blade of the White Forge, Strike Hard). If you later equip a shield with Durgan Steel you can reach 0 recovery with Time Parasite, Vulnerable Attack and durganized mail armor. Which is a great dps boost and at the same time you benefit from the shield's defense.

I personally also like Hours of St. Rumbalt because it's obtainable early and stys being good. Cipher's don't have Full Attacks so picking a two handed weapon is ok. Justice (Raedric's Blade) has a "secret" second 10% crushing lash which stacks with its 25% crushing lash. Since lashes (except wounding) also generate focus this is a good cipher weapon. Often the smaller lash can't make it through enemies' DR so lowering it with Body Attunement helps a lot in the long run.  

But usually I think speed enchantments are the best thing for ciphers.

Keeping Fireband as backup is still a good idea. It works with any weapon focus and once you are in White March it can be of great effect againt all those iceish enemies.

 

Edited by Boeroer
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5 hours ago, Boeroer said:

I suspect it will still trigger since the attack roll should still be done? Not sure though.

A good cipher weapon is Bittercut. It has dual dmg (corrode/slash), its +20% dmg from Spirit of Decay always applies (even for the slash dmg), it comes with +20% dmg as all sabres and if you also put a corrosive lash on it you profit twice from Spirit of Decay (first you'll get +20% additive dmg bonus and then the lash gets raised from 25% to 30%).

Anything with speed and dual damage is also good (Last Blade of the White Forge, Strike Hard). If you later equip a shield with Durgan Steel you can reach 0 recovery with Time Parasite, Vulnerable Attack and durganized mail armor. Which is a great dps boost and at the same time you benefit from the shield's defense.

I personally also like Hours of St. Rumbalt because it's obtainable early and stys being good. Cipher's don't have Full Attacks so picking a two handed weapon is ok. Justice (Raedric's Blade) has a "secret" second 10% crushing lash which stacks with its 25% crushing lash. Since lashes (except wounding) also generate focus this is a good cipher weapon. Often the smaller lash can't make it through enemies' DR so lowering it with Body Attunement helps a lot in the long run.  

But usually I think speed enchantments are the best thing for ciphers.

Keeping Fireband as backup is still a good idea. It works with any weapon focus and once you are in White March it can be of great effect againt all those iceish enemies.

 

That sounds nice. And, how is it with resolution and purgatory? Because of borrowed instinct, you can have a good amount of ACC and a good chance of critting, with that 50% more damage it would be good or?

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They are not bad. Compared to Bittercut:

  • slash damage vs. corrode/slash
  • "only" 50% additive damage bonus on crit - while Bittercut gets +20% additive for all hit qualitities (except miss of course) and a +5% multiplicative lash if you enchant it with a corrosive lash)

But the draining on Purgatory is nice indeed.

 

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For a cipher, you can consider a two hander, because nothing punches through DR better. You will hit massive damage numbers with biting whip. Also, with time parasite, a cipher can reach 0 recovery with a two hander, something only wizards can achieve. This allows you to wear heavier armor.

Two handed weapons that stand out are llawran's stick and the Blade of Endless paths, since they both offer the attack speed enchantment. A cipher with durganized armor, a speed ecnhant durgan enchanted weapon, and gauntlets of swift action can hit zero recovery. With 16 dex you will hit almost 3 times faster.

Staves also have the benefit of being a reach weapon so you can stand behind a tough guy and poke at enemies with it.

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Standing behind a tough guy is rel. difficult when you're doing the ultimate. ;)

Llawran's Stick is nice because it comes so early. The crush-only dmg is a little problem - but luckily there's Durance's Staff which comes even earlier, does crush/burn and can be used as backup. Later Firebrand - since you will be using the RDC belt anyway I would assume. I can't remember if there are any enemies which are immune to crush AND burn.

Blade of the Endless Paths has Marking which is great in general but of no use when going solo with a Cipher. And it might prevent enchantment up to legendary (? don't remember). As the quarterstaff an estoc has only one dmg type (pierce). Flame Blights are immune to burn and pierce for example. 

Of course you can always pick whatever backup weapon and just live with the -6 ACC (if your weapon focus doesn't match). Or use a Soulbound.

Too bad a Cipher can't cast Reaping Knives on himself...

 

 

Edited by Boeroer
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  • 1 month later...

Here's some MaxQ builds on cipher -> https://gist.github.com/v1ld/fd89b6092ec840e1cce87900fb0aaa85

I have tried 2 builds, based on my experience and on those builds I made my own builds, more to my taste, but from those, very similar in the end.

I have tried cipher with a 2 hand weapon, this one has to use plate armor, the heavier ones, which makes you slower, but it is necessary because you are soft melee xD the slowness of slow attacks with heavy armor is counteracted with the good damage of two hand weapons, two hand swords.

Use two-handed swords that you find until you can get the BoEP (blade of the endless paths), even though this is already in late game, the swords you get will have to be upgraded and enchanted with something corrosive or even have another one with fire enchantment for spirit type enemies, etc.

My experience with the build number 3 of that link I gave you has been very good, but I used a forest elf instead of a dward, and I put 1 point more of str and one less of constitution in its place, I can say that it is very funny, the first levels are a little difficult but from level 6 begins to shine.

Heavy armor for more protection and 2-handed swords, either great sword or stoc, I used stoc, because BoEP is stoc type so I put the talent to improve that type of sword, your damage will be good and you will have good focus, do not neglect, love enemies to put them on your side, Whisper of Treason lasts a little but is fast and makes enemies weak.

_____________________________________

Now, I also tried another build, specifically the number 4, this is "remote", and of course is my favorite build, in my case I made another small change, also minimal, I removed 1 point of str to put it to intelligence, the build is practically the same.

To use with bows, I don't want to talk about time parasite because it's a skill that you acquire very late, but we must mention that the attack speed with that skill and the bow The Rain of Godagh Field (https://pillarsofeternity.gamepedia.com/The_Rain_of_Godagh_Field) is so brutal that you generate focus to the beast xD

There are a couple of bows you can buy early on, they are the "cloudpiercer" (https://pillarsofeternity.gamepedia.com/Cloudpiercer) and the "Persistence" (https://pillarsofeternity.gamepedia.com/Persistence), which is on level 4 of endless paths in Caed Nua, you can also buy Borresaine (https://pillarsofeternity.gamepedia.com/Borresaine) in defiance bay, but it is worth 10k, at the beginning that is quite a lot of money xD

This build is to be in the back row, but you can't neglect it, there are certain enemies that will go after you because of your weaknesses, the fampyr are a good example, but also the spirit, ghost and those type of enemies, even if you stay behind the fampyr will go after you as moved by the attraction of a magnet xD

My experience with this build is the best, in fact it's my favorite build, MaxQ knows how to make things hehe good focus generation thanks to your good dex to shoot fast, acceptable damage and compensated by your high dex and good crowd control thanks to your high intelligence, one of your best assets is precisely the crowd control, and the use of figurines to plug the enemies that can go for you, you will learn which are playing, which I told you are good examples.

Your armor, as it says in the link that I gave you the builds, steal / hide / padded, as preference I use more hide armor and padded armor, I have 2 or 3 on top for depending on the situation hehe

PS: I hope you understand, my English is very basic and sometimes I have to help myself as a translator, sorry xD

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  • 1 month later...

Realize I am a little late to the party, but I did a comparison of the most common weapons for a cipher. The playlist can be found here - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLX9hwkxCWKq6uXqhQ5J9yL2cM67AjVSj4

I ultimately settled on Shatterstar with a shield. If you a fighting on the frontline, the most effective focus batteries tend to be stunned or paralyzed. In those case the extra damage from Annihilation was quite useful. In my case, Annihilation also helped with DR and if it didn’t, I just used other methods of dealing with the threat. Sure, some of the other weapons cause more damage, but Shatterstar and a shield provided the best balance between damage and survivability.

Edited by grausch

Ultimate.jpg

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Personally and after trying several builds of cipher melee and ranged, I'm left with ranged, the build number 4 that I mentioned in my previous post works very well.

You have too much focus that you accumulate at low levels, I'm just in love with the cipher ranged, I like the melee a lot, it's very fun, with two hands and heavy armor, if you know how to handle it you can do anything, even though at low levels it's quite weak, it starts to shine from level 8 I think I remember, but as the cipher ranged none, for me hehe

Also it is very versatile, CC and very harmful attacks while you are in the security of the second row away, even that there are enemies that will go for you the first, like the Vampyrs, I hate the vampyrs... if you don't make the vampyrs "plug (block them with other characters so they don't reach your cipher)", your cipher ranged is dead xD so you have to be careful with that.

PS: I've never used blunderbuss as a primary weapon, I'd like to try it, but I think it requires quick changes to be effective, I don't mind using a lot of micro management, but that continuous change of weapon specifically is something that makes me uncomfortable, if I haven't tried blunderbuss it's because of that xD (or arquebuses?))

Edited by davoker
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Blunderbuss is unmatched against low DR targets (even if you have a lot of DR bypass: lashes don't profit from DR bypass so a high DR usually eats up all the individual low lashes from the individual pellets), arquebus is best against high DR targets (high DR bypass and high base damage per projectile). Best is to use both and switch according to the enemy. If you can employ proper debuffs and ACC buffs you don't necessarily need weapon focus.

Or you employ DR debuffing a lot when using blunderbuss as main weapon. Like Body Attunement, a fighter's Sundering Blow and such.

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  • 1 month later...

I tried cipher on two plays until mid game and they are just not as good as it seems to be. It becomes pretty tedious to get your focus online, where a wizard has higher damage spells and he can cast it immediately. Attacking with weapons is slow, because you ain't having a full attack like monk and even if you had one, the numbers you could use would be limited per rest, so monk is allready better in that regards.

On paper the cipher looks good, but on a ultimator run wizard / monks are just  better.

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Maybe you didn't play far enough and/or used the wrong powers?

I think @Raven Darkholme did an ultimate run with a Cipher. Or at least a solo run on PotD.

The biggest advantage of the Cipher in ultimate runs is Psychic (+Brutal) Backlash. It has no limits per encounter anymore and this means that dragon auras trigger it every 3 secs. All dragons are killing themselves while getting stunlocked (if not immune)...

Biggest disadvantage is that the CIpher cannot use a lot of good powers without party members.

A Cipher with a shield can become pretty tanky due to Psychovampiric Shield and Borrowed Instincts. With Time Parasite the focus generation isn't that tedious anymore. You can get to 0 recovery with it pretty easily, even with a weapon & shield setup + plate armor. At the start of battle a couple of gunshots can fill you up with focus to get things rolling. 
 

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3 hours ago, Boeroer said:

Maybe you didn't play far enough and/or used the wrong powers?

I think @Raven Darkholme did an ultimate run with a Cipher. Or at least a solo run on PotD.

The biggest advantage of the Cipher in ultimate runs is Psychic (+Brutal) Backlash. It has no limits per encounter anymore and this means that dragon auras trigger it every 3 secs. All dragons are killing themselves while getting stunlocked (if not immune)...

Biggest disadvantage is that the CIpher cannot use a lot of good powers without party members.

A Cipher with a shield can become pretty tanky due to Psychovampiric Shield and Borrowed Instincts. With Time Parasite the focus generation isn't that tedious anymore. You can get to 0 recovery with it pretty easily, even with a weapon & shield setup + plate armor. At the start of battle a couple of gunshots can fill you up with focus to get things rolling. 
 

Yes i know that. But the focus gaining was pretty tedious all the time and he is more on the squishy side. Firebrand worked pretty good in the beginning, because it has such a high damage output. But i even tried Bittercut + Another sabre and it did not really perform well in my opinion. Maybe i just play him wrong.

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On 9/11/2020 at 11:44 AM, Boeroer said:

Maybe you didn't play far enough and/or used the wrong powers?

I think @Raven Darkholme did an ultimate run with a Cipher. Or at least a solo run on PotD.

The biggest advantage of the Cipher in ultimate runs is Psychic (+Brutal) Backlash. It has no limits per encounter anymore and this means that dragon auras trigger it every 3 secs. All dragons are killing themselves while getting stunlocked (if not immune)...

Biggest disadvantage is that the CIpher cannot use a lot of good powers without party members.

A Cipher with a shield can become pretty tanky due to Psychovampiric Shield and Borrowed Instincts. With Time Parasite the focus generation isn't that tedious anymore. You can get to 0 recovery with it pretty easily, even with a weapon & shield setup + plate armor. At the start of battle a couple of gunshots can fill you up with focus to get things rolling. 
 

I only discovered the brutal backlash glitch after my ultimate run with chanter was done and I wasn't gonna put myself thru another torture. 😄

On 9/11/2020 at 2:54 PM, baldurs_gate_2 said:

Yes i know that. But the focus gaining was pretty tedious all the time and he is more on the squishy side. Firebrand worked pretty good in the beginning, because it has such a high damage output. But i even tried Bittercut + Another sabre and it did not really perform well in my opinion. Maybe i just play him wrong.

No you encountered the same issues I had, focus gain can be a problem vs very sturdy enemies.

I struggled a lot with Magran's faithful, but later found out there is a cheesy tree that blocks all but one of them from meleeing you, which makes the fight pretty easy.

Cipher gameplay is just very tedious as opposed to smth like chanter, priest, druid or wizard and lategame even paladin kills groups faster.

Its definitely not too squishy in my opinion if you go the shield route, but you have to keep spending focus for Instincts, which just makes the entire focus issue worse.

That being said cipher has by far the safest dragon kills from all classes on an ultimate run, against Bog Dragons I even went cheesy and let them kill themselves, as long as you are level 14+ for the other dragons and 16 for bogs, there is no way to die vs them.

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On 9/11/2020 at 2:54 PM, baldurs_gate_2 said:

Yes i know that. But the focus gaining was pretty tedious all the time and he is more on the squishy side. Firebrand worked pretty good in the beginning, because it has such a high damage output. But i even tried Bittercut + Another sabre and it did not really perform well in my opinion. Maybe i just play him wrong.

As mentioned before, I tried a whole host of weapons and ultimate settled on Shatterstar with a shield (funnily enough, my Wizard now uses the same combo). You should always attack paralyzed foes and when I crit, the bonuses cause some pretty hefty damage which generates lots of focus. However, you need Borrowed Instinct to make score you score crits and you need something to speed you up. In tough fights I would use a potion of DAoM and then cast Borrowed Instinct until I had enough focus for Time Parasite. Not so tough fights, just build up enough focus to cast Time Parasite and then work from there. Always make sure that you attack foes that give the most amount of focus (lowest DR & easiest to hit) and keep them paralyzed to maximize the chances of a crit.

I have already posted the link in another thread, but here is a link to a cipher I used for the Ultimate 

 

The cipher was actually pretty decent and I used a decent combo against dragons that just melted them (detailed in the thread). Fights do take longer vs a Wizard, but not having targeting circles made me feel more comfortable in big fights with the Cipher. You can review the fights I recorded in the thread - not quite over as quickly as with a Wizard (I watched your videos with your Wizard).

Ultimate.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

great guide, i’m playing through poe again and this really helped me understand cipher mechanics. there’s an arbalest in the deadfire pack called one-eyed molina’s gold-fingered spike-flinger that is actually perfect for this class, except the arbalest actually becomes slower as you upgrade it because the devs accidentally made it decrease reload speed instead of increase. i got a mod from nexus to fix it and got the gunner talent, giving my character +70% reload speed at full upgrade, and now he puts out ridiculous amounts of damage, interrupt, and knocks enemies prone or stuns them. it’s a very good weapon. not sure what the point of this comment was but thanks for putting in the time to write this guide. i hope the devs fix that damn arbalest soon because it really is fantastic

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mortgagecalculator.tech

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On 9/28/2020 at 6:25 AM, DwanaHarrod said:

great guide, i’m playing through poe again and this really helped me understand cipher mechanics. there’s an arbalest in the deadfire pack called one-eyed molina’s gold-fingered spike-flinger that is actually perfect for this class, except the arbalest actually becomes slower as you upgrade it because the devs accidentally made it decrease reload speed instead of increase. i got a mod from nexus to fix it and got the gunner talent, giving my character +70% reload speed at full upgrade, and now he puts out ridiculous amounts of damage, interrupt, and knocks enemies prone or stuns them. it’s a very good weapon. not sure what the point of this comment was but thanks for putting in the time to write this guide. i hope the devs fix that damn arbalest soon because it really is fantastic

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I will try that soon how good this range weapon is compared to the 2h fire sword.

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