[0.10.0] Eldritch Battery Ethereal Knives Shadow [Videos Included]

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Other Guides
CI Crit Dagger Shadow
Pain Attunement Caster Shadow
Spork Battle Mage Shadow
EB/Armour/HP Crit Dagger Shadow


4/1/2013 - Its a new year and its a new guide!
5/1/2013 - Added a notable uniques section
6/1/2013 - Modified the End-game and End-end-game builds slightly
7/1/2013 - Added an EK Mechanics section + Early gameplay tips section
8/1/2013 - Added stats and gameplay videos
23/1/2013 - Open Beta!
6/3/2013 - Added a Physical reflect section


Why a guide about Ethereal Knives?
I had been getting a few PMs about EK lately which I found difficult to answer as I've never used EK and decided to use the recent one week HC race to build an EK char from a zero economy and experience the progression for myself.

Why HP and not CI seeing as you're usually a CI char-builder?
I was actually planning on going CI initially but I realised that my optimum colours for a 5L/6L were impossible to obtain from a pure ES chest. Without a high ES chest, the amount of ES you will have as CI will be severely compromised and I saw no way around it, hence I opted for a HP build instead, which would also give me the opportunity to test out HP vs CI.

Why Armour as one of the defensive options?
The bane of many high DPS high level characters is reflect damage. Being a physical spell, EK deals physical damage and reflect physical mobs are very, very painful. Armour in this case both protects you from the opposing mobs as well as from yourself.

Is this build feasible as a first character?
It most certainly is! After playing this hp build character, I can most certainly tell you that is is 100% easier to build in HC as compared to CI characters.

Should I level my gems?
Aura gems should always be leveled, Clarity should not be leveled past 3. Curse gems should not be leveled at all.

As a rule, when in doubt, check the wikipedia to make sure your stats can actually support the gems before leveling it up.

Everything else can and should be leveled.

What is this build about?
It's a build that focuses on building the shadow around an unconventional HP/Str build as opposed to the usual CI/Int/ES build, focusing on HP, HP regen and Armour as defense and using ES as a mana buffer instead of the traditional protection purpose while using Ethereal Knives as the main AoE skill with Bear Traps as the main single target DPS skills versus bosses and in PvP scenarios. Defensive skills include Frost Wall and the curse of choice is Projectile Weakness.

The Key Keystones
Eldritch Battery - Converts your energy shield to mana thereby increasing your mana pool tremendously which is highly useful for the high mana consumption of EK and its supports as well as for the running of the auras that you will need.
Inner Force - A must-have for all Eldritch Battery builds in my opinion as most EB builds run tons of auras and Inner Force and its cluster amplifies the effect by 30% in total. In the case of this build, Inner Force amplifies the armour granted by Determination, the ES/mana granted by Discipline, the Evasion granted by Grace, the life regen % granted by Vitality and the DPS percentage added on by Hatred. (Bolded ones are totally awesome btw)

Gameplay Videos

Bandit Quest Reward Choices
Normal: Help Oak for HP
Cruel: Help Oak for 12% increased physical damage
Merciless: Kill all the Bandits

Skill Tree Progression
30 Points
44 Points
53 Points
61 Points

--- process of respeccing and some leveling ---

71 Points
76 Points
85 Points
95 Points Approx Level 84, End-game build
109 Points, End-End-game build

Note: I have tried to detail the respeccing steps as best as I can, let me know if you need more elaboration

Alter the build progression in terms of your preference
1. Need more hp/want to play more safe? Get the HP nodes before the DPS nodes
2. Want to go full glass cannon in default? Get more DPS nodes and don't take as many HP nodes

Pros and Cons of this Build
1. An extremely fun and strong build to play solo
2. High survivability, with high HP and HP regen
3. Can be used in blood magic and chaos damage maps
1. Relatively weaker in groups due to the need to spam more, resulting in higher mana usage
2. Might find it a bit difficult-going mana wise, but that can be countered by the mana leech support
3. Bear Traps require some skill to use, might take a while to get used to it

Usable in
1. Hardcore
2. Default
3. 1 Week HC Races
4. PvP

I have a HC Ethereal Knives character at the moment, he is currently level 78 and is residing in the HC League after managing to reach Level 70 during the 1 Week HC Race within 1 day and 8 hours of gameplay.


Some vital information regarding Ethereal Knives Mechanics
It is a physical spell
What this means is that EK's DPS is affected by:
- %Cast speed nodes as well as %cast speed mods on gear
- %Spell damage nodes as well as %spell damage mods on gear
- %Projectile damage nodes
- %Spell critical chance/multiplier nodes + Global Critical Chance mods on gear
- %Increased Physical damage mods on non-weapon gear
- %Increased elemental damage nodes + %cold damage/%fire damage mods on gear (slightly)

It is NOT affected by:
- %Increased Physical Damage mods on Weapons
- Flat physical damage mods (+1-4, etc) on gear
- %Increased physical damage with one-handed weapons/daggers/etc. nodes
- %Increased melee physical damage
- Facebreaker's %increased unarmed physical damage
- %attack speed nodes/mods on gear
- %increased elemental damage with weapons nodes/mods


Notes regarding gear
Majority were obtained during the fresh economy of the 1 Week Race.
- Dagger cost 2 chaos
- Gloves cost 2 GCPs
- Amber Ammy cost 100 Alts
- 5L Chestpiece was borrowed from null
- Magnate Belt cost about 2 GCPs
- Annihilator Casque, Archon Kite Shield, and both rings were crafted
- Boots were found

1 Granite, 2 HP Flasks, 2 Mana Flasks

Gem links from above gear:
Dagger: Bear Trap - Added Fire Damage, Culling Strike
Shield: Reduced Mana - Projectile Weakness, Discipline
Astral Plate: EK - Chain, Added Fire Damage, Mana Leech, Iron Will
Helm: Reduced Mana - Hatred, Vitality, Determination
Gloves: Frost Wall - Incr. Duration and Spell Totem - Summon Skeletons
Boots: Temporal Chains - Incr. Duration


The below screenshots were with Hatred, Determination, Discipline and Vitality Aura activated

Character Defense/Stats Screen

With 1 Granite of Iron Skin and Phase Run (no longer in game) activated

Bear Trap Damage (try not to trust the tooltip DPS too much as it's a lie)

Ethereal Knives Damage

Gameplay Style

Usage of Flasks
Granites to be used versus reflect physical mobs at ALL TIMES! as well as versus the usual physical damage mobs

Auras and Active Skills
Determination, Vitality, Hatred, Discipline, Grace.
Determination and Vitality for end-game survivability
Grace for early-game survivability --> can be used in end-game as well if you have enough mana
Hatred for adding DPS to your EK and Bear Traps
Discipline for early-game survivability and end-game mana pool (if you don't find it being very useful because it reserves alot of mana initially, drop it if you wish)

Projectile weakness will complement this build nicely because it enhances projectile damage (EK is a projectile) as well as increasing pierce and knockback chance, with knockback being useful as it can be a offensively defensive measure.

Versus Mobs
Ethereal Knives will be your main skill.

Some pointers to take note regarding EK
Best EK support combinations, in descending order
1. EK + Added Fire Damage + Chain/Fork + Faster Projectiles + Iron Will + Mana Leech/Reduced Mana
2. EK + Added Fire Damage + Chain/Fork + Faster Projectiles/Mana Leech + Iron Will
3. EK + Added Fire Damage + Fork + Faster Projectiles
4. EK + Fork + Faster Projectiles

Note: It is highly likely that Fork will outperform Chain for the first few levels of the Chain skill gem. I recommend you keep Chain in a swapped out weapon slot to level it first while you stick to Fork.

1v1 Bosses
Bear Trap. Useful because of its extremely high single-target DPS and the fact that it locks enemies in place, thus allowing you to EK them from afar without having to kite. Also immensely useful for taking out the reflect physical bosses as damage dealt by bear traps isn't reflected back to the user.

Interesting point: If you have multiple bear trap gems, you can spam them more often as the cool down is individual to each skill gem alone and not global, although that may change anytime when the devs see fit to change it

Nice Bear Trap support combinations
Bear Trap + Added Fire Damage + Culling Strike is basically your must have core. The fourth can be anything that adds damage, such as added lightning damage or added chaos damage although i'm leaning slightly more towards added chaos damage. Whatever support that adds damage will in turn be further amplified by bear trap's 150% damage effectiveness.

Skelly Brotem. Yes, I call it brotem because its your best friend in the game, be it versus flicker mobs, kraityn, oak or even random smelly bears.
Frost Wall. Erects a barrier protecting you from advancing mobs/archers and allowing you to still hit them with EK because Fork and Chain bounces off the Frost Wall to hit them.

How To Deal with Physical Reflect
Physical reflect is the absolute killer for EK builds in general. In my opinion, it doesn't matter how tanky you build yourself with regards to armour. The non-linear scaling of damage reduction means that armour will offer less protection the higher your damage gets. This is not to say that you should not stack armour. You should still try and stack as much armour as you can. (get gear with more armour than what I had with my character) However, even if you have loads of armour, you should never presume to spam EK and tank entire physical reflect packs. The best way to deal with physical reflect mobs is to ensure you have a healthy amount of HP, and be alert/watch out for the physical reflect aura. Once you see that, aim your bear traps at the physical reflect rare. (Bear Traps do not reflect physical damage)

Besides that, there are still other techniques you can use:
1. Frost wall to wall off part of the pack and kill them bit by bit.
2. Freezing Pulse + LMP on the phys reflect mob instead of EK
3. Enduring Cry + Immortal Call and spam EK during Immortal Call duration

Early Gameplay Tips

Early-Game Single Target DPS
Bear Trap doesn't really perform that well early on in the game. I usually just dual wield weapons and use Dual Strike for single-target DPS in normal Act1 + 2. (at this point it doesn't really matter, Normal tends to be simple enough that you can bum around and still get through adequately)

Early-Game AoE
EK can be used, but the problem with EK early on is that it's DPS scaling early on doesn't give it that much advantage over Freezing Pulse. Add to the fact that it has a slower cast time, I usually level the gem in a swapped out weapon's socket and use Freezing Pulse as my main AoE.

This holds true till Level 15

At this point, you should have already reached Cavern of Wrath and taken the Fork support gem.

From this point on, EK + Fork starts to get stronger and arguably better than FP. Use whichever you prefer.

After doing Weaver's Chambers, the support gem that you should pick at this point is Faster Projectiles.

From this point on, link EK with Fork and Faster Projectiles.

From level 26 or so onwards, EK linked with the above supports will start to outperform Freezing Pulse completely and I usually ditch Freezing Pulse at this point.

If you get the Added Fire Damage support, link it to Bear Trap for now. Linking it to EK will increase the mana cost too much without it being that much useful yet. (Even without Added Fire Damage support on EK you will still mostly be two/three-shotting mobs)

When do I start using Chain?
Chain is not a priority. You can do very well with Fork all the way till Merciless hence there's no need to trade for it early on.
However, when you finally do obtain Chain and want to use it, you are advised to swap out Fork for Chain and Faster Projectiles for Mana Leech on a 4L to ensure that you can sustain your EK in terms of mana.

Do you have mana problems? Go down the following checklist:
1. Change your 3 HP/2 Mana Flasks set to 2 HP/3 Mana Flasks
2. Stop spamming your mana flasks simultaneously. Doing that doesn't increase mana recovery!
3. Alternate between the three mana flasks so all three can recover charges simultaneously
4. Are you spamming EK at individual monsters? Round them up first as a pack then use EK.
5. Using Chain without Mana Leech support? Remove Chain and go back to Fork
6. Remove Added Fire Damage support. If your mana can't support it you don't need it yet!
7. Did you follow the skill tree progression properly?

When do I Respec to Eldritch Battery?
Only one rule here, and that is when you have enough HP to not need that ES buffer. I'm afraid I can't really tell you the exact numbers as it is all based on experience and instinct for me, but in HC, I would generally only respec to EB after Merciless Vaal and when I entered maps, I had about 2.5k HP which served me quite well.

End-Game Gear

Priority 1: Stack Life
Priority 2: Stack ES/Mana for Survivability in early to mid-game and Mana pool for End-game
Priority 3: Stack Armour for protection against reflect
Priority 4: Get rings/ammys/shields/caster weapons for Increased cast speed, spell damage, critical chance for spells

Notable Uniques Compatible with the Build
- Blackheart Iron Ring (Early game only)
- The Magnate Studded Belt
- Deshret's Vise Steel Gauntlets
- Daresso's Courage Baroque Round Shield
- Rathpith Globe Titanium Spirit Shield
- Ezomyte Peak Rusted Casque
- Kaom's Heart + Quill Rain Short Bow + Broadstroke Heavy Quiver*

*my absolute favourite combination. Kaom's for the HP, and to make up for the loss of sockets, the usage of QR which being a dex item will allow you to get the socket colours that you need as well as providing a 100% projectile speed increase which will be absolutely awesome! Broadstroke Heavy Quiver will also help to increase EK's DPS and enable stunlocking of enemies. Can't wait to have someone try this out come OB when Kaom's Hearts get more common due to the increase in population

How do I get better gear?
Trading for better pieces of gear will be your main source. However, there will come a point when you realise that you can no longer get better gear through trading, and that is where crafting comes in, as explained in the next section.

How do I go about Crafting? All your answers and more!

Cheers everyone!
Build of the Week 14
The first Righteous Fire/Non-Shavronne's/Shavronne's HC
Shameless self-proclaimed theory-crafting extraordinaire and forum crusader
Last edited by Invalesco on Mar 5, 2013, 8:16:45 PM
Hi everyone! It's a new year and a new guide!

Every time there's a new one-week HC race I'm usually tempted to try a different build to test its viability in a fresh economy and this is my latest project. My apologies Zeshin I didn't mean to hijack your EK shadow guide, at the time of planning this character, which was before the one week HC race, there weren't any EK shadow guides written yet. Yours is CI though so at least there's still some difference!

I was actually planning to go for CI initially on this EK character so for those of you who see my skill tree you'll realise that I actually have an extra skill point from what my skill tree progression entails because I killed all the bandits in normal. I also helped Kraityn in Cruel for the +8 to all resists because I hadn't yet decided if I wanted to go for CI or HP at that time.

Hope this guide is adequate enough for you folks! I'm currently trying to reach level 78 on HC so I can complete my own personal build. Also waiting for a 5L so I can complete my build. Will post DPS/Survivability stats and gameplay vids after.

Archiving previous gear
Some items in this post are currently unavailable.
Build of the Week 14
The first Righteous Fire/Non-Shavronne's/Shavronne's HC
Shameless self-proclaimed theory-crafting extraordinaire and forum crusader
Last edited by Invalesco on Jan 8, 2013, 12:56:33 PM
can't wait to see gameplay
Last edited by NyllA on Jan 4, 2013, 11:26:52 AM
Pretty sweet build, gave me a couple ideas to improve mine as well. Was also kind of wondering if anyone was running an EK build in that race. Anyways I love EK so more info being put out there about it is always good.

I do have two question though do you think the Deshret's Vise Gloves would end up providing an adequate DPS boost? Also I haven't had the chance to play around with Iron Will at all really yet is there somewhere that has the STR to Spell Damage conversion?(come OB I want to play around with a Vise and Astramentis with Iron Will and EK)

Edit: I am also kind of curious with how big/or even if there is that much of a difference in clearing speed between using Chain or Fork(don't have Chain so was unable to test).
Beyond_Bow_BobMKIII Level 80 Tornado Shot Scion
Last edited by Zeshin on Jan 4, 2013, 9:04:47 PM
Dat 'esco, stealin mah EB nodes n' stuff :|
IGN: RussianAlpaca

Sa'ori nala quaso.

And me with no free character slots! Well, OB isn't far away, if my current physical-crit bow health-evades shadow doesn't pan out, might give this a shot. Looks excellent as always, keep up the good work :)
Ur Guides always looking so awesome, thanks for that !

But I have 1 Quesion: So, u said that this is also viable in PvP (is there 3vs3 like in D2?), which skills are u going to use in PvP? I mean, EK doenst seem such a good single target dps for me and bear trap is easy to dodge? (beer trap would be better :D )

So, waht is ur plan in PvP?

And how is ur DPS compare to your CI dagger crit build, is it also around ~20-30k?

Thank you ! And im sorry for my bad english, i hope u know what i mean ^^

Made a witch EK a few days ago, pretty much same build but starting from the witch area so saves some points by not having to spec those 5%spell dmg nodes to get the cast speed% nodes. Works well enough but didn't really see that mana issues, maybe because I'm still only 40ish and being a witch I started with much stronger mana regen/mana pool with the starting node. I'm also using Fork because Chain is expensive as hell and I'm not really seeing a huge potential upgrade in dmg at the moment(mostly because every normal trash mob dies in one or two casts anyway). So that's another reason for not seeing mana issues just yet.

Wondering though, is Iron Will really worth it with this little str? It seems you'll have like 100, maybe 150 or so str, that would add like, 30%damage or so? Doesn't seem so great considering the cost increase over faster casting or crit dmg. Was planning more crit/crit dmg heavy though.
This build looks very interesting, I was also a big fan of your previous build with the Crit CI dagger shadow. I have a few questions:

1) Why did you choose dagger as your weapon of choice? wouldn't wand be better since it adds spell dmg?

2) Why are you getting crit/crit multiplier nodes? It doesn't really feel like you picked all that many, so wouldn't you crit less than 30% of the time when using EK?

3) Would you recommend helping Oak to get extra health? Considering the fact that you use EB, I would imagine it being quite difficult to get over 2k HP.
Nice guide! And congrats on moving up to Silver :)
http://twitch.tv/carpola - Check me out!

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