Caster Armor Survivability Thresholds

I’ve been attempting to make several build ideas work for Ultimate content, but there are multiple builds that give the impression that no matter how much effort I put into balancing offense / defense, I can’t prevent myself from getting plastered. Some builds I’ve tried end up going great, others see my life bar drop to zero faster than I can comprehend what’s going on. Checking in Grimtools doesn’t give me a clear answer, so I wanted to ask a broader audience on how to enhance survivability on characters that primarily wear caster armor.

I use Fabius and Iron Maiden as my primary tests to see if a build is viable enough for posting, if that helps you get an idea of what I’m seeking. These are the primary factors I’ve noticed among builds that handle vanilla Nemeses effortlessly:

  • Defensive Ability - This one is an easy one to measure: I typically go for around 2750 DA when I have the opportunity to keep myself from getting nasty crits. I’ve attempted to build around certain items, but when the items I build around have no DA, it’s hard to make up for it through the remaining equipment slots / devotions. I know equipment like Arcane Harmony Leggings are really good for stuff like this, but sometimes even that’s not enough.
  • Armor - From what I’ve heard from various people, usually around 2,000 Armor is a good starting point. However, I’m attempting to work around the Mythical Corruptor’s Set, and that has only 900 Armor. I can attempt to make up for that somewhat by wearing heavy armor elsewhere, but that means I have a >50% chance to get hit in my weak areas and have damage spike from that. I don’t see much about how I can fix this outside of trying to obtain those flat Armor nodes by Obelisk.
  • Active Healing through Skills and Attacks - How effective are skills like Siphon Souls or Sigil of Consumption that grant a good amount of healing? Is it one of those areas where you need to commit 12/12 points for the healing to be noticeable? How about skills like Twin Fangs, how effective can they get?
    Similarly, for builds like Diviner’s Reap Spirit where >100% Weapon Damage skills are your primary attack skills, what’s the appropriate ADCTH to get noticeable healing from them?

  • Health Regeneration - I get flabbergasted when I equip all the gear I need to obtain my necessary skill bonuses and see that I have a total of 50 Health Regeneration. This is especially worse if the build I’m using requires Dying God to get my offense toward acceptable levels. In fact, the only builds I’ve made so far that have had a reasonable amount of success are Occultist based builds that rely on Blood of Dreeg’s great Health Regeneration and Healing. Attempting to build around Necromancers or Arcanists just has me toppling over because DoT’s just eat at me.
  • Resistances - From what I’ve heard, usually you want around 30% overcap to handle enemy RR, and I’ve found that very difficult to do without using multiple greens that would be impossible for people to find legitimately. A much bigger issue for me is Physical Resist in classes that don’t have that innate class bonuses. I’ve heard to try to get Physical Resistance to at least 25%, but I don’t see many good sources for that: there’s pants (4%), boots (3%), Seal of Might (4%), and Sailor’s Guide (3%); if you’re using a weapon and tome that doesn’t have Physical Resistance, you’re only looking at around 15%. Even with Shaman based builds that use the Briarthorn for Physical Resist, without group healing like BoD, they tend to die the moment someone lays ground damage even with 80-100% Health, and I haven’t even attempted to try AoM which is ground damage central.

I know there are plenty of players that were trying to figure this sort of stuff out until it clicked for them, so I’m asking on a general basis: what did you end up doing that took you from dying to Nemeses repeatedly to finally getting over that hump and killing them comfortably?

Well, in short - being a caster that has to take damage sucks.

All masteries have 500 stat points total but caster masteries can have around 200-250 spirit, which doesn’t provide DA. Casters also have to wear offhands, which requires some investment into spirit, which is yet again less DA.

Armor - my CT Sorc has 2k. Angrim-crafted Stonehide boots and pants, also Ancient Armor in legs and Titan Plating in chest. Pretty much if your build could fancy a crafted item then do your best to get a good %armor roll.

Active healing and regen - generally if you don’t have a good degree of mitigation then sustain is ineffective.

If you can’t reasonably easy get a good chunk of phys rr then don’t bother - most enemies reduce all resistances, which doesn’t exclude physical afaik. Maiven Sphere is much better here because it’s not affected.

Overall playing as a caster you either play a build that can kite or rely on cdr reset of circuit breakers. Casters that expect to tank stuff are required to compromise their already pretty meh offense. The game is just balanced around DoT casters.

  1. DA is overestimated. Having high DA won’t save you from high OA big critters. And you also usually have to sacrifice something to have it in high amounts. Multiple layers of defense combined with “sufficient” DA (2K-2.5K) works way better in practice.
    Leave ultra high DA for crucible junkies. Increase armor and get flat/% absorption if possible, instead.

  2. You need to find ways to improve armor, or you’ll face same issues over and over.

  3. Active healing is relatively reliable vs low/mid tier enemies, and doesn’t perform good vs high tier bosses.
    It’s just an additional form of defense, it can’t work standalone. Because no matter how much you leech, your HP bar is gonna yo-yo all the way until you die. It has to be backed up with other layers of defense.
    Active healing is good to have and makes life easier, but isn’t something to fully rely on (specialized builds aside).

  4. HP regen is just a minor help at high level content, don’t count on it at the slightest. As long as you don’t make a build centered around it. It doesn’t protect against burst damage at all.

  5. Don’t count just on overcapped resistances. Consider it a must have, though.
    To run comfortably and safely high level content, you’d like to have + to max resists. It’s what really works.
    Physical resistance became very important with the implementation of AoM.