This is a thread I will start for peeps to list their experiences playing this class and variations as a single-class and not multi in the current game and should provide a resource of information on it as well as build ideas in the current game and future patches.
Quick background: I have decided to play through and with this class on PotD as it was my main in PoE1 and after trying out some multi-class variations of it in the end decided that giving up Time-Parasite and Defensive Mindweb was not worth it for the multiclass. It may have been a premature bad decision but I want to make it "work" and share my stats/ experiences so far and as I progress the game.
So far my build has been working smoothly and the current PotD difficulty has not been a challenge *maybe because the PotD in this game is easier than in PoE1.
Ok without further ado, here is the concept and stats for the build I am playing:
Cipher single ascendant nuker (build description)
Race: Wood Elve (+1 Dex/ +1 Perc)
Starting Stats: 14 Might/ 5 Con / 19 Dex/ 19 Perc / 18 Int / 3 Resolve
reasoning: No half measures, min maxed, pure range and make sure I send in the tank to grab aggro and never be with my glass cipher in the middle of the fight. 5 Con base + buffs from items is enough hp to get through, the low resolve can be somewhat mitigated eventually by +Will perk/talent and food. Dex and Pec (accuracy) are the most important stats now for single-class cipher as you want attack speed and accuracy to keep your focus supplied and building and to speed up casting time.
In-game, I will look for items that increase speed/ accuracy to amplify this going forward as that is pretty much what these whole build relies on.
Primary weapon of choice: Hunting Bow - consistent and fast, and even faster with the perk for rapid shots. On weaker mobs with rapid shots getting focus maxed (with DrainingWhip perk) takes about 2-3 at most 4 hits so really fast and usually, with the high Dex, the toon is already "ascended" just pew-pewing some weaker mobs from the back lines as my tank is running forward to engage them. At that point, I switch to spamming soul shock if I need aoe or Amplified Thrust on single target (low levels) damage. Whispers of treason on any targets that may be an asset and I want to turn. Later this will be replaced by Amp wave and other juicy powers.
-Draining Whip!!! is a must on an ascendant build!!! so reach max focus fast - this is the first perk you absolutely have to take
-Secondary weapons: optimal later will be to open with a double blunderbuss or pistol volley and immediately switch to the hunting bow, which is more consistent and reliable. If you stack speed/ go naked it should not hurt too bad to switch but overall I think the Hunting Bow is the most reliable weapon on a single-class build. Dual wield scepters are also there should you need to get away from piercing damage.
Other perks I take: Penetrating Visions. Hammering Thoughts (increase on the penetration of your attacks)
Endgame: go into the ascended mode under Time-parasite and nuke the field with amplified waves. You'll have 30s in super-speed mode of probably doing insane damage.
Notes: given the secondary talents you need to take for spell penetration and maybe the +will talent you don't have slots for cc/debuff cipher spells to this is more a pure striker. Take another toon without to do the cc/ debuffing work specifically built for that. Also the way the advanced party setup works with this build is I need "front-loaded immediate cc" from a different toon for the cipher to have time to get ascended and nuke the field - at least I expect that to be the case on the more challenging pulls in the game.
Anyways so far building focus for accended (I am in the second major city, lvl5) has not been hard, was actually pretty easy. I'll be excited to see if that remains so going forward in the mid and high levels as the focus pool increases.
Cheers, please post your single class cipher experiences in PoE2 and suggestions!