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PotD melee CipherSC vs Inquisitor vs Mindstalker vs Seer vs Spiritualist vs Transcendent vs Witch?

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While my last post's answers steered me towards chanter, after meeting the Skaenites in Dyrford, I restarted as a Cipher and am having a blast with it. Like holy sh!t hell yes xD needed to understand some mechanics first before this class clicked with me fully
First time I reached the end of Act2, so I am starting to plan ahead again into Deadfire... this time for real :)

I am currently playing mostly in melee, second row mostly, simply because even with average defensive stats I am very squishy...

My new question is: which of the listed in classes make for good melee ciphers? only listed a few for flavor reasons again.

Inquisitor (Kind Wayfarer for sure) has sturdiness and heals and Paragon flavor ❤️

Mindstalker (Assassin? really not sure) has bonus damage on CCed targets and utility for repositioning (still? - rogue has such in poe1 at least...). And I am playing like a deceptive but benevolent PC right now, so yeah, Robin Hood-esque

Seer (Ghostheart or maybe Stalker) has the pet which I can use for more positioning for Ectoplastic Echo (especially as GH), also higher accuracy? Stalker has the slight defense buff if my pet is close (only for me or also for the pet?)

Spiritualist seems like a Super-Support unit which triggers my MMO-PTSD but the mindreading bard is just such a cool concept in my head... no idea about subclass. Skald seems the most sensible choice here.

Transcendent (monk in general - dunno about the subclasses) has a neat gimmick with the damage intake buffs you, and I liked monks (modded to get +5 fists though) in BG2 a lot, so yeah. afaik Transcendent is more suited to tanking+CC?

Witch I have no clue about, just the barbarian theme is cool and my Barbarian (Eder consoled) in poe1 shreds mobs which is hilarious - no idea if he pulls his weight in real boss fights

Ascendent seems like a really cool gimmick, but I am not sure if a SC Cipher that is not a Soulblade can pull its weight in melee skirmishes..?

For all of the above, I would really not know what subclasses would be good, though I am drawn towards Ascendent over Soulblade, despite the latter featuring a dedicated melee gimmick. 

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Transcendant has insane synergies with monk +10 Int boost, bonus Might, Dex, Pen. Also attack chains from Swift Flurry & Heartbeat Drumming are insane. Eventually can stay at midrange using Instruments of Pain to use melee attacks at range.

I also prefer the Ascendant, some aoe attacks/weapon abilities will rack enough Focus to cause instant Ascension. Such as Kitchen Stove blunderbuss Thunderous Report... or Seeker's Fang rapier Spider's Flurry - the latter with enough targets in cone. Or maybe dual aoe hand mortar blasts... and various other aoe weapon attacks.

Forbidden Fist monk is great, particularly if you use the Community Patch. Otherwise his Forbidden Fist special is not considered a weapon attack and doesn't generate Focus. Still denying the enemies the ability to heal/regenerate AND greatly extending negative effects you inflict on them is awesome. Plus they tend to be more durable then the average monk.

Otherwise Helwalker monk is great, but quite squishy.

Edited by Haplok
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I agree with Haplok. Transcendents are powerful and a lot of fun to play, and my favorite combo is forbidden fist with soul blade (if you want to do more melee with cipher buffs) or ascendant if you want to focus more on casting cipher powers. But if you are not using mods beguiler is your best bet, for the reason Haplok noted.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Duality of Mortal Presence (+10 INT at max Wounds) is reason enough to multiclass Monk with an Ascendant Cipher. You can stay in Ascended mode for ludicrous amounts of time (especially with Salvation of Time). There's some nice flexibility in not having to worry about the Ascended duration, which frees you to use melee attacks (such as against enemies with spell reflection).

For the Monk subclass, I've enjoyed Shattered Pillar the most - using the Community Patch to fix its Wound count limitation. It's fun to raise Wounds and Focus at the same time, and work your way into a rhythm that maximizes the outcome. I went two-handed on this one and focused on reach weapons: Chromoprismatic Quarterstaff for damage and the +Deflection modal while casting, and Lance of the Midwood Stag for an additional +2 to PL. The build started off slow and clunky but snowballed after hitting level 13. My God, the lashes...

Edited by Ophiuchus
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