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Hello, I have played pillars 2 off and on since release never getting past mid game. I consider my self an inexperienced player and want to try turn-based this attempt. Since I do not like to multiclass I was thinking about making  the following for my next play through: 

tank(shieldbearer),

beserker,

priest,

archer,

wizard(invoker),

What do you guys think about this party composition? A follow-up question is how would you min/max your tank and invoker wizard for optimal success? I chose the shield bearer only because I read it was a sturdy tank and the invoker is my favoruite class.

 

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I would argue that Goldpact Knight would be even sturdier (highest armor is the most effective dmg mitigation in this game) - but Shieldbearers have +1 engagement which is useful for a tank, too. Paladins don't have as many engagement slots as Fighters but you need some to prevent enemies to just run past your tank towards your backline. Shieldbearers get 2 engagement when wearing a shield which is good but not enough imo. You should also pick a weapon which gives you more engagement (spear + modal comes to mind - also Shattered Vengeance or Kapana Taga). There are other items which can add engamgent, too (e.g. Reckless Brigandine). If you pick an Island (or Coastal) Aumaua from the Deadfire (so basically a Huana) for this Shielbearer and get Reckless Brigandine, Kapana Taga and Cadhu Scalth you can have a very fitting package overall since all those items help with tanking AND have the 100% Huana look. Imo very nice touch. 

Besides that: I know you said no multiclassing but an Unbroken/Shieldbearer would be even more sturdy AND better offensively AND would have way better engagement mechanics. Just so you know. ;) 

One advantage of the single class Paladin can be that Devine Retribution (comes at Power Level 8) works with killed summons! This can be very good because you will not run out of Zeal and can use Brand Enemy, Flames of Devotion, Exhortations, Lay on Hands etc. forever.
 

BUT you have to have somebody who can produce a lot of summons for cheap to really get an advantage out of this. For example a Beckoner or a Troubadour are perfect for this. I personally would go for Troubadour. Use "Ancient Brittle Bones" and later also the chant "Many Lives Pass By" to put a lot of weak summons onto the battlefield which distract enemies and get killed a lot. You Paladin will never run out of Zeal then. 

I personally would dump the Ranger for the Chanter then. Chanters can be quite good at ranged combat, too. Grab an arquebus (the Red Hand for example) or the Essence Interrupter Bow and use Aefyllath Ues Mith Fyr + Sure-Handed Ila and you'll do very good ranged damage while have a lot more utility with the summons and other invocations than a Ranger (unless you pick Arcane Archer which can also have a huge impact with the right weapon(s) - but about that we could talk maybe later if you are more interested in a Ranger than a Chanter).

IF you go for the Paladin/Devine Retribution/Chanter thing I wouls also recommend to run your Berserker with the sabre "Grave Calling" at some point. Second weapon set should include Modwyr (immunity to intellect afflictions). Enchant the sabre it with "Chilling Grave".
Because there's this immensely powerful trick Berserkers can do with that weapon IF you have skeleton summons in the party (hello Chanter my old friend... ;)):

First the Chanter summons Ancient Brittle Bones (while singing Many Lives Pass By). Then the Berserker goes into Frenzy. He will attack one of the parties' own skeletons (only one) with the sabre. The sabre wil kill the skeleton and that will proc a Chillfog from the sabre. That Chillfog has friedly fire because the Berserker is confused (from Frenzy). So that Chillfog will also hit and kill the other skeletons - and this will produce more Chillfogs which do the same to the new "backup"-skeletons that emerged from Ancient Brittle Bones. Meanwhile the skeletons from Many Lives pass by will run towards the enemy, getting killed as well, producing even more Chillfogs. This all leads to a ton of Chillfogs on the field that will not only kill your enemies quickly but can also paralyze them (see the second enchantment branch of the sabre Grave Calling). And meanwhile your Paladin will get all the Zeal from the skeletons dying! If your Berserker has Blood Surge he will also get a lot of Rage back from this.  You can see that this overall package of Paladin + Chanter + Berserker can be incredibly powerful and also... cool. :)
And the additional trick: if you don't like the Chillfigs to cause friendly fire anymore - so that you can run into the mess and hit the enemies yourself - just switch to Modwyr and *pouf* all Chillfogs will do foe-only damage all of a sudden because your confusion is gone. 
I would pick a Pale Elf and I would wear the Pale Hide, Stormturner Cloak later also Brooch of Inevitable Winter. This is because you can get hit by all the Chillfogs - and you don't want to die from that I guess. Pale Elf + those items gives you ridiculously high freeze AR so the Chillfogs will only tickle you. You can still get blinded by it but you can prevent that with Acina's Tricorn (looks funny though with the Pale Hide) or by the Priest casting Blessing on you after you get out of the Chillfog (would be my choice should it be necessary).

Wizard Evoker can totally add to that and shower enemies + skeletons with AoE nukes. But he should also have some debuffing options up his sleeve. Stack absurd amounts of Power Levels with Sun & Moon + Magran's Favour and grab Otto Starcat if the Evoker is your main character. You will get up to +5 Power Levels to all fire spells. Get the Ring of Focused Flames and receive +10 accuracy for your fire spells. Grab two Stones of Power necklaces (there's more than one in the game) and use them 1/encounter to gain an additional Power Level. After the fight stack them in the stash and they will regain their charge without resting. Alternatively you can use two Necklaces of Fireball and do the same trick: if stacked in the stash they will regain their charges: 8 Fireballs in every fight extra! Wear the Firethrower Gloves for even more Evocation Power Levels. Max MIG, PER and DEX. Wear Rekvu's Fractured Casque. Then knock out yourself with Necrotic Lance out of combat: you will gain an Acute Rash injury which isn't so bad - but you will be immune to all interrupts then because of the helm. This lets you use the Grimoire of Vaporous Wizardry without any drawback! You'll have +1 casts per spell level now which is a huge advantage. Make sure you have some non-fire spells as well for those enemies who don't care about fire damage (for example Ironclad constructs and so on). 

The Priest should focus on buffing and healing (the Berserker first of all - or use Barring Death's Door on him + Salvation of Time) since you have more than enough damage potential in the party already.

 

So my recommended party based on your wishes would look like this:

  • Huana Shieldbearer
  • Pale Elf Berserker
  • Priest of <whatever you like best>, maybe not Magran though (Evoker already has a lots of fire spells)
  • Troubadour
  • Evoker   

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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Nearly each time i see a long post from you, i learn some image.png.980659764fde04d83ac2164d2a2e8c75.png

😃

I love this game.

PS : so you were talking about arcane archer, i'm interested. Running with one currently. Having lot of fun with watershaper's focus for aoe blasting hordes (with avenging storm on from scroll or cacophony helm) and spearcaster for though boss. Anything else to try? 

 

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I find SC Arcane Archer extremely impactful in three different setups:

  1. As CC setup with Imbue:Web from stealth followed by an immediate Imbue: Web (or the other way round), Watershaper's Focus and Driving Flight - which gives you 6x AoE damage from Blast + high chance of Ondra's Wrath happening + 3x Binding Web + 3x Pull of Eora with insane ACC. It pulls the enemies very tightly together and they can't move on their own. Perfect setup for further nuking.
  2. As AoE dmg setup with Hand Mortar (Blinding Smoke) + Twinned Shot + Driving Flight + Avenging Storm: Blinding Smoke gets triggered unbelievably often because of Driving Flight and two shots at once. Blinding Smoke, although not doing damage, does trigger Avenging Storms. I had over 1000 hit rolls with this on a group of 5 or 6. It's instadeath against mobs. Second weapon set with Fire in the Hole for imbue shots (one more projectile bounce = one more imbue proc). Also works with other Ranger subclasses of course. You just won't have the tools to pull enemies together yourself to hit more enemies at once. Also works well with Whirling Strikes - if you put a melee weapon into your offhand.
  3. As another AoE dmg setup with Current's Rush + Twinned Shot. High Tide procs off itself(!) so once you get a proc of this and have enough enemies in the AoE it's very likely to proc a chain-reaction where High Tide procs other High Tides and so on until every enemy in range is dead. Obviously Imbue:Eora helps to pull enemies together so this works better but as with the previous setup it's also doable with any other Ranger subclass. Also works with Whirling Strikes +  melee weapon but I had better results with One Handed Style + Twinned Shot.   

And of course my beloved Bleak Walker/Arcane Archer with Spearcaster. But that's a multiclass.

With Frostseeker is another option of course, but again better with multiclass (e.g. Cipher or Helwalker). 

Edited by Boeroer
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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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