Need help with my Witchblade

This looked good on paper, but in practice, it struggles against Anasteria, Kubacabra, and Aleksander. Kubacabra doesn’t damage me, but he heals so much that when he’s paired with Aleksander or Bloodlord Thalonis I can’t beat him. I have to squeeze maximum DPS out of my build to have a chance at beating Kuba, which means standing still, which means getting pummeled by fevered rage AoE from the mage.

At this point I’m thinking I should probably switch out my retaliation for more physical damage, like my pants for barbaros and my devotions. I’m not sure what devotions to go for at this point. I’m pretty sure Dying God is optimal in a fevered rage build :rolleyes: and I can’t give up Obelisk unless I spend a ton of consumables for the +10% block chance. Maybe I should get rid of the last two points in obelisk and the retaliation one?

I thought 150% attack speed and 1750% physical damage would be passable but apparently not.
I’m just looking for suggestions at this point.

I really hope I can keep this setup once FG rolls around and they add % retaliation into targo’s hammer. But for now the retal isn’t cutting it vs mages which are the only threat to me anyway.

Update: Trying to explain the situation to you guys helped me better understand what I could do to change this. I dropped all the retaliation in favor of Bull, a bit more % physical damage, and 12% more attack speed. Currently trying to max out Bull so I can test this.
Suggestions would still be appreciated.

I’m no expert. But I bet my left nut that you need to raise your OA. 2.6k with procs is way too low against the dudes you’ve mentioned.

I’m very skeptical as to the viability of block “abuse” builds in general. I feel like the only way to crack the code is to somehow incorporate Dawnshard Bulwark into a build that still manages to deal relevant damage, but good luck doing so with the questionable stats on that shield, beyond the godly proc. The other alternative would be somehow grabbing enough cooldown reduction to drop Markovian’s Defense entirely and still attain 100% uptime on Overguard, but the path to Aeon’s Hourglass sacrifices a lot of physical damage and potential OA, and beyond getting a Supercharged/Chronomancer’s prefix on the shield, cooldown reduction is few and far between for block builds. I’d been toying with Markovian set, Menhir’s Bastion relic, and Time Dilation for a while, but ultimately abandoned the concept because I had to accept that it’s just gimmicky in practice (at least compared to a straightforward physical smashing build with 140k Cadence DPS).

One big issue with trying to maximize block is, when doing so, how much the game wants to pigeonhole you into dealing physical damage, while simultaneously refusing to give you any good sources of resistance reduction, relevant amounts of % physical damage, or even viable amounts of OA. Warborn can stack Break Morale up to -40, and you get another -25% from either Occult or Necro, but then what? If you neglect OA (to the point of not critting bosses), you miss out on -32% from Assassin’s Mark. Stonewall Defender seems awesome on paper if you can get a block suffix, but Necro seriously struggles with OA and resistances compared to Occult. It’s exceedingly difficult to even fit Ring of the Black Matriarch because stacking block that high usually hinges on having 2 of Sentinel’s and/or Obsidian Seal.

Although the biggest problem is probably that Markovian’s Defense plain fucking SUCKS. Crucible is all about killing enemies before they can throw all their nasty stuff on you, like resistance reduction stacking, or massive amounts of skill disruption if you can’t resist it. And, as you were able to find out yourself, low damaging builds can’t even kill Kuba, no matter how you try it. Markovian’s Defense is more than just an 18% damage loss if you account for the fact that you’re dealing physical damage with relatively low individual damage numbers against enemy armor. And you want to still rely on lifesteal for sustain.

As far as your build is concerned, the problem is a pure and simple lack of damage output, compounded by poor devotion choices and sub-optimal gear. Additionally, retaliation is (in the current patch) barely viable even when properly optimized, and you have next to no reason to even incorporate it.

The entire left side of your devotion tree is a complete waste. Messenger of War adds nothing because retaliation is next to worthless, and Dying God is utterly pointless with a dismal 2400 OA.

Survivor’s Resilience blows, you instead want a green shield with increased block chance and grab Survivor’s Ingenuity on your jewelry.

I had personally been messing around with trying to make block builds work, and thought I was onto something with this build:
>> Grimtools << (I take no credit for the core devotion, skill or item setup, it’s not exactly an original idea anyhow. I just did some minor tweaks. Note that even getting enough resists while still keeping up with damage requires very, perhaps unrealistically, specific greens.)

The most frustrating part of this was leveling up a character for the express purpose of playing this build, only to start having doubts around level 86 and finally caving to make a test character—and finding out that it has absolutely awful performance and, from its lacking ability to actually kill anything in a timely manner, is at more risk of dying than any other lifestealing alternative with reasonable DA and armor.

The verdict is: [ul]
[li]Abandon retaliation (until FG)[/li]
[li]Abandon Markovian’s Defense, and any attempts at getting perfect block stats[/li]
[li]Prioritize getting enough OA and resistance reduction (as in, equip Ring of the Black Matriarch)[/li]
[li]Switch to a regular Warborn Cadence build instead (without focusing so much on block), or make a full transition to Markovian set, which has greater potential anyhow.[/li]

Obviously you two didn’t notice I have fevered rage. I even mentioned it in the post twice, so it’s kind of mind boggling that you missed out on that. That plus my 270 on blindside means I have over 20% chance to crit on those bosses, not exactly as abysmal as you guys are making it out to be. That means I always have Assassin’s Mark procced after a few seconds, and Dying God is far from useless; in fact, I wish I could fit more crit damage into the build.

This seems to be the only good piece of advice I can find in your post, but I had 3 reasons for picking Spellscourge Bulwark:

  1. I was already using Spellscourge Deflector, so it gives me 12% armor set bonus. Not too huge since I’m already blocking over 9000 damage with my shield, which makes armor obsolete.
  2. It has the highest damage blocked in the game. Pretty important stat when your build takes full advantage of it.
  3. It’s not a double-rare green. I already had the shield before making the build, compare that to the literal thousands of hours to find the perfect double-rare shield. Even just finding a single rare is hard enough, but then the stats are considerably worse than the +260% physical damage that the shield gives.

I don’t know that that much about soldier 100% retal builds, and I only have played a hybrid…

…but I wonder if you might get better mileage out of going for Vire (more % phys and retal). Remove DG + Vulture, maybe swap Solemn Watcher for Panther. Add stag, then go Vire.

Vire gives another 80% phys/IT and the proc has a short CD and decent dot.

Um, also with such high DA, there will be a fair bit of mob attacks missing and as such less retal. Even considering the OA boost mobs get from Fevered.

The DG crit is good for your regular attack, but retal does not crit afaik. Even at 20% crit chance, the odds are something like
-2 attacks give ~40% chance to get that crit
-4 attacks give you a ~60% chance
-6 attacks give ~75% chance
-10 attacks give you a ~90% to get that crit. etc
Your attack speed is not that fast…so it’s questionable how much value you really get from Hungering (other than Targos proc, maybe)

It also costs a fair bit to get DG, including Vulture = 5 nodes of questionable value for you. Although DG’s OA is nice, there are other paths.

But I may be out of my depth here, so dunno.

I wouldn’t use markovian defence because of the damage penalty.

I understand you use fevered rage but I would drop wasting and I would reduce mastery points of occultist down to 32. You already have 3.4k DA (which even that is too much perhaps) and wasting is just excessive. The point of a block build is to actually get hit so you can block (and proc anvil+block skills) so lose some DA. Take points from wasting and occultist mastery and increase attack speed, invest more into cadence. Changing to survivor ingenuity and more OA may allow for menhir bulwark which gives flat phys damage for more weapon damage.

EDIT: Another option for Witchblades is using beronath reforged. The weapon is naturally a nice choice for WB as it makes solael witchfire an even nicer buff (plus devotions like flame torrent become nice picks).

This build is centered around Overguard. It gives me 10% adcth and 300% physical/IT damage, on top of it being 22/12. Dropping Markovian’s Defense seems silly unless some serious item changes occur.

If I drop my DA at all, or fevered rage, then aleksander will be able to crit me. His auto-attack spell drops my DA by around ~250, and without wasting he’d be at over 3300 OA. Am I too worried about being crit?

I never thought about Menhir’s Bulwark seriously, is it that much better than Oleron’s Rage when ignoring the OA?

Beronath Reforged is an interesting idea, and like you said opens up flame torrent for physical. Is that worth losing the Warborn set bonus?

Aleks has +0% crit damage (and so do many monsters) so in reality crits won’t deal that much more damage to a tank like yourself. In main campaign you can usually pull Aleks to a doorway anyway. In crucible you get large health bonus from buff(+you are tanky) so taking a meteor is not the end of the world for your tank if you can’t dodge it.

Bulwark is clearly better if respectable OA can be achieved without Oleron Rage. Increased flat phys and it gives %Damage absorb.

There are alternatives to Warborn like Markovian Bastion set, so the Beronath weapon can be made to work quite well. Physical flame torrent is a beast :slight_smile:

I also have to agree on dropping Markovian’s Defense here. Unless I’m mistaken on how it works, it’s a global loss of 18% damage while active which is pretty big. If you are struggling to do enough damage to kill certain Bosses like Kuba then dropping it is definitely a consideration.

If you want to focus on Overguard, you’re best bet instead would be to swap over to a Colossal Bulwark with a prefix of either Chronomancer or Supercharged, this should put Overguard’s cooldown to ~14 seconds meaning there’s only 4 seconds of downtime. You don’t suffer the damage penalty this way either.

And then am I screwed if they roll the +75% crit damage mutator? :rolleyes:

I’ll give it a try.

I initially chose Warborn because the Visor gives me 100% uptime on War Cry. Although I guess Markovian’s proc would also have this effect? The big issue I have with Markovian set is the terrible Shield block power, at only 990 compared to most shields 1200+ or spellscourge bulwark’s 1550.

That mutator comes with -5% OA to monsters so crit chance will be low. Aleks meteor that crits under this effect will clearly be significant.

As for the block point, your damage blocked is so massive that I am highly doubtful that the difference in blocking power will be noticeable (perhaps only against super boss like Ravager).

I was kind of hoping that this build would end up top tier for the FG infinite dungeon mode, since it should be about surviving, not about clear times. So that’s why I want absurdly high block power, I have no idea how powerful these things will get. But at this point I’m not sure if it actually matters because it depends on how many enemies can bypass shields.

A little practice on Aleks would likely help your nerves.

He warns/telegraphs that within a few secs he will meteor when he does the out and in nova. But the real tell is when he tugs his arm soon after. The meteor comes at this point and you need to move away quickly to avoid the AoE, as the meteor is fairly fast. It will be targeted at where you were when he activates it.

Edit: in fact Valaxtaria has a very similar meteor. It comes on the arm tug. Her pre-warning is little different though. But she’s easy to find.

It’s up to you what you do. You were asking about more damage. My other suggestions still hold though (reduce occultist mastery to 32 and/or wasting removal).

Blocking doesn’t function against every single attack. I believe Aleks meteor for instance shouldn’t be blockable by a shield because it’s AoE. AoE and dots can’t be blocked or something like that.

I had Occultist mastery so high so that I could equip jewelry. I’ll try changing my augments on weapons and/or removing points from wasting.

I am well aware of what can or can’t be blocked because anything that can’t be blocked is able to move my healthbar :stuck_out_tongue:

Also I tried Menhir with my current setup and it resulted in ~10% damage loss on Cadence when compared to Oleron. This is not including crits. Are you sure Menhir adds the physical damage to your weapon? I was under the impression upon reading the skill that it only adds it to your shield.

Thanks for the tips, I’ll try to keep an eye out for that. It’s not the meteor’s damage that scares me (although it does a decent chunk), it’s the 30% RR on it .-.

I missed this response somehow. Anyway, 4 seconds of downtime means 4 seconds of actually taking damage. Which honestly probably wouldn’t lead to my death, but who knows, this is a fevered rage build after all. Also again, the biggest problem is that I don’t have a double-rare green. Even having the option of 2 prefixes (for CDR) and something like 6 suffixes (for block chance) still requires a crazy amount of luck. It may end up better in the end, but I don’t have the option of this.

If need be, you can back off and kite for those 4 seconds or not use Fevered Rage.

You can buy Colossal Bulwarks from the rare goods merchant in Malmouth and he is right next to the Steelcap base rift so can reliably be shop farmed meaning getting a good one easier than most other MIs out there.

I feel like kiting for 4 seconds out of every 14 is just as bad as an 18% damage loss :stuck_out_tongue: (yes I know that I probably wouldn’t have to kite all 4 seconds every time)

Good to know, yeah that’s a lot easier than any other MI vendor that I know of.

It’s not that I want to build around Overguard, it’s that I want to build around 100% block chance/recovery. Doing that means making some item sacrifices, and so to make up for it I have to go for hyperefficient items like spellscourge bulwark, m. colossal grasp, and mark of the voracious one, which all happen to buff overguard.

This was kind of a silly question, but easy enough to test. Yes, Menhir does add its damage to your weapon.

With that out of the way; I tested some suggestions and they helped a lot.
I took points out of the occultist mastery (had to move a few points from physique to spirit) as well as Wasting and Field Command and maxed out Cadence and Break Morale while soft capping Squad Tactics and putting more points into Solael’s Witchfire. I keep BoD at 8 to counteract Dying God.
This gave me enough damage to kill Kubacabra and I cleared 150-170 with 4 blessings. Not quickly, but as I said earlier, that’s not the goal with this build.
So thank you guys for the suggestions :smiley:

I’m still standing by what I said though, that Markovian’s Defense is a requirement for this build :furious: :rolleyes: