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By now we're all very familiar with super-powered Heralds, Sages, Arcane Knights and whatnot that can absolutely decimate the game. But what about the forgotten builds? The class combos that don't possess any obvious synergies or feature a traditionally 'unsexy' class (sorry Rangers...)

Every now and again this board will throw up an unsung hero build that opens people's eyes to exciting possibilities - e.g. Takedown combo Geomancers, spell-turret Troubadour/Psions - that go to show that even the least popular combos have some merit. 

A quick glance at the pinned build list (stuck in 2018 limbo) shows the following combos missing builds: Beastmaster, Cantor, Celebrant, Cleric, Crusader, Geomancer, Hierophant, Hunter, Itinerant, Liberator, Mystic, Oracle, Pathfinder, Psyblade, Savage, Tempest, Warlock, Wildrhymer, Witch. 

Obviously some of those have been fairly well covered by now (Warlock), but I'm not sure I've ever seen discussion around Beastmasters for example.

So what are you favourite, under-represented builds and why? Are there some you're keen to try? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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I've made several attempts to build a geomancer focused on tossing blights. But each time has been something of a failure. You run out of ammo too fast. But, when you do have ammo, the build is scary. Tried a sharpshooter variant, and there wasn't much of a noticeable change. The ghostheart variant made pet management easier, but there was still the issue of the blights running out. When the blood mage got introduce, I meant to try a geomancer bloodmage, so I could endlessly replenish the blight supply, but I never got around to it. 

Pre-bloodmage, but I forget which patch, there was the nature godlike build, and that one felt the strongest. Maybe because of power level increase. Can't say. 

I love the idea of a wizard ranger tossing endless bombs. At some point, I might have to give the blood mage a try and see if that fixes the issue. 

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I actually recently tried a beastmaster (shifter + stalker) and it kind of wrecked house. Enough that I got bored and switched to a Sorcerer (ancient + enchanter). (If I had kept with it, it probably would've been a tailor-made build for wrecking megabosses since beastmaster + druid = incredible petrify effects)

 

Maybe I should write it up. There's obvious Boar DoT + ranger synergy, but ranger + caster is probably just a really underappreciated combination (I also really enjoyed a itinerant=berath+ghost heart class). Ranger/caster really shine on PotD where ranger's insane accuracy can really help a caster pull out of the -15 deficit effective accuracy you start with at that difficulty.

 

edit - shifter boar form, unfixed by whatever balance mod, is probably just too good on its own, and it merely is exacerbated by a martial multiclass like ranger. helwalker or rogue would also be stupid good.

Edited by thelee
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Just personal opinion here: I think it's important as well to specify if builds are viable/tested Solo or not.

You can find a lot of fun synergies and oddities between many classes that are not very popular, and have a real blast in a party (where any class is viable as long as your party is somewhat balanced).

But Solo-viable synergy is another matter altogether and I think it would be good to add that perspective too when people post builds. The builds that tend to rise to the top in the forums were often made popular because they were Solo-friendly builds (except for some very beloved Party builds like SC Fury or Fury/Helwalker).

Maybe that's actually a thing to reiterate too even if somewhat obvious: one doesn't have to play a Solo-capable build to be in a party, on the contrary it can be more fun to play something different and creative. That might also give a bit more love back to certain SC classes which are absent from your list :).

Edited by Not So Clever Hound
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Often solo-builds perform less well in a party compared to party-friendly builds. 

Because a solo build has to be self contained it tends to have worse action economy or an overall more balanced setup in terms of offense and sturdyness than a party setup - where two or more characters can do stuff at the same time or focus on different roles. So it's less important for party chars to be able to do it all (deal damage and stay alive basically) but they can focus on doing one thing especially well.

 

Edited by Boeroer
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46 minutes ago, Not So Clever Hound said:

Exaclty, @Boeroer that's why I thought it could be an important distinction to make especially if the OP is looking for more potentially exotic builds - the difference party/solo may be even stronger.

Agree 100%. I know this debate - and the distinction between solo and party - has been covered pretty thoroughly across these boards in the past; and I completely understand the hunger for solo-viable & min-maxed builds because they serve a very specific purpose. 

I think as much as anything else I'm interested to learn of any entertaining playstyles or gameplay loops that people may have stumbled across in blending some unconventional classes together.

I also find it interesting as well that in all my forum trawling I don't recall seeing masses of discussions around things like Thaumaturges in a casual play capacity; only to discover their dominance in the Ultimate challenge. Obviously this is down to very particular mechanics and propensity for cheese - but when stripping that cheese away and looking at the base mechanics of certain subclasses, I am curious about less conventional approaches like leaning on the rogue elements that Skaen priest boasts; something like a Cipher/Skaen Mystic that leans on casts Finishing Blow to generate focus (if that's mechanically possible) for example.

Definitely interested in hearing more about your Itinerant build too @thelee. Ranger in particular is a class I don't often see considered beyond being used to pump accuracy for another class to do its thing. I mean, obviously that's its 'thing', but you know what I'm getting at...

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1 hour ago, Jrllo said:

Definitely interested in hearing more about your Itinerant build too @thelee. Ranger in particular is a class I don't often see considered beyond being used to pump accuracy for another class to do its thing. I mean, obviously that's its 'thing', but you know what I'm getting at...

Leaving apart the fact that many people don't like Ranger as the "pet class", the issue is that their ability tree is mostly about "various little perks" (such as Binding Root or beneficial effect purge) and pet abilities rather than raw power abilities to focus on. Pet abilities aren't bad, but that's usually something you want to do in parallel of a build "main focus". 

That's why Multciclass often use the other class as "main focus" and the ranger part as "support" rather than the other way around, outside of the obvious ranged attack part. That said, Rangers do have a few synergetic perks (takedown combo and the various acc buff) which makes MC interesting. Also Single Class Rangers have a couple of "raw power" abilities able to be the focus of a build.  

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2 hours ago, Boeroer said:

Often solo-builds perform less well in a party compared to party-friendly builds. 

Because a solo build has to be self contained it tends to have worse action economy or an overall more balanced setup in terms of offense and sturdyness than a party setup - where two or more characters can do stuff at the same time or forgot different roles. So it's less important for party chars to be able to do it all (deal damage and stay alive basically) but they can focus on doing one thing especially well.

 

Yeah, but when we factor party-play, its more effective to "outsource" some of those combinations, rather then commit you main char to a less then optimal class.

Like Takedown Combo, Inspired Beacon, skelly summons for Grave Calling and such. 

Edited by Haplok
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Yes, that's what I meant when I spoke about action economy and multiple party members being able to do certain things at the same time (rather than one after the other).

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I'll be the first to admit I am extremely guilty of sometimes overlooking the value of spreading some of these synergistic options across multiple characters in the party (hell, just look at my build help request thread...). The whole interaction with Grave Calling and vessels is absolutely one I have managed to miss while plotting out characters, dismissing it initially because summons didn't fit in with my character's vision. Amazingly never occurred to me that someone else could do the heavy lifting instead.

With such a popular focus on solo builds that are entirely self-sufficient, I suppose it's all too easy to forget that some of the most fun and/or broken skill interactions probably come from very surprising places. 

That being the case, what other clever combos are far more feasible to pull off using 2 or more characters? In particular ones that are far more impractical - impossible even - on one build alone. There's got to be some pretty outlandish stuff that perhaps hasn't been given the attention it'd get if it were doable by a Herald or something.

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For example Blood Ward of SC Furyshaper (it works with all kinds of damage, even DoT-ticks) can turn otherwise squishy damage dealers into sturdy ones.
Add some Old Siec phrase from a fellow Chanter (less potent but still works with spells and stacks with the Blood Ward) and the Bloodmage in your party can go totally bonkers with non-stop nuking + Blood Sacrifice. Add some Triumph of the Crusaders from a Priest for good measure... ;)

---

Beckoner with upgraded Ancient Weapons + Priest with Spark the Souls of the Righteous. Ancient Weapons gang up on enemies and each will have a shocking AoE. 

---

A Ranger with Essence Interrupter putting the transform-effect on an Ancient Brittle Bones Skeleton and then another party member kills said skeleton with Grave Calling ("Calling"). You will spawn:

  • a random summon bc. of Essence Interrupter
  • a grave imp because of Calling
  • two skeletons because of Ancient Brittle Bones (which also could get the same treatment which would result in 2 random summons and 2 imps

all not counting towards the summoning limit. You can add some Many Lives Pass By skellies, too. ;)

---

Bellower summoning the Dragon (for a quite a long duration) and an Ancient putting Wild Growth on it. Wild Growth lasts forever - so as long as the Dragon's summoning durations isn't over he will be robust (+2 AR and healing every 3 secs) and also be gigantic.

---

My favored stuff is a Priest casting an ACC buff right before a high-ACC Wizard (e.g. Assassin/Wizard) casts Miasma for some buddy who shortly after targets the Will defense of enemies (e.g. Furyshaper's Fear Ward, Cipher, Chanter or Priest or so). If one character had to first buff himself up, then debuff enemies and then attack it would take so long. WIth three party members it's a matter of a few secs.  
 

   
 


 

Edited by Boeroer
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I'm a simple man, so I like to drop a Pull of Eora on the back row of the enemy, then use Clear Out to knock the front row into it. Then the berserker spams Barbaric Blow on the blob while my two wizards and the priest nuke them and the fighter chucks grenades.

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2 hours ago, Boeroer said:

Beckoner with upgraded Ancient Weapons + Priest with Spark the Souls of the Righteous. Ancient Weapons gang up on enemies any each will have a shocking AoE. 

Of course all the combos you cite are super creative and bonkers, but I especially like the simple elegance of this one. It also reminds me of that horrible fight against Uariki and her animated weapons in PoE1 (one of Concelhaut's apprentices). Yikes. Nice to turn the tables a bit, with shocking aura as an extra surprise. :) 

Edited by Not So Clever Hound
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3 minutes ago, Not So Clever Hound said:

@Boeroer unrelated note but in 11 posts you'll officially be at 20,000 posts.

I feel like we should throw you a little party. Something classy, but rustic.

Somebody suggested the same at 10K posts - and then complained on Discord that I didn't even notice. ;) 

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3 minutes ago, Boeroer said:

Somebody suggested the same at 10K posts - and then complained on Discord that I didn't even notice

And that's what you get for becoming a role model for an entire generation of players, Dear Sir. People live by your approval.

Or maybe I'm exaggerating a bit. ;) Anyway, I'll bake a cake and eat it in your honor.

Edited by Not So Clever Hound
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17 hours ago, dgray62 said:

thelee, by "incredible petrify effects" you're referring to Embrace the Earth Talon, right? Is it incredible due to the higher ACC a beastmaster can achieve?

yep. druid already has arguably the strongest petrify effect, and then you get an absolutely stupid amount of accuracy that even against megabosses you'll have a near-100% success rate. you generally need to pair with a cipher or wizard to debuff enemy resolve though

 

8 hours ago, Jrllo said:

Definitely interested in hearing more about your Itinerant build too @thelee. Ranger in particular is a class I don't often see considered beyond being used to pump accuracy for another class to do its thing. I mean, obviously that's its 'thing', but you know what I'm getting at...

I mean, it's definitely that, but the itinerant build also took advantage of predator's sense + berath dots (rot skulls and touch of rot and shining beacon) and also an underappreciated synergy between stalker's link and champion's boon (+3 engagement = lots of +10 accuracy bonuses from your pet; also works with cipher)

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Thanks for your answer, thelee. Clearly, the many druid DoTs harmonize well with ranger as well. How do you find rot skulls in Deadfire? I used it all the time in POE1, but have never tried it in Deadfire due to reading that it is less OP than in POE1.

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31 minutes ago, thelee said:

I mean, it's definitely that, but the itinerant build also took advantage of predator's sense + berath dots (rot skulls and touch of rot and shining beacon) and also an underappreciated synergy between stalker's link and champion's boon (+3 engagement = lots of +10 accuracy bonuses from your pet; also works with cipher)

That's pretty cool. Stalker is one of the subclasses I've been curious to try out, and not only is the Berath dot angle a nice touch but I'd never given pause for thought on the link/boon synergy either. I might have to throw this combo into the mix.

I completely understand why so many people are quick to turn to Ghostheart and eliminate a lot of problems people have with animal companions, but I really like the idea of finding ways to improve their worth - beyond just pumping the obvious health, resilience and damage skills of course.

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4 minutes ago, Jrllo said:

I completely understand why so many people are quick to turn to Ghostheart and eliminate a lot of problems people have with animal companions, but I really like the idea of finding ways to improve their worth - beyond just pumping the obvious health, resilience and damage skills of course.

Playing a ranger / priest does an awful lot to keep your living animal companion alive. Withdraw allows you to snatch your pet away from the jaws of Tangaloa. Other than that though, the priest / ranger is a terrible combo. Mine was a fire godlike priest of Magran and I don't remember the ranger half. What I do remember is using the spiritual weapon summon an awful lot, because it did a helluva lotta burn damage. Normally, adding the ranger class to another class makes it better. I ended up ending this playthrough early because it was just plain awful. Of course, I was still figuring out the game back then. So maybe it's not as bad as I remember. 

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Bit offtopic but speaking of Priest and keeping stuff alive: did you guys know that Withdraw works on the Furyshaper's wards - and that they work perfectly fine even when withdrawn? They tend to get targeted a lot (at least when playing solo - but also in parties if they are very obviously the most squishy target around) so that takes away one nuisance quite elegantly.

1 hour ago, thelee said:

an underappreciated synergy between stalker's link and champion's boon (+3 engagement = lots of +10 accuracy bonuses from your pet; also works with cipher)

👍  def. underappreciated by me - because I didn't even know that engagement triggers the ACC bonus of Stalker's Link. :)
I always thought it works like in PoE where only the actual act of attacking counts. I never bothered to check this. :blush:

I seldomly took Stalker's Link for AoE Rangers because I thought it's only useful against single targets. But if it works on all engaged enemies that's a different story... 

 

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2 hours ago, Boeroer said:

Bit offtopic but speaking of Priest and keeping stuff alive: did you guys know that Withdraw works on the Furyshaper's wards - and that they work perfectly fine even when withdrawn? They tend to get targeted a lot (at least when playing solo - but also in parties if they are very obviously the most squishy target around) so that takes away one nuisance quite elegantly.

nifty i never knew this.

 

does it work with beetle shell? that would actually be great to take advantage of the AI targeting, a fully-effective totem that absorbs hundreds of damage from silly enemies.

Edited by thelee
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4 hours ago, dgray62 said:

Thanks for your answer, thelee. Clearly, the many druid DoTs harmonize well with ranger as well. How do you find rot skulls in Deadfire? I used it all the time in POE1, but have never tried it in Deadfire due to reading that it is less OP than in POE1.

i don't use it too much but whenever i've used it's been pretty effective. as a caster weapon it works better than most other caster weapons since it operates best when you mix it in with casting due to the DoT nature of it.

i don't know much of the details of how it works to best optimize it though, i've been meaning to take a look at it in more detail (e.g. actual damage done, PEN, etc.)

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