[2.6] Say_Ten's Melee Shadow - Murder Everything Cheaply
DO YOU HATE THAT PANSY ASS RANGED SHIT?
DO YOU LIKE TO BASH SHIT INTO A BLOODY MESS?
MY FRIENDS, YOU HAVE COME TO THE RIGHT PLACE.
Standard IGN: Polarized_Hens
Legacy IGN: Butter_My_Crack
3.5 Million DPS
EXCELLENT BUFFS IN 2.6. Unset rings can roll +gem level, one handed weapons are buffed, the claw wheel and other claw nodes are buffed, melee splash is buffed, and there is a new threshold gem for us that actually seems to negate the need for the splash gem...really looking forward to this league.
First off, I would like to thank ninedeadeyes and grindst0ne for some of their ideas on this build. I decided to make a separate thread because I was getting a bunch of questions about it on the side and my build differs from theirs enough to make a guide.
I had a lot of fun with this build during the Talisman season and was very impressed with the amount of things that I could facetank, aside from the fact that the clearing speed and damage are excellent. The attack speed is addicting.
I start this build as a Shadow and, as such, went with the Assassin sub-class. You could also start as a Ranger and go with the Raider sub-class for even crazier attack speed. However, I like the crit from the assasin tree as I believe that drives the damage sky-high.
Dual Strike DPS is about 585k AOE/722k Single Target and rising (in a temp league)...self-buffed with Hatred, HoA, Ice Golem, Taste of Hate and Atziri's Promise
Sample High-Level Tree
...add life/remove DPS for more defense
Quick and Dirty Look at Some Gameplay
This was in Talisman while I was still leveling. Facetanking a double Jungle Valley Boss, which, for your newer exiles, used to be one of the harder bosses in the game in a mid-tier map.
T14 Maze with Ridiculous Mods
THIS VIDEO IS FUCKING BORING. DON'T WATCH IT.
This was my 94 in Essence. I swapped my off-hand for a random, shitty Twin Claw I had and took a mana flask with me to deal with the insane mods. No regen, no leech, and major boss buffs.
DPS numbers keep going up. Currently at 585k AOE and 722k Single Target as of 11/6/2016.
APS: Well over 14
Life: ~5400 on my current lvl94
Block/Spell Block: 64/13 with Rumi's up
Basics and Leveling Guide
You're going to use Dual Strike and Lightning Strike as your main attacks throughout the entire game. The synergy of these skills is excellent since you can hit enemies at range with Lightning Strike and kite them or get up close and personal and tear faces off. Lightning Strike is great for open areas, clearing trash, and physical reflect monsters or volatile monsters you can't get close to (because GGG hates us melee guys). Dual Strike is major DPS and you can clear most trash faster than LS with it in a lot of cases, especially when your gems are 20/20 and you have serious AOE.
Since this is a life-based build, your end-game survivability comes from having a decent life pool, some block, and killing shit before the game even spawns it. Your life pool should be at least 4500 in the end game and your block chance should be a bare minimum of 25% without Rumi's flask.
You will use Whirling Blades to dart around from pack to pack and/or to evade bad situations. It will also fortify you as you move into combat territory. If you feel the need for an alternate movement skill, like Leap Slam, you can put Brightbeak and a defensive shield in your alternate weapon slots, but fuck that shit.
To level this build, you can do whatever you choose (like most characters) but I personally enjoy starting with Dual Strike and Lightning Strike from the get-go.
As you being to level, link support gems to your attacks, and attack fast as fuck, you will invariably wonder "Say_Ten, what do you do about this mana crap?!" If the league is new and you don't have access to Elreon jewelry, you should pick up a Wurm's Molt to assist with mana problems. If between that and mana flasks you are still having mana problems, pick up mana regen on jewelry, find something with Mana-On-Hit, or simply don't run certain auras that reserve your mana. You will deal less damage but it will also be less annoying. All other leveling gear, including a Tabula Rasa will work, provided you deal with the mana problem first.
As with any character, try to keep your resists high enough to minimize...well...dying. Goldrim is an excellent helm to start for this. Your jewelry can provide flat physical damage and life (and resists if you're lucky or rich) and you can run Jade and Granite flasks for additional defense. All of your gear will essentially look the same in the end game, just with better stats. See my gear below for reference.
Some people have asked which weapons are good to level with and the answer is: all of them. There are some nice unique swords, axes, claws...really anything with good damage that you can dual wield is fine. Lakishu's Blade gets a shoutout for the free Multistrike built in.
As mentioned above:
The only staple gear piece for this build is the Bringer of Rain, which you can now get relatively easily and cheaply.
Don't focus all your attention on the ARM/EVA...just try to get a decent life roll. You can always get a cheap one to get you mapping/leveling and then buy another down the road. This is also useful for Uber Lab enchants. Let's say you get something like Blade Flurry Damage on your BoR. Ok, now you've got an expensive item. Sell that for a million dollars and put your spare BoR on.
FWIW a Dual Strike enchant is going to be the best for this build.
As of the Legacy league (March, 2017), a new threshold jewel was added that we can take advantage of. It's called Might and Influence and may completely negate the need for the Melee Splash gem. If you don't need the Splash gem, it means you can add another damage gem, which is a good thing. The AOE seems to be about the same as Melee Splash but I'm not sure how it will compare to q20 Splash...I'm guessing the AOE will be worse...but again, more damage might outweigh it. This jewel will go in the socket to the right of the Ranger start point, above the frenzy charge node.
I also dual-wield claws in this build since the attack speed is very high and I am benefiting from hitting many things at once and the Life Gain on Hit mechanic. The build can also scale Life Leech well. Or you can use both...it is a matter of preference and what gear you have at the time of your decision.
Claws are quite a bit cheaper than daggers and used to be seriously cheap until Mathil ruined that shit for us.
For endgame starters, Touch of Anguish is (still) very cheap and totally awesome. The free chain makes Lightning Strike good until you do enough damage to flip your gem to q20 and get the 40% pierce chance. Then you will have both pierce and chain going on.
If you are hurting for mana, or want to try out some additional auras (reserving the vast majority of your mana) with the help of some passives, Gemini Claws are good for their Mana Gain on Hit too. Other options for mana are Mana Regeneration or Mana Leech on your gear (jewelry or gloves).
While leveling, get enough life and resistances on your armor, boots and helm to help you survive. I can't stress this enough. With a unique helm and no chest armor, you will have some trouble capping your resists AND getting enough INT and DPS at the same time. Don't rush...focus on defense first. Good resists and high life rolls.
You can pick DPS gloves and jewelry to kill stuff fast eventually.
To focus on the resistances, try to find items that help this category significantly. For instance, I used Goldrim one season until I could put on the BoR. Hard to beat those resistances. I also used a Tabula Rasa, Wurm's Molt, and Elreon jewelry until I could put on the BoR...if you have leveling gear like this, the leveling experience becomes trivial.
Eventually, you will want to optimize life and resists more on all your equipment. I look for + physical damage and/or attack speed on gloves and + movement speed on boots. You can use Whirling Blades to get around very quickly, so the movement speed isn't too important, but I do often find it useful. I prefer to look for flat physical damage and life on jewelery as a rule of thumb.
Shoot for an absolute bare minimum of 4500 life. A low life pool is the symptom of the most deaths people are asking me to help them solve. The lower your life pool, the more you get stunned. The more you get stunned, the less you attack and gain your life back.
Shoot for 75/75/75 resists. If you can overcap them, it will be useful in maps with an Elemental Weakness curse. Don't worry about chaos resistance. It's a luxury and would make the build a lot more expensive.
For flasks, I advise to use at least one life flask with instant recovery and the rest of the flasks can be whatever you want. The ideal flask setup is a single Divine Life Flask with instant recovery and a chance to gain a charge on crit, a Basalt Flask that removes and immunizes from bleeding and also has a chance to gain a charge on crit, Rumi's Concoction, Taste of Hate and Atziri's Promise. ToH is very expensive and Rumi's can be expensive, so if you don't want to shell out the cash for those or happen to find them, you can instead use any others you like, such as an additional life flask, a granite flask, a stibnite flask, etc. I have tried Silver Flasks and while they are fine if you don't have anything else useful, they don't seem to provide enough of a benefit on their own...FYI.
To focus on DPS, you will find the highest physical dps 1H weapon possible and just use that to start. Don't spec into claw nodes until/unless you are wearing two good ones already. When you finally do spec into claws, you should like for ones with at least 240 pdps (there are cheap unique options, such as Izaro's Dilemma, Allure, Rive, etc). As previously mentioned, I like Touch of Anguish. If they are Life Gain on Hit and/or Mana Gain on Hit claws, then high attack speed (1.75+ APS) is useful but not required since you are getting a ton of attack speed from the tree.
Endgame Gear for The Wealthy:
I've been asked about this a lot and the only super expensive item I would use is Atziri's Acuity for the insta-leech on crit. Other than that, your BoR (legacy one is ideal) and god-rolled rares are the way to go.
For flasks, the only other unique flask that would be of benefit, especially if your life pool isn't at least 5000, would be Kiara's Determination to avoid stun.
Current gear on my 94 in Essence:
Icetomb is cosmetic...you can't benefit from chest armor mods with the BoR on...just find any 6-socket armor to hold and level gems in.
I also use jewels that give any combination of:
Damage or Physical Damage
Crit and/or Crit Multi
Be sure to include similar stats for "one handed weapons" and "claws" in your searches.
These skills and support gems are listed from left to right in order of importance/use. Sometimes you might have one before the other and sometimes you might prefer a defensive gem over an offensive one so the ultimate combination can be your choice.
Dual Strike - Melee Physical Damage - Multistrike - Faster Attacks - Crit Multi - Melee Splash
When you finally put the BoR on, use Dual Strike - Multistrike - Crit Multi - Melee Splash
When you are about to face a tough single-target boss, swap Melee Splash for Weapon Elemental Damage, Added Fire Damage, or Melee Damage on Full Life. WED is more consistent damage across the board since you don't have to rely on being at full life during the fight but at the same time if you are up against enemies with high elemental resistances (or high fire resistance in the case of Added Fire Damage), you may want to use MoFL.
Another option I tried this league (Breach) which has its utility is swapping splash for Ancestral Warchief. The totem will benefit from the BoR buffs and do massive AOE damage while simultaneously buffing you and taking some aggro off you. I carry this gem around but don't use it too often because I can kill most bosses very quickly and putting up a totem is fucking boring.
*Your tooltip DPS with Added Fire Damage might be a little higher than with the Crit Damage gem, but keep in mind that monsters have an inherently higher elemental resistance so Crit Damage is more useful.
If you could somehow get an awesome BoR with a godly enchant and corrupt it for the sockets GRBW, you could swap Splash for Increased Critical Strikes for massive damage.
Your main attack for close-quarters combat. Serious DPS.
Lightning Strike - Multistrike - Curse on Hit - Assassin's Mark
If you are keeping power charges up with the Assassin tree, you may want to swap to Warlord's Mark, or just buff the damage of LS with Crit and Crit Multi. I generally just keep Assassin's Mark on unless the map is hexproof...then I may consider the two crit gems. You'll kill everything so fast it won't matter anyway.
Your Pseudo-Ranged/Area of Effect attack. Also very good DPS and kiting ability.
Cast when Damage Taken (low level, 1-5) - Immortal Call - Increased Duration - Enfeeble/Temporal Chains/Warlord's Mark (your choice of curse...I recommend Enfeeble for newer players)
Hatred and Herald of Ash - Summon Ice Golem
Your aura(s) and buddy. Excellent DPS increases across the board.
Whirling Blades - Faster Attacks - Fortify
Your mobility skill which doubles as a way to get Fortify.
I also use two Unset Rings to manually cast Blood Rage and Vaal Haste.
Normal - Help Oak and get (a) Life
Cruel - Help Kraityn and get Attack Speed
Merciless - Help Kraityn and get the Frenzy Charge or Help Alira and get the Power Charge...your choice. Most of the time I go for frenzy but if your weapons don't have decent crit on them you could rock the power charge.
Go for Ambush/Assassinate first, then go for Unstable/Deadly Infusion
Leveling Tree Examples:
...and so on
How do you sustain mana?
This is probably the question I get asked most often. Here is an in-depth response!
There are multiple basic ways to get mana:
- Mana Flask
- Mana Gain on Hit
- Mana on Kill
- Mana Regen
...these can be on gear or from passives.
There are multiple basic ways to spend or reserve mana:
- Using Active Skills (IE: Dual Strike and Lightning Strike)
- Using Auras (IE: Hatred)
- Using Heralds (IE: Herald of Ash)
Auras and Heralds reserve mana and reduce the mana pool you may draw from to use skills. Active skills spend the mana and their expenditure of mana is based on a base rate which is modified based on the support gems you have attached to it.
When you first start out playing, you will need to use mana flasks unless you are wearing Elreon's "-X mana cost" rings. I prefer mana flasks that deliver their effect over longer periods of time. The Grand flasks have a 10-second delivery time, which is good, because this build usually doesn't have hundreds of mana that need to be replenished instantly. The slow and steady replenishment means that you have to use flasks less often.
As you begin to level your character, you may notice that this mana shit is really getting annoying. See the above list for possible ways to rectify the solution. My personal favorite way to deal with the mana issue is get some mana leech, and then maybe even some mana regen if possible.
Wurm's Molt is a unique belt that is cheap and can last you a long time for this build. See below:
If you happen to find or buy this belt, it will solve your mana problems for a long time with a couple caveats:
1) Your physical damage (not damage per second or even physical damage per second) has to be high enough to create good leeching mechanics.
2) Your attack speed can't be so insane that you are spending mana faster than you can leech based on #1.
Also keep in mind that if you are hitting multiple enemies at the same time (such as with Lightning Strike) your leech efficiency will be higher. So you may notice it is easier to sustain mana with LS but when it comes to single targets with DS, you are running out. Without getting into the mechanics of leech here, you can take my word for it.
Another player choice while leveling comes in the form of use of Auras and Heralds. With most of your maximum mana reserved, you will generally run out of mana faster. You can simply elect to turn off one of these mana-reserving situations if it is really annoying for you until you figure out a better way to address the situation. Ask yourself: "Self, if it means I have to use mana potions, would I like a lot more DPS? Should I use Hatred? ...or should I just leave it off for now until I find some better items?"
Should you be out of options on the mana forefront, you can always spec into some mana-based nodes on the passive tree, such as Mind Drinker. Then you can eventually refund those points and put them to use elsewhere.
Lastly, I would like to add that once you get to the mana leech under the Duelist area and/or get the leech from Soul Raker, you will not need any more mana leech, period.
How do I get my DPS up?
This build's damage is based on physical damage. That means that any increase in physical damage not only helps, but scales greatly based on the passive tree and the skill/support gems we use. The main contributors to non-physical damage that I suggest you study on are Hatred, Herald of Ash and Added Fire Damage to start. These gems take your physical damage and add a percentage of that as extra elemental damage. This makes us stronger and more well-rounded as far as damage output and dealing with various physical or elemental reflect enemies. Once your crit chance is high enough, you will notice the Critical Damage gem is a much better choice (and you will subsequently have to watch for reflect).
Thie is not an elemental-based build. Though having elemental damage (on weapons, say) is nice, it doesn't help nearly as much as having more physical damage.
Assuming you read the above paragraphs, then you just need to make sure that you are using the right gear and gems.
My recommended Claw stats for the endgame are:
- 300+ PDPS (physical damage per second)
- 1.75+ APS
- 7+ base crit chance percentage
- Capable of absolute mayhem
Go for life (or life and mana) on hit vs. leech since it pairs well with the attack speed. If you go Vaal Pact, you might want to try a combination of the two or two leech-based claws.
You can, technically, though the tree becomes a bit different.
Vaal Pact will let you insta-leech, which can be very good for survivability.
The downsides of going VP are as follows:
- No life regen
- SLIGHTLY out of the way
- No life regen means no Blood Rage, unless you want to micromanage turning it on and off, or deal with the serious degen
- No Blood Rage means no Frenzy Charges, which means less damage, less movement and attack speed, and no leech benefits from the skill either
To run Vaal Pact and still get frenzy charges, you would need to run Poacher's Mark in one of your curse sockets or rely on a unique item to get them.
Bringer of Rain vs. 6L Body Armor?
BoR, especially a legacy one, is very powerful. You can get a ton of life on it, negating that argument. You also get decent block chance from it and the armor and evasion you get from the helm are pretty decent as well. If you don't have access to a legacy one, you still get block and life, but less of it. However, one thing you can't get from a 6L rare armor is 20-30 flat physical damage, which is huge. Additionally, the BoR gives you "free" Blind, which is pretty useful as a melee character.
With a 6L body armor, you miss out on a support gem, such as Blind, but you also potentially gain more defense, both in main stats (ARM/EVA) and in resistances. The high resistances you can get on the armor (and the helm I may add) would free up some mods on your jewelry and gloves to max out on DPS, making it a little easier to balance your character. Sometimes it can be hard to cap resists with the BoR on and still have max movement speed, damage on everything, etc. It's a little more work to min/max with the BoR. Also, since you can use a helm and have an additional 4L setup, you could do some interesting things, like add another Vaal skill, or use Ancestral Protector/Warchief or Decoy Totem. Really up to you and how much crap you want to manage.
If you want my opinion, and you probably know it already, I would take the BoR all day, every day.
What Level Cast When Damage Taken?
I have been keeping it at Level 1 for a long time. I like the ability to have it cast Immortal Call often. It prevents you from being two shot by stupid crap, like porcupines that explode in packs. You could experiment with a higher level CWDT (maybe level 10 or so) but you would have to make your own call on whether or not it's better.
Why do I keep dying?
Because you suck.
But seriously...gear won't fix ALL of the problems but here are some suggestions:
1) Make sure your resistances are capped at 75% in whatever difficulty you are in. More than that is ok since maps with the Elemental Weakness curse will decrease that overcapped number...and if that number is high enough, you will still be at 75% with the curse on.
2) Make sure you have enough life. The less life you have, the more often you will get stunned. The more you get stunned, the less you can attack and/or be alive.
3) Keep fortify up. After GGG made the game harder, this is a necessity for melee builds. Whirl through enemies every so often to reset the timer.
4) Kill shit fast. That's what this build does best. The faster you can kill shit, the less time it has to know what just violently megafucked it.
5) Play smart. Reference all of the above. Get to know the game...know the limits of your character and the limits of your own skill. For example, you will learn to hit volatile enemies with Lightning Strike rather than Dual Strike. You will learn what you can and cannot faceroll. Take your time.
Last edited by Say_Ten on Mar 16, 2017 2:16:15 PM
Last bumped on Apr 15, 2017 10:42:00 AM
on Mar 18, 2016 9:35:22 AM
on Mar 18, 2016 9:35:42 AM
Been using this and really liking the versatility of the build so far (currently at level 69), with Dual Strike for melee and LS for range. What I'm worried about though is the build's defensive capabilities in the future. The block chance at the moment is pretty low (27%) to be constantly generating Endurance Charges from BoR. My armor is around 720 since my gear is mostly evasion and my chance to evade is around 42% (Not a comforting % =/).
I have a choice of having the Curse on Hit setup with Warlord's Mark with LS to generate Endurance charges but it seems that would limit the damage potential of LS by quite a lot. (Currently using LS-WeaponEleDmg-Multistrike-FasterAtks and seeing around 15k dps difference if swapped to Curse on Hit). Not sure whether that would limit my attacking options.
What are your recommendations on having more survivability for this build?
Last edited by Aetavicus on Mar 30, 2016 10:58:43 AM
on Mar 30, 2016 10:48:42 AM
I think Warlord's Mark is definitely one of the best options. You could also spec into another endurance charge under the duelist and/or helping Oak instead of Kraityn in Merciless.
Another option, which, depending on your gear, might tank your DPS, would be to use one (or even two) Advancing Fortress claws for their 15% block chance.
In my opinion, though, getting your hands on a Rumi's Concoction is the best option, period. You can then have another 20%-30% block and some spell block. This way, you don't have to completely spec out of DPS mode.
Any combination of the above would work, and you could surely cap block if you wanted to.
As far as LS damage, I only have CoH/AM attached to it to get power charges. So really I am just mowing down everything with LS and Multistrike. I took a video that I should post to show you "janitor mode".
If you go into your account privacy options and uncheck "hide all characters" I can critique some more. Otherwise feel free to post your gear.
Also, FWIW, the 10% chance to gain a power charge on non-crit will keep my power charges up, so there is another reason to swap curses eventually. I just haven't spent time/currency yet since I have been leveling a ranger.
on Mar 31, 2016 6:59:57 AM
Thanks for the information, I will look into the options you listed as I get further into higher end content. Currently just doing cleaning duty in lower tier maps. =D
I've also unlocked my characters tab in case you want to view them. Currently experimenting with running blasphemy + warlords mark instead of herald of ash.
Last edited by Aetavicus on Mar 31, 2016 12:59:57 PM
on Mar 31, 2016 10:58:32 AM
started this game like a week ago, followed this build guide; i've gotta say that attack speed is pretty satisfying (lvl 46) and I know that it's only going to increase which is even better. Like Aetavicus said above though, I feel like, while my DPS is pretty good, my defense is not that great, and while I was able to hold my own against most of the bosses I've faced thanks to life leech/gain on hit I keep getting rekt by Izaro in the lab, cause he seems to one-shot me. I feel like this is because my gear is not great, being all evasion stuff means i have no mitigation of physical damage etc. Any suggestions?
on Mar 31, 2016 1:42:01 PM
I fully encourage the experimentation.
Realize this though: the AOE and burning from HoA when using Dual Strike is insane and makes really useful explosions. The overkill damage, bro.
EDIT: just looked at your gear.
Your BoR life roll is low so eventually you could look for another one. Since you have a Poacher's Mark mod on it from the lab, you could also try using that curse. More life on hit.
Craft WED onto the belt.
Go get the life and regen by the Marauder.
Last edited by Say_Ten on Mar 31, 2016 3:22:52 PM
on Mar 31, 2016 3:18:03 PM
Aside from your current boots and helmet, your life is probably the reason you are getting one-shot.
Feel free to hit me up in-game whenever. Might even have free upgrades for you guys.
As for Izaro, don't rush it. Remember, I dominated all of the content last season with no help from Ascendancy Trees.
on Mar 31, 2016 3:20:13 PM
Yeah, I think that I should have taken a bit more care in fighting Izaro, I kind of went into it expecting to tank it like I did the other bosses/mobs and forgot that it's supposed to be a proper boss fight. Also I guess I could wait a few more levels before trying it again with a bit more life. Thanks for the advice
Last edited by legots on Mar 31, 2016 3:38:27 PM
on Mar 31, 2016 3:37:42 PM
Hi I am just wondering how do you generate frenzy charges with this build? Am I missing something on how they work? I couldnt see anything that gave frenzy but you spoke of them or do they come naturally ?? leveling a shadow to try it out as I found a coupla decent 200+ dps phys claws to use.
on Apr 16, 2016 8:52:29 AM