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]