Strongest Single-Target skill of Arcanist?

Don’t see why that’s a rip. Arcanist’s single target is still high even on cooldown skills and it shows in some of it’s combos like Sorcerer, Spellbinder, Druid or Spellbreaker.

There are plenty of ways to get TSS to out perform AAR. Frequency is the least of ones concerns if done properly. Gear & devotions will easily close the gap for you.

Okay then I will have a closer look at it :slight_smile:

Interesting, but not main dmg source from Arcanist :slight_smile:

Here is some math.

Good AAR build has 170k-200k sheet DPS from the ray in average. Since a part of the damage is DoT, real dealt DPS in spam mode will be around 150k-170k (without crits).


  • TSS in a good build has around 1.3-1.9 seconds cooldown. Taking into account Eternity relic, average CD will be around 1.3 seconds or so.

  • Each projectile deals around 50k-60k damage in average, but around 40% of this damage is DoT, which in spam mode will be re-applied before its full duration and won’t deal full sheet damage. Roughly we can estimate average damage of one projectile in spam mode as around 40k-45k.

  • Average medium-lucky cast of TSS deals 3 projectile strikes to one target (with assumption that build has 4-5 projectiles and/or reduced target area). It results in 120k-130k damage per cast or around 100k DPS in spam mode.

  • TSS in average has better crit multiplier than AAR. Also, in real game you usually don’t need to spam TSS to one target (since one cast with subsequent DoT kills the enemy). And when you need (against bosses), enemy models are generally bigger and allow 4 projectile shots for average cast.
    The last point makes the real in-game performance against single target approximately the same as AAR. So, I can’t agree with comments that TSS is better, but it worth using it with no doubts.

That is not math, that is a series of estimated numbers and assumptions with no evidence.

It would make more sense to look at actual top-tier builds for AAR and TSS and as the thread is about single target to compare their dummy kill times and performance in SR boss rooms or in campaign against single Bosses like Nemeses/Celestials to remove the factors caused by mutators.


Real builds have more than 1 active skill, devotion procs and many other things. So, we can compare builds overall performance, but not skill overall performance (or at least this comparison will be an ideal sphere in vacuum). And I have never ever seen that top tier builds overall performance in crucible or SR would show a clear advantage of TSS over AAR or vice versa. If you have doubts regarding the estimations, then which exactly? DPS of AAR I checked against several good builds with different damage types, the same for TSS damage per projectile. TSS can do better single-target damage only in case of lucky 4-5 projectiles hit with some crit on top. Under procs and resistance reductions it might deal huge damage, but the AAR can do this as well.

Sure, you can’t just compare a skill’s isolated performance as is the case with just AAR and TSS here but I don’t see a practical reason in doing so as no endgame build will solely just use these skills. I would argue that the rest of the build is just as important and in the case of stats like RR application or crit damage should not be ignored as every build will have them.

But how many of these “lucky” moments does TSS have over the course of a fight? It’s not just enough to examine their performance in bursts or without hard evidence. What I suggested again if you want to compare both skills to each other is finding other builder’s videos or testing them yourself and showcasing fights for both in prolonged singular encounters to get the best idea of average damage output over time.

SR Boss rooms, Nemeses and Celestials are also important to show sturdiness as it’s easy to make pure glass cannons but in a realistic setting, you cannot deal damage while you are dead. So it’s a matter of seeing how much offense can be squeezed out while maintaining good enough defense.

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I played with both TSS and AAR, it was a cold lightning druid tss and a fire sorc aar. I think that the continuous damage is also nice from AAR specially since you can just mow the whole field down now. TSS with 1.2 sec cooldown is like having constantly an airstrike ready with 4 frost missiles that with get up tp 250 -300 k each of the 4 hits or so, but not often reaching the full damage potential.

Are you assuming the TSS build will just be standing there while TSS’s cd comes back? Most TSS builds have a spam skill to use in the meantime (chain lightning, for example). Furthermore, AAR is a channeling skill, so it needs to be standing in place to reach maximum DPS output, which is a problem in hard content. In real fights, you will constantly have to interrupt AAR to cast utility skills, kite, or due to incoming damage from mobs. Thus, as Evil_Baka pointed out, I also think that comparing dummy or boss kill timers would be a lot more useful than your estimated numbers. If you are going to estimate, at least include the damage of the filler skill in between TSS’s cds.

I did not compare TSS-based and AAR-based builds and never declared this. Topic starter asked about DPS of certain skill and I attempted to answer. In terms of builds comparison I already answered to Evil_Baka that there are no evidences that AAR-based ones outperform TSS-based in crucible or vice versa.

Yes, TSS builds have a filer skill, but AAR builds also have hard hitters like doom bolt, devastation or reap spirit. And when you cast the filer, you can’t kite, similar to AAR builds situation. Also, a skill with cd in real world can’t be in average casted immediately after cooldown refresh, so the practical in-game cd will be longer. Thus, I don’t really get the idea of your arguments and don’t see a matter for dispute. I just demonstrated with real in-game numbers that TSS can’t outperform or even reach AAR in single-target sheet DPS if we are talking about spam-mode, but also said that with real in-game scenarios its DoT part allows to achieve similar overall results, which is proved by similar crucible times and achieved SR of corresponding builds. I also don’t argue with fact that within a short period of 1-2 casts TSS can do better damage because of lucky multiprojectile hit and better crit multiplier.

Ok, guys. But what about Callidor’s Tempest? It’s range is low and it is spammable. Any experience with that?


I actually did the math yesterday during a break at work. Ignoring TSS built-in crit and %dmg as well as peripheral stuff like global %dmg, oa, rr, etc, but including mods from gear, fully converted aether ARR (custom with Clair scepter) has slightly higher pure dps than 4-proj fully converted cold TSS (MadLee’s build) on 1.1-1.2 cd.

Difference is small though (about 5600 vs. 5300 iirc), and that built-in crit dmg alone shpuld make up for it. Also, Eternity is not included in the math.

Also, I’m not sure if TSS DoTs stack off the number of projectiles. Like Totems and Devils do stack, Jacks and Mortars don’t afaik, so idk here about TSS. If it does, than no discussion TSS got higher dps, as I only counted DoTs/s once.


If I remember it well, dots are stacked from pseudo-pets (totems, devils as you mentioned), so this is not the case for TSS. Also, even if it stacks, the point is that in spam mode the dot part will be re-applied much faster than deal whole sheet damage. And of course not all your hits will be 4-projectiles (I doubt that even half). That is why TSS can deal huge damage per 1 cast in hit & run mode, but in turret-mode it is not even close to AAR. Since in real in-game experience we face both situations, I am more or less confident that they are nearly equal in general.

Regarding CT, I have just no experience and can’t say anything regarding this skill.


I still think that comparing dps of an isolated cd skill vs a spam channeling skill is probably useless or misleading at best. Correct me if I am wrong, but doing that is basically the same as comparing the sheet dps from both skills. We all know that sheet dps of channeling skills like EoR and AAR are inflated and the opposite can be said about cd skills. If you are deciding your build based on maths like this or sheet dps, then no one would be using TSS or other CD skills as main skills.

Yes, it is true that you usually use other damage skills in both builds, but the opportunity cost of using them on builds focused on a channeling skill like AAR is a lot higher than on a build focused around a cd skill like TSS. Interrupting a channeling skill like AAR nets a considerably higher dps loss of this specific skill than when you rotate between different skills on o cd focused build like TSS. Casting defensive and utility spells also hurt AAR dps a lot more than TSS builds.

I don’t want to dispute or invalidate your arguments. I agree with most of them. There is nothing wrong with your approach if the idea is to estimate the theoretical dps of the isolated skills (which would be similar to a sheet dps). I just don’t think such an analysis should be used to decide which skill has the strongest single-target in practice. A dummy test or boss kill timer (such as mad queen, lokarr or whatever boss you prefer) seems like a lot better approach.

Formally you are right - practice is always better than any paper calculations. However, in practice the proper comparison assumes that someone has several AAR-based and several TSS-based builds of various damage types, each build needs to refresh a dummy 5 times to calculate its average clear time. Or clear a boss-room in SR 5 times with different mutators. Then we could calculate a true average. So, I wonder who will ever do this tremendously time-consuming job to answer on a forum post? Especially when opponents will definitely say “Oh wait, this test is bad since X or Y or Z”. In real world we can dig through the forum to see Crucible/SR clear speeds of existing builds. But I am 101% sure that we will just find an obvious result that their performance is similar. Thus, without any effort we could easily say “All is good with proper building, go and play”. Which is correct of course, but does not explain anything. The provided rough estimations at least describe how good a skill can be and why it is better or worse than other in this or that in-game situation. It is not an ideal approach of course, but I don’t see better realistic options.

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In terms of single target dps, CT should be inferior to AAR and TSS I think. In fact, TSS and AAR are probably the best damage skills from Arcanist’s tree. You can have great crucible timers with CT though since it is a spammable aoe spell.

Or we could take the best performing build for each skill. You can test extra damage types if you want to observe both skill’s performance at various levels but I don’t think it’s necessary and as you say - would take a lot of additional time to do.

Hence why I suggested dummy kills and campaign fights to eliminate as much RNG (e.g. mutators) as possible. You’re right that tests should be repeated as well to gauge an overall average, did not consider this in my initial proposal. Crucible I do not consider a proper test of a skill’s single target damage as it is more AoE dominant.


CT is an “OK” skill the issue is more so the consolidation of the 3 different damage types into one. While it’s not impossible to get pretty good conversions on 2 of the 3 there is ONLY one set (Harra) that consolidates it all to COLD. It takes a lot of creativity to get the other 2 damages converted well enough to do well. Of course CT by it’s nature lacks the range but again the thread here is discussing overall damage output and of the 3 this is by far the weakest in my experience.
Obviously others have experienced otherwise… and that’s is not to say that there are no CT builds that do “well” I have 4 that can all easily farm SR75-76 and to me that is a decent goal for any build to attain.