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i would like to thank everyone for their posts on this thread. I should have read these before I started, I have learned so much!

My Cipher is level 7 in middle of Act II and my build is:

Might 18 (-1 Orlan, +1 Living Lands), Con 15, Dex 18, Per 12 (9 base, +1 The Pilgrims Lasting Vigil, +2 Orlan), Int 12, Resolve 5 (3 base +1 The Pilgrims Lasting Vigil, +1 Orlan).

Stealth 7, Athletics 3, Lore 6

I use Hold Wall (Arbalest) to start and as soon as melee begins I switch to Duel Wield Stilettos (One of which is Azureiths Stiletto, which says it "grants Jolting Touch"). That stiletto is amazing, i thought it gave me the spell to use like a mage, but instead it randomly casts it in melee combat. It procs more than I thought it would (although dont depend on it), but when it does, the damage is pretty nice.

I have never had a restart an never died and gain focus really well.

Draining Whip is a must for duel wield.


I have nothing more to add that hasnt been said already.

If i had read this thread prior to starting, I would have done things slightly differently to tweak the Cipher build.

Thanks again to everyone who posted with great advice, you people are awesome!!


Yes, im a noob lol.


(Rolling Orlan makes me want to Kill Durance every time I talk to him.)

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In my Potd solo I now reached level 10 and my biggest fight yet was killing Simoc for wanting me to kill a kid. I didn't even bother using environment cheese anymore, best strategy by now is to stand in the middle of your enemies and shoot a mind lance first, then detonate whoever is wounded most. Him exploding just does insane damage to his allies. As soon as I reach 11 I guess I will spam Amplified Wave all day and disintegrate on dangerous individuals.

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I now reached the “magic“ level 11. It's plain obliteration. First thing I did was kill the archdruid of the Ethik Nol. Normally not an easy fight solo, but I just hit the boss with disintegrate first, summoned 3 Shades and spammed Amplified Wave onthem, I hardly got hurt...

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This thread is kinda long now so I havent read though it all - but basically there is nothing wrong with a melee cipher. The main problem is just that a cipher will never be tank-worthy (and hardly even suitable to off-tank) unless you heavily sacrifice the actual strengths of the class by wearing heavy armor and stacking deflection stats. If you do that then your spellcasting and offence will suffer, and you will be left with a very lackluster cipher.


If on the other hand you run your cipher squishy and just make sure that he is never the focus of attacks while meleeing then it works just fine. Dualwielding will net you a ton of focus and do pretty decent damage too - which you further augment with your spells - and you get to really take advantage of those "line AOE" spells. Doing this works, but it is very finicky and hard to pull off reliably - and if the AI goes for you then you will probably just die so... it's a very high risk high reward kinda thing.


Meanwhile a ranged cipher remains highly effective and is many times easier - which is exactly why it is so poular.



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Your spellcasting doesn't really suffer, if you retaliation tank. Alone the focus gain is worth the slower casts.

Ofc this is a pure solo build, why would you do that in a group?

I reached level 12 now, skydragon will be next. :)

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So far a reach weapon cipher has been performing very well for me, I am finding that as long as I pay attention she does very well while staying relatively safe.  The only big weakness she has are large aoe attacks, like the opponents that explode on death, fire blights and phantasms I think.

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  • 5 months later...

Has anyone done a successful heavy melee cipher and succeded? Im currently working on one right now that i started out as more of a roleplay then a "build", but its going surprisingly well. Currently at level 6. I wanted to embrace the character backrounds a bit. Human cipher from the mountains. Never fit in because ciphers are mistrusted and he hid his powers for a long time. To this day hes nervouse about using them. Anyway, he joined a mercenary company known as "The Deadmen", and quickly rose to captian of the company "Pitted shield" (a nod to their tactic of using tower shields to soak up trap damage when clearing structures on campeign,). He befriended an orlan cipher who helped develop his abilities. After a long career he was tired of watching men die for gold, and left to take up Roderick's offer.


That being said. Build that followed was this.

Might 16

Con 10

Dex 10

Per 18

Int 14

Res 10

(might swap some might and int for res in a pod run)

Anyhow fights with large shield and spear. Scale armor. Fights as rear guard for casters and line support. Still squishy, but has very high deflection (60 with gear right now) plus accuracy is 59 (with gear) interupt is 27. He basically picks off priests and archers when he can. He hits constantly. If party starts to get overwhelmed, he will stray frim combat, flank and cast that blugoning beam and watcg them all die. If he gets overwelmed he will survive long enough to recieve aid. He doesnt build focus as fast, but the super high interupt tends to stunlock alot of enemies. Using the Rizzeri's spear. +damage when under 50% endurance, and +25% crush damage.

Talents thus far

Weapon and shield

Peasent focus (spear and hunting bow for soul bound bow)

Biting whip

Next im debating on interupting blows or bloody slaughter.



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Mine has might 14, dex 15 and per 15. It is working fine in PotD. I think Dex is nice for melee cipher because might stacks additively with other bonus damage (cipher got a lot of them) while dex stack multiplicatively.


Your cipher will probably do slighly less melee damage (so less focus) but will have slightly better spell damage and Crowd Control.


He wears a leather armor and gets knockdowned from time to time but it's ok. Shield reduce your DPS (and focus), I would avoid it, but it is probably viable.


For talent, draining whip is a must, interrupting blow unecessary (but with high per, it is indeed nice) and bloody slaughter is meh. Superior deflection is also great for any melee.


Soulbound weapons works with ANY weapon focus. You don't have to take peasant weapons, it might not be the best focus. But if you keep single handed style, there is one totally customizable spear that is great ; you can get it only if you choose a specific story option, so if you mind to spoil I suggest you to googlelize it.

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Godlike is poor choice for melee cipher because there is certain helmet with retaliation.

And, as we know, retaliation generates focus.

There's also a retaliation cape but cipher will equip no-brainer amulet in his neck slot.

And there's a retaliation shield that stacks with everything else.

Vancian =/= per rest.

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