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Old 09-24-2015, 09:52 AM
Draug Draug is offline
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Default [B27] Fritz von Meyer (Conjurer)

Some people think that Devouring Swarm can't do enough damage to be a primary skill...
Some people think that Devouring Swarm can/should ONLY be used for its debuff...
Some people are WRONG. They fear the Swarm... Instead, they should become the Swarm.

First a little bit about Devouring Swarm (DS). DS is a linear piercing projectile curse attack. And if the projectile hits the target, you will affect the target, and any nearby target. True, the damage cannot crit, but will also never “miss.” This makes its damage very reliable and predictable. Speaking of its damage... Initially, its damage is disappointing, even at 16 ranks. It's enough for Act 1, but the Warden will take a couple of minutes. At 16 ranks in DS, you are at roughly 36% of DS's damage potential. To really keep it viable, you need to take it to the ultimate levels. However, over-leveling alone is not enough. You also need to have sufficient % vit bonuses. I'm not done gearing up, but with 25/16 in DS, 609 Spirit, and +558% vitality damage (697% while possessed), my DS does 1790 vitality damage per tick. (2079 when possessed) This is enough to deal with all the content I've encountered so far, but I haven't unlocked any nemeses with this character.

Now with that out of the way, lets get to business with the build.

Skill Link and Breakdown:
  • Devouring Swarm (16/16): Main attack. Once I get a Locust Gem, I'll be at 26/16, but 25 ranks is still reasonably powerful.
  • Curse of Frailty (9/10): I nominate this skill for best supporting skill ever. Huge AOE, long duration, Energy Leech, and it is a Tier 1 Skill. Insanity. That it also helps DS's bleeding damage is just extra credit. There is no reason to wear caster armor when you are using the Occultist mastery, EVER.
  • Vulnerability (10/10): Nice add-on to a great debuff.
  • Doom Bolt (12/12): Great for spiking down heroes, bosses, and anything else with a lot of health, especially potent when they're both cursed and swarmed... and yet... it's DPS is worse than DS's.
  • Solael's Witchfire (1/12): 1 point tax paid to unlock Consecrated Blade and Second Rite
  • Consecrated Blade (3/3): +25% vit damage for 3 points... It isn't bad for the points invested, but as a transmuter, it is boring. Maybe add in multiplicative modifiers for damage, like there are for resistances. Jeez, if this skill “increased vitality and chaos damage by 5%” each level, it'd be adding an nice amounts of damage regardless of gear.
  • Second Rite (12/12): +95% vit damage for another 12 points... if it weren't for the Energy Burn, I'd call this skill boring, too. Not that this build makes use of said Energy Burn...
  • Possession (12/12): +139% vit damage for another 12 points... Not a bad skill, it would be really nice, if it had a better up time. I think this skill could use a bit of … adjustment. I like its visual effect and its defensive buff, but the damage boost is a little lacking, especially after gearing up. If the damage bonuses were multiplicative (and appropriately rebalanced), it'd be great for spiking out the damage. As it is, it is only adding 289 Vitality damage per tick to my DS, which is about 24 damage per point... not much. If it weren't for the defensive aspect of this skill...
  • Mogdrogen's Pact (1/12): Prereq for Heart of the Wild... although, the extra bit of heath and energy regeneration isn't bad.
  • Heart of the Wild (7/10): Currently adding 831 health... And I'm still a bit light on total health, at only 4500 with this active.

Skill Allocation Guide:
  • 2-5: 1 to Shaman, 2 to DS at each level up. Rush DS early to get it doing decent damage prior to the first “boss”
  • 6-9: 2 to Shaman, 1 to DS at each level up. We have DS at a decent point, but it still needs to be advanced. (The quest point should be invested into Mog's Pact when able)
  • 10: 1 to Shaman, 1 to Occultist, 1 to Curse. Need that point in Curse to relieve our energy expenditure. And at this point, energy consumption becomes irrelevant, as you can refill from nearly empty at the beginning of any encounter in a matter of seconds.
  • 11-12: 1 to Shaman and 1 to Occultist at each level. The other point will go to DS at 11 and HotW at 12 (Shaman mastery investment should be finished at this point)
  • 13-15: 2 to Occultist and 1 to DS at each of these level ups, which will finish off DS and leave us 1 point from Vulnerability
  • 16: 1 to Occultist, 1 to SWF, and 1 to Vulnerability
  • 17-20: 1 to Occultist, 1 to Curse, and 1 to Vulnerability at each level up.
  • 21-23: 2 to Occultist, 1 to Consecrated Blade at each level up. These three levels are for filling up Consecrated Blade.
  • 24-27: 1 to Occultist, 1 to Curse, and 1 to Vulnerability at each level up. Curse and Vuln will be at 9 points each by the end of this.
  • 28: 1 to Occultist, 1 to Vulnerability, and 1 to Second Rite.
  • 29-35: 2 to Occultist, 1 to Second Rite at each level up.
  • 36-39: 1 to Occultist, 1 to Second Rite, and 1 to Doom Bolt at each level up. Finally have a second damage skill.
  • 40-42: 2 to Occultist, 1 to Doom Bolt at each level up
  • 43: 1 to Occultist, 1 to Doom Bolt, and 1 to Possession
  • 44-47: 1 to Doom Bolt and 2 to Possession at each level up
  • 48-50: 1 to Possession and 2 to HotW at each level up

Attribute Points:
  • Physique – 30: I originally planned on doing 40 here, but decided that I needed more Spirit to equip the caster off-hands I wanted... that currently isn't the case.
  • Spirit – 20: I had first planned on only placing 10 points here, but found that I was having trouble equipping some of the caster off-hands... and then I crafted a some gear that had extra Spirit on them in addition to % vit. Oh well.
  • Cunning – 0: thanks to not needing OA, I didn't to put any points here.

General Gearing Guidelines:
  • Primary focus has to be on boosting Devouring Swarm. Running with at least +8 is recommended, and can be accomplished with sufficient scrap, iron, and luck. Although those last 2 points do add a significant amount of damage. Goal: try to get +1 to DS every 5 levels. (so +4 by 20th level, etc...)
  • After that the focus for damage is % Vitality Damage. Try to aim for a combined (sum of magical damage from Spirit and % boost listed on character page 2) boost of 10% per level, minimum. 15% per level is recommended.
  • Thanks to Curse, you can run with non-caster armors and be fine on energy.

Specific Gearing Suggestions:
  • Amulet: Shaman's Topaz Pendant of Decay is a good option, but the Locust Gem is better for the +2 to DS. Of Spellweaving boosting Vit and Chaos is also a good option.
  • Rings: Shaman's Diamond Signet of Decay. Of Spellweaving boosting Vit and Chaos is also good, as is of Solael's Malice.
  • Medal: Shaman's Star of Blight will give you more % vit, but going with a suffix to bolster your defenses here is also a good option
  • Waist: Demonic or Dread Lord's Rhowari Waistguard... shouldn't take too many tries to get one. Alteratively, the Chthonian Thread Sash or Cord of the Ancestor are decent options, as well, but will rob you of a point in Curse
  • Head: Shaman's Raider Coif of Decay. (a spectral crown would actually add a bit more to the damage... if you can get the desired prefix and suffix) Other good options are of Solael's Malice, of the Harbinger, of Blight, or of Spellweaving (Vit and Chaos).
  • Chest: Shaman's Hinterland Breastplate of Decay. Of Solael's Malice, of the Harbinger, of Blight, or of Spellweaving (Vit and Chaos) are also good options.
  • Shoulders:, Hands, Legs, and Feet: some variation of Demonic with of Decay, of Spellweaving, of Solael's Malice, of the Harbinger, or of Blight will get the most % vit. You could also mix it up with some more defensive bonuses. (DA & health are both good to have, and there are several options for either or both)
  • Focus: Shaman's Eldritch Tome (or Savage Effigy) of Decay. Of Solael's Malice or of Annihilation can give you fun retaliatory abilities, at the expense of some +% vit damage
  • Weapon: Shaman's Bonespike of Decay will provide the maximal amount of %Vit damage while providing needed the DS boost, but good luck getting it. Instead, just spend some time crafting up a good Ritual Scepter. You'll likely get a pretty good option quicker crafting a Vitality Implement than trying to farm Bonespikes. And besides, the difference is only about +10% vitality at the current level cap.
  • Relic: Torment, it has the best % vit damage for now. With a higher level cap, I'd upgrade to Solael's Decimation.
Components:
  • Chains of Oleron (with the +1 to DS): I lucked out and got this on my character's first try!
  • Haunted Steel (x2): You win if you get them with the completion bonus of +% vit damage.
  • Hollowed Fang (x2): until you can upgrade them to Haunted Steel... also available with a completion bonus of +% vit damage, which if you can get, is roughly as good as the Haunted Steel without that bonus.
  • Kilrian's Shattered Soul: If you actually complete one before getting your Chains... You'll need one to make the Torment relic, anyway.
  • Unholy Inscription: Need something on the hands, so you may as well add % vit damage. It can drop with +% vit or +% total damage, as well.
  • Soul Shard (x2): good until you can get a pair of Attuned Lodestones
  • Attuned Lodestone (x2): slight upgrade to the Soul Shards, but take longer to complete.
  • And any other component that ended up with % vit or % total damage as its completion bonus is good. As is anything that helps shore up your defenses.
Augments:
  • Arkovian Bonemeal (Weapons): Rovers (+15% vit, the +5% damage to undead has no effect on DS) This is the best weapon augment currently available, although there are some options from the Black Legion that I'd like to upgrade to.
  • Rotbloom Powder (rings/amulet): Rovers (+10% vit/chaos) Should be able to unlock these just by trying to get a Shattered Soul completed
  • Uroboruuk's Anguish (rings/Amulet): Death's Vigil, max rep... (+15% vit/chaos) The things we do for an extra +15% vit damage. Am I right?

Playstyle:
  • General: This is a kiting build, so stay mobile and don't let enemies surround you. Take extra care when facing any enemies with a charge attack, as they tend to do a lot of damage on the charge. Hold off on prematurely Swarming any enemies that can Mirror or Blade Barrier, as well. No sense attacking what can't be damaged. Otherwise, you can safely swarm just about any reflective mob you'll heal through what damage they reflect back... Maybe hold off against the reflective Skeletal Knight Hero... if he has a shield of Valor and both his reflective buffs active. (and if he has enough adds, just leech your health back from them, it's what they're for)
  • Common Encounters: Curse everything, then unleash the swarm. Only the toughest enemies will last past a single tick, and you'll barely have used any energy.
  • Hero Encounters: Curse everything, then unleash the swarm. Drop a doom bolt on the most deserving enemy. Most heroes will fall to a single casting of the swarm.
  • Boss Encounters: Curse everything, then unleash the swarm. Drop doom bolts when able, but focus first on avoiding damage, then on keeping the curse and swarm active.
  • Nemesis Encounters: dunno, haven't farmed up enough infamy with any faction to encounter them. I bet I don't have sufficient DA to safely encounter one. (While I have 943, I'd like to get a couple hundred more)

Videos:
Here is a series of videos chronicling a run thru Darkvale Gate (once they are all done uploading): Part 0, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. Or use this link for the playlist.

Future Growth:
Occultist side is complete, although I may add in Blood of Dreeg for the extra healing capability. Or maybe the bloody pox line, as I had a lot of fun running with a Corruption relic... It'll depend on how many more skill points we get.
Shaman side has plenty of growth potential. I plan on topping off HotW on the way to Wendigo Totem and Blood Pact. (maybe by the time I do this, Blood Pact's activation issues will be resolved) I also plan on adding in Primal Bond mainly for the damage absorption, but the extra bleed damage will also be handy. I may eventually add in corrupted storm totems, if we get enough skill points.

I can't wait to see what Legendaries and Devotion will bring to this build.

Last edited by Draug; 09-25-2015 at 10:25 AM. Reason: Added in videos of a Darkvale Gate run
  #2  
Old 09-24-2015, 11:37 AM
Dioarchet Dioarchet is offline
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According to the Game Guide, debuffs don't stack. Therefore, there is no point in getting Vulnerability other than the DA reduction (which is fairly mediocre compared to Flashbang, for example). Maybe put those points in SoC instead?
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Old 09-24-2015, 11:42 AM
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Chibba Chibba is offline
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Did you try mixing pox into this? Just the vitality damage part since dots should fully stack now and if you have to wait for DS to tick why not have pox tick as well, it is pretty good now that corpses will spread it.
  #4  
Old 09-24-2015, 07:25 PM
Draug Draug is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dioarchet View Post
According to the Game Guide, debuffs don't stack. Therefore, there is no point in getting Vulnerability other than the DA reduction (which is fairly mediocre compared to Flashbang, for example). Maybe put those points in SoC instead?
The game guide is wrong in this case. The Vit Debuffs on Vulnerability and Swarm absolutely stack, as do the Bleed debuffs on Curse and Swarm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chibba View Post
Did you try mixing pox into this? Just the vitality damage part since dots should fully stack now and if you have to wait for DS to tick why not have pox tick as well, it is pretty good now that corpses will spread it.
Thought about it, but I really wanted to focus on the Swarm to see how far I could push it. Also, I'm not sure what I'd drop to add it in.

Last edited by Draug; 09-24-2015 at 07:25 PM. Reason: fixed quote
  #5  
Old 09-24-2015, 07:30 PM
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66halo66 66halo66 is offline
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I would upvote this if I could. Big fan of the swarm... please upload a video!
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For anyone wondering what is the name of the metal/rock song that stars, when you enter the room that leads to Fort Ikon with Bourbon guarding the entrance(unfinished act 4) after you kill Karroz The Sigil of Ch'ton

It's - Bang Camaro - Rock of mages:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMiqIK0xg14
  #6  
Old 09-24-2015, 08:30 PM
Tatu Tatu is offline
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Made a similar build with Bloody Pox + Wasting + Fevered Rage transmuter instead of Chaos Blade branch. I thought said aura applies only to weapon attacks. Seems not the case. Anyways, still works fine - run through eastern marsh 10 levels lower than stuff there, but died quite a few times not being fast enough on my feet. Rest falls apart very fast, but Fevered Rage makes hero & boss encounters a bit too... thrilling sometimes. Curse'em feeble, bane'em with bleeding ulcers, then make locusts eat through that ulcers till they die. Thought I'd call it "The Humanist".
  #7  
Old 09-25-2015, 02:09 AM
Dioarchet Dioarchet is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Draug View Post
The game guide is wrong in this case. The Vit Debuffs on Vulnerability and Swarm absolutely stack, as do the Bleed debuffs on Curse and Swarm.
Then that would be a pretty egregious error on part of Crate. Have you filed a bug report?
  #8  
Old 09-25-2015, 03:09 AM
Nightmare Nightmare is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dioarchet View Post
Then that would be a pretty egregious error on part of Crate. Have you filed a bug report?
Isn't it because Curse is a debuff and Swarm is an attack? So it isn't a bug, like how the slow attack from Spirit Crusher Proc and Grasping Vines stack, because vines are an attack and Spirit Crusher proc is a debuff
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  #9  
Old 09-25-2015, 04:27 AM
Draug Draug is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
Isn't it because Curse is a debuff and Swarm is an attack? So it isn't a bug, like how the slow attack from Spirit Crusher Proc and Grasping Vines stack, because vines are an attack and Spirit Crusher proc is a debuff
Actually, both Curse and Swarm are debuffs. (So don't bother spamming Swarm on an enemy, all the subsequent casts do is refresh the duration)

Also note that both Curse and Swarm don't apply a -X% Resistance for Y seconds debuff. Since Curse and Swarm are two different debuffs, their effects stack. That they happen to share some properties is beside the point.
  #10  
Old 09-25-2015, 08:20 AM
DarkestDisciple DarkestDisciple is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Draug View Post
Actually, both Curse and Swarm are debuffs. (So don't bother spamming Swarm on an enemy, all the subsequent casts do is refresh the duration)

Also note that both Curse and Swarm don't apply a -X% Resistance for Y seconds debuff. Since Curse and Swarm are two different debuffs, their effects stack. That they happen to share some properties is beside the point.
I think the important way to phrase this is that debuffs with different names always stack. Numbers are irrelevant, it's all about the words.
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