This thread proposes to turn Iskandra’s Unification into a set for 0-CD, spammable TSS, and includes a mod to test this concept in both campaign/SR and Crucible.
What’s wrong with Iskandra as it stands? Briefly, it doesn’t work well as a TSS set:
- TSS modifiers are insufficient and there’s not enough item slots left to improve the skill.
- The aether-to-elemental conversion provides too much damage relative to TSS.
- There’s few viable setups and they play awkwardly.
The gist of the proposal, as implemented in the test mod, is to give Iskandra a makeover like this:
- TSS modifier for set completion:
- 75% Weapon Damage, up from 25%
- +100% Cooldown Reduction
- Total damage modified by -67%
- Freeze Target for 0s, down from 2
- Piece and set bonuses:
- +30% casting speed (8% off-hand, 6% amulet, 16% for 4 pieces)
What does Iskandra stand to gain from turning TSS into a channelled spell?
- A stronger identity with original, distinctive gameplay.
- A better fit for a single-class, single-skill set. The revised Iskandra can work with TSS as the centerpiece, without relying so much on devotions, other skills or item procs – a tendency shared by all TSS sets.
- Fun. A good deal of it! The revised Iskandra is a delight to play compared to the current Iskandra; imagine a petite channelled devastation or mortar traps you can aim, leading the shot against moving targets. There’s nothing else quite like it.
- It’s a non-destructive update to which existing builds can adapt without major reworks.
Fancy the idea of turning the sky purple with a constant shower of elemental meteors? Try the mod directly. Interested in a breakdown of Iskandra’s perceived shortcomings and why I make so bold as to suggest to rework it again not one month after release? Read the follow-up post.
Iskandra Test Mod
Installation and usage
In a modded game, all blacksmiths can craft Iskandra’s Purple Power, the modified version of Iskandra’s Unification, for 1 scrap and 1 iron a piece.
To test the set in campaign, extract
IskandraPurplePower.zip to the
mods folder in the Grim Dawn installation directory; the mod will then be available as a custom game. To use an existing character in custom games, copy its folder from
save/user and mark the clone as “In Mod” with GD stash.
To test the set in Crucible, go to the Grim Dawn installation directory and backup the
survivalmode2 folder. Extract
PurplePowerCrucible in the folder, replacing
resources/text_en.arzwith the modded versions. Existing characters can play the modded Crucible normally; note, however, that they can’t bring the modded items back into the main, unmodded campaign. I recommend cloning a character and using it in Crucible only. (Addendum: this archive also includes a revised Allagast set I’ve been working on, to spare me the effort of maintaining two separate Crucible mods. Feel free to ignore it.)
Tested content and preliminary results
The build used in most of my testing can be found here (189% casting speed in-game). It’s an aggressive setup, and definitely more fragile than, say, a PRM Mage Hunter or Mortar Trap Purifier; it can be adjusted for defense with Ghoul, or by dropping one of Seru and Blind Sage. For testing purposes, however, I wanted to push the experimental Iskandra as hard as possible, so as to find a lower bound on kill times. (For this purpose, IEE is not a very sensible investment, but I took a stab at it since using those points elsewhere didn’t seem to have much of an impact on clearing times.)
The following numbers are average unless otherwise specified. Slow outliers that were caused by serious mistakes were excluded.
- Lokarr: 45 seconds; 30 seconds theoretical time.
The lower time is theoretically achievable by fully facetanking (possible by blocking his shotgun with high ground and chaining WoR/Mirror/devotions/pots just right when he repositions) while casting uninterrupted (not possible with current energy cost/regen parameters against boss-level leech resistance).
- Crucible, 4b/1vb: 7:20 in Crucible of the Dead; 7 in the Deep, going as low as 6:30 if the stars align.
Brief testing suggests that fully-converted Arcane Currents account for around 30 seconds of clearing time. For the best times, beyond the usual tricks of the trade, use MoE aggressively to maximize damage from the amulet and take special care to nullify shielded heroes, avoid heavy damage reduction debuffs, and force nemeses to cluster up and stumble on each other.
Lifesteal from TSS is acceptable against bosses and extremely good against mobs; in hard fights it definitely heals less than many (most?) auto-attackers. Regardless, it’s easy to be bursted down when Giant’s Blood is offline, and in this sense the revised Iskandra remains a typical caster setup, oscillating between resilience and fragility as skills and procs come and go.
Perhaps more importantly, playing channelled TSS is a blast. I can’t stress how much more fun it is than the current Iskandra, regardless of clearing times. Damage output can be adjusted, but overall, I suspect that most players will agree that Purple Power is rather more satisfying to play.
Tastes vary, of course. Have at it!