[1.1.9.3] The Shieldmaiden's Tale - Targo 1H Blade Arc Blademaster [SR95] [All Celestials]

A sword age, a wind age, a wolf age. No longer is there mercy among men.

~Art credit goes to Gambargin~

:hammer_and_pick: :hammer_and_pick: :hammer_and_pick: GT Link :hammer_and_pick: :hammer_and_pick: :hammer_and_pick:

ilmaristats

Stats with self-buffs + Ulzaad’s Decree (no Overguard)

What is this build?

This represents the next step on my continuing journey to make somewhat less popular builds/playstyles into successes.

It’s a Targo set,1-hand physical BA, non-retal S&B Blademaster.

Yes you read that right.

It invests into Overguard and Shieldmaiden, as well as the Stone Matron devotion because tbh I just kind of wanted to give that one a go.

Features

Pros

  • Healthy balance of offense and defense. Not the fastest killer, but nevertheless respectable at the job while being very sturdy
  • Big beefy armor and physical resistance
  • Kills all superbosses with no change in setup
  • Style points for using a shield as a shield, instead of just a stat stick
  • HAMMER
Cons
  • May have to quaff an energy potion once in a while
  • It’s still probably way easier to just make a retal build, but c’est la vie
How It All Works

The build has passable, but far from amazing OA/DA. It also has massive shred for both:

OA shred: 55 (Seal of Annihilation) + 140 (Azrakaa) + 130 (Veil of Shadow) = 325 total
DA shred: 55 (Seal of Annihilation) + 270 (Blindside) + 70 (Boneshatter proc) = 395 total

In general, it relies on multiple stacking layers of defenses:

  • 4.5-4.6k base armor from devotions and components
  • 40-50% physical resistance (if you get a good roll on your shield)
  • Damage absorption from the Menhir’s Bulwark exclusive skill
  • Damage reduction from War Cry
  • Physical damage reduction from Fist of Vire
  • 33% chance to fumble from Circle of Slaughter
  • The typical Nightblade bonuses to avoid melee attacks/projectiles

Ravager can barely touch this character.

Offensively, 1H BA actually does OK damage with this setup. No, it won’t be breaking any speed records, but it wipes up the majority of things surprisingly quick.

Full build process (long)

Crate keeps trying to buff 1-handed Blade Arc, with… well, mixed success I suppose. I have seen people use Targo’s Craft, but never before as a 1-handed build as seems to be the set’s intent (idk, could be wrong). 1.1.9.2 brought about new buffs to Targo, including to both the Blade Arc and the Amarasta’s Blade Burst parts of its skillset. So time to try it!

I have to drop a note about ABB here. At first, I tried to work ABB in – after all, it’s part of the Targo set, and we are playing a Blademaster. But no matter what I did with it, no matter how much I invested in it (I tried it hardcapped, I tried it as a 1-pointer with maxed Lethal Assault, you name the combo), no matter what extra MIs I used for it, it was always terrible even with all the additional buffs from Targo. Terrible needs to be repeated in all caps for emphasis: IT. WAS. TERRIBLE. The %weapon damage is far too pitiful for this 1-hander, the investment cost far too high. You’re just dumping out all your energy for literally no benefit. It would no doubt be more worthwhile as a proper spam skill (a la with an Amarastan Crusher), but that’s a different build from this one. Here, it’s not worth it even as support.

When I dropped 26/16 ABB from the build, the build’s performance immediately jumped.

Whatever… more points to devote to BA and our shield skills!

Paring down the build’s focus worked much better anyway. Once I stopped fooling about with such frills and focused on only BA, everything started to click into place. Like all my builds, a dumb amount of experimentation took place until I found what I think is an optimal (or something close) combination of moving parts.

Everything is built around the precious goal of balance. It attempts to be a proper shield build, so it invests in shield skills and devotions, but it DOES do some damage. For example I could have taken Obelisk of Menhir too, but went for more offensive T3s since I had already taken Shieldmaiden. And I invested heavily into cunning, taking only the minimum requirement for physique. I wanted to be able to tackle all the celestials and push high SR, so this build needed to be more than a “brick.”

Gear

Note: There is only one craftable item in this setup, the helm, and I crafted it for %armor.

Most items here are required (though the affixes are not, aside from I’d say physical resistance on the shield - otherwise mix and match what you need). There is the full Targo's Craft set itself, and then there all are the items which buff BA: Mogara's Fangs [amulet], Balthazar's Crest [medal], and Kalis'Ka's Harvest [shield]. Seeing as how 1-handed BA is quite humble in damage, it needs all the help it can get, so none of these can be dropped. Kalis’Ka’s Harvest also gives us 10% ADCTH to Blade Arc, which is lovely.

Grasp of Unchained Might is obviously mandatory as a BA item too, but it has an additional important bonus for us: it makes Ring of Steel give flat RR, and we will be using the skill as such. This saves us devotion points as well as skill points - no need for that annoying Terrify transmuter on War Cry.

The two rings are set in stone: Black Matriarch for -RR and Cronley's Signet for attack speed and Laceration, and the Chausses of Barbaros are… well. The amazing pants they always are. Deathstalker relic gives us more -RR as well as a good devotion proccer.

The only items you might use alternatives for are the belt and boots, if you need another way to balance resistances.

Performance
SR 95 Boss Room Funny thing, I find Reaper and Kaisan quite manageable but Valdaran tricky on this build, at least above SR90. Sometimes he starts hitting like a truck randomly.
SR 85 Boss Room Easy to facetank even with snoozy mutators (slow, slow, monsters had +phys res...)
Callagadra Fun fact, this was my first Callagadra kill... EVER! You can see that I got the achievement in the video. I guess I was too afraid of wasting Celestial Essences on my other characters without knowing for sure if they could kill it, silly I know. It took only the single try as well. The first phase was mostly facetankable, second phase required more kiting.
Crate of Entertainment Another fun fact, this was ALSO my first Crate kill ever. Unlike Calla this took me several tries, but I got there on the 3rd attempt (I did watch some videos of kills first, including a few of RektbyProtoss losing his HC characters RIP). Omg this was a fun fight though, even though I was having a heart attack basically the entire damn time. I LOVED IT.
Ravager of Minds The easiest facetank ever, didn't need to use Overguard once, nor any healing potions.
Mogdrogen I don't have a video sorry, but here's a screenshot:

Preemptive Q&A

Your DPS would be better if you went 2H/dual-wield.
Well of course, but that’s not what I’m trying to achieve here. There are already plenty of those builds that exist.

Your DPS would be better if you took Oleron’s Rage instead of Menhir’s Bulwark.
Aye, but then we’d lose that lovely damage absorption, which pairs so well with the shield playstyle. Offensively the OA loss from Oleron’s is sort of compensated by really heavy DA shred, and Menhir’s Bulwark does at least give you flat physical damage, so it’s not a total bust damage-wise.

No ghoul/bat?
Nah. Don’t be fooled by the relatively low global lifesteal %; as mentioned before the shield adds a lot of native lifesteal to Blade Arc, and we also have Bear. I found those two things to be enough. I did not need lifesteal potions even for any of the celestials (had them equipped for Ravager, but didn’t use them).
 
Ghoul is great to have, but there was too much other stuff I wanted.

Markovian’s Defense transmuter on Overguard? Eww.
It’s there only for the toughest SR/some celestial fights. For all other content, I would actually encourage you not to take it because it’s not needed whatsoever.

Final words

This was a really fun experiment. It was so fun, in fact, that I’m considering making a fresh character and using it to make a build/leveling diary just for this.

All feedback is welcome.

Be blessed by Odin Oleron, mighty warriors.

19 Likes

People reserve posts, so I’ll do that I guess :sweat_smile:

i see Blademaster, i love :+1: :trophy:

1 Like

Cool build, Crate kill on melee build is always nice to see.

Is physical ABB really not worth using? Besides, I would max Anatomy of Murder over Blindside here, you’re leaving approximately 200 cunning on the table.

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Re: ABB, I didn’t think so after trying it for a long time. At least not together with Blade Arc, and not with a 1H. It’s possible that there is something I missed from my testing, but I don’t think so. Basically the problem comes down to the fact that at 26/16 points, it’s still doing comparable damage to one single BA autoattack - 230% compared to 205% WD (which doesn’t make a huge difference because our base WD is so very low). It’s pretty bad. And the slightly higher flat damage on paper doesn’t make much of a difference either when you’re hitting with BA multiple times per second and ABB only once every 1.8 seconds, so in the end bonuses to BA will benefit it more just from sheer number spam. Take Ilgor’s Curse medal (which buffs ABB) vs. Balthazar’s Crest medal (which buffs BA). There is an opportunity cost in that choice, and I found Balthazar’s Crest to be much better of the two - not to mention that without Ilgor’s Curse, ABB becomes even less worth using. You can immediately feel the difference on a dummy.

On top of all that ABB gets enormously energy hungry at that high a level, to the point where you’ll be noticeably running out of energy a lot especially without pots, whereas without it, it’s manageable. So, high investment, negative returns lol.

That’s a decent idea about Anatomy of Murder though. Basically I didn’t want to drop the yuge DA shred from Blindside but the cunning gain may be worth more. I’ll test it out.

Just quickly tested out 12/12 Anatomy of Murder vs. 12/12 Blindside on the Barrowholm training dummy - I mean, Ravager.

Did not make any big difference. Roughly 4:56 versus 4:48 killtime on first comparison, though obviously ideally more tests would be done. I’m thinking it’s because Blindside adds a fair amount of internal trauma damage, as well, which we’d lose. So it appears to be a neutral tradeoff, not a lopsided one. I will be keeping my setup as it is, but either option is viable. @Crab_Turtle_2112

I did get a max-rolled crit damage helmet from that though, so that was nice. :laughing:

Update: Just beat up some actual training dummies. No difference there either, takes on average 32 seconds across the board, with the AoM spec MAYBE a second or two faster sometimes (but then I had to pull 2 points out of Shield Training for it too so).

3 Likes

The only way I’ve had luck with physical ABB was using the Targo set with an Amarastan Crusher so I could spam it as filler for Blade Arc or Judgement. It was close to a meme build, but at least somewhat fun.

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I KNEW I saw an ABB spam build somewhere with a Crusher. :smiley: Or maybe a couple, I think Nery did one too? Anyways yeah, without that extra “juice” from somewhere it’s just plain bad unfortunately.

You are ignoring the big flat damage buff granted by Lethal Assault on your analysis, which is converted to physical through Targo’s Set (and you also have full acid to phys conversion with that belt) and also increases the dps from Blade Arc and all sources of damage that use your weapon damage. I would guess that at least one point in ABB and maxing Lethal Assault for the flat damage bonus alone should be worth it, but I never tried Targo’s Blademaster, so I might be wrong.

Nope - as I said in my post, I tried it with one point and maxed Lethal Assault. I also thought the flat damage bonus alone could be worth it, but it was not from testing. Not enough difference for the points here.

Also I personally kind of hate having to monitor LA for the cooldown, so it feels much smoother to me without.

2 Likes

That is pretty sad to hear, because it looks like the whole point of those conversions is to make the best use of ABB and Lethal Assault. If this is the case, then I can’t see how Blademaster is worth over Warlord for Targo’s, which looks pretty unfortunate.

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Yeah :frowning: I could not agree more. I went with Targo Blademaster for underdog reasons, but warlord should actually be better in many ways. I had been hoping I could do something similar to my Rotgheist build, combining both the boosted skills on the set, but ABB just fails kind of miserably here.

I am hoping Crate will do something more with ABB on Targo next patch.

1 Like

No Targo Hammers in Targo build?

It’s literally the name of the granted skill on the weapon, so yes? :slight_smile:

image

If you instead mean the proc from the Anvil devotion, then unfortunately I could not fit it into this setup - the whole devotion does not offer much aside from that proc. (I do have Hammer, though. :stuck_out_tongue: ) It is probably possible to do some alternate setup that does use it.

Do you really need Empty Throne and last nod on Vire?
If you drop this, you can take Anvil.

I would take LoE instead of Vire, less button to press (WarCry dropped) and more spare points.
Also not taking Anvil on a heavily invest shield build is insufficient. The proc deals great dmg, if I remember clearly that 5x hammers flying around, each deals 20-40k dmg/hit.
Well, it’s just my playstyle.

Yes.

Yes.

Both are non-negotiable. You can’t drop Throne, it’s too good defensively. And aside from dropping a T3 proc to pick up a T1 one feeling bad :scorv:, the Vire proc is great. Damage+petrify+physical damage reduction.

What’s LoE? I know some people don’t like how War Cry feels, which is fair enough. But it’s not like this build has an incredible amount of buttons to press anyhow, and the damage reduction is way too invaluable in SR etc.

If you read my original post, you will see that I am trying to go for a more balanced approach here :slight_smile: So it is not a pure shield build, and if you look at the GT stats you will see that the chance to block/block recovery are far less than some totally devoted shield builds - say, a Markovian S&B tank. This fact alone makes Anvil less worth it, because you will simply be blocking less. Believe me, I also really wanted moar hammers flying around on screen for the cool factor alone.

I also believe it’s the opposite of a must-have for this build. It’s worthless aside from the proc, which I just explained why will be less useful here, and other devotions taken increase all of our damage full-time.

Edit: Oh you mean Light of Empyrion. Yeah I considered it, but it takes 7 points instead of Vire’s 6 so it didn’t work here. It’s also an option if you move some other stuff around I suppose. I also wanted to try Vire because I had never tried it before (like so many things in this build, it’s kind of an underdog devotion), and turns out it gives a ton of damage+shield stuff so I couldn’t be happier with it.

Last words – I can easily kill all celestials with this setup even as a noob with sloppy gameplay (talking about myself), sooo I would question your word choice in “insufficient” XD

@Torzini I got 4 Blademasters, I can repurpose one of them for this BEAST of a build.
My honest question, could you perhaps help me to get the Warlord variant as well? I am notoriously bad at making builds. And they always fall short for me, either with defensives or offensives. Would appreciate it a bunch, congrats on this build as well! Suuuuper impressive stuff.

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Very glad you like it! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: I had been planning on testing a Warlord variant eventually as well, but keep getting distracted by other builds. Overall the performance should be even better, both offensively+defensively (phys RR, shield bonuses, HP), but I wanted to be a hipster and do it with Blademaster. Here you go,

Warlord GT link

Redistributed a few points from cunning into physique to be safe, since you lose Nightblade’s OA shred. And moved points from Blindside into Ascension.