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Did a test wih a Cipher lvl20 and a Monk lvl19
Remember that I play on Turn-Based and it is the only mode I care about

Monk with fists had 30-43 on both hands with an Acc of 106 on both. (Penetration 15 which is less important due to Reaping having Raw Damage)
With Reaping Knives damage 23-31 with 104 Acc on both

The focus gain to the CIpher seems to be 5 focus per attack (so 10 for full) so the advertised 30% focus seems to be... off...
Abilities that uses Full/Primary attack seems to follow the above focus rule from what I can gather

So as I see it the advantage is that it being Raw Damage and therefore Armor Rating doesn't matter, which can be a big plus in a few fights. Also the Cipher gains a small amount of Focus each turn with normal attacks and a bigger burst if used with AoE Weapon abilities like the Monks Whispers of the Wind.
BUT! Reaping Knives seems to nerf the targets damage quite a bit in this example. Would be even more if the target has extra damage on the weapons he/she is using (+10% Fire damage for example)

I am thinking about doing my next playthrough (on Hardest Difficulty) and I was thinking about using this combo (can be a Rogue instead of Monk) but after testing it on my previous save a bit and reading about it.... it just seems off to use it.
Am I missing something or is it as "balanced" as my above example suggests? I understand that harder difficulty targets has more AR which makes the Raw Damage more appealing but is there enough targets so the nerf in damage warrants it?

(Did some quick checks with dual wield Chanter and dual wield Rogue and saw the same kind of differences)

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Path of the Damned gives every enemy +2 AR - which makes Penetration (and raw damage) a lot more important. 

Whether Reaping Knives is worth it or not also depends on the Cipher subclass. Beguiler and Psion don't really need it - although both could still profit from it theoretically (the focus gain of Reaping Knives even works for the Psion iirc).
For the other subclasses it can remove the biggest issue they can have when it comes to boss fights and such: they won't do much weapon damage due to the enemies' very high AR and thus won't collect much focus - it can be quite frustrating. You can steer around that problem with a weapon that does raw damage (Animancer's Blade or Eccea's Arcane Blaster for example) or weapons with very special damage types (see Essence Interrupter). But maybe even better: combining Reaping Knives on an ally AND using one of the above weapons for yourself. 

If it's just about the raw damage/PEN issues and not about gaining focus I would prefer using Driving Echoes on the ally though. +8 PEN is immense and in case of your Cipher/Monk combo the Monk would deal a lot more damage with his fists +8 PEN than with Reaping Knives (in most cases). Of course the added focus transfer wouldn't happen -but as you realized: it's not that enormous anyway. 

Edited by Boeroer

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Deadfire's AR/Pen system is badly implemented and the gap between having bad/decent/good pen is way too high.

If you crit or overpen or even both (most crits will likely also overpen) then monk fists will be way better than reaping knives, since raw damage does not benefit from overpen.

That being said the base damage of the knives is VERY high for a raw damage weapon compared to something like 

Animancer's Energy Blade

.

So against (mega)bosses the knives aree very good, but most of the time a weapon will be better, ofc a weapon is always better on a rogue and something like battle axes with bleeding cut will always be hgihest total dps.

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By the way: if you cast Reaping Knives on a Wizard and that Wizard summons an Essential Phantom then that Phantom also has Reaping Knives and does raw dmg (which is cool)- but it doesn't generate focus for the Cipher (which is too bad).   

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25 minutes ago, Raven Darkholme said:

That being said the base damage of the knives is VERY high for a raw damage weapon compared to something like 

Animancer's Energy Blade

 

Don't forget that the Animancer's Energy Blade has only 3 secs recovery instead of the standard sabre's 4 secs. It's as fast as daggers are.

Animancer's EB has 12 base dmg and "sharp" on top (+10%) while Reaping Knives have 14 base dmg. It's a bit more but not that significant. Keep in mind that you have to summon them for whopping 80 focus, that they have a duration and so on. 

 

Edit:
What' cool is casting Reaping Knives on multiple party members because it feels a bit like an exponential focus gain machine at some point. SUre it takes some time to set it up but once you have 3 very fast hitting allies using Reaping Knives for you you will have a substancial focus gain while you can use your powers without having to bother with attacking yourself. The important part is fast attack speed: Reaping Knives don't care about damage when we talk about the focus gain. It's always +5 focus per strike. So a very fast attacker, even if he's dealing whimpy dmg per swing, will generate good focus for you. Unfortunately you can't cat Reaping Knives on summons like the Monk's. :(

I guess some really fast hitters like Barbarian/Streetfighter or Barbarian/Monk or so could be the best focus generators for you. 

Addendum: bonus attacks from Swift FLurry/Heartbeat Drumming do not generate focus. :(

Edited by Boeroer
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Sorry double post, but I just checked the Psion: Reaping Knives do indeed give the Psion focus. Actually - contrary to my initial statement that a Psion doesn't need Reaping Knives - it's quite nice to have that additional focus income. It can more than double the focus gain if your knife buddy is attacking fast enough.

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I can check, wait a sec...

edit: Reaping Knives do nothing with Death of a Thousand Cuts. It seems the best ways to utilize that are still Mindblades and Antipathetic Field.

Edited by Boeroer
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6 minutes ago, Boeroer said:

edit: Reaping Knives do nothing with Death of a Thousand Cuts. It seems the best ways to utilize that are still Mindblades and Antipathetic Field.

Damn, would have been quite a boost for Reaping Knives (probably too good though), thanks for checking - I'm away from my rig currently..

Happy holidays!

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7 minutes ago, Boeroer said:

I can check, wait a sec...

edit: Reaping Knives do nothing with Death of a Thousand Cuts. It seems the best ways to utilize that are still Mindblades and Antipathetic Field.

If you can overcome Fort recasting Thousand Cuts doubles duration, no idea if the damage stacks tho.

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The duration can be doubled with an Antipathetic Field, too (because enemy not only gets extra raw dmg but also the duration of Death1000 increases with every tick of the beam). If there are only two enemies standing (and one of them has Death1000) Mind Blades is really good as well. Belt of Magran's Chosen or Essence Interrupter are good items when going for Death of a 1000 Cuts it seems. ;)  

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1 minute ago, Boeroer said:

The duration can be doubled with an Antipathetic Field, too (because enemy not only gets extra raw dmg but also the duration of Death1000 increases with every tick of the beam). If there are only two enemies standing (and one of them has Death1000) Mind Blades is really good as well. Belt of Magran's Chosen or Essence Interrupter are good items when going for Death of a 1000 Cuts it seems. ;)  

True, what I was trying to say is:

IF the damage stacks (too lazy to test it, most enemies just instantly explode, but I will, a little bit later :P) then it would be a lot better.

Tbf if you have perma ascended on you from a priest, you could also spam cuts (at least if you also have blade cascade, you can cast it in roughly the same intervals as beam ticks, but tbh its honly worth if the damage stacked)

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Cool answers! Sadly attack speed matters less since I go Turn-Based at all times (yes I am one of those). I know the game isn't made for it but I just love turn-based games since I was a kid and I feel so-so about RTwP. I do think the game works fine in TB though

 

Edited by AwesomeMinded
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5 hours ago, Boeroer said:

The duration can be doubled with an Antipathetic Field, too (because enemy not only gets extra raw dmg but also the duration of Death1000 increases with every tick of the beam). If there are only two enemies standing (and one of them has Death1000) Mind Blades is really good as well. Belt of Magran's Chosen or Essence Interrupter are good items when going for Death of a 1000 Cuts it seems. ;)  

Pretty much this. For Antipathetic Field (and Mindblades) to be effective "at will" in bossfights you need someone to generate targets on the opposite site of the boss with stuff like Magran's Belt. Also Flail Modal comes in handy here.

As for recasting Death of a 1000 Cuts: It just triggers the instant damage effect of the spell and increases the duration. Not really worth it. You can extend the duration by other means.

Death of a 1000 Cuts is also nice to give Disintegration and Soul Ignition some immediate impact.

Fast spamming Death of a 1000 Cuts against a horde of enemies is pretty easy thanks to Time Parasite.

In cases were you face only one or just a few foes: That's where Magran's Belt comes into play again. It generates targets for Time Parasite too; thus Blade Cascade is not really necessary to let you spam shred spells. Obviously a Frostseeker Build or any melee crit monk build can spawn tons of adds with the belt. As an single class Ascendant you really want to bring a Priest, someone who debuffs Fort via Willbreaker and someone who abuses the Belt to it's fullest. Maia as single class ranger is perfect for this with Twinned Arrows. She also brings Enfeebled to the table.

Against Bosses: Death of a 1000 Cuts + Disintegration + Antipathetic Field (+ Mindblades)

Against 2-3 foes: Death of a 1000 Cuts + Mindblades

Against > 3 foes: Death of a 1000 Cuts + Silent Scream

Death of a 1000 Cuts is always the catalyst.

As for Mindblades, you can influence the numbers of enemies with WoT and/ or Ringleader (same is true for Temporal Cocoon); thus increasing the impact by reducing the number of active foes.

Single class Cipher (especially Ascendant subclass) is such a flexible an fun class.

EDIT: Death of a 1000 Cuts it also a super nice counter spell thanks to interrupt on hit.

Edited by L4wlight
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:skull: SHARKNADO :skull:

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If you Ring Leader foes, can you Antipathetic Field them as well? Even if they are not on the opposite side of the mob/boss, you can just walk to the side and place yourself on the opposite side.

High-level Cipher has some great abilities. If I weren’t so keen on melee single-target DPS, I’d try one.

"Time is not your enemy. Forever is."

— Fall-From-Grace, Planescape: Torment

"It's the questions we can't answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question, and he'll look for his own answers."

— Kvothe, The Wise Man's Fears

My Deadfire mods: Brilliant Mod | Faster Deadfire | Deadfire Unnerfed | Helwalker Rekke | Permanent Per-Rest Bonuses | PoE Items for Deadfire | No Recyled Icons | Soul Charged Nautilus

 

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