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Hey guys,

So I've been trying out Deadfire Balance Polishing Patch  https://www.nexusmods.com/pillarsofeternity2/mods/438?tab=description (together with the Community Patch) and noticed that they're basically a straight up buff for the assassin (streetfighter and trickster get nerfed, smoke veil gets to cost 1 guile). With that in mind, I was thinking of finally trying out an Assassin/Ascended build, as a guy who'd be squishy af but would easily get ascended status with stealthed arquebus crits and then spam some mind blades and later disintagrate or whatever.

With that in mind though, I've got a few questions.

1.) Stats. Yes, I am still a pain in not wanting to dump stats even tho this guy is ideal for 5 con/res, I know. WIth that in mind, would you say a 16/16/16 spread on Dex/Int/Per is better (mig, con and res 10 ofc), or can I get away with lower perception or even dumping it all the way to 10 for 18 to dex and int in order to do everything faster and stay Ascended longer? Obviously, it's a "crits would be great" build but not one that's likely to get a huge number of them unless I do focus on per.

2.) Gear. So far I'm thinking stuff like Red Hand and possibly the good ole blunderbusses. Just wondering though, with the Deadfire Polishing Patch further buffs one handed style, do I go for two or one of them  (Still imagine two provides a whole lot more proc chances). What about gear, other than that armor that reduces reload times?

3.) Haven't played with stealth much - does backstab affect spell damage or only sneak attack? Also, with reload weapons, can they safely be reloaded while in stealth? I know that recovery stuff just doesn't let you do anything until you recover, which would definitely kill this build. My general idea is to nuke with both weapons and ascended spells abusing the cheap smoke veil mostly. (hell, even if it was two guile it'd still be the only thing I'd use as a rogue with this kinda build so eh :D)

4.) Any other miscelaneous tips, e.g. companion builds, things to watch for? I'm thinking of making the core of this setup our good friend Eder who'll be a riposte swashbuckling monster and ofc Maia can be fire/chanting support and Xoti a standard support, with one more slot open for whoever.

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DEX and PER are your primary DPS stats, and as a ascendant mindstalker you want INT as high as possible to maintain the ascended state and prolong debuffs and buffs. I'd recommend that you max all three, to 18. You can leave STR at 10. I'm not a min-maxer either, but you could drop CON and RES a bit, to 7 or 8, and not have any serious problems, even on PotD. Keep in mind that this will not be a tank. The play style I'd recommend is sneak in, ascend via a sneak attack/backstab alpha strike, and then escape (if necessary) and spam cipher powers. I don't think that backstab applies to cipher powers, but they wouldn't need to anyway, since your backstab would be for initial ranged attack to build focus. The Red Hand would be great, as would Essence Interrupter for pierce immune or resistant foes. I'm 99% sure that you can reload while invisible; guns have reload only and no recovery. As for companions, you'd definitely want a few tough melee companions with multiple engagement slots to tie up enemies, like Eder and Constanten as a Howler. Maia would add as much, but Xoti's fine of course.

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Yup, yup.. thinking Eder is a cornerstone, and definitely Constanten or even Pellagina, with Maia also being amazing for sure. The whole "reloading in stealth" is such a cool mechanic, as opposed  to waiting like an idiot in your recovery phase and getting slaughtered. Yeah, I thought you might say that all 3 of those are essential, I may just end up making myself drop con or res, but I do so hate it. Was thinking more that with Assassin's HUGE buff to accuracy you could get away with lower perception, but I guess with per basically any amount you have could still be improved upon, there's never a limit, really.. if you want crits 😄

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EbonKnight, you are right that you can get away with lower PER with an assassin due to the big accuracy bonus you get when attacking in stealth. On lower difficulty levels I'd recommend you drop PER a bit, but not on PotD. Keep in mind, however, that you still need your cipher powers to land, and they won't benefit from the assassin bonus, since you'll be out of stealth when you spam them.

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Yeah, this is very true. Unfortunately it's not really smart to be hiding while trying to spam cipher powers so you'd be vulnerable in that stage + no extra accuracy. Plus ofc companions mostly suck with per checks, so it always triggers me lowering per. It really is a build that screams dumping res and con, I just can't make myself do it 😄

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Do not use a blunderbuss on an Assassin. Except when it's Kitchen Stove with Thunderous Report.

The first projectile of a blunderbuss will get the bonus from assassinate, the others will not. Iirc this is also true for mortars since the AoE follows the initial hit and will not profit from Assasinate.

Thunderous Report however is a insta-all-hit cone attack that does enormous base damage to begin with and not only profits from Assassinate, Sneak Attack and Deathblows but also from the quality enchantments of the weapon (+ACC, +dmg, +PEN via exceptional --> superb --> legendary etc.). If you can lure enemies to a spot - for example with a tank or some loud spell from stealth you can hit them all with the rather big cone (needs high INT!) and ascend immediately. It also has two damage types (burn/crush) which makes it less likely that you need to use a backup weapon.

Backstab only works with weapon attacks from 2m range or less (no spells unless tagged as weapon attack - like Taste of the Hunt), Thunderous Report might work for trgets nearer than 2m.

  

Edited by Boeroer
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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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Yes, yes, that's exactly what I had in mind, though I didn't get that it's actually the kitchen stove not hand mortars that you need. I still don't quite understand what affects spell damage though... assassin's bonus definitely does but neither backstab nor sneak attack do, do they?

Edited by EbonKnight
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No, only Assassinate.

Things that affect spell dmg from the top of my head:

  • Might
  • Assassinate on crit (if not DoT)
  • crits (not dmg but duration if DoT)
  • Blightheart enchantment for Wizards
  • Griffin's Blade
  • some pets (also the ones that boost "ranged" dmg
  • Eternal Devotion
  • Sasha's Singing Scimitar's Shocking Prelude
Edited by Boeroer
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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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Yup, yup. Still, assassinate bonus to something like disintegrate, ouch. I think I finally settled on a build that I'll play through the entire campaign with, has the rp flavor, has the power, has the fun factor. Thanks you guys!

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Assassinte bonus on Disintegrate does nothing but give you +25 ACC for the hit roll from stealth/invis.
Disintegrate is raw - so no increased PEN. It's a DoT, so no increased dmg via crit - only +50% duration but every class would get that. ACC bonus helps to crit though. It's still good.

For Disintegrate I think Debonaire/Ascendant is the better choice. Charmed enemies can receive Disintegrate and it gets 100% conversion (almost guaranteed +50% duration) while it will not flip the Charmed enemy back. So Ring Leader and then spam Disintegrate on all charmed enemies is great with this combo.

Assassinate is great for direct dmg stuff. Maybe Amplified Wave? I just now realize I didn't try if it works with Assasinate. You have to hit an ally first and maybe that breaks stealth? Don't know... 

Edited by Boeroer

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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Ah, I see 😕 Yeah, there are a few things that sorta ruin the entire idea (dumping might means your spells aren't really that powerful, and no pen bonus also sucks) but I still like the synergies on offer. Ofc, community patch seriously buffed biting whip, but draining whip is still always the default choice until I get kitchen stove, maybe? Probably even then tho, I guess, though a few more alpha strikes from stealth before unleashing spells is also not too bad, either.. I suppose that with this setup it's not necessarily mandatory going straight to ascended.

Edited by EbonKnight
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I'd recommend that you use the stats STR 10 CON 10 DEX 20 PER 20 INT 20 RES 10, with Berath's Blessings. You can open battles with thunderous report, which with assassinate and sneak attack bonuses will almost always kill everyone in the cone, and ascend you immediately. Then spam cipher powers, and if you attract aggro, use escape. Most battles will be over before you pass out of the ascended state. For those that last longer, switch to the Red Hand, use smoke veil to go invisible, and backstab. You'll probably ascend again, and can repeat as needed.

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1 hour ago, Boeroer said:

No, only Assassinate.

Things that affect spell dmg from the top of my head:

  • Might
  • Assassinate on crit (if not DoT)
  • crits (not dmg but duration if DoT)
  • Blightheart enchantment for Wizards
  • Griffin's Blade
  • some pets (also the ones that boost "ranged" dmg
  • Eternal Devotion
  • Sasha's Singing Scimitar's Shocking Prelude

Deathblows affects spell damage too, doesn't it? Not sure how well it works with cipher powers tho. I think it would work with spells that cause direct damage, like mind blades, provided that the enemy has the two or more conditions enabling sneak attack.

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Only in PoE, not in Deadfire.

The combat log will say something like "<char> (Fireball) hits <enemy> for 70 burn damage (Deathblows)" - but if you then hover over it and press shift you will see that no Deathblows damge got added. Maybe it was taken out at some point during development.

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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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1 hour ago, Boeroer said:

No, only Assassinate.

Things that affect spell dmg from the top of my head:

  • Might
  • Assassinate on crit (if not DoT)
  • crits (not dmg but duration if DoT)
  • Blightheart enchantment for Wizards
  • Griffin's Blade
  • some pets (also the ones that boost "ranged" dmg
  • Eternal Devotion
  • Sasha's Singing Scimitar's Shocking Prelude

Oops, I forgot Paladin's Inspired Beacon (+40%) and Ranger's Takedown Combo (+100%). Also Barb's Blooded (+25%) works with spells.
Inproved Critical passive, too.

Edited by Boeroer
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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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22 minutes ago, Boeroer said:

Only in PoE, not in Deadfire.

The combat log will say something like "<char> (Fireball) hits <enemy> for 70 burn damage (Deathblows)" - but if you then hover over it and press shift you will see that no Deathblows damge got added. Maybe it was taken out at some point during development.

Ah, thanks! I have seen that in the combat log, and didn't realize that it was inaccurate.

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52 minutes ago, dgray62 said:

I'd recommend that you use the stats STR 10 CON 10 DEX 20 PER 20 INT 20 RES 10, with Berath's Blessings. You can open battles with thunderous report, which with assassinate and sneak attack bonuses will almost always kill everyone in the cone, and ascend you immediately. Then spam cipher powers, and if you attract aggro, use escape. Most battles will be over before you pass out of the ascended state. For those that last longer, switch to the Red Hand, use smoke veil to go invisible, and backstab. You'll probably ascend again, and can repeat as needed.

Yup, those are definitely the kinda stats I went for, cept without BB,  so the dex int and per took a hit. Still feels good, though, not as OP but that's actually a good thing. 😄 And yeah, nothing but assassinate helps spell damage but that's fine as I can spam invis even in combat.

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