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Hey everyone!

I am about to start a POTD run and thought it would be fun try out a custom party. And since the party count is 5, which aligns so well with MTG’s color pie, I wanted to try making a party themed after each the WUBRG colors. As it is POTD, I am trying to balance flavor and optimization, but it has been a minute since I last played this game, and I’ve had a few tries starting playthroughs that just didn’t feel too cohesive. So I wanted some guidance on how to create this party. Here are some thoughts as to my team:

WHITE - tank. I have been deciding between Herald (Shieldbearer/Troubadour) or Crusader (Shieldbearer/Unbroken) as a better option for tank in this party. it might help to have the extra utility, healing, and support from the Herald, but they definitely are not as sturdy as the Crusader.

BLUE - disabler/cc. I have been sticking with Mindstalker (Trickster/Beguiler) as it is what I feel best captures the blue mentality of counterspelling and indirect battlefield manipulation. Not sure if this role is needed but I went with it!

BLACK - ranged dps/utility. I went with Spellblade (Bloodmage/Assassin) as an alpha striker to begin combat encounters from stealth and also get wizard spells. However, I’m wondering if this role offers much otherwise or if I should go the necromancer route––maybe Loremaster (Bloodmage/Bellower)?

RED - melee dps. I am unsure whether the Brute (Berserker/Devoted) is the most optimal as a damage source, but felt it was most fitting. Also tried the Howler (Berserker/Skald) as a more versatile choice. Not sure what I prefer!

GREEN - melee dps/utility. I think here I compromised synergy most for flavor, as I went with Beastmaster (Ancient/Stalker), but I wonder if it offers much for the team at all, or if the Stalker subclass conflicts with Ancient. Wondering if there’s a more synergistic Ranger subclass or different subclass overall.

Overall, I am content (excited even?) with the flavor choices, but haven’t been sure how to create synergy or define each character’s roles. It doesn't help that the start of the game doesn't really showcase what each class does in the mid-game. Does anybody have any suggestions on alterations to make this playthrough POTD-ready? Furthermore, generally speaking what attributes should each role focus on?

Thanks for reading everyone! Also if there’s any MTG-fans, would love to hear if you have any alternative thoughts in general.

Edited by automata_m
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9 hours ago, automata_m said:

Also if there’s any MTG-fans, would love to hear if you have any alternative thoughts in general.

this is totally my jam; the first build i posted here was drawn straight from MTG lore: https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/pc/227477-pillars-of-eternity-ii-deadfire/faqs/76599/case-study-1-umezawa
 

i also use the mtg color pie to explain wizard schools: https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/pc/227477-pillars-of-eternity-ii-deadfire/faqs/76599/wizard

 

Quote

BLUE - disabler/cc. I have been sticking with Mindstalker (Trickster/Beguiler) as it is what I feel best captures the blue mentality of counterspelling and indirect battlefield manipulation. Not sure if this role is needed but I went with it!

as a perennial blue mage and lots of hours of deadfire, i'm actually thinking you probably want to be a pure wizard, and probably an evoker. I know "evoker" sounds a bit red-ish, but this is a school specialization that gets you both enchantment (which has spell reflection, call to slumber, spell stealing), illusion (invisibility, mirror image, mind-based debuffs), and a great set of countermagic (thrust of tattered veils & minoletta's concussive missiles are evocation interrupts, concelhaut's crushing doom is A+ illusion interrupt). if you can't get over the flavor of being an evoker whose native home is tossing fireballs, then i recommend transmuter instead - you still get decent countermagic (slicken is transmutor, concelhaut's crushing doom is illusion, a friend school), and a relevant +2 PL bonus to illusion (for all your debuffs) (edit: i don't know why i said you get +2 PL to illusion, you get +2 PL to transmutation; you can do illusionist to get +2 PL. but +2 PL to slicken and other transmutation is still good if you do that). single-class wizard gets you some extremely powerful end-game magic, regardless of your school. this kind of stomps over your black color choice selection (blood mage part), but it's just a suggestion for something that seems a lot more "blue-y" to me. in deadfire, i feel like blue and black overlap a lot in terms of mtg color wheel.

if you don't care about as much about the countermagic part of it, then i think something like what you suggest is great for battlefield manipulation. though i might suggest a psion, because they get a unique cipher power which is basically a pure interrupt (e.g. counterspell) that eventually you have enough focus generation to use nonstop if needed.

 

 

9 hours ago, automata_m said:

Green - melee dps/utility. I think here I compromised synergy most for flavor, as I went with Beastmaster (Ancient/Stalker), but I wonder if it offers much for the team at all, or if the Stalker subclass conflicts with Ancient. Wondering if there’s a more synergistic Ranger subclass or different subclass overall.

for synergy I recommend instead a shifter/stalker. I actually rolled this in a game and got so bored by how much i steamrolled fights on PotD that i started over with something not as simply powerful :) 

the bonus AR from stalker combines extremely well with shapeshifting; by default most forms give you one step above medium armor (but with no recovery) and the bonus AR basically puts you into heavy armor. boar form is extremely powerful as a shifter because your DoT effect will last for way too long (a bug in your favor) and high ranger accuracy will help you do lots of damage. bear form is super tanky with the bonus stalker AR.

it requires a bit of micromanagement, especially since you might be leaning on this char to do healing, so you'll have to more actively juggle shapeshifting and spell casting since you won't be able to cast while shifted.

Edited by thelee
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29 minutes ago, thelee said:

this is totally my jam; the first build i posted here was drawn straight from MTG lore: https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/pc/227477-pillars-of-eternity-ii-deadfire/faqs/76599/case-study-1-umezawa
 

i also use the mtg color pie to explain wizard schools: https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/pc/227477-pillars-of-eternity-ii-deadfire/faqs/76599/wizard

omg that's awesome! I've been endlessly referring to this guide planning my playthrough. I was really wow'd by your use of an mtg card as thematic foundation––it was actually what inspired me to make this party! Sadly, I'm missing mechanical knowledge so I really appreciate your input here!

As someone whose favorite color to play is Black, I definitely agree with you that Blue and Black manifest very similarly in Deadfire. I feel like especially between the mechanics of the cipher, wizard, and rogue, and their various subclasses, they can apply to either colors in different ways. Actually in a different iteration, I thought about a soul blade/assassin mindstalker rogue for Black and wizard/trickster spellblade for Blue so switched. 

Your rationale for Blue as Evocation makes total sense, as that seems like a solid selection of control spells. I think the red flavor of Evocation is probably too much of a hangup personally, so I would probably go with transmuter myself (although I would really love "thrust of tattered veils" on my blue mage...). That being said, although I aimed for symmetry creating this party (everyone as a multiclass) I think single-class Wizard makes sense for me especially for Blue, as Blue is probably the most unique mechanically of the colors, with its monopoly on counter magic lol.  Not to mention Blue and wizards being so intertwined flavor-wise. Also with the large pool of spells, that means perhaps I could then focus more on Black's own spell list. I think I will try out Psion as well!

Also, Shifter/Stalker definitely seems much more cohesive! Do the sporelings of Ancient scale into late-game? As currently I have been finding them helping a lot in the first island for sure.  And similarly, would missing out on Wild Growth on those sporelings be a thing of note?

Finally, between, let's say, Shifter/Stalker, Transmuter Wizard, and Bloodmage/Assassin, would you say Crusader or Herald offer more for this assortment. Similarly, would the Brute or Howler be more cohesive?

1 hour ago, Ranndar said:

If you want to go the “necromancer” in the black, I suggest Troubador/Druid (the shifter free spells fit the theme perfectly)

I noticed discussion about this in a previous thread about necromancer builds! I actually am really interested because the decay spells unique to the druid seems perfect. My only hangup is similar to the Evocation wizard, the flavor of the druid might be too much of a hang-up. That being said, I do feel more compelled by the spells of the druid that do apply. I tried another playthrough today with the Troubadour which I actually enjoyed too with the skeletons. Does the necromancer-esque flavor phase out with later levels, as I notice skeletons are only a thing for the first few CLs, until the CL7 phase. 

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4 hours ago, automata_m said:

Do the sporelings of Ancient scale into late-game? As currently I have been finding them helping a lot in the first island for sure.  And similarly, would missing out on Wild Growth on those sporelings be a thing of note?

sporelings are wildly good early on, but they only get more health as you level up (unfortunately very few druid summons scale well). so they won't help nearly as much late game, but they will make for some impressive bullet sponges nonetheless. truth be told, i hardly ever use wild growth, maybe like a few times in an entire run for when i'm almost out of spells and i desperately need to keep a summon alive for some extra damage soaking.

 

4 hours ago, automata_m said:

My only hangup is similar to the Evocation wizard, the flavor of the druid might be too much of a hang-up. That being said, I do feel more compelled by the spells of the druid that do apply.

what i sometimes do is focus on MTG color combinations. like doing a multi-guild party. (or one of the wedge sets) sometimes i find that it's easier to find thematic overlap with MTG in that way. might not be exactly what you want. but for example, a decay druid is very BG/golgari, even if it's not a great "black" or "green" match on its own.

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11 hours ago, thelee said:

what i sometimes do is focus on MTG color combinations. like doing a multi-guild party. (or one of the wedge sets) sometimes i find that it's easier to find thematic overlap with MTG in that way. might not be exactly what you want. but for example, a decay druid is very BG/golgari, even if it's not a great "black" or "green" match on its own.

Very true! That's what I'm realizing as well. Which is partly terrible because now the choices have expanded even further as to how to devise this party ahaha. A steel garrote/blood mage definitely gives me Orzhov. Similarly, the mindstalker I had laid out is likely more Dimir than anything else. 

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Any variation of the Holy Grenade barbarian (use nearly insta-cast Spirit Tornado repeatedly until your rage pool is depleted for an instant damage AoE spike) is for me the most Red feeling you can get. Maybe with Sacred Immolation on top of it.

Edited by Elric Galad
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37 minutes ago, Elric Galad said:

Any variation of the Holy Grenade barbarian (use nearly insta-cast Spirit Tornado repeatedly until your rage pool is depleted for an instant damage AoE spike) is for me the most Red feeling you can get. Maybe with Sacred Immolation on top of it.

Oooh that sounds very cool. Is the Holy Grenade the technique you mentioned or is it an item? I think Sacred Immolation is a fantastic addition also. On the topic of guilds, the Fanatic is also a perfect Boros to me also lol. 

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Maybe try a steel garrote/berserker fanatic. The healing through melee attacks against afflicted foes will help mitigate the down sides of sacred immolation and berserker frenzy. You'd also want the voidward ring for sure. You might also consider using Lord Darryn's Voulge, for the AOE lightning explosions. You'll crit a lot with berserker frenzy and flames of devotion, especially if you also wear the ring of focused flame.

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6 hours ago, automata_m said:

Oooh that sounds very cool. Is the Holy Grenade the technique you mentioned or is it an item? I think Sacred Immolation is a fantastic addition also. On the topic of guilds, the Fanatic is also a perfect Boros to me also lol. 

No in this case, this is just a name given by another user (I don't remember who).

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20 hours ago, dgray62 said:

Maybe try a steel garrote/berserker fanatic. The healing through melee attacks against afflicted foes will help mitigate the down sides of sacred immolation and berserker frenzy. You'd also want the voidward ring for sure. You might also consider using Lord Darryn's Voulge, for the AOE lightning explosions. You'll crit a lot with berserker frenzy and flames of devotion, especially if you also wear the ring of focused flame.

Great tip! I've been trying no subclass Barbarian as the vulnerability of the Berserker's rage has been difficult to manage, but the Steel Garrote sounds perfect for a Boros character especially. If I decide to keep it mono color, I think the lawful evil flavor of Steel Garrote will probably conflict with Red's freedom focus, but this is all very exciting to learn nonetheless! :0

17 hours ago, Elric Galad said:

No in this case, this is just a name given by another user (I don't remember who).

Ahh––I just looked it up in the forums and I see it referenced by @UltimaLuminaire. Sounds really fun! 

 

Also one final question for anybody––I've tried restarting with Black as the Necromancer-esque summoner mentioned before. But my question is: will the skeletons invocation sufficiently carry the Chanter half of the subclass through later levels, as I don't plan on really capitalizing on other summonings and I'm finding not much flavorful options the farther we go down the skilltree (not until Many Lives at least). 

Thanks everyone for the help! 

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51 minutes ago, automata_m said:

Also one final question for anybody––I've tried restarting with Black as the Necromancer-esque summoner mentioned before. But my question is: will the skeletons invocation sufficiently carry the Chanter half of the subclass through later levels, as I don't plan on really capitalizing on other summonings and I'm finding not much flavorful options the farther we go down the skilltree (not until Many Lives at least). 

More or less. Skeletons are not the best summons, but the mere fact that they give you more "bodies" can be exploited in various fashions.

For example, Single Class Paladin gets a passive that grant +2 zeal on downed ally, which synergizes extremely well with skeletons.

Beckoner is a plus to have even more numbers and because his summons are easier to be killed (they only have 1/4 health), which generates a ton of on-death effects. Killing "1/4 health" skeleton with grave calling to generate foe-only chillfog (with this character or another) is a well-known combo.

Combos based on on-death effects is one of the most "MTG black" thing I can imagine in PoE2.

Edited by Elric Galad
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Posted (edited)
59 minutes ago, Elric Galad said:

More or less. Skeletons are not the best summons, but the mere fact that they give you more "bodies" can be exploited in various fashions.

For example, Single Class Paladin gets a passive that grant +2 zeal on downed ally, which synergizes extremely well with skeletons.

Beckoner is a plus to have even more numbers and because his summons are easier to be killed (they only have 1/4 health), which generates a ton of on-death effects. Killing "1/4 health" skeleton with grave calling to generate foe-only chillfog (with this character or another) is a well-known combo.

Combos based on on-death effects is one of the most "MTG black" thing I can imagine in PoE2.

This sounds perfect! I've seen discussion about Grave Calling combo before but never really put 2 and 2 together to apply this to my character but it might just the line I needed for Black. I've also tried a Blood Mage/Bleak Walker as another alternative, and I really like the black knight flavor but tbh the necromancy of Black mana is too iconic to not summon skeletons aha.  Sounds perfect! It seems like Barbarians proc it best with carnage, but I imagine Bloodmages can proc it as well through just auto-attack or spells no? I think the bloodmage mechanic of life for spells is also perfectly on brand. Otherwise, I've seen a build from patch 2.1 using Soulblade or Streetfighter which also are Black aligned subclasses. 

------

So overall, after all this wonderful discussion, I'm so far thinking of restarting again with this party: 

WHITE - Herald (Shieldbearer/Troubadour) as the most team oriented tank variant.

BLUE - Wizard (Illusionist) for access to transmutation, illusion, and evocation. 

BLACK - Loremaster (Bloodmage/Beckoner) for damage and summons. 

RED - Brute (Barbarian/Devoted) for melee aoe damage.

GREEN - Beastmaster (Shifter/Stalker) for additional melee as well as support.

Edited by automata_m
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For RED, what about a Shaman of Magran (Barbarian/Magran Priest)? With Brilliant, you can spam not only the Spirit Tornado, but also fire spells like Torrent of Flame, Ray of Fire, Fan of Flames, and more.

That being said, this character might be more of a RED/WHITE character with Priest's buff spells and Salvation of Time.

Edited by hansvedic
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, hansvedic said:

For RED, what about a Shaman of Magran (Barbarian/Magran Priest)? With Brilliant, you can spam not only the Spirit Tornado, but also fire spells like Torrent of Flame, Ray of Fire, Fan of Flames, and more.

That being said, this character might be more of a RED/WHITE character with Priest's buff spells and Salvation of Time.

I really dig this! Especially with shamans being the de facto red caster class in mtg and all, and gotta love mono-red burn. I think also red tends to temporarily buff its creatures so not too white. If I want to optimise red for damage output, will it compare to simply focusing on physical damage? I assume berserker would provide most benefits to casting. 

Edited by automata_m
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4 minutes ago, automata_m said:

I really dig this! Especially with shamans being the de facto red caster class in mtg and all, and gotta love mono-red burn. I think also red tends to temporarily buff its creatures so not too white. If I want to optimise red for damage output, will it compare to simply focusing on physical damage? I assume berserker would provide most benefits to casting. 

Depends on your style, I suppose. Barbarians do get a nice passive boost to melee damage when in range of 2+ enemies, yes; that being said, other passives can help with casting, such as Blooded.

I'm actually working on an idea for a build kind of like the old "Untank" build from PoE 1 which relied on having a LOT of health and using crits on you to your advantage. While Deadfire unfortunately doesn't have anything the equivalent of the soulbound sword Steadfast, it does have Okura's Kettle (and a special hat for Rautai followers) and the Ragged Cloak for potential counterattacks when crit. If you get the shield "Lethandria's Devotion" on such a crit-prone character, you can reduce the extra damage crits do and have a small healing effect, which should add some survivability.

 

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9 minutes ago, hansvedic said:

Depends on your style, I suppose. Barbarians do get a nice passive boost to melee damage when in range of 2+ enemies, yes; that being said, other passives can help with casting, such as Blooded.

I'm actually working on an idea for a build kind of like the old "Untank" build from PoE 1 which relied on having a LOT of health and using crits on you to your advantage. While Deadfire unfortunately doesn't have anything the equivalent of the soulbound sword Steadfast, it does have Okura's Kettle (and a special hat for Rautai followers) and the Ragged Cloak for potential counterattacks when crit. If you get the shield "Lethandria's Devotion" on such a crit-prone character, you can reduce the extra damage crits do and have a small healing effect, which should add some survivability.

 

Sorry for the double-post; just realized I didn't fully answer your question and I'm having trouble editing my post.

 

26 minutes ago, automata_m said:

I really dig this! Especially with shamans being the de facto red caster class in mtg and all, and gotta love mono-red burn. I think also red tends to temporarily buff its creatures so not too white. If I want to optimise red for damage output, will it compare to simply focusing on physical damage? I assume berserker would provide most benefits to casting. 

If your focus is damage output only, then the build I'm working on might not be exactly what you have in mind; as shown in my previous post, the build I'm working on uses high health to tank to some degree, so it's not optimized for damage dealing only (that means that I wouldn't use the Berserker subclass; that being said, you can get Tenacious from the Priest side mid-game). Right now, the spread I'm thinking of for attributes with Berath's Blessing and a human is as follows: 
15 STR, 21 CON, 8 DEX, 20 PER, 20 INT, 6 RES

You could probably drop INT some to buff DEX given that Salvation of Time will help greatly with maintaining buffs; this would weaken your area of effects, but make you faster, resulting in more attacks of both the physical and spell variety. I just like to have all my characters have 20 INT for some reason. You could also probably get away with less CON; I'm maxing it in part because I want to maximize maximum health on this character for its role as a tank of sorts.

One reason why I don't think Berserker is the right fit for this character, in addition to its tanking role and the availability of Tenacious from the Priest side, is that the 30% hit to crit Berserker gives is for melee attacks only, not spells or Spirit Tornado. Since this build I'm working on would more heavily focus on using spells and Spirit Tornado (holy grenade approach), Berserker isn't necessarily the best choice.

Berserker is great for a melee damage dealer, risky as it is; done well, it might very well be a better damage dealer than this Shaman of Magran build I'm proposing. That being said, if you want to run Salvation of Time shenanigans for some of the really tough fights, this build I'm working on might be a good addition to your custom party. Still, a Brute is a fantastic melee character, especially given the power of the Fighter's Unbending ability. If you do go with the Brute option, definitely consider a Devoted with Morningstars; their fortitude-lowering ability pairs very well with the Barbarian's passive that makes you target fortitude instead of deflection if fortitude is lower.

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Thanks for the thorough description@hansvedic! It sounds actually quite fun and I definitely want to incorporate fire spells with the Barbarian so I'm gonna roll this! Also always helpful to have some sturdiness while he's in the front line which I am finding much needed. 

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7 hours ago, automata_m said:

Thanks for the thorough description@hansvedic! It sounds actually quite fun and I definitely want to incorporate fire spells with the Barbarian so I'm gonna roll this! Also always helpful to have some sturdiness while he's in the front line which I am finding much needed. 

Welcome!

Two more things: priests get a nice selection of fire spells, especially Cleansing Flame, Storm of Holy Fire, And Shining Beacon (among others), so you could go with another priest subclass if you wanted, I suppose. Wael would be good to add to the sturdiness of the Shaman with its deflection buffs, but it would mean less critical hits, and thus less of a focus on retaliation damage (Magran gets flame shield, which also adds to retaliation). Berath would add a nice corrode damage spell to your repertoire, in case you want to vary elements more.

Finally, there is a belt (forgot the name, think it’s in Neketaka) that makes it so you can use athletics twice per encounter and reduces weapon damage against you as you lose more health; this belt would be very good on this barb with its massive health pool. Also, consider taking Minor Avatar at 19th level as a buff to all stats and health, as well as weapon damage, and consider in addition to Salvation of Time picking up Spiritual Ally for endless Robust inspiration and a corrode cone spell that the summon has.

 

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On 7/31/2021 at 7:16 PM, automata_m said:

This sounds perfect! I've seen discussion about Grave Calling combo before but never really put 2 and 2 together to apply this to my character but it might just the line I needed for Black. I've also tried a Blood Mage/Bleak Walker as another alternative, and I really like the black knight flavor but tbh the necromancy of Black mana is too iconic to not summon skeletons aha.  Sounds perfect! It seems like Barbarians proc it best with carnage, but I imagine Bloodmages can proc it as well through just auto-attack or spells no? I think the bloodmage mechanic of life for spells is also perfectly on brand. Otherwise, I've seen a build from patch 2.1 using Soulblade or Streetfighter which also are Black aligned subclasses. 

No, spells will not work to trigger Grave Calling Chilling Grave. It has been nerfed/corrected so that the killing blow must be done with the scimitar for the effect to trigger. And sure, an auto-attack is a possibility to trigger ONE Chilling Fog at a time. A Confused Berserker (and not regular Barbarian) is a very interesting (albeit risky) option here, as the Chillfogs he creates will NOT be party friendly. And as the Chillfogs come from Grave Calling and are considered weapon attacks, they will rapidly damage and kill other skeletons, creating 6 instances of Paralyzing (with Grave Bound) Chillfogs (and soon possibly more with more skellies summoned). Albeit risky, the risk can be controlled rather easily, as when you don't want the cascade effect, you can simply clear the Confused effect from the Berserker (for example equip Modwyr sword, use a buff or consumable).

To take advantage of this mechanic, I'd recommend you to "upgrade" your RED to a Berserker.

Although do note that stacking multiple persistent effects can have an adverse effect on your frame rate. Also, its quite exploitative and will likely trivialize a lot of the content.

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On 7/31/2021 at 8:58 PM, automata_m said:

Thanks for the thorough description@hansvedic! It sounds actually quite fun and I definitely want to incorporate fire spells with the Barbarian so I'm gonna roll this! Also always helpful to have some sturdiness while he's in the front line which I am finding much needed. 

Let me know how the barb does for you once you feel you've tried him out enough.

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