[1.1.9.0] Budget S&B Physical Battlemage

Introduction

Not long ago, the topic of a discussion was if battlemage can be considered as a good starting class - and lets say, this status was at least disputed. So, well, it is again Battlemage time (Soldier, Arcanist).

For endgame battlemages check Build Compendium X (Forgotten Gods), for other beginners builds/guides Build Compendium X (Forgotten Gods) / Beginner build guides Compendium (for AoM + FG expansions).

Another levelling guide for a Battlemage (using a different skill) is currently in the making: [WIP] Beginner's Lazy Battlemage Diary

A Shielded Life

Since battlemage is a class with soldier, the usual levelling would be done with Forcewave. In this case, I decided to take a slightly different route. The reason was rather simple, 1.1.9.0 had come with a minor, but nevertheless important change for S&B levelling (“Milton’s Casque: increased Physical damage modifier for Blitz to 128 and added modifiers for Shield Training”). So the decision was made to level as pure S&B character from start to end to see how it feels now. And in conclusion, I would say that while the damage output is a bit lower than e.g. my pure Forcewave spammer, the character was sturdier and didn’t feel weak.

Battlemage was chosen to have a relative strong defensive character, a character who is forgiving of mistakes and is therefore relatively easy to play. However, the general principle used for levelling should apply to all other class combination with soldier. The main idea is to use Deadly Momentum to increase the damage, and other attack skills (Blitz, Movement Rune, Forcewave) together with Cadence as filler for the fights. This worked rather well, so well, that I kept this skill rotation instead of moving to the targeted final setup. And as an even stronger defense was not necessary for the content this character is intended for, Overguard was kept on long cooldown, and even shieldmaiden was not taken for the increased block recovery.

Another rather current S&B levelling guide is Blitz Krieg - A SSF, HC-Viable, New-Player-Friendly Warlord, the idea to use Deadly Momemtum to increase the punch of Blitz is e.g. already used here [1.1.9.0] Blitzer Physical Warlord: The Tank Who Hits Hard and Fast

Self Found?

Only self-found equipment and self-found crafting materials were used while levelling. Also, no mandates were transferred, writs were bought as soon as possible. However, all necessary blueprints were already found with earlier characters. The character was played solely in 1.1.9.0.

Current Character

Grimtools of the current character. Most attribute points are invested into Cunning, points in Physics are only invested to be able to wear the gear.

demo
[Cadence, Deadly Momentum]

Damage breakdown for the used attack:

I had some lucky drops (e.g. lots “of Supremacy”), however, even a skeleton character (skeleton = without affixes) has already overcapped resistances. Note: Some skill points are distributed differently in the final build above because of skill bonuses provided by gear.

Performance

The full campaign (softcore) with both expansions was finished in all three difficulties (Veteran, Elite, Ultimate). Monster totems were activated on sight - after cleaning the surrounding area.

All challenge dungeons were finished in Ultimate. Shard 25 was reached (without death, in one try) in the Shattered Realm in Ultimate for the additional skill points. The following nemesis were slain in Ultimate: Kubacabra, Valdaran and Kaisan (have not meet the rest).

Levelling / Skills The character starts as soldier and beside the standard attack uses Forcewave with cooldown as main damage source. Forcewave with cooldown has "stun target", which helps early in the game (and even later against normal enemies). In the first 20 level ups, invest 1 point into Forcewave amd 2 points in the mastery bar. Always look for a good shields with as high as possible damage. The only exception from the skill point distribution is one point invested into Blitz and Shield Training after Milton's Casque is farmed. Try to farm a rather good one as the farmed one will used until the area can be visited in elite. Also, try to get a Shambler's Heart and a suitable Mutant Bludgeon for the Forcewave bonuses. With level 20, the mastery bar should have reached 40/50. The reason for rushing the mastery bar, is to be able to take Deadly Momentum as early as possible. Use components in weapon / shield with skills to have additional attack skills available (e.g. Battered Shell and/or Chipped Claw) in this phase.

With the next level up take Cadence (1/16) and invest all points in Deadly Momentum until maxed (12/12). Deadly Momentum provides a rather large flat damage bonus which together with Shield Training physical damage bonus from Milton’s Casque is necessary to have an acceptable damage output. It is the more important node because the flat damage increases all attacks: Cadence, but also Forcewave, Blitz and the movement rune. After Deadly Momentum is maxed, invest 1 point in Fighting Form and 1 in Blindsight. followed by 1 in the Mastery Bar / 1 in Field command / 1 in Squad Tactics in the following level ups. Try to farm a Warden’s Fortress for the additional Blitz Bonus. Get a movement rune after killing Warden Krieg (I used Charge, take the one you like, but it should be one where both - weapon and shield - do damage).

Invest 1 point in the Mastery Bar / 1 in Field command / 1 in Squad Tactics until the mastery bar is maxed, than invest 1 in Overguard and start to max Menhir’s Bulwark and Decorated Soldier, while still maxing Field Command and Squad Tactics. Menhir’s Bulwark instead of Oleron’s Rage because of the damage absorption and the health regen. With reaching level 35, craft a belt +1 to all skills in soldier (first Devil’s Crossing faction belt: Devil’s Cord), after you have such a belt, invest one point in all passives (Military Conditioning, Veterancy, Scars of battle). Try to farm a new Wardens Fortress - to have a higher level version - and Mogara’s Fang as replacement for the Shambler Heart. After you have one, invest 1 point into Rending Force and 1 point into Internal Trauma.

After Menhir’s Bulwark and Decorated Soldier are maxed (and all skill mentioned above are taken) start with the Arcanist mastery, invest 1 point in the mastery bar and than start to max Inner Focus. One advantage of battlemage is that a rather high offensive ability - important for physical damage builds - can be reached without Oleron’s Rage because of Inner Focus. After Inner Focus is maxed, invest again in the Arcanist mastery bar (10/50), put one point in Iskandra’s Elemental Exchange and start to max Overload. After you have finished the base campaign, go to Elite for farm a new Milton’s Casque (and if you want: Warden’s Fortress - repeat the same later for Ultimate after finishing Elite). Afterwards, go back to veteran and finish the DLC campaigns.

After Overload is maxed, invest again in the Arcanist mastery bar (15/50), than max Maiven Sphere of Protection (another source of damage absorption, works multiplicative with Menhir’s Bulwark), followed by 1 point in Mirror of Ereoctes (emergency skill - be immortal for 3 seconds). By now, you should be able to get the Juggernaut relic, get one. It might be possible to find a better girdle (Ugdenbog Gridle), and if nothing better dropped so far, get the low level Coven Combatant’s Chestguard and Spaulders.

With the following level ups invest 1 point into the Arcanist mastery bar (until 32/50 is reached), and 1 in Blitz. After 16/16 Blitz is reached (with gear), bring Cadence to 16/16. After 32/50 in the Arcanist mastery bar is reached, invest 1 point in Conversion. Note that while levelling I have invested 1 point in both soldier WPS (Markovian’s Advantage and Zolhan’s Technique). However, I think both skill points are better invested elsewhere and both skills are no longer taken in the final level 100 build. The final skill points are invested into War Cry (12/12) and Break Moral (max), as well as Forcewave and Blitz. While for most of the levelling Forcewave was maxed, in the end, Blitz was maxed (26/26) and Forcewave was kept at 23/26. With new gear (e.g. at level 90), check the skill distribution and adjust the skills. Invest the skills points in Overguard (12/12). Farm a good Gutworm’s Mark for the Deadly Momentum bonus.

Note: I have found some rather good gear with quite some skill bonuses for relevant skills. If you have less luck and need skill points, Forcewave at 16/16 should work well enough.

Gameplay: Cadence with Deadly Momentum is used to improve the damage of our other damage skills - so don’t forget the Cadence strikes between the other skills. Cadence also works as not so bad filler attack between Blitz / Forcewave / Movement Rune. Forcewave with stun works good for large groups of low hit point enemies or healers in the second row. Blitz has the largest per hit damage, the movement rune skill provides another small nuke and allows together with Blitz a rather dynamic gameplay. Overguard and Mirror of Ereoctes are used on demand, but for most battles they are not needed - as the character is tanky.

Character Snapshots

level 10: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/a2dBq7LZ

level 20: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/YNn8RgpV

level 30: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/lV7069aZ

level 40: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/bVAXOvo2

level 50: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/vNQ4v9jZ

level 60: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/p25aD6E2

level 70: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/JVljKMxN

level 80: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/YVWwJ95V

level 90: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/dVbrJ1YV

level 100: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/DV9Eq5WV (reaching level 100)

level 100: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/pZrdqGG2 (current status)

Devotions
  1. Crossroad Yellow
  2. Assassin Blade (RR)
  3. Remove Crossroad Yellow
  4. Toad (Adcth)
  5. Empty Throne (some early res)
  6. Panther (OA, crit)
  7. Sailors guide (blue affinity, slow res)
  8. Harvestman Scythe (stats, defense)
  9. Solemn Watcher (defense)
  10. Azrakaa (damage)
  11. Dire Bear (damage, Maul)
  12. Lion (yellow affinity)
  13. Scales of Ulcama (Adcth, RR)
  14. Remove Lion
  15. Obelisk of Menhir (armor, DA, full right side -> 5% DA + 2 from left side)

The entire devotion setup is rather defensive, with some exception in increase the damage output or have the necessary resit reduction (RR). Assassins Blade is taken early to have some RR - and it will be for a rather long time the only source of RR for this build. This is followed by devotions to boost the defence while getting the later needed affinity: Toad for its Adcth, Empty Throne for its resistance, Sailors guide for its (slow) resistance - Panther was added in between for its affinity and OA increase. Harvestman Scythe and Solemn Watcher conclude the first round of defensive devotions. Azrakaa and Dire Bear are taken for the damage increase and the procs. The last devotion points are again spend for more defensive devotion: Scales of Ulcama and Obelisk of Menhir.

Note: While the character uses a shield, Shieldmaiden or Anviel are not taken. There is no special reason for this - I just liked the above route more.

see Grimtools

Gear This build relies on specific Monster Infrequent items right from the beginning. It is important to farm suitable version more than once. However, while levelling, acceptable ones will be good enough, as they must be exchanged later by higher level version.

Monster Infrequents:

head: Milton’s Casque - Blitz and physical damage, can be farmed from Milton Hart
shield: Warden’s Fortress - Blitz, can be farmed from Warden Krieg
weapon: Mutant Bludgeon - Forcewave, Fleshwarped enemies, is also sold by Hyram (Steelcap)
amulett: Shambler’s Heart - Forcewave, can be farmed from Ancient Shambler
Mogara’s Fang - +1 to all skills in Soldier, replaces Shambler’s Heart, can be farmed from Mogara
medal: Gutworm’s Mark - +3 to Deadly Momentum, can be farmed from Gutworm, the Maneater (Smuggler’s Basin)
pants: Solael-Sect Legguard - Adcth, resistances, can be farmed from Guardian of Solael
girdle: Ugdenbog Gridle - +1 to all skills in Soldier, can be replaced with Wendigo Warder Girdle

The affixes should support phyiscal damage and the used skills - in my case of of Supremacy was found and used for the +2 to Forcewave, the weapon should ideally have Relentless for the +2 to Cadence.

Faction Gear:

chest: Coven Combatant’s Chestguard - +3 to Deadly Momentum
shoulder: Malmouth Vanguard Pauldrons - +3 to Cadence and Blitz (Coven Combatant’s Spaulders can work as early replacement)
rings: Coven Storm Seal - faction physical damage rings, with bonus to DA, attack speed and +2 to Field Command
gloves: Elite Rhowari Grips - generic attack speed faction gloves, can be replaces by better random drop or craft
boots: Elite Legion Greaves - physical resistance faction boots, can be replaces by better random drop or craft

Relic:

Juggernaut - +1 to all skills in Soldier, OA and proc (health regen)

Components:

Seal of Might - physical damage, resistance
Mark of the Myrmidon - shield recovery time
Living Armor - OA, resistances. increased armor absorption
Titan Plating - Reflected damage reduction
Bloodied Crystal - DA, armor
Mark of the Traveller - slow resistance
Ancient Armor Plate - Physics, increased armor absorption
Vicious Jawbone - attack speed, physical damage, cunning
Restless Remains - Adcth

What Else / What Now

Go Farming: The character is able to farm totems, challenge dungeons, nemesis and low shards in the Shattered Realm in ultimate. And well, the “natural” next stage of development would be the Bottlemage level: [1.1.3.0 - 1.1.9.0] Bottlemage - IT'S ALIVE! [c+] [sr+] or [1.1.8.1-1.1.9.0] Spin The Bottlemage (Spellscourge + Yugol's) [SR75 farmer][Celestials]

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The cult grows. I thought I was the only one recommending untransmuted Forcewave for leveling Soldiers.

Excellent build! Thanks for the link to my own which brought this thread to my attention!

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I see S&B that is not retal and I hit like :slight_smile: will add to my compendium later.

Kida weird not seeing at least one point in arcane will, nullification, menhir will and fighting spirit though.

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Looks nice. A strange choice of a class for such a build though. I firmly stand by my opinion that Warlord had made alternative shield soldier classes obsolete, retal not counted. :roll_eyes:

It’s ironic how when I complete my bama guide we’ll have a whooping four different beginner guides for battlemage. Talk about noob traps. :rofl:

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Good build.
Untransmuted forcewave + blitz + shield slam(component) = very easy leveling for S&B soldier

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Thanks :slight_smile: I think it is only fair to link to as many other guides as possible - and a link is always also some kind of tribute to the other persons work (I always hope that I don’t miss an important reference while creating my posts.)

Lack of skill points, having to soft / hardcap three damage skills is quite demanding - even with the slightly insane gear I found :confused:

Thanks. While my own selfound S&B Warborn Warlord agrees - I think bottlemage (Targo - Spellsource) is a rather special case - given the Devastation support. And this was the intented potential endgame setup for this build (I wanted my own Bottlemage).

And I would argue that battlemage is one of the more defensive setups (if not centered around blocking) - given the two damage absorption skills, War Cry and an “aether crystal” on demand - while still having a not so big issue with OA because of Inner Focus.

And obviously, not using Warlord saved me from discussing why using Cadence and not Righteous Fervor. :wink:

I blame the discussion about Battlemage as beginner class as reason for this luxury problem. :innocent:

Thanks. I even used Slam at the beginning, but after I got the movement rune, I dropped it from the skill rotation (Cadence, Blitz, Forcewave and Charge was enough to rotate for me) - will add it in the early levelling phase

I’d prioritize down cadence tbh, and raise FW to max rank.
At least Menhir will is worth it as a small extra “oh shit” mechanic.
And Menhir bulwark just get dmg absorb breakpoint, something like this
https://www.grimtools.com/calc/0V09D99Z
Nullification is also a reason why go Arcnist, cleansing / removing debuffs/auras is really nice

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Uh, have no idea what discussion you’re talking about.

For me it’s just the 1.1.9 change to that 2H giving me enough reasons to try it, since CT Battlemage spec was a fantasy of mine long time ago (albeit that fantasy actually had a shield at first, since being tanky AoE spammer had it’s alure).

Then the HC league had speeded up my plans on it, originally my next build was supposed to be a rutnick gunslinger, which is postponed now.

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I wanted to at least softcap all three (including Cadence), sometimes style is more important than pure performance :wink: More serious: All the skills you mentioned are typically at least one pointers in my builds, but this time I have not felt the need to take them. The build was that tanky that I simply did not even tried to min/max everything or to get them in - so to be honest, there is surely room for improvement.

I rarely even had to use Overguard, so there would be another source for potential skill points. Mirror was also only used rather rarely used as “oh shit” safeguard. I went for as strong as possible Menhir’s Bulwark (beside lazyness) because of the flat damage increase and the health regen - together with the damage absorption and Juggernaut, the health regen alone was often enough to carry the build - and than there is still the Overguard bonus in reserve. Regarding Nullification - here my “don’t have too many buttons to press” - issue was an additional reason :wink:

Late edit: I would likely remove 4 points from Overguard - and than put 3 into Forcewave and 1 into Menhir’s Will if I would feel that I really need them (and than one point from Menhir’s Bulwark could be used for Nullification, if wanted)

This was the discussion which lead to the “your 10 favourite classes thread”. But the comment was not meant serious.

My main motivation was to see how the 1.1.9.0 change to Milton’s Casque changes early S&B levelling - and having some fun with my interpretation of the stashed bottlemage before - it was set to be a battlemage

not dissing the build/guide - and will be totally upfront with my own leveling bama distaste/bias, but;

can it “really” be called “battlemage”, when we’re effectively “always” leveling primarily as mono soldier?

like, it doesn’t really do much to dissuade the battlemage “myth” of being a poor class, starter or not. Even utility-wise post 50/“full soldier” it’s not like Arcanist offers much/gets much special treatment, and as such feels more like a "Soldier + substitute X"any approach, not really taking “advantage” of “actual” bama’ness, at least as so far as leveling goes :thinking:
anywho, just a thought/battlemage pov :man_shrugging:, not a criticism of build/guide/approach

and PS, why do you not have a single point in Menhir’s Will?!? @_@

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Well, this more or less applies to quite a lot beginners guides using a basic skill and it is even stated above that the concept more or less can be applied to other classes including soldier. So, this is an intentional feature of this guide and not a bug.

However, even if only some Arcanist skills are used here, the taken ones are quite important for the final build and the specific concept followed: Without Inner Focus it would be much harder to get an acceptable OA, which allows to take Menhir’s Bulwark (and not Oleron’s Rage) without requiring special gear increasing the OA of the character.

Together with Maiven’s Sphere of Protection, the resulting damage absorption is the key of the build, as damage absorption can be seen as multiplicative value for health, but also for health regen and Adcth - and this is where imho quite alot of the substain / tankiness comes from. And War Cry increases the effect even more. So some part of the tankiness here comes in a direct of indirect way from the Arcanist mastery, other class combination would require a slightly different focus to work well (e.g. health regen, block, RR)

As stated above, never felt that I need it here, Overguard was more or less my Menhir’s Will on command - therefore it is not taken [while in general it is quite a no brainer with +3 to all skills in soldier]

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yup and i totally get that,
it just “feels” like it doesn’t “void” the “battlemage poop leveling class”, since "anything"soldier could do the same
and i totally get it also technically applies to a royal ton of leveling guides/other leveling classes, since efficiency-wise heavy single mastery focus just usually is better
-and i’m probably more or less the “weird gnome out” mixing masteries and as early as i do most of the ways i level
(and quite well aware my approaches are usually less optimal than something “mono-optimized”)

suppose i’m holding out for the day “50/50” mix pro-leveling build is established, idono, blitzer+devastation’ist at lvl 40 or something :rofl: - or the slowpoke leveling bama doing trauma from converted transmuted calidor and untransmuted FW, etc etc etc silly stuff :sweat_smile:

if they added some anti freeze resist MIs for leveling purposes so OFF RR could apply to bosses could really spice things up too :thinking: - oh well, one can dream

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this is really a nice dream :thinking:

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Instead of complaining, maybe do an effort yourself making the game more accesible to other people… where is your Battlemage guide for instance?

Like what do you want him to do instead? He already made his char, had tons of fun and wanted to share his process with other people.

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i’m not complaining, i tried to state and emphasize that a couple of times to preempt something like this :wink:
i also said i totally get these approaches, as they are technically more efficient, thus way better serving of beginners than ex my slowpoke weird/suboptimal style
^and is (partly) exactly why i don’t post guides myself since it wouldn’t really help much :smile:

like i said, it wasn’t remotely a point against coyote’s guide build or approach, just a note on the overall battlemage “attractiveness” pov, and mono masteries not really changing that for battlemage leveling/starter class
(or any other “unattractive” class either where mono mastery focus is also generally recommended).

suppose the “point” being that if the notion of battlemage leveling not being a good starter leveling class, it “should” be a “real”/“50/50” bama leveling approach of sorts? - since otherwise it just reiterates, “arcanist good leveling/soldier good leveling/X good leveling - combine later”
^and like i said, i totally get that will likely still end up being way more inefficient than mono mastery focus, because that’s how it usually is, and as such why they aren’t often recommended/made into beginner guides.

like, you can level as phys AAR battlemage if you want, but it will still be “worse” than regular AAR or lightning AAR/arcanist focus, or blitzer or FW spammer, - suppose i’m curious about (if) an “optimized” (beginner) approach for such similar leveling “hybrid” silly like perhaps appearing :thinking:

and reason it was posted “against” coyote’s thread was merely because it was the newest/came up now, - and as you saw the only actual direct build “critique”/point was the 1pt of Mehir’s Will,
everything else was more a “general” battlemage/class leveling pov brought to mind seeing this, which was more of a “note”; not something as an actual own topic/class leveling approach debate/discussion

I would argue - bama is the best choice! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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