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I haven't fully tested this build out and I am not completely sure everything stacks, but the idea is to create a character with such high deflection and reflex, that everything misses targeting those. Fortitude is, well, the worst it can possibly get. But this can be compensated with massive defensive bonuses against common fortitude effects (stun/prone) and by paralyzing/stunning/charming enemies that have direct fortitude attacks. Another thing to note is that many fortitude attacks are actually secondary attacks that won't trigger on a deflection miss (like the annoying dart throwers in the first expansion and spider venom).

Let me know if you have any ideas on how to improve this setup, while keeping with the goal of super-tank.

Class: Cipher
Race: Wild Orlan (has bonuses to primary stats of this build, and further defense)

Starting Stats:
MIGHT: 2
CON: 3
DEX: 15
PER: 20 (spell crits = 50% more duration for our buffs)
INT: 19 (longer buff duration)
RES: 19 (max deflection)

End Game Equipment:
Weapon Set 1: Purgatory (you will use both enchantments a lot) and Little Savior (Durgan-Refined)
Weapon Set 2: Your choice of Big Gun (something for some quick starting focus)
Armor: Blaidh Golan (+2 Perception Enchantment) or lighter armor for more speed if not facing stun/prone possibility.
Drug of Choice: Carow Golan (+20% focus, +10 deflection, +20 reflex) - This is key to gaining more focus and increasing defense further.

First thing you may notice is: How can you do any damage with such low might? How will you generate focus? Well, first remember that ciphers come with a +20% damage buff and class talent for even more, which help a lot to make up for the lost damage. Also, we will be using DR-Bypass to further reduce this problem and eventually high attack speed. In the late game, with weapon enchantments and talents, the lost might is hardly noticeably with regards to damage output and focus generation.

Second thing you may notice is that fortitude is laughably bad and endurance really low. This is on purpose. We want ultra high defenses in all the common defenses and leave fortitude low and just disable enemies with fortitude attacks. A disabled enemy is the same as infinite defense. Health doesn't matter because all enemies will ideally miss. It is possible you might take a graze or two while unloading your initial powers, but even minimal CON can withstand that.

Neck: Shimmering Cloak (Mirror Image, +10 Ranged Deflection)
Gauntlets: Gauntlet's of Deflection (+9 deflection)
Rings: Gwyn's Band of Union (+4 int, "bless" spell per/encounter) and Ring of Protection
Helmet: Executioner's Hood (lower enemy accuracy)
Waist: Broad Belt of Power (+2 might, +2 Resolve)

Equipment focus is on increasing deflection, reducing enemy accuracy, and increasing spell accuracy.

Talents:
- Vulnerable Attack
- Sword + Shield
- Cautious Attack
- Superior Deflection
- Biting Whip
- Draining Whip
- Snake's Reflexes
- Weapon Focus - Soldier

Key Powers:
10 focus - Whispers of Treason (Fast and cheap way to knock out single spell casters not immune to charm)
20 focus - Mental Binding (Paralyze + Daze, AOE stuck): For spell casters immune to charm and single target big threats.
20 focus - PsychoVampiric Shield (+25 deflection, -10 enemy resolve). Not only a huge deflection buff, but also lowers enemy will, deflection, and concentration.
30 focus - Puppet Master - instant cast and longer duration charm, for when you have focus to spare later in battle.
40 focus - Body Atonement - reduces enemy DR by 7. This is needed for high DR enemies so you can generate enough focus from them late in battle.
50 focus - Borrowed Instinct - Buffs accuracy and all defenses by +20 (debuffs target accuracy and will). This and PsychoVampiric Shield should be used all the time.
50 focus - Ring Leader - AOE Charm. Good if there are multiple spell casters near each other and there is not time for cheaper charms.
70 focus - Time Parasite - This is a luxury spell for increasing future focus generation. Cast when the battle is under control and you want to speed things along.

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So, this build doesn't really work I think until late game because your defenses just won't be high enough without the equipment and level up bonuses and you will just die horribly. However, if you can get to level 16, in theory, you should be force enemies to always miss and your accuracy is so high that you don't miss yourself. Because of all the deflection and reflex buffs (and drug synergy), the cipher can go much higher than a fighter or paladin ever could.

You want to attack whoever you debuffed with your powers because they have greatly lowered defenses allowing you to consistently critical hit them all the time, which generates more focus. The trickiest part is the start of battle, since you want to cast multiple powers in a row but don't have enough focus yet. For those situations, I use per rest items like the hat that gives 3 whispers of treason, or the ring that gives 2 dominate charms, or figurines to distract and then use a gun to generate a bunch of focus, cast powers, then move in and take over. Once your initial set of powers are cast, you should have enough duration time to generate focus with melee to keep your buffs and charms refreshed. Late in the game, you do so much damage that focus generation is not a problem. The only expensive power (focus wise) that you need (borrowed instinct) has a very long duration.

Edited by Braven
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Interestingly, you can target yourself with powers outside of combat and instantly regain your focus. For example, the vampiric shield power will provide +25 deflection to you, but also -10 resolve... still a net 15 deflection and still enough concentration. I wonder if the penalty can be removed with an item that removes debuffs...

Edited by Braven
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By the way: Funny char concept.

But I think Carow Golan is a limited resource because it's a drug. Did you check if you can get enough of it from merchents and your stronghold to keep you drugged all the (or most of the) time?  

 

Is it even possible to have negative stats? I believed 1 was the minimum...?

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I originally said it lowered STR by 5, but it actually lowered INT by 4.  The STR is lowered after "crashing" (it lasts 600 seconds, so the crash never really comes into play).  That is actually a lot worse, since you really need INT since you are casting all duration powers.  I think it is still worth it for a really tough boss fight where you need all the focus/deflection/reflex you can get (high accuracy and high DR enemies).  I think for average fights with this build, you actually don't use it.  It is actually deflection overkill for most enemies.  You still have way more deflection than any fighter or paladin can easily get with your self-buffs.

 

It is an interesting question if you can go under 1.  I can envision a 3 resolve build where you target yourself with PyschoVampiric Shield before battle.  Because you can't go below 1, you would only lose 2 deflection and net gain 23 deflection for free.  If you want, you can repeat until you get a critical hit for maximum duration.  It would be interesting to test if you can also trigger on-crit effects, like shod-in-faith and the frenzy armor for a super pre-battle buff.  Also, since you already tanked resolve to the minimum, you can consume Svef with no negative side effects, since both of it's negatives lower resolve and the drug provide +15% attack speed... free gauntlets of swift action. :)

 

I seem to find Carow Golan as drops pretty often and in containers.  Also, there are some merchants that sell it and I think their stock refills, though I haven't tested.  The merchant in the crime family house sells all the drugs, by the way (5 each in stock).  You also want that faction bonus because you critical hit a ton with this build; basically all the time.  All of your powers lowers enemy deflection, some by a lot (mental binding lowers deflection by 40) and you are also buffing your accuracy by 20 with borrowed instincts.  I am actually thinking a weapon with increased critical damage is better than Strike Hard.  Maybe an Axe would be good to have around, or one of the Sabers with an increased critical damage enchantment. 

 

The Purgatory saber is actually looking pretty good since you also don't have any source of healing with this build and you will still take some damage, particularly from spell casters before you have a chance to disable them.  Ones with raw DOT fortitude spells are particularly annoying.  The Dweller (bounty) is immune to charm and paralyze and has a fortitude DOT... that was a tough battle for this build that relied on figurines and staying way back.

Edited by Braven
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I am not sure.  This is still an "idea" build.  I am one level off from getting Borrowed Instincts.  (I guess I could console cheat to find out).  I am "hopeful" they stack.  I guess if they don't, this build is toast.

Edited by Braven
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Ouch, so much for this build.  I think I will come up with another with 3 resolve and abusing the fact you can't go under 1.

 

Anyone know if the Svef drug attack speed stacks with other attack speed?  Does it speed up spellcasting?  Can you have more than one drug active at a time?

 

Caron Golan was just his gateway drug; now he is moving on to Svef, haha.

Edited by Braven
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Does Tidefall still work best with low INT?  I know it used to be bugged, but I thought that was fixed and the DOT damage was the same (just more DOTs with more INT).  Also, does "wounding" help generate focus?

 

If both INT and Resolve could be dumped, that would allow some stat points for CON which will help not dying a lot.  Ciphers don't have much endurance and can be 1-shot with low Con.  The big downside is that the best cipher powers rely a lot on INT.  Charms and Mental Binding would be useless and the biggest damage powers are DOTs or AOE.  You also lose out on all the good low resolve healing tactics that rely on durations (veteran's recovery, shod-in-faith, frenzy, etc). 

 

I guess Amplified Thrust would be good again, with allies to bounce it off of, but still a relatively slow way to do damage in the late game.  I really like the big RAW damage spells which are great against high DR enemies (the toughest in the game).

Edited by Braven
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It's still the case. Same with (Runner's) Wounding Shot and also Enduring Flames of the Goldpact Knights. So you could build a DPS goldpact knight with 1 INT wielding Tidefall, using FoD, Intense Flames, Enduring Flames, Runner's Wounding Shot, Scion of Flame and maybe not even Sacred Immolation. ;)

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I retrained to low resolve and can confirm that you can't go below 1 resolve and that you do get the full +23 deflection, possible outside of combat.  I also confirmed that the crime family's merchant regularly restocks the drugs, so I don't think there is a limited supply.  Still something I would only do for tough battles (I guess the same times you would use food, if you are not lazy).

 

You could also target a friend with PyschoVampiric Shield when playing within a party, if you don't want to lower your own resolve.

Edited by Braven
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I am not sure about pain block (didn't pick that power), but I assume it is ally only. I imagine wild leech will work, (maybe you get lucky and drain a stat of an ally that is not important to them), but that is not castable until level 16, because you need the starting focus.

 

I like the prebuff strategy a lot because a low con/resolve cipher relies on charming powers and mental binding and would rather spend early focus on those. I was surprised to find out how effective charms are. They distract he entire enemy force usually. Basically like summoning a figurine and killing an enemy for only 10 focus. And you don't have summoning limits like figurines. Pumping up accuracy and intelligence as high as possible is important to make sure they land and stay.

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Mind Control is one of the most powerful things. It not only disables an enemy but also lets him work for you while the other foes are distracted and try to kill him. And because of the hefty debuffs of charming the controlled enemy gets targeted instantly.

 

High ACC is superuseful because with a crit you can charm for more than 20 secs with Whisper of Treason if your INT is good. That's why Munacra Arret and Spirit Spiral are such awesome items: you can use them with classes that allow for very high ACC like fighters with Disciplined Barrage or Paladins with Sworn Enemy + Zealous Focus. Or ciphers with Borrowed Instinct and/or Tactical Meld.

 

And nearly all dragons can be charmed, too. :)

Edited by Boeroer

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I tried borrowed instinct and it won't allow self targeting.

 

With self targetted vampiric shield, it also triggers defiant resolve with wild orlan for another stacking +10 to all defenses, though only for 10 seconds. Maybe worth casting on yourself even in the middle of combat for a defense boost, and chance to trigger your on-crit items. If you crit yourself (seems to happen all the time for me), you can also trigger shod in faith out of combat and get that rolling early. Frenzy armor does not work (that one is setup to only trigger in combat, sadly).

 

I didn't know there were so many charm items. You can easily get 8 charm/dominates per rest with just 3 items (one which is good anyways for +3 resolve). Even with a cipher solo, Those items are worth it in order to charm more enemies at the start of battle before you get the focus engine going.

Edited by Braven
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Yes, but while Munacra Arrest and Spirit Spiral give you 3 Whisper of Treasons/rest each with +10 ACC, the Ring of changing Heart's dominate spell (2/rest) has no ACC bonus at all. But it's faster.

 

With Whisper it's much easier to crit and the resulting debuffs is great, while dominate only flips the alliance.

Edited by Boeroer

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I feel like Ring of Changing Heart is not the same as puppet master, either.  When I have used it in the past, the duration was always pretty pathetic.

 

I do like Puppet Master's domination with Cipher because of the longer duration and quicker casting, compared to Whispers.  Midway through a battle it is a more efficient use of your time.

 

My standard battle plan is:

 

1) vampiric shield up before the battle begins

2) start the encounter

3) whisper charm 3 enemies; if possible spell casters

4) attack a couple times with weapons to generate focus

5) cast puppet master

6) repeat steps 4-5 until there is one enemy left

7) when there is only one enemy left, perma-paralyze them to death with mental binding.

 

Against packs of vessels (immune to charm), it is more about finding a choke point and just beating them up one by one with paralyze.

 

For mushrooms (immune to all of your disables:  charm/stun/paralyze), I buff up defenses and use the hat that prevents confusion and then use damage spells (soul leak, detonate, or disintegrate) to quicken the battle and minimize health loss.  Against ones that can prone, use standard anti-prone equipment.

Edited by Braven
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I discovered that cautious attack gets suppressed by vampiric shield and borrowed instincts, making it basically worthless for a cipher. I feel like talents should always stack with abilities. Ironically, gallant focus does stack with borrowed instincts, even though it doesn't stack with other classes accuracy boosting abilities like priest blessing and fighter's accurate barrage. I wish there was a rhyme/reason for whether things stack or not.

 

The only way I have managed to get "always miss" level of deflection is by using consumables like potions of wizard double, along with max resolve and all defensive talents. The vithracki undead are difficult to defeat for solo ciphers because they are immune to charm, paralyze and stun. They have a paralyze secondary attack and quickly murder figurines. Super high deflection or paralyze immunity (late game item, or scroll) is the only way I have found to kill them solo. "Defense against" items are worthless since you can't get defenses high enough to prevent grazes. I am thinking high lore (for immunity scrolls) is the easiest route for dealing with the troublesome enemies, when playing solo. Then, just go all out offense for all other enemies since you can just charm/paralyze them for defense and the added offense helps speed things along.

Edited by Braven
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