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I've started and restarted PoE1 like 5 separate times, but it's finally looking like I'll finish. So naturally next up is PoE2. But for the sake of fun and diversity I don't want to just be the exact same class I played before, which was a Monk, so I was looking into the Multi-classes.
 
Here's where I've run into a problem. I played my Watcher as a sorta off-tank, someone who went in after and eventually beside Eder to soak up Wounds. Then using Flagellant's Path to cut through the enemy frontliners to help mop up the squishies in the backlines with Pallegena. Or I went in first with Maneha having her terrify the opposition then I went and helped the Devil mop up. Either way, much fun. I was following this build:
I still want to be an off-tank but I'm looking at other classes. Also note that I'll probably be using some mods cause I don't agree with all the changes that Obsidian made.
 
First up is the Transcendent(Monk/Soul Blade Cipher). Monk because I really like punching things. Like a lot. PUNCH. And Cipher because it's one of the more unique and fun classes and it had tons of story support. But the problem I see is that this class doesn't really offer anything naturally defensive. I've read that Soul Blades have a problem where they really suffer from the lower Focus debuff so it's better to play them as a backliner, skirmisher, or give them a reach weapon and put them behind the tank so they can cast their spells then wade in, which isn't bad but not what I had in mind. So my question is does anybody think this class can pull off the off-tank role or not.
 
Second up is the Ascetic(Monk/Fury Druid). Monk again cause, PUNCH. And specifically this class because of this build:
I'm really liking the look of this one because not only does it punch, it can punch with lightning. What's cooler than that? Base monk ain't even that cool. The only real problems I see with this build is as a Druid I would take up space that would leave Tekēhu out to dry. And that well Druids. Bleh, Druids. Does anybody have any experience with this build? How was it?
 
And last is would be either a Psyblade(Devoted Fighter/Soul Blade) or an Inquisitor(Paladin/Soul Blade). I'm still really interested in the Cipher and seeing what class specific dialog they get, but this time I get something beefier to back them up. I am willing to leave the rest of the Monk's abilities behind for some cool Cipher stuff. Problem being that to rectify the lack of punching either one gives me I was thinking of taking the Monastic Unarmed Training passive early on. Except that I've read it was bugged and honestly not worth taking due to the lack of damage. Does anybody have any experience with the Monastic Unarmed Training skill? If so how did it pan out for you? Does anyone have any build ideas for an off-tank Psyblade or Inquisitor?
 
Thanks.
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Soul Blades - like all Ciphers, can cast Borrowed Instincts which raises all defenses by 20. It stacks with Monk's Crucible of Suffering btw. So defensively it's good. The combo lacks healing but as long as you're with a party that can be solved. Instead of a normal Monk you could also try out the Shattered Pillar. It generates wounds via auto-attacks. So you can punch which not only raises wounds but also focus - and then release it via Soul Annihilation. SInce you are using mods I would recommend the Community Patch then. It not only has unique icons for all passives (which makes it easier to distinguish them) but also a lot of sensible balance fixes - among them the un-nerf of the Shattered Pillar's max wound count from 5 back to 10. 

Or maybe I can interest you in a Trickster/Monk. It has enormous offensive potential but also good defensive capabilites due to Mirrored Images. And Escape (Rogue ability) is a very cheap way to zip around on the battlefield. Also Monk's Turning Wheel (+10 INT) works well with stuff like Toxic Strike, Ring the Bell and Arterial Strike. 

Paladin/Soulblade can be a good mix of offense and defense.

Ascetic: never tried as melee guy but more as caster (with Helwalker).

Devoted/Soulblade will work and is quite uncomplicated but is a bit boring for my personal taste. 

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I agree, a Trickster MC would be a great fit for your playstyle, I would think.

Like Boeroer wrote, Trickster/Monk is particularly deadly, while being quite survivable due to Trickster buffs. Particularly I'm very fond on Forbidden Fist / Trickster. Landing a nasty DoT, like Toxic Strike, and Forbidden Fist Enfeeble feels like an execution on even the hardiest opponents. FF makes even the usually annoying, durable enemies with Unbending feeble. The various CC and debuff effects also benefit a lot from the extended durations (like the monk's spammable Stunning Surge).

Another archetype to consider (but maybe pair with a durable class, like a fighter), would be the streetfighter. Can't get more "in-your-face" then that. But I think the shadowdancer might be more fun overall.

Edited by Haplok
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3 hours ago, Boeroer said:

Soul Blades - like all Ciphers, can cast Borrowed Instincts which raises all defenses by 20. It stacks with Monk's Crucible of Suffering btw. So defensively it's good. The combo lacks healing but as long as you're with a party that can be solved. Instead of a normal Monk you could also try out the Shattered Pillar. It generates wounds via auto-attacks. So you can punch which not only raises wounds but also focus - and then release it via Soul Annihilation. SInce you are using mods I would recommend the Community Patch then. It not only has unique icons for all passives (which makes it easier to distinguish them) but also a lot of sensible balance fixes - among them the un-nerf of the Shattered Pillar's max wound count from 5 back to 10. 

Or maybe I can interest you in a Trickster/Monk. It has enormous offensive potential but also good defensive capabilites due to Mirrored Images. And Escape (Rogue ability) is a very cheap way to zip around on the battlefield. Also Monk's Turning Wheel (+10 INT) works well with stuff like Toxic Strike, Ring the Bell and Arterial Strike. 

Paladin/Soulblade can be a good mix of offense and defense.

Ascetic: never tried as melee guy but more as caster (with Helwalker).

Devoted/Soulblade will work and is quite uncomplicated but is a bit boring for my personal taste. 

Trickster/Monk sounds quite interesting. How would you build that?

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Mediocre MIG, mediocre CON, above average DEX, PER, INT and RES. If Forbidden Fist: max RES.

From the top of my head (not in that order, didn't count if too many): Fist (and a non-crush weapon as backup, for example a sabre) + Tuotilo's Palm (Balanced Shield + Precision Striker), Weapon & Shield Style, Two Weapon Style, Escape, Dirty Fighting, Riposte, Arterial Strike, Ring the Bell, Toxic Strike, Adept Evasion, Persistent Distraction, Deep Wounds, Deathblows, Turning Wheel, Lightning Strikes or Swift Flurry, Efficient Anguish, Thunderous Blows, Enervating Blows, Parting Sorrow, Heartbeat Drumming. If Forbidden Fist also Crucible of Suffering and Clarity of Agony.

My preferred armors would be Casita Samelia's Legacy with max Intimidation or Nomad's Brigandine. If nobody else desperately wants them then also Cloak of Greater Deflection and Bracers of Greater Deflection. If Forbidden Fist then Stand of Favor and Cabalist's Gambeson and all the RES gear you can find (including the Evee pet dog and food with -x% to hostile effects duration). 

I think Forbidden Fist/Trickster fits quite nicely because Forbidden Fist wants high RES to make his curse as short as possible - and deflection bonuses have increasing returns: the more the better - so the high RES is great in combination with Mirrored Images and additional deflection stuff. 

MIG can be at 10 anyway. Trickster gets plenty of damage bonuses. IN case of Forbidden Fist it also holds the self damage at bay. 

Forbidden Fist is not that easy to play in the early game because you will have slower wound generation as with a normal monk or Shattered Pillar. But it's very rewarding after some levels imo.
The Forbidden Fist ability is very strong. Enfeebled prolongs all hostile effects on the enemy by 50% and prvents healing completely, +10 INT from Turning Wheel adds 50% more duration. So stuff like Ring the Bell or Toxic Strike (good raw dmg DoTs) last for a very, very long time. You can "escape" to an enemy, punch him with Forbidden Fist + Ring the Bell (or Toxic Strike), zip to the next, do Forbidden Fist + Stunning Surge (very long stun), zip to the next and so on. It can be mad fun. And you won't have to bother about getting damaged too much because you will be sturdy and tanky enough. Also off-tanking is no problem.
    

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Very nice. I'm aware that this build is pretty much fist oriented, but I can't help myself to stop wondering if this kind of build would work with a staff as well. Or dual wield crush dmg weapons. Willbreaker with modal too, perhaps.

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While Clarity of Agony is nice in theory, personally I've never wanted to spend my Wounds and Recovery time that way. Its not like hostile effects last long with high Res and Mohora Wraps food (I always had this effect active from Nekataka onwards as a FF). I consider Stunning Surge kinda mandatory, since its a nice spammable Full Attack & CC. Also I like Confounding Blind for tough enemies and bosses - to further debuff enemy Deflection and get even more crits -> more Swift Flurry/Heartbeat Drumming procs. 

And don't forget Flagellant's Path! That's fun!

Also, while Tuotilo's Palm is great, do consider if you'll actually need a shield on such a striker. For me the answer was no most of the time. Particularly with Repulsive Visage buff. Dual weapons/fists will do considerably more damage. Personally I have used offhand rapier with modal for its extreme Accuracy -> again, more crits -> more bonus attacks from SF/HBD. But fists would certainly work as well.

Edited by Haplok
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1 hour ago, Rev7718 said:

Very nice. I'm aware that this build is pretty much fist oriented, but I can't help myself to stop wondering if this kind of build would work with a staff as well. Or dual wield crush dmg weapons. Willbreaker with modal too, perhaps.

It will. With Forbidden Fist an additional feature is that you can use something like a sabre in one setup, a spear on the other - and still have a crush alternative with your forbidden fist ability (which doesn't use your weapon but has its own crush base dmg). So enemies' AR or immunties will be no problem a all.

 

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4 hours ago, Haplok said:

And don't forget Flagellant's Path! That's fun!

It's way too expensive with 2 Mortification for my taste. Escape is the better alternative imo. I need Mortification for other stuff. :)

4 hours ago, Haplok said:

Also, while Tuotilo's Palm is great, do consider if you'll actually need a shield on such a striker. For me the answer was no most of the time. 

If you pick Riposte and consider the increasing returns of high deflection (and also keep in mind that Tuotilo's Palm gets +1 deflection/+1 reflex per wound) it's a crime not to use it imo. With Adept Evasion and Tuotilo's Palm + Weapon and Shield Style you will get missed by almost all reflex based AoE spells. ANd of course overcoming your deflection will be very hard. At the same time Tuotilo's Palm's damage is not that important if you apply stuff like Toxic Strike or Ring the Bell or use Forbidden Fist (which is a primary attack anyway). Imo the greatly increased defenses are totally worth the bit of dmg los. Also a bash from Tuoltilo's Palm (or any offhand weapon for that matter) that Triggers Swift Flurry or Heartbeat Drumming will proc attacks with the main hand weapon anyway - so in case of Swift FLurry/HBD chains it doesn't even matter what you are wearing in the offhand. And Tuotilo's Palm not only has Precision Striker (+5 ACC) but also the modal which gives you +15 ACC for your next attack - should enemies miss you (which they will). 

Also a shield means +1 engagement. With Persistent Distraction you will have 2. Nice to have with Parting Sorrow imo. Especially if you want to use Ryngrim's RV. 

Absolutely worth it in my experience. One of the few cases where I actually use Tuotilo's Palm. :) 

If one uses Shattered Pillar then Whispers of the Endless Paths is also great. Offensive Parry generates wounds for the Shattered Pillar. Riposte won't but it procs the cone attack which isn't bad either. And of course the cone AoE with Turning Wheel is quite big which makes stuff like Efficient Anguish lots of fun.

With Morning Star + Envenomed Strikes + Stunning Surge you can lower enemies' fortitude by 45 points and then use Efficient Anguish (targets fortitude). This procs Swift FLurry/HBD quite often then. Also the Willbreaker has the enchantment "Make them Flinch" (25% miss to graze) which - combined with Gauntlets of Greater Reliability (also 25% miss to graze) is very good against enemies with very high deflection (in order to easily apply Body Blows even if you otherwise would miss all the time). Miss to graze is such in undervalued conversion imo.

Edited by Boeroer
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The thing is, enemies die so quickly to a Shadowdancer that Riposting doesn't really matter. Even moreso if you use the Repulsive Visage - they will hardly even attack.

For bosses simply FF + Confounding Blind + Toxic Strike, spam Stunning Surge and watch them melt.

As for Flagellant's Path, its insanely good with high Accuracy weapons. Squishier enemies will explode outright on arrival (due to SF/HBD) and you have no Recovery and can kill again...

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Dammit. This is the (best)worst. Now I have a whole other class to consider. When I finally got Devil I really ended up clicking the Rogue class. Felt like a glass cannon monk, do more damage and take more damage.

I guess the only real questions I have are does the Cipher still have the most dialog options? And is Monastic Unarmed Training fixed or worth it in general?

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Offtopic: 

I think my next character will be forbidden fist/ ancient. Casting all the dot:s and enfeeble sounds fun. Extra fun with whispers of the endless path and taste of the hunt. Only problem is that forbidden fist don't really enjoy high int but could be worth trying.

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2 hours ago, EightBolts said:

Dammit. This is the (best)worst. Now I have a whole other class to consider. When I finally got Devil I really ended up clicking the Rogue class. Felt like a glass cannon monk, do more damage and take more damage.

I guess the only real questions I have are does the Cipher still have the most dialog options? And is Monastic Unarmed Training fixed or worth it in general?

I personally really like the FF monk/soul blade transcendent. The cipher side gives you a great attack ability, soul annihilation, that you can alternate with forbidden fist strikes and just melt most opponents. For bosses, you can enfeeble them with a FF strike, stun them with stunning surge, thereby lowering their fortitude to land a Disintegration, which is prolonged due to their being enfeebled. Ciphers have some great passives too like lingering echoes and hammering thoughts which synergize nicely with a monk. Plus you have great CC powers that you can use when needed. Don't worry about the soul blade's lower focus; one of the nice things about a soul blade is your max focus increases with each kill, which also gives you a concentration stack, making you sturdier and less vulnerable to knockdowns, etc. Your max focus can get very high, which is important when you later get the seeker's fang rapier, which inflicts a mini-Disintegration raw DoT. The amount of damage it does is linked to your focus, so you can actually do an amazing amount of damage with this weapon late game, while still inflicting great damage with the forbidden fist attack.

Regarding your other questions, yes, ciphers do extra dialogue options in the game. And while Monastic Unarmed Training isn't as OP as monk fists, they are still very good, and you can definitely make some great unarmed combat builds using this ability.

Edited by dgray62
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How does Forbidden Fist work? The description on the wiki is kind of confusing to me.

And for my for real real last question when it comes to Monastic Unarmed Tradition, if I were to take the Tactician subclass instead of Devoted and just pump Phantom Foes would that ease the negatives of MUT?

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Forbidden Fist is a (single) attack that also Enfeebles enemies (cannot heal, +50% duration of hostile effects - including DOTs/CC/debuffs already in place, -5 Con/-10 Fortitude/less max health), inflicts you with a Forbidden Curse stack and has a scaling additive damage bonus that depends on Forbidden Curse level you currently have: +50% if you have no curse, +100% if you have 1 stack, +150% if you have 2 stacks and +200% if you have 3 stacks. Also its cost scales on Curse level: its free (0 Wounds) when you have no FF Curse, but 1, 2 or 3 when you have 1/2/3 stacks. FF Curse also continuously damages you, (damage per tick depends on Curse level, is mild at Curse 1, but severe at level 3), it doesn't last long (and its duration is reduced with Hostile Effect reductions, particularly high Resolve and Mohora Wraps food), but using FF again before the Curse effect expires prolongs it (and adds a stack); FF ability to recover a little health when Hostile Effects expire can nearly counter the level 1 Curse self-damage - but it cannot compensate for the higher stack levels.

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12 hours ago, Haplok said:

The thing is, enemies die so quickly to a Shadowdancer that Riposting doesn't really matter. Even moreso if you use the Repulsive Visage - they will hardly even attack.

For bosses simply FF + Confounding Blind + Toxic Strike, spam Stunning Surge and watch them melt.

That may be the case in easier encounters, but in the DLCs and other late(r) game content this isn't true. At least in my experience. The longer the fights last the more important the defenses become (and refreshing resources, too).

Riposte is good for somebody who wants to tank or offtank. It even triggers SF/HDB, doesn't it?

And as I said the usage of Tuotilo's Palm doesn't mean that much of an offensive difference. Keep in mind it also raises the ACC (or damage) of your Forbidden Fist ability. And as I also said for FF and Toxic Strike etc. it doesn't matter at all since it's either a primary attack or the DoT is the important part (wich isn't connected to the weapon's base damage at all).

Ranged enemies are seldomly affected by Repulsive Visage, yet Tuotilo's Palm will protect you from shots and spells as well. Might as well consider Soul Mirror in addition now that I think of it... I also really like the combination of TP and Adept Evasion. You can then cross/enter your party members' reflex-targeting AoEs and not be affected most of times. 

If you want to use stuff like Toxic Strike and Confounding Blind a lot (which are both quite expensive) I wonder where the Guile for Mirrored Images and Repulsive Image comes from.
Sure, in short encounters you can just burn through your Guile and Mortification - but in my opinion that isn't a viable strategy in prolonged fights like for example in SSS or FS - or even Splintered Reef or Drowned Barrows.
It may depend on the difficulty setting though. I only play PotD so that means fights will take longer and enemies are a lot sturdier and more numerous. Maybe on lower difficulties my argument doesn't apply.

Just keep in mind OP asked for offtanking, so a good mix of defense and offensive is a good starting point I believe. With Tuotilo's Palm you only give away a little bit of damage compared to a normal dual fist/weapon setup - but gain so much defense in return (also compared to a normal small shield bc. of "balanced shield"). The PoE build OP used (Juggernaut) was a very sturdy monk build. 
 

12 hours ago, Haplok said:

As for Flagellant's Path, its insanely good with high Accuracy weapons. Squishier enemies will explode outright on arrival (due to SF/HBD) and you have no Recovery and can kill again...

Flagellant's Patch cast time is 1.4 sec and it has 3 secs recovery, not "no Recovery". You can exploit it with reloading weapons and skip their lengthy reload entirely (and thus I will use it with guns), but you will never have 0 recovery - unless you play a Monk/Barb with Blood Thirst. Also the long casting time is annoying as heck imo.

Swift Flurry/Hearbeat Drumming can kill regardless of Flagellant's Path. There's no causal connection so I don't know how this can be an argument for Flagellant's Path? If you use FP you'll have 2 less Mortification you cannot get back. That means less uses for Swift Flurry and Stunning Surge (you won't always get a refund against tough enemies).
Imo it's a lot better to use Escape (which has a casting time of 0.5 secs and actually has 0 recovery) and then use Stunning Surge at the target. You'll have even higher chances for Swift Flurry/HBD to trigger (bc. stun causes -10 deflection), caused an affliction and likely get a refund for the Mortification you spend. FP's low PEN crush damage "on the way" is not enough to convince me to use it over Stunning Surge. It surely isn't "insanely good" - unless I missed some secret sauce until now. 

Finally: if you are like me and use Bounding Boots a lot (because the Leap can be free if you know how) you don't even need to spend anything on Escape. The positioning is also way easier. Often with FP and Escape you don't arrive at the spot you wanted to.

 

10 hours ago, EightBolts said:

I guess the only real questions I have are does the Cipher still have the most dialog options? And is Monastic Unarmed Training fixed or worth it in general?

I don't think that Ciphers have significantly more dialogue options in Deadfire. At least that wasn't obvious to me. They get some special lines, but other classes get that, too. Anyway that wouldn't be my motivation to play Cipher. I might be mistaken but it's not nearly as "disbalanced" as in PoE where the Cipher got so many more (interesting) options. 

Monastic Unarmed Training doesn't have the weird mechanics of PoE anymore (although I liked those I have to say). It's a "true" weaker form of Transcendent Suffering. Where TS scales every 2 Power Levels, MUT scales every 3. But there is some small bug - it's in your favor though. Check it out in detail here (courtesy of @thelee) : https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/pc/227477-pillars-of-eternity-ii-deadfire/faqs/76599/monastic-unarmed-training

10 hours ago, Haplok said:

High Int isn't a problem for a FF IMO.

I agree. With high RES & stuff it doesn't make a big of difference.

Still that little difference is why I like to get Clarity of Agony. Sometimes - when in a tight spot and a stacked curse or other afflictions bother you  - you can just cancel hostile effects nearly instantly (-5 secs and -50% duration in combination with the high RES).
One time I even picked Enlightned Agony and went with Iron Wheel instead of Turning Wheel. The +5 INT countered the "loss" of the INT bonus from Turning Wheel (won't stack anyway) and I got bonus AR and CON - which isn't too bad for a Forbidden Fist I must say. Also because your Fortitude defense can reach stellar heights this way (especially in combination with Thunderous Blows). If you then get only grazed by nasty afflictions that target fortitude (and combine it with the high RES or even Clarity of Agony and Crucible of Suffering) you will only suffer very shortly, your defenses will be up even more and you'll get a wound very quickly. :)

6 hours ago, EightBolts said:

How does Forbidden Fist work? The description on the wiki is kind of confusing to me.

 

1 hour ago, Haplok said:

Forbidden Fist is a (single) attack that also Enfeebles enemies (cannot heal, +50% duration of hostile effects - including DOTs/CC/debuffs already in place, -5 Con/-10 Fortitude/less max health), inflicts you with a Forbidden Curse stack and has a scaling additive damage bonus that depends on Forbidden Curse level you currently have: +50% if you have no curse, +100% if you have 1 stack, +150% if you have 2 stacks and +200% if you have 3 stacks. Also its cost scales on Curse level: its free (0 Wounds) when you have no FF Curse, but 1, 2 or 3 when you have 1/2/3 stacks. FF Curse also continuously damages you, (damage per tick depends on Curse level, is mild at Curse 1, but severe at level 3), it doesn't last long (and its duration is reduced with Hostile Effect reductions, particularly high Resolve and Mohora Wraps food), but using FF again before the Curse effect expires prolongs it (and adds a stack); FF ability to recover a little health when Hostile Effects expire can nearly counter the level 1 Curse self-damage - but it cannot compensate for the higher stack levels.

Well said. The description is a bit misleading: when you read it you might assume that the first use of FF will give you no bonus dmg (because you have no curse on you when using it, so it should be +0% dmg, right?) - but the curse gets applied to you first. I mean before the attack roll on the enemy happens. That attack roll already takes "its own curse" it placed on you into account. That's why Haplok's calculation is correct - despite the official description somewhat suggesting otherwise.  👍

3 stacks can kill you very quickly if you're not toying around with Barring Death's Door or similar effects or very strong healing. If you do use (prolonged) Barring Death's Door you can reach absurd amount of damage bonuses. I that case you might not even want to rase Resolve - because the longer the curse the easier to stack it. For me personally that's too cheesy. But if you like to punch holes through Engwithan ruins' walls then go for it! ;) 

Some additional info: the Forbidden Fist ability targets deflection - but the enfeeble effect does a separate attack roll against fortitude. This can miss a lot when you fight against high fortitude enemies. In that case Evenmed Strikes can help. "Huh?" you say? Yes, it may seem redundant at first because EnvStrikes only weakens while ForbFist gloriously enfeebles - BUT Envenomed Strikes' weakeing effect is not a separate hit roll! Let that sink in for a sec. ;) 
It applies its weaking affliction automatically if you crit with any melee attack (ususally targeting deflection). The automatic weakening effect then already lowers fortitude by 10 points - which then might help your Forbidden Fist ability to enfeeble more successfully.
Of course that's not a critical advantage and I guess one really has to think about spending that extra point for that obscure synergy - but I wanted to point that out because it flew under the radar for so long (also mine until recently).

6 hours ago, EightBolts said:

And for my for real real last question when it comes to Monastic Unarmed Tradition, if I were to take the Tactician subclass instead of Devoted and just pump Phantom Foes would that ease the negatives of MUT?

You mean the -10 deflection and the -1 AR make up for a missing level of fist scaling? It sure helps. The good thing is that almost nobody is immune to flanking (Eoten are).
But I don't understand where the Tactician comes in since you could do the same with the Devoted. But maybe you mean because you would cast Phantom Foes a lot anyway because of Brilliant Tactician?
With MUT you have to plan out your PL progression in advance I think. This can reveal if you will have to use stuff like Stone of Power (+1 PL)* and/or Tactical Barrage (+1 PL) instead of Disciplined Strikes to lift your fists over the next threshold. The good thing about MUT is that is trats even multiclasses as if they had single class PL progression. So "internally", for the purpose of determining your MUT scaling, your multiclass is treated as if it were a singel class. See the link I posted above how exactly the progression will be. The other good thing about MUT (on Devoted) is that they don't get the -10 ACC malus because you are always proficient with fists. So they are excellent backup weapons for the Devoted. 


)* if you have two Stoes of Power you can stack them in the stash. That will recharge the per-rest use automatically - you can use it in every encounter then.

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Well, I was definitely noting a significant difference between a dual offensive setup or weapon and Tuotilo's Palm.

Enough to give up on the shield after a while - its not like I haven't tried it. True about the FF and Toxic Strike not caring about the weapon. But FF on average was only every 3rd/4th attack for me and usually Stunning Surge with dual real weapons was more damaging - due to more frequent SF/HBD procs. Toxic Strike was very helpful when facing tough/durable enemies, but otherwise used sparsely due to the very high cost, so its use hardly matters in regular DPS calculations.

I don't want to use Confounding Blind and Toxic Strike a lot. Confounding Blind on high-ish Deflection enemies and Toxic Strike on tough/durable enemies exclusively. Most combats I won't use Toxic at all and will maybe use Confounding Blind once. Plenty of room for the Trickster buffs. Heck, I might occasionally use Crippling Strike, particularly should Mortification run out.

I must say I'm really baffled by the Flagellant's Path statistics you gave. It always seemed nearly instant for me (after clearing the current Recovery). The important thing is that attack is basically a part of the movement animation and (dual weapon) damage pops up immediately as you arrive - rather then waiting for a separate engage/attack animation to play.

Its maybe not a great difference, but I've found it very pleasant to use - particularly against casters in Forgotten Sanctum and other squishies, who'd often die on arrival. I didn't use it much against durable enemies - there its instagib potential is kinda wasted. And of course, I'm not really spamming it - its too expensive to use that way.

I do agree that the "bonus" crush damage when passing enemies is pretty useless.

Very rarely would I run out of Mortification for Stunning Surges. Might have to do with the fact that using one or 2 rapiers with modal and with Persistant Distraction, the Accuracy is very high and you score crits really frequently on all but toughest of enemies. So it were rather exceptions when SS was not refunded (and there's always Empower for more Resources).

I too play exclusively at PotD Upscaled btw.

And interesting point about Enervating Blows. Failing to land FF wasn't very frequent, but annoying when it happened.

 

And at least in 1 point we definitely differ. I will not use equipment "tricks", harmless some of them might be: I will not interrupt "flight" with bounding boots to avoid spending their charge (but may pause on arrival to quickly steal stuff before distracted enemies take note :P), I will not switch a grimoire to make Draining Touch a permanent weapon, I will not recharge necklaces of Fireballs/Stones of Power/similar by stacking them  - and I will most assuredly not use the Strand of Favor cheese.

That's where I place the boundary - even if I'm fine with a lot of other cheese, like Wall of Draining or paralyzing Chillfogs.

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SF/HDB procs: shouldn't make a difference whether you use TP or dual weapons. As soon as you trigger one of them the next additional attacks will be done with the main hand weapon. And since Tuotilo's Palm can use the modal, +5 ACC and the usually higher than normal ACC scaling of Transcendent Suffering it should proc SF/HBD well enough. And if you really want to focus on SF/HBD procs as a tanky Shadowdancer you should use Riposte (Full Attack, both of them can proc SF/HBD) and Outward Spikes of Tuotilo's Palm. Its PEN doesn't scale and it does ridiculously low damage - but it will proc SF/HBD and since this will trigger main hand attacks this increases your chance to proc crit chains a lot when getting attacked - especially by several enemies at once. 

Besides that: if the goal is to trigger SW/HBD as much as possible (which wouldn't be my focus sice it's great against squishy targets but rather ineffective against difficult foes - but depends on the difficulty) one should equip Sun & Moon in the main hand. No other weapon allows a higher frequency of crit chains because both heads will get rolled again with every proc. It works a bit like a nuclear chain reaction where one hit has the potential to trigger two additonal hits which then each have the chance... and so on.

Here I made a quick vid with a Shadowdancer who uses SF/HBD with Tuotilo's Palm with Outward Spikes and Ripste + Sun & Moon to showcase how they proc crit chains. I'm not attacking actively, it's just the enemies' misses which trigger those chains (attention upon opening he spoiler tags: 30MB animated gif):

 
 

riposte_outward_spikes_swift_flurry.gif?

Sorry for the nested spoiler tags - no idea how to remove that. :(


  

Edited by Boeroer

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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That's very cool.

Now if only the enemies wanted to stick to my offtank like that and not go after easier targets.

In practice I think actively disabling dangerous targets with high mobility beats a more defensive playstyle on an offtank.

At least if you also have Eder or another proper tank along.

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4 hours ago, Haplok said:

Now if only the enemies wanted to stick to my offtank like that and not go after easier targets.

Maybe the +1 engagement from "Shield Engagement" might help with that? ;) 

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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It might. But still, 2 engagements is not much. Not when I have Eder with like 5, who grabs the attention of most melee enemies when combat starts. 

 

My initial plan was to use Tuotilo's, it really was. Took Weapon & Shield. But after experimenting for a while, I dropped it. It just wasn't great for my playstyle of a fast and furious striker who rapidly eliminates the main threats. If I didn't have Eder or another sturdy tank, things would likely be different. But for off tanking, the shield isn't necessary on a Trickster. 

Edited by Haplok
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20 minutes ago, Boeroer said:

Maybe the +1 engagement from "Shield Engagement" might help with that? ;) 

The cipher ability Tactical Meld is also great here, giving you and an ally +3 engagement as well as the aware inspiration. A shadow dancer can get an additional +1 (passive, no cast required) with Persistent Distraction.

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Yes, good interjection. At that point you can almost be a main tank instead of an offtank. And still be reasonable offensive at the same time. :)

Edited by Boeroer

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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I gotta say everyone here given me something to think about. I think I'm gonna start with a Shadowdancer(that gif really sold me) but worst comes to worst and I'll just restart as a Transcendant. Reexamining some of those other builds kinda revealed little details I'm not that eager about. Thanks again.

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