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Most damage "optimized" variant for Berath priest?


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Hey folks! I just got POE2 and so far have been having the worst choice paralysis with all of the new customization options and gameplay changes added to the series. I must have played 20 hours and have barely made it to the Engwithian Digsite just because I keep restarting. Thus I am hoping to get some guidance through the experts on this forum :)

I would like to continue with my POE1 Berathian Priest (a la Boeroer's build). She was tons of fun, dicing through foes with a Greatsword as well as nuking with Cleansing Flame. Main issue with transferring her to Deadfire, however, has been that it seems Priests have loss a lot of their versatility. And I've been reading mixed reviews on whether it's worth centering a Priest build on damage, which is my priority for this character as the MC.  

I have been trying to choose between:

  • SC Berath, for the increased PL and pen. for spells + powerful high-level spells 
  • Devoted/Berath, for the passives boosting Greatsword usage + sturdier gishier gameplay
  • Helwalker/Berath, for the extreme stacking MIG and INT bonuses + speed
  • I've also seen mention of an Assassin/Berath build which seems pretty cool but I imagine Skaen is better suited for it

Clearly there is perhaps no such thing as having it all which I fully understand ( still hurts though :( ). However, my question would be moreso, given the meta and game mechanics of POE2, would it be more worth it to go SC or multi-class if I want to maximize DPS (and if multi-class which one?). Whether using a weapon or spells is not as important to me as much as fulfilling the power fantasy of being THE herald of the Deity of Death. 

Thanks guys! 

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When you are building a Priest for Damage, Berath is one of the best picks imo.

I would absolutely support Kaylon's suggestion that Helwalker/Berath would be a good pick - maybe the best - if you are looking for both good melee dmg AND good casting damage at the same time.
Helwalker gets +10 MIG at 10 wounds (absurdly high MIG was a key feature of the St. Gangrene build you played); gets +10 INT, too which is great with nearly all spells (AoE and durations) and both high MIG and INT are especially good with DoT spells like Touch of Rot etc.

Also thematically Helwalker and Berath will fit beautifully:

All Helwalkers undergo a ceremonial death rite as part of their initiation.


Death rites + Berath - what more do you want? ;)

Monks also get Thunderous Blows which will grant them universal +2 PEN for weapon AND spell dmg. That's better than Devoted who can only use the PEN for his weapon of choice. 

The St. Gangrene build of PoE used Tidefall's wounding and beefed it up with absurd MIG (because wounding scaled with it). Unfortunately an identical scaling wounding mechanic is not present in Deadfire, but there are some cool Great Swords and Estocs in the game. One even has a wounding enchantment again (Effort). There's also the Spiritual Great Sword that a Priest of Berath can summon - and it's really good if you get your dispositions right because then its corrosive lash scales up.
There are three unique weapons that fit very well thematically imo:
 

  • Voidwheel:  This is great fun if you crit a lot. A Monk can also use Swift Flurry and Heartbeat Drumming to proc crit chains - so the special Necrotic Lance enchantment of Voidwheel might proc more often as one might anticipate. It's one of the most damaging weapons against single targets.
  • The Twin Eels: It's a Berath themed weapon so it fits beautifully. It's not the all-time-best for damage (but still solid) - but it can be a nice support weapon if you kill frenquently because it has an AOE heal on kill. For inspiration how to use this weapon you can have a look here: Valkyrie of Gaun
  • Engoliero do Espirs: It's an estoc and no a great sword but it fits lovely. There's a whole Berath-related quest in order to get this. It's supergood for casting as well because the enchantment "Blade Harvest" procs off of all kills you do, spells or melee. And it can proc itself when it kills, leading to a wild cascade of Ghost Blades killing everything. Imo it's the best pick here - but you have to work for it (quest).

They all don't come early though. I would propose that you use the summoned Great Sword most of times until you can get your hands on one of the above (or whatever you like best). I personally would aim for Engoliero do Espirs and then use the summoned GS as backup weapon. The summoned GS stacks its lash with the ones from Turning Wheel and Lightning Strikes (only if you don't use Swift Flurry istead of LS of course) so you will do plenty of single target dmg with that, too.  

 

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Thanks @Kaylon and @Boeroer for the tips!

Funny enough, the Berath Contemplative was my first character before I started second guessing my choice and restarting. I’ve just started a new Contemplative build with high MIG/PER/INT and it has been sooo satisfying so far (the extent of micromanagement needed for a monk is actually pretty fun imo). In terms of overall power, it sounds like the +10  MIG and INT could be stronger than Priest’s scaling PL to their spells.

Would you guys say the versatile damage output is worth losing access to the Symbol and Incarnate spells? Just wondering if mid-game priests offered anything all that interesting before I take the full plunge and commit to this Berathian Helwalker MC. 

Also thanks Boeroer for the weapon recs!! I’ve had my eyes on the Twin Eela greatsword but had no idea about the other two—all really cool and excited for when I might run into them. Do you happen to know of any notable armors with similar Berathian theme? (Sans helmets since I’m a Death Godlike).

Thanks guys!

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Priest Symbol spells are so powerful that they're head and shoulders above whatever you get out of multiclassing. You know how Tekehu has a foe-only Ninagauth's Freezing Pillar as his AL9 ability? Priest symbols are like that but cast faster and last twice as long, and Berath provides a better affliction too (Weakened). The Usher Incarnate you get through the AL9 summon can also cast his own Symbol (as well as Hand of Berath). You're not going to get much in the way of martial capabilities, but in general single class casters are pretty ridiculous at AL9 in Deadfire, arguably much more so than, say, a single class Rogue or Fighter.

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That makes sense! I have read posts saying that Berath has a lot of great nuking power and so that's what's been fueling my hesitations about missing out on the High Level Priest spells. Are there a lot of tactics with high-level Priest or would all of their tactics boil down to buff and then cast Symbol of Berath? I do like the amount of options in combat the Contemplative allows.

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It also depends how you want to play. If you indeed want to have fun in melee AND do great casting then the Helwalker/Berath combo is def. better than an SC Priests. 

Helwalker is great for casters but it's also great for weapon users so imo it's the natural pick for a melee/caster hybrid. Another one would be Barbarian/Berath but I think that's so off thematically (Frenzy and Rage vs. rational and stoic) that it would be no option for me.

Armor: there's a nice plate armor that's 100% Berath themed and it's called the Blackened Plate. It also has a helmet but it's not mandatory to wear it with the plate.

From the top of my head I don't know any other armor that shouts "Berath"; but since you can color-tint a good amount of armors to your liking it's not a big deal - at least visually. 

 

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10 hours ago, automata_m said:

That makes sense! I have read posts saying that Berath has a lot of great nuking power and so that's what's been fueling my hesitations about missing out on the High Level Priest spells. Are there a lot of tactics with high-level Priest or would all of their tactics boil down to buff and then cast Symbol of Berath? I do like the amount of options in combat the Contemplative allows.

From your post and replies it sounds like you will like the Contemplative more. Yeah the symbol spells are nuts but the gameplay really is cast symbol -> diddle around with other spells as appropriate as stuff dies. If you want to experience that you have Xoti and Vatnir to hang out with (multiple priests in a party can be cool because they can specialise in healing/buffs/damage). The Contemplative will be a more unique and interesting gameplay experience.

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7 hours ago, Boeroer said:

It also depends how you want to play. If you indeed want to have fun in melee AND do great casting then the Helwalker/Berath combo is def. better than an SC Priests. 

Helwalker is great for casters but it's also great for weapon users so imo it's the natural pick for a melee/caster hybrid. Another one would be Barbarian/Berath but I think that's so off thematically (Frenzy and Rage vs. rational and stoic) that it would be no option for me.

Armor: there's a nice plate armor that's 100% Berath themed and it's called the Blackened Plate. It also has a helmet but it's not mandatory to wear it with the plate.

From the top of my head I don't know any other armor that shouts "Berath"; but since you can color-tint a good amount of armors to your liking it's not a big deal - at least visually. 

 

Would this combo need much dex at all? Probably makes sense to not dump (and maybe invest in) resolve for melee, but would it be ok to keep dex at 10 since we already have slow recovery with heavy armor?

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@Boeroer I also remember in one of your posts you mentioned that a zealot of Berath (+streetfighter) would be a more interesting melee option than a cleric of Berath (+devoted). Somehow I can't find the build you recommended, but you did have some advice on maintaining high dps with zealot... I guess the cleric option would have much more survivability, but would a streetfighter+priest outperform helwalker+priest in melee? Helwalkers get all the goodies you described earlier, but with streetfighter you also get ridiculous speed.

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If you can keep the Streetfighter flanked or bloodied (or both) then the Streetfighter variant will do more melee dps. But besides shorter recovery the Streetfighter will not do much for your spellcasting. 

If you want to use Barring Death's Door + Salvation of Time in combination with Streetfighter and Pallid Fate then Streetfighter is a good pick though. 

I would rather keep DEX rel. high and lower something else like MIG a bit (you already can get +15 MIG via Helwalker passive and Thunderous Blows). 

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5 hours ago, Boeroer said:

If you can keep the Streetfighter flanked or bloodied (or both) then the Streetfighter variant will do more melee dps. But besides shorter recovery the Streetfighter will not do much for your spellcasting. 

If you want to use Barring Death's Door + Salvation of Time in combination with Streetfighter and Pallid Fate then Streetfighter is a good pick though. 

I would rather keep DEX rel. high and lower something else like MIG a bit (you already can get +15 MIG via Helwalker passive and Thunderous Blows). 

Hmm, thanks - interesting... I think the helwalker/priest seems more diverse and fun to keep alive close the front lines. I'll try this build with 10 con and res, high DEX, PER and INT and the rest in might, seems a bit fragile, but not sure what else can be sacrificed at this point.

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