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Like many here, the excitement of the Fig campaign has made me ponder what sort of Watcher I want to import from PoE1 to PoE2. My answer has been: lots! I've got a list of characters I want to run through the game over the course of the next year. However, I have become mired in building parties with the same general template, and I would like some suggestions on different PotD-ready parties I could use for my multiple playthroughs.


Some background:

  • I've yet to play through WM 1 & 2. I bought them a couple months ago, but work & school has afforded me no time. Happily, I will have more time soon!
  • I haven't completed a playthrough since v1
  • I play on PotD
  • I'm not a big fan of the rogue class design, so generally not interested in having any in party
  • While I'm pretty heavy into combat micro-management, I'm not a fan of characters built around rotating through a bunch of guns for super high damage


My stuck-in-a-rut party that I perpetually gravitate towards:

  1. Main Tank - often a Watcher paladin, or a fighter
  2. Off Tank - fighter/barbarian/paladin with lower defences and Spellholding gear (Sanguine Plate & Shod-in-Faith)
  3. Support Priest - typically the Mechanics guru due to trap spells
  4. Wizard - blaster with CC and debuffs
  5. Druid - shapeshifting at low levels, and AoE doom at high levels
  6. Cipher - ranged

My list of Watchers I want to run:

  1. Shieldbearer Paladin - well-meaning, anti-animancy tank. Dozens faction.
  2. Eothasian Priest - he's the god of rebirth - of course he's coming back! Animancy-curious. Crucible Knights.
  3. Cipher - will straight-up murder for personal power; all for animancy. Doemenel. 
  4. Barbarian - try out a more damage-focused barb
  5. A more offtank/dps Bleakwalker or Kind Wayfarer pally

My request: some party compositions that break the above mould of two heavy tanks up front, with a bunch of ranged squishies in enchanted clothes in the back, that also employ one of my desired Watchers. There's a ton of cool gear that I've never really used b/c I don't use a lot of melee characters - does anyone have experience with melee-focused parties? Is a "brute squad" filled with medium-and-heavy armour wearers a good time, or does it get tedious with more people getting punched in the face, and generally lower damage?


Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. I'm looking for any inspiration available!

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My stuck-in-a-rut party that I perpetually gravitate towards:

  • Main Tank - often a Watcher paladin, or a fighter
  • Off Tank - fighter/barbarian/paladin with lower defences and Spellholding gear (Sanguine Plate & Shod-in-Faith)
  • Support Priest - typically the Mechanics guru due to trap spells
  • Wizard - blaster with CC and debuffs
  • Druid - shapeshifting at low levels, and AoE doom at high levels
  • Cipher - ranged

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. I'm looking for any inspiration available!


That's not a bad party comp at all. But since you play on PotD (i.e. there are more enemies) and since you don't employ an alpha-strike opening, a 3 melee + 3 ranged would be a better approach compared to 2 + 4; because with 3 melee and 1 charmed/stunned enemy you can body block quite a lot of passages/hallways.


I like the idea of utility/main-tank paladin that is also used as reactive anti-cc.

I've also grew fond of blasting wizard; as he can deliver a decent aoe-dps (during trash fights) even without casting per-rest spells.

For off-tank I would advice either barb or monk, for that sweet phys aoe damage. Plus both are comfortable with the spell-holding approach.


This leads to: one of [cipher, priest, druid] should be melee.

- cipher can be played as ranged-dps with a warbow, or melee-cc with dual-sabres / botep.

- priest can be played as ranged fire priest (providing huge amount of damage during boss fights) or melee "How I Buffed The Others" focused mainly on buffs and off-tanking.

- druid... tbh, I don't actually see how a ranged-druid can be useful without casting. So it leaves us with melee only. Either Batsh!t Crazy off-tank. Or Thundercat if your cipher can cover his ass 24/7. But tbh, your party already has great boss-fight potential. Thus I would take a second cipher instead.


does anyone have experience with melee-focused parties?

Afaik, many players enjoy more sturdy and less min-maxed (in terms of stats) parties. Such parties usually include fighters, paladins, barbarians, monks, and especially druid + chanters. Storms + Dragon Thrashed are a great combo that will wear down most of the enemies hordes. Edited by MaxQuest
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A simple change you could make to increase the number of melee classes your using would be to make your Cipher, Druid or Wizard into a melee character. Melee Cipher's are a little tricky to run, particularly in the early game, but are perfectly viable; melee Wizards are straight up great since their summoned weapons are so powerful (Citzal's Spirit Lance is possibly the most powerful weapon in the game); and Spiritshift focused Druids are capable of the highest single target damage in the game.


I ran a melee Cipher in my last play through and went with


Mig 18

Con 8

Dex 10

Per 16

Int 18

Res 8


In the early game it's tricky because enemies will switch from attacking your tank to attacking this Cipher. I'd strongly recommend wearing some decent armour and using a shield to make yourself a little more survivable during this phase. At levels 2 and 4 you'll want to take the talents that improve your Soul Whip because and at level 6 I took Weapon and Shield Style. Once I had this, my Deflection was high enough that whatever algorithm enemies use to select their targets stopped prioritising my Cipher, and I dropped down to lighter armour. You could forgo the shield and dual wield, but honestly I found my Focus generation was good enough with a single Sabre (at least once I'd gotten a Fine one). Also always have a high damage ranged weapon to use at the start of combat before switching to your Sabre to generate a nice chunk of Focus.


Powers wise, the big ones at the early levels are Whispers of Treason (amazing single target crowd control) and Mental Binding (ditto, and useful if there is only one enemy left). You'll use these all the time. Other than that whatever powers you found useful on ranged Ciphers will remain so on melee Ciphers, with the possible exception of Antipathetic Field which, since you're in melee, is a lot harder to use effectively. I was somewhat surprised to find that I didn't get a lot of use out of powers like Psychovampiric Shield, as I didn't actually get targetted that much.


I've never run a melee Wizard, but as I understand it it's a fairly simple build: you focus on the various buffs that make you better in melee (particular Deleterious Alacrity of Motion and the summoned weapons), spend a little bit of time buffing at the start of combat then wade in.


For melee Druids, take a look in the build list stickied at the top of this subforum. Actually that list is well worth a look regardless.


EDIT: one thing I'll say about taking more than 3 melee characters is it can get crowded in dungeons, and you might find one or more of your melee characters being forced to use a ranged weapon (actually this happens with 3 sometimes, though less so). This becomes less of an issue at higher levels as several melee classes get mobility skills that allow them to move past obstacles.

Edited by JerekKruger
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I'd say if you give your priest a small shield, weapon & shield style and use him as part-time offtank you're totally fine with your party composition. It looks good.


If you want, consider a monk as offtank. Just to try something different than a fighter, barb or paladin. In my opinion monks make the best offtanks. They also work great with the spell holding approach. You don't want them to have too high deflection anyway.


All melee (or heavy melee) parties work well. Generally the game gets easier for me that way. Fights take a little longer, but there are less knockouts. I like melee wizards, druids are part-time melee anyway and also some priest builds are really awesome in melee. A cipher gets more focus in melee, too (in theory).

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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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Awesome in terms of fun (for me). For example:


Priest of Berath, focus on highest MIG possible (aumaua or dwarf, Aggrandizing + Inspiring Radiance, Champions Boon/Minor Avatar, Maegfolc Skull and so on), pick up Tidefall and combine it with Runner's Wounding Shot and Envenomed Strike. Pick WF soldier, Two Handed Style, berathian talent andso on. Cast Cleansing Flame on a boss while wounding, Runner's Wounding and Envenomed Strike are working and see the boss collapse in no time. COmbine it with Veteran's Recovery which is very strong with high MIG, INT and things like Belt of Bountiful Healing + survival healing bonus. The autoattacks are also pretty neat with very high MIG. Wounding profits from MIG bonuses twice - priests are the calss with the highest possible MIG. You can reach 40+ MIG easily and the slaps with Tidefall do a lot of damage through wounding - even against high DR foes.


Same works with priest of Eothas + the Acuan Giamas morning star - but since that weapon comes so late it's not worth it - and the other unique morning stars are a bit meh.

I never tried a priest of Eothas with shield + flail or even dual flails, but I could imagine that Starcaller + Unforgiven are a nice combo. Or even Starcaller + Badgradr's Barricade. A priest can reach very high ACC with Inspiring Radiance + Devotions + WF + talent + Minor Avatar. It should lead to a lot of stuns + Thrust of Tattered Veils with buffed MIG. 


Priest of Skaen, played like a rogue: Schemer's Needler

It's an old build, but I guess the idea is obvious.


Priest of Wael, Llengrath's Staff, Rayment of Wael's Eyes, focus on attack speed, attack from second row. This one is not a melee powerhouse, but still fun.


Edit: Forgot the priest of Magran with Scion of Flame and Firebrand. Lots of MIG and ACC, Minor Avatar and Scion of Flame lead to good damage with that sword due to high base damage and Annihilation. Firebrand works with the magran talent, too. You could also add Fire Godlike to the mix for a bit of retaliation if things get rough.


All priests end up casting a lot and attacking less in the late game. But until then those build ideas are quite fun and a different approach to the priest class.

Edited by Boeroer
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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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I've yet to play a monk at all, so including one might be a good idea. I do like a lot of their class abilities, I just haven't taken one for a test ride yet. I've played a couple parties through to level 4 or 5 to get back a feel for the game, including my first time using a barbarian. I used the barb as an offtank, which was alright, but also made me think that having a more damage/carnage focused barb would be much more fun - which would mean having more melee in the party. 


 I think my "party rut" is strongly due to my previous complete playthroughs being in v1 - the classes I use reflect the companions you can access fairly early in the game (less Kana - chanters tend to be a little too passive for my preferences.) I need to get used to thinking more "flexibly" about builds, given that we can re-spec characters now. Nothing stopping me from switching a character from an early-ranged to a mid-game melee build, or vice versa.


I'm liking the melee cipher concept a lot - open with a pistol shot, then close in with sabres and mind-lasers. Has a nice piratical feel to it, perfect for Deadfire. (Sorry Serafen, your spot has been claimed by my Watcher!)


This has certainly jumpstarted my thought process, so thanks!

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I've had fun running a party where there is a Paladin(Fire Godlike)/Fighter(Moon Godlike) front line tank/off tank. A druid and mage support hiding behind them with big guns. Then having a Rogue and Monk running round on their own and being fast and taking down backline squishies by working in a team. Works on PotD too. 

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Now that I've read up on monks a bit, I think including one in a party would really help me change things up. I like the "Monksterlash" - I've never used a fire godlike due to Battleforged being pretty broken when I was playing (*cough*Carnage*cough*). I also like the concept of a stun/interrupt/debuff dual wielding barb; however, both in one party might make the party a bit too trash-mob focused...


For my Eothasian priest party, I was planning on Eder and Pallegina up front. Could go Dozens instead of Knights, add a Vile Loner's Lance/Cladhaliath (respec to warhammers once Godansthunyr shows up) barb up front. Eder could go less tanky.


For the cipher party, a pally and Monksterlash (well tankier monk respeccing to monksterlash in mid-levels) up front. Melee cipher that can make better use of the close range powers, and put on an antipathetic laser show easier in tighter quarters without having to shoot through a front-liner. Not a lot of gear-sharing issues between monksterlash and annoying barb, so could definitely run both in this party, likely pushing the cipher back to range...

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