[220.127.116.11] AAR Spellbinder - My first caster character to beat Gladiator wave 150
I did not build this character to beat Gladiator 170. I do not like Gladiator 170, though I may attempt it for the sake of doing it. The idea of the build is to be able to play pure casters with survivability, and not be limited to a specific CT CDR build. I’m more interested in traditional casters. This was an idea to test out what armor can do for a caster, using a character I already had.
I’ve always enjoyed playing pure casters in all my years of playing RPG’s and ARPG’s. I recently got into playing the crucible, where I’ve found casters are rather fragile, and have been playing melee and gun builds since. After someone on these forums told me that 2200 armor is key to be successful with a caster in the campaign, I decided to see just what I could do with a caster with as much armor as I could get. As it turns out, I couldn’t get my armor all that high, but I did hit 2199 with +53% armor. A little disappointed with only getting 2199 armor, I was still hopeful and set out to see what I could do with it on my AAR Spellbinder.
Prior, I had about 1500 armor, and low armor absorption. When I attempted to beat Challenger, I failed around wave 130 due to just being too squishy, but with 2199 armor and 99% armor absorption, Challenger was a breeze. I then fired up Gladiator, with a bit of hope to succeed, and manage to beat wave 150 my first try, and 3rd try. My 2nd attempt left me laying at Iron Maiden’s feet on wave 150. I learned to deal with some of the trash before engaging her after that. She takes way too long to kill.
[Principles of the build]
Beating Gladiator to 150 was a success and I owe it mostly to a few principles; 2199 armor, 12/12 Mirror or Ereoctes, 10/10 Mark of Torment and a respectable cooldown reduction (-34%). To aid in the CDR, I’m using the Eternity Relic, which will reduce all my cooldowns by 1 second every 4.5 seconds, if I crit.
To gain all that armor, which may not seem like a lot to non-casters, I used crafted armor recipes with the blacksmith Angrim. Angrim gives up to +7% armor as a bonus. But the real winner here is the Mythical Hammerfall Girdle. With Angrim’s bonus, I crafted one that reach +41% armor. I added to my armor with a crafted Mythical Clairvoyant Hat and Conduit of Arcane Whispers with AAR bonuses. With more work, and desire, you could also improve the armor with a crafted medal and boots.
[Damage and resist reduction]
Another great benefit to this build is high single target DPS. Or at least respectable ranged, single target DPS (just over 200K self buffed, and 260K with crucible buff). Almost all of it is Aether damage. The fire and lightning damage is being converted to aether (53%) with the aid of the rings from the Magelord set.
To make the most of my DPS, I’m relying on -101% aether resist reduction.
-38% from Spectral Wrath
-35% from Arcane Bomb
-20% from Mythical Wrath of the Ascendant
-8% from Aether corruption from the component Seal of Corruption
I often do not cast aether corruption, as it can be a nuisance to cast all the time, but I do on important groups, or once I’ve got things under control.
My general strategy is to clear out the trash fast, or a boss/nemesis if presented with one that is easily taken down in a few seconds. When presented with trash, I cast Devastation, then run up to the group and cast Siphon Souls. Siphon Souls lasts 9 seconds, and every tick will keep your health up. With your increased armor, you can withstand some mild hits as you run in and out to cast Siphon Souls. I will assist some with AAR on the trash, but when they are large groups, I tend to conserve energy, and let my area damage do its thing.
If you see any heavy hitters, bosses, heroes or Nemesis, cast Mark of Torment on them, but do not directly attack them, they are there to absorb half the damage you take. If they die too soon, you leave yourself vulnerable to more damage. Even if you don’t see any hero or greater around you, and you are afraid you may take a few big hits, cast Mark of Torment on the most durable thing you see, or just manage to be able to click easily. But try not to use it unless you need it, as it can be needed at any moment some boss or nemesis crashes the party. If you find yourself getting surrounded, use Mirror or Ereoctes, and high tail it away, somewhere safe and in a way that funnels the mobs towards you from one direction.
Against bosses and nemesis, things are generally very simple. Cast Mark of Torment on them and if you can, cast aether corruption first, then Siphon Souls and damage them with the full force of AAR. Keep an eye on your buffs for the Mark of Torment icon, which will start counting down for the last 3 seconds of its 5 second duration. When that runs out, you can either cast Mirror of Ereoctes, and keep damaging them, or run for a few seconds to reposition yourself and conserve your mirror for emergencies. Due to the Eternity Relic, much of the time, Mark of Torment and Mirror of Ereoctes will not have much of a break between them, if any.
I really don’t have a lot to say about my devotions. I stuck to standard Aether damage choices, and tried to improve my OA and DA the best I could. Arcane bomb was a given, for the Aether -RR. I picked up Giant’s Blood for some healing and HP. I did not pick up Time Dilation because I had no good place to bind it, but the rest of Aeon’s Hourglass is very useful for survival. I also picked up Fiend as a recommendation from better builds than I as a good way to add DPS to the build. I haven’t really paid a lot of attention to it, but it’s good, low cost added DPS as I deal with large groups of mobs as Aether Corruption spreads. I’ve considered putting Time Dilation on Aether Corruption instead, but when I need that the most, it doesn’t give a good reliable chance to proc, but I might change my mind and test it out in the future.
This character has been surprising durability for a caster. I’ve avoided playing casters in the crucible due to how they fall over from just a few hits, but now I can see a future for playing casters again. It’s still not like playing a tank by any means, but with Mirror and/or Mark or Torment, they can be pretty sturdy with good armor, though I’m surprised that +53% armor only resulted in 2199 armor rating with all caster gear. I even tried it with Krieg’s set for the shoulders, gloves and boots, and it didn’t make a lot of difference, as your chest and leg pieces makes up for the lions share of your armor.
I am just happy to be able to play AAR, which has always been one of, if not my most favorite skill to play with. Even if it doesn’t feel as high damage as I think it should considering its draw backs.