(this section will repeat between my build overviews; you can skip to Build Concept if you’ve read one of my overviews before and are familiar with my rating system and test criteria)
Patch 9.8 brought, among other things, major changes to the Shattered Realm. Given that SR is where I do my endgame build testing, with the release of the patch I decided to redo all the testing for all my builds. And since I’d be putting in the time and noting down all my results anyway, I thought I might as well post the builds and their scores publicly for others. Who knows, maybe you’ve been thinking of trying something similar and are curious if it even works. Or maybe you’re just morbidly curious and like that tickly feeling in your brainhole when you see someone play something utterly stupid.
Now, what exactly does this testing entail? Each character has to do 10 SR75-80 runs (I used to do 5 runs but I’m expanding it to 10 for this second wave). Every run completed within timer counts as a success. It takes 6 successes (over 50 % success rate) for me to consider a build complete. If a build keeps failing to meet that quota, I keep improving it till it works. Ergo, no build I post here will have a lower score than 6/10, because if it doesn’t have over 50 % success rate, I’m not done improving it and it doesn’t get posted.
Three rules were followed to make the results more representative:
- no consumables other than healing and energy elixirs can be used;
- no shrines can be taken; if a build has bad resists, it’ll have to make do with bad resists, Rattosh isn’t gonna be saving its ass;
- no mutator hunting; if I get shitty mutators, I’ll have to succeed with shitty mutators.
Other than that, it doesn’t matter in what manner the runs are completed. If a build takes twice as long to finish a run than others do, that’s perfectly fine as long as it successfully finishes. Doesn’t matter whether the build has to dodge Nemeses in shards like the plague or whether it hunts them for sport, doesn’t matter if it has to kite like crazy or stands its ground with ease, doesn’t matter if it completes the runs deathless or not. Only thing that affects the score is completion within timer. Generally, a weaker build that is slow, fragile, hard to play etc. will end up with a lower score regardless because its shortcomings will affect its reliability across the 10 runs.
Now, two final things before we get to the build itself:
As mentioned in the title, this is a build overview, not a build guide. What’s the difference? Well, a build guide says “this is the way you should build this type of character”. What I’m saying is rather “this is what I did, here’s why I did it this way, here’s how it turned out”. It’s more of a documentary, a post-mortem, rather than an example to be followed. “Wait, that’s just a fancy way of saying you make shit builds,” you might say. No, not exactly. I try to make a strong character without deviating from the concept of the build. But the concept of the build might not necessarily be something one should even be doing in the first place While my build concept and the in-game support will often align to create a reasonably predictable, almost cookie cutter build, just as often I’ll just be doing something abundantly demented for my own reasons. I’ll always endeavour to explain in the Build Concept section why I chose to do a thing a certain way, but I don’t want you to get the impression that what I’m presenting is a thing you should necessarily be doing.
I’m also by no means hyperfocused on optimising the crap out of a build once it’s in a workable state. There will almost always be things to optimise on my characters, but frankly, I prefer spending an hour theorycrafting a new character rather than shuffling an existing character’s devo tree, gear, component and augment setup just to squeeze 5 % more damage out of it. I don’t care that much.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the build itself.
With the release of AoM came the two new masteries. In my previous overviews I’ve covered my first Inquisitor build and two Necromancers. It was only fair to come back to the Inquisitor for a second time. My first Inquisitor covered the DW ranged and runecasting playstyles in one. The only other major part of Inquisitor left to cover was Flames of Ignaffar, so that was going to be the target of my second go at the mastery.
Now, I’m not the biggest fan of channeling builds, I’ll admit. I dunno what it is, but parking in a spot and channelling continuously somehow feels worse to me than parking in a spot and spamming the same spell over and over. Can’t really explain why. When I was about to first take FoI out for a spin, I expected it to be akin to Inferno from Diablo 2. And it kinda is, except for one major difference. Inferno’s jet of flame scaled in length based on level. FoI does not. So when I saw the short ranged fire belch I was getting out of the skill, I was pretty horrified. Parking in place and channelling might not be the most enjoyable playstyle for me, but it’s better than parkin in place, channelling for a little bit to kill the enemies in my immediate vicinity, and then having to move forward a few paces to torch the mid-range casters, then having to move a few paces again to kill the archers. Having to do that every damn fight seemed like the definition of torture. And so, silly me, naive in the ways of endgame (well, in AoM there wasn’t much endgame to begin with) I decided to solve the issue by packing on a skill I’ve wanted to make a build around pretty much from the moment I started playing GD: Mortar Trap. I’ve actually already done some toying around with Mortar Trap beforehand and noticed its tendency to miss moving targets and generally just not work well on a build that moves around a lot. A channelling build that wants to stay in place as much as possible, and one that has short range to boot, seemed like the ideal place for Mortar Trap to shine. So I made the character a Purifier and stuck to the original damage types of the skills, i.e. primarily fire, rather than going into conversions.
Here’s a major thing about how I choose what characters to make in ARPGs, though: I don’t like reusing skills. I’ll stomach it if it’s something like an RR skill or a major survivability source for a class, cause that’s often unavoidable, but otherwise I prefer making distinct and varied characters. If I make a build around a skill once, I’ll generally not make another, even if it’s in a different damage type. And with FoI and Mortar Trap, there isn’t really much overlap in terms of gear. If I wanted to make a character that would be using both, I would have to halfass each of the skills, and then I wouldn’t be coming back to them to do them justice on another character again. So eventually, I decided to not do FoI and Mortar Trap the disservice of splitting them in half, and switched my focus purely to FoI in the end, however painful the gameplay might end up being. There was just so much support for the skill I could not justify dropping some of it to mess around with Mortar Trap. It still made sense to do this on Purifier, so I stuck with the class even though MT would no longer be a part of the build.
1.2 UPDATE: Relinked the 9.8 version above as the changes to prefixes broke the link (it removed Impervious from helmet and Shaman’s from weapon). For 1.2 Impervious has been changed to not roll single elemental resistances at higher levels, so the helmet I have linked will no longer be obtainable. That’s a good thing. If you get Impervious now, it will masively overcap your Acid res and you can start tinkering with Augments since most of them are used to fix that. Could slot in Barrowholm health powders instead to make the build a lot tankier. The Shaman’s prefix on weapon no longer exists but it’s not like that was a prefix I was trying to get, anything would work there, so I’m leaving it blank below. The build has otherwise not really changed except the Null Field transmuter on Inquisitor Seal no longer exists and is replaced with Runic Seal, which this build cannot use. That means the build is a bit more vulnerable to projectiles inside Seal and, more importantly, it now has a cast speed overcap it has no more use for. Therefore, shifted points from Vindictive Flame and Runic Seal to Temper for more DA, but shifting over to Deadly Aim would also work. The build does 80-81 with ease and speed, could probably be an 85+ pusher.
Despite there being no set for Fire FoI to instantly solve a big portion of the character’s inventory, the gear kinda puts itself together on its own. There’s only so much custom you can squeeze into a custom fire FoI Purifier, cause there are several pieces of gear that just naturally fit like a glove no questions asked. The only truly major decision there is to make is what to do with the lightning damage on FoI. Either you can use Ixillor’s Rageflame to convert it directly, or you do it manually through stuff such as Valaxteria’s Arcane Robes, Embercore Shoulderguards, and 2x Band of the Eternal Pyre. That then opens up the offhand for Consumption of Agrivix, which has some pretty ridiculous FoI modifiers on it. The downsides are that there would be a lot less casting speed on the build, as neither of the rings nor the offhand have any, there would be no space for an RR ring, and neither the shoulders nor the ring would feature any bonuses to the FoI line. For these reasons, I decided to use the Rageflame offhand instead and save myself the trouble of having to solve the CS and skill levels.
Now in the ideal circumstances the shoulders you want to be wearing aren’t Benn’Jahr’s like I’m using, but Log’s, as they provide the exact same skill bonus except with native %OA and %DA on them. Thing is, good luck finding decent ones. Log shoulders don’t drop in SR and the Loghorrean farming route is a longass trek through a labyrinth with randomly repositioning blockages. So I settled for the best Benn shoulders I had instead, as I’ve spent around 2-3 hours farming Log on a highly mobile build and didn’t find anything even remotely acceptable in that time.
The only other two item slots where I guess there could be some debate is the amulet and the chest. The amulet doesn’t provide any % damage for us and the Chaos it puts on FoI is unconverted. But there’s no arguing with the sustain it provides. The other option would be the FoI Conduit to put some extra %WD on FoI to sustain through that, but then the devo route would have to swing quite heavily towards more lifesteal, which just didn’t seem like the place I wanted to be for this character with all the other stuff there is to do on devotions. For the chest it’s a similar deal. It doesn’t actually provide any valuable skill bonuses or damage. Rune Armor of Ignaffar would be much more desirable. But it doesn’t matter how amazing your DPS is if you’re not alive to apply it. And without Divinesteel this build is damn squishy. The phys res situation is b.a.d. and the health is just too low to feel safe taking this character up to SR80 like I do on the regular. So I took the safer route…relatively speaking.
Because then I also made a number of unsafe decisions in return:
Firstly, because I test my builds up to SR80 rather than stick with the SR75-76 farming range, I tend to Physique dump on almost all my builds. Doesn’t matter if I can clear SR75-79 five mintues faster with a Spirit dump if I then fail the run at SR80 due to low DA/health. I tend to go survivability first and extra damage through attributes only as a luxury for the extra tough builds. But here I did actually spend a few more points in Spirit than I needed to (around 13 or so), cause I figured the few points I have to spare wouldn’t make a difference in my defense anyway.
Secondly, I didn’t take Horn of Gandarr, even though that would net me 8% more DR. The idea was, if I’m going to be taking the extra DR on Horn on every Inquisitor regardless, then what’s the point of there being any DR on Aura of Censure? So I decided to rely on Censure alone as the devs surely envisioned and not interrupt my casting every 4 seconds to apply Horn (and potentially confuse enemies out of my short range).
Lastly, I tanked this build’s DA massively to get some more OA. I was previously using a slightly different version of the build as posted here. That one performed in one of the previous patches to a 3/5 at SR75-80. Since the build or its skills haven’t really received major changes since then, it was safe to assume the build would perform at somewhere around 6/10 or 7/10 in my expanded testing in 9.8. Since I already knew approximately where I was with the build, I decided to tinker a little bit and see if I can get something more out of it by boosting the OA and retooling the defensive layers (namely by putting in Turtle instead of Ghoul). The end result was a gain of about a 100 OA at the cost of about 250 DA. Well, actually 200 if I also shifted back to a Physique dump. Still, ouch. That sure as shit doesn’t seem worth it, does it? Well, thing is the yield from DA is kinda flat. Every build is going to get pretty much the same out of going from, say 2600 to 2800 DA. But not every build uses OA the same way. And this build has A LOT of crit damage on it. 156%, before extra crit damage from OA is factored in. So increasing that OA, even if only by a little bit, can yield a lot more damage for this build than it can for many others. So I tried going a little bit less safe than before to see if, maybe, I can get more out of this character than a 7/10. If it doesn’t work out, I can always wind back to the previous setup.
(DPS is for FoI inside Seal)
Turns out, there’s no need. Of the three unsafe decisions I outlined above the one I would probably take back in hindsight is the Spirit dump. Cause getting just that little bit of extra health and 50 extra DA could have possibly gotten me to 10/10 on this build.
The build’s damage is damn solid. Obviously the sheet DPS is lying its ass off cause there are DoTs involved. Then again, sheet DPS isn’t reflecting the crit we’ve got on this build either, so really, the sheet DPS figure is worthless here in general. But the damage output just is very good, especially in dense crowds, even if the reach is a little shorter than I would have liked. However, while the range may have been a concern in AoM when I created this build, it no longer is, really. With the addition of mobility runes in FG, the build closes distance with out-of-range enemies well enough that the short reach doesn’t become bothersome.
What is bothersome is that the build balances on that nasty precipice of survivability where if the mutators start fucking with it, you can go from a fairly survivable and safe build to…well, not quite being that. In my first 4 runs with this build I simply could not persuade SR to leave my survivability alone. Either I was getting -100 to my DA combined with 60% crit damage for enemies, or I was getting my health tanked by Afflicted, or enemies were sporting Brutal and Cruel at the same time. Any of these meant that if Iron Maiden, Fabius or Reaper crit on just the right attack, the character sometimes wouldn’t be left with that crucial sliver of health for Turtle and Blast Shield to trigger and save it. Even if these mutators didn’t always necessarily result in a death, they did lead to a handful of tense fights, for sure When you do die, well… The build is generally fast enough in Chunks to recover from a death, but that still leaves it at the mercy of Chunk RNG. You’re gonna be sweating a bit if you’re trying to recover your timer and get a Seeker of the Damned or another timer-waster, even if you blaze through those at a pretty rapid pace. I’ve died about 4 times on this character across the 10 runs and obviously I’ve recovered 3 out of the 4 times. But still, the fact I even needed to recover shows that the survivability could be a bit better. A Physique dump is an easy way to take steps towards that. Much easier than “just get good Log shoulders, lol”, at least.
Speaking of survivability, the build’s defenses are a nice layer cake. Firstly, all the res overcaps are great. Not a weak resistance in sight. The DA could be better but Inspiration puts in some work to remedy that, even if it doesn’t have 100 % uptime. There’s some decent projectile evasion thanks to Null Field so while the character’s standing in Seal and torching everything, it doesn’t immediately turn into a pin cushion from all the projectiles hitting home on an immobile target. It gets even better with Blast Shield up. 80 % projectile evasion says hi. Nice debuff projectiles you got there Reaper, would be a shame if none of them hit. There’s no %absorb but there’s flat absorb aplenty between Seal and Blast Shield. %DR is always on passively no matter whether the character’s attacking or running for its life. Well, unless you get dispelled. There’s a good deal of fumble on Endless Flame to mitigate damage in those up close and personal encounters with dangerous enemies such as Fabius or IM. So while I may have been a bit negative on the survivability in the previous paragraph, that’s solely because it’s just that one, irritating, small step away from greatness and a comfy 10/10. But deaths just will happen at times in higher shards if you get bad mutators, because it’s not quite all the way there.
Gameplay-wise, there’s little to say. Place Seal, park in it, burn everything to the ground and prioritise Diseased cause there’s not much in the way of disruption res on the build and you want to sit in Seal rather than run out of it. The cc resistances are otherwise solid enough (other than slow when Inspiration is down) that you can stand your ground against freeze and petrify sources and be fine. Speaking of cc, you have a nice cc tool of your own in the form of the amulet proc. Unless there’s an Unstoppable hero nearby you’re gonna really be able to tell when that thing triggers cause half of the screen just stops in place for several seconds; it’s hilarious.
So if you’ve ever wanted to RP as a Nod Purifier from Command and Conquer
I would heartily recommend giving Fire FoI a whirl. Torching heretics in the name of Kane is always a good time, and this build delivers on that very nicely, even if not quite perfectly.
Here are the standard SR75-76 and SR80 portions of one of my runs for your viewing pleasure: