Since Ranged Shield builds aren’t quite a common playstyle, I decided to give it a go. What I came up with was one of the most solid characters out of the dozen or so in my roster.
Pros & Cons
- A mix of Good Offense and Defense
- Effective at all attack ranges ; Can switch seamlessly between offensive & defensive playstyles
- Very generous health pool for a mainly ranged character
- High mobility
- A very safe pick for hardcore campaign progression
- Very simple skill rotation
- Less durability when compared to a warlord (Soldier + Oathkeeper) and does significantly lower damage than a ranged purifier (Demolitionist + Inquisitor)
In terms of leveling, I can suggest referring to this guide. To clarify, I have tried it while leveling other demolitionist characters on hardcore so it does work as of September 2022:
Your priority would be to rush the demolitionist skill tree all the way to mastery level to 50, as it is the easiest way to level. Along the process, invest in these skills:
- Fire Strike- 12 / 12
- Flame Touched- 12 / 12
- Explosive Strike- 12 / 12
- Vindictive Flame- 8 / 16
- Searing Might- 3 / 3 (Note that this is only applicable if you want to level with 2H ranged weapons)
- Temper- 12 / 12
- Static Strike- 10 /12
- Brimstone- 12 / 12
From here on:
- Start investing one point per level up into Oathkeeper mastery until it hits level 50
- Place one point per level up into Thermite mine until it is at 10 / 13
- After TM is done, Place one point per level up into Flash Bang until it is at 5 / 12
- After Flash Bang is done, Place one point per level up into Searing Light until it is at 4 / 12
Now you can fully focus on leveling the Oathkeeper skill tree. On the way to mastery 50, invest in these skills:
- Smite- 5 / 10
- Summon Guardian of Empyrion- 1 / 10
- Celestial Presence- 12 / 12
- Divine Mandate- 12 / 12
Don’t worry if you run out of points to sink into Oathkeeper skills while leveling, as Demolitionist skills will provide good damage provided that you keep your gear upgraded and stay on Normal / Elite (Personally, I don’t enable veteren on HC so I can’t really comment on that).
In terms of gear, refer to the guide included above.
Once you hit level 94, please continue reading and prepare to respec skills / attribute / Devotion points whenever applicable.
Note- Stun Resist is capped in the Grimtools link provided. I messed up my components in-game, so please follow the grim calc link since that is the correct one.
Attribute points- Physique / 67 Cunning / 40 Spirit / 00
The playstyle of this build should be easy to comprehend, so I won’t need to say much here. It is a functional Righteous Fervor auto attacker, who can throw down thermite mines to shred resistances and launch flashbangs to debuff + proc the meteor celestial power. The reason why meteor was binded to flashbang, is mostly due to the fact that it can be easily triggered during boss fights or while going up against more mobile foes since not all of them are cooperative enough to stay within the effective zone of Thermite Mines.
Ascension is always useful for more damage. The added damage absorption is vital during those clutch moments when the character is being swarmed or just needs to remain in the danger zone for a while to wipe out threats.
Timely use of the displacement movement skill allows for some very strategic repositioning around the battlefield and fast retreats while backed up against a corner.
Equipment wise, I suppose the rings can be substituted for +fire damage ones instead. The only reason why I used the Judicator set was because I ran out of appropriate end game rings for fire builds. All in all, it is not a huge loss since the seals are a great source of Offensive Ability, and I always try to push a character over 3K OA if I am able to.
- Green Node
- Red Node
- Solael’s Witchblade (Bind to Fire Strike / Righteous Fervor)
- Fiend (Bind to Smite)
- Magi (Bind to Thermite Mines)
- Purple Node
- Rhowan’s Crown, 3 nodes only (Bind to Summon Guardian of Empyrion)
- Revenant, 5 nodes only
- Refund red node
- Ulzuin’s Torch (Bind to Flash Bang)
Unlike most of the other builds I worked on, this was the one which I had the least to talk about. However, that should not be mistaken as a bad thing because the strengths of this character are only apparent when put into action. On paper, it just sounds so mundane and feels devoid of any flashiness whenever I try to describe it - Yet it also lacks any sort of glaring weakness and was flexible enough to adapt to situations on the fly. All I can say was that I had a pleasant time clearing through the story content on hardcore. It is in every essence a solid character that was made solely to finish the game with little care about anything else. It is certainly something I would recommend to those who are struggling in hardcore, but there isn’t really anything I can say to sell it to players who like to kill with style or finesse.