[1.0.0.5] Yet Another Ranged Primal Striker

As the title says, this is yet another ranged Primal Strike character. It does have a bit of a unique twist, which we will get into shortly.

First part, reasons for going a ranged PS build vs a melee one.

  1. Target Piercing ranged weapon synergy is just stupid overpowered. That is all. You can easily do more DPS with ranged PS than melee PS with the exact same build, with the Melee PS even getting the full ulto set bonus with Ultos’s Stormseeker instead of the ranged PS weapon of choice, Vortex of Souls. This is because every target hit by ranged PS applies the AoE to EVERYTHING in range of the target hit. You can hit a single target multiple times, and it’s just so powerful. I also believe Torrent gets applied multiple times IF you have the bullet hit a target after the first Torrent finishes, but it’s really hard to tell. The build will work just fine without Piercing weapons, but the synergy is too valuable to pass up if you have access to it, even over using what should be the best ranged weapon, with +2 Shaman, the Raka’Jax.

  2. Ranged is just innately safer than melee. Fact. Melees have to build tankier to survive the threats of being melee, while ranged can afford to grab a bit more damage instead. Melees also have to deal with how they want to gapclose, which either means you have to give up your one weapon slot for Riftstone for Chaos strike, or you have to pick Soldier for Blitz or Nightblade for Shadow Strike. A melee build CAN work without a gap closer, but it hurts it a lot in viability, requiring you to bulk up even further to negate the loss of it, or stack even more speed.

Part 2. So, we know we want to go Ranged Primal Strike. What in the world should my second class be?

Ranged Primal Strike has 3 potential class combos, all of which work to some degree, with some faint variance in the exact focus of each combo, although IMO Demo grants the best synergy of all 3, and I’ll be providing the skill line as if you picked it. I’ll go into my reasons for all 3 classes though, and let you decide for yourself. Regardless of which you choose, the most important part is the Shaman skill line, because Ranged Primal Strike is a fairly cheap build, and regardless you should have enough points to do what you want.

Arcanist. Arcanist brings the energy cost of Primal Strike to virtually nothing. It also grants a ton of durability, and has the highest OA and crit damage potential of all 3 classes. Maiven’s Sphere of Protection is a very good safety net for a player with low access to a ton of resistances, and helps cover a bit of weaknesses early on, at the cost of a fair chunk of DPS. Probably the best class to pick if you have absolutely no gear to start with for a ranged Primal Strike character, but if this is your second character+, I really do recommend Demo instead. A lot of Arcanist gear can work as a backup for the ideal gear as well, which is again another plus for 1st characters.

Occultist. Occultist has the benefit of the easist, most reliable, access to resist shred, in Curse of Frailty and Vulnerability. It also provides you access to some innate AS. Occultist has low gear synergy with PS shaman though, and as such is just not a great combo other than the fact that CoF is just so good as to carry the entire Occultist mastery on it’s back. It also provides the lowest OA of all 3 combos, another weakness. About the only thing that holds Occultist up is some innate access to very high values of poison resistances, some physical resistance, and some Vitality resistance. Weakest of the 3 combos IMO, but does work because Primal Strike is just powerful enough to carry itself.

Demo. Demo provides the best benefits of all 3 combos for ranged Primal Strike. Flame Touched is just an insanely powerful OA and Lightning damage amplifier, Blast Shield is the #1 defensive skill in the game right now, with high levels of it providing 4 seconds of 1000+ damage absorption and 5%+ All resist amp, on top of 65%+ ranged dodge chance. Also gives you a metric ton of Fire, Pierce, and Lightning resist during the proc. Vindictive Flame grants you a fair chunk of total speed, giving you both AS and MS, both very nice stats, for a low point investment. Flash Bang is still an overpowered skill, even after it’s nerfs, with 12/12 giving you 50% confusion chance and 210+ DA shred, on a large area. The second modifier, a bit less important, also gives it fumble and an ok slow. Last skill is Thermite Mines. These little babies give you a 40% (at 9 points) resist shred of lightning resistance. They are also the strongest CC in the game. Path derpout, because enemies suck at moving around them, and I’ve literally trapped bosses behind them for entire fights, leaving them unable to do anything… Only significant weakness of Demo is you will have bad lategame energy cost unless you invest a fair chunk of effort into solving it.

Part 3. The skills and Devotions.

http://grimcalc.com/build/D0A9TSf The build shown shows all the critical skills, with it being only 4 points over the cap. Take out any points that puts Heart of the Wild over max rank, anything over that of Thermite Mines, and any over 12/12 Flashbang, and you should easily make that when you max your skillpoints out.

Now, a lot of you veterans would be seeing this and go “Wait, why do you have 2 auto attack skills? You can’t use both together effectively.” Wrong. Do to how the game handles both skills, you actually can use both savagery and Primal strike together rather effectively as basic attacks. Effectively, you fire Savagery, and during the wind down, fire Primal Strike. During the primal strike wind down, you fire savagery. Rinse, repeat. You cut out the end of the animation of each of those, and have less downtime overall. Savagery also does similar DPS to Primal Strike when it comes to a single target, and the stat buffs it provides while you have a lot of stacks more than make up for the faint loss of up front DPS from just holding only Primal Strike. The overall effect gives you about 30-50% more DPS than just purely using Primal Strike, as well as rapidly accelerating the onset of Carpel Tunnel Syndrome due to you clicking left right left right left right ad infinum.

Devotion how-to.

Blue Crossroads.
Tsunami.
Remove Blue Crossroads.
Green Crossroads.
Hawk and Candle.
Remove Green Crossroads.
Get Kracken and Viper.
Get Widow and Wraith, spec out of Tsunami.
Get Hydra, spec out of Candle.
Eel, Sailor’s Guide, Jackel.
1st node of Revnent and Aeon’s Hourglass. Max Spear, get Aeon to node with DA and dodge chance.
Be out of points, and not care about Aeon proc because you don’t have CDs anyway.

Part 4. The Gear.

—Slot—: Best in Slot [RIGHT]: Solid Alternatives [/RIGHT]
Weapon : Vortext of Souls [RIGHT]: Raka’Jax[/RIGHT]
Headgear: Ultos Hood [RIGHT]: Ulzuin’s Headguard (beats out Ultos hood until 4 piece set bonus)
or Iskandra’s Hood[/RIGHT]
Amulet : Ultos’ Gem [RIGHT] : Resistance statstick, Peerless Eye of Beronath,
Empowered Essence of Beronath, or, if Arcanist, Iskandra’s Focusing Prism[/RIGHT]
Chest : Ultos Curiass [RIGHT] : Ulzuin’s Chestguard, or, if Arcanist, Iskandra’s Vestment[/RIGHT]
Relic : Eye of the Storm [RIGHT]: Primal Instinct or Necrosis[/RIGHT]
Belt : Uzluin’s Torment [RIGHT]: Tinker’s Ingenuity[/RIGHT]
Medal : Badge of Mastery or Mark of Divinity
Gloves : Grasp of Unchained Might [RIGHT]:Wyrmbone Handguards[/RIGHT]
Shoulders: Ultos Spaulders [RIGHT] : Various Nemesis shoulders with good modifiers for resistances,
or if Arcanist, Iskandra’s Spaulders[/RIGHT]
Ring 1 :Open hand of Mercy[RIGHT] :Glyph of Kelphat’Zoth or generic resistances ring[/RIGHT]
Ring 2 :Closed Fist of Vengance [RIGHT]: Glyph of Kelphat’Zoth or generic resistances ring[/RIGHT]
Boots : Stonehide Exaulted Treads (of Fallen Skies, of Stone Footing, of Featherstep, of Kings, of the Dranghoul, of Natures Bounty, or of Menhir’s Wall) [RIGHT] :Golemborne Greaves or Wyrmscale Footguards[/RIGHT]
Legs : Soliel Sect Legguards or Dreeg-Sect Legguards with good modifiers [RIGHT] :Fateweaver Leggings, Wraithborne Legwraps, or Pretty Great Pants
[/RIGHT]

The Reasons for (some of) these items

Ranged Primal Strike optimally wants a Target Piercing ranged weapon. You can function without it, but it’s better with it by far. In the low levels, the first one you get is the Will of Fate, at level 35. It’s fairly common, and will happily last you till either level 50 (If you have a Silverbolt, a legendary Crossbow with +2 all skills), or level 65 (Empowered Will of Fate). If you don’t have any of these, you can shrug your shoulders, and just use any Lightning focused 2H weapon you can find. By level 75, you either want to have the Vortex of Souls, a pure Aether damage legendary rifle, which has the innate Piercing mechanic that Will of Fate has, or a Raka’Jax, the Shaman focused 2H legendary crossbow, with +2 Shaman and just a metaton of Lightning damage. The Raka’Jax is a craftable weapon, so just hunt around on the forums to try and ask if anyone will craft one for you if you bring the mats, although it does need another epic weapon, which is also craftable. Bonus points to Vortex of souls though? Your Arcane Bomb devotion reduces Aether resistances (Meaning more weapon damage going through compared to a physical weapon), and Wraith and Spear of the Heavens devotion great synergy.

Ultos’ Set. Tons of bonuses for Savagery and Primal Strike. Pretty obvious. if you went the Druid Route, Iskandra’s gear is really good for amplifying IEE skill line, which you would have a lot of points in. Not as good as Ultos set, but is an alternative. Hood is really REALLY good. Uzluin’s Headguard has +Flame Touched ranks, and a debuff with -15% lightning resistance. Probably better than Ultos hood until the point Ultos hood would give you the 4 piece set bonus, which is +2 Shaman skills.

Belt : Shaman doesn’t have a legendary belt which grants +Lightning damage, while Uzluin’s Torment has Lightning damage and amplifes all the Demo skills quite nicely. Other than that, Tinker’s Ingenuity is just a solid all around defensive belt.

Relic : Eye of the Storm is the Lightning weapon attack focused Shaman relic. Obvious synergy for a Shaman getting both Primal Strike AND Savagery. Alternatives are the other Shaman Relic, Primal Instinct (+1 Shaman too good to give up, also gives pets who can act as cannon fodder for you) or Necrosis (-Aether and -Elemental Resistances on the active).

Pants : Legendary pants (and boots) in general are pretty meh at best. There is a reason Empowered Legplates of Valor were the meta for the longest time for pants, and it’s because legendary pants are overall crap. Dreeg or Soliel sect legguards (Both farmable Monster Infrequents) are both fairly nice on the base stats, can still roll prefixes and suffixes. I’ve gotten Dreeg sect pants with over 7% OA with a good modifier, and Soliel sect’s innate ADCTH is unique to it alone in pants. Wraithborne legwraps are probably the best legendary pants for offensive power for our build, with Fateweaver’s Legguards being VERY good defensive pants if you have yet to max your resistances. Pretty Great Pants are just a good chunk of stats. Still, a perfectly rolled Dreeg or Soliel pants will outdo any legendary.

Boots : Look above, only we don’t even get a MI to farm. Stonehide Exalted Treads of a good second modifier are the best you can get, with Golemborne Greaves or Wormscale Foodguards being a fair second.

Levels 1-10. Just work to Primal Strike+Transmutor. 3 ranks in PS is enough, don’t put any more in until significantly later in the game. Keep pumping points in the Shaman mastery after this point.

Levels 10-20. Amp up the Torrent section of Primal Strike, and keep putting ranks into Shaman Mastery. Note, it doesn’t have an energy cost increase on Primal Strike, so maxing it out early isn’t going to hurt your energy in any way. Will pretty much be all of your damage for a LONG time to come. And will be more than enough for almost all of Normal anyway.

Levels 20-30. Keep pumping Shaman Mastery, with 1 point in Storm Surge. You should be able to just barely max Shaman out before level 30.

Level 30-40. Max out Stormcaller’s Pact, 1 rank in Mogdrogen’s Pact and Oak Skin, max Heart of the Wild.

Level 40-50. Amp up Primal Strike to 8 points, start leveling Demo Mastery. Put points into Flame Touched and Vindictive Flame.

Level 50+. More demo ranks. Get Demo up to 32 Mastery, put 1 point into Temper as you pass it. Get Thermite Mines to 9 points, max out Blast Shield, Max out Primal Strike (finally), max out Flame Touched, get Flashbang and Searing Light, Max out Flashbang.

Now you should be sitting around level 70-ish, and all non Savagery skills maxed out. Now, this is very difficult. Pay close attention /s. 1 point in Savagery. 3 points in Transmutor. Max out Tenacity of the Boar. 1 point in Storm Touched. Max out Savagery, max out Storm Touched. You’re done.

Videos and Pics will go here.

Thanks for the great detailed guide. How does ranged primal strike compare to fire strike in 1.0.0.5? Would you make any changes for hardcore (like picking up the concussive bomb xmute for more cc)?

Hardcore changes I would do would probably involve far more defensive devotions, dropping Spear for perhaps Tree of Life, if I could find a way to fit it in, as well as getting Giant’s Blood. I’d also swap Grasp of Unchained Might for Touch of the Everliving Grove. Maybe put a few more points into the Demo mastery bar for more health. Otherwise, the build is pretty solid, and durable enough that the only reason you should die is because you screwed up, and didn’t keep your resistances up.

Hi there,
This is what I have come up with for hardcore builds:
grimcalc.com/build/7x20Rwg (sorry, can’t post URLs)

Used up 47 out of the 50 points, feel free to do whatever you’d like to with the remaining 3 (you’ll see what I did with them right at the end)

It sacrifices damage for survivability.

Suggested path:

  • 1 point in Crossroads: Order
  • 5 points in Crane (gives us 5 Order)
  • 4 points in Panther (gives us 2 Order, 3 Primordial)
  • 4 points in Wraith (gives us 3 Ascendant, 3 Order)
  • 1 point in Crossroads: Chaos
  • 4 points in Viper (gives us 2 Chaos, 3 Primordial)

Here comes the tricky part, these are required to get Hydra, and will spec out of them once it’s able to sustain itself:

  • 1 point in Crossroads: Eldritch
  • 3 points in Scholar’s Light (gives us 4 Eldritch)

This allows us to get Hydra

  • 6 points in Hydra (gives us 2 Chaos, 3 Eldritch)
  • 3 points in Hawk (gives us 3 Eldritch)

SPEC OUT of these:

  • 3 points from Scholar’s Light
  • 1 point from Crossroads: Eldritch
  • 1 point from Crossroads: Chaos
  • 1 point from Crossroads: Order

Use the free points in Kraken, as it is a HUGE damage buff:

  • 5 points in Kraken (gives us 2 Chaos, 5 Primordial)

We’re a bit over halfway now, so let’s take a look at what we have so far

At this state we are at:
3 Ascendant, 6 Chaos, 6 Eldritch, 7 Order, 12 Primordial.
We used up 31 out of the 50 points, so 19 left.

Our main damage devotions are already covered, so we can start building towards survivability (Giant’s Blood from Behemoth, then Healing Rain from Tree of Life):


  • 3 points in Behemoth (only to get Giant’s Blood)
  • 4 points in Sailor’s Guide (gives us 5 Primordial)
  • 3 points in Lizard (gives us 4 Primordial)

We can now access Tree of Life, max it out:

  • 6 points in Tree of Life

We now have 3 points left. It’s fully optional how you’d like to use them, put them into anything you need.
(I personally assigned them to Crossroads Chaos & Order for +% Health, then the first point of Spear of the Heavens for +80% Lightning Damage)

Hello,
Nice ranged build and guide.I’ll try it. Can I ask for the distribution of attribute points? I’m thinking about something like that P-4/C-2/S-1 point distribution. It is viable, or totally wrong? Thank you.

85 Physique 5 Cunning. I actually was trying to go for full 90 physique, but I am JUST below the cutoff point for using VoS without any points in it, unless I have an item granting me cunning. As few items grant cunning in a high enough flat value as to fill it in that actually work with the build, I ended up just putting in 5 points to ensure no matter what I could use my Vortex of Souls.

Thank you for quick answer .