Elite end game - skill selection. Turning a noob into a pro

I reached a point where I was constantly dying. I set the game aside for a while.
I returned after I realized it’s a game of defense - max out resistances.

I also took the approach that legendary items should be used in favor of epic items. Even if the legendary items would lead to lower stats/DPS/health/you name it. Legendary items usually come with some granted skill that trumps what you’re losing.

Previously suffering to complete crucible at level 40, I can reach 120 (on normal).

Here is my build before proceeding to my question:
Level 81 trickster (nightblade/shaman)
many resistances at max

Primarily a pet build with wendigo totem for healing and mogdrogen’s pact for defense.

I have not maxed out levels in neither nightblade nor shaman. I stack points to existing skills. Is this the right approach or is it best to max out your skill level and place points sparsely across skills?

At this level, what level should I be able to complete at Crucible?
(I am currently at the last fight of Act 6, malmouth expansion, and I can’t kill this guy)

Any comments appreciated.

Welcome to the forum. :slightly_smiling_face:

You seem to be missing a GT link of your build though.

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Here you go:


That sword was a recent find (today). My previous weapon did a lot more damage but wasn’t legendary.

that is a lvl 26 battlemage link :thinking:

I noticed the link is not showing the right build.
I have to sort this out. Give me a moment.


common mistake, using low level items because they seem good, when level appropriate items could provide a bigger stat boost
even if its a purple, using it for 20-25 lvls is not good, my personal rule of thumb for leveling is upgrade armor items at 15-20lvls intervals

dont mix pet scaled pets into player dmg builds, it doesn’t go well without knowing the game, and even then it’s not always something that ends up super well
also not great to mix casts/spells with weapon attacks mostly, it interrupts you
going for pierce dmg you should try to get a Dermapteran slicer for your other weapon instead of the Edge of Death
you should nab savagery, it will give you an auto attack replacer that boost your wps dmg, and make you able to bind a devo to your main spam attack
lightning resist is scary low for Elite
mixing dmg types on gear means you don’t get much boost on your attacks, so those items only serve as XY stat boost for resist oa da health etc
which again mean you could get the same, but higher, stat boost on level approptriate yellows and greens
use components in all slots
use augments too (honored reputation and revered reputation)
don’t need more points into cunning while leveling, Physique dump, put into spirit if you need to wear some rings/necklace
less points in phantasmal armor, more into other nodes, like 1pt ring of steel +circle of slaughter
get blood pact and then you can lower wendigo totem points a little
climb those mastery bars to increase base stats and hp, aside from unlocking new abilities
don’t even know where to start with devotions @_@
make devotions fit your build dmg type and stat needs, you are all over the place
personally i don’t like turtle because it’s just, meh, id’ rather have ex Ghoul for defence
don’t mix dmg types, likewise you have pierce acid devos, same with merciless Repertoire, it does you no good; focus your build, and dmg type, into 1 or 2 max (pref 1)
nidallah’s hidden hand is for acid builds, meanwhile your axe does pierce dmg
if you go for pierce dmg get Blades of Nadaan constellation, that + a derma slicer will give you 100% armor piercing, making all your flat physical dmg to pierce dmg
also worth to note that as Nightblade you don’t need bladedancer relic since you get native melee dualwield in NB, so you can use a class fitting relic instead, or just juggernaut or guile for something passively nice
on gt you can look up faction items you can buy for lvl 65, 70 and 90
you can also target farm specific greens, called monster infrequents, that come with guaranteed stats
^get a good hang of using that to find nice items


wow. I have to thank you for all that advice.

It depends. Legendaries that have some relevance to your character, yes, you should use them. Legendaries that don’t - you’re better off with something else, whether it’s epic, MI, faction gear, or just a random green with decent affixes. Your approach led to a character that’s all over the place so we can’t even tell what you’re trying to do.

By this point you should have your mastery bars and primary skills where you want them, and just be boosting lower priority skills with your last 30-ish skill points. Back in the pre-AoM era builds commonly maxed out both mastery bars for the stats and hp. Ironically this seems to be less common in the level 100 era. But I can’t think of any build that doesn’t max at least one of the mastery bars; the final line of skills are quite good. If you’re doing some sort of pet thing, you’d probably want Primal Bond and Conjure Primal Spirit (I’d guess - I know and care nothing about pets, just going by the skill descriptions here). If you’re doing some sort of dual-wield melee thing, you’ll definitely want Execution.

Anyway, the answer to your first question is “both”. You want to max out at least one mastery bar, and max out your key skills, whatever those happen to be.

I’ll also note one of the most basic rules of thumb in this game: your hp should be at least level*100, ideally a fair bit more. Having 9173 hp at level 81 meets this requirement, but it’s a bit on the squishy side. Even my squishy characters in this level range have 11k hp.

For your second question, what should a level 81 character be able to do in Crucible. As of the base game many patches ago, I’d say that any level 85 character should be able to faceroll Aspirant 150. A character with OK gear should be able to do Challenger 150 (though note that the jump from 149 to 150 was very steep - my commando could do it, but my warder could not). None of my 85s had better than “OK” gear so I didn’t really make a push for Gladiator. And there’s been a ton of power-creep since then, and some changes to Crucible’s aggro, and probably other things, so I have no idea whether the net effect is to make it easier or harder (I’d guess easier from all the power-creep).

I’d also point out that there’s no compelling reason to do Crucible at character levels other than 1-15ish (grabbing a few devotion points to start out) or level cap (smacking the loot pinata for gear). But if you particularly enjoy it, sure, have fun!

Fighting Theodin on Elite - having relatively recently added AoM myself, I can’t be too much help unfortunately. The only time I’ve seen his mechanics was on Ultimate (my character who ran through AoM on Veteran and Elite to get the faction mandates splatted him almost instantly in each phase). You can look him up to see what he’s doing: https://www.grimtools.com/monsterdb/89/skills (and corresponding pages for his first and second phase; change the 89 to 87 or 88 respectively). He does aether and lightning damage, which are two of your three weakest resists, so that’s an obvious part of the problem.

Updating armor values is important. Like gnome mentioned, replace at least 10-20 levels. Because if you have a pair of boots with 130 armor at lvl60 and 2 heavy hitters happen to hit you in your feet twice in a row, and say one of them being a crit - its ripperoni time. Hover your mouse over the ? sign next to armor, and you can see the exact chance mobs have to hit your different body parts.

As for mastery points, I personally like to have my mastery bars at their max intended levels as early as possible. By lvl50 at the latest. Only invest what you need to survive and kill decently fast. You also don’t have to max both bars. Personally I enjoy 50/32 the most, because 50/50 leaves you EXTREMELY skill starved.

I took the approach that i wanted my primary mastery to be nightblade. So I took the 50/32 split adding some of the max level nightblade skills, and added savagery. I also swapped out my secondary weapon. I didn’t try to fix the devotions or play around with the other items any further.

Crucible: He does more damage, annihilating the lower levels. I start having problems around ~105+. So, (a lot of) work need be done. I think the proper approach is to do as much dps as possible. Kill them quickly.

This is the new build:

To get anywhere in the game, you need to fine tune your character. This game is not so straight forward. You need to use the proper gear and skills for your build.

I slaughtered the guy at the end of Act 6 last night.
I will now go back and try to finish of the guy in the Ancient Grove (act 5). He gave me a lot of problems. Maybe he’ll be easier with my new changes.

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If I were you I would

  • use armor augments

  • not use Nidalla’s Hidden Hand, you’re not Acid character but Physical / Pierce / Bleeding, Piercing damage is better for you but you’re converting it, Acid is already doing little and it’s going to do less and as you optimize your character more

  • respec from Merciless Reperotire, NHH, Briar put them into Shaman Mastery and soft cap Primal Bond


I just completed crucible level 150 (on the ‘beginner’ mode).
I died on level 154. To be honest, I don’t know how. I blinked and all of a sudden, I was dead.
No legendary items were in the end chests. Perhaps I should have accepted the rewards at 150?

Is it even worth running crucible on beginner mode?

If Aspirant Crucible is all you can complete (to wave 150), sure, you can get some loot that way. Up to you whether you’d prefer doing something else instead.

As I understand it waves 151-170 are for challenge; the loot is about the same as 150 but difficulty ramps up further. So just cash out at 150, then reset to 130 as many times as Lokarr will let you (two or three, I forget) and do it a few more times each session.

Regarding your character, you’re still really scattered. Pick one thing and do that. Pets or melee, not both. Pick one damage type and focus on it (skills, devotions, gear). You’re still trying to do a little bit of everything - pets, and physical/pierce/bleed/acid/cold melee, skill points spread very thin everywhere, devotions not very focused on anything in particular.

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The current build is as follows https://www.grimtools.com/calc/eVLepxOZ

I dropped the pets unless they are ‘free’, from items.
I have tried to balance damage and defense, both in terms of skills and devotions.

I am currently in Act 7 (Forgotten Gods) and my character is pretty much tearing everything to pieces.
It’s currently much better than what I had 2 months ago - where I was constantly dying and the game wasn’t worth playing. I’m enjoying the game more now, which I guess is all that matters.

There is always a need for constant tuning. I will make adjustments once I start having difficulty.
My current problem is trying to find reasonable weapons.

you can target farm weapons
Dermapteran Slicers being the best one for pierce melee (drops constantly)
You can also search for other MI weapons, just click the item slot on the left then filter (top) so only greens are shown
Also, don’t put points into Nidalla’s Hidden Hand unless you’re aiming for an Acid build

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