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Seeking advice on AA/GH + Ascendant centric PotD + Megabosses playthrough


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Hi all, lurked here for years as I played through Pillars 1 & 2. I've had an itch to come back and do another playthrough with an MC Seer (open to alts but I love rangers and Frostseeker). 

I've never done a run where I've beaten all the megabosses, so that's my goal for this time: to build a party centered around a Seer that will fare well against megabosses and generally be as min-maxed as the game has to offer. Planning on using Berath's blessings (mythical adra + stats)

Here's an early sketch (taken from other builds shared here / on the web, no claim that these are original!) I'm mainly looking on opportunities to min-max further and create synergy between characters, and find any specific gear that could help them succeed at their role.

Crusader (Unbroken + Goldpact Knight): M14 C12 D10 P13 I11 R18 (Meadow folk human + Ixamitl Plains) Bardatto's Luxury + Apex Ward
Herald (Troubadour + Kind Wayferer): M16 C7 D4 P18 I20 R14 (Moon Godlike + Ixamitl Plains) Sasha's Singing Scimitar + Shining Bulwark
MC Seer (Arcane Archer OR Ghost Heart + Ascendant):  M21 C5 D21 P22 I17 R6 (Hearth Orlan + Living Lands)

I’ve toyed around with the Ghost heart version of this, but not Arcane Archer. Curious what could get better if I went that route:

credit to Kaylon for this build, especially his Magran's belt / Horn of Aurochs / Rekvu's cloak combo, which I might try too!

  • Frostseeker or Essence Interrupter / Saint Omaku / Veilpiercer / St. Aamiina
  • Acina's Tricorn
  • Charm of Bones
  • Changeling's Mantle 
  • Ring of the Marksmen + Ring of Prosperity's Fortune
  • Sash of Judgment
  • Aegor's Swift Touch
  • Boots of the Stone
  • Ajamuut's Stalking Cloak

 

Last 2 slots:

I was thinking SC Priest for SoT and maybe SC Blood Wizard. What do folks recommend? Would love any/all feedback.

Cheers!

 

Edited by Urve
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21 hours ago, Urve said:

I’ve toyed around with the Ghost heart version of this, but not Arcane Archer. Curious what could get better if I went that route:

i haven't done much arcane archer, but IMO i think you'll have much better success with ghost heart, esp with megabosses in consideration. i don't know how good your micromanagement skills are and aggressively you pause, but the best angle of ghost heart by far (imo) is that your pet will be immune to engagement and is disposable. you have a chanter who can also summon, but an instant-summon pet can be a great *oh crap* button. by contrast, i don't think arcane archer will offer much of anything for megaboss fights.

 

21 hours ago, Urve said:

credit to Kaylon for this build, especially his Magran's belt / Horn of Aurochs / Rekvu's cloak combo, which I might try too!

what's the combo? i don't think i'm familiar with it

 

21 hours ago, Urve said:

I was thinking SC Priest for SoT

absolutely recommended. SoT will make all megaboss attempts much much easier. add in Barring Death's Door for extra protection. heck, i've also found withdraw useful for my earlier attempts where i was a bit more shaky on tactics and strategy. doesn't have to be SC, but if you want an effective build, tier 8 symbol spells are an easy solution that you don't have to think about too hard.

 

i would also suggest a druid for consideration. Moonwell is a great lifesaver of a spell and especially good in giving you room for error against Dorudugan (Moonwell's buff will counter a fire effect, including one instance of an otherwise fatal gigantic fire explosion). Form of the Delemgan gives you immunity to dex afflictions, which is super duper useful against Belranga. but you really need SoT to act as a force multiplier here (maybe a universalist priest/druid would be a good idea).

there's also some immensely deranged things you can do with a druid, either involving all of their DoT attacks or Avenging Storm.

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3 hours ago, thelee said:

i haven't done much arcane archer, but IMO i think you'll have much better success with ghost heart, esp with megabosses in consideration. i don't know how good your micromanagement skills are and aggressively you pause, but the best angle of ghost heart by far (imo) is that your pet will be immune to engagement and is disposable. you have a chanter who can also summon, but an instant-summon pet can be a great *oh crap* button. by contrast, i don't think arcane archer will offer much of anything for megaboss fights.

 

Thanks for the feedback. Bummer to hear about AA. Is that true even with the Community patch that adds pen scaling to imbue spells? I guess even so it's not the most efficient or meaningful subclass in the context of megabosses since I doubt the imbue spells will do a lot (except maybe Pull of Eora on Belranga).

Also wondering if Hearth Orlan is the only way to go here. Seems like you can get a slightly better attribute spread as Elf, but at the expense of the 10% hit to crit. 🤔

3 hours ago, thelee said:

what's the combo? i don't think i'm familiar with it

 

Chance to summon a fire blight (Belt of Magran's Chosen) that heals you (Rekvu's) and boosts your next attack's damage (Horns of Aurochs)

3 hours ago, thelee said:
On 8/7/2022 at 10:44 AM, Urve said:

I was thinking SC Priest for SoT

absolutely recommended. SoT will make all megaboss attempts much much easier. add in Barring Death's Door for extra protection. heck, i've also found withdraw useful for my earlier attempts where i was a bit more shaky on tactics and strategy. doesn't have to be SC, but if you want an effective build, tier 8 symbol spells are an easy solution that you don't have to think about too hard.

Any suggestions as to a particular Priest build? SC or otherwise? I was eyeing this Xoti build, but I'm curious as the power in lv8 and 9 Priest spells in a custom priest as well.

3 hours ago, thelee said:

i would also suggest a druid for consideration. Moonwell is a great lifesaver of a spell and especially good in giving you room for error against Dorudugan (Moonwell's buff will counter a fire effect, including one instance of an otherwise fatal gigantic fire explosion). Form of the Delemgan gives you immunity to dex afflictions, which is super duper useful against Belranga. but you really need SoT to act as a force multiplier here (maybe a universalist priest/druid would be a good idea).

there's also some immensely deranged things you can do with a druid, either involving all of their DoT attacks or Avenging Storm.

Similar question here. I usually played with SC Druid Tekehu for his foe only spells, but would be fun to create something a bit more min/maxed.

Related: do I need this much healing between: Herald, Priest, and Druid? And is that enough dmg? 

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7 hours ago, thelee said:

what's the combo? i don't think i'm familiar with it

  • you summon a Flame Blight "by accident" a lot when using Frostseeker's multiprojectile attacks + AoE proc in combo with Driving Flight. 
  • when you carry an injury with Rekvu's Scorched Cloak you will be immune to fire damage but instead heal from it (20% iirc)
  • Flame Blights hit you but will heal you
  • still, every hit will unlock the 10% freezing lash from Horns of the Aurochs

So basically you get some healing and a practically permanent freezing lash on your attacks - and of course the buring lash from the belt without any drawback (other than the minor injury that makes the Scorched Cloak work). 

 

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7 hours ago, thelee said:

there's also some immensely deranged things you can do with a druid, either involving all of their DoT attacks or Avenging Storm.

Effort + Avenging Storm + all sorts of pulsing spells (especially Venombloom) in combination with Hylea's Talons and Ring of Clenched Muscle is pretty deranged. ;) 

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From the suggestions here, I'm going to try an SC Druid (Ancient, so he can cast heal spells), eventually with Effort when I get it.

I'll also add in an SC Priest, been leaning towards Wael.

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11 hours ago, Urve said:

Related: do I need this much healing between: Herald, Priest, and Druid? And is that enough dmg? 

I mean, you don’t need to actually pick up healing spells for any given class. I mean Herald probably wants healing bc Herald is so good at it, but priest and Druid can pick up other stuff. I only mentioned Moonwell precisely because it has utility outside of healing (no amount of healing will save you from a Dorudugan ground explosion, but Moonwell will shield you, and with brilliant/SoT you can keep refreshing that shield over time)

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I might add that the whole Effort+Avenging Storm thing doesn't work too well against megabosses themselves most of the time because their defenses are usually high enough to prevent frequent crits from a Druid. But it wipes ads like not much else - which is convenient - and is especially awesome once you get Great Maelstrom, too. Then it's unbelievable AoE dmg for the Druid on top of all the other nice stuff he can do. Least Unstable Coil works beautifully with Avenging Storm as well as Great Maelstrom, so such a Druid can become Brilliant on his own rel. easily with the help of an Empower point. Also an empowered Avenging Storm + contant SoT (so it won't ever stop) with repeated Maelstroms is cool as hell imo. 

 

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Yes, a SC Fury druid wielding effort can wipe out not only mobs but even some tough cookies like the lich in the cave just by casting AS and then GM from a very far distance. It's funny and sad watching them trudge through the waters, hobbled by Effort, while being pummeled by GS and the AS procs. A SC druid can get off a good number of crits from GM if you stack enough PLs, which is very easy to do with the right gear.

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Posted (edited)

Does the extra pen from fury matter enough to warrant the loss of healing spells (given the comp shared above) I’m a Druid noob 😅
 

Also curious what the “right gear” is if you don’t mind sharing a build. 

Edited by Urve
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Fury gives you not only extra PEN (which stacks multiple times with spells like GM) but also extra range, which is great as you can attack from long distance outside of the visual range of the enemy. The storm blight spirit shift also features an escape like ability that you can use to reposition or flee, when needed. The downside is you lose most healing spells, but fortunately not all of them; you can select Taste of the Hunt which you can use for damage and healing when needed. You can do a fury on solo PotD, although it's harder than some other classes early on, but gets absurdly easy later once you get your tier 8 & 9 spells. If you're not going solo, just bring along a healer companion or two.

As for gear, you'd want to stack PLs, which means equipping items that give you bonuses to storm, fire, cold and lightning attacks; whatever you equip stacks. So you might want to equip deltro's cage armor for +2 electricity PLs. You can also wield Lord Darryn's voulge for the +3 to storm PLs, which gives you +5 overall. You can get an additional +1 PL from Nature Godlike if you wish, from food, and from Stone of Power, which would give you +8 I believe. A potion of ascension would give you +2 (an additional +1 since it doesn't stack with the food). You can get even higher if you dual wield Magran's Favor and Sun & Moon, +4 I think (+4 fire or +2 fire/+2 cold, depending on how you upgrade the latter, and if you are willing to put up with the day/night nonsense). This is on top of the native +10 PLs from a level 19-20 druid with the prestige talent. Each PL gives you a boost to damage, PEN and accuracy. With the native fury bonus to PEN you'll devastate most foes. And if you cast AS and wield effort, each time GM procs, if it crits they'll be hobbled or sickened by Effort, and as the game considers this a weapon attack it will proc AS, which can crit, repeating the process, potentially creating a vicious spiral of destruction with absurd damage tallies. Also, if you empower either GS or AS, that spell will get an additional +5 PLs, raising you from +18 (if my math is correct) up to +23. Switching to Effort will lower the PL for later procs of the spells, but it's worth it. For more info. on possible gear, see @Not So Clever Houndpost on a solo fury build.

Edited by dgray62
error correction; additional info
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if you play on PotD the bonus PEN can be very relevant at times, though it'll always be a subtle effect, since digging yourself outside of underpenetration is less flashy than like the wizard evocation echo bonus, even if going from -1 underpen to neutral pen is on average much more powerful for damage.

to underline with what @dgray62 says, i think the real plus is the bonus range. not having to move or having extremely extra range can be extremely valuable in the right playstyle or build, and outside of constrained or ambushed fighting environments can give your fury immense safety. (i've even stacked it with farcasting and you're basically like a battleship launching nukes from afar)

Edited by thelee
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Yeah druids have naturally high penetration on most of their spells (I think ~70% of them have 9 base pen, whereas for a wizard it feels like ~80% have 7 base pen), so the +1 pen is nice but not as critical as it is for other casters.

 

The main problem with a Fury druid is that your bonuses are often wasted. A lot of your early elemental spells are self-centered or cones so that cast range doesn't matter at all. Furthermore, until you get Great Maelstrom, a lot of your spells are crowd-control focused, rather than damage centric, which also contributes to an evoker feeling more flashy than a fury druid. Your damage output is pretty average until you get Avenging Storm at least, then goes through the roof when you finally do get Great Maelstrom. Unfortunately it's so powerful even on PotD that it kind of kills the challenge for me as casting it from stealth will instantly annihilate most encounters.

Edited by NotDumbEnough
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11 hours ago, NotDumbEnough said:

Furthermore, until you get Great Maelstrom, a lot of your spells are crowd-control focused, rather than damage centric, which also contributes to an evoker feeling more flashy than a fury druid. Your damage output is pretty average until you get Avenging Storm at least, then goes through the roof when you finally do get Great Maelstrom.

i think things from a damage perspective definitely pick up for a fury once you can get calling the earth's maw (tier 4) and embrace the earth talon (tier 5), so like mid-game. they do both solid damage (if still a little bit under the wizard curve) on top of decent cc. they also benefit from bonus PEN more since they do physical damage which tends to face higher AR. only problem is that they are useless against flying creatures.

Edited by thelee
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I'd prefer an Ancient because the early to mid game is so much easier with those Sporelings. Tough, long lasting and lvl1.
Once you get Great Maelstrom and combine with with Effort + Avenging Storm that 1 PEN isn't such a big issue imo since you need crits to get the chain reaction going anyway - and crits get x1.5 PEN.
And the added PL for pulsing plant stuff such as Wicked Briars, Venombloom and Tanglefoot etc. is also benefical because their crits trigger Avenging Storm via Effort's Hemorrhaging.

And of course there's (plant based) healing. Even at PL9 with Pollen Patch: great spell if you know how it works. It rules imo if you are moving fast and are immune to engagement.   
 

Edited by Boeroer
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I'm a bit more into the Ancient Druid, it just seems a bit more versatile. Since I have a wael priest, he's not solely focused on healing anyway, so it might help to have a bit more flexibility.

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Here's how my party is shaping up
 

Seer, Crusader, Herald mentioned above +

Ancient Druid (Godlike - Old Vaila) M15 C9 D15 P18 I18 R3
Wearing Deltro's cage and other PL / spell dmg boosting gear

Been going back and forth on the priest. Feels like I'm leaving a lot on the table by going SC Priest of Wael, so thinking of multiclassing at this point, if the Symbol spells aren't going to make a huge difference. My main goal is for them to stay alive and buff, I don't really want to give up on max MIG / DEX / INT for them to have hit things. Should I just go SC Eothas?

 

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I personally would multiclass with Monk. The INT bonus of Duality of Mortal Presence and the accuracy bonus from Enduring Dance are very good for a caster. Thunderous Blows, too.

 +10 MIG via Helwalker can be nice, too. But your main focus is to let him stay alive and cast, so maybe a Helwalker is not the best option (although you have plenty of healing on the party and +10 MIG also leads to +20 Fortitude and a lot more healing power besides the damage, which is good to have).

Another plus in Megaboss fights is to have resources that will refresh. In tandem with endless healing (Herald for example) a Monk will have the potential for infinite wound generation. Keep in mind monks also have The Dichotomous Soul which is a nice summon an is paid in wounds. Like a Chanter a Monk can call forth summons over and over again without the use of Brilliant. 

Also stuff like Blade Turning + Salvation of Time is pretty useful.

Another alternative - since you don't have a Wizard - might be to multiclass with Bloodmage. Wall of Draining + self buffs and healing over time + stuff like Mask of the Weyc + Magnificent Escape is very useful at the end of the game since you become untouchable by anything that targets deflection. A Bloodmage, like a Monk and Chanter, can call summons (tentacles, phantoms etc.) over and over again with the help of healing + Blood Sacrifice - which is very useful in all encounters. He can also turn invisible over and over again with Arkemyr's Brilliant Departure and buff the party from invisibility - and even CC spells without damage (and also Wall spells) will not break the invisibility. As long as you don't cause damage you can stay invisible for a long time with Wall of Draining and 1 use of A's Brilliant Departure. Use of Blood Sacrifice ends the invisibility though. 

 

Edited by Boeroer

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On 8/12/2022 at 2:14 AM, Boeroer said:

Another alternative - since you don't have a Wizard - might be to multiclass with Bloodmage. Wall of Draining + self buffs and healing over time + stuff like Mask of the Weyc + Magnificent Escape is very useful at the end of the game since you become untouchable by anything that targets deflection. A Bloodmage, like a Monk and Chanter, can call summons (tentacles, phantoms etc.) over and over again with the help of healing + Blood Sacrifice - which is very useful in all encounters. He can also turn invisible over and over again with Arkemyr's Brilliant Departure and buff the party from invisibility - and even CC spells without damage (and also Wall spells) will not break the invisibility. As long as you don't cause damage you can stay invisible for a long time with Wall of Draining and 1 use of A's Brilliant Departure. Use of Blood Sacrifice ends the invisibility though. 

 

Would you suggest making this a "support oriented" blood mage? As in, low MIG, low PER, max DEX / tankiness who's main goal is to cast buffs? Curious how you would recommend building that. Given the support nature, I imagine this is still best as a Waelite.

I guess an alt is going BM/Skaen and just leaning into damage with a few support spells on the priest side.

One thing I've been wondering about is whether I am best off with the 2x paladin frontline, or if I'd be better off with a tanky dps offtank. I hear a lot of people say around here they only need 1 tank per party, but my experience has been that my Crusader is the real tank, and the Herald is basically a tanky regen healer with summons and a few buffs.

By the way the game (at least until megabosses) is easy enough even on potd 😅 I just enjoy learning / honing / perfecting compositions and builds so don't mind me.

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58 minutes ago, Urve said:

Would you suggest making this a "support oriented" blood mage? As in, low MIG, low PER, max DEX / tankiness who's main goal is to cast buffs? Curious how you would recommend building that. Given the support nature, I imagine this is still best as a Waelite.

The good thing about Wael is that the Priests gets some of the self buffs Wizards get. If you use a Bloodmage/Priest you don't really need those imo. Still a good subclass. Priest of Woedica has the Writ spells which can be very useful. 

1 hour ago, Urve said:

One thing I've been wondering about is whether I am best off with the 2x paladin frontline, or if I'd be better off with a tanky dps offtank.

I think Crusader + Herald is totally fine. Crusader can be retrained towards damage output a bit more at higher levels and still be very tanky.

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