[] Advice needed for: Gun+Shield Stronghold of the Legion Cadence Tactician Tank

Greetings all.

I’m looking for some end-game advice for my Gun+Shield Cadence Tactician build which uses the Stronghold of the Legion set. There are some obvious improvements that I will mention, but I’m looking for something a bit more, maybe even obvious things that I’ve overlooked.

Grimtools: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/r2BzdGw2

Forget the bit about it set at level 96 - I forgot to change that detail. The unspent skill and attribute points are because I was pretty lazy through Veteran and Elite and didn’t complete all the quests that give those rewards. So there’s a point about efficiency that I could certainly improve, but I don’t feel a handful of points is going to make much difference to the problem.

“So what is the problem?” you ask.

First some background. This is a character that, in terms of the major story line content, last died somewhere in Act 3 on Ultimate. Assuming that is when the character actually died - I honestly can’t remember. What I can remember was taking zero deaths between reaching Ikon and killing Korvaak. Along the way the character facetanked everything except Dravis, Theodin, the purple-named dinosaur in the FG desert and the Mad Queen. There may have been something else, but seriously it was a handful of major bosses and nothing else, but having said that I’ve not run any nemesis because the only one I’ve unlocked is Kupa and I’m scared. :slight_smile: Actually, I may have unlocked Moos now, but not faced it.

This is despite the almost total lack of “Mythical” items of level 94 on the character outside the signature set and the medal, plus the level 90 relic (ahem level 50 Voidsteel Gauntlets!). I used no augments whatsoever either, since the character has only just finished the content and has no relevant factions at Revered. So this is solution number 2: get the level 94 gear to upgrade what I have (including completing as far as possible either the Markovian or Warborn set pieces that don’t clash with the Stronghold set). I hear the argument that Cadence is not a match with the Stronghold set, and I used a Mythical Havoc up to level 94, but I want to see where I can take this build before scrapping use of that set because completing it (the first and only mythical legendary set I’ve completed) was the inspiration for this build.

“You still haven’t told us the problem,” you say.

This character can clear Ultimate SoT without any sense of danger. Soldier + shield and all that. But it takes almost half an hour to do so, and that includes skipping as much of the trash as possible (but trying to pick up all the champions on the way). It’s rewarding in terms of item drops, but very slow!

In Crucible, the character clears Aspirant 150 unbuffed, and Challenger 140 with 2 blessings. But another 10 waves beyond these marks mean the character either runs out of time or I play a bit more recklessly in terms of allowing myself to be surrounded and end up dying on Challenger 149.

In the Shattered Realm, well, the character can’t even clear shard 1 without either a death or running out of time on chunk 2. It’s pathetic.

So there’s the problem. It’s a very solid build despite the shortcomings of its gear (which may be a benefit for others who also don’t have hours and hours to play this game looking for end game items), and can farm an end game area like SoT with an eye to finding said gear. But it just takes too long to be effective in the additional game modes, which are the things I really want to play (my other toons are dreadful by comparison, mostly being slower or merely being glass cannons).

How can this build get back some kill speed without being a “quickly get some green items” or “totally respec everything” solution? Perhaps there are better gear choices I’ve overlooked in my quest for overcapped all-resists sans augments, for instance. Perhaps there are skills or celestial powers I have overvalued (eg Messenger of War, Obelisk of Menhir) and those points could be put to better use. Perhaps I need to find better ways of boosting DA/OA than relying on Sealed Fate?

The problem is that I don’t know what I don’t know, but I do know there are people on this forum who do. Please help!

Thanks so much, even if all you did was read to here.

It all depends on what you want to do in the game. But some advice: pick one damage type i suggest fire not physical. Adjust your gear and devotions accordingly. Pick aura of censure and you should double your damage easily.

Thanks for the feedback, vizix. I certainly had not considered the Fire angle.

Are you suggesting something along these lines? GT: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/qNY4GrlZ I’m guessing the Justicar set is more suitable as well, in that case?

Would it be worth taking Flame Torrent by itself, or do you suggest a compete DPS switch towards Meteor?

soleals witchblade the rest is up to you.

Ok. I’ll play with it. Thanks again for the feedback!

I’ve made the first set of changes to the character as follows: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/YZewQ0r2.

The key points involve dropping Tree of Life, Messenger of War and cutting back on Obelisk. This freed up quite a few points for Fiend, Solael’s Witchblade, Hydra and a useful stat-setter in Harvestman’s Scythe. Together with switching Markovian for Justice sets, and changing to more fire-friendly amulet and medal, this version pushes OA/DA to 2550/2950 which are both much more solid than the previous build. DPS also came up 20-25%, which is quite a lot less than “double” unfortunately, so I guess I’m missing something else.

The Grimtools shows the build as is, which has a lot more mythical/level 94 items - straight RNG is the reason. I was actually surprised to learn I’d found the blueprint for the helm! I don’t own the shoulders for the armour set - whether mythical or otherwise. I did manage to get the last few Cronley Gang kills necessary to get Survivor’s Ingenuity. I faced Moos twice, killing it easily, though I was smart enough to take the -freeze duration blue bottle with me for that.

Running SoT could be done in around 20 minutes (down from 30), but I guess this might also be down to just skipping more mobs. In the Shattered Realm I could at least get to the shard 1 boss with time left on the clock, but the 30-45s I had left was never enough to kill it.

Still, it’s decent progress for a first attempt at switching to Fire. Not sure what to do about the relic at this stage, because Doomforce has been and still is really effective. Not having the shoulders for the set is obviously an issue, but so is the non-capped chaos and aether resistance without the Cortosian Scrolls. I do have The Outcast at Revered, so maybe that’s the long-term solution?

More to come in time…

there is still much damage to be gotten you got a lot of defensive devotions which i understand but there are many devotions that do RR and improve damage output that way like rowans crown and ultos right part only. Other than that i would change your pants and shoulders to complete the justice set and get the proc = more damage. also barbaros pants for defensive purposes. The amulet is no good either. Fire % could be higher, aim for around 2000% i think but at least higher than this. i tried to work with your setup and came up with more like this https://www.grimtools.com/calc/qNY4j4BZ

i maxed overguard and word of renewal and shield training and war cry. put some points in squad tactics also discord for the ellemental damage to cadence but im not sure about this i never worked with fire cadence before so some testing is required or somebody else to recommend on this.

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Wow! That’s way different from the way I was thinking. I figured something like Shield Maiden was an essential devotion for a soldier, but clearly that was flawed thinking! I may have a Barbaros pants on an alt - I know I have found at least one, but there’s no guarantee it’s a mythical. As for the amulet and medal, I’ll have to browse through my collection to find something better than what I have there. I do recall coming up with those as something close to the best I have, but I have been meaning to search more thoroughly.

Thanks for the tips! Your build is a real eye-opener and I’m looking forward to testing it. :smiley:

EDIT: I do actually have the 3 points in Discord, I just somehow missed putting them into the GrimTools

the maxing of the skills i did will give you much more defensive capabilities then just devotions. test discord i terms of dps on cadence though i really dont know how it behaves in this build maybe converting the phys to fire is more effective matter of testing

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the maxing of the skills i did will give you much more defensive capabilities then just devotions

I have much to learn. :blush:

Latest build: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/p25r94PV

My latest SoT run was under 16 minutes from the waypoint to killing Alkamos, and included Moos for good measure. MUCH improved from the half an hour start point at the beginning of this thread.

@vizix, your tips on how to handle the skill tree defensively have made a huge difference, and I just had to find a way to get more DPS out there from the Devotions while keeping the 2% DA in Quilll (which I didn’t know was there until I saw you’d used it). Huge thanks - I learned a ton from your replies.

I found the use of Ultos a little underwhelming, and not just since the RR is a %-based one and therefore “clashes” with Solael’s Witchblade (Eldritch Fire) and Aura of Censure. Since the build is designed to “stand and deliver”, I figured that Aura of Censure and Elemental Storm was enough as I’m packing both flat and % RR in the area immediately around the character, especially if I trigger the Storm off Inquisitor Seal. When I saw I could get enough Devotion points to unlock Meteor I didn’t need to be asked twice! It triggers 100% off Doomforce, which has a 4s CD compared with Meteor’s 3.5s, making them a perfect match.

The extra heal from Giant’s Blood helped make my trips through SoT a breeze. I finally got an Eldritch Essence from dismantling the excess items I’ve been finding, and I made Glyph of the Ravenous Wendigo, which looks like a solid heal with a 3s CD to me (since it does an average of 15500 damage without the 2800 bleed on the tooltip - 8% of that is quite a lot).

Time to hit Crucible and the Shattered Realm!

it doesnt clash. look at this http://i.imgur.com/nkmlaHA.png

explanation: censure and witchblade are category B ultos is category C together they are fine just other sources of C don’t stack also C and A can stack so it doesnt clash with rowhans crown either.

Ah - ok, I got confused then. I thought those of the same type could not stack, so I was happy with Elemental Storm and Censure, but not with those that “duplicated” Censure’s RR. But that seems to not be true of that category.

Having said that, what I have now feels significantly better. The speed is a lot fast with an extra source of damage in Meteor, and the Ultos build did feel a little more awkward to play with so many Celestial Powers needing triggering. It’s entirely possible I linked them badly, of course! So maybe this is just comfortable, but I’m still a long way from Gladiator (though I can clear Challenger 150 now at least, and the build is more tanky than the OP despite having almost 33% less health!). So I’m not done, and I’m sure there is a more optimal way of doing this in there somewhere! :slight_smile:

cool to hear. Well one thing i recommend still is completing the justice set with the shoulder it gets you the set proc which is speed and damage. Easy increase.

I agree about those shoulders! Just gotta find them now. :slight_smile:

any word on discord for cadence working better than without? I think without should be better as you end up with more fire damage than splitting it into different elements. Just to be sure you dont loose out on that.

Hey man !
First : Stronghold lokk like a relatively hard-to-use (ior at least to optimize) set, mainly because the gun is dealing physical damage, as cadence do, but convert it into Fire.

So, you have the option to convert Cadence into Elemental directly in your build with the transmuter, as Inquisitor use a lot of other elemental sources of damage (your three procs for exemple) (plus you can gear relatively easily, as a lot of very good pieces deal elemental damage, or fire+lightning, or cold+lightning), plus you can get three very good devotions to improve your elemental damage penetration (viper, Ultos, crown), so it can be a good idea to go for this instead.

Or you can go as a pure fire and use something like this (I tried to go as budget as possible, as I imagine you don’t have a ton of gear) : https://www.grimtools.com/calc/w260x5AZ

If you want to absolutely use Stronhold, you can try something like that : https://www.grimtools.com/calc/eVL08kPV
You convert a good part of the phys damage into fire (20% from augment, 30% from the SH set, 10% from the amulet), and you have relatively low OA, but you get overguard, the passives from SH, plus a very good DA / resist / crow control resist / HP pool combination, so you can easily start farmin the shards 35+36 of the SR to get more legendaries and some blueprints.

Basically, put your damn Seal on the floor, stand on it while killing everything, use Overguard if things starts to get a bit brutal, and if needed, kite the big bastards, wait for you overguard to be up again to facetank them (with overguard + seal + more than 3K DA, you should be able to facetank most of the basic campaign content, except maybe Mad Queen, Gargabol, Kymon and some nemeses) ! :slight_smile:

In the long term, try to complete Valdun’s set, this is probably one of the best way to play a ranged cadence tactician that deal a ton of pierce damage, get a lot of procs on his cadence and can use Word of Pain to easy clear the trashes in low SR / Skellie key dungeon and actually amass some gear. Actually, you can use Sharpshooter’s blue set too, for this, even it’s not as brutal as Valdun’s.

Have fun ! :slight_smile:

I think it’s great that you are trying something more challenging for gear.

I few things to consider (Skad’s response above addresses a few of these):

  • Elemental Cadence only affects the third hit (as you are probably aware)

  • The elemental transmuter (Discord) does not affect Deadly Momentum, iirc. Except on the 3rd hit, when it sees conversion.

  • Each individual physical flat is filtered by armor, it’s not cumulative, but checked each individual flat source x %general bonus. This would be noticeable only on high armor targets. For example, 100 pure physical deadly momentum bonus with 1000% bonus, would be checked by ~1000 armor. Note that internal trauma is unaffected by armor.

  • 2/3 hits are currently at 30% physical->fire conversion, as is any other physical source (devotions, item procs, etc.) And further with the weapon attacks, any left-over physical also sees 25% conversion to pierce from the weapon.

  • as unintuitive as it may seem, when active -%RR is a basic damage increase whether resistances are below zero, or above. Since you are concentrating on fire, it’s a good source of more damage. For example, when active 25% RR can be greater than 250% general type damage boost

  • 12/12 fighting form does provide up to 3 target penetration for ranged (procs, etc.) On the cadence 3rd attack.

So, adding more conversion via components could help. One on gun and one on shield, etc. I suppose you could find an ammy with it, but the one you have decided on is not bad for skills and such.

And finally here is a fun weird devotion path that might not be your kind of thing : Aetherfire/Elemental seeker Cadence Tactician(https://www.grimtools.com/calc/62a1gBb2) . Could be something to try for a little variation in play, if you feel the desire. Less empasis on the almighty third cadence and more on getting a lot of little damage stuff pumped out. It needs an extra skill for the extra proc, though.

Thanks for all the replies, everyone. A lot of food for thought in there.


any word on discord for cadence working better than without? I think without should be better as you end up with more fire damage than splitting it into different elements. Just to be sure you dont loose out on that.

As pointed out, Cadence only converts the 3rd hit to elemental, so Discord seems a bit “odd”, shall we say? The weapon itself deals mostly physical damage 2/3rds of the time, which is obviously reduced by armour etc. So it would seem that a total physical->fire conversion via gear/augments would seem the best route, assuming such a thing is even possible, in which case Discord becomes obsolete. The Aegis converts 15% physical to fire, and something like a Devil-touched Ammo would add another 10%, and there are several amulets that would add another 10% (none of which I have found, sadly). My concern is that trying to convert all the other damage would just “waste” gear, component or augment slots.

Having said that, I’m finding the build eminently playable even without the full Justicar set. I would suggest that the shoulders would add more damage to the build than doing a full conversion to Fire damage. Right now I’m not looking to really push damage - I just alternate between Challenger runs to 150 and doing SoT, which is proving quite rewarding. In terms of this build I have at least collected ring options such as a Mythical Open Hand and a Mythical Black Matriarch. Since this is the first build I have capable of picking up top tier items on a per minute rather than per session basis, I’m satisfied that the first stage is “done” and I’ll just farm here for a bit. :slight_smile:

In terms of the RR vs just more fire damage debate, I’m loving Doomforce triggering Meteor. Elemental Storm off Inquisitor Seal means the character is surrounded by the storms (which act as both RR and as DoTs, imo), and the Meteors target the same area (which is also within Censure’s AoE). I feel this is quite “tight” in terms of packing as much effectiveness as possible into the space where the character is forced to stand. Maybe I’m just better at playing characters that need a bit less co-ordination and cooldown timing, but I’m finding this more effective (for me!) than the Ultos/Witchblade/Storm massive debuff method originally suggested by vizix. While I cannot justify it from a mathematical standpoint, I have to feel that the Meteors themselves, which are massively boosted by the +%fire damage in the build, benefit significantly from the RR, and perhaps bring more to the build than overstocking on RR but being able to only take advantage of it every 3rd shot against enemies one needs to attack directly.

I have found that very few things need kiting, and am happy with the defensive performance of this build. Seal, Overguard, Field Command, War Cry, Word of Renewal, Shared Fate (off the rings), Restless Remains, Glyph of the Ravenous Wendigo and the two celestial power heals make for a lot of health sustain. If anything, this build is more solid defensively than the OP with Tree of Life, Ishtak and Bastion! Props to vizix for that!

12/12 fighting form does provide up to 3 target penetration for ranged (procs, etc.) On the cadence 3rd attack.

I ran out of skill points trying to support that (I’m 5 skill points off max due to skipping some lower difficulty quests). I’m not convinced that this is more important than other parts of the damage output though, useful as having an extra 37% chance to proc obviously is.

As for the Aetherfire angle - actually I tried something similar along the way to the current build! I didn’t do it because I wanted the passives in the constellation though, but rather because it’s a 5 devotion point investment for 6 relevant affinities. :slight_smile: I switched to the Wraith devotion for even greater efficiency, but then became distracted by Meteor and therefore never considered Sage. That does look an interesting angle, especially since I had considered Cindertouch for a similar role until I saw that it converted 25% fire to lightning damage.

Unfortunately I’m miles off completing this set. :frowning: I made a Silverbolt Cadence build ages ago that was very solid pre-Malmouth but gradually became a glass cannon. I had parts of Valdun for that build, but never completed even the non-mythical set. I’m hoping to find some though!